Bridges expenses leak – sow’s ear out of public purse

It’s hard to work out what the aim of the leak of Simon Bridges’ expenses was, given they will be officially released soon anyway. And it’s hard to get very excited about the media overkill of the story.

It raises more questions over the motives of the leaker and the journalist than over Bridges’ expenses.

RNZ – Bridges: National caucus didn’t leak travel expenses

Opposition leader Simon Bridges is standing by his MPs, saying he doesn’t believe one of them leaked his travel expenses to media.

Mr Bridges is defending the roughly $84,000 he clocked up travelling around the country in a Crown limousine between April and June.

He said he might never get to the bottom of who leaked the information before it was due to be published but said it was not his caucus.

RNZ – Bridges’ expenses leak: Prime Minister claims Labour had no part

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she asked Ministerial Services to clarify exactly who had access to the National Party’s expenses, and it had been confirmed to her that only the National Party caucus did.

“We’ve had it confirmed that no-one in Labour ever actually had access to that information and it would be improper if we would have,” she said.

“The only groups as I understand who will have had access will be the opposition themselves and the Speaker.”

Mr Mallard denied being the source of the leak and was personally looking to ensure the information did not land in the hands of anybody it should not have.

A number of MPs have denied leaking the information, but that’s hardly news. I don’t recall any MP ever admitting leaking.

Newshub reporter Tova O’Brien has copped some flak for breaking the story, with accusations she has been a party to a political hit job.

Stuff Editorial: Simon Bridges expenses leak seems like a bit of a ‘beat-up’

Quite apart from the fact we have no firm idea who leaked National Party leader Simon Bridges’ expenses, ahead of their official release by the Parliamentary Service next week, it’s difficult to know exactly what the leaker hoped to achieve beyond a lot of shoulder-shrugging.

On Tuesday, Ardern was quick to say she could “categorically rule it out” when asked if the leak came from her party, pointing out that the only groups with access to Bridges’ expenses were National, and Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard, who did not attend Labour caucus meetings. That was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the Parliamentary Service, which naturally has access to the information as the agency responsible for releasing it.

Bridges was quick to say the leak had not come from his caucus, though he conceded he did not have “perfect information on that”. Mallard said he had launched an inquiry into the source of the leak, and also cast doubt on the accuracy of the figures.

But assuming they are accurate, and Bridges, with his reported tally of $83,693, indeed spent $35,000 more on travel in a Crown limousine over the past three months than then-Opposition leader Andrew Little did in the corresponding period last year, so what?

It’s widely known he has just completed a 12-week “national town hall roadshow”, holding close to 70 meetings around the country.

As the first person chosen to lead his party in opposition after a long period in government, that seems entirely reasonable.

Which suggests that the story loaded with clickbaity phrases like “spending up large”, “splashing cash” and “travelling the country by road and in style” is a shabby way of making a sow’s ear out of the public purse.

97 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  August 15, 2018

    gone down $16,000 in a day…tomorrow it will only be $68,000.

    • Trevors_elbow

       /  August 15, 2018

      No .. it was never 100k… that was just leftie spin merchants and their blazing repeaters trying to beat the story up….

      • Blazer

         /  August 15, 2018

        you’re correct Trev..it wasn’t 100k…now shown to be…$114,000….Bol!

  2. David

     /  August 15, 2018

    Unfortunately Tova O Brian is the inheritor of Paddy,s outrage who in turn learned his trade as an understudy of Garner. I admire it but dont like it unless its aimed at the other team.
    I used to find her exceptionally promising when she was doing radio stuff, she does stand out and is the go to girl for Labour sourced hit pieces but everyone needs their point of difference.

    • Corky

       /  August 15, 2018

      Matthew Hooten had to be reined in on RadioLive Drive yesterday. He accused Tova of being a corrupt journalist.

    • Blazer

       /  August 15, 2018

      Tova is friendly with…Judith.

  3. robertguyton

     /  August 15, 2018

    What shall we do with the drunken sailor?

    • You could try getting sensible thoughts together before commenting in the morning perhaps. Did you have a bit of a night out?

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  August 15, 2018

        An evening of folk dancing and organic cider ?

        • robertguyton

           /  August 15, 2018

          Another attempt at subtle character assassination there, Kitty. Ad hominem not enough for you? What a gal!

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  August 15, 2018

            Don’t call me a gal, that is sexist.

            You must be a very sensitive wee soul if that seems like character assassination.

            Many of your comments are the real thing when it comes to character assassination.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 15, 2018

              No, really, Kitty, you repeatedly attack me personally, casting aspersions, making a mockery; why? Can’t you just address my claims? I’ve not been subject to such a range of put-downs anywhere before: what makes you think it’s okay to do this?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  August 15, 2018

              What an egomaniac you seem to be. Not everyone thinks of nothing but you. You’re not that fascinating.

              Like others, you can dish it out but you can’t take it back. If you can’t take it, don’t serve it out.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 15, 2018

              Ah, but the difference is, I’m not dishing out personal slights to you, as you are to me. Simon and Judith, yes, but you, no. Why do you feel you have to demean me?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  August 16, 2018

              Oh, poor baby, he can dish out insults but goes into a tizzwozz when anyone returns the favour in even the slightest way.

              Don’t give it out and you won’t get it back.

              QED.

  4. Blazer

     /  August 15, 2018

    ‘so his expenses are legitimate,why should he be embarrassed,ashamed or concerned at..all!

    • -D

       /  August 15, 2018

      ‘so his expenses are legitimate’

      Mike Hosking is saying there are two widely disparate rates charged for government and opposition members’ limo transportation. Do we have any breakdown of what Simon’s expenses actually were? Cars, drivers, hotels, meals, expensive wine, concierge laundry services???

      The poor man can’t be expected to get around on public transportation. Or a bicycle.

      • Blazer

         /  August 15, 2018

        how would Hosking know…he can’t even dress himself.

        • Corky

           /  August 15, 2018

          Hosking is the only one worth listening to. He understands things, Blazer. He gets to the core of an issue and usually finds that core rotten with Leftie machinations.

          • Blazer

             /  August 15, 2018

            how many ears and eyes do you have…Corky?

            • Corky

               /  August 15, 2018

              ”How many ears and eyes do I have…?”
              The RIGHT amount!

            • Blazer

               /  August 15, 2018

              I’m sure there’s something LEFT…out.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  August 15, 2018

              Blazer; do you know the Scarecrow’s song from The Wizard of Oz ?

              If not, do google it….you’ll find what’s been left out ! 😀

    • robertguyton

       /  August 15, 2018

      Simon wants to draw attention to himself; his “splash the cash” tour failed to raise his profile, so he believes this “take this shocking case to the highest court in the land” ploy is the next desperate best thing he can do to get noticed. Clearly, he was the leaker.

    • robertguyton

       /  August 15, 2018

      He looks like a leaker!

      • You look a bit lame.

        • Gezza

           /  August 15, 2018

          Tru dat 8

        • robertguyton

           /  August 15, 2018

          Pete! Gratuitously insulting one of your commenters; a new low for you. I wonder why you felt it necessary to do that; defending Simon or just throwing your weight around?

          • PDB

             /  August 15, 2018

            “Gratuitously insulting one of your commenters”

            You being ‘a bit lame’ is a statement of fact?

            • PDB

               /  August 15, 2018

              Or are you complaining that ‘a bit’ is an understatement?

          • Trevors_elbow

             /  August 15, 2018

            Robert.. you’re a just a troll. A low carb one at that… maybe roll out one of your trees to comment for you… maybe be more effective..

            How is Meteria… thinking about paying back the extra she claimed on the bene?

            How about Jeanette… has she recovered from realizing her party has completely abandoned it’s supposed principles so it can play Winnes like biatch?

            • robertguyton

               /  August 15, 2018

              PDB, Trevor, I feel your frustration and pain. Deep breaths, chaps. You’ll get used to it (eventually). All the best.

            • Zedd

               /  August 15, 2018

              @RG

              good cutting stuff.. nice..

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  August 15, 2018

              Cutting with a blunt knife ?

  5. Gezza

     /  August 15, 2018

    Newshub reporter Tova O’Brien has copped some flak for breaking the story, with accusations she has been a party to a political hit job.

    She’ll have to go ! 😡

    Who else have they got? 😳

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 15, 2018

      Political hit jobs are what most political journalists live for. They are the only way to feel important if you don’t have enough brains for insightful analysis.

  6. Blazer

     /  August 15, 2018

    There goes rhymin Simon…he squeaked,then he leaked,then he freaked…and finally…peaked… at 9% preferred P.M.

  7. Zedd

     /  August 15, 2018

    If its all above board.. its not worth any more fuss, if they really want someone (scapegoat) to answer for leaking.. thats just going to cost the Govt. another $100k ?

    • Gezza

       /  August 15, 2018

      God. 😮 I hope this is not some plan by National – to bankrupt the Government with a series of leaks over minor matters followed by demands for expensive enquiries. 😕

      • Zedd

         /  August 15, 2018

        anythings possible gezza.. thats politics

        irony is not a great start

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  August 15, 2018

          The point is surely that someone leaked classified information; what it was isn’t as important as the fact that it was leaked, a security breach.

  8. High Flying Duck

     /  August 15, 2018

    At least we know why it had to be leaked early now – there’s no story here:

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 15, 2018

      Splendid. So it was a Govt hit of course. Probably fed by a “public servant” insider.

    • robertguyton

       /  August 15, 2018

      One of them’s the Prime Minister. The other’s not.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  August 15, 2018

        Because Winston knows which one he can walk all over.

        • robertguyton

           /  August 15, 2018

          Yeah, Alan; I watched Question Time as well; Winston trampled Bridges!

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  August 15, 2018

            I would expect nothing else viewed with your eyes, Robert. Didn’t seem to do much trampling with his murderers nonsense yesterday.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 15, 2018

              Winston blew that one, Alan and remarkably, Bridges did something with it. Not much, but something.

      • PDB

         /  August 15, 2018

        One of them travelled extensively around the country talking with locals whilst the other visited a couple of primary schools, had a baby & posed for a few woman’s mags.

        • robertguyton

           /  August 15, 2018

          “One of them travelled expensively around the country…”
          Fify.

    • Blazer

       /  August 15, 2018

      surely not the well worn….’Labour did it…too’!

      • robertguyton

         /  August 15, 2018

        Did what? By all Bridge’s accounts, he done nuffink wrong!

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  August 15, 2018

          Well done, Robert. You got there eventually.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  August 15, 2018

        Yep, Robert got it right (he’s like a stopped clock in that regard). There was no story because the spending was reasonable and no-one did anything wrong.

        • robertguyton

           /  August 15, 2018

          Then why on earth did Bridges start the story???

          • PDB

             /  August 15, 2018

            He didn’t start the story – he was blindsided by Tova O’Brien. Do keep up Robert.

            • Blazer

               /  August 15, 2018

              well its the best thing thats ever happened to him…profile wise…even you lot have sympathy for the bloke.

            • PDB

               /  August 15, 2018

              As with many stories such as this the real story soon turns around to who the leaker is.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 15, 2018

              Bridges, blindsided!!
              Media meanies! Simon should be treated with the respect he deserves!!
              (I’m outraged on your behalf, PDB)

            • robertguyton

               /  August 15, 2018

              Yeeeees…the leaker: this issue is VERY IMPORTANT!!!
              Call in the lawyers, NOW!

            • PDB

               /  August 15, 2018

              It appears it’s you Robert that is getting all worked up about such a nothing story. Calm down and have a herbal tea whilst playing a game of patience.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 15, 2018

              “Worked up”, PDB?
              I’m not the Chicken Little calling for an legal inquiry. That’d be the headless chicken leading the Opposition.

          • Zedd

             /  August 15, 2018

            onya RG

            the cost of everything.. the VALUE of…….

            9 loooooong years, they have only put up with 9 months so far;
            & they are getting FRANTIC 😀

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 15, 2018

              Seems like nine years already. How many babies are we expecting, Z?

            • robertguyton

               /  August 15, 2018

              It will have seemed a loooong time to you, Alan; you’ve been fair wearing yourself out since the Labour/NZ1/Green coalition became the Government (your Government). As to babies, they’ll appear when wanted.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 15, 2018

              I was wondering if we could measure the term by them, Robert. At least that would be one productive thing your Govt could achieve

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  August 15, 2018

              A fool ! A fool ! I met a fool i’the forest, A motley fool…

            • robertguyton

               /  August 15, 2018

              You’re a great lover of ad hominem, Kitty, and a generous user of them.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  August 15, 2018

              It’s a quotation from Shakespeare.

              What made you think that I meant you ? How egotistical.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  August 15, 2018

              Alan…it seems like dog months and will seem like dog years.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 15, 2018

              “What made you think I meant you?”
              Doubling-down, Kitty, doesn’t obscure your intent. Your personal attacks aren’t clever, they’re dull and boring.

  9. Kitty Catkin

     /  August 15, 2018

    It IS an important issue, Robert; have you no idea of the implications ?

    Would you be giggling and sniggering if something was leaked that threatened national security ?

    • robertguyton

       /  August 15, 2018

      Bridges’ profligacy isn’t a matter of national security, is it???
      Have there ever been leaks in the past? Were there investigations then? What’s special about Simons’?

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  August 15, 2018

        Oh, do grow up.

        It’s hardly profligacy; do look up that word. It doesn’t mean extravagance, as you seem to think.

        Government information has been leaked. This is unacceptable, and the relatively unimportant nature of the leaked material doesn’t negate the seriousness of the action.

        • robertguyton

           /  August 15, 2018

          “reckless extravagance or wastefulness in the use of resources.”
          Yep. That’s what I meant. What did you think it meant, Kitty?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  August 15, 2018

            I think it means what the OED says it means.

            Licentiousness, debauchery, dissolute behaviour….it can be squandering and reckless spending or waste, but that hardly applies to legitimate use of funds. Do you expect a party leader to waste time travelling on Intercity buses or to ride a bicycle ?

            If he is profligate, so is the PM and so is Winston Peters. Her expenditure (and she was off for 6 weeks) is virtually the same as his. It can’t be extravagantly wasteful in one person while not in another who spends the same amount on the same thing.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 15, 2018

              Boring.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  August 15, 2018

              You are, aren’t you ?

              I take it that this means that you can’t refute my argument and have to resort to childish insults.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 15, 2018

              “Boring” isn’t an insult, Kitty, it’s an observation and an accurate one; I’m bored by your quibbling, that’s all. You’re even dismissing a definition of the word “profligacy” because it somehow doesn’t suit you; that sort of hair-splitting, pin-head dancing is… boring, to me. Not an insult, just an expression of my feelings about your quibbling.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  August 15, 2018

              You can’t have read my reply properly.

              I didn’t dismiss one of the definitions, I included it, It’s not the main or the original one and none of them fit this case of legitimate use of funds

              .I can’t help it if your reading skills and vocabularyare limited, as your knowledge of the way that Parliament is run.

              Why is one person’s expenditure extravagant and another person’s not ? You haven’t answered that.

              The OED is likely to know better than you what a word means, odd as that might seem. Look it up, if you can’t take my word for it. You won’t, though, because you can’t bear to be proved wrong. Or if you do, you won’t admit it. If you don’t own the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) you can see it online .

              Your constant nitpicking, point-scoring, conceit and showing off is pretty boring, especially combined with pompous verbosity. You counter reason with abuse, the last resort of those who haven’t a reasoned response, You accuse others of what you do yourself.

              Haven’t you any nests to put in your beard ?

          • robertguyton

             /  August 15, 2018

            Yes, yes, Kitty, you are very clever, but…it’s quite boring for me. Leave out the personal insults, eh, and let’s get on with having fun with these messes National keeps getting herself into. I think it’s true to say that I don’t use personal slights against you; how about you return the favour?

  10. robertguyton

     /  August 15, 2018

    “National MPs have now made clear that every MP in the party was sent the full list of expenses, so all National MPs would need to sign a waiver for their devices to be searched.”
    Now this will be fun!

    • Corky

       /  August 15, 2018

      Well, any National MP who sent that information from a personal computer must be nuts…or thick. If it was a National MP it will be a godsend for the party. Getting rid of such a person before the election may save the party much trouble down stream.