Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

MP 'taking the mickey' over Parliamentary absences

Mana Party Leader and sole MP Hone Harawira is "taking the mickey" with his frequent absences from Parliament, Prime Minister John Key says.

Mr Key's comment this morning comes on the first day of the Parliamentary year as MPs face stiffer financial penalties for unjustified absences from the House.

Parliament last year agreed to introduce a register of attendance for MPs. MPs who are absent for more than three sitting days will have their pay docked by 0.2 per cent per day or $295 for a backbencher. Previously MPs faced a penalty of just $10 a day for absences longer than nine days.

Mr Key this morning said the higher penalties were "a very good thing and we pushed for that".

"At the end of the day the New Zealand public pay us a lot to turn up here and represent them. There are always reasons why a Member of Parliament might not be here, very legitimate reasons. I, for instance, am overseas or around the country whatever it might be but I think there's been a situation where some MPs frankly, have taken the mickey and they've treated the place with not enough respect.

"They don't turn up and they should be held to account.

"Hone Harawira's an obvious one. You go and have a look at the number of days he was here in the 2011 2013 period not very many."

- NZ Herald

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