Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Costly indeed

308 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 5 6 7 8 9 13 Newer→ Last

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    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.

    Hear, hear!
    Liking your first post Boris. :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6210 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    That Armstrong story is worth a read - quite a contrast from the cheerleading he seems to have fallen into lately.

    He analyses Paula Bennett's "inflammatory" comments about opposition to her likely dismantling of our welfare system.

    In expressing fears that the debate could turn ugly, Bennett was trying to denigrate opponents of welfare reform without directly saying so.

    ...

    arguing the merits of time-limited benefits and a two-tier contributory social insurance which is presumably being mooted as a means of eventually cutting dole payments.

    Bennett confirmed this week that both those ideas will be canvassed by the welfare working group she has established to come up with recommendations by December for restructuring the benefit system.

    ...

    But her view that the welfare reform debate could "spark prejudices" and reveal "an ugly side of New Zealand" is also an admission of the difficulties of convincing people of the merits of initiatives that have previously only found favour with the likes of Act and the Business Roundtable.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16680 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Lost luggage does require replacing, so undies and suits are also legit.

    Of course...

    But the version I've heard (and I cant attest to the accuracy) is that it happened to the same minister three times in one year, whilst not happening to any others...

    Sure, sometimes you can just have really bad luck.... or, you could really be rorting the system?

    Unlike much of the other petty stuff... it probably deserves a little further investigation...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    How smart are his lifestyle choices?

    On balance, smarter than Winston Leonard Spenser Churchill's -- who was probably an undiagnosed manic-depressive and high-functioning alcoholic his entire adult life; was a chain-smoker with a voracious appetite (which lead to what would now be defined as morbid obesity); there were also persistent rumours that his sexual appetites extended far beyond the marital bed... and into his sister-in-law's. Churchill seemed constitutionally unable to live within his means; could be petty, vindictive, bull-headed and argumentative for its own sake; adored his wife and children but often treated then appallingly...

    But after all that, one or two people still think he wasn't a bad Prime Minister.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12003 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

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

    Do you have any evidence at all his personal lifestyle impacted on his performance as a minister?

    For example, genius (however you define that) often comes at cost somewhere else. Look at Tiger Woods. The guy had a mask of supernatural control that led to his being the most brilliant golfer ever, or so they say. But that genius came at a price, there was a deviance from the norm elsewhere that paid the bills for his success. Winston Churchill is oft-quoted as an exempler of a decadent living, someone who could live the louche lifestyle and still perform (Winston Peters is an exempler of someone who could not) but I've always been more fascinated by his clear eccentricities - like his habit of sleeping in and then working in bed in his pajamas. What would our new puritans of the media make of a minister who stayed in bed until lunchtime and drank buckets of champers?

    I am not saying Shane Jones is a Woods or Churchillian-like towering genius. But he is a high performer well above the average. Who is to say that porn and fast food are not vital components that keep him going? Are we saying everyone must conform to a puritanical stereotype of behaviour just because that works for the vast majority of the mediocre??

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    Was he bored? Is he so clever that politics is too easy for him?

    A strong possibility, yes. A never-ending stream of stupidity, mediocrity and ego-wankers is probably enough to send one in search of comfort, be it chocolates, crochetting or blue movies.

    For me, this whole beat up is yawn inducing. Gasp! Shock! Horror, politicians found to be human! Who knew? Oh grow up and get a life.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    whilst not happening to any others...

    Not so. See, this is assumed because certain people have been scrutinised. Depending on travel one could feel unlucky if luggage has been lost thrice, but if you travelled on 300 trips, I'd suggest you are pretty common with the odds.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6210 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    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?

    Well, Sofie, I'd prefer the "expensive tastes" of our Ministers (and their staff) don't run to two-grand-and-change bottles of Chateau Petrus, or the occasional twenty thousand dollar case of vintage Romanée Conti pinot. (OTOH, if Key want to pick up the tab for the Cabinet to work their way through the wine list at Antoine's or The French Cafe, that's between him, Bronagh and the rolling pin.) Or is that just me being all prissy and petty?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12003 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Wooow! Mr Armstrong

    She may possess a warmer, more down-to-earth persona than the coolly doctrinaire Richardson and Shipley displayed.

    Now is that positive spin? Or did he just have a smile on his face as he wrote it?
    Ohhhhh the things my mind can do with the opening "She may possess..." and my mental picture of Paula .........

    But her restructuring of welfare is shaping as the toughest test for a still relatively junior minister who likes to keep the arguments simple when the concepts she will be grappling with are anything but.

    Is he saying?....no he couldn't be.... So "likes to keep things simple" refers to when she's talking about STuff?..... Or that...that other thing.... people do.... oh shit it... what is it.... how many stock phrases can I stick together to explain it ..... As I mentioned on another occasion.... shitit's..... on the tip of my tongue.

    What men and there's dicks. Well I never...

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1221 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

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

    Yet I suspect you wouldn't have used the term "habit" to describe the renting any other kind of movie. Would I be correct in that assumption?

    I also suspect that Cecelia wouldn't have speculated that Jones' life might be out of control if he had rented Saving Private Ryan, which incidentally is a far more stupid film than its porno version (Shaving Ryan's Privates).

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7378 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Editorial

    Trade Minister Tim Groser [...] as part of his official duties, is expected to entertain dignitaries on his many trips overseas.

    There should be no surprise that his spending on liquor and food is reasonably substantial.

    Likewise, there is nothing out of the norm in Murray McCully spending nearly $2000 of taxpayer money on laundry services.

    and on the same page:

    Former Labour Government minister Chris Carter [...] also received the green light for $186 spent in Harrods' luggage department after a staff member's bag broke.

    In no way could this spending be considered necessary for Mr Carter to function effectively in his ministerial role. A forthcoming Auditor-General's report should signal the end of such largesse.

    You know, I'm starting to think the Herald might actually have a politically-motivated double standard here. </sarc>

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Now is that positive spin? Or did he just have a smile on his face as he wrote it?

    Why doesn't he just come out of the closet and say "I'd tap that, but Ruth made me impotent and Shipley brought all my previously repressed Mummy issues to the surface"? I guess wittering on about a woman's "persona" is an advance on a close analysis of the socio-political import of of Helen Clark's 'do...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12003 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    . Or is that just me being all prissy and petty?

    Yep, that's you darlin' ;) Look, I wouldn't buy Bolli either and I am frugal, and some expenses could be addressed , but chasing up these expenses got all items reimbursed. I think that is good accounting and I think our MP's are relatively responsible, and it appears that the cards have been used with expectations to reimburse when told to. That's a pretty human trait with expense accounts. Yes ,some will take advantage of interpretation, just like some cops will drink drive (whereby some get off their charge and other cops don't).
    I say stick to what's been happening but be more stringent on expense analysis. Know what the rules are then there is no room for excuses.Obviously some seem adamant they were following procedures, some knew they may tweak it a little. JK says his Ministers are allowed to do it, but Phil Goff should step up about his mps,and isn't it convenient that most Nats haven't hit the papers like the Labour mps and barely gets a mention from the editor,other than excusing the Nats. Last round JK said we should not get carried away about house double dipping, because it's allowed,and ministers need to be with their family, so hey, whats a house or two. Didn't feel good either but it was accounting and the Nats seem good with that.Lawyers and accountants just happen to be good at that and hey, there is a lot of them in the National Party
    I certainly don't think politicians are perfect and I am glad they have shown that.
    Sorry, don't care it was Bolli. If it destresses, helps one to wind down after a day of meetings, so be it. I want those who are working for us, to do it the way they find best.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6210 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Shaving Ryan's Privates

    Is it any good?

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 796 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Sofie@10:50AM on 12 Jun 10
    Brilliant. Hey. How about becoming a Minister? You would make an excellent Minister of Social Welfare or Minister of Fair Play.
    Anyway a fresh breath of common sense and compassion. Thanks.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Is it any good?

    Actually, I was cheating, I haven't seen it yet although it's supposed to be quite good. Couldn't be worse than the Spielberg film anyhow.

    Coincidentally, I'm in the process of trying to track down an old porno, for actual research purposes (heh!), and I've had to email people about it, which gave me reason to reflect on how it's good not be an MP sometimes.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7378 posts Report Reply

  • James Liddell,

    @Graeme

    I haven't checked ... but if it were true that the Australian Government requires foreign ministers in their country to hire limousines, why has no-one else ever done this? Because it seems like the type of thing that would get onto Stuff's rolling update. Is Chris Carter the only minister we've sent to Australia over whatever the period this OIA covers is? Perhaps that's the real story that's being missed ... the New Zealand government is completely ignoring Australia :-)

    Carter's making shit up. I traveled to Australia with a Minister during this period (not Chris Carter). We caught taxis when we were there. The other option was to have the Australian equivalent of VIP Transport drive us around, but that would've been batshit crazily expensive compared with catching cabs.

    @slarty

    Also, most public sector places (and I'm not making this up) will advance you folding cash in the foreign currency required so you can just walk in and put it on the counter. Getting a receipt of course.

    In fact, I've found it is easier to get real cash than get a credit card expense claim signed off.

    Same with Ministerial Services. When you go overseas they give you (the staffer) a reasonable wad of cash for incidentals and read you the riot act about getting receipts for everything you spend it on.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Can't Ian, I'd be stuck between did and didn't inhale. :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6210 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Thanks for the pointer to the Armstrong article Sofie -- normally I'd give him a miss.

    Struck by this sentence:

    "Those two politicians failed because the country was not ready for such an overhaul."

    The country was not ready. I love the implications of this: that dismantling the welfare state is inevitable, something we'll have to face up to, when we're ready. It was nice that he noticed that the state of the labour market is the determining factor in how long people stay on a benefit, but he still seems to have accepted the basic premises of Tory policy.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2967 posts Report Reply

  • James Liddell,

    You know, I'm starting to think the Herald might actually have a politically-motivated double standard here.

    That editorial really annoyed me. Especially this part:

    Quite simply, that was the level of gratuity expected in Peru. Equally, the same minister, as part of his official duties, is expected to entertain dignitaries on his many trips overseas.

    There should be no surprise that his spending on liquor and food is reasonably substantial.

    So this excuses $1400 on alcohol from the minibar? Is Groser now entertaining foreign dignitaries in his hotel rooms? Talk about International Affairs...

    Or how about noting that some of the "wide of the mark" criticism came from them reporting perfectly normal expenses such as Cunliffe's hotel room bills?

    But i guess that wouldn't fit the Labour Troughers narrative.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I think our MP's are relatively responsible, and it appears that the cards have been used with expectations to reimburse when told to. That's a pretty human trait with expense accounts. Yes ,some will take advantage of interpretation, just like some cops will drink drive (whereby some get off their charge and other cops don't).

    @Sofie: I've worked for an MP, and believe you me Parliamentary/Ministerial Services is not prone to proffering vague or ambiguous advice, or sloppy about enforcing conduct standards.

    It's also a pretty human trait to magically turn what people are saying into what you really want to hear. To be quite blunt, I've been reliably informed there's quite a paper trail of minister after minister being warned time and again that using ministerial credit cards for personal purchases was totally beyond the pale, and it was irrelevant whether or not they paid the money back.

    I can be forgiving of an error of judgement, but when it becomes a blithe pattern of behaviour extending over years by people who thought they were never going to be exposed? Screw that.

    You know, I'm starting to think the Herald might actually have a politically-motivated double standard here.

    You know something, I think Bill English would beg to differ. I bet they just picked on him because he's heterosexual and Catholic. :)

    Oh, and do you think we might be able to grant that Tim Grosser's ministerial career hasn't been one long alcoholic blackout? Not feeling the sympathetic outrage on his behalf around here...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12003 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    If you want double standards check out the latest spin from the "The Standard"

    They equate JK going to to a strip club before he entered politics with Shane Jones and his mid night habbits and of course not understanding that when you sign for a card that says "not to be used for private consumption" that is what it means
    Loons

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 542 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    They equate JK going to to a strip club before he entered politics with Shane Jones and his mid night habbits and of course not understanding that when you sign for a card that says "not to be used for private consumption" that is what it means

    However one could make the point that the actual reason why Jones has been single out is the fact that the films were X-rated. As I've been trying to say, I doubt that any old rented movie would have landed him into this much trouble - the puritanical bullshit has been hard to separate from the legitimate criticism in his particular case.

    (In saying that, I won't even bother to read The Standard's spin - fifty times bitten, fifty-one times shy, and all that.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7378 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I've completely lost faith in the Wellington half-wits who administer this crap

    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.

    Too true, I mean how hard can it be? it makes me wonder whether those accountants who crunch the numbers are worth their salt. How many times have I said "How fucking much?" when a policy is costed, I've lost count.

    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.

    Oh, I think they get paid enough. The old story about paying enough to attract the "Right kind of people" has always pissed me off, so you want greedy bastards running the country, the other reason for paying a substantial salary is to avoid the temptation of taking, what shall we call them, incentives? from those with agendas or interests.
    Compared to the rort of getting the taxpayer to fund your family home all this pales into insignificance. I would rather know about the stuff that gets paid for by those outside parliament, the lobbyists and what sneaky bastards they can be, untreated timber anybody? and how about a bit of monolithic cladding to go with that?.

    What state would he be in the next day after quaffing junk and watching a couple of pornos.

    I would say... relaxed a bit like JK's comfort zone.

    Well, he does look a bit tired...
    ...doesn't he?

    Nice Doctor Who reference there Ian ;-)

    I don't understand why "red blooded, robust" males want to watch porn movies

    Oh dear, a little late for that Birds and Bees chat I think.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4861 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Given the outrage over even legit expenses, has anyone followed up on Mrs Collins "legit" clocking up of over $400 per month for petrol for her self drive car? Thats about 4,000 km for a person who is usually driven in a Crown car. There-fore some one else in the family gets (legit) use at pretty high mileage. If folk are outraged over porn films isn't Collins another form of porn?
    (Notice that last night on TV news, within 20 minutes had made a small correction to the story of Collins using the Crown car to get groceries. It was a Staffer. Amazing that a correction was so quick where misinformation about Labour folk goes uncorrected days later.)

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 5 6 7 8 9 13 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.