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Bill English defends allowance for Wellington home

Saturday 01 Aug 2009 12:00a.m.

Bill English defends allowance for Wellington home
By Scott Campbell

Finance Minister Bill English is batting off claims he's taking the taxpayer for a ride at the same time as he's demanding spending constraints from other government departments.

It has been revealed that Mr English receives almost $1,000 a week as part of a living allowance for ministers to live in his own Wellington home.

And he receives the allowance despite earning a salary of over $270,000.

"This isn't about the money, this is about the support - I get which I appreciate - which enables our family to be together under the pressures of politics," Mr English says. "I get the same treatment as every other minister."

The English family moved north to the capital four years ago. He used to get half the allowance before becoming minister.

Both Prime Minister John Key and Mr English have been urging restraint from government departments, saying it is to help struggling New Zealanders.

Mr Key capped the accommodation allowance ministers get while away from home at $750 a week plus expenses.

But Mr English is standing by his call that he's not breaking any rules.

3 News

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