Campaigning on the taxpayer?

MP travel expenses have ballooned last quarter:

The domestic travel and accommodation costs of MPs and ministers totalled $3.7 million from October to December – 51 per cent higher than for the same quarter in 2010 when it was $2.4 million. It equates to an average of an extra $10,000 on travel for each MP over the three month period.

The figures do not include accommodation costs for MPs’ bases in Wellington.

The sharp spike in travel was likely caused by the election campaign and the Rugby World Cup.

MPs have unlimited domestic travel, including for campaigning and personal use as well as work-related.

Yep it is outrageous that representatives are able to extort the taxpayer to fund their election campaigning.

Have a look at these three examples from the latest figures:

Trevor Mallard, Katrina Shanks, Charles Chauvel and Gareth Hughes…all are Wellington based MPs. There should be precious little excuse, particularly for electorate MPs like Mallard for excessive

Party Member Accommodation Domestic travel Total
Wellington Out?of Wellington Air Surface
Green Hughes, Gareth 1,421 13,325 3,805 18,551
Labour Chauvel, Charles 1,525 9,658 3,475 14,659
Labour Mallard, Trevor 253 10,126 7,667 18,047
National Shanks, Katrina 312 2,188 1,479 3,978

It certainly looks like Labour’s campaign strategist was taking the piss on travel and using the taxpayers funds to cart his carcass around the country. Gareth Hughes is a terrible spender, enjoying large amounts of air travel for dubious purpose.