NZ taxpayers forked out more than $80,000 for Trump inauguration party

New Zealand taxpayers forked out more than $80,000 on a party in Washington, DC, to mark Donald Trump's inauguration.

New Zealand's ambassador to the US, Tim Groser, hosted the glitzy bash on January 17.

There were 321 guests at the NZ Embassy's Inauguration Gala, including Hollywood actor Jon Voight, father of superstar Angelina Jolie.

The event was also attended by Trump Cabinet nominees, members of Trump's Executive Office such as Chris Liddell and Stephen Bannon, senior Trump advisers Stuart Jolly, Mike Rubino and Alan Cobb, the majority Leader of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy, senators, members of Congress, generals, a sprinkling of very wealthy businesspeople and Republican insiders.

Trump senior advisor, Stuart Jolly. Photo/Asico Photo
Trump senior advisor, Stuart Jolly. Photo/Asico Photo

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) confirmed the $80,865 cost, saying the event was hosted because of the embassy's critical role in pursuing New Zealand's interests with the United States.

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The party was funded from MFAT's baseline budget. It met standard approval criteria, MFAT said.

"The event was considered an important part of enhancing the profile of New Zealand as a partner and a constituency building event to position New Zealand's interests effectively with the new US Administration and Congress."

Groser previously told the Herald of the party: "Our professional job is to establish the best possible relationships we can with the incoming administration of the United States.

"And because of the extraordinary nature of the campaign, very few people, I would say even within the United States, let alone the foreign diplomatic community, have really any idea who they are or who is deeply influential in the new administration."

- NZ Herald

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