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MPs Need To Be Able To Justify Use Of Allowances -- PM John Key

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Key
John Key

Wellington, Nov 9 NZPA - MPs need to get their heads around new transparency for their allowances but it will ensure more careful use of taxpayer money, Prime Minister John Key says.

ACT leader Rodney Hide, who is also Local Government Minister, will today hand Parliamentary Services a cheque for nearly $12,000, to pay back taxpayer funds used to take his partner on overseas trips.

Mr Hide yesterday apologised for claiming a 90 percent fare discount when he took Louise Crome to Hawaii for a holiday and also for her to accompany him on a ministerial trip to London, Canada and the United States to study local government structures.

On that trip the couple attended Ms Crome's brother's wedding.

Mr Hide was entitled to the money, but had made a name for himself in Parliament by campaigning as a "perkbuster" and criticising allowances.

Also Mr Key had earlier told ministers that on official trips they should pay for partners themselves.

Mr Key today said MPs needed to accept that while they were spending within the rules transparency would change how they operated.

"We live in a world of enormous transparency where everything you do will be judged," he told NewstalkZB.

"It doesn't mean you shouldn't do things...we've got to be careful we don't let this spook MPs so they don't do anything."

However, MPs had to be able to justify what they spent taxpayer money on: "You've just got to be able to stack up your actions."

Mr Key said Mr Hide had learned from his mistakes.

"He's rectified that and I think the people of Epsom will stick with him," he said.

Mr Key told TVNZ's Breakfast programme Mr Hide's apology was the most fulsome he had seen from a politician.

"What he did was probably not appropriate given the campaign that he'd live by the sword you die by the sword."

Mr Hide also had to apologise for remarks he made, saying Mr Key had done little in government and being critical of Cabinet colleagues.

Mr Key said Mr Hide had his "absolute" confidence and that of ministers and "no one's taking them (the comments) seriously."

Mr Hide has vowed he would never again claim taxpayer money for holidays and said he had seriously examined himself after doing it.

"I just thought...those are the rules, and that's where I lost sight of it," he said.

"It's not easy for anyone to admit they've stuffed up."

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