I was an advocate of getting rid of the travel perks for former MPs, as there was little rationale for them.
However I do think that former Governor-Generals and Prime Ministers are in a different category. The Dom Post reports:
Former prime ministers and governors-general will rack up $920,000 in perks this year under a gold-plated scheme that provides unlimited free flights and annual payments.
The sum includes an estimated $520,000 in flights alone for one year, in a scheme that Internal Affairs predicts will cost taxpayers just over $10 million during the recipients’ lifetimes.
Former PM and GGs often have a continuing role in public life. They are asked to support various charities, speak at conferences etc. Jim Bolger says:
“One of the arguments [for the allowances] is you’re never not a public figure any more. You are always a public figure once you’ve been prime minister and-or governor-general. That carries with it certain responsibilities.”
The $10 million figure is the normal trick of take an annual figure and multiply it by expected years until death to make it sound much larger.