Andrea Vance Â reports on some gold plated toughing.
Taxpayers are stumping up for Pacific Island Affairs boss Pauline Winter to travel between Wellington and Auckland most weekends.
Winter has a home in Westmere, but her $240,000-a-year job is based in the capital.
Her expense records show that over the last year she flew between the two cities almost every weekend. Between July 2013 and 2014, her expenditure totalled more than $30,000, most of which went on airfares, taxis and rental car hire in Wellington and Auckland.
However, State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie insists that Winter does not commute and that she has a residence in Wellington.
“I expect the chief executive to travel regularly between MPIA’s offices in Wellington and Auckland and to attend meetings and events with the Pacific Island community . . .
“I am assured by Ms Winter that all her travel expenses are for legitimate purposes related to the core business of the ministry and are in accordance with MPIA’s policies and processes.”
The ministry is also paying for private secretary Luc Shorter to commute between Auckland and Wellington, and is footing his accommodation bill.
His Twitter profile says he lives on Waiheke Island and insiders say he is billeted at serviced apartments on The Terrace, costing around $1800 a month.
Shorter, executive director Kevin Sua Thomsen and regional manager Paul Stowers were hired by Winter last year without the roles being advertised. Â Read more »