What a waste of $500,000

In an act of pure ego, Hone Harawira is forcing taxpayers to pay for a by-election that will probably be held in July – less than three months before the House dissolves for the election.

The NZ Herald reports:

“I want to recall the $36 million being wasted on a bloody yacht race in San Francisco and spend it instead on heating in the poorer suburbs of Christchurch,” Harawira said.

I agree on not funding the America’s Cup bid but sadly the last Labour Government signed a contract forcusing to do so. However we do have a choice over whether to have an un-necessary by-election, and the $500,000 wasted could also be used heating homes in or even in Northland.

Parliament can only resolve not to have a by-election if the resignation occurs within six months of Parliament automatiically dissolving (22 May) or the announced election date (26 May).

If Helen Clark was still in power, I seuspect she’d be tempted to retrospectively amend the Act so that the six month period is extended to seven months. Then Hone would be out of Parliament and unable to use taxpayer funding to set up his new party.

The $500,000 costs may be on the light side. As this is a Maori seat, they will need many more polling places than in a general seat by-election.

What really peeves me about this also, is that the new Mana Party is obviously totally backed by the UNITE union – the very same union that doesn’t even pay its taxes – in has collected PAYE tax off its staff and failed to pay it to the Government as legally obliged. So they are campaigning on how people should pay more tax, and they don’t even pay tax themselves.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia – currently in Russia for a conference – said she did not know if the party was standing a candidate in the byelection.

But she did much the same as Harawira before the 2005 election: quitting Labour and resigning her Te Tai Hauauru electorate to renew her mandate in a byelection.

Not quite the same at all. Turia resigned in May 2004 – well over a year before the September 2005 election.

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