The NZ Herald haven’t got their numbers right. They report that Pansy Wong is the third Minister in John Key’s Government to resign. She’s actually the fourth – they appear to have forgotten Heather Roy who resigned as Minister of Consumer Affairs and Associate Defence and Education Minister after being replaced as ACT Deputy Leader amid allegations of being bullied by Rodney Hide.
But two of the resignations, Wong’s and Phil Heatley’s, directly related to misuse of Parliamentary expenses. Another resigned Minister, Richard Worth, had been warned about abuse of travel expenses for private business purposes before a further unidentified indiscretion which secured his resignation.
Metiria Turei went into bat on this issue today:
This is just another example of the current system not working. Paying MPs by way of international travel subsidy creates confusion and perverse incentives,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
The public deserve a system that is clear, simple, and fair. An independent overhaul of the system is required to ensure that New Zealand politics are kept honest and transparent.
John Key needs to establish an independent body to develop a more transparent system that clearly separates personal expenses from remuneration and legitimate work expenses. He must commit to fixing this broken system.
An independent system for determining MP allowances and remuneration is the only way to restore public confidence.
Well said, Metiria!
In addition to the Ministerial resignations, there are the scandals around Rodney Hide’s, Chris Carter’s and Roger Douglas’ use of travel entitlements (all of which were found to be legally legitimate but were publicly perceived as being far from a good look).
Then there was Bill English’s accommodation allowance, which was found by the Auditor-General to have been unlawfully claimed, but English not culpable for that because he had received official advice that it was legitimate.
The current system encourages rorting by maximising so-called “entitlements”. As Metiria says, it is time for an independent review.