You’d think that someone who’s been an MP for as long as Jim Anderton would understand the system. But his response to questions from Paul Holmes on Q&A yesterday shows he doesn’t understand the difference between an electorate office and a party leader’s office:
PAUL: . . . The only reason the Progressives still exists, or are going to continue to exist can I suggest to you is that the public pays the party $164,000 of taxpayers money for the Party expenses and you get $13,000 more for being the leader. Isn’t that the only reason for the continuation of the Progressives?
JIM: No, you’re absolutely wrong Paul. The Government or the Parliamentary Services Commission pays no money for the Party, the Progressives pay their own money, and the money that’s paid to me as an Electorate MP and as Leader of the Progressives in parliament is for Parliamentary purposes, that’s for the work that I do, I have 1500 constituents coming through my electorate office each year and we help them sometimes in matters of life and death – and it’s a privilege to do so – and that’s why my electorate office is funded and why my parliamentary office is funded.
His electorate office is funded so he can help his constituents. The party is funded so it can help him and his party which is so close to Labour it makes no difference.
PAUL: But $164,000 for the Progressive Party as long as the Progressive Party continues. That’s the only reason you’re continuing surely?
JIM: That’s rubbish. I continue because people in Sydenham have voted for me for 25 years, I probably hold the Guinness Book of Records for representing the largest number of parties in the same electorate, increasing my majorities most of the time. The people of Sydenham have the right to say that and that’s what they’ve been saying.
He’s got that wrong too. Kiwiblog shows he has increased his majority only once:
The people of Sydenham have the right to say if he’s in parliament or not but the rest of us shouldn’t have to pay extra for him to lead what is in effect a one-man vanity vehicle.
This is more evidence that the 500 members a party needs before it can register is far too few.