New government keeps travel costs down

Anna Bracewell-Worrall

Newshub, Wellington, March 12, 2018

The new Government is settling into the perks of the office – flash Crown cars with drivers, taxis around town and flights around the country and abroad.

Not unusual

But it is not an unusual expenses bill for a Government.

Two ministers – Shane Jones ($27,296) and Jenny Salesa ($30,186) – have even spent more than the Prime Minister on travel within New Zealand.

The spending has been revealed in the Department of Internal Affairs’ release of quarterly ministerial expenses.

Often MPs from the most far-flung electorates in the North and South have the most expensive travel returns. Mr Jones lives in Northland’s Kerikeri and is Minister of Regional Economic Development, as well as Forestry and Infrastructure. Ms Salesa is Auckland-based.

In total, Government ministers spent $814,092 on internal travel and $175,317 on international travel.

In the same quarterly period in 2016, the National-led Government’s ministers spent nearly six times as much on international travel ($1,015,741) and $100,000 more on internal travel ($928,115).

This quarter, National MPs spent $289,150 on internal and $33,883 on international travel.

Revealing and humorous

The release of Government and MP’s expenses can be revealing – and sometimes humorous.

A return from Fletcher Tabuteau shows the MP spent $200 on ecards for Christmas.

Mr Tabuteau’s office said that fellow New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin was given a quote of $177 for 200 Christmas cards to be distributed by the Party, but, with the quote issued on December 14, the Party officials were worried that they were too late to send the cards out in time.

A spokesperson said there are strict rules around directly emailing a database, so, Mr Tabuteau used an ecard service to send 345 ecards himself.

Executive expenses

Jacinda Ardern – $27,751 on internal costs (less $6904 on accommodation allowance), plus $6,128 on international travel

James Shaw – $26,712 on international travel

Kelvin Davis – $24,644 on internal travel

David Parker – $16,877 on internal travel, $32,851 on international travel

Jenny Salesa – $30,186 internal travel

Aupito William Sio – $26,033 on international travel

Winston Peters – $33,151 on international travel

Shane Jones – $27,296 on internal travel

Indian Newslink has published the above Report under a Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz

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Photo Caption:

New Zealand Parliament in session

(Picture: Office of the Clerk, Parliament)

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