Outing the Troughers

Super Trougher Judith TizardIn the past few weeks we have quite a number of troughers being outed. We have had Phil Heatley who was actually rather a lightweight trougher and fell on his sword for a mere $70.00. We have also seen Gerry Brownlee and other come under the spotlight on Ministerial Expenses with credit cards. We of course never saw such openness with the previous government. Some say it was fear of Heather Simpson, others tell a different story.

Recently an OIA was put in for the credit card statements of the ministers in the previous government. I mean who are we to point fingers if we have nothing to compare with. It was a reasonable request, one which should have been met reasonably quickly, there are certainly no state secrets contained with credit card statements. The 20 days has long since passed and now there are no legal grounds to actually deny this request. One thing though that the OIA rightly allows is for someone who’s details are in the documents get a chance to look at the details being released and to make submissions about those details. This right, morally, and under the law.

Surely the Leader of the Opposition would authorise the the release of those documents, there has been plenty of time. It isn’t without some irony that just weeks after Phil Heatley honourably fell on his sword was the distinct lack of comment by anyone from Labour. Not a peep from Tigerpig to gloat, not a smart remark about tory thieves from Clare Curran, compare that with when Richard Worth ignominiously exited parliament. Surely Phil Goff would have given his authorisation by now to release the documents?

The Whale can reveal, through one of his many parliamentary spies that the serious troughing of the last government is not Koru Club (though he does feature), not Five Chins, not even Phil Goff himself, but Judith Tizard.

I pity the poor staffers on the third floor of the parliament building , working late into the night doing a line by line audit of Judith Tizard’s copious credit card statements. It has been whispered in the hallowed halls that her expenditure is of such and extent that poor old Phil Goff can be forgiven for delaying his approval for release of the documents. It is rumoured that whole forests have been destroyed and a small army of parliamentary staff armed with hand trucks have had to be called in to shift the massive volumes of Tizard’s accounts.

Know this good people that is a very valid reason for the silence of Labour over troughing, for they know that when those documents hit the street the people will then know just how bad the troughing was under the Clark Ministry. That is why Labour are silent, they are quivering in fear waiting for the expenses bomb to go off.

Could we perhaps start to see the application of the OIA upon parliamentary services so no longer can MPs fill their boots with all sorts of egregious troughing antics. Will the Speaker moot a law change? Has he got what it takes to truly be a great Speaker remembered for transparency and honesty, something that has been sorely lacking in the parliament for ever. Do it Mr Speaker, open up the book of parliamentary Services so we may know those who sup at the trough excessively.