While the media focus is presently on the money that MP's have been misusing for 'accommodation' expenses - with the Minister of Finance Bill English and the Minister of Housing Phil Heatley being the two most high profile cases - the media have yet to ask why we have only been given the MP expenses for the first half of this year.

Bryce Edwards makes this point on his Liberation blog. As Edwards say, we should at, the very least, been giving all the MP's expenses for the full financial year. As Edwards says parliamentary budgets don't actually operate on a 1 January to December 31 basis.

So what is being hidden? What do 'our representatives' not want us to know?

Well, in the second half of last year there was, of course, a general election. The MPs may well be trying to conceal that they were spending up large in the months leading up to the general election.

In Britain the scandal over the expense claims of MPs led to a 'back catalogue' of MP expense claims being released to the public.

Edwards writes:

Again this is one of the lessons to come out from over there – the public needs to see the parliamentary expenditure going back at least a few years – not just the selected few months of current year expenses.

This lack of real transparency and the suspicion that there are other expense fiddles being concealed, goes some way explaining the lack of criticism coming from the opposition parties.

You would of expected Labour to launch into English for taking the taxpayer for a ride but they have remained conspicuously silent - as have the Green Party, the party that likes to take the moral high ground on matters like this. Of course, there are suspicions that Green co-leader Russel Norman was rorting the system during the Mt Albert by-election campaign.

Pro-Labour blogs like The Standard, while criticising Bill English and co, haven't raised any questions about what Labour MPs have been doing with their expense claims.

What we want is full disclosure - not just the disclosure that the parliamentary parties are comfortable with.


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