Parliament's biggest spenders revealed

  • 18/08/2016
Parliament's biggest spenders revealed

Phone chargers, pizza, gift wrapping and passports - just a few of the things the taxpayer has picked up for ministers over the past couple of months. 

The latest ministerial and MP expense reports are out and while everyone appears to have stayed within the rules, there is a lot of cash being splashed. 

The MP who spent the most on travel and accommodation is none other than the leader of the Opposition Andrew Little - spending $56,389 in the three months to June. 

Coming in right behind him is fresh-faced backbencher and Clutha Southland MP Todd Barclay, who spent over $45,000 in travel and accommodation in three months - more than Winston Peters who frequently travels to Northland. 

Parliament's biggest spenders revealed

 

But Prime Minister John Key has jumped in to defend his MP's spending. 

"He actually happens to live in Queenstown - it's not the easiest place in the world to get to, it's not the cheapest place in the world to get to, he's been very active in terms of the work he's doing. There might be a number of other factors of where he's been travelling," he said.

Mr Key said the Government has no issues with MP's being asked why they're spending large amounts but it's not always apples and oranges.

"I'd be very cautious about drawing attention just because someone spends a bit more than someone else," he said. 

Ministers don't have to declare how much they spent on domestic travel, however their ministerial credit card statements are made public. 

Parliament's biggest spenders revealed

 

And it appears a couple are a big fan of Uber.

Peter Dunne and Nicky Wagner both used the service to get around New York. Mr Dunne spent $267 on return Uber to airport while Ms Wagner spent $266.58 on 6 Uber trips.

Interestingly, Ms Wagner was the target of taxi drivers protesting the company in Christchurch just a month later.

And it appears ministers are just like the rest of us - they need their phones to survive - and they're always running out of juice. Maggie Barry scored herself a pretty metallic wall charger for her phone at a cost of $44.99 while Judith Collins was obviously on the go a lot - she bought both a car charger and a portable battery pack totalling $104.99.

And that's not the only device Ms Collins needs to charge, she also whacked a Portable CD/DVD player on the taxpayer card - because, well, isn't everything on CD or DVD?

As for food - well there was a lot consumed on overseas trips, but a Minister's got to eat.

One big ticket item was a pizza party in Nathan Guy's office - and he didn't scrimp and order Dominos, he went for $129.50 worth of Pizza Pomodoro.

And while it looks like Steven Joyce got one hell of a sugar high, his office informs us that the $30 receipt from Candylicious in Singapore was actually the personal receipt for a staffers gifts for the office. So not a public dime spent, the receipt got muddled into the travel reconciliation and "no reimbursement was sought or received". 

Passports are also picked up by the taxpayer at $180 a pop. Mr Guy, Craig Foss, Te Ururoa Flavell, Chris Finlayson, Bill English, Jonathan Coleman and Amy Adams ordered passports for either themselves or staffers that travel with them while Nikki Kaye and Simon Bridges charged back two each.

Mr Key, Mr Coleman and Jo Goodhew had their reading taken care of - Mr Key charged back four $24 monthly subscriptions to the online edition of Christchurch newspaper The Press while Ms Goodhew spent $166 on renewing her subscription to NZ Farmers Weekly, while Mr Coleman racked up over $900 in subscriptions - $432 on subscription to The Economist and $493.72 on subscription to The Financial Times.

And we've all been here too, Murray McCully needed a new credit card - $10. 

Newshub.

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