Friday, July 31, 2009

Perks are privilege

Roger Douglas spent his political career opposing privilege - that is the practice of the state forcing one individual or sector to pay for or subsidise the activities of another individual or a sector. In that I fully support him.

The other ex MPs he is now testily pointing to as enjoying the same right and entitlement as him to travel the world on the taxpayer, did not make a holy grail out of attacking privilege. That is why it just doesn't wash as an excuse, recession or not.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

My view is that the system probably needs to be changed. But until it is, should those who advocate change be put at a disadvantage to those who don't? Is that actually fairer? More moral? Or will that simply hamper change by rewarding everyone who opposes change while penalizing those who do?

Lindsay said...

For a conviction politician eschewing perks need not lead to disadvantage. If the political goals are paramount (as opposed to personal gain) it would be turned to an advantage. Change is hampered more by those who talk one way and walk another. Or do you prefer the old maxim, if you can't beat them, join them?

Will de Cleene said...

The scheme is already being grandfathered out. The perk only applies to ex-MPs from before 1992. Still, Roger's press gallery harangue was somewhat petarded.

Manolo said...

That's why politicians are considered one of the lowest forms of life.

Roger Douglas should not have used his "entitlement" to fly to England at taxpayer's expense. He made a terrible mistake, and worst of all, appears unrepentant.

It's called having principles and living by them.

James said...

While Rogers example isn't a good look I would point out that unlike nearly all the others he's actually earned a little slack as he saved NZ billions with his reforms and so a few thou for a trip to Britain is small recompense all things considered.

Add in the fact that if he had his way perks like this would decrease massivley he's still holding the high ground against all comers...

Anonymous said...

MPs used to be poorly paid. People stood for Parliament as a service to the community in which they lived. It used to be like that when you stood for your local school committee, voluntary service to your community. Then came the catch-cry that people who could not "afford" to donate their time were effectively being barred from contributing.

Does "Reaping what you sow" still have its original meaning?

kurt

Anonymous said...

I'm for changing the system but argue that until that is done one side shouldn't have access with impunity while the other side can't touch things. Same for those who support privatizing education. That doesn't mean you are immoral for sending your kids to state school, even if you are accessing a system you are not keen on.

Lindsay said...

Different thing anon. Accessing public education and health is not a matter of choice for most people. Accessing public health could be a matter of life or death.

Letting the public pay for your overseas holidays is vastly different. Voluntarily ( and pointedly) rejecting this perk would have enormous impact from a individual/party that preaches a philosophy of personal responsibility.

Douglas has damaged the power of good ideas because now when he proposes them it will be easy for the media (with ample prompting from the Left) to deride them as coming from Roger do-as-I-say-not-do-as-I-do Douglas.