Damage to English is done
English's refund not enough: Labour
Labour says the $32,000 Deputy Prime Minister Bill English has paid back to the Government is not enough, and it will continue to attack him over the taxpayer-funded accommodation allowance he has claimed. In a bid to end the ongoing controversy, Mr English yesterday gave up the allowance and paid back the money received since he became a minister again in November. But senior Labour MP Pete Hodgson said there were still an issue over the $24,000 a year Mr English had claimed while an Opposition MP. Mr English's declaration that Dipton in Southland was his "primary residence" let him get the out-of-town allowance even though he was living in a home in the Wellington suburb of Karori owned by a family trust. "There's still a question about where his primary residence is when he's been living in Wellington all these years," Mr Hodgson said. He said Labour would also continue to question Mr English about changes made to the deed of the trust when he was switching to the larger ministerial allowance, and Prime Minister John Key's involvement as minister responsible for Ministerial Services.
The Key Clique don’t like the old socially conservative guard that English represents and won’t have any problems seeing Bill bleed over this. Seeing as Steven ‘Hollow Brain’ Joyce is being jockeyed into being the next Finance Minister this embarrassing episode in allowance mismanagement by English is enough to have damaged any credibility he has whenever he asks the rest of the country to cut back because of the W in recession.
It’s good that Bill has finally done the right thing but it took months of attacks to do that, and there is the question of the remaining $24 000. Again, no one has a beef with MPs getting an allowance to live in Wellington, we get that, but signing your Wellington house over to your wife so that house can be rented from her is just a rort and it's obvious to us all. In the boom times these sorts of scams wouldn’t go noticed, but when Bill is lecturing the rest of the country on cutbacks while taking $500 a week to rent his own home, it all looks like a farce.
Add that drop in credibility with the fact the Key clique want grumpy Bill out and Svengali ‘Hollow Brain’ Joyce in and English’s bitterness at getting toppled by Brash for the leadership will be cemented forever.