NZ Herald reports:
Travel perks for former MPs will now be protected in law under legislation debated by Parliament yesterday but the amount spent by each individual former MP will be revealed annually.
The Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Services) Bill costs taxpayers about $1.3 million a year.
Former MPs elected before 1999 and their spouses and widows and widowers are entitled to rebates on domestic and international airfares.
I would’t say the bill will cost taxpayers anything. The existing entitlements are what cost the taxpayers.
Incidentally only 23 of the 121 current MPs will enjoy travel perks when they retire.
The bill shifts responsibility for travel and accommodation of MPs and ministers away from the Speaker and Prime Minister to the Remuneration Authority plus an additional person with knowledge in the area.
This is the key change, and very welcome. Under the joint leadership of John Key and Lockwood Smith there has been both a unprecedented level of transparency with travel expenses released every quarter and every single item on ministerial credit cards released. Key has also reduced some of the Ministerial entitlements such as spousal travel overseas.
The bill also sets in law a requirement by MPs to disclose their travel and accommodation costs quarterly, a practice instigated on a voluntary basis by Speaker Lockwood Smith.
And the bill contains what is known as the “Chris Carter clause” after the ex-Labour MP who went awol after his expulsion from caucus: it increases the penalty for being absent from Parliament without good cause from its present $10 a day to $270 a day.
I think Carter also went AWOL before his expulsion.Tags: MPs expenses, perks, Remuneration Authority