An irreverent look at some headlines from the past week, by Libertarianz leader Richard McGrath.
- British scandal lesson valid in our House too – Thanks to British law and the efforts (and money) of the Daily Telegraph, hundreds of British MPs are now squirming under the light as their profligate and corrupt expenses claims are exposed. Unfortunately, in New Zealand it is far more difficult to discover just how much our MPs are spending on themselves via the public purse. As this opinion piece notes, details of our parliamentarians’ expenses are exempted from searches under the Official Information Act -- the politicians made this loophole for themselves when the OIA was drafted. And there is no requirement for them to keep details of how they spend the $14,800 they each receive annually for entertainment, membership fees and other “out=of pocket” expenses. It’s time the activities of our MPs were made transparent, instead of having to rely on inside information to reveal the few scraps of information, such as Jonathan Hunt’s $29,000 taxi bill, and the accommodation allowance rort perpetrated by Phillida Bunkle and Marian Hobbs. It’s time the books were opened and this loophole for corrupt MPs was closed.
- Vigilantes back on the streets – The Martinborough Militia are back! Days after one of their number was arrested for allegedly discharging a shotgun, the fifty-plus members of the town’s militia are back on the streets doing their overnight patrols, assisting the town constable in preventing the burglary of elderly people’s homes. This sort of community action is commendable in my view. But there needs to be discipline within the ranks to ensure that the militia themselves don’t become the aggressors.
- Debts make cuts in health services likely – It appears the previous CEO of Wairarapa Health and his board may have been fibbing when it told Aunty Helen it would work within its budget if she built it a shiny new hospital. Well, Masterton has its new hospital, David Meates has moved on to become CEO at the Canterbury DHB, while the Wairarapa DHB is still running huge budget deficits. New boss Tracey Adamson has a difficult job ahead of her – she will have to cut services. This is the reality when health care is rationed – or rather, when the money you might have spent on purchasing private medical insurance is taken in taxes, put into a pot and divvied up according to who screams the loudest. From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need.
- Council knew before opening that musical would bomb – A scandal that deserves to bring down the Auckland City Council. Over four million dollars of ratepayer money has been used to bail out losses incurred by entertainment companies in Auckland over the past six month. It should be apparent to everyone that any further sponsorship or bailouts of entertainment companies by ratepayers should be halted forthwith. The good citizens of Auckland should be marching on the City Council with pitchforks and flaming torches and demanding some answers and accountability. This is outrageous!
See y’all next week!