Yes, more tales of outrageous expense claims by 'our parliamentary representatives'.
Getting most of the attention has been old Mr 'Perkbuster' himself. Rodney Hide used his travel privileges to take his girlfriend on a ten day overseas jaunt, staying in expensive hotels cost that cost anywhere between $300 -$500 a night. Despite being on a minister's salary Hide wasn't able to pay for his girlfriend himself and he sent us the $25,000 bill instead.
Hide tried to justify the outrageous expense claim on the grounds that he 'worked hard' for New Zealand and he wanted to maintain his relationship. Well, I don't consider bashing welfare beneficiaries and lobbying for further privatisation is 'working hard for New Zealand'
And if he's so keen to impress his girlfriend he should do so with his own money.
Also of note is Housing Minister Phil Heatley's concerted efforts to 'maximise' his 'entitlements'. He spent nearly $12,000 in three months including $1000 for his wife to travel with him to the Cook Islands for a nice wee holiday. This is on top of the nice little earner he's got going renting out his Wellington flat to a colleague while he lives elsewhere. We get to pay the rent.
As I said in a previous post:
we are a stuck with a democracy which allows us to vote once every three years for MPs who then go away and do pretty much what they like. There is no real mechanism available that can hold 'our representatives' to account. We get to pick our oligarchs once every three years, and they get to do whatever they want in the intervening period. Its not much of a deal and it means the buggers can screw the system for everything they can possibly get.
True democracy requires that all elected officials are directly responsible to those they represent. They should be able to be immediately replaced if they go against our wishes. And they should receive an income equal to the average wage nationally.