Red Alert

Key fudged answers on Premier House

Posted by on May 21st, 2011

There is a pattern in the way John Key and his office deal with revelations about how they are spending taxpayers money on themselves while telling everyone else they need to stomach cutbacks. When it was first revealed that John Key had splashed out on new carpet and painting for his prime ministerial residence, the initial reaction of his office was to deny all knowledge.

Then they reveal that they did know about it, defend it saying it’s no big deal, and accuse those answering questions of muck-raking or focusing on the small stuff. But if you keep asking questions, it usually turns out that they knew exactly what was going on and in fact they were up to their eyeballs in it.

Answers that have just come back to written parliamentary questions reveal that not only did Key know about the painting of Premier House, he made them change the proposed colour scheme.

A pattern is also emerging that shows how sloppy this government are when it comes to the way they spend money on themselves. Key stated in his most recent answers that the decision to re-carpet Premier House was made in late-2009. If that’s the case, Key should have included it in Estimates information provided to the Select Committee following the Budget. He didn’t.

At best that’s sloppy management on Key’s part (he signs off the answers to the Select Committee), at worst it suggests they’re deliberately trying to fudge the amount they spend on themselves. Either way it’s pretty clear that Key’s “aggressive” line-by-line review of government spending doesn’t apply to his own spending. There’s a word for that.

It was a similar situation with the BMWs. First Key claimed he hadn’t been told, then it turned out his Chief of Staff was fully briefed and two of his Ministers had signed the deal off. A bit odd that Key would take an active interest in something as small as a new paint job for Premier House but not know about a multi-million dollar car purchase. And let’s not forget that Bill English only paid back the housing allowance because he got found out.


24 Responses to “Key fudged answers on Premier House”

  1. darrenw says:

    Yep Chris pulling back on this will provide the funding you need to address the deficit and the extra $12 billion in funding Labour seem to want to spend if it gets back in power.

    The electorate is looking for clear policy on what you intend to spend and how you expect to generate growth. So far all we gave heard are costly promises and a continuation if welfarism. Oh and a bunch if petty, mindless moans about minor expenses that suggest you are jealously coveting the trappings of office and bitter you don’t look like getting them.

  2. jennifer says:

    @ darrenw, it seems to me that most would agree that the cost of a few cars and some fresh carpet is fairly trivial, in the great scheme of things, but that’s not the issue here. This is about they clear pattern of deliberate deception employed by the PM and his office to conceal spending taxpayers money on themeselves. They themselves clearly do not think the sums involved are trivial, or they would not go to such extreme lengths to conceal it?

  3. jarbury says:

    Yawn. Meanwhile the govt wastes $10 billion on pointless motorways and Labour says nothing. Priorities please!

  4. darrenw says:

    @Jennifer Whatever the case let’s just hope Hipkins & Labour keep up this approach – nothing is surer to see them in opposition for 3 more years & with fewer MP’s At least then we have a chance of balanced books & a brighter future!

  5. Tigger says:

    So Darren you’re happy with Key’s approach here?

  6. Monty says:

    Chris – Have you had permission from Phil Goff to carry on this rather pitiful crusade? In the week of the budget releaase Labour need to be focused on that – and not get distracted by non-issues that no one cares about.

  7. darrenw says:

    It’s better than Clark’s ever was The fact is these issues just don’t matter in the bigger scheme of things.

  8. Cat says:

    Nobody. Cares.

    Tell us about policy. Tell us about the budget. Tell us about real issues.

    Signed, once a Labour voter :(

  9. SHG says:

    Two days after the Budget and you’re still going on about renovations at Premier House?

  10. Draco T Bastard says:

    @darrenw
    If corruption doesn’t matter, and that’s what we’re seeing here, then we have serious problems in our political system.

  11. POWER FREEK says:

    @DW Helen Clarks approach may not have ben perfect but she lasted for 3 terms. Despite what the fixed polls say Key has yet to last one.

  12. ghostwhowalksnz says:

    Watergate , too was small incident in the scheme if things, but it was the coverup that made history.
    For the Key apologists Darren and jarbury, its a labour blog so they they can put what they like in it.

    And If Key as PM has the time to interfere in a painting decision then labour has the time to uncover the facts and act as an OPPOSITION, their job

    And with 43 labour Mps thats a lot of ground that can be covered- a point to remember is that the last election only saw a reduction of 6 labour Mps. Some national party mouthpieces seem think there is only about 20 in total.

  13. POWER FREEK says:

    Speaking of fudged answers saw this in todays herald

    “Mr English said the 170,000 new jobs forecast for the next four years would be “just getting back to the job creation rate that this economy demonstrated from 1990 to 2005 where there were 35,000 new jobs every single year for 15 years”.

    “Done it before – we can do it again.”

    Finance minister bill english

    something doesnt quite add up with his figures but I guess basic math is not a prerequisite when your Nacts minister of finance for NZ

  14. waterboy says:

    LOL, how did the media not pick up on this?

    “Mr English said the 170,000 new jobs forecast for the next four years would be “just getting back to the job creation rate that this economy demonstrated from 1990 to 2005 where there were 35,000 new jobs every single year for 15 years”.

    “Done it before – we can do it again.”

  15. Monty – if these are issues that no body cares about how come you spend so much time talking about them?

    SHG – plenty of post-Budget analysis up on Red Alert already and more on the way.

  16. old sammy says:

    Chris, it is (as you well know) a cop-out to pretend that the critics of this tiresome topic and self-defeating so-called “strategy” are just Monty and his rightie mates.

    Some reading for you:

    http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/some-lines-for-labour-1/

    … a lot of left-leaning voters there, to which you can add Imperator Fish, Dim-Post, Jarbury on this thread, etc, etc.

    Time to focus on winning now, Chris. You’ve had your fun. Now just focus on what matters to the VOTERS. And if you don’t know what that is, you really shouldn’t be in Parliament representing them.

    As the great Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee once put it: “A period of silence on your part would be welcome.”

  17. ghostwhowalksnz says:

    old sam , if its of no interest to the voters, why have YOU gone to the trouble ?

    Own goal !

  18. old sammy says:

    Ghost, what’s of interest to me is Labour winning the election.

    Two stories on Labour on the TV news tonight, the lead on TV One (very positive), and later on TV3. That’s a million viewers hearing something positive from Labour. And it wasn’t about Premier House.

    The media will be interested in Labour campaigning on policy. So are the voters. Respect them.

  19. jarbury says:

    Ha ha, me a Key apologist. That’s hilarious.

    How about the option that I have always been a Labour/Greens voter and I’m terrified of another National term in government, but I am frustrated by how out of touch Labour is: with this post being a classic example.

    I have gone to the trouble of posting here because I am pleading with you Labour, focus on what matters. Every time you talk about policy you get a good response, every time you try to dig dirt the country rolls its eyes.

  20. tracey says:

    funny how “paintgate” was so gosh darn important to National supporters but endless Misleading or lying by people who ran on a platform of honesty is trivial. As for saying they have better things to focus on, well, that would be nearly acceptable except the “other things” turn out to just be the Rugby World Cup and Earthquake recovery neither of which are National initiatives.

  21. jarbury says:

    Tracey, that hardly did the Nats much good in 2002 did it? Are Labour really trying to outdo National’s 2002 election result?

  22. tracey says:

    jarbury, it nearly worked for them in 2005 and it did work for them in 2008. All that changed between 2202/2005 and 2008, is they got a leader who was prepared to fudge/mislead or lie to cover real intentions, but the mudslinging, name calling etc remained the cornerstone.

    I don’t agree with any party behaving this way, I was merely addressing those National/ACT supporters called Pot and who keep screaming “BLACK!” at labour

  23. Robbo says:

    “Every time you talk about policy you get a good response, every time you try to dig dirt the country rolls its eyes”

    +1000. We get it. Key and his mates are loose with taxpayer’s money while telling us to be prudent with our own. Have credible policy and frame the debate around policy you might actually have a chance. Fight on personalities and I think you’re doomed.

    I think a lot of us have had enough of politicians digging dirt on each other. Even if you’re right, there are bigger messes to clean up, the country’s economy for one.

  24. ghostwhowalksnz says:

    There are legions of good news stories about Key, he says this or that at a photo opportunity. Even the royal wedding had his comments about ‘ A listers’ he saw at the Abbey. Almost all trivial stuff. But the media needs space fillers .

    The house painting is actually a ‘great’ story line for the the public, as is very common these days, something that connects back to viewers or readers own experience such as painting their own house would normally be pounced on. But you cant predict these things will get legs in the media, especially with Key. On the other hand a story about Hone Harawira wasting public money in difficult times will instantly make it to the news. The reason , he doesnt have the media chiefs looking after his back.

    One further point , when Key has such high personal ratings, the only way to turn that around is a constant feed of his mistakes and arrogance.

    Otherwise do you expect Redalert to be full of stories about Key and his ..cough.. leadership and how the country benefits from his ..cough.. wisdom