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MPs' spouses and partners will no longer enjoy taxpayer-subsidised overseas travel while their other half is at work.
The move comes in a clampdown on the "holiday perk" announced yesterday by Speaker Lockwood Smith, and was revealed as MPs' expenses for the three months to June were released.
They show taxpayer-funded domestic air travel by ministers' spouses, partners and children is on the rise.
Dr Smith is considering axing the international travel perk for MPs and their spouses altogether in return for a 10 per cent salary increase, but in an update of the Speakers Directions he ended use of the entitlement for independent travel by spouses and partners.
Under the new directions - which set out details of MPs' travel, accommodation, and communications entitlements - spouses and partners must travel with a member to access the subsidy of up to 90 per cent on international air travel.
MPs and their spouses get a 25 per cent rebate on international air tickets they buy themselves after one term in Parliament. That rises to 50 per cent after two terms, 75 per cent after three and 90 per cent after four terms.
While the perk can't be used for private business travel it can be used for private trips including holidays. The perk cost the taxpayer $600,000 in the last financial year.
The move comes as Parliamentary Service data showed ministers claimed a total of $46,685 in air travel expenses for their families over the period compared with $39,292 in the first three months of this year.
Ministers use Parliamentary Service air travel expenses to fly their partners or children around the country with them. Their own domestic travel expenses are paid for separately by Ministerial Services.
The largest amount claimed for family domestic air travel was Education Minister Anne Tolley's $8717.
Maori Party MP for the Far North Te Tai Tokerau electorate Hone Harawira continued to draw the biggest air travel expenses of any MP barring Labour Leader Phil Goff. The relatively large $21,446 air travel bill arises from the distance of his electorate and expensive air services.
Accommodation and travel expenses for the three months to June:
1. Hone Harawira$47,138
2. Nicky Wagner$35,887
3. Kelvin Davis$29,193
4. Steve Chadwick$28,558
5. Shane Jones$27,590
* Excludes Opposition leader Phil Goff who draws additional VIP travel costs.
ACCOMMODATION CAP DROPPED FOR WORLD CUP
MPs have been given the green light to spend as much taxpayers' cash as it takes to secure accommodation when in Auckland during the Rugby World Cup next year.
In an update of rules for MPs' travel, accommodation, and communications entitlements yesterday, the $180 per night cap on accommodation for MPs when on parliamentary business in Auckland was removed altogether for the period of the tournament.
The $160 a night cap for accommodation elsewhere has also been removed.
A spokesman for Parliamentary Services said the caps were removed to allow parliamentary business to continue during the tournament.
Some Auckland hotels are reportedly charging upwards of $2000 a night during the last 10 days of the Rugby World Cup for double rooms.