Independent MP Chris Carter has been fined for failing to show up at Parliament.
Speaker Lockwood Smith this afternoon said that Mr Carter had failed to front up at Parliament for more than 14 sitting days.
Dr Smith said he cold not certify that Mr Carter's absence was caused by illness or that it was otherwise unavoidable. He would deduct Mr Carter $10 for each sitting day he was off - so Mr Carter would face a total $140 fine.
Dr Smith said it was important that MPs were seen to attend the House.
"Their first duty is to the House," Dr Smith said.
"I recognise that that the penalty is small, but this does not mean that I do not take the attendance of members seriously. While members draw a parliamentary salary they should attend sittings of the House."
That is as it should be. Whilst the penalty for Carter being AWOL is woefully inadequate, the Speaker's hands being tied, we are pleased that Lockwood Smith has reinforced where Carter's first responsibility lies.
It's simply not good enough for Carter to skive off on his personal crusade when we, as taxpayers, are funding his salary, his expenses and his travel up and down the country. Whilst Parliament sat yesterday afternoon, Carter was doing talkback with Willie Jackson and John Tamihere on RadioLive. He tried his best to justify his actions, but failed miserably, in our humble opinion. This seems more and more like a personal vendatta against Phil Goff.
And Carter made a suprising admission. His apology at a press conference in late June, where he said "sorry" or "I apologise ..." around 27 times was a sham. He over-egged the apologies to wind up the assembled media. That suggests to us that Carter STILL does not get the message that his Ministerial travel was excessive. If he is suffering from any illness at the moment, it would seem to be a lingering case of Entitleitis.
PS: Could anyone other that Willie Jackson get away with TWICE calling Chris Carter a "poofter" during the RadioLive chat yesterday?
UPDATE: The 8am news on Newstalk ZB reports that Carter is feeling "victimised" and that Lockwood Smith's action was like "kicking him while he's down". It's clear that has case of Entitleitis is more serious than first feared! Carter reckoned that he was doing "important constituent work"; we fail to see how going on the radio with Willie and JT (in studio, so he had to drive (or be driven) there) benefits the good folk of Te Atatu.