You might have seen an article in the Herald this week about the sale of a New Zealand apartment in New York.

Contrary to popular opinion about the state of broadcasting wages, I can confirm the $6.7 million pad was not, and will not, be mine. It was the apartment owned by Mfat, for the use of our Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

And earlier this year, it was traded in for a new $11.4m space.

That is a stack of taxpayer money and for the sake of perspective I thought it might be useful to compare Mfat's Permanent Residence in New York with mine.


The Mfat place has four bedrooms and a fantastic view. My place has one bedroom and steel bars over the windows for safety reasons.

The Mfat place hosts Security Council members and world leaders for lunch. My place has a fold-out couch to host backpacking Kiwis in marae-style living.

The Mfat place is directly across the road from the United Nations. Mine is in East Harlem, which I personally find charming, although it's not altogether uncommon to see guys throwing dice or smoking weed outside.

The apartments are worlds apart.

And yet - and yet - my rent goes up in a couple of months to just on $40,000 a year. Forty. Thousand. Dollars.

My point is that all property in Manhattan is pretty damn expensive. But does Mfat need to own so many properties?

Again, for the sake of perspective, compare the New York pad with ours in Hawaii.

The Hawaiian consulate has only just opened, but our new mansion has a heated pool, polished marble and a waterfall. It cost $6.2m.


It's reasonable for key outposts to cost a lot but buying unnecessary mansions is a poor look for a Government preaching surpluses and sparse expenditure. The New York outpost is a biggy. London, Beijing and Washington are, too. But our Hawaiian diplomats are hosting whom, exactly?

• Jack Tame is on Newstalk ZB Saturdays, 9am-midday