News.com.au has a list of the 10 worst spending excesses by Australian MPs, and what strikes me is that almost all of them couldn’t happen here. Let’s go through them:
- $152,000 on office admin costs including printing of $100,000. NZ MPs get a bulk allocation for office costs they must live within ranging from $47,000 to $110,000 depending on size of electorate
- Office renovation for an MP of $150,000. NZ MPs just get assigned an office in Parliament and the bulk budget above is for out of prlt offices.
- $200,000 on office facilities for a Minister. Again in NZ Ministers just basically get a standard office.
- An ex MP has spent $250,000 on 750 taxpayer funded flights. In NZ ex MPs no longer get free travel after they retire.
- A Senator spent $74,000 on domestic airfares. This could happen here as no cap on domestic airfares, but quarterly publication of costs discourages them.
- An MP spent $43,625 on overnight stays away from home and Parliament. This would be very hard to do in NZ as MP can claim only $210 a night.
- An MP spent $67,000 on chartered flights. NZ MPs can not charter flights except in exceptional circumstances for maybe the PM or senior Ministers.
- An MP had $28,500 of family travel. In NZ there is a limit of 30 one way trips for spouses and eight for children.
- $8,000 on a family holiday. This would not be funded in NZ.
- $6,000 for a helicopter trip. NZ MPs can not use helicopters for travel
Things are not perfect in NZ, but overall our rules look far far more stringent (as they should be) than Australia’s.