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MPs restrained on expenses

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, April 29 NZPA - Public scrutiny over the expenses of MPs and ministers seems to have reined in excessive spending.

The expenses for the three months to March 31 were released today. It was the fourth time since January last year that the expenses have been released.

MPs' expenses paid through Parliamentary Service totalled $1,561,186 for the three months, down from the $1,790,956 in the previous quarter and $2,050,020 before that.

Ministerial expenses totalled $1,667,691 for the first three months of the year.

Among the big spenders were Prime Minister John Key, who racked up $97,529 on domestic transport and accommodation and $18,289 on international travel and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Trade Minister Tim Groser who spent $158,538 and $130,427 respectively on international travel as they travelled the world to promote New Zealand.

Minister of Fisheries and Housing Phil Heatley spent $20,862 in ministerial expenses and $4383 for domestic travel.

The expenses disclosure said Mr Heatley repaid $2563 relating to expenditure from outside the three month period.

He quit his portfolios in February after revelations of inappropriate spending, but was reinstated by Mr Key last month after Auditor-General Lyn Provost published her report into spending.

The report found $1402 of Mr Heatley's expenditure -- $608 from Ministerial Services and $794 from Parliamentary Service -- was outside the rules, which Mr Heatley said he had misunderstood.

Top spending MPs included Labour leader Phil Goff with $73,142 and Maori Party MP Hone Harawira $40,869.

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