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Second Disclosure Of MPs Expenses Out

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Chris Carter
Chris Carter

Wellington, Oct 29 NZPA - Labour MP Chris Carter's travel expenses were considerably lower in the second disclosure of MPs' expenses released today.

Mr Carter faced criticism over travel expenses of $82,410 for the first six months of the year.

Figures out today for the July 1 to September 30 period show Mr Carter's travel bill was $13,549, made up of $8583 in air and $4966 in surface travel.

Labour whip Darren Hughes said the last figures had included some time when Mr Carter had been a minister. He said Labour leader Phil Goff had told MPs to watch their spending.

"Phil Goff has been really clear that we have to spend taxpayer money responsibly and make sure that every decision made is the right one, whether a flight or a trip is necessary.

"I think Chris' latest expenses reflect that."

Labour backbencher Ross Robertson spent $25,742 on air travel.

Mr Hughes said that was because he worked hard.

"There's about four or five MPs with similar surface travel costs that Ross has. He's a very hard-working member, as people who live in South Auckland know all too well."

As Labour's spokesman on senior citizens he travelled around the country to attend meetings.

Labour leader Phil Goff's travel expenses were $45,870; $29,166 in air and $16,704 in surface travel. Taking in accommodation expenses his overall total was $51,895.

Minor parties spending was also healthy -- Maori Party MP Hone Harawira spent $24,330 on air travel and nearly $20,000 on surface travel. He said that was because of having to service his constituents at the top of the country.

He was unconcerned by what people might think of the bill.

"Quite frankly I don't give a shit what New Zealanders think. I do care what the people of Tai Tokerau think, and I know that they say to me all of the time, `you turn up when you're expected to turn up and we'll back you. If we find out you are wasting time we will nail you,' so really they are the people who matter most to me."

ACT leader Rodney Hide spent $25,163 as an MP on air travel, while as a minister he spent $26,872.

Mr Hide said he tried to provide good value for money.

"It's been a busy period so yes it is up so I'm very conscious of that and I got Cabinet permission to do a trip overseas and the reason for that was to make sure that we're getting Auckland (changes to local governance) right and I have to say we've made some good progress because of that trip."

Prime Minister John Key spent $63,663 in Cabinet approved international travel, while Foreign Minister Murray McCully spent $83,836.

He was topped by Trade Minister Tim Groser, who spent $120,235.

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