The media had a field day reporting and condemning the travel subsidy for MPs. For weeks on end we had story after story. But there was one story the media forgot to cover. It was the one about their massive travel subsidy to attend CHOGM in Trinidad and Tobago.
You see seven journalists flew to this lovely resort location on the PMs RNZAF aircraft. APN had one person attend, Fairfax one person, TVNZ and TV3 had two each and Getty Images also had one person. And they only had to pay $100 each.
Now if these media companies had to pay themselves to send their journalists, it would costs at least $4,000 economy to get there (including stop over). So this is a 97.5% subsidy for their travel costs. Or a savings of around $27,000 for the owners of those media companies.
If it is reprehensible that MPs get a 10% to 90% travel subsidy, then where has been the media outrage at this 97.5% travel subsidy?
What if a blogger decided he would like to attend a CHOGM in Trinidad and Tobago and got a lift over there with the PM for $100? Would that suddenly become a media story? You bet it would.
Now I am not saying that the media should not be allowed to travel on board the RNZAF plane if there is capacity. I’m not even saying that there shouldn’t be some cost saving for them (mind you 97.5% seems extreme). I am saying that it would be nice if they were as transparent about their own travel subsidies, as they were over those of the MPs.