When does rent become a rort?

Kiwiblog has more on the Green Party’s accommodation arrangements and the issue has also been picked up by the MSM.

Julian Robins interviewed Metiria Turei on Morning Report and the Southland Times editorial says:

Interestingly, it appears to have been the party, rather than the MPs, who refunded the money. Interesting, because the Greens have been accused in the past of using trusts to buy houses in Wellington and then renting them out to their MPs, at a profit, of course.

This is the same accommodation rort that many MPs, from all parties, have got their grubby little hands into at the expense of the taxpayer, and it has to stop.

I don’t know of any other party or MPs who rent flats from their superannuation fund. But who has done it is irrelevant, it’s that they can which matters and that must be addressed.

MPs should not be out of pocket if they have to maintain a home in their electorates and accommodate themselves in Wellington. But the rules need to ensure they aren’t able to take the most expensive option to get a greater gain for themselves.

3 Responses to When does rent become a rort?

  1. Mr Gronk says:

    I can think of two easy solutions for accommodation. Either a fixed per diem paid to all out-of-Wellington MPs (and they get to pocket whatever they don’t spend), or do an expenses-claim system, perhaps up to a pre-determined limit.

    No doubt both solutions would provoke a degree of taxpayer anger, as either lends itself to MPs getting more accommodation money than they absolutely need to do their job. However, I wonder whether the same taxpayers would get resentful if, when going on a business trip, they found themselves on the wrong end of a grilling by Accounts Department clerks.

    I’m not saying it’s a good look for MPs to be anything other than thrifty, recalling that it’s not “their money” to spend. I just wouldn’t want to see the taxpayer pot calling the MP kettle black.

  2. ThamesSt Farmer says:

    Again, this is petty.

    We all manage our affairs to our best advantage. Half the country have family trusts and many farmers will be paying rent to their own family trust for the house they live in.

    Why should the politicians have to follow a seperate set of rules?

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