National leader Christopher Luxon 'very comfortable' with $45,000 taxpayer top-up from renting office back to Parliament

National leader Christopher Luxon receives a $45,000 taxpayer top-up through renting his own electorate office back to Parliament.

And he's not the only one. As well as Luxon, Labour MPs Nanaia Mahuta, Tracey McLellan and Jenny Salesa, and National's Jacqui Dean and Paul Goldsmith, or parties related to them, all receive taxpayer top-ups through the perk, a Parliament list of lease disclosures shows.

The properties used by the Labour MPs are owned by trusts, companies or organisations linked to them. Salesa and McLellan's offices are owned by a property arm of Labour's, the NZ Herald reported, while Mahuta's is administered by Marae Trustees on behalf of Tainui. Mahuta does not personally gain from the arrangement, the Herald said. 

Addressing the media on Tuesday, Luxon argued many MPs had owned their own electorate offices in the past.

But exactly which MPs were exploiting the perk wasn't, until now, publicly available information.

It was only decided last year to expand MPs' public expense disclosures to include conflicts of interest relating to the leasing of electorate offices, the Beehive said.

The Opposition leader's annual salary is set at $296,007. If you apply the top-up he gets from leasing his office, Luxon nets $341,007.

Luxon said the move was approved by Parliamentary Services and argued "MPs have owned their own electorate offices in history over a long period of time".

"In my case, it's all signed off by Parliamentary Services and they pay below-market rent," he told reporters. "I'm very comfortable with it, Parliamentary Services are incredibly comfortable with it - they've gone through, checked it all, done the market studies and I think we're good.

"What's important here is that we're following all the rules and so Parliamentary Services signs off and authorises the arrangements that have been put in place between my electorate office."

Meanwhile Rob Salmond, Labour's general-secretary, said Labour owned a small amount of offices. He told the Herald the party had "owned these properties for many years. Some of those leases are to Members of Parliament, and those leases are independently reviewed and approved by the Parliamentary Service."

According to the Beehive, it made the public expense disclosure changes last year to "assure the public that members are not using parliamentary funding to pay excessive rental on properties where there is a connection between the landlord and the member".

"It was agreed that all related party leases including details of rent paid and the independent rent market assessment would be published," it said.

For more information about the leases, click here.

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