Strip MPs of voting rights during rugby junket - Turei

The Rugby World Cup (AAP)
The Rugby World Cup (AAP)

The Green Party says MPs who accept corporate-funded flights to the Rugby World Cup in September shouldn't be able to vote while they're away.

Nine MPs are flying to London in September, with the flights partially paid for by ANZ and Air New Zealand. They will be accompanied by ANZ's Andrew Gaukrodger.

The group is made up National MPs Paul Goldsmith, Sam Lotu-Iiga, Alfred Ngaro and Mark Mitchell; Labour's Damien O'Connor, Stuart Nash, Peeni Henare and Kelvin Davis; and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

Not all of them are actually on the Parliamentary rugby team, whose numbers are filled out by Diplomatic Protection Service officers, security staff and Parliament workers.

The Green Party's Gareth Hughes is a member of the team, but won't be making the trip because the party has concerns of "privileged access by corporate lobbyists to MPs".

"This is clearly a personal trip – it's not really Parliamentary business," co-leader Metiria Turei said on the Paul Henry programme this morning.

"They are going to the World Cup and they're getting corporate entities to pay for it. I think they should be a bit more upfront about it."

ANZ says Mr Gaukrodger is taking a "family holiday", and won't be attending any games in an official capacity.

The nine MPs will still have their votes counted in the House, which will sit for four days during their "personal" trip. 

"James [Shaw, Greens co-leader] and I today are off to Whakatane – we're going to meet with the iwi and community organisations and talk about issues up there," says Ms Turei.

"Our vote doesn't count today when we're doing Parliamentary business in the community. I don't see why their vote should count while they're at the Rugby World Cup."

In 2007 then-Prime Minister Helen Clark called for an inquiry into the Parliamentary rugby team's sponsorship from beer company Lion Nathan, shoe manufacturer Adidas, fast-food giant McDonald's and Air NZ. She said the money should have been considered a gift under Parliament's rules, and declared in the register of pecuniary interests.

"Nothing really happened," says Ms Turei.

"There wasn't any rules or guidelines put around these kinds of trips, and I think that's a problem and we should look at that again."

Some of the MPs have said they won't even be attending any Rugby World Cup games.

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