I thought you’d like to know this: that 77 former MPs and their spouses spent $716,000 of your money last year on international travel.
No, not on any parliamentary work. Not to promote NZ in the wider world. Not even on some secret Prime-Ministerial missions about which they must remain tight-lipped.
No, they spent your money travelling around the world on holiday. Or on business. Or to see their grandchildren.
These loathsome low-lives spend their careers with their noses in the trough, then upon being rejected by the electorate continue on afterwards as if they have a lifetime right to put their hand in your pocket.
These are the top 15 thieves most inflicted with entitle-itis:
Former MP/ year left Parliament:
1. Harry Duynhoven (2008, Labour)
2. Roger Douglas* (2011, Labour/Act)
3. Michael Bassett* (1990, Labour)
4. Lockwood Smith (2013, National)
5. Kerry Burke (1990, Labour)
6. Warren Kyd (2002, National)
7. Chris Carter (2011, Labour)
8. Marian Hobbs (2008, Labour)
9. John Carter (2011, National)
10. Michael Cullen (2009, Labour)
11. Doug Kidd (2002, National)
12. Graeme Lee (1996, National/Christian Democrats)
13. Jim McLay (1987, National)
14. Don McKinnon (2000, National)
15. Clem Simich (2008, National)
The spouses spending your money have similar surnames, with the addition of Philip Burdon’s wife Rosalind who tops the list of grasping spouses.
Give them all a kick next time you see them. Hopefully, it won’t be at some place overseas.
* Just in case you’re wondering why ACT’s David Seymour is out there defending the indefensible…
UPDATE: The standard defence for having their nose in a lifetime-trough is that MPs back then accepted a lower salary in return for under-the-table perks like these.
The entitlement had its genesis in the days when MPs set their own salaries and long before the concept of a 'total remuneration package' saw the light of day. The pressure on MPs to be seen as toeing the line in keeping salary adjustments to the absolute minimum was huge and a large gap appeared between MPs salaries and what might be seen as comparable salaries in both the public and private sectors. MPs are human (well mostly) and they looked around for under-the-counter ways to enhance their remuneration. The so called travel perk was one of those initiatives.
When Michael Cullen left parliament he was on a salary of over $250,000…