Politicians who lost in the Nova Scotia election are being prevented from taking publicly bought office furnishings with them when they leave.

In the past, former MLAs could keep or sell furniture bought by taxpayers. But after the expenses scandal that rocked provincial politics, new rules were enacted.

John MacDonell, a former NDP cabinet minister who lost his Hants East seat after 15 years, packed up his constituency office Thursday. He said he had been informed about the new rules governing disposal of such items.

“I got a package in the mail yesterday from the speaker's office,” he explained. “Everything here either can go to the next MLA or to surplus.”

Spending scandal prompted change

The Dexter government changed the rules so all office furnishings bought after October 2009 must be returned to a government surplus warehouse if the incoming MLA does not want it.

Bruce Wood, a manager of inventory control, said a little bit of everything ends up in the warehouse.

“Our main goal here is to recycle back into government and in most cases that's where it goes,” he said.

Neil Ferguson, clerk of the Legislature, said spot checks are conducted to ensure everything is accounted for.

“There's a tag on each item. It's inventoried and if it's not there when transportation and infrastructural renewal people show up at the office to retrieve all the inventoried items, then we would pursue where a particular item has gone,” he said.

MacDonell spoke to Margaret Miller, the incoming Liberal MLA for Hants East, to see what she needs. The rest will go to the warehouse. 

New MLAs can go to the warehouse or use a $2,500 start-up fund to equip their office.