Ministers spend $5.5m on international flights

The biggest individual booking came from Prime Minister Bill English, who spent $35,155.37 for return business class flights to Europe with two staff members on Singapore Airlines.
The biggest individual booking came from Prime Minister Bill English, who spent $35,155.37 for return business class flights to Europe with two staff members on Singapore Airlines. Photo credit: Newshub

Taxpayers have forked out more than $5.5m on international flights for ministers since the last election.

Records released to Newshub under the Official Information Act show 30 ministers and their staff racked up 3271 international flights on 54 different airlines since October 2014.

Air New Zealand was the most popular with 1732 flight bookings from the Beehive over that period - around 52 percent overall.

Emirates came in second with ministers and their staff flying with the Dubai-based airline 386 times, and Singapore Airlines came in third place with 234 flights.

Ministers spend $5.5m on international flights
Photo credit: Newshub

The records do not reveal what class of travel ministers and their staff flew in but based on the cost it's likely most of the flights were in first class or business class.

The Department of Internal Affairs - which manages the bookings - says the class of travel is not recorded by the TravelCard system that is typically used, but it is recorded if flights are booked by other means.

Of the flights booked outside of the TravelCard system, all were in business or first class if it was offered by the particular airline.

Former Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully clocked up the most flights, spending $895,512.68 on 519 flights for himself and his staff. He flew with Air New Zealand 198 times, and Emirates 142 times.

Trade Minister Todd McClay is in second place, with 251 flights which cost the taxpayer $522,601.79. Air New Zealand made up 113 of those flights, and Emirates 76.

Not far behind was McClay's predecessor Tim Groser and his staff, who flew 248 times, costing $512,862.85. Most of his travel was with Air New Zealand (111 flights) but unlike McCully and McClay, the airline in second place is Singapore Airlines, with 32 flights.

Besides Air New Zealand, Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett flew the most with Singapore Airlines, and Bill English flew the most with Qantas.

Ministers spend $5.5m on international flights
Photo credit: Newshub

The biggest individual booking came from Prime Minister Bill English, who spent $35,155.37 for return business class flights to Europe with two staff members on Singapore Airlines.

Not far behind is Finance Minister Steven Joyce who spent $28,553.92 on return business class flights to Chile with one staff member flying LATAM Airlines.

Newshub.

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Email
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Viber Share to WhatsApp Share to Email