Top cops and police managers put almost $144,000 on credit cards last year - staying at top hotels and spending on food and alcohol.
In the year to April 3, former police commissioner Howard Broad, his two deputies, five assistants, five national managers and 12 district commanders charged $143,986.78 to credit cards and spent another $41,988.47 on travel.
They also racked up frequent-flyer miles with trips to Singapore, Kiribati, Oslo and Hong Kong.
However, even the police union says there appears nothing untoward in the spending.
Lower Hutt district commander Richard Chambers ran up the biggest bill. His tally of $21,612 was 50 per cent more than the second highest-spending district chief's. Of that, $18,759.14 was spent on hotels in Kiribati. Chambers also spent $276 in two visits to Domino's Pizza in Lower Hutt. National crime manager Win van der Velde spent $141.50 at Pizza Hut.
Bay of Plenty district commander Glenn Dunbier had the second highest bill with a total spend of $20,314.48. He spent $6773.48 on travel expenses and charged $13,541 to his credit card.
Of the expenses incurred on Superintendent Dunbier's credit card, $12,435 related to travel and accommodation associated with the recent Anzac Day commemorations in Gallipoli. A statement from Superintendent Dunbier said he led the 2011 NZ Police operation to Gallipoli and his credit card was used to pay for accommodation for himself and other Police staff.
A further $1463 related to travel associated with a review that was undertaken for the previous Police Commissioner.
"The remaining $1106 reflects a full 12 months of domestic travel for NZ Police, including monthly travel expenses to Police National Headquarters in Wellington for monthly executive meetings," the statement said.
Broad, who earned about $450,000 a year before stepping down in April, spent $1355.49 at the Regent in Singapore and $736.20 on food and drink. Five bosses spent $531.10 in Maria Pia's Trattoria restaurant, close to police headquarters in Wellington. Van der Velde also spent $346.50 on flowers.
Police-issued credit cards can be used for business expenses for suppliers with no account facilities. They can be used for travel, accommodation, meals, rental cars, petrol, taxis, training and petty-cash items. Cash advances are not allowed, however Eastern District commander Sam Hoyle's statement mentions a "cash advance fee". Police acting finance manager Ian Georgeson said Hoyle needed a small amount of cash at a business function but had misplaced his personal bankcard. He repaid it.
Former deputy commissioner Rob Pope, who also stepped down in April, spent $1934.47 at the five-star Langham Hotel in Hong Kong and a Hilton hotel in Arizona.
The Kiribati expenses were for four police staff in "incredibly basic" accommodation, said Chambers. The bill would be paid by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Police union president Greg O'Connor said the total expenditure seemed "pretty cheap" and police stayed at high-quality hotels because that was often where conferences were held.