The travellers grow in number

March 13th, 2008 at 2:59 pm by David Farrar

Press gallery reporters, who never look happier than when they are perk busting, have managed to find out seven retiring MPs have overseas travel this year.

It is a bad look. There are reasons you want to attend events such as IPU or CPU meetings, and it could well be the case that MPs restanding don’t want to be out of town in election year. But someone should have realised the perception problem would be significant.  It is hardly a new thing, that the media scrutinise such travel closely.

The Speaker ultimately was in the best place to see the composition of the trips, and should have suggested to parties they rethink their choices.  But to be fair to I understand she doesn’t particularly enjoy these trips herself and is probably pretty peeved she has to deal with it.  I hear rumours that she may announce later today that the Speaker’s tour trip will be cancelled.

As someone who has worked in Government, I also have a small degree of professional sympathy for the Government whose big Fast Forward research funding announcement was pushed to second segment status on all the news shows, with the as the lead items.  Sometimes crap just happens to the best laid plans.

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15 Responses to “The travellers grow in number”

  1. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Have they found any retiring Labour MP’s who are NOT being sent out of the country on a freebee to stop them puching more holes in the Helentanic like Dover?

    Oooo look at the pretty bauble… no no don’t talk to the nasty cartoonists, watch the pretty bauble.

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  2. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    The Fast Forward programme was shunted because it is entirely underwhelming. I was at the launch and the general consensus among all there was ‘big fucking deal’ – because of all the caveats attached, the degree of confusion caused by IRD around R&D tax treatment, etc. It was worth attending just to watch Clark and Hodgson sit there unsmiling the whole time, and to see the PM throw a wee hissy fit about it not being a kneejerk reaction to the polls…

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  3. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Oh please; I’ve followed Kiwiblog for a while now. You would be DAMNING the speaker’s tour as a frivolous waste of money by the greedy out-of-touch leftie politicians, if it weren’t for the involvement of your National party darlings that makes such a stance untenable.

    But I agree it seems a bit disproportionate that those in TV & the papers who like to tell us how to think are pushing this story well ahead of a major new research funding initiative (or “an election year lollyscramble” if you want to look at it that way!)

    [DPF: Shows what you know. I love people who assume they know what someone else would do. Do you have a diploma of ESP? I have defended overseas travel by MPs for many years. But don't let the fact get in the way of your prejudices]

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  4. Rex Widerstrom (5,124 comments) says:

    There’s overseas travel and then there’s a junket. This is a junket DPF, and you’ve been around long enough to know the difference. All of Winston’s various trips have had greater potential long-term benefit to NZ than this one will.

    I have to agree with RRM that you’d probably be being a wee bit tougher on the criteria around this one if it weren’t for National MPs – and particularly Mark Blumsky – hopping on this particular money-go-round (I got my crystal ball straight from Annette, by the way ;-P).

    And – with the exception of Brian Connell – of those that are going I can think of no one less deserving than a one-term list MPs whose achievements in national politics wouldn’t fill the back of a postage stamp.

    The option Key had was to forbid it – or rather get the Whips to forbid it – and emerge looking decisive, or attempt to defend the indefensible and come out looking weak. He chose the latter – for what rason I can’t imagine – and lost yet another opportunity for a nice, clean, clear delineation between National and Labour.

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  5. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    No my extra-sensory powers are entirely self-taught, and I’ll thank you for remembering it.

    I do however like to think that I allow my prejudices around people to be formed by their own deeds. And no I’m not going to spend the next half an hour of my life trawling through back episodes for *examples* to *prove* that condemning frivolous spending of public money *By the Labour Government* has been a core tenet of your writings for ever and a day.

    But I’m sorry it is just a bit TOO rich for this reader’s taste to then backpedal on all of that just because on this occasion Katherine Rich is doing it too, and Key is defending it, so JUST THIS ONCE we’re not going to vehemently decry frivolous spending of public money by the parliamentarians.

    [DPF: You have a reading comprehension problem. My position is that in the past I have defended parliamentary and ministerial overseas travel. I am not defending the current travel plans where the majority of MPs are retiring this year. I beleive it is inappropriate]

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  6. Southern Raider (1,366 comments) says:

    With my work we aren’t allowed to take partners with us on International trips, but they are allowed to arrive after the work has been completed. The reason is simple. When away on business you are working long hours, even if this is attending functions and conferences and the company expects some blood for the cost of the trip. If partners are present you are always going to feel compelled to cut short that dinner or meeting to spend time with them. How is Connell going to be able to adequately complete his duties as an MP and look after his partner?

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  7. Craig Ranapia (1,912 comments) says:

    RRM:

    Did you actually bother reading the relevant threads yesterday and the day before that? I ask because that would determine whether you’re an idiotic numpty who doesn’t let facts get in the way of a good rant, or an even more stupid shit-stirrer who adds insult to injury by telling a lie more than once.

    And I’m sure DPF is flattered to discover that he somehow has Jedi mind-powers that influence every media outlet in New Zealand.

    I’d also suggest you DO spend a little time going through the archives. I think you’ll find his position on parliamentary travel is perfectly consistent. Put up some evidence for your allegation, or STFU.

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  8. dave (985 comments) says:

    Have they found any retiring Labour MP’s who are NOT being sent out of the country on a freebee to stop them puching more holes in the Helentanic like Dover?
    Yes. David Benson Pope. Except he tried to get out of retiring and lost. Either no perk for him – or there was nothing to send him to in his line of interest. Apparently Southern Kinks dosen’t have a branch in Hungary.

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  9. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    [DPF: You have a reading comprehension problem.

    You might have said "you don't understand" but whatever. My impression was that there is a bit of a soft-pedal on this, although I believe that impression may now have been corrected. There - you have some feedback from a reader, for free.

    Ranapia: "Lies" and "allegations"??? These are comments on a Blog. That is all. I am sure Mr Farrar doesn't allow commenting on his blog for no reason. Take it easy!

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  10. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    “Take it easy” Oh poor RRM, caught telling porkies yet again.

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  11. checkthefacts (30 comments) says:

    The one great joy of parliamentarians heading off overseas is the fantasy that they might never return. Sending MPs who are already leaving office removes that pleasure. Damn them!

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  12. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    There, have a thumbs up from me Dad. You’ve earned it. Your eloquent wit and your unerring ability to rise above petty personalities and discuss the issue constructively are a constant inspiration to me. I hope I can be just like you when I grow up!

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  13. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    Old habits are very hard to try and break RRM, so I gave you a thumbs down. Goodnight and don’t let the socialist bed bugs bite. Good things do take time.

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  14. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    These MPs are going to the wrong parts of the world I would have thought disneyland would be more their cup of tea. And I don’t give a rats arse what party they belong to.

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  15. Craig Ranapia (1,912 comments) says:

    These are comments on a Blog. That is all. I am sure Mr Farrar doesn’t allow commenting on his blog for no reason. Take it easy!

    RRM: No, I have no intention of ‘taking it easy’. You want to call DPF a liar and a partisan hypocrite, go to. But please don’t turn around and say you can’t be arsed backing up your allegation with your next breath, and expect to be taken seriously.

    Call me old fashioned, but I actually think a lie in a blog comment is no less worthy of contempt than a lie in any other medium. I’ve had my disagreements with DPF on this particular issue, but while nobody is obliged to agree with him, he’s owed the same courtesy of having his views represented fairly and accurately as anyone else.

    Still, I grant it might be unfair to call you a liar. You may simply be functionally illiterate, in which case you have my deepest sympathies.

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