MPs exploit property loophole

By 3 News online staff

Six National MPs have been found to have used a loophole meaning their private superannuation schemes are used to own property that doesn't need to be disclosed.

The loophole comes in the form of an exception to the rules in the Register of Pecuniary Interests.

The New Zealand Herald has revealed Chester Borrows, Simon Bridges, Anne Tolley, Chris Auchinvole, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iinga and Mike Sabin all live in Wellington properties while working in Parliament and also claim the accommodation allowance or expenses.

In owning the property in a private superannuation plan, politicians can use taxpayer-funded superannuation subsidies to pay their mortgage.

It is estimated up to $77,988 can be paid of a mortgage each year while also making capital gain as the property's value increases.

Mr Bridges, Mr Auchinvole and Mr Sabin say they would have no problem disclosing the properties, but were told by the Registrar for Pecuniary Interests not to do so, the Herald reports.

Another 26 MPs who receive accommodation allowances also have properties which are disclosed on the register.

Nineteen are National MPs, four from Labour, both Maori Party co-leaders Tariana Turia and Te Ururoa Flavell and New Zealand First MP Denis O'Rourke.

Meanwhile, the Taxpayers' Union says New Zealanders are entitled to know what personal benefits and remunerations MPs get.

Executive director Jordan Williams says the register is "unfit for purpose" and needs to be amended.

"These entitlements are stinging taxpayers in the pocket.  There is no excuse for not ensuring that there is full transparency."

He is shocked the ministers were told to withhold information which is contrary to the purpose of the register.

3 News

source: newshub archive