McClay tops minister spending

By Matthew Martin

1 comment

Rotorua MP has biggest expenses

Rotorua MP Todd McClay.
Rotorua MP Todd McClay.

Rotorua MP and National Party cabinet minister Todd McClay has topped the spending charts for ministerial expenses in the first quarter of this year.

Parliament's latest expense disclosures, released this week, show how much MPs have spent on travel and accommodation and how much ministers have spent executing their parliamentary duties.

Mr McClay, who is Trade Minister, State Owned Enterprises Minister and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs spent $108,774, mostly on international travel - although almost half of that total was carried over from the previous quarter.

He also spent $1530 on MP expenses on domestic travel.

Former Trade Minister Tim Groser spent $197,428 in the same quarter last year.

Mr McClay said he had been to Nairobi in Kenya, Europe and China in the last few months to promote New Zealand trade interests "making it easier for New Zealand companies to compete better overseas".

His total expenditure also includes staff members and other government officials who travel with him.

"In New Zealand I've been on 32 TPP roadshows in the last five weeks.

"The Trade Minister's job is to engage with others overseas and does travel a lot so I do expect my costs to be a lot more than other MPs.

"In all cases I look to reduce costs where I can," he said.

MP for Waiariki, Maori Development Minister, Whanau Ora Minister and associate Economic Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell spent $43,507 as a minister and a further $1505 as an MP.

Mr Flavell could not be contacted yesterday.

New Zealand First list MP based in Rotorua Fletcher Tabuteau spent $13,923 on travel and accommodation in the first quarter of the year.

In total, ministers spent $1,084,717 on accommodation and travel in the past three months - around $90,000 less than the same period last year.

MPs spent $1.4 million in the January to March quarter, a slight increase on last year.

The biggest-spending MP, excluding ministers, was Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little, who spent $36,009 in the last quarter.

That was partly due to international travel from the previous quarter.

On average, Labour MPs spent $15,444 each, New Zealand First MPs spent $14,652, Green MPs spent $14,509, Maori Party MPs spent $12,234 and National MPs (excluding ministerial expenses) spent $8505.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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