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Hefty bill for National/Maori Party deal

30 April 2009 Media Statement

Taxpayers foot hefty bill for National and Maori Party deal


The double standards of the National Government have again been exposed following Cabinet’s decision to override a consensus for a fair approach to electorate office funding, Opposition Chief Whip Darren Hughes said today.

“John Key and Bill English are calling for restraint on Government expenditure and for hardworking New Zealanders to tighten their belts but are happy to spend up big for political expediency,” Darren Hughes said.

Under National’s supply and confidence agreement with the Maori Party it agreed to increase electorate office funding for all Maori electorates because of their size.

Last month the Government was caught out increasing funding for ten large electorates by over $90,000. Eight of the ten electorates concerned are either National or Maori Party held.

“Following concerns about the process and the size of the increases in relation to funding to other electorates, a meeting attended by all parties and chaired by the Speaker of the house sent a recommendation to Cabinet to scale back increases,” Darren Hughes said.

“The recommendation called for clear and fair criteria for funding increases. Cabinet’s decision to ignore this recommendation and push through the increases without clear criteria speaks volumes.

“One on hand National and the Maori Party are feathering their own nests with tens of thousands of dollars and with the other they’re sacking hardworking public servants.

“Is this increased funding hush money for the Maori Party for their silence over their support for National’s unfair tax cuts, 90-day fire at will policy, minimal minimum wage increase and Seabed and Foreshore review?

“This is a stitch up from a Government happy to ignore its own calls for restraint with taxpayer money to keep an unhappy ally quiet,” Darren Hughes said.


See tables below

Situation before 2008 election:

General Seat MP/List MP

Staff/$104,000/$52,000
Expense/$64,260/$40,932
Total/$168,260/$92,932


What PSC – all parties – recommended to Cabinet 2009

All seats over 12,500km2/General Seat MP/List MP

Staff/$156,000/$104,000/$52,000
Expense/$87,588/$64,260/$40,932
Total/$243,588/$168,260/$92,932

What Cabinet agreed to:

Maori Seat MP*/Large General Seat MP/General Seat MP/List MP

Staff+/$156,000/$104,000/$52,000
Expense/$105,192/$64,260/$40,932
Total/$261,192/$168,260/$92,932
Difference/$17,604//


Appropriations Review Committee recommendation 2007:
Maori Seat MPs (regardless of size) & General Seat MPs (seat over 20,000km2) get 3 FTE OOP staff.

Parliamentary Service Commission 2008:
Exclude Tamaki-Makaurau

ENDS

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