Keith Ng is inside our MP’s Land Information property records and killing their dudez. Short version: when the rules around MP disclosure were drawn up it was decided that politicians didn’t have to declare assets held by managed superannuation schemes because it was ‘too cumbersome’. Which is very reasonable. I have savings in the NZ University Super Scheme, which means I have investments in shares and property and stuff, but I don’t have any granular control over it, or any influence on what the scheme invests in. So when I become MP for Ohariu I won’t have to declare any of it.
But a bunch of MPs – 35 National, 5 Labour – have set up their own private super schemes so they can have detailed knowledge of what they own, full control over how it is invested, and not have to declare any of it to the public. The Herald’s story today is about property and documents an impressive feat in quadruple dipping:
- MPs get paid an accommodation allowance for a residence in Wellington
- Which they pay to themselves because their superannuation account owns the property that they’re renting
- Contributions they pay into the account pay off the mortgage on the property and for every dollar they pay in the taxpayer contributes $2.50
- None of this taxpayer funded windfall is taxed because we don’t have capital gains in New Zealand because it would destroy our economy.
Yeah, yeah. It’s ‘all within the rules’. It’s just that MPs are the only people in the country who get to draw up rules like these for themselves.
Irritating: National’s constant hectoring on belt-tightening and state-sector cutbacks when they’re exploiting loopholes like this to stuff their own pockets with taxpayer cash.
Interesting, possibly very interesting: How many MPs own undeclared shares inside these private super schemes?