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The Biggest Parasite?

Entry 1065, on 2009-08-02 at 19:20:46 (Rating 4, Politics)

The recent disclosure of taxpayer funded expenses claimed by British politicians caused a lot of embarrassment and a few resignations there. Now the same process is happening in New Zealand and its beginning to look like some of our politicians should be starting to feel a bit uncomfortable as well, especially the latest victim of the process, Bill English.

I haven't seen any real evidence that anyone has actually broken the rules but it seems clear to me that English certainly hasn't worked within the spirit of them. Normally I wouldn't worry about this too much but we are constantly getting messages of how the rest of us have to economise and might have to accept job cuts. Would it not be a good example from our leaders to do the same?

On the other hand, I know that these extra benefits are part of their pay deal and that the politicians' base salaries, considering the amount of responsibility, aren't that high. Also, senior managers in the private sector get paid a lot more and waste a lot more money so what is the real difference?

At this point I expect my right-wing opponents to say something like "the private sector can pay whatever it likes because its their money". Well, believe it or not, I disagree!

When I pay for my services from the private sector (for my Vodafone cell phone use, for example) a part of that goes to the extravagant pay and extra benefits the management get. And I have no real choice because the competition are just as bad and realistically I need a cell phone to function as an IT consultant in the modern world. So really operating my cell phone is as much a compulsory charge as paying taxes.

In the bigger context I don't think I'm too worried about the politicians extravagant use of public money because (despite the common pro-business propaganda out there) the private sector are wasting my money even worse, and they steal it just as much (or worse) than any tax I have to pay.

I know that two wrongs don't make a right but I don't think its fair to single out politicians as being parasites. Sure they are, but not to the same extent as the corrupt incompetents running our big companies!

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Comment 19 (2391) by OJB on 2009-08-12 at 09:53:32: (view earlier comments)

Many people would say that politics is all about choosing the least bad option. I'm not justifying anything with anything else, it was you who attempted to do that by mentioning the Labour people to start with!

I have also stated that I'm not overly concerned with this issue. That was one of the points of the original post. So we actually agree there! I would say the big, important issues are often ignored when these trendy "easy to sell" issues are followed by the media (both traditional and bloggers) instead.

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Comment 20 (2396) by SBFL on 2009-08-12 at 10:52:21:

No, I was just implying it was unfair to pick on Bill alone!

Yes I know, but you persevered in the comments!
"I would say the big, important issues are often ignored..." - yes, such is human nature unfortunately. It's up to the grassroots/decent bloggers to set it right though!

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Comment 21 (2399) by OJB on 2009-08-12 at 11:13:55:

Agreed. It is unfair to pick on Bill, but he was the most senior person who was manipulating the rules most obviously. I agree that others are also worthy of criticism, but maybe not to the same degree.

Grassroots and bloggers aren't influential with many areas of society so we still do depend on traditional media as well, unfortunately.

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Comment 22 (2401) by SBFL on 2009-08-12 at 11:35:12:

Carter was a minister longer than Bill has been. Phil Goff is another senior politician with some questions to answer I guess. I don't think degrees of criticism need to based on seniority though.

I think you would be surprised at the influence at some bloggers theseadays. I see them referred to more and more often in the media (and the mainstream media are really their competition!).

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Comment 23 (2404) by OJB on 2009-08-12 at 12:19:50:

Well I've already pointed out why I find English's behaviour so bad so I can't see a lot of point in going any further on that one.

I guess the influence of bloggers is a hard thing to evaluate. I get the impression that for people who don't use the internet a lot they may not even know what a blog is. Of course, there could be an indirect influence they aren't aware of.

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