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The Green Party today made public the travel and accommodation spending of its Members of Parliament.
The Green Party’s nine MPs released a summary of their expenses for the first four months of 2009, covering air travel and accommodation as well as taxi and rental car use. The Green Party MPs have committed to make figures available annually.
Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei said other political parties did not need to wait for a Parliamentary committee to meet before making their spending public: “The Green Party often leads on issues of honest politics and we hope other parties will also release their spending. We don’t think there’s anything to hide.”
The Green Party’s action has prompted the Prime Minister John Key to call for a cross-party committee to consider increased transparency for Parliamentary Service spending by MPs.
The controls on spending were much more robust in New Zealand than in Britain, Mrs Turei said, where gross abuses by MPs had caused a furore. However, additional disclosures by New Zealand’s MPs would reassure the public and help inform discussion.
“The public has the right to know how much is being spent and to decide whether the rules are right,” Mrs Turei said.
“Most New Zealanders are probably comfortable with their MPs travelling to and from Wellington and around the country to meet with constituents. They just want to know that the privilege is not abused.”
The Green Party’s expense report supplements the annual statement of pecuniary interest that is required of all MPs.
The report reveals accommodation expenses that were claimed in the first four months of 2009 and can vary due to the processing of claims. In some instances, rent or hotel nights for December are claimed in January or February, for example.
Link to the Green Party MPs' Statements of Pecuniary Interest (as pdfs):