National leader Bill English spent almost $100,000 on domestic travel over three months as the election campaign intensified.

The latest quarterly expenses covering July 1 to September 30 show English spent a total of $99,454 on travel, including $15,705 on domestic flights and $78,813 on ground travel (including ministers, staff and spouse costs).

That is higher than the total of almost $80,000 spent in the previous quarter, and reflects a bigger surface travel bill - of which Crown limousines are a big part - as English and his team criss-crossed the country in the lead-in to the September 23 election.

Over the same period before the 2014 election then Prime Minister John Key spent almost $70,000.


Labour leader Jacinda Ardern - who took over as leader a month into the disclosure period - spent $15,779 on flights and $1244 on surface travel.

Former leader Andrew Little spent $11,494 on flights and $23,883 on surface travel - his bill suggests there may have been some charging cross-over after the leadership change.
A spokesman for English said his increased expenses reflected more requirements for him to travel in the lead-up to the election.

Politicians have unlimited domestic air travel and can use it for personal as well as work purposes, although in general they should have a Parliamentary purpose for any spending.

The July-August-September expenses show ministers spent a total of $742,471 on domestic travel expenses, almost $100,000 less than the previous quarter.

The campaign period saw the spending on official international travel plummet to just $152,392 - in the previous quarter $946,889 was spent.

In separate disclosures for all other MPs, the total spent on all travel was $1,093,266 - down about $257,000 from the April-June quarter.

The non-leader MPs from each party who spent the most on travel were Labour MP Rino Tirikatene ($22,094), National MP Chester Borrows ($20,965), and NZ First MP Tracey Martin ($15,875).

Providing cover


What do you get the Defence Minister that has everything?

A camouflage umbrella was National and Rodney MP Mark Mitchell's answer.

The former Defence Minister bought his Australian counterpart Marise Payne the $94 Blunt umbrella ahead of a meeting in Sydney in August. Blunt umbrellas are the creation of Kiwi Greig Brebner, and are designed to cope with the strongest winds.

The purchase is disclosed in the latest release of ministerial credit card expenses. They show former Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee opted for another Kiwi brand - Icebreaker - when he spent $659 on three sweaters, to present as gifts during a trip to Manila for talks with southeast Asian foreign ministers and to mark the 50th anniversary of Asean.