Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Costly indeed

308 Responses

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  • Jeremy Eade,

    All I remember is the hell of caligula, oh yeh and ageing Augustus and Tiberius.

    It was on Monday Nights on TV One. After Dallas.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    All I remember is the hell of caligula, oh yeh and ageing Augustus and Tiberius.

    Livia. It was all about Livia, surely. Death couldn't stop her.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4328 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Well, these are the decision makers - it starts and finishes with them.

    Yeah, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Fist full of dollars eh?
    Hang em high I say!
    Oh wait.. no, that's the Clint Eastwood Film season that is on at the mo, so as you were.
    Wonder when Dirty Harry comes on? ;)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5924 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Just as a matter of interest, how would your academic career look if you'd been caught out dipping into the departmental petty cash...

    I'd have been carpetted the first time, and fired the second time. As it turns out, I've never done such things, because just somehow, I seem to be able to distinguish my employer's money from mine.

    Is it okay for the taxpayer to fund my Chevy Chase habit?

    No. Renting a movie is personal. Buying a book or a magazine to read is personal. Going out to a movie theatre is personal.

    Eating a meal is fine. Eating a meal at a good restaurant is fine. Having a glass or two or three of wine with it is fine. Staying in a comfortable hotel is fine. I see no reason to make our employees suffer because they are away from home. But whatever they do for after hours entertainment is entirely their own affair, and they should pay for it themselves. That's what the rest of us do.

    Why yes. I am drawing a line. It looks fairly straightforward to me, and I suspect, to most employees.

    What's with renting movies anyway, when there's plenty of free-to-air TV, and probably Sky TV in your hotel room too.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1298 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Travel can be a sleepless, illness-ridden, swirling mess....and these guys have to present in the morning. It doesn't sound like they are sitting in their offices building a pyramid scheme.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    and obviously the fact he watched porn brings porn into the spotlight
    and the pornography industry is an invisible,explotive nightmare of an industry that makes rock n roll look like church.It's a sick industry as far as I have read.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Livia , i knew i missed someone, the star.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3327 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Fucking Toblerone.

    :))

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5924 posts Report Reply

  • uroskin,

    Porn and Men. ...what can I say?Where do I start?

    I read somewhere that the average length of time a man watches a hotel room porn movie is 8 minutes. Which makes the charge quite expensive. But hey, even Time Magazine found that watching porn can be an act, not of cupidity, but of fidelity.

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    I wonder when porn was put into hotels, so funny in a way.

    "Hello sir, Welcome to the Hilton, help yourself to free tea and coffee and don't forget to check out movies of people fucking if you get bored. No one will ever know."

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    And we're not allowed per-diems (of course, that is the real answer - just a flat rate per day, spend it how you want, no receipts. But way too sensible... I've completely lost faith in the Wellington half-wits who administer this crap)

    Per-diems are not the answer; they're legitimising the rort in the same way that national's tax cuts legitimised tax cheating.

    OTOH, its basically what they've done for housing ("here, have $40K, we don't need to see any receipts, and if you spend less, you can keep the difference!"), so I guess we can expect to see them any day now.

    I'm happy to pay actual, reasonable and necessary expenses for my politicians. Handing them a daily personal slush fund? No thanks.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    How about we go with one of the suggestions by Mark Thomas in his new book The People's Manifesto

    MPs should not get paid wages but loans, like students, because they get highly paid jobs after they graduate from Westminster as a result of attending Parliament. They should therefore pay back the loan they got while in office.

    Lower Grey Lynn • Since Jul 2009 • 789 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    Hmmmm. Back to Shane Jones. People have been saying for decades how smart he is. His colleagues are quoted this morning as saying "He's a bloody good guy with tons of potential".

    He was a Minister of Building and Construction and after each day's meetings he watched porn movies and ate junk food? He's an overweight gentleman who, if I remember it rightly, had cancer some years ago.

    How smart are his lifestyle choices? Does he really have any ambition or does he think high office will come to him on a plate? We have a national scandal in our building and construction industry. Don't people like him have to read and prepare before going to see organisations about their work? What state would he be in the next day after quaffing junk and watching a couple of pornos.

    Was he bored? Is he so clever that politics is too easy for him? Didn't his portfolio matter to him? Is his life out of control?

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 506 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    WRT. Helen Clark and the $20 gumboots. Was this the only item on her credit card? Who, then, pays for the PM's work-related accommodation and meals, of which I imagine there are a great deal?

    I suspect HC in particular, and PMs in general, don't stay at the "Havana Nights Motel", or converse with foreign delegates over a Happy Meal, washed down with a small Fanta.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    In this feeding frenzy - and I agree there are far more important ethical/constitutional breaches to focus on like ECan - I feel a little sorry for the overwhelming majority of previous and current Ministers and their staff who seem to have had no problem separating their personal from public expenditure.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Fran O'Sullivan somehow manages to link this to Labour's legalisation of prostitution and homosexuality. Bravo.

    More relevantly, she speculates about Jone's career options.

    It's too soon to say whether the former Maori business leader will decide to chuck politics and resume a private sector career. He is formidably bright and has strong patrons in the business sector, including Business Roundtable chairman Rob McLeod.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    She also likens "Maori business" to a "gravy train." Unlike, y'know, white man's business.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Is his life out of control?

    Well, he does look a bit tired...
    ...doesn't he?
    </hrt>

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    If they're racking up more than 10,000 per trip on daily expenses, then clearly they have a different idea or 'reasonable expenditure' than I do.

    These cards aren't just for ministers. They'll often travel with staff. One card might be paying for three or more people in hotels, meals, some entertaining, taxis etc. That's going to get pretty high after a week or two. The idea that anyone should have to carry that on their personal card ain't realistic.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6150 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I feel a little sorry for the overwhelming majority of previous and current Ministers and their staff who seem to have had no problem separating their personal from public expenditure.

    I'm a bit of a Vicky Pollard there. I take your point, and you're right, but the Ministers and staffers I've known over the years are pretty thick-skinned and have their eyes open that scrutiny and criticism (fair or not) is just part of the job.

    Fran O'Sullivan somehow manages to link this to Labour's legalisation of prostitution and homosexuality

    And don't forget that Shane is a victim of the hirsute front-botties and teh gayz who have the Labour Party in their limp-wristed, man-hating death grip... Serious amounts of "not getting it" going on there.

    (And just a small FYI for Ms. O'Sullivan. I am a citizen and a tax-payer. I don't pay a goodly whack of my income to the IRD to subsidise MPs property speculation, retail therapy or any combo of onanism and high-end oneophilia. If that makes me "prissy" or "moralistic", here's a vintage Moet bottle. Go fuck yourself with it.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    How smart are his lifestyle choices?

    Here we go, the prissy middle class is coming out to play.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1743 posts Report Reply

  • Boris Sokratov,

    Bet Shane Jones wishes he was French right now :) ...if this is the worst stuff he's ever done then I can live with that...unless of course all we want is pointy heady rich dudes runnin the country... then by all means go ahead and crucify Shane and every other politican for these indiscretions...Despite what most people think the reality is these guys don't get paid anywhere near enough for the intrusions into their personal lives, time spent away from their families and on it goes...

    Pause and breathe people... the choice is pretty straigh forward althought the medicine won't be to the nation's taste... pay them realistically and give them an allowance they can spend as they choose or accept from time to time this sort of stuff is gonna happen

    ...they are human just like us and as such by nature flawed... on occassion they are going to make dumb choicess...haven't you? Then again maybe there are fairies and leprechauns down the bottom of my garden ready to turn me into the perfect human

    Tall poppies and glass houses...be careful with our often unrealistic expectations of others... What are the chances of Shane Jones doing this again? Zero...the guy will become that perfect being...if we are capable of forgiveness...

    Thing is, as a nation there is something deeply amiss in our psyche and it is this: the speed with which we move to apportion blame to others, our penchant for punishment and our unwillingness to forgive.

    Enjoy the weekend folks :)

    Here • Since Jun 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I feel a little sorry for the overwhelming majority of previous and current Ministers and their staff who seem to have had no problem separating their personal from public expenditure.

    Not to forget that many of these also reported, will be legitimate expenses.The gumboots, and many others will be. Trevor Mallard states his "limo in New York" (doesn't that sound fancy) accusation. was actually a bus for a delegation of people. Legit. Lost luggage does require replacing, so undies and suits are also legit.To suggest imbibing is acceptable then disputing what was imbibed because one may have more expensive tastes is, nitpicking and yes so what if it's Bolli? Should Politicians need to alter their ways if overseas, if eating at certain restaurants, or choice of movies.Is two faced acceptable? To suggest that preference for porn is even an issue other than personal expenses is worthy of suggesting the SSTrust take their places in Parliament.Yuk, yuk, and yuk.
    I once did a job that required checking expenses against sales reps. Every month, some expenses were questioned.
    Never once did a rep get fired for these queries.Never once was one singled out to ostracize.Occasionally some expenses were considered personal and reimbursed.This is how to account.It's an accounting procedure that should have been more stringent in Parliament and hopefully will be in the future.
    Shane Jones seemed a perfectly good politician last week, 2 plus years since he paid back the expenses. For all I know, adult movies might enhance his ability to do his job ( no puns intended). I still consider him a good politician this week.
    Frankly $500k for rent in Dipton, whilst living elsewhere is a bit more than todays accusation against Mark Burton. Never mind, 7000 documents gets a story for the rest of the year because this take no prisoners attitude to reporting is a good way to skirt the important stuff.
    Oh, look over there. John Armstrong noticed something else.
    Jus' sayin'

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5924 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    Here we go, the prissy middle class is coming out to play.

    No, no, no. I really don't mean that. What I mean is that someone touted as the new leader of Labour and first Maori PM, who is a father of seven and highly intelligent with a Harvard degree and a cancer survivor can't even look after himself to a reasonable degree.

    If he can't look after himself, how can he fulfil his much talked about potential?

    I don't understand why "red blooded, robust" males want to watch porn movies but I assure you that if I didn't know about it it wouldn't worry me at all!!

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 506 posts Report Reply

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