Raybon Kan has fun with the NZ First donation:
So New Zealand First has made a donation of $158,000 to Starship hospital. By coincidence, $158,000 is the precise amount of taxpayers’ money the auditor-general said New Zealand First spent illegally in the last election. Does this mean New Zealand First is off the hook?
It’s an interesting tactic if it works. If you’re done for fraud, can you just write a cheque to a charity and have it all go away? If you get a tax bill can you pay the exact amount to Starship? If you get a jail sentence can you sentence yourself to Starship? Why not take the money to one ward in Starship and get the kids to fight for it?
Every political party should try the same stunt. Take money from Parliamentary Services and write large cheques to whomever they want. Don’t call it misappropriation of public funds. Don’t call it embezzlement. Call it generosity.
But it’s easy to be generous with other people’s money. This is why politicians love stadiums that will be used once. It’s not their money.
Every MP should follow Winston’s lead. Then we’d see MMP in real action. Instead of having a government policy, or some legitimate reason to spend the money, each party should simply write cheques according to their own whim, and charge them to Parliamentary Services. Let the charities campaign for the misappropriated funds. Roll up! Roll up! Get your Parliamentary Services slush money here! It’s disturbing that a former treasurer thinks this is OK. Wouldn’t he be the first one up with a winebox full of documents if somebody else did this?
Shouldn’t he have some clue about the distinction between New Zealand’s money and New Zealand First’s money? Did nobody write him a memo on the subject? It’s an excusable mistake I suppose. New Zealand is such a similar name to New Zealand First. There’s only one word different. Of course, you’d get the cheque accounts confused.Then again, maybe that’s why he chose the name.
If Winston does not pick up the public mood on this one, he will be fighting a losing battle next year. Instead of getting to debate NZ First’s policy achievements (1,000 extra police etc) they will be debating the $158,000 time after time. If he donates it to another charity (if one can be found) the issue will not go away.