Going overboard on the perks

I think there are legitimate issues around Ministerial and . I have blogged on them many times. But there is a whiff of hysteria in the latest reports. Take this report on Stuff:

Ministers living in taxpayer-funded homes while letting their Wellington apartments out will continue to cash in until a review into accommodation costs is complete.

The fact a non Wellington based Minister may own a property in Wellington is almost an irrelavance to the issue of whether or not they qualify for a Ministerial home. If they own a property in Wellington they have paid for it out of their own money, and may even still have a mortgage on it. The property is an investment – just like putting $200,000 into the sharemarket. These houses do not appear out of thin air.

Helen Clark owned an investment property in Wellington. Its inane to suggest the rental from that should have gone to the Crown to help cover the costs of Premier House.

An investment property in Wellington should not affect eligibility for a Ministerial home, any more than an investment property in Auckland or Invercargill.

As I said, there are legitimate issues. One can debate whether it is a good idea to have MPs renting properties to each other. I have some issues with that.

But this suggestion that Ministers can not own an investment property in Wellington, unless the rent is paid to the Crown to offset their Ministerial House is daft. If implemented, all it means is Ministers will sell rather than rent out any Wellington property they own.

I hope the review comes up with some sensible ways forward.

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