A National MP has been caught bludging off the taxpayer to further her political career. This time it’s list non-entity Parmjeet Parmar, who has been sprung trying to get Housing NZ to boost her profile in the Mt Roskill electorate. Weirdly, Parmar thinks that she has a chance if a by-election is called when Phil Goff departs to become Auckland mayor. As if!
Labour MP Kris Faafoi asked for correspondence in the matter to be released and it was, but heavily redacted. Unfortunately for Parmar, one of the redacted emails was also attached in its original form. It shows that Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith’s office tried to get Parmar appointed host of a housing roadshow. The email is stunningly blatant as to the reason for the request:
“Parmjeet Parmar has also expressed a strong interest in hosting a roadshow as she is keen to raise local profile in Mt Roskill in case of a by-election.”
Get that? Nick Smith’s office tried to hijack a taxpayer funded event to promote the political interests of an MP. And Housing NZ tried to cover up the corruption by redacting the relevant information. Brighter future, anyone?
It may not just be Parmjeet Parmar who has rorted the system. Kris Faafoi points out that other MP’s have been spotted campaigning in the same way:
“A number of National MPs have held similar roadshows around the country. Now we have black and white proof that National is using Ministry and departmental funds for political purposes. Put simply National has been caught out trying to hide a dodgy bit of campaigning.”
Faafoi also makes an interesting observation about the Tories attitude to OIA requests:
“It raises concerns about what else National tried to keep under wraps in these documents and whether this sort of thing is the general attitude National takes to all OIA requests. The facts are clear. National has been caught red-handed hiding the truth, and it has been spending taxpayers’ money to campaign.”
“I expect high standards from my Ministers … if they don’t meet the standards I set then obviously I will take action if necessary”. John Key, November 2008
Smith and Parmar should both go. There should be a clear separation between politicking and governance and it’s clear the line has been crossed in this case. Political corruption has no place in a civilised society. It should certainly have no home in the Housing Ministry.