Bunkle, Hobbs Get Away With It
Today's report of the Controller and Auditor General says more about the poorly defined rules surrounding Parliamentary allowances than it does about natural justice, Shadow Leader of the House Roger Sowry said today.
"In the court of public opinion neither Phillida Bunkle nor Marian Hobbs has a leg to stand on. Anyone can see that claiming an accommodation allowance for having to live in Wellington while being on the Wellington Central electoral roll is a dubious situation for a Minister of the Crown or a Member of Parliament.
"This whole issue is about upholding the expectations of taxpayers over what is a reasonable use of their money. The public accepts that MPs who live outside Wellington deserve an accommodation allowance if they need to be in Wellington as part of their work. But the public will never accept that as justification for MPs who don't meet those criteria to claim allowances.
"These two MPs went on the electoral roll for Wellington, campaigned as Wellingtonians and sought to represent Wellington in Parliament, but for the purposes of claiming allowances they 'lived' elsewhere. You don't need a set of rules to know that is not right.
"Phillida Bunkle owned a house with just one bed, then it grew an extra bed to accommodate her lodger, then on the electoral roll four people supposedly lived there. That is truly incredible," Roger Sowry said.