Parliament resumes today after the summer recess. Hopefully that will prompt John Key to finally stump up with answers to the Written Parliamentary Questions I put to him before Christmas. I asked him 67 questions late last year. In all cases he said he couldn’t give me an answer within the 6 days required by the written questions system, but he assured me I’d get the information as soon as possible.
It’s now 8 weeks since I asked the questions, but alas no answers have arrived. The questions were legitimate questions asking him to account for the spending of his ministers at a time when they were telling us all to tighten our belts.
We saw last year that National Ministers do not practice what they preach on fiscal responsibility and the public deserves to know what they are spending, e.g. the Bill English rort to finance his family home and the last minute changes to let ministers use self-drive cars meant to help them serve their electorates in Wellington.
Labour answered these types of questions when asked by a National Opposition so what is Key hiding?
Here is a quick summary of the topics that I asked Key about:
- Pay rises for staff working in Ministerial offices (remember other public servants have a wage freeze)
- Use of VIP cars during National’s first year in office
- Refurbishment costs for ministerial offices
- Spending on gifts, beer, wine and spirits by ministers
- Purchase of self-drive vehicles and related issues
- Issues relating to Key’s changes to ministerial housing allowances
John Key talks a lot about transparency and accountability but it is all talk. The reality is neither he nor his ministers think that the rules that apply to others apply to them. Key’s ongoing refusal to answer basic written parliamentary questions just proves that.