Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says everyone is in "a tizz" about him skipping a European parliamentary delegation meeting to make a 300km dash from Brussels to go sightseeing in Paris.
He said the trip was a breach of Parliamentary protocol but that he had discussed the issues with a European Parliamentary MP and had not "missed anything".
Mr Harawira is now being investigated for the trip. He was leading a three-MP group that travelled to Europe last month for meetings in Brussels and Geneva when he decided on the jaunt.
"How many times in my lifetime am I going to get to Europe? So I thought, 'F*** it, I'm off. I'm off to Paris'," he said yesterday.
Mr Harawira, whose wife, Hilda, accompanied him on the trip, paid for the extra travel himself and said many of the issues that were due to be discussed at the missed meeting had been broached at a dinner the night before.
He had asked European Parliament MP Mara Bizzotto - who chaired the delegation for relations with Australia and New Zealand - if he could skip the meeting "and she was cool with it".
"We had dinner with her the night before.
"I said to her, 'Look, I'll introduce you to some All Blacks when you come down to Aotearoa', and she really liked that bit."
In a statement released today, Mr Harawira said of the invitation: "She positively glowed with happiness at the thought, so after all the speeches were over I did the honourable thing and closed the evening with a haka which brought the house down."
He said he also met with a European MP from Finland to discuss the similarities between the Saami people and Maori, and made tentative arrangements for a future visit to Finland to see how the Saami parliament was run.
In a Q & A media release, Mr Harawira asked himself if he enjoyed the trip. "Hell yes," he replied.
He said he had not been given any "flak" from party leaders and has had no negative feedback from constituents.
"In fact one Pakeha lady stopped me to say she loved my article about the Paris trip and said she could picture the places I talked about as I described them. The only adverse comments I've had are from the press."
National MP Katrina Shanks and Labour MP Rajen Prasad were in Europe with Mr Harawira, and Ms Shanks was left to chair the meeting, and later to report on it.
The meeting discussed relations between the EU and New Zealand, family and youth policies and multiculturalism.
It is not the first time the MP for Te Tai Tokerau has mixed pleasure with business while overseas.
In 2007, he was ordered to pay back $1100 - half the price of his business-class flights - after leaving half way through a four-day select committee trip to Melbourne, to visit Aboriginal groups in Alice Springs.
A Parliamentary Service spokesman yesterday said the Office of the Clerk was looking into Mr Harawira's Paris trip and it was possible he could be asked to repay a portion of his travel costs if he had missed official business.
But Mr Harawira was yesterday unrepentant. "I accept it was outside the boundaries, but I don't feel uncomfortable with it."
He said he told Ms Shanks before going to Paris, but had not spoken to Dr Prasad until his return.
"He [Dr Prasad] had a laugh and said, 'Well, what goes on tour stays on tour'."
Mr Harawira effectively dobbed himself in by writing about the Paris trip in his column in the Kaitaia-based Northland Age newspaper.
In it, he describes the Louvre as "the museum made famous by Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code" and tells why he and his wife went to only the second level of the Eiffel Tower: "Too many people, not enough time, but high enough to see the grandeur of a beautiful city."
Yesterday, he said he was not the kind to keep such things hidden and readers of his column told him they loved the piece.