MPs tour Europe on taxpayers' dollar
Tue, 03 Jul 2012 6:30p.m.
By Patrick Gower
Parliament's speaker is off leading MPs on a tour around Europe and it's being paid by you, the taxpayer.
This year, the annual jaunt is in Europe. While the official objective is to improve parliamentary relations, the MPs have managed to squeeze in a side-trip to the Mediterranean.
They say Dubrovnik, Croatia is nice this time of year. It’s 27degC at the Mediterranean seaside hotspot.
Lockwood Smith is about to hit town.
He is leading four other MPs on the annual Speakers Tour.
3 News tried ringing them to find out how it is all going and if they looking forward to Croatia, but Mr Smith’s phone went to voicemail.
The five MPs have just been in London for three days. Then it's off to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia for one day, down to Dubrovnik for two days and over to Brussels for two days. Then there is a one-day visit to Kiwi war memorials in Ypres, back to London, and home.
It is costing $110,000 for business-class air fares. $48,000 is budgeted for accommodation and incidentals. That's $158,000 on the taxpayer.
National's Melissa Lee, Greens MP Gareth Hughes, Labour's Darien Fenton and New Zealand First's Denis O'Rourke are all on tour.
So is the Speaker's wife as well as his secretary.
They couldn't be reached for comment about whether it's value for money, leaving the main parties defending it.
“Some small expenditure in terms of linking our democracies makes sense,” says Prime Minister John Key.
The trip is officially a chance for an "informal global reciprocal arrangement for parliamentary Diplomacy”, and you can decide for yourself what that means.
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4/07/2012 3:23:09 p.m.
As long as Parliament Speaker Lockwood Smith and his followers think that he is doing the good deeds for our country then we see no problem on his tour overseas on the taxpayers money..
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