Barry Soper reports at NewstalkZB:
Over the next three weeks the spotlight will be on Labour and in particular the three wannabes.
But it’s a party that can’t help tripping over itself as it did yesterday when Trevor Mallard flew into the bear pit, accusing the pedantic Nick Smith of bludging off the taxpayer after he tearfully relieved himself of his ministry last year when his Bronwyn Pullar conflict of interest became an embarrassment.
Of course he’s repented and is now back in the fold. Mallard claimed he’d stayed on in his taxpayer supplied ministerial home when he wasn’t entitled to.
Smith tells us he stayed on for a couple of weeks so that his kids could finish their school term which would seem reasonable in the circumstances.
But big Gezza Brownlee wasn’t going to let them get away with that. He ruffled Mallard’s feathers, saying what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
If he expected Smith to cough up some cash then what about Dithering David doing the decent thing?
Since making the dramatic announcement last Thursday, and then refusing to take any questions about it, Shearer got on the next plane out of the capital and will be lying low for the next three weeks.
He’s still picking up his leader’s salary and the perks that go with the job, which Gezza says is a bit rich given Labour’s view of Smith’s indiscretion.
More points on the Tory board then as Labour again scores an own goal!
As far as I can tell Trevor Mallard seems to be claiming that if you lose a job which has accomodation as part of it, you should be evicted from that house the same day.
Presumably he thinks if a Police officer resigns, they should be evicted from their Police accomodation immediately. Likewise Railways use to have many homes for staff. Again Labour now seems to say there should be no grace period at all – you should have your furniture thrown out that afternoon.
Presumably Trevor has written a refund cheque for staying on in his ministerial house after the 2008 election, rather than moving out that night.
As this Herald story pointed out, outgoing Ministers were given a dignified time:
Prime Minister John Key pointed out that when National entered Government he encouraged outgoing Prime Minister Helen Clark to remain in Premier House in Wellington as long as she wanted, at no cost.
Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee suggested that outgoing Labour leader David Shearer should have his privileges stripped because he had stepped down and was absent from Parliament.
This is the all too common problem in Labour – go for the easy hit, and not worry about consistency.
UPDATE: Trevor would not have had a Ministerial house as he is a Wellington MP. But his colleagues of course did, and I am sure did not pay rent for staying on for a few weeks after they lost in 2008. Unless they had already packed up before the election!