Herald on Labour’s attacks

The editorial:

Last week it was his police protection, this week Premier House. The week before, it was the Prime Minister’s use of air force travel, before that, the limousine fleet replacement. seems to think the public begrudges John Key the usual trappings of office.

Not that police protection is one of the trappings. Labour’s claim that anyone would enjoy or invite the company of a security squad was silly beyond words.

I think “silly beyond words” is the polite equivalent of “fucking stupid”.

Premier House in Wellington, where Prime Ministers can live and entertain, is being repainted and recarpeted at a cost of $275,000. Mr Key says it had not been repainted for 11 years. He says he is happy to accept any scrutiny he is put under but wonders why Labour is raising such trivial issues. He is not alone.

I encourage Labour to continue with their campaign. I’m looking forward to the next installment where they reveal that the PMs Office uses 100 gsm paper in their printers and that they could save money if they went for 80 gsm paper.

The public remembers that Labour’s last Prime Minister made use of Premier House, that her police protection was accommodated in a house beside her own in Auckland and that she used the air force or chauffeured limousines when it suited her. It is odd that one of her senior Cabinet ministers, Pete Hodgson, should be leading these lame attacks on her successor.

He should be among the last to question, for example, whether a Prime Minister needs security accompanying him inside Parliament buildings sometimes. Helen Clark asked for it when members of the Exclusive Brethren sect used to try to speak to her on her walk to the chamber.

And Whale Oil produced half a dozen photos showing this.

Labour’s leader should call him off. Most of the public finds this focus on the Prime Minister’s office trite and desperate. In the days leading up to a Budget, the Opposition should be promoting its own view of the state of the economy and what it would do about it. If it needs to criticise Mr Key, his risk-aversion gives Labour plenty of grounds. He has ruled out increasing the pension age, a levy for Christchurch and capital gains tax. He needs to do more than he may find palatable if more private investment is to flow into productive ventures.

Normal expenses of state are nickels and dimes beside the decisions the country needs.

And the reality is that Key has brought in an unprecedented level of transparency over Ministerial spending, has banned taxpayer funded Ministerial travel for spouses, and also banned first class travel (which under Labour could be used for anything beyond Australia).

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