Another MP landlord and tenant

November 26th, 2009 at 8:25 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Lindsay Tisch’s arrangement meant the $410 a week he has been claiming from the public purse for his Wellington accommodation was paid to his own property investment company.

This made him landlord and tenant – with the taxpayer picking up the bill.

By using the company, Mr Tisch has been able to claim close to the maximum $24,000 a year in expenses that MPs from outside Wellington are entitled to for accommodation.

This is basically what the Greens also were doing, through their Super Fund. It is legal and within the rules, but it means an MP maximises the amount they can claim, rather than be restricted to interest only.

Other MPs are using similar arrangements to Mr Tisch, but Parliament’s Speaker Lockwood Smith last night denied it was a loophole and said he was happy for the practice to continue as long as the rent they claimed was based on an independent market valuation.

With respect, I disagree. Perception is all important, and I just think it is a bad look if an MP has any interest in a property that the taxpayer pays for – directly or indirectly.

I think the rules should change so that you can only claim rental expenses on Wellington accommodation you have no interest in.

He now has the apartment rented out privately.

Which is the best thing to do.

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Setting up Parliament

December 9th, 2008 at 12:26 pm by David Farrar

The order paper reveals some useful things:

  • Lindsay Tisch is to be Deputy Speaker
  • Assistant Speakers will be Eric Roy and Rick Barker. A pity Ross Robertson is not carrying on, as he was good in that role.

The full list of Select Committee memberships has not yet been revealed, but they do propose the Committee to review the ETS, and it is:

  • National – Craig Foss, Nicky Wagner, Paul Hitchison, Hekia Parata (4)
  • Labour – David Parker, Moana Mackey, Charles Chauvel (3)
  • ACT – Rodney Hide (1)
  • Greens – Jeanette Fitzsimons (1)
  • United Future – Peter Dunne (1)
  • Maori Party – yet to be named (1)

It will be nice to hope there will be a some broad agreements on the best way forward, but I do note that National has a majority with any two of its three support partners.

The proposed terms of reference for the committee do not include an explicit review of the science, however as they look at issues such as mitigation vs adaptation, demerits of the science will no doubt be considered as the robustness of the scientific scenarios will influence decision making.

The House is underway now. Michael Cullen tripped Gerry Brownlee up on some procedural issue. While I am sure Labour liked tripping Gerry up, I have to say the absolutely patronising and condescending tone from Cullen was him at his worst, and would probably knock Labour down 5% in the polls if more people saw it. Cullen can be the funniest wittiest MP in the House, but he can also be the most offputting.

In response Gerry made the point that he did stuff up, but he can admit his mistakes, and the reason Labour is now on the Opposition benches is because they never could admit their mistakes. So true.

The House is adjourned until 2 pm when the address in reply will start.

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Goff on Speakers

November 21st, 2008 at 1:07 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Mr Goff today repeated criticism of National leader John Key’s decision to nominate as Speaker Lockwood Smith, whom he believes is too partisan to be fair.

This is nonsense, especially coming from the party that appointed Jonathan Hunt and Margaret Wilson to the Speakership. Someone should challenge Goff to explain how Smith would be more partisan than Hunt or Wilson?

He also said National intended to appoint Lindsay Tisch as deputy speaker.

He must read my blog, as that fact went unreported until I highlighted it from the video of the press conference :-)

Both Dr Smith and Mr Tisch missed out on Cabinet roles and Mr Goff said the appointments were to placate the long-serving MPs rather than choosing the right person for the job.

Now here Goff is on stronger ground than the nonsense about Lockwood being too partisan. It is a political reality that there not being room for them in Cabinet is a strong factor in why they are the nominees for Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

But this does not mean they will not prove to be sound choices. Doug Kidd was made Speaker in 1996, basically because they needed room in Cabinet for new Ministers. But Kidd went on to be an excellent Speaker.

And let us remember Labour made Ann Hartley Deputy Speaker, and she was a disaster.

He said the roles were being treated as “a dumping ground for those that can’t get into Cabinet” and thought MPs like Eric Roy and John Carter were better choices.

Eric and John would be very sound choices, and there are factors such as Cabinet inclusion at work. But those in glasshouses should not throw stones. Here is who Labour is putting up for Assistant Speaker:

Labour would have nominated Rick Barker for the role.

Asked why Mr Robertson was not considered, Mr Goff said while he was fond of the role he had other talents, had been appointed as spokesman in several areas and was a useful local MP.

Now could anyone claim Barker would be better than Robertson who is widely respected? Of course not. So Goff is guilty of exactly what he accuses National of.

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Lindsay Tisch to be nominated Deputy Speaker

November 18th, 2008 at 4:43 pm by David Farrar

This really annoys me. Not that Lindsay Tisch is to be nominated Deputy Speaker, but that I only found about it by listening to the audio/video (thanks Scoop) of John Key’s press conference.

It wasn’t in the official media release, but John Key announced it early on at his press conference. Now there were 30 or so journalists in the room, so why didn’t a single one of them actually report it? Hell why attend the press conference, if all you are going to do is write stories based on the press releases, and overlook any new material from the actual press conference.

Anyway it looks like Lockwood for Speaker and Lindsay Tisch for Deputy. There are two Assistant Speakers, with one traditionally being from the Opposition – presumably Ross Robertson. I’d guess Eric Roy may be the other Assistant Speaker.

It hasn’t been a tradition, but it would be nice if the Deputy Speaker (rather than the Assistant) was from the Opposition. Clem Simich did very well as Deputy Speaker.

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The Central North Island Seats

November 13th, 2008 at 12:15 am by David Farrar

Oh I do like that solid blue look. And in 2002 only a handful were blue.

Hunua is a new seat. The party vote is another 60:20 type solid seat. On the electorate vote Paul Hutchison narrowly beat Jordan Carter by 14,738 votes and Roger Douglas another 2,700 votes behind Jordan.

Waikato is 58% to 22% on the party vote. And Lindsay Tisch drove his majority from 7,000 to almost 12,000.

Coromandel went from 45% to 31% up to 51% to 26%. And Sandra Goudie scored a 13,400 majority for the seat she won in 2005.

The two Hamilton seats are no longer marginal weathervanes. Hamilton East went from a 9% party vote lead for National to a 19% lead. And David Bennett turned a 5,300 majority into one of over 8.000. Hamilton West saw an 11% lead in the party vote for National after being 2% behind in 2005. And Tim Macindoe turned his 1,100 loss in 2005 to a 1,500 victory in 2008.

Bay of Plenty is another 60:20 seat on the party vote. and Tony Ryall got a massive 16,500 majority up from 11,000 in 2005.

In 2005 in Tauranga, National had a 15% lead in the party vote. In 2008 the lead was 32%. Bob Clarkson beat Winston Peters by 730 votes in 2005. This time Simon Bridges beat him by 10,700. Simon will be happy to be the Member of Tauranga for some time.

Rotorua saw National lift the party vote from 43% to 51%, and Todd McClay scored a majority of almost 5,000 over a sitting Minister.

Taupo saw a party vote victory of 15% and Louise Upston beat Mark Burton by almost 6,000 votes. She ran a good campaign and for a big enough majority to make it safe for National. Burton got 2300 more votes than Labour so even harder for any future Labour candidate.  I also heard a rumour that Louise held the first meeting of her 2011 campaign committee at 8.15 am on Sunday morning :-)

The East Coast had a 15% lead in the party vote (the graphic has it wrong) and on the electorate vote Anne Tolley turned a 2,500 majority into a 6,000 majority.

The growing seat of Napier saw National go from a 1% lead in the party vote to a 12% lead. And Chris Tremain drove his 3,300 victory over Russell Fairbrother in 2005 to a 8,400 margin. Remember this is a seat Labour held for all but three years from 1928 to 2005 and Tremain is building John Carter or Nick Smith type majorities as a brilliant local MP who owns his seat.

Over on the west coast, we have the huge Taranaki-King Country seat which is another of those lovely 60:20 seats.  And the 12,000 majority motors up to 14,500.

Finally we have New Plymouth. National was ahead on the party vote last time by 8% and this time it was 20%. And it was too much for Harry Duynhoven who lost the seat by 300 votes. In 2005 he held it by almost 5,000 votes and in 2002 his majority was a staggering 15,000. New candidate Jonathan Young will be watching the special votes though.

Labour will struggle to form a Government again, while so many seats have them getting just 1 in 5 party votes. Every seat in this region had at least an 11% gap in the party vote, with many having a 40% gap.

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Waikato

October 21st, 2008 at 11:54 am by David Farrar

The Waikato seat replaces Piako, held by Lindsay Tisch. Tisch won it in 1999 as Karapiro with a 5,216 majority. Before that it was held by John Luxton.

In 2002 as Piako Tisch beat Sue Morony by 1,621 and in 2005, extended his majority over Moroney to 8,351. So not really a marginal seat. I estimate on the new boundaries the majority is 6,916.

We passed through Waikato on the way to Hamilton. Blog reader (and commenter) Tauhei Notts offered us a lunch in Morrinsville so we weant off the main track to get there. And when I say off the main track, I mean it. I love having GPS in the car but sometimes it picks obscure back country roads to travel along, and we ended up motoring through all sorts of narrow roads, bypassing all the main centres totally. Took a bit longer but meant we saw some great countryside.

Now it transpired that Tauhei Notts, despite being an ACT stalwart, is an old family friend of Labour’s Jacinda Ardern, and Jacinda has just got back from the UK the previous day. So Jacinda and her mother joined us for lunch.

Jacinda was wonderful company. She is great to talk to (especially about international politics) and was so charming that even Whale Oil was heard to comment that she is far far too nice to be in Labour (whenever Whale meets a Labour MP or candidate he likes, he just assumes they are in the wrong party rather than concede nice people can be in Labour :-). In fact one of the most amusing parts of lunch was having Jacinda politely rebuff Whale’s suggestion that she really was a Tory deep down. Considering Jacinda is the President of the International Union of Socialist Youth, her political convictions are rather firm!

What I am saying here, won’t come as a surprise to many within Labour – but Jacinda is one of their real stars.  This is reflected in her stellar list ranking of 20, which would see her come in on a party vote of 25% for Labour. I suspect she will move up the ranks quickly.

She isn’t going to dent Lindsay’s majority this time. But as a native of the Waikato she will be an effective List MP for the area, and at a future election when the tide is going out rather than in for National, she could make it a close race. Definitely worth watching out for.

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