Give up now on the new building

Stuff reports:

NZ First has broken ranks to oppose a new building for MPs and Parliamentary staff.

Winston Peters said on Wednesday claims that Opposition parties backed the plan were “simply not true”.

Peters said NZ First made it “very clear’ when approached that it would not sign up to the project.

The Government is expected to sign off on a major revamp of the parliamentary precinct before the end of the year, including the option of a new office block to accommodate those currently in the 22-storey Bowen House on the corner of Bowen St and Lambton Quay.

The Bowen House lease expires at the end of 2018 and while a renewal is one of the options Carter said it was very expensive at an annual cost closer to $6m than $5m, and was leased from a foreign company.

A cost for the new premises has not been given but it will be tens of millions of dollars.

Peters said MPs should not be “considering their own comforts” at a time when 40,000 people were homeless, and young people struggled to find a home.

“The fact is we don’t need 120 parliamentarians, 100 would be sufficient, at which time we would have plenty of room. Former Prime Minister Keith Holyoake used to have five people in his office – Prime Minister John Key has 55. Before anyone starts screaming about the need for more space let’s take a look at how bloated the system now is.”

Peters as usual is speaking nonsense and conflating the PM’s Office with DPMC. Last time I checked there were fewer ministerial staff than with the previous Government that Peters was in.

But regardless of that, the Government should abandon the new building plans now. If even one party opposes them, you’re creating a nightmare for yourself. Trust me, I saw this in the 1990s.

It doesn’t matter how logical the proposal is that building a say $45m building is far better for taxpayers than say paying $6 million a year in rent. What you will endure is all election year being Winston saying “They are spending $45 million on their own luxury offices instead of on your local school or hospital”.

It’s dishonest and not true. But that won’t matter. You won’t win this argument with logic and the fact it would save taxpayers money. If you go ahead, you will be handing Peters a platform for election year.

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