The travel subsidy for journalists

December 17th, 2009 at 3:49 pm by David Farrar

The 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 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.

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12 Responses to “The travel subsidy for journalists”

  1. poneke (280 comments) says:

    IIRC, journalists who accompanied politicians on the Air Force planes used to have to pay pretty much the equivalent air fare (maybe 90pc of economy) or some such. It must have changed.

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  2. krazykiwi (formerly getstaffed) (9,189 comments) says:

    I’d like to know of the media organisation can choose who takes up these tasty jobs, or if their representatives must be ‘approved’ by the government

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  3. unaha-closp (1,111 comments) says:

    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?

    We weren’t aware, but now that we are letters shall be written, talkback shall be called…

    Hardly a day goes by when we don’t see yet another example of gross self serving spending by this National government. Whilst the country plunges deeper into recession, it comes as no surprise that the PM is paying local journalists to fly half way round the world so he can have better coverage of his CHOGM schmoozefest. Isn’t it bad enough that we have to pay for Hone Harawira to fly his flag from the Arc de Triumphe or Rodney Hide to take his mistresses on world tours?

    Outraged of Mt Albert

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  4. big bruv (13,198 comments) says:

    The following media representatives accompanied the PM: Audrey Young – NZ Herald Martin Kay – Fairfax Fran Mold – TVNZ Terry Williams TVNZ Scott Campbell – TV3 Matt Smith – TV3 Phil Walter – Getty Images.

    Send the bastards a bill.

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  5. RRM (9,414 comments) says:

    Did the journos get anything else apart from the seat on the plane?

    If the PM’s plane was going there anyway, then the cost to the taxpayer of giving them a lift was either nil or very close to nil.

    Though I doubt I will ever be able to hitch a free ride with the RNZAF… :-(

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  6. jaba (2,089 comments) says:

    unaha .. I’m outraged opposition MP’s are over there openly compromising our Govts efforts .. who is paying thier expenses for doing SFA

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  7. scanner (340 comments) says:

    Looks much like a “Circle Jerk”, on their way to the “Old Boys Club” meeting.
    Wonder if they got the chance to ask ShonKey if there was to be any more shady deals to be done with the Bro Party.
    Sounds like DBF was upset he didn’t get invited.

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  8. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,810 comments) says:

    Good to see the country can afford to fly a 757 down to Antarctica for no good reason whatsoever.

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  9. quixote (5 comments) says:

    another brilliant article by Farrar,
    writer for NAT party,
    discerning comments about nothing,
    Farrar used to be worth reading,
    now he writes journal garbage

    [DPF: Then you can fuck off. 30 demerits]

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  10. Robert Black (423 comments) says:

    Ouch. I copped 20 yesterday. Feel your master’s wrath and bear it. Haha.

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  11. Robert Black (423 comments) says:

    DPF with respect, I don’t know whether it will be healthy for your blogsite in the long run to answer critcism about your posts and decide demerits after you have had a few. As I warned you before, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. It’s not worth it mate. Take a step back. I totally respect you but objectivity is the name of success in such blogsites. And I do mean it – Merry Xmas! Take it easy.

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  12. Scorpio (396 comments) says:

    I come to Kiwiblog because I often learn something I would not have found out any other way. I am also exposed to viewpoints from different people. Not always a pleasant experience.

    Thank you David for the hours you put into this venture.

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