Quote of the week from Dim Post:
Sometimes I just want to strap the entire spectrum of left-wing politicians into dentists chairs and patiently explain to them – using chisels and barbed wire – that most the state’s wealth comes from ordinary people working hard and then giving a huge chunk of their income to the government, so spending it is a sacred trust not an endless opportunity to squander it all on gimmicks and whims and political stunts.
He was prompted by Hone Harawira’s decision to force a by-election but every politician and public servant – anywhere on the political spectrum – ought to take heed of and be governed by this premise.
Not the dentists’ chairs, chisel and barbed wire, tempting though the use of those would be on some; but the hard working and sacred trust not to be wasted bits.
Respect for other people’s money appears to be a foreign concept to Harawira. His decision to force an entirely unnecessary by-election reinforces his arrogant attitude to public funds.
Early in his parliamentary career he was dressed down by his then-party co-leader Tariana Turia for accepting koha from constituents he helped.
Then he went AWOL while leading a parliamentary delegation to the EU so he could visit Paris.
Further evidence of his profligacy was found in the release of MPs’ travel expenses last week.
In the first three months of this year Harawira spent, $42,971, almost as much as the entire Maori Party on travel. He excuses that because of the size of his electorate and it’s distance from Wellington. Te Tai Tokerau is 16,370 square kilometres in area but Rahui Katene whose Te Tai Tonga electorate is about 10 times bigger at 161,443 square kilometres in area spent less than half the amount Harawira did – $20,462. Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean whose Waitaki Electorate covers 34, 888 square kilometres, more than twice the size of Harawira’s, claimed $15,671.
Now he’s going to force the waste of half a million dollars on a by-election.
He reckons it’s for democracy but Keeping Stock has indentified a more venal reason – if Harawira wins back the seat and returns to parliament as the leader of the Mana Party he’ll get the extra funding that comes with that.
However, once he resigns he’ll lose his MP’s salary and the ability to claim for his expenses which means for the duration of the campaign it won’t be our money he’s spending.
The timing of the by-election is at the discretion of the Prime Minister. Every day further out the date of the by-election is set will be a day when the public purse is relieved of the need to contribute to Harawira’s upkeep. Let’s hope it’s a very long campaign.
National hasn’t stood candidates in Maori electorates in the
alst last couple of elections. The Maori Party has an agreement not to compete with Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau. If it sticks to that could the Labour candidate win and leave the Mana Party in the dust at its first outing?