Q+A exposes Greens housing scheme

October 4th, 2009 at 2:51 pm by David Farrar

Delighted to see, after I have been blogging on the issue for some time, that TVNZ started asking questions about the scheme where the vest property in their superannuation fund, so they can claim rent from themselves.

It turns out to be even worse than I suspected. Not only are they doing this, they were charging $1,000 a week for a modest house in Thorndon, and secretly paid the money back.

First the transcript from Q+A:

GUYON Okay in the last section of this interview I want to talk about one of the roles that the Green Party has had in politics this year, which is the greater transparency around MPs’ expenses, and I want to look at the way that you manage your own accommodation.  Now you have the Green Futures super fund, your own super fund, it owns two properties it rents to three MPs in Wellington.  Now they take about $48,000 a year to live in those homes owned by the Green Party, and they plough that money back into your own super fund.  Now do you think that the average worker would think that that was a fair use of taxpayers’ money?

METIRIA Well look there’s four issues that need to be understood here.  First, the super trust has been going now for 12 years, has been approved by Parliamentary Services and by the Speaker, and has been transparent.  Second, MPs have to live somewhere, some MPs buy flats in Wellington and then claim housing allowance for those flats, the super fund, the super trust has been consistently seeking, asking rents that are below market value.

The arrangements were at first within the rules (but as Bill found out that does not count for a lot!), but they were not transparent – we have only found out today what happened secretly.

Secondly Turei is not quite correct when she says an MP can buy a flat and claim a housing allowance for it. If the MP owns the flat directly, they can only claim the cost of interest on a mortgage. But by vesting it in their super fund, they get to claim a much higher market rental.

Finally, as we leant, they were literally double dipping by having two MPs charge close to the maximum for the same place – well above market rental.

GUYON Well let me pick you up on that point about market value.

METIRIA Earlier this year we did – those went out of whack, between February and March of 2009 one of the houses, MPs were claiming over the market value, we fixed that valuation in June to make sure they’re only being asked to pay under market value, and last week we refunded that over claim.  So we made a mistake and we fixed it.

GUYON So you have refunded Parliamentary Services.  So you’ve become a second party to refund.  Let me talk viewers through this because they won’t know about it, and let’s look at this Wellington home where Jeanette Fitzsimons and Catherine Delahunty live, now it’s a fairly modest house, but over a four month period from February to May this year, those two MPs paid a thousand dollars a week in rent out of taxpayers’ money to live there, nearly double the market rate.  Now that’s a rip-off pure and simple isn’t it?

METIRIA We made a mistake, we’re not happy about it, we fixed the rent in June to make sure that they were paying under market value from that point on, and we have refunded the money, I mean I agree mistakes are – you know they’re not a good look…

I would love to know who made the mistake, and who discovered it and put ir right. Surely they knew you can’t have two MPs living at the same place both charging almost $500 a week in rent?

The residence in question is in Thorndon and is valued at around $510,000. It is a three bedroom residence taking up 99 square metres. Hardly the sort of place you could think is worth $1,000 a week.

GUYON Well let’s look at this mistake though because there is a certain degree of cynicism about this.  On June 1st when you took over as leader you said we’re throwing open our expenses to the public, we’re going to be open about this, what you didn’t tell us is that behind the scenes you were doing a market valuation on this property and you found out that you were actually charging the taxpayer double, you didn’t tell us that, then you came out and released  your expenses and it’s only become public because we started asking questions this week, I mean you’re no better than anyone else.

METIRIA I was not aware of the market valuation at the time that we …

GUYON Well why wasn’t a market valuation done in the first place?

METIRIA We did, we do them every year.

GUYON But this is the problem with these cosy arrangement isn’t it because you are your own landlord so no one really cares what the market value, muggings the taxpayer picks up the bill.

This is why I have consistently advocated that MPs should not own directly or indirectly any property they claim rent for as a tenant. You can not be landlord and tenant. It has been legal to do so up until now, but I think the rules should change.

METIRIA That is why we released our expenses before any other party did, don’t forget we did this off our own back, we released those expenses, we’ve got out of whack with the rent, and we’ve refunded.

GUYON How much?

METIRIA It’s about six thousand dollars.  About six thousand dollars we refunded.

GUYON To Parliamentary Services?

METIRIA To Parliamentary Services.

GUYON Where was the press release on that?

METIRIA We made sure – well that’s why I’m telling  you now, on national television so you’ve got the information, and so the whole public have got the information.

You’re telling because Guyon asked the right questions.

GUYON But you wouldn’t have if we hadn’t started asking questions would you, that’s the thing.

METIRIA We made a mistake, we acknowledged that mistake, we fixed it, we fixed the mistake and we’ve refunded the money, and you’re quite right to raise it, and the public quite rightly has a right to know which is why we’re telling you about it today.

GUYON It was cynical though wasn’t it, because you didn’t tell people that behind the scenes you were tidying up your own arrangements before you laundered them, and made sure that they were actually legitimate before you released them, you never told us about that.

METIRIA I can understand that you want this to be kind of you know a big story and I understand why that’s the case…

GUYON No it’s a question because you have been telling other MPs and other political parties that you’re the moral compass of parliament, yet you’ve been ripping the taxpayer off.

METIRIA But the fact is that we made a mistake, we’ve fixed the mistake, and we’ve refunded the money, we made a mistake, we fixed the mistake and we refunded it, in 12 years that’s not too bad.  The public has known about our super trust for all of that time and we’ve made information about it public, and so we’re quite happy to be open about the process that we’ve done, which is we make a mistake, we fixed the mistake, and we’ve refunded the money.

The Greens have been open (and kudos for that) about the existence of the fund, but have never detailed publicly exactly how much money they make from its own MPs living in the property they own.

You see the issue is not just the over-charging of rent. It comes back to them using the super fund as a way to maximise the amount they can claim. Let me demonstrate.

The Super Fund gets $24,000 a year rent (that is the maximum) plus the Fund gets $26,200 as the taxpayer contribution to the super, and $10,480 as the MP contribution. That means they have a total of $60,680. It was somewhat less in 2001when the property was purchased, but the comparison is still valid. I understand the cost was around $300,000.

Not over the last eight years the average interest rate has been 8.5%. This means that in the first year there would be $25,500 of interest on the property and $60,680 of repayments (if all goes into the mortgage) which reduce the principal by $35,000 or so.

This results in the mortgage being paid off after around seven years, so the MP gets left with a mortgage free property (now worth $500,000) and ongoing rental income of $24,000 a year.

If the Greens had not vested the property in their super fund, but registered it under their own MPs names, they could only claim interest on the mortgage.

Now in the first year this is $25,500 so they would claim the same – $24,000 maximum. But in the second year the interest would be just $22,500 and then $19,300 and this is all they would have been able to claim as rent.

Over the eight years they have owned the property they would have only been able to claim rent of $116,000 instead of $192,000.

They have a second property they currently rent to themselves, so that is the potential advantage per property above.

So there are really three issues here:

  1. The fact the Greens were charging almost $1,000 a week for a property whose market rental value was $540 or so a week (and we do not yet know how this happened, and who blew the whistle)
  2. The secret repayments, despite claiming they were setting the model for transparency
  3. The appropriateness of using the super fund to maximise the amount that can be claimed from the taxpayer

Again I don’t think any MP should have an interest in a home they rent out to themselves. Either just pay them all flat allowances (as Ministers will soon get) or require them to have no direct or indirect interest in the property.

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129 Responses to “Q+A exposes Greens housing scheme”

  1. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    DPF – consider for how long the Green have had their snouts in the trough

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=173969

    “Until that scheme began in 1997, Ms Fitzsimons boarded with Phillida Bunkle, at the time a fellow Green MP, in her Thorndon cottage. Ms Bunkle was able to claim an annual allowance of up to $13,750 for the cost of her cottage because her primary residence was in Waikanae, outside Wellington. Ms Fitzsimons paid Ms Bunkle $95 a night for staying on the mezzanine floor of the cottage, rather than paying a similar amount to a hotel. Asked if the rent she had paid helped to offset the MP’s financial commitment to the Greens, Ms Fitzsimons said: “Phillida spent her money on a heap of things. You can’t say what a person spends on one thing comes from any one particular source of income.”It was entirely up to Phillida how she spent the money.” Ms Fitzsimons said the Parliamentary Service was aware of the rent arrangement throughout. But what happened to the rent after it was paid was no one’s business.”

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  2. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    GUYON … you have been telling other MPs and other political parties that you’re the moral compass of parliament, yet you’ve been ripping the taxpayer off.

    Bullseye

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  3. dimmocrazy (286 comments) says:

    I’d say just stick them into a $100.00/night hotel, or build a ‘parliamentarian precinct’ somewhere, where they get an assigned room/apartment. These jokers will continue to rort the system one way or another if given half the opportunity.

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  4. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    “METIRIA But the fact is that we made a mistake, we’ve fixed the mistake, and we’ve refunded the money, we made a mistake, we fixed the mistake and we refunded it, in 12 years that’s not too bad. The public has known about our super trust for all of that time and we’ve made information about it public, and so we’re quite happy to be open about the process that we’ve done, which is we make a mistake, we fixed the mistake, and we’ve refunded the money.”

    If you keep saying ‘Mistake’ often enough will people forget it really means ‘Rort’. I will just consult ‘Dr.Idiots Dictionary” on that.

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  5. dad4justice (8,208 comments) says:

    Follow the money honey. This proves beyond reasonable doubt that the greens dwell in stealth utopian criminality and I just hope they are exposed as deceitful hypocrites who excel at swindling with a slippery smile from the public coffers. Talk about a green rort or is it green rot? Both apply in this case.

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  6. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Where’s Toad ? – $22 mil Powerball won in Sth Auckland last night – but Triple Dip appears to have been going to Thorndon for years

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  7. LUCY (359 comments) says:

    And they have paid back as whole $6000 Whoop de do.

    Lets see if the msm pick that one up and run with it. Oh wait, of course, they wont the greens are watermelons and having a red centre makes you imune to scandal as far as the msm is concerned.

    Silly me for a moment I was living in lala land and I forgot that the days of having an objective fair msm are long gone..

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  8. Pete George (23,558 comments) says:

    This is seriously embarrassing for the Greens. Partly because they have been “maximising housing allowances” by working the system, like others have been. But especially because they have been pushing transparency and at the same time trying to hide their own fiddling. Seemed like a bit of an ambush on Q&A, there wasn’t much Turei could say about it that would soften the blow, but they only have themselves to blame.

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  9. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    There is a human pattern emerging here. Parties that blow the whistle on slightly squiffy behaviour often have rotting corpses of their own stashed away from the public nose. The MSM love this because one story quickly becomes a collection of episodes, which grows to become a set of series, all of which helps their flagging business models. The problem for us is that often the worst behaviour emerges after the public have tasted a bit of blood and have become bored with the series.

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  10. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    “Seemed like a bit of an ambush on Q&A…”

    I loved the bit where Turei explained that they hadn’t issued a press release because she was taking the opportunity to explain it today on National Television.

    Bwahahahahahahaha.

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  11. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    It is embarrassing! I’d like to hear how the situation developed. With Jeanette involved, my thoughts are that she’ll not have knowlingly rorted the situation, however, that’s just my opinion, based on what I have seen from her over the years. I feel differently about Bill English’s situation, for the same reason. I am pleased though, that the Greens appear to have ‘cleaned up’ the mess. The fact that they didn’t reveal what was happening during that process will give detractors opportunities to scream ‘not transparent’ and that’s fair enough, however, they have come clean now and apologised, admitted to the mistake (I’m going to assume that it was, naturally) and paid back the money. Metiria’s task of delivering that message was not one any politician would desire. She did o.k.

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  12. snice1 (27 comments) says:

    Good work Guyon.

    I really think Metiria was made to look very amateur. A good interview from Guyon, he really did ensure that Metiria was forced to answer the question.

    Glass houses and throwing stones springs to mind.

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  13. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    getstaffed – a bit of humour to lighten the atmosphere!
    Bill English’s rorting was ‘slightly squiffy’ and the Green’s situation ‘a rotting corpse’!

    Thanks!

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  14. Pete George (23,558 comments) says:

    Yes, that was lame reid, but what else could she say? Hey, it could be true, it’s possible TVNZ told her in advance and she chose to “reveal” it on Q&A rather than just have it let loose. But it makes little difference, they’ve been busted big time.

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  15. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    “It is embarrassing! I’d like to hear how the situation developed. ”

    I hope Rod had no hand in this VI. Since he has been elevated to Melon sainthood it would not look good if he designed the rort.

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  16. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    Strangely enough, Frog Blog is completely silent on this matter. How very peculiar.

    VI, it would be great if the Greens came completely clean and gave us all the historical data. I mean since we’re paying for it and all…

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  17. Inventory2 (10,337 comments) says:

    So village idiot – pray do tell us what the difference between the Greens rorting the system, getting caught, ‘fessing up and paying back the moolah is to Bill English doing likewise. I would of thought it was a case of “same horse; different jockey”.

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  18. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Little wonder Toad was acting dumb when questioned about it a month ago

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2009/09/more_on_ministerial_accommodation.html#comment-605334

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  19. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    greenfly – I retract. ‘Corpse’ was too strong. ‘Rotting pile of turds’ conveys a more appropriate level of distain.

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  20. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    Three words to those who are throwing bricks at Bill English People, Stones, Glasshouses.

    BE got it wrong and I feel he played the game badly even if legally correct.

    Can’t wait for someone to question Trev the Muss on TV and see what boils to the top.

    Heard Steven Joyce ask Old Yellow (King) on the radio earlier in the week some searching question which she avoided.

    This story will grow legs over the next few days I predict.

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  21. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating. Gilbert Myles and I drafted a Private Members Bill which aimed to regulate MPs’ behaviour, including Dipton Dipping and Green Gouging. One of it’s measures was the establishment of an independent Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards based on the then UK model (which has since been emasculated by the UK Parliament, and even then they’ve been caught with their hands in the till).

    It’s well-drafted because Gilbert paid a team of senior lawyers to put our intentions into words. Unsurprisingly the NZ First caucus refused to let it go into the ballot.

    I assume he still has it. I can’t speak for him, but for my part I’d be happy for any party that wanted to put it forward to have a copy.

    [DPF: I think Gilbert has other things on his mind at the moment!]

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  22. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Whatever you do don’t mention ‘G###### M####’ Rex!

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  23. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    Ho ho.

    The fetid greens emerge from the trough, snouts dripping with loot!

    You just couldn’t make this stuff up…..

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  24. Inventory2 (10,337 comments) says:

    Said with a poker face Johnboy ;-)

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  25. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    village idiot said: It is embarrassing! I’d like to hear how the situation developed.

    Patrick Starr said: Little wonder Toad was acting dumb when questioned about it a month ago

    I agree. It is embarrassing. I still don’t know all the details Patrick, but it apprears it was a mistake – not a rort – and nothing like what English has done.

    First, as Metiria said on Q+A, a mistake was made. That, presumably, was that when Catherine Delahunty moved into the property Jeanette Fitzsimons has rented for some years, whoever administers the Green Super Fund simply looked at what Parliamentary Service were paying for Jeanette’s rent and set Catherine’s rent at the same level without them or Jeanette or Catherine realising that this put the total rent Parliamentary Service were paying over the market rent for the property and therefore over the amount that could be legitimately claimed from Parliamentary Service. Any private landlord could make the same mistake, and unless the MPs concerned or parliamntary Service picked up on it, an overpayment of MP’s accommodation allowance could occur.

    [DPF: But the Green Party would see they are getting $1,000 for the one place. I mean there are only two properties to get track of.

    And this would never have happened if the Greens did not own the houses they rent to their own MPs. If it was a private sector landlord he would be charging one market price regardless of who lives there, and it would be up to the MPs as to what they claim]

    This is a far cry from what Bill English did, which was to actively arrange his personal affairs and those of his Family Trust in a manner that allowed him to claim almost double the amount he had been previously receiving (aside from the issue of whether English actually is an out of Wellington MP, and therefore entitled to claim anything at all in the first place).

    [DPF: Wrong, wrong, wrong. As I have detailed the Greens have the property in the trust to explicitly maximise the amount they can claim. Bill English has a QC's opinion that any changes to his trust did not affect eligibility. The reason his assistance doubles is because he went from being an MP to a Minister, not anything to do with his trust deed]

    Second, Metiria admitted that there was a mistake made. Bill English still maintains that there was no mistake, and that he was entitled to receive what he did. He admits only to it not being “a good look”.

    [DPF: That is because the Greens broke the rules. They were charging $1,000 for a 3 bedroom house. No one at all has been able to cite that Bill broke any rules.]

    Third, Metiria stated that the mistake was discovered re the rent on Jeanette’s and Catherine’s accommodation earlier this year before the Register of MPs expenses was made public. It was then rectified and the amount overpaid has subsequently been repaid.

    [DPF: But never ever did they reveal the overhcarging. So much for transparency. If the Greens had said in June this is what has happened, we're sorry, and we have paid it back, then the story would have been far more minor]

    By contrast, Bill English had to be dragged kicking and screaming to repay anything, and only agreed to make repayments in response to mounting public outrage over his arrangements weeks after the publication of the Expenses
    Register revealed them.

    [DPF: Again you miss the point. The Greens broke the rules, and probably the law. They billed $1,000 a week for a 3 bedroom house with market rent of $550. And they kept it all secret. The Greens had no choice about paying the money back.

    Bill has never been found to have a legal debt. Three Speakers signed off on his accomodation]

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  26. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Thanks Toad. I’d planned to direct readers here to your comment on Frogblog.

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  27. Leonidas (1,431 comments) says:

    In the meantime, why isn’t PS getting lashed. surely they could see what was going on?.

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  28. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Toad – would Metiria have said anything had Espiner not brought it up???

    NOPE !

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  29. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    All we need now is for phil to finish his shift at McDonalds and post another copy of the official little green lie and its all over folks. Move along–nothing to see here.

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  30. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Spin all you like Toad;

    GUYON Where was the press release on that?

    METIRIA We made sure – well that’s why I’m telling you now, on national television so you’ve got the information, and so the whole public have got the information.

    GUYON But you wouldn’t have if we hadn’t started asking questions would you, that’s the thing.

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  31. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    All of this clearly shows that Bill English is innocent! What a relief! He’s off the hook now. I suppose the Greens will have to go before the Auditor general, just like Bill. Reckon they’ll get pinged and Bill exonerated, do you? I don’t.
    That Jeanette Fitzsimons! I always knew she was as crooked as Bill English is straight!

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  32. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    So Toad, how’s about publishing all the taxpayer-funded rentals paid for those properties since they were purchased by the fund AND both the outcomes of and the reasoning behind the “yearly market reviews” that Turei spoke of.

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  33. tautokai.baxter (162 comments) says:

    They made a mistake, they fixed it before expensives were made public. They paid the damm money back with sincerety. Get over it.

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  34. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    I guess the Green MPs will be on the news tonight, all dewy-eyed, saying that they only did it for their children!

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  35. Rakaia George (313 comments) says:

    toady – you completely avoid the fact that the Green MP’s have a trust set up to own houses that they then rent back at exactly the maximum they can from Parliamentary Services, rather than simply claim the mortgage interest.

    How is this in any way different from what Bill is alleged to have done with his family trust?

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  36. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    Toad
    Do you think we are all stupid and believe that crap.

    Melons have been caught with their hand in the till and no amount of spin can change that.

    It would look better if the melons spinners on these blogs just took the hit and admitted the fact there has been a rort.

    You may even gain some creditably but I doubt it.

    Worth a try however

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  37. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Extract from exam based on Dr. Idiots Dictionary.

    Make a coherent sentence using the following words (5marks).

    clutching, drowning, like, man, a, straw, at, a.

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  38. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “I guess the Green MPs will be on the news tonight, all dewy-eyed, saying that they only did it for their children!”

    yeah – the ones on their election billboards

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  39. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    Forgot to add

    Pay the money back just like Bill has

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  40. tautokai.baxter (162 comments) says:

    “Pay the money back just like Bill has”.
    They have you fool. Before Bill did. Know the topic before you comment on it.

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  41. rimu (48 comments) says:

    Why doesn’t DPF reply by using the same comments box as everyone else?

    [DPF: because it is my blog :-)]

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  42. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    How do we know it’s only $6k?

    Do you expect us to take your word for it?

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  43. XChequer (298 comments) says:

    I betcha, bottom to a dollar, Sue Bradford’s glad she’s not involved in this.

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  44. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    D’ya think thats why she quit. The only honest member of the Greenie Rorters Party. —-G.R.P. I like that. Just like Grass Reinforced (S)Pastics.

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  45. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    rimu – DPF likes to parse and he doesn’t need to get in the queue like us plebs.

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  46. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    TB
    I don’t meant the petty cash of $6k.

    Look at the full picture before you start calling people fools.

    Forgot you are one of the spinners and it is your turn. What time does your shift finish?”

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  47. Jeremy Harris (319 comments) says:

    Make sure you comment on the general debate page of frog blog here:

    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2009/10/01/general-debate-october-1st-2009/

    Include questions about when they will have the thread explaining this “situation” finalised…

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  48. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    The Greens claim it’s a “mistake”

    So these people, who want to run the country, supposedly don’t stop to think that one MP moving in with another MP changes things in terms of accounting and claims?

    So they are either frauds or utterly incompetent managers.

    Which is it?

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  49. LUCY (359 comments) says:

    Well it really seems like Toad et al really think that we are as dumb as they are and we will just swallow their shite- yeah right!

    Every one else rorts the system but the greens are to pure to do that is was a ‘mistake’ – yeah right!

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  50. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    So DPF, will we now be moving on to MPs offices? I’m pretty sure the Greens and Labour both have office type accommodation that is funded by the Government (Parliamentary Services?) and that is owned directly or indirectly by the Party. It wouldn’t surprise me if National did too. I don’t believe this is any different than the situation with housing – by owning through a trust they maximise the amount that can be claimed. The Greens keep protesting that there are only two houses in Wellington, but have a good look at what other assets their super fund owns and I reckon you’ll find lots more dirt.

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  51. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    tuataibaxter, you’ve only paid back the petty cash.

    I want to see the complete detail of every residential or commercial property in which the Greens or their super scheme have any vested interest, along with a complete schedule of payments made by PS relating to those buildings, along with a registered valuer’s report on the fair market rental for each property for every year since purchase.

    Then I want to see a cheque made out to PS for the difference.

    Until then, you’d be best to keep your mouth shut.

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

    Slam dunk!!!!!!!!!. I owe Guyon an apology, I think I once called Guyon a diseased runt. I’m sorry Guyon you are not a diseased runt, you are a top man and have made my day..

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  53. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    AF
    Well said. About a half a hour since m

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  54. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    Sorry pressed wrong button.

    AF It is about half a hour since I asked TB a question and it appears he has gone off “spinners” shift. Wonder if Toad will take over.

    A bit of a laugh really

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  55. tautokai.baxter (162 comments) says:

    Adolf Fiinkensein – I will say what I want, when I want. And I can’t release that, I’m not the Green Party Executive. And Blue Coast I am here on my account, saying my own political views. Not spinning anything.

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  56. David in Chch (516 comments) says:

    The problem with the defence presented by Toad and VI and tautokai.baxter, is that the Greens talk about transparency, BUT made no mention of the overpayment (and the subsequent refund), and as Guyon suggested, only mentioned it on national TV because he asked.

    The thing is, they followed the rules, just as Bill English did. He repaid because it looked like he was double-dipping, though he _was_ only following the rules. So The Greens are following the rules, too.

    One thing I have noticed in all this, and let’s keep this in mind, is that I do not recall the Greens attacking Bill about his housing allowance claim. It’s LABOUR who have been be-labouring this point (pun intended) and I await with bated breath the media investigation that shows that many in Labour (and ACT and …) have been doing exactly the same thing. Just following the rules, folks, just following the rules.

    Which suggests that the rules need some changes. I like the idea of a parliamentary precinct where we can lock the gates and keep them in at night. Don’t want them out and wandering the streets.

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  57. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Tell you what. If it’s found that the Green MPs were knowingly rorting and that it wasn’t simply a mistake, I’ll resign from membership of the party. Not that you’d care, but I’m sincere in my belief that the result will exonerate them.

    Have any of you got confidence in Bill English?

    Are there any National party members willing to pledge to throw theirs in if Bill English is found to have rorted, not mistakenly claimed?

    [DPF: The Greens have already been found to be illegally claiming money. No such finding has been made wrt English. He has voluntarily paid money back - the Greens were forced to]

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  58. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “Adolf Fiinkensein – I will say what I want, when I want.”

    you just keep thinking that whilst you’re on someone elses blog – ask your mate greenfly (even though he’s back???)

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  59. tautokai.baxter (162 comments) says:

    Are you a member of the Greens, village idiot?

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  60. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    TB
    OK I accept you are speaking for you and you alone. But do you agree the Greens should provide the answers to AF questions and pay the money back?

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  61. tautokai.baxter (162 comments) says:

    Cause that would surprise me.

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  62. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    > How is this in any way different from what Bill is alleged to have done with his family trust

    English is the Minister of Finance and is keen to remind us that we’re in a recession and we need to tighten our belts. All the while he is getting taxpayer handouts. Notice the difference? Oh, and there’s another difference. DPF thought it was OK for Bill to do it but it’s not OK for anyone else to.

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  63. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Yep. Village Green. I’m confident that the Green MPs are straight.

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  64. tautokai.baxter (162 comments) says:

    “OK I accept you are speaking for you and you alone. But do you agree the Greens should provide the answers to AF questions and pay the money back?”

    If they have been rorting the system then of course. If they have made mistakes then of course. I think its disgusting that MP’s rip off the taxpayer. But I do not believe the Green MP’s were doing it knowingly until they found it and corrected it.

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  65. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “If it’s found that the Green MPs were knowingly rorting and that it wasn’t simply a mistake, I’ll resign from membership of the party”

    yeah like we have two house and someone keeps sending us $1000 a week for the dump in thordon. Its hard to notice things like that – yeah right

    (mustive been doing the books with the bong going)

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  66. tautokai.baxter (162 comments) says:

    “All of this clearly shows that Bill English is innocent! What a relief! He’s off the hook now. I suppose the Greens will have to go before the Auditor general, just like Bill. Reckon they’ll get pinged and Bill exonerated, do you? I don’t.
    That Jeanette Fitzsimons! I always knew she was as crooked as Bill English is straight!”

    Whats with this comment then?

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  67. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    DPF – I’ll wait for an official opinion before making good my promise – no offence intended, but you’re hardly impartial over the matter.

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  68. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    It’s humour, tautokai. Bent as. You might like to read it a little more closely :-)

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  69. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Nevertheless Winston, I stand by my promise, do you? Oh! Hang on!!!

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  70. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    No takers on the ‘Bill’ challenge? Winston? David?

    [DPF: If an individual in a party does something wrong, they should suffer the consequences of that, and if the AG finds Bill received funding he was not entitled to, I am sure there will be consequences. ]

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  71. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “You might like to read it a little more closely ”

    Like the idiot doing the greens rent book perhaps LMFAO

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  72. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    TB
    If BE was found to be in the clear legally but not morally and the Melons not so why would going in in front of the AG be a problem in view of the Melons claim to be pure white?

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  73. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Wheres phil? Not fighting in your corner anymore is he village? Wonder why. Not at McDonalds either.

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  74. tautokai.baxter (162 comments) says:

    It wouldn’t be a problem. Isnt nessicary either though because they have fixed the issue, Bill English hadnt. And why do you people call the Greens, melons?

    [DPF: Again the Greens had to legally pay the money back. Bill did not. And the Greens have not revealed how much extra money they have gained by vesting the properties in their super fund]

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  75. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    Green on the outside. Red in the middle

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  76. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    They have not fixed the issue. Go back to Adolf questions and you will see the problem

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  77. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Ok Greenfly. I think you’re right and it was all a big mistake. I’ve been given this video that clearly shows your Green party rental officer driving out to Thorndon to check out the property in question.
    You can see when he drops the rent book – so all is sweet

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ozk7fnKilU&feature=PlayList&p=E95E81BB7C46583E&index=14

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  78. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    [DPF: If an individual in a party does something wrong, they should suffer the consequences of that, and if the AG finds Bill received funding he was not entitled to, I am sure there will be consequences. ]

    But you’re not confident enough to back him David? You won’t express your faith in Bill by promising to throw in your National Party membership if he is found ‘guilty as charged’?

    I’m of no consequence, it’s true, but I’ve got confidence enough to tender mine.

    I notice no one else here has the spine either. Odd.

    [DPF: Of course I don't decide my party membership on the basis of what an individual MP may or may not do or have done. Only a moron would do that. I judge it on the basis of the polices, behaviour and performance of the party as a whole]

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  79. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Winston – you’ve ‘been given’ a video? Odd. I’ll take a look later – for now, I’m planting boysenberry vines.

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  80. tautokai.baxter (162 comments) says:

    Was my comment deleted?

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  81. GMDI (70 comments) says:

    Tautokai.baxter, why is it us people? why do you people support anyone who rips of the system?

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  82. tautokai.baxter (162 comments) says:

    I was just talking about people who call the Greens, Melons in particular about that one phrase. So what are you talking about?

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  83. Nomestradamus (3,320 comments) says:

    The Double Standard bloggers have got stuck into Bill English in recent weeks. Given the latest revelations, you’d think they’d get stuck into the Greens as well – but, no no no, it’s different when it’s their side at fault.

    Their headline: English could learn from the Greens. What a joke!

    The spin:

    Contrast the Greens’ behaviour to English’s. They didn’t try to insist that they were entitled to the money. They didn’t try to play a false family pity card. They didn’t alter their financial situation to exploit a loophole or claim money they weren’t entitled to. When they discovered that the rent they were claiming was above market rates they gave the money back, freely, without any pressure, not grudgingly and still claiming to have nothing wrong. They didn’t claim it was merely a ‘perception’ problem.

    The Greens never set out to take more money they were entitled to. They had an internal system to ensure they didn’t. They repaid because they themselves discovered they had claimed too much and they knew it would be wrong to keep it. Would that English could claim the same.

    Translation: Greens good-National bad.

    Contrast this contemptible snowjob with what DPF said above:

    [DPF: The Greens have already been found to be illegally claiming money. No such finding has been made wrt English. He has voluntarily paid money back - the Greens were forced to]

    Translation: the law should be applied regardless of who’s at fault.

    FFS, even Philu’s not trying to spin this one (see his 9:54 am comment) on that Frogblog thread.

    *Snigger*

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  84. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    Bill English thought he was operating within the rules (and from what I have seen he was).

    The Greens must have known that they weren’t operating within the rules. Billing for twice the market rate on a property shouldn’t have made it past a single set of honest eyes.

    The first one could be confusion, but there is no way the second one can be.

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  85. Inventory2 (10,337 comments) says:

    I’d take you up on your offer VI, except that I haven’t been a member of ANY political party for over 20 years!

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  86. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Inventory2 – how about joining the National Party, then ditching them if Bill is found to have done wrong? You’re the only one with a drop of testicular fortitude so far. I’d hate for the National Party to be seen to have no one with balls.
    David Farrar of all people, should have the courage to back Bill. So far, a timorous silence.

    [DPF: I do not believe Bill has done anything wrong. I just reject your absurd notion that my party membership is something I bet.

    Here is what I am willing to do. A cash bet that the Auditor-General will not find any wrong-doing by Bill. I'll even give you 5:1 odds for a minimum $200 from you]

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  87. Jeremy Harris (319 comments) says:

    We still await what comes out regards English from the AG… He wouldn’t volunteer that info unless he had been assured beforehand he would come out clean on the other side, he’s coughed up quickly and voluntarily…

    The Greens have been told they’re dirty and had to cough up…

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  88. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    That makes some funny shit reading over there Nomestradamus. I see Phool well and truly spits his dummy (and is probably back under his bridge doing yoga) whist Greenfly thinks Meteria is gunna be a blast on Q&A

    “greenfly Posted October 4, 2009 at 9:31 AM
    Metiria’s on Q&A now – the Future of the Greens.
    Let’s see, shall we…
    … attractive… confident..not awed by Espiner..,talking economics..saving families money..deal with climate change and the recession at the same time…Free Trade… Fairtrade protect NewZealand’s economic sovereignty.. mining…we’re going to fight it all the way and so is the New Zealand public!!! (Go Girl!)… Green Futures SuperFund…(SuperTrust) … we made a mistake and have refunded it…Espiner, that’s a rip-off isn’t it? Metiria – We released those expenses before anyother party did. We made a mistake, we acknowledge and we refunded it and we’re telling the country about it today.
    Pressure interview. Bill English’s smoke screen in full blast!
    Well done Metiria.”

    Yes – well done Metiria – wasnt she a blast ? pffft

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  89. Grendel (1,002 comments) says:

    what interests me, that no one has brought up is the massive advantage the Greens are gaining over the ‘common’ investor.

    they claim to hate trade etc, but they set themselves up to get the most advantage possible.

    The greens can buy a property where they like, and don;t have to worry if its able to be rented or not (ie a good rental), becuase they will rent it from themselves.

    If I or one of my clients buys a rental property, we have to make sure its the right property as if it does not get tenants i will lose money.

    they can buy a property that is good capital gain, but not neccessarily a good rental becuase they will pay themselves to rent it.

    i have to hope i can get tenants.

    I am busy with my own job so need to hire a property manager to look after the property, do inspections, check rent payments and make sure the tenants don;t trash the place.

    teh greens get to rent their own properties (paid for by us), so don;t need a property manager.

    i take the risk that the property may not be rented for weeks at a time, as tenants move out, or that they just not pay their rent, and have to make sure i get the right tenant.

    they have none of these issues, and can rely on getting 52 wks a year of rent, with no gaps.

    I can only claim the interest i pay on my property plus depreciation etc.

    they can claim the interest (via the trust), depreciation, and get their rent paid by us, the tax payer.

    So in summary they get to buy a property, don;t worry if its a good rental as they will get guaranteed rent, have less expenses as they don;t need a property manager, don;t need to worry about bad tenants or vacancies or non paid rent, don;t need to do as much due diligence on the property, and can claim just as much money even if they pay the mortgage off.

    If I or any of my clients tried to live in one of our own rentals owned in an LAQC and claim the interest etc, while paying market rent (all out of our own pocket btw), we would get done by the IRD.

    Greens = troughing, two faced hypocrites.

    AL

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  90. nighthawk006 (4 comments) says:

    I’ve just picked myself up off the floor. Haven’t laughed so much since Helen got whacked.
    The numerous Green’s moral pronouncements on matters of war, peace, justice & environment etc., etc. will be now permanently tainted.
    Flippin’ t-leaves!

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  91. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Winston! I’m flattered

    Crikey!

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  92. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Crikey! – you said you were planting boysenberry vines.

    Lying again?

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  93. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    So, the difference here:

    Bill English: One individual in the party, and his personal situation. Within the law and the rules. Appearance of impropriety. Personally, I don’t think he did anything wrong. His family trust charged below market rents for a property, with the intent of saving his family the hassle of moving. Had he moved to the house available to him through parliamentary services, it would have cost the government more. Voluntarily paid back the money due to appearances, even though no legal need to.

    Greens: Two different areas of impropriety.
    1. Two individuals within the party, both claiming for rent on the same house (shared accommodation). Outside the rules, improper and probably illegal. I doubt the party in general knew this was happening (I don’t think they’d be that stupid, but you’d never know). But the two MPs in question definitely knew, and therefore did it deliberately. They thought they were entitled, and they clearly weren’t. This arrangement cost the government more than they were entitled to. Arguably though, they could have rented separate houses and that would have cost the govt the same amount. They paid the money back as to do otherwise would be illegal, and tried to keep it quiet, which was a bit sneaky. Ultimately I see this as dishonest, which Bill’s arrangements weren’t. But the Green party jumped on it, so I see it as individuals rather than the party.

    2. Two properties owned in Wellington by the Green super fund, and rent claimed at a higher rate than they would have been entitled to had the ownership not been obscured by the super fund. The Greens reckon they are claiming no more than market rate, and therefore this is costing the government no additional money than if they rented a house somewhere else. But if this were true, why wouldn’t the Greens just go rent some other house, and rent out the two properties to some non-Green MP? Market rent is a bit hard to judge, so perhaps they’re making a bit extra here? This is a policy by the party, well known, and within the rules. It directly parallels Bill English’s situation – it’s within the rules, and costs the government nothing. They have arranged their affairs to maximise the amount claimed. It is unclear whether the amount being paid is market rent or not (in Bill’s case it clearly was less than market rent, so saving the govt money). But it appears improper either way. In the Greens case, it is systematic and endorsed by the party, has been going on for years. They have made no moves whatsoever to pay back any money.

    I call the Green’s situation as far worse than Bill English’s. There are two separate rorts, one clearly outside the rules and clearly deliberate (not a mistake on the part of the MPs involved, probably a mistake from the party’s viewpoint). The other exactly equivalent to Bill’s situation in that it complies with the rules, but it is explicitly endorsed by the party and no efforts have been made to pay back any of the money to parliamentary services.

    What does all of this tell us?
    a. Don’t start wars of dirt like this, it always comes back like a boomerang.
    b. We’re wasting our time with this stuff – surely there is something more useful our government could be spending their time on?

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  94. jabba (280 comments) says:

    I’m still waiting to read or hear that the Labour Party, who are attacking Bill English with great gusto, are outraged about the Greens MISTAKE .. I have checked Redalert and Trev is on board (already deleted a question i asked) but he is concentrating on extending the thought of who will take Bills place as No 2 and Min Of F.
    I would be worried if I was him because a Key/Power leadership with Joyce as the $man will be a fantastic combo. Who would they face across the floor …. Goff/King and everyones fav polititian Mr Dave Cunnliffe.

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  95. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Winston – planted the vines (canes really, but I didn’t want to confuse you). Still working outside in the orchard. I’m an intermittant commenter. I don’t lie, as a rule. Got caught out once, on a minor point (trying to be kind) and it won’t happen again, eh David!

    David – upping the ante eh! You can afford to risk money, I can’t (I’ve a family you know) so I’ll stick with the original bet – my party membership and yours. Are you nervous and insecure? I’m not.

    [DPF: Are you saying you can not afford $200? As I have said your party membership is of no value to anyone, unlike mine. How about 7:1 odds? Or 8:1?]

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  96. gravedodger (1,566 comments) says:

    Lay off the pet parrot aka Mr Ure as he may have delayed concussion with complications from inappropriate medication following the brutal assault he suffered the other night.

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  97. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    Isn’t it wonderful? The right lies but the left just ‘got caught out once, on a minor point.’

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  98. David in Chch (516 comments) says:

    V.I. – David made a valid philosophical point: He doesn’t decide his party membership on the basis of one MPs (or Minister’s) behaviour, but on the whole party’s package. You have set up a straw man.

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  99. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    David – I have never suggested that he does. I’m challenging him to lay his membership on the line in support of his friend Bill English. I did it for the Green MPs without a qualm. He’s not willing to, I am.

    [DPF: And that is because your membership of the Greens is of no value to them. It is like bargaining a one cent piece against $100 bill.

    I have said I am happy to offer you 5:1 odds. Why will you not accept?]

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  100. David in Chch (516 comments) says:

    Like I said – it’s a straw man. Not a logical philosophical stance to take. He has called you on it and suggested an alternative; you reject it because you cannot afford to pay it if you lose. Dead end. Try another tack.

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  101. dad4justice (8,208 comments) says:

    When you lay your membership down will it be a green egg or in a putrid larvae form Mr Village Fly?

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  102. Murray M (455 comments) says:

    How come these rorting pricks irrespective of party don’t have to pay interest and penalties when they make “mistakes”. We the tax payer get shafted up the arse when we are in arrears with IRD and ACC.

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  103. Rachael Rich (204 comments) says:

    The Greens are all for capitalism and free trade when they they can make a buck out of it.

    Hypocrites!

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  104. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    [DPF: And that is because your membership of the Greens is of no value to them. It is like bargaining a one cent piece against $100 bill.

    I have said I am happy to offer you 5:1 odds. Why will you not accept?]

    I don’t agree. Membership of one’s party is equivalent to that of another, regardless of your preferences. I value mine as much as you value yours. I’m showing more courage than you are.

    Why will I not accept your bet? Because it is not the same bet, prize aside, as the wager I proposed. I offered to cease my membership with the Greens, should their MPs be found to have consciously rorted the system and challenged any Nat, including you, to cancel their membership to the National Party, should Bill be found to have done the same. Your bet is quite different. You have declined my challenge. There is no reason for me to accept yours, in light of your reluctance to back Bill to the degree I’m willing to back the Green MPs. I’m backing my team, you are too timorous to back yours.

    [DPF: I have offered you 8:1 odds. You have refused. Memberships are not of equal value. But even if they were there is no logical reason for yyou to turn down a 8:1 ratio. Anyway you are trolling now and unless it is to accept the bet this topic is closed]

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  105. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Dad. In your ear. Maggot. Carnivorous. Very hungry.

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  106. rimu (48 comments) says:

    The Standard takes a more balanced look at this issue

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  107. XChequer (298 comments) says:

    Rimu – look at what you just wrote and take a second………….

    Contradiction in terms.

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  108. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    I vote Rimu for funniest post ever.

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  109. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    village idiot, if you dont take that bet you lose all credibility.

    8 to 1 odds are just too good for anyone to knock back, especially for someone who honestly thinks they are right.

    You DO honestly think you are right, right?

    DPF’s membership is worth much more than yours. You aren’t even using your real name, so your membership, technically, doesn’t exist.

    The other interpretation is that your membership to the party is worth less than $200 to you. Way to be a man of conviction!

    Unlike DPF, of whom we can only say that he values his party membership above the $1600 he is offering you.

    In the end, of course you wont accept, because you know the Greens did wrong, and deliberately so, and Bill English did not, but did the honourable thing anyway.

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  110. Nomestradamus (3,320 comments) says:

    Greenfly/Village Idiot:

    David – upping the ante eh! You can afford to risk money, I can’t (I’ve a family you know) so I’ll stick with the original bet – my party membership and yours. Are you nervous and insecure? I’m not.

    Just to cut through this bluster, if I may, how much do you pay in Green Party membership fees – whether it’s a one-off contribution or annual subscription?

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  111. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    Has anyone else noticed that Metiria claimed that the country is suffering from a housing bubble, but the Greens own super is investing in property?

    Their hypocrisy has no bounds.

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  112. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    Nomestradamus, it costs one soul, all your credibility, and 75 IQ points.

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  113. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Kimble – 8 to 1 odds are very good and David sounds very confident. However, the bet I made is not the bet he has countered with. He has turned down my challenge. I have declined to take up his. Apples and pears. If, as you say, I must lose credibility by declining his challenge, then he does the same by turning down mine. I don’t mind.
    I DO think I am right in thinking that the Green MPs did not knowingly rort the system and will be found to be innocent of that charge, should it be laid. DPF has not addressed my claim at all, chosing only to bet on Bill.
    DPF’s membership might well be ‘worth much more’ than mine, but he intimates that he has inside information and is therefore betting on a sure thing and betting on something I have not challenged him on.
    My membership with the Greens does exist, you can take it my word (I’m a trustworthy guy).
    I believe the Greens made an embarrassing mistake. I believe Bill English knowingly arranged his circumstances to benefit financially, but I wouldn’t bet on the Auditor general finding against him.

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  114. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Nomestradamus – annual subscription plus voluntary contribution, should you so choose (I chose).

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  115. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    Nomestradamus, it costs one soul, all your credibility, and 75 IQ points.

    Kimble – re soul/credibility/IQ, I’d suggest greenfly has only one of those to offer.

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  116. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    They gave me dispensation because of my boundless energy. Clearly I’m souless and have no credibility. The 75 IQ points I had to forfeit were of no consequence. I have points to burn. :-)

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  117. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    “…and 75 IQ points.”

    Well they must go down the toilet, Kimble, because they sure as hell don’t appear whenever the Greens make a policy announcement.

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  118. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    “…but he intimates that he has inside information and is therefore betting on a sure thing…”

    VI, I really really really doubt that DPF has “inside information” on what the AG is going to rule in the English matter.

    Really.

    Perhaps you’re thinking of the way that Hulun used to run her scandal cover…

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  119. Nomestradamus (3,320 comments) says:

    Greenfly/Village Idiot:

    Your original challenge to DPF: “But you’re not confident enough to back him David? You won’t express your faith in Bill by promising to throw in your National Party membership if he is found ‘guilty as charged’?”.

    DPF’s original challenge: “Here is what I am willing to do. A cash bet that the Auditor-General will not find any wrong-doing by Bill. I’ll even give you 5:1 odds for a minimum $200 from you.”

    You’re betting about the same event but proposing different at-risk contributions:
    – The same event because a finding of ‘guilty as charged’ (your bet) is effectively the same as the Auditor-General not finding any wrong-doing by Bill (DPF’s bet). So you’re both betting on a binary event, and only one of you can be right.
    – Proposing different at-risk contributions because in your case, apparently, it’s your Green Party membership. In DPF’s case, it’s money – but he’s offering you generous 8:1 odds.

    Now, allow me to propose revised terms. The Green Party website says this (extracts only):

    Join the Green Party

    Annual membership is only $15, but please give more if you can afford it.

    If you don’t want to become a member of the Green Party, you can become a Supporter instead. Supporters give $120 per year and receive a subscription to our quarterly printed newsletter, Te Awa.

    You say you pay the $15 annual membership fee plus a bit extra. So how about accepting the bet with DPF on revised terms: the same 8:1 odds for a minimum $15 bet from you? That way you’d be betting the financial equivalent of an annual Green party membership, and DPF would be betting a large multiple of his National Party membership fee. But you’re both sure you’re right about Bill English, remember?

    Fair’s fair?

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  120. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Reid – not in the ‘secret squirrel’ sense you might have taken, but certainly he’d be better informed than I.

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  121. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Idiot: The two aren’t comparable. The Greens have systematically, as a party, manipulated the system to maximise allowances. It would make sense to resign your membership if you found out that the party as a whole was set up to rort the system. Bill English is a single MP. It wouldn’t make sense to resign your membership over the actions of a single MP.

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  122. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Nomestradamus – you’re able to negotiate on behalf of DPF? How curious!

    Here’s my original proposal:

    Tell you what. If it’s found that the Green MPs were knowingly rorting and that it wasn’t simply a mistake, I’ll resign from membership of the party. Not that you’d care, but I’m sincere in my belief that the result will exonerate them.

    Have any of you got confidence in Bill English?

    Are there any National party members willing to pledge to throw theirs in if Bill English is found to have rorted, not mistakenly claimed?

    Having siphoned off 75 IQ points to join the party, I’m sure you’ll understand my reluctance to change the deal in to favour those I’ve challenged.

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  123. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    No one, it seems, is willing to make the sacrifice for Bill English! I’m astonished! (and off to bed).

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  124. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    “certainly he’d be better informed than I.”

    I agree on general matters VI and put myself in your category too, but on this matter, I would be very surprised if DPF knew more than you and I. What’s in the public domain is what the issue is. There isn’t anything more to know about it.

    It’s a question of political judgement and prediction. I agree with DPF on this because to me the issue always has been clear. English did structure his affairs in the same way that people setup an LAQC to take advantage of the income-offset. Difference is, English is a public figure and how dare he. Nevertheless, he was and always has been, within the rules, and that’s been clear since the outset. The rules that tolerated his unwise action are the issue, as well as his judgement. But it’s not illegal, never was.

    Now you suggested that bet, and you can’t really in my view, walk away from it without conceding that Blingish as you lefties like to call him, was actually not doing anything wrong.

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  125. Nomestradamus (3,320 comments) says:

    Greenfly/Village Idiot:

    Tell you what. If it’s found that the Green MPs were knowingly rorting and that it wasn’t simply a mistake, I’ll resign from membership of the party. Not that you’d care, but I’m sincere in my belief that the result will exonerate them.

    That’s not a bet. That’s just saying what you’ll do if the Green MPs are shown to have knowingly rorted the system. Somehow I suspect you’ve chosen the weasel-words “knowingly rorting” deliberately, so you’ve left yourself enough wiggle-room if the outcome isn’t quite to your liking.

    Now, moving on, the point where your proposal became a bet was, as I said above, when you challenged DPF.

    You’ve been saying across a number of Kiwiblog threads now that you think Bill English has, to put it neutrally, a perception problem. So why aren’t you prepared to bet the equivalent of one year’s Green Party membership against DPF’s generous 8:1 terms?

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  126. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    toad

    I had this discussion with you a while back here: g.blog: Let’s ALL do the Double Dipton

    So I’m still not sure what’s going on here, are the Green’s rorting the system or what?

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  127. Rich Prick (1,699 comments) says:

    Today’s episode was brought to you by the letter “H”. And we all know that it has nothing to do with how you type the place name Wanganui.

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  128. Rich Prick (1,699 comments) says:

    Just out of interest though, I’m keen to know just how much I’ve contibuted towards the retirement of washed up commies and mad cat-throwing wimmin in the Greens, the Labour party with its rort over electoral offices that we all pay for and indeed lets not forget that zimmer-framed walking corpse called Jim Anderton.

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