The Herald reports:
Maori Party MP Hone Harawira is being investigated after skipping a European parliamentary delegation meeting to make a 300km dash from Brussels to go sightseeing in Paris. …
“How many times in my lifetime am I going to get to Europe? So I thought, ‘F*** it, I’m off. I’m off to Paris’,” he said yesterday.
Mr Harawira, whose wife, Hilda, accompanied him on the trip, paid for the extra travel himself and said many of the issues that were due to be discussed at the missed meeting had been broached at a dinner the night before.
That is of course not the issue. I don’t have a problem with MPs staying on after an official trip, for a private holiday. Hell I try to do that myself whenever I have a conference or work related travel somewhere. Silly not to, if already on the other side of the world.
But it is quite different to take a holiday in the middle of your official business, let alone actually miss meetings that are the reason you are funded to be there. Hone has made the same error of judgement that Richard Worth made years ago in Egypt.
A Parliamentary Service spokesman yesterday said the Office of the Clerk was looking into Mr Harawira’s Paris trip and it was possible he could be asked to repay a portion of his travel costs if he had missed official business.
That would be appropriate.
Mr Harawira effectively dobbed himself in by writing about the Paris trip in his column in the Kaitaia-based Northland Age newspaper.
You have to give Hone credit at least for that – he outed himself, and is willing to let his constituents judge if they approve.