Tuesday 5 March 2024

Parliamentary entitle-itis is catching

It's not just Christopher Luxon with a bad case of entitle-itis. There is a raft of other MPs and ministers who think taxppayers — you – should help them pay their mortgages on their Wellington homes.
MP expenses came to almost $1.7m and Ministerial expenses came to more than $670,000. ... The National Party - which has the largest caucus in the Parliament - spent the most on expenses in the period, totalling almost $731,000.

Here's a list of the scum currently or recently claiming large "expenses" and accommodation allowances from you (costs are for three months, unless stated):

  • Prime Minister Christopher Luxon was the biggest expense of the lot, at a cost of just more than $57,500 - including VIP transport of more than $39,000. The rest was made up of costs of almost $7500 for accommodation, air travel of $9500 and "surface" - ground travel, such as taxis of more than $1300
  • The next highest expenses cost in National's caucus was Auckland-based Defence Minister Judith Collins, at a cost of more than $24,200, made up of more than $6000 for accommodation and just over $18,000 on travel. Also giving the trough a decent nudge were West Coast's Maureen Pugh at just over $21.500; Taupo's Louise Upston at $21,000; and Christchurch-based Matt Doocey and Rotorua-based Todd McLay at just under $20,500.
  • During the last Government, there were four ministers in the same situation as Luxon, living in their own homes in Wellington and claiming the ministerial accommodation allowance, which is up to $45,000 a year. These were Willy Jackson, Jan Tinetti, Deborah Russell and Duncan Webb. All are likely to claim again this year, but on a lower accommodation allowance.
  • In addition, last year four other Labour MPs were living in their own Wellington properties while claiming the allowance. These were: Jenny Salesa, Arena Williams, Jamie Strange and Sarah Pallet.
  • And in 2024, there are now 20 MPs (not yet named yet) with second-homes in Wellington who are claiming up to $45,000 so that taxpayers can help pay their mortgages.
  • Labour's David Parker and Manurewa MP Arena Williams both claimed around $23,000 on expenses. Ingrid Leary in South Otago and Tangi Utikere in Palmerston North.
  • Greens's Manurewa-based co-leader Marama Davidson enjoyed almost $26,000 of largesse in her last two months in the ministry trough. Third-assistant speaker Teanau Tuiono declared almost $25,000 of expenses, while Auckland-based Chloe Swarbrick grabbed $17,500 and former Greenpeace activist Steve Abel claimed just over $17,000. 
  • ACT's Mark Cameron, based in rural Northland, declared almost $21,000 in expenses, the highest of any ACT MP. That included almost $10,000 on accommodation and a similar amount on travel. ACT's second-highest grasper is Todd Stephenson, living in Queenstown, claiming just under $19,000.
  • NZ First's Jamie Arbuckle, from Marlborough, spent more than $16,000, while Te Pāti Māori co-leaders Rawiri Waititi - who lives in a remote part of his Waiariki electorate - spent $36,500 of your money, and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer nearly $22,500.
  • Other big spenders in the last few months include and Grant Robertson, given $42,369 to go see the rugby, 
A nice rort, if you can get it.
The lowest spenders [include] new Finance spokesperson Barbara Edmonds, who is based near Wellington. She spent $521, most of which was $403 on flights. ... and [Labour] Leader Chris Hipkins - who is based in Upper Hutt - declared $1129, all of which was on flights. 
Good for them. On this, if nothing else.


Kiwiwit said...

The answer to this entitle-it is to reduce the parliamentary sitting time to 2-3 weeks per year and the number of ministries to 3 or 4. That way, none of them would need permanent accommodation in Wellington and a couple of flights each per year would suffice.

Ocean1 said...

Scum? Seriously?

They had the temerity to accept the remuneration to which they were entitled.

Anonymous said...

And there’s that word again: “entitled.”

Ocean1 said...

past tense: entitled; past participle: entitled
1. give (someone) a legal right or a just claim to receive or do something.
"employees are normally entitled to redundancy pay"

Peter Cresswell said...

Well, since we're using it as an adjective, then perhaps this definition, from the Cambridge Dictionary:
Entitled | ɪnˈtaɪ.təld | adjective |
Feeling that you have the right to do or have what you want without having to work for it or deserve it, just because of who you are; believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
Ex: "These [politicians] are spoiled, entitled, self-absorbed, and apathetic."

Ocean1 said...

"to which they were entitled".
Context counts, especially for supposed wordsmiths.

Peter Cresswell said...

@Ocean1: Indeed, I agree we should keep the context fully in mind.
The context in this case being that these entities write the rules granting themselves these "entitlements," they write the rules taking that money from the taxpayer to pay them, and then they abuse the sense of responsibility that is the taxpayer's only defence against that abuse.
And you wonder why I would call them "scum," i.e., | noun | 1 : a layer of something unpleasant or unwanted that forms on top of a liquid; 2 : a dishonest, unkind, or unpleasant person

Ocean1 said...

These particular entities didn't write the rules.
And the taxpayer's defense against abuse of public office is to vote for someone else.
It won't have escaped your attention that this is what's just happened.
So yeah, I find your label unwarranted.

PS: I didn't choose it, the page plucked it from google, it's more specific than "anonymous" and I'm happy with it. if you depend on attributing an opinion to a name I'd suggest you're likely more interested in playing the man rather than the ball.

MarkT said...

I have to largely agree with Ocean 1 on this one. There's clearly some rorts going on, but I haven't seen enough evidence to convince me that everyone you quote is scum - in particular say Todd Stephenson of ACT who lives far down south. How do you know the costs he's claimed aren't the real and legitimate cost of his job?

As for the semantics over what "entitlement" means, there's clearly two different definitions depending on context. One is what you should rightfully and legitimately claim. The other is an expectation you are owed something when morally you are not.

Peter Cresswell said...

@MarkT: Nah, I'd argue politicians are guilty until they prove themselves innocent. Especially when there's so little oversight of these expenses except for public derision.

MarkT said...

PC: if we had an abundance of politicians worthy of our support I’d agree. Rule out those with any tinge of doubt on them, and just support those who don’t. But we don’t have that luxury. Therefore if someone appears to be going more good than harm, even if not perfect, isn’t it in our interest to give them the benefit of doubt rather than quickly dismiss them as scum? Is calling them all scum a rational or emotional response?