Norman & Boscawen reveal expenses

May 31st, 2009 at 9:12 am by David Farrar

Amazing what a by-election can do, as and have revealed some of their expenses:

The Green Party co-leader Russel Norman pays $340 a week to rent a house in the Wellington suburb of Hataitai. He lives there with his partner Katya Paquin, who is also employed full-time by the Greens in Parliament.

It is against the rules to hire your partner (or other family members) as your executive secretary or electorate agent, but it is okay to have them work for other MPs in the party, or in the Leader’s Office.

Because Wellington is home, he is not entitled to claim expenses of up to $24,000 for accommodation in the capital.

Not doing a Bunkle/Hobbs – good.

Paquin sometimes accompanies Norman on out-of-town trips. Norman says the two ran up $15,828 in publicly-funded air travel in the first four months of this year.

That is a hell of a lot of flights – especially for a Wellington based MP. The vast majority of the travel will be to Green party events. Now I’m not saying this is bad – just that one should be upfront about recognising the benefits parties get from having MPs who can travel at no cost to the party.

There is potentially a small conflict over Paquin accompanying Norman. I have no problems with modest travel for spouses, but because Paquin is also a staffer it does raise some issues. You see normally if a staffer travels with an MP, the cost is charged to that party’s parliamentary budget, which is limited.

But if a spouse travels with an MP, that is a general cost to Parliament, and means the party’s parliamentary budget is not impacted.

Norman also spent $3794 on taxis and hire cars, but emphasised that he had not been claiming any taxi and accommodation expenses in the Mt Albert campaign.

That’s $250 a week on taxis – guess the buses do not come enough.

“When in Wellington, I generally catch the bus to work at Parliament. I often get a taxi home when the buses have stopped,”

At $250 a week, I’d say the taxis are more than just going home at night.

Norman says his travel expenses may be higher than many other MPs, because as co-leader of the Greens he is required to attend events and meetings around the country.

Yep, and many of these will be Green Party events. I don’t think it is practical to try and differentiate these from other events MPs travel to, but it is worth remembering that when the Greens call for further taxpayer funding of parties, that parties already receive considerable benefits from parliamentary funding.

Boscawen:

The Auckland-based MP pays $160 a night to stay in the Bolton St Hotel, three minutes’ walk from Parliament.

He ran up $3500 in hotel expenses in the first five months after the election. he expects to claim up to $6000 on Wellington accommodation expenses this financial year, which ends next month.

Sounds like John only comes to Wellington when the House is sitting.

Boscawen estimated his domestic air travel will have cost the taxpayer up to $13,000. That included regular travel between Auckland and Wellington, and two trips to Christchurch.

He was also claiming for two return trips to Wellington made by his partner Jane, one for the opening of Parliament and the other for his maiden speech. “She is entitled to have travelled far more frequently, but works five days a week,” he says.

Boscawen also flew business class to Vietnam and Japan last month as a member of the Speaker’s Tour, at an estimated public cost of $10,000.

Act MPs are opening an Auckland office, but Boscawen did not know how many items costing more than $500 he would buy. As for alcohol bought for Parliamentary business? “I do not drink alcohol,” he says.

No scandal there.

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38 Responses to “Norman & Boscawen reveal expenses”

  1. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,811 comments) says:

    Mr Norman conveniently fails to mention the number of flights he has made to and from Auckland since he was declared a candidate for the Mt Albert by-election.

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  2. Christopher (425 comments) says:

    I’m now self employed. I don’t get to claim for any expenses. If I have expenses, then I have to pay them.

    I propose a new rule: MPs’ salaries reduced to $10,000 per year, which includes all allowances for flights, accommodation, tea, coffee, gin and hookers.

    Who’s with me?

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

    So much for saving the planet, this melon fool would pop out more carbon emissions in one month then my cows would in one year. I do hope he is adding up his carbon miles and will furnish correct documentation when the bloody ETS comes into play. But being the cynic I am I suspect politicians and their kin will be immune to such taxes, these no doubt will only apply to the poor fools that actually produce something.

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  4. Grizz (244 comments) says:

    Side show, Power corrupts!

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  5. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper to move The Beehive to Auckland Thats where a third of MPs live (not even counting those from Hamilton and Tauranga less than two and a half hours drive away)- wouldn’t need to pay for their travel and accomodation.

    Would save a lot of greenhouse gases not having to heat govt offices in Wellington’s frigid climate.

    Could also make MPs electorates the same size as the proposed Ak super city wards (ie 110,000 each) wouldn’t have to fly many up from the south.

    Building your capital on a fault line was a dumb idea anyway, its going to happen anyway when the big one hits.

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  6. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “Norman also spent $3794 on taxis and hire cars, but emphasised that he had not been claiming any taxi and accommodation expenses in the Mt Albert campaign”

    Then any taxi rides Norman has in Auckland have not picked him up from, or dropped him off at his friends houses around the electorate since the campaign started?
    Its such a shame the MSM aren’t interested in exposing the lefties ‘bending of the truth’

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  7. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    I agree with Bob. Here’s an elitist parasite who preaches from the pulpit of environmental awareness, and he’s producing carbon like there is no tomorrow.

    While exhorting the virtues of public transport to all and sundry, he spends a (taxpayer funded ) fortune on taxis and airplanes.

    What the hell is this damn Watermelon doing anyway, flying here, flying there, getting taxis all over the place, that is so damn important to the taxpayers of NZ??

    What the hell is so important for this propaganda spieling scare mongering power seeking stooge to be doing, that hard working NZ families need to fork out all this money for his expenses??

    He’s in reality doing nothing other than seeking more ways to tax us and regulate us and generally interfere in our lives.

    That’s when he’s not promoting himself and the bunch of like parasitical hypocrites who hang off his coat tails.

    For fuck’s sake. There needs to be some changes made here. I am sick of having to fork out money to keep this bunch of useless thieving regulating parasites in style. And why the damn hell do we need 120 of the bastards??

    Where’s the 20 MP’s party?? They’ll get my vote next election.

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  8. Kingi (142 comments) says:

    Side show bob…how do you expect him to get around? Drive to and from wellington. Ridiculous.

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  9. He-Man (270 comments) says:

    As the Greens don’t have the money of / anonymous corporate / fundamentalist Christian loonies weirdoes / to back them up as National does, they have to make do with what crumbs they can get.

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  10. backster (2,104 comments) says:

    “Norman also spent $3794 on taxis and hire cars, but emphasised that he had not been claiming any taxi and accommodation expenses in the Mt Albert campaign.”

    This is indeed a scandalous production of greenhouse gases by someone who espouses the creed of Al GORE… I commend him to follow the example of the man he replaced who travelled by skateboard and only added to the greenhouse gas dilemma by the exhalation of cannabis smoke.

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  11. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    He-man, whilst I accept you have a different view on an individuals right to spend his money where he chooses, I did have to laugh at a debate on frogblog, where one of the greens members was complaining that other members who don’t show up at meetings don’t have their votes considered, and how unfair that was.
    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2009/05/30/hooray-for-turei/#comment-79021

    It wouldn’t matter what the world did for you lot, it would never be enough

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  12. davidp (3,550 comments) says:

    >Norman says the two ran up $15,828 in publicly-funded air travel in the first four months of this year.

    I’ve just checked the Air NZ site and there is a $93 fare available from Wellington to Auckland tomorrow. So Norman has likely taken something around 160 flights in four months. That is over one each day.

    We’ve just found the only man in the world with a carbon footprint bigger than Al Gore’s. Filthy!

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  13. MajorBloodnok (361 comments) says:

    So John Boscawen’s Wellington accommodation will only cost $16,000 /yr.

    This compares with the Green MPs who live out of Wellington, who are costing the taxpayer $24,000 pa. And the $24,000 is adding directly to their own superannuation fund.

    Who is lining their own pockets?

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  14. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Remember National Party supporters, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Watch what you say, for when the truth is out, you’ll have to measure National MP’s by the same standards.

    And I’d say given the number of long term “entitlement” mindset no hopers in that party, and the solidarity they’re showing in attempting to hide the records from the public, there would be some really interesting stuff ready to be revealed.

    That said, its probably nothing to what will come out of Labour.

    All socialists tho, (in Labour and/ or National), are short in the morality division.

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  15. maringi (14 comments) says:

    “It is against the rules to hire your partner (or other family members) as your executive secretary or electorate agent, but it is okay to have them work for other MPs in the party, or in the Leader’s Office.”

    So if you’re the leader you can hire a family member to work in your office? I thought there was at least one Turia in the Maori Party’s parliamentary office? Quite a key role too…

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  16. Inventory2 (10,161 comments) says:

    Kingi said “Side show bob…how do you expect him to get around? Drive to and from wellington. Ridiculous.”

    Well Kingi, Red Russel is always going on about how wonderful public transport is, so what’s wrong with the overnight train?

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  17. MajorBloodnok (361 comments) says:

    He-Man: As the Greens don’t have the money of / anonymous corporate / fundamentalist Christian loonies weirdoes / to back them up as National does, they have to make do with what crumbs they can get.

    Any donations that National receives are voluntary. That is how it should be for political parties. The Greens want to get money by force from taxpayers to fund their party.

    That is to be resisted at all times (as are any increases in taxes, of course).

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  18. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    He-Man, take a look at the Greens’ donations for the last couple of years. Not too bad eh?

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  19. Komata (1,138 comments) says:

    It’s interesting to see that Mr Norman’s words and actions are at variance with each other. Given the political agenda of this individual, should we be surprised at this – especially as those with long memories can recall the Dacha’s and ‘up market’ items owned by the late Joe Stalin and his successors (and even Lenin owned a Rolls Royce!!).

    Mr Norman of course, sees no difficulty or conflict-of-interest with this – it is after all his ‘right’ as an MP, but has anyone noticed that ‘right’ only applies to him, and that he would be screaming blue-murder and foaming at the mouth with self-righteous apoplexy if anyone else did the same thing.

    Evidently different strokes apply to different folks, and Mr Norman would never stoop to anything which is legally dubious or suspect would he? Not the leader of such a noble political entity as the New Zealand Green party!

    The Tui Advert comes to mind

    And, of course, the MSM sleeps on (delibrately) . . .

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  20. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    I see nothing in Boscawens returns that shows the costs incured by Act from the lamington incident.

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  21. MajorBloodnok (361 comments) says:

    village idiot: I see nothing in Boscawens returns that shows the costs incured by Act from the lamington incident.

    No costs should be incurred by the taxpayer for that. It was assault. Any refunds would be extracted from the culprit (who should also be immediately banned from all candidate meetings, and disqualified from standing for election).

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  22. Kingi (142 comments) says:

    Well if one MP has to catch the Overnight train, then they all would have to! Its simply not practical, not a good use of our MP’s time. Get real.

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  23. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    The train service needs the revenue. Remember how much us tax payers got to pay for the crock!

    10 X Registered Valuation. Deal of the Century for TOLL. Methinks there is a lot to be discovered in that deal.

    Too weird for truth and honesty. Way too weird.

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  24. The Silent Majority (85 comments) says:

    “I see nothing in Boscawens returns that shows the costs incured by Act from the lamington incident.”

    Maybe that’s because he didn’t have to buy lunch that day!!

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

    Kingi with the greatest of disrespect you are losing the plot. “Well if one MP has to catch the overnight train, than they all would have to!”. Sorry Kingi, unlike the melon party the vast majority of politicians where not elected into parliament on the saving the planet ticket. I would have thought Wusell would practice what he preaches, it appears not to be the case, there is a word for this and I’m sure you know what it is. It starts with H.

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  26. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Maybe if our MP’s use public transport they might value it. Jo Biden still uses Amtrak to get from DC to Delaware. Ask them all how they intend getting to Eden Park for RWC 2011.

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  27. MajorBloodnok (361 comments) says:

    Public transport works well for cities that predate the car (eg London, Paris), for cities where population density is high, job density is high and car ownership is low (eg New York, Hong Kong), for cities where topography creates natural transport corridors (eg Wellington) and for cities that extort vast sums from taxpayers and/or motorists to subsidise those that use public transport.

    Public transport will always struggle in cities that developed when car ownership was widespread, and land was plentiful. Population density is low, jobs are spread out (eg Auckland, Christchurch).

    For Greens to oppose the Waterview motorway extension in Auckland is to cause greater pollution, due to transport inefficiencies known as gridlock.

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  28. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Waterview will worsen gridlock. This happens everytime you build a new intersection. Why do you think millions of dollars of ramp metering is being installed onto the motorway system? The inevitable result of the new spaghetti junction being planned at the causeway is to cause miles and miles of new carpark to admire the view of the harbour. It will be a lot quicker for Russell to use the new Avondale-Southdown-Airport railink to get to the airport when he lives in Mt Albert.

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  29. jarbury (464 comments) says:

    MajorBloodnok, how do you explain the relatively high (at least compared to Auckland) use of public transport in Brisbane and Perth then?

    Both cities are spread out (more so than Auckland even), have dispersed employment and were built relatively recently. Yet both cities have significantly higher levels of public transport than Auckland does.

    The reason for this in my opinion is that they have a far better system, therefore more people use it. What do you think the reason is?

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  30. jarbury (464 comments) says:

    Well Kingi, Red Russel is always going on about how wonderful public transport is, so what’s wrong with the overnight train?

    Ummm… what overnight train?

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  31. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “Ummm… what overnight train?’

    That’d be the Auckland council money train to the marae that Kingi dreams about every night

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  32. jarbury (464 comments) says:

    Last time there were overnight passenger trains between Auckland and Wellington was 2001 I think.

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  33. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Why is Norman standing in an electorate he clearly has no connection to?

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  34. Max Call (212 comments) says:

    perths public transport system is fantastic.

    $8.40 for a family all-day. all services (rail, bus, ferry) ticket. The transport hubs are clean, well used. Systems and timetables are well integrated with each other. Train lines go right down to Mandurrah (for example), which would be about an hours drive from Perth CBD – all on this same ticket.

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  35. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Damn thats good value Max.

    Now all I need is a family to cash in with.

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  36. MajorBloodnok (361 comments) says:

    jarbury: MajorBloodnok, how do you explain the relatively high (at least compared to Auckland) use of public transport in Brisbane and Perth then?

    I have no first-hand experience of public transport in Perth or Brisbane (apart from riding a monorail in Brisbane in 1988), and I don’t know the extent of public transport subsidies or the quality of their local government administration (except that each ciy has only one council — and not 4+, as Auckland does).

    Part of Auckland’s problem has been the unreliability of transport services. Once you’ve been let down a couple of times by a bus or train or ferry, private transport looks very attractive in comparison.

    The popularity of the Northern Busway is largely due to the dependability and frequency of the service — you know that traffic jams on the motorway (except for the Bridge itself) will not cause delays. And there are no “points failures”.

    Auckland still lacks integrated ticketing.

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  37. OldNews (40 comments) says:

    “MajorBloodnok” said re Brisbane and Perth: “except that each ciy has only one council — and not 4+, as Auckland does”

    This is untrue. Brisbane has had a single council since the late 1920s but Perth has many small councils. Debate on amalgamation is currently going on in Perth eg: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/will-your-town-lay-down-and-die-20090527-bn3b.html

    Highly misleading to say Perth has only one council.

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  38. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    How the hell with all that campaigning, flying, co-leadership duties et al does Wussel find time to plant his carbon offsets? Or is that what Katya is employed to do? He might need to shift back to Aussie to find more land to plant trees if he continues pumping out carbon at this rate…a faint hope, I know…

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