Finance Minister Bill English has today taken several steps to remove doubts about his ministerial housing allowance.
He announced today that:
He has elected not to take up any housing allowance.
He has not received any housing allowance since July 28, when he paid back the difference between his previous ministerial allowance and the allowance for ordinary MPs.
In addition, he has today reimbursed Ministerial Services for all of the outstanding housing allowance he received since the election last November.
He has received an opinion from Stephen Kos, QC, confirming that changes to his family trust arrangements did not affect his eligibility for the previous ministerial housing allowance.
"What I'm announcing today reflects a set of personal decisions I have made about my own situation. It is in no way setting a precedent for others although I make the point here that I believe Parliament does have to think how it can accommodate the families of long-term politicians.
"At all times my decisions have been driven by my desire to keep my family together and provide them with as much stability as possible. Itâ€™s now clear that the system has struggled to deal with my circumstances.
"This has been an unnecessary distraction. I now want to move on and focus on building our economy and ensuring that New Zealanders have jobs."Tweet