Some MPs' allowances paid illegally for years

MPs have been illegally paying themselves some travel and accommodation allowances for many years, a bill tabled in Parliament said today.

The Parliamentary Services Amendment Bill attempts to cover a gap in the legislation covering MPs' allowances.

It says although legally there are no MPs from polling day to the formal declaration of results some days later, it has been the practice for many years to pay travel and accommodation benefits to candidates when it is clear they are going to be elected.

"It is now doubtful that these practices have been authorised by the applicable legislation," the bill's explanatory note said.

The bill as drafted allows the Speaker to direct payments to be made to some candidates after election day and provide them with administrative and support services.

The bill means that those would-be MPs, who the general manager of Parliamentary Services deems are likely to make it into Parliament based on election night results, will now be legally entitled to get their travel and accommodation paid for by the taxpayer.

- NZPA

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