Time we stopped paying for vanity vehicle

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:

1996: 10,039
1999: 9,885
2002: 3,176
2005: 8,548
2008: 4,767

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.

2 Responses to Time we stopped paying for vanity vehicle

  1. gravedodger says:

    I am convinced this trougher first class has lived in a nether world of delusion ever since some misguided stringer wrote in Time Magazine early in the second half of last century that a certain Mr Anderton was a potential future leader of our area of the Pacific. That he suffers from a grossly inflated ego ang mega delusions of grandeur, his obvious acceptance that although of advanced years and declining relevance he is still the man that stringer described so many years ago just reinforces the irrelevancy. A clear example that a limitation of parlimentary service would avoid the embarrasment he has become.

  2. pdm says:

    graved…. you forgot `thick skin and no conscience’.

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