Media keep getting it wrong on Costly

The Herald reports:

It has been revealed Costley is claiming $36,400 (taxpayer-funded) a year in housing allowance for an apartment he owns in Wellington despite living about 58km from Parliament in a family house in Waikanae.

MPs are entitled to claim $36,400 a year if their main residence is “outside the Wellington commuting area”, but the rules do not specify a minimum distance.

Inland Revenue defined reasonable commuting distance as “between 50km and 80km for each leg of the journey or between 100km and 160km, taking both legs into account”.

The part in bold is wrong. The rules state:

Wellington commuting area means the cities of Wellington, Hutt, Upper Hutt, and Porirua

They’re in black and white. There is no grey area.

It’s fine to debate the wisdom of claiming the allowance, but it isn’t find to imply the rules are unclear when they are not.

Personally I’m not a big fan of requiring MPs who have just worked 14 hour days, to also be expected to drive home for 45 to 60 minutes.

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