Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Costly indeed

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  • Robyn Gallagher,

    People are talking about the porno movies that Jones watched in his hotel room. But no one's picked up on something much more shameful than that - Toberlone.

    Really, Shane Jones? Toblerone? Alone and bored in a hotel room, you chose a bar of Toberlone?

    No one likes Toblerone, that hard, triangular chocolate that only seems to exist in duty free shops, hotel minibars and goodie bags.

    Shame on you, Shane Jones. Next time go down to the local supermarket and get some Whittakers.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1821 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Really, Shane Jones? Toblerone? Alone and bored in a hotel room, you chose a bar of Toberlone?

    From memory, I think he ate all the chocolate in his minibar one night. It just gets sadder.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17936 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    * sticks hand in air and waves it wildly around *

    Me! Me! I love Toblerone! We used to get it but once a year as a massive treat from duty-free on the ferry back from Europe after the family summer holiday. Yum!

    But anyway... didn't they say on telly last night that mini-bar was OK and is allowed to be charged on the Ministerial credit card? Which if true is not particularly impressive IMHO. So I'm paying for them to get sozzled in their hotel rooms at every opportunity? Not to mention overdosing on chocolate. Not impressed!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 329 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    No wonder he's being branded a sex fiend. Chocolate binges, well we know what that means!

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Shane Jones is a noob. He should know that PPV pr0n is so last century. Real pr0n comes from the Web.

    Seriously though, Mr Jones is highly talented, and unfortunately this is going to land him in the sinbin for a long while at best.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3894 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    About the one really funny thing in all this is watching the twisting and turning of the writers at the "The Standard" who surprise surprise have two standards

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 520 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Actually, isn't it possible that the "red-blooded" Shane Jones is just the kind of character Labour needs to win back Chris Trotter's famous "Waitakere Man" ...

    The voter escorting National to its First Term Ball turned out to be the sort of bloke who spends Saturday afternoon knocking-back a few beers on the deck he’d built himself, and Saturday evening watching footy with his mates on the massive flat-screen plasma-TV he’s still paying-off.

    ...

    National’s partner – let’s call him Waitakere Man – has a trade certificate that earns him much more than most university degrees. He’s nothing but contempt for "smart-arse intellectual bastards spouting politically-correct bullshit". What he owns, he’s earned – and means to keep.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 638 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    Since we pay these guys wages if they had paid for all of this on thier own credit cards we would have paid for it anyway...

    yeah that one does my head in to!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    About the one really funny thing in all this is watching the twisting and turning of the writers at the "The Standard" who surprise surprise have two standards.

    Well the headline writer says everyone who screwed up on their credit card should recieve the same treatment, that's a single standard as far as I can see.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Russell:

    With all due and sincere respect to you, I'm sooo over hearing "but I reimbursed the money". What fucking part of this card is not to be used for personal expenditure is hard for people like Len Brown and Anderton to get their heads around?

    And I'm equally out of patience with the whole "but it was within the rules" defence. What about exercising good judgement, instead of the kind of Talmudic legalism politicians aren't terribly sympathetic to when it comes from corporate CEOs or finance companies?

    Actually, isn't it possible that the "red-blooded" Shane Jones is just the kind of character Labour needs to win back Chris Trotter's famous "Waitakere Man" ...

    You're totally wrong. According to John Tamihere on Nine to Noon, Shane's going to be driven out of Parliament by the politically correct front-botties and teh gayz who hold the Labour party in a hirsute limp-wristed death-grip.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    What Jim Anderton was saying was interesting, this seems to be a historic activity, a sloppy creditcard policy , it's hard to get massively outraged when there are so many bigger isues out there.If he bought himself a yacht maybe, a choclate bar, just stupid housekeeping for an m.p.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I think someone needs to hit back against the strong "OMG porn" element in the story.

    The idea that MPs, like everyone else in the world, shouldn't enjoy what was presumably ordinary old porn movies while travelling but not having work to do, is a bit dated. Shane Jones is free to do whatever he likes in the evening when not working, as long as it's legal.

    Yes the fact that the taxpayer was charged it is wrong. The chances of having a mature discussion in the media about porn, slim however.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Daniel Wilton,

    This is a weird one, people are getting all upset about Shane Jones' choice of movies.

    What about when Ministers "entertain company" in their Hotel rooms that are not their partners. Surely this would be more of a story, sure "blue movies" may not be considered tasteful but there are far more smutty things that are happening.

    Does this mean we are going to have another round of muck raking about Minister's private lives?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2009 • 37 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Man, we just spent 300 posts yesterday which ended up with an appreciation of how difficult television making can be. I'm relaxed about Groser and Jones in a scandal sense. I believe these guys work hard too and the creditcards are thrown about a bit on travel like everyones are. I'm not denying it was poor bookkeeping but unless I find that these guys have deliberately conned money from this I can't get that worked up on this.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    @Craig as pointed out on nat radio we are so provincal... no motes, no house renovations... just some pron and choclate. It's depressing. I'm looking forward to future ministerial trips though.

    <hotel lobby in some exotic APEC location>

    US Trade Delegate: Hey where is Tim the shuttle is about to leave?

    AUS Trade Delegate: He is still at the front desk paying for his mini bar...


    AUS/US Delegates: muahaha country bumpkins...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I think someone needs to hit back against the strong "OMG porn" element in the story.

    *headdesk* I don't know if I can put it any better than Idiot/Savant:

    Shane Jones wants to watch porn, not our business.

    Charging it to the tax-payer, abso-fucking-loutely our business.

    I'm noticing the usual suspects are trying to spin this as Sexual Stalinism, and I make no apologies for hitting back against that.

    @Craig as pointed out on nat radio we are so provincal... no motes, no house renovations... just some pron and choclate.

    Do you really want to get me started on how seriously fucked up that is?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    You forgot to mention Banks' $50k spend up on Bill Birch to do a report on ways for the council to save money in his first couple of months of being Mayor. It was without a public tender for the job and neither did he happen to mention it in his pre-election campaigning. Of course, he's a much nicer man these days and much more in touch with democracy.

    And as for Jone's movie watching predilection - isn't five in a day a bit...obsessive? It's not like there's a lot of plot or variation. Well, maybe a bit of variation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 166 posts Report Reply

  • Grace Dalley,

    While obviously I want MPs to be responsible and accountable in their actions, is this fuss really proportionate? I'm much more concerned about public money/borrowing being used to fund tax cuts for the rich. Or about local democracy being trimmed back, both in Auckland and here in Canterbury. And all the other stuff that actually affects our lives.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2008 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    With all due and sincere respect to you, I'm sooo over hearing "but I reimbursed the money". What fucking part of this card is not to be used for personal expenditure is hard for people like Len Brown and Anderton to get their heads around?

    I've been thinking about writing a post, and may still, but Craig has latched onto the simple point.

    These card are administered by Ministerial Services, but the bill goes to the applicable ministry. Ministries, and the Government in General, may only spend money that Parliament has given them permission to spend (in budget legislation) and may only spend it on what Parliament has given them permission to spend it on. This goes back to the Bill of Rights 1688 and is a pretty fundamental component of parliamentary democracy.

    Making improper use of a public financial resource, or procuring the improper use of public money (e.g. knowingly spending it on something outside the scope of an appropriation, even with the intention of repaying) is an offence against the Public Finance Act punishable by up to a year in prison.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    What I want to know hasn't really been reported (or not clearly)...

    WHEN was this personal expenditure paid back?

    While I appreciate the rules say "no personal expenditure at all"... I can see the practicality of paying with one card and sorting it out later (just like happens with many company credit cards).

    If the person volunteers that it's personal expenditure themselves, and pays up before the interest-free period has expired... I'm not so fussed.They havent tried to get the tax-payer to pay for it... they've just used a card to make a transaction.

    If however, they have to be chased and questioned, and have clearly expected us taxpayers to cover something, and then only begrudgingly pay after parliamentary services have harassed them with rude letters for three months... yeah, thats worth the public being upset.

    (update since reading Graeme Edgelers post above)- Yeah I get the within the rules/against the rules thing.... but I guess I'm going to the "intent".... I'm more upset if they intended to get away with something... rather than if they were just using the card for convenience and were never intending for taxpayers to be coughing up....

    And I can also see that determining intent is fraught with problems and following the rules to the letter is probably a better bet.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    Jones also spent $50 on a pair on undies. You'd think that the Tuku Morgan saga and its consequences would've been an object lesson for MPs since, wouldn't you ?

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 548 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    With all due and sincere respect to you, I'm sooo over hearing "but I reimbursed the money". What fucking part of this card is not to be used for personal expenditure is hard for people like Len Brown and Anderton to get their heads around?

    And to be fair Craig, you were equally disapproving of Phil Heatley's greater and more egregious spending. You did also note that Heatley was a "genuinely nice guy" who had suffered a failure of judgement. Perhaps we could say the same of Brown.

    Anderton? I'm sure he's telling the truth about the way the system worked in practice for a decade or more, and that he was told to have his chief of staff use the office credit card to pay the single bill for the travelling party, then reimburse. Clearly, that's not acceptable now, but it does seem it was acceptable for a long time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17936 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Making improper use of a public financial resource, or procuring the improper use of public money (e.g. knowingly spending it on something outside the scope of an appropriation, even with the intention of repaying) is an offence against the Public Finance Act punishable by up to a year in prison.

    Yes. But do you nonetheless suspect it's true that Anderton was instructed to pay in the manner he did? If Heatley was cleared on the basis of ignorance, it would appear that Anderton has a rather stronger claim than that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17936 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    While obviously I want MPs to be responsible and accountable in their actions, is this fuss really proportionate? I'm much more concerned about public money/borrowing being used to fund tax cuts for the rich. Or about local democracy being trimmed back, both in Auckland and here in Canterbury. And all the other stuff that actually affects our lives.

    Grace: I keep hearing this, and I'm still not buying it. Let me turn that around and ask you this:

    Where's the tipping point when politicians misusing public money does "affect your life"? I'm personally rather glad not to live in a country where we just shrug our shoulders and accept kleptocrat politicians, wholesale judicial and Police corruption, and the idea that greasing the right palms is just how things get done. That not only affects people's lives, it kills.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Charging it to the tax-payer, abso-fucking-loutely our business.

    Sure it's "our business". The colour of the carpets on the floor of the House is our business too, for exactly the same reason. Does that lead to it being somehow more significant than, say, someone's policy decisions? Because thats exactly what's happening here.

    Something can be "in the public interest" without being remotely relevant to the interests of the public.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

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