I see Mr Hide has a new vehicle and he has gone and confused the masses by putting a Parliamentary Crest on it. Now, hmmm…
The Parliamentary Crest (PC) is a registered image. It is registered to the Crown it can only be used for Parliamentary resources. So it can be used on letterheads and security badges and visitor stickers and all sorts of things like that. What it means is that the Speaker of the House has approved parliamentary money to be spent on whatever article or item the crest is attached to. And there are very strict rules as to how the crest is allowwed to be used which Rodney has alluded to.
One of the functions of the PC is to indicate to the public that something that has come from a political party has been funded by money from the taxpayer. This is a very important function of this logo, particularly in an election year when political party spending is under a lot of political and legal scrutiny.
So for Mr Hide to use this logo and claim that it’s just because it looks cool raises a number of questions for me.
a) What the hell definition of cool is he using?
b) Is he lying?
c) Is using the PC without the permission of the Speaker a breach of parliamentary spending rules?
Firstly, lets look at Rodney’s justification:
I stuck the crest on because it looks cool, I am the MP for Epsom, and I’m proud of it!
Besides, to even begin to fit within the rules the crest would have to be comparable in size and prominence to the ACT logo on the car’s front.
I am going to ignore the point that the crest looks cool, because it obviously isn’t.. But he is right, the crest would have to be comparable in size to the ACT logo. I’m not sure I agree with him on that point. According to these images the crest on the back and the logo on the front appear to be the same size, which complies with the rules.
Secondly, I asked is he lying. The reason I do this is because I can’t see for the life of me why someone would chose to confuse the public and put a crest on something that hasn’t used taxpayer funds to purchase. The deep cynic in me is wondering if Mr Hide did pay for it with taxpayer funds and then realising how hypocrytical that is, decided to pay for it himself so he didn’t have the proverbial egg-face thing going on.
Thirdly, and more seriously I ask if it is legit to use the PC without the authority of the Speaker. As a (former) member of the NZ tax paying public, I expect that when I see a PC, I know that taxpayer funds have been spent on an item that is deemed appropriate by the administrators of the rules of the Parliamentary Service. If any member of the public, be they a Member of Parliament or not, uses the PC without permission to do so, I would think that is getting close to a fraudulent act. It is certainly impersonating an authority which must be against some rule somewhere.
I am going to write to both Mr Hide and The Speaker for clarification of this issue, and I will post their responses on here when I receive them.
Finally, I would like to congratulate Mr Hide for chosing such a responsible vehicle to drive. I understand it is a highly economical, fuel-efficient car and it’s from a NZ company (their website doesn’t clarify if it’s made here or not) so I would like to commend Mr Hide for supporting good business!