Editorial misses key point

The NZ Herald editorial misses a key point today. They are criticising the subsidised travel perk for ex MPs (and I agree with the criticism) and say:

Perhaps MPs become so accustomed to free air travel in their daily work that they think nothing of continuing to pay next to nothing to fly in retirement. They should think again. Those who make politics their career from an early age – quite a number these days – can be still quite young when they have served 15 or 18 years. The taxpayer can be picking up the tab for their private jaunts for another 20 or 30 years. …

Companies would not award it to their best executives. If Sir Roger Douglas’ embarrassment prompts a review of the perk it would not be before time. In fact, it would be a credit to him now if he were to call for it.

Nowhere in the entire editorial does it mention the perk was abolished in 1999 for MPs who entered Parliament from that year on. The editorial leaves the strong impression that current MPs can gain this perk. That is pretty misleading.

Now maybe they are trying to say it should also be abolished for those former MPs who “gained” it before 1999 – ie are grandfathered in. And that is a perfectly legitimate proposition to push. But they haven’t said that clearly.

Considering the inclusion of the sentence:

Any MP who survives for 15 years qualifies for a 90 per cent foreign travel subsidy from the taxpayer.

has no qualifiers, my conclusion is the leader writer actually does not know that the perk got abolished in 1999 for MPs who entered since 1999 (which is around 100 of the 122). And if so, that is a pretty big error in an editorial. Where are the fact checkers?

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