GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – PM’s, Privilege and Poverty


That former Prime Ministers, Governors-General and their surviving spouses receive a generous tax -payer funded annuity, free travel and a new car every time their old one reaches 60,000 Km, seemed to come as a surprise to TVNZ news when it learned that we’ve rewarded these people at least $3.7 million in annuities and travel in the last 5 years. Over that time I have written about this pandering to these already wealthy recipients at least twice.

The last time was when John Key left office .You must remember him – he went on to become the Chairman of the ANZ Bank Group. In fact if you look at the post parliamentary careers of our former PM’s such and Jenny Shipley, Geoffrey Palmer and Helen they don’t simply retire after leaving office , they go on to jobs where they earn big money.

Yet while they enjoy state -funded privileges that keeps them in the top 10% of New Zealanders who own half the wealth of our country, 40% of us have to make do with sharing just 3% of the nation’s wealth. And feeding hungry kids healthy meals at school is still viewed by many as just idealistic nonsense touted by left wing extremists.(Which I guess makes me one).

Well, as I have said on my page before, my favourite former politician is the former President of Uruguay Jose Mujica affectionately known as “Pepe” ( see photo)

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Look him up it’ll warm your heart and restore some of your faith in humanity.

As President he refused to live in the palace provided for him or allow any of his staff to use it but continued to live on the humble farm owned by his wife on the outskirts of Monet Video.

He gave 90 percent of his $12,000 monthly salary to charities that benefit poor people and small entrepreneurs and since 1987 has driven the same VW Beetle.

I have such respect for this man.

Here is a former head of state who walks the talk and understands what “public service” really means.


Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.


  1. I wonder if he would be interested in coming out here a being PM for a few years ?
    He could show all of them how it is done.

  2. Well if we are giving these people 3.7 million you’d expect to get that back in the proceeding week or month in trade opportunities so that the economy is ticking over at 4% instead of the 3% now. Do these people honestly think they’re there to wave and cut ribbons? Get to work.

  3. The Politics of envy is a sad reflection on this author.
    Maybe he should not have accepted the large amounts of money from NZ people(via various gummint bodies) for his docudramas.

    • @MATURITY.
      What? But you make no sense. No, really.
      ” The Politics of envy is a sad reflection on this author”
      You make no sense at all. It’s nice that you come here and try to voice an opinion no matter how garbled, but please? Try to make sense?
      Unless…! You’re one of the cheap, yet expensive, traitorous political crooks @ BB writes of.

      So? We have homeless people begging for fag ends and pocket change at our feet in the streets and yet we have former Prime Ministers, Governors-General and their surviving spouses receive a generous tax -payer funded annuity, free travel and a new car every time their old one reaches 60,000 Km?
      The people and their whanau who LIVE in their cars would be into that kind of sweet deal I betcha for nothing gosh darn it!

      @ MATURITY Thinks you’re being envious of those who, long ago abondened their humanity for a dollar?
      What do you have to say to @ MATURITY on that matter. Take your time. Breath in…. breath out. Stay away from sharp objects.

  4. Isn’t John Key also with Air NZ????!!!! Surely he doesn’t need the NZ taxpayers to be funding his jet-setting around the world since he can always pass the ‘bills’ onto Air NZ to pay???!!!!!

    I once heard that being in the United Nations, even in the job that Helen Clarke was in, means one doesn’t need to be pay taxes due to the fact the UN encompasses so many countries and tax laws/requirements vary from country to country.

    I do recall once seeing an article of a South American president who gained my respect and admiration. Instead of expecting himself to get instant access at a hospital appointment he sat there with all the masses until his name was called up. That sort of politician deserves admiration and respect the world over.

    That sort of politician is sadly lacking in Western Countries like NZ, Australia, England, the US, etc.

    What we have instead is an opportunistic self-serving lot who think or rather demand that the world revolves around them 24/7. What we have are some former/has-been politicians who care more about money rather than the people.

    Meanwhile I will drive around in my 26 year old car because I cannot afford something more modern with airbags, etc,etc.etc. Like many other NZers I am way below the average yearly income of $55k plus.

    Money isn’t something that comes easily to me. It requires hard work and often feeling like one is pushing liquid SHIT(aka Store High In Transit)up a hill with a tooth-pick.

    Meanwhile we simple taxpayers have to contend with seeing hypocrites like John Key who has an answer for everything showing to us all his total arrogance and ignorance. But I guess he gets his pleasures out of sitting in beemers with bum warming seats that have been funded by the NZ taxpayers.

    • john key is one of the club.

      Privatised energy in spite of a referendum solidly against that.

      He never worked for NZ or Kiwis.

      Gave a non resident rich yank NZ citizenship
      Another club member.

      Con men.

    • ”I’m not against people who have money, who like money, who go crazy for money,” former President Jose Mujica said in an interview. ”But in politics we have to separate them. We have to run people who love money too much out of politics, they’re a danger in politics. People who love money should dedicate themselves to industry, to commerce, to multiply wealth. But politics is the struggle for the happiness of all.”

      Read More:

      Only crooks get rich though politics.

  5. Bryan , I’m agin miscegenation — between Irish and Scots. Saw too many troubling occasions down in Invercargill — ‘Lachlan Ryan’ and that sort of blasphemy. But I do appreciate your work against your wallet and for us. As opposed to America which is just a sea of competing CVs. Tho’ you were born to it like the rest of us.

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