International travel perks for the people who got us into this mess?

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, March 16th, 2015 - 81 comments
Categories: cost of living, twitter, wages - Tags: , , ,

There’s a long-running debate about the value of blogs compared to the mainstream media. Which provides value? Which just jumps on the other’s bandwagon?

The story of proposed changes – let’s be frank, increases – in current and former MPs’ international travel perks may turn some of your assumptions about that on their heads.

It’s about the perk which is still given to anyone who served as a Member of Parliament prior to 1999, a rebate on their travel for the year up to the cost of a business-class (because they’re far too important to travel coach) return fair to London (which I’m sure was determined based on distance and not rampant internalized colonialism.)

And the government is making some changes to it.

It broke on Twitter, which isn’t too surprising to people who actually use Twitter, with this from Philip Lyth:

It was picked up at No Right Turn, who calculated the change to actually represent an increase of up to $4,000 per year, and expanded on by Graeme Edgeler at Public Address,

Now, as I’m writing this on Sunday evening, it’s hit the Stuff and Herald websites – both depending heavily on Edgeler’s write-up.

If that isn’t a case of the accursed Twitterati and anonymous bloggers leading the way with important news stories, I don’t know what is.*

I think we must in some way recognise the work and commitment of our elected representatives, but the idea of travel perks – especially the kind that last long after you’ve retired from your very-well-paid job – just rub me up the wrong way. And I’m especially leery about those perks being given to a generation of MPs, many of whom who oversaw the dismantling of workers’ rights, the destruction of our domestic manufacturing industry, the privatisation of state assets and everything else which has contributed to the rampant and growing inequality we face as a nation.

It’s simply disquieting to be giving people like Jenny Shipley, Rodney Hide, Bill Birch and Roger Douglas an extra $4k to play with – the equivalent of 7 weeks working 40 hours on the minimum wage. Before tax.

And I’ve got to say I’m not too impressed with Annette King’s apparent “it’s just correcting a mistake, my cohort were always meant to be getting more money” defence of the change. Why not just say “It was a mistake – but come on, team, it’s not like we need the money on top of our generous salaries and gold-plated superannuation, is it?”

Our MPs are well-remunerated for their service to the country. I think they should be able to just let this one go.

 

*Yes, I know Idiot/Savant is pseudonymous, not anonymous, but the people who usually attack the blogosphere’s integrity don’t tend to know the difference.

81 comments on “International travel perks for the people who got us into this mess?”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    MPs conjugating natural verbs:

    I deserve my salary.

    You are a trougher.

    • greywarshark 1.1

      OAB
      😉

    • Once was Tim 1.2

      🙂
      Exactery
      I’m pitikularly intristed in what the “Honourable” krus finlayson thunks about this.
      (oney because he’s become a ‘boq’ who once was a decent sort of bloke, but who has been captured by his sense of entitlement and the “going forward agenda”.) I’ve another q which I’m debating whether to air on Open Mike or not – having just listened to “From the Right and From the Right” on Natrad.
      I could write a book me thinks ….. the tales and turmoil of some of my contemporaries (amongst the baby boomers). “Chameleons at Large” maybe …., “How I grew up and moved Right”?. maybe, or just “How I sacrificed my principles because I had a mid-life and post mid-life crisis and grew fat and complacent”
      (the title would be the biggest stumbling block – there are so many possibilities).

    • northshoredoc 1.3

      😆

      he/she/it troughs

  2. logie97 2

    Hopefully they will only be able to use the perk on the illustrated Jumbo aircraft as Air New Zealand no longer operate such jets.

    • miravox 2.1

      If they want their perks to reflect things that were ‘back in the day’ then the travel perk should probably only cover premium economy – before they had those newfangled lie flat seats in business class.

      Btw, great post Stephanie.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1.2

        Yes thats right premium economy is the new equivalent to the 1999 business class on the planes Air NZ flies to London.

        Wider seats and only 6 across instead of the 10 across economy seating according to the Air NZ seat maps

    • Murray Simmonds 2.2

      Thats a bit like hoping that one day John Key will stop telling lies . . . .

  3. dv 3

    How is the pension for retiring mp calculated?
    I have done a search but can’t find a formula.

    • mary_a 3.1

      @ dv (3) – its calculated on what the troughers think they are entitled to! That’s their formula.

    • Barfly 3.2

      30% of a MP’s salary per term served to a maximum of 3 terms……

      9 years served equals 90% of a MP’s salary as their parliamentary superannuation

      So I wonder would that superannuation alone put them in the top 1% of income earners?

      • dv 3.2.1

        Thanks.

        Certainly ministers and above will get a very healthy pension.

        Asuuming 3 terms

        Pay pension
        400k sal 360k
        200k 180k
        150k 135k

        Plus Nat super

        Poor dears, still need the air fare subsidy.

        • alwyn 3.2.1.1

          I suggest you see my comment below.
          The old pension scheme, except for an extra payment to ex PMs, also introduced by the Kirk Labour Government was based on the basic back-bencher salary. Nothing more was paid even if you spent your whole career as a minister.
          I suggest you read my comment below. There are only 5 people who are current MPs who will qualify when they retire.
          The air travel perk was also chopped in 1999. Key, despite his long service as a PM will never qualify.
          Incidentally the original scheme was based on First Class. Of course in those days there were only First and Economy.

        • Barfly 3.2.1.2

          its only based on the MP level salary for all no xtras for having been in cabinet etc but yea they get Nat Super as well …very cushy 🙁

          I think the governor generals pension might really give you heartburn

      • alwyn 3.2.2

        The old, very generous Super scheme for MPs you refer to was wiped in 1992. It will only apply to 5 current members who were in the house on that date.

        For all other MPs they have a system where they can pay into their own super scheme. Any amount they pay in will be matched at 2.5 times their payment up to a payment of 20% of a basic back bench MPs salary (ie about 20% of $140k).
        It is no longer a guaranteed Pension. It is a Guaranteed contribution. They have to pay in at least 8% to get the maximum.
        The 5 sitting MPs who will qualify when they retire are, if my memory is correct, Dunne, Williamson, McCully, English and Smith. Obviously there are a lot of retired MPs who get the old system.

        For all the others it is a generous, but not outrageous system. I believe there is only one MP, Stephen Joyce who has never joined. He said, and I can’t provide you with a reference, that he didn’t need it and wouldn’t take it. A bit like Bob Jones who has never applied for NZ Super.

        The perk of a free trip was of course a system introduced by a Labour Government. Kirk wanted to give the MPs more but to pretend they were having a pay freeze.

        • Barfly 3.2.2.1

          oh it seems I’m well out of date

        • dv 3.2.2.2

          So what is the current pension for an MP?

          What you have described is the contribution rate.
          The taxpayers subsidy (max) is about 28k per year!!

          • alwyn 3.2.2.2.1

            For the current MPs, except the five real veterans I mentioned earlier, it is impossible to say what they will end up with. It will depend on how well their Super scheme does. It is exactly the same as your expectations of returns from your Kiwisaver fund where the return, even for two people who put the same amount in each year for the same number of years can get wildly different returns.

            My assumption of the maximum subsidy may be a little low. I see from the latest determination, that the base salary was to be raised to $156,000. This is the determination that Key is going to scrap. I don’t know offhand what it will end up as but I suspect it will go over $30k this year

            The rules for the Super are here
            http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2003/0306/latest/DLM222351.html

            The salary determination is here. Its the figure if you get nothing else. I suppose there are some of them.
            http://parliament.govt.nz/resource/en-nz/00FinanMPPSalary1/579663cccf864107bd54926eb5d3dd8ad829cfb9

            • dv 3.2.2.2.1.1

              Thanks Alwyn.

            • Tracey 3.2.2.2.1.2

              thanks alwyn. 2.5 times contribution is pretty generous of us all?

              • alwyn

                It is generous Tracey, but not exceptionally so.

                I worked for a few years in Australia in the early 1990s and the firm I worked for offered two options. If I put in 5% they would put in 12%. Alternatively if I put in 6% they would put in 14%. You took a few years to qualify for the full contribution from the firm if you left but it was only about 5 years, if memory serves. Before that you got all your own and a proportion of the firms contributions. After 5 years you got everything, just as our MPs do.

                Thus although not quite as good as the MPs get it wasn’t that far off the standard. That was fairly normal at the time in big firms. Note that was before the compulsory system of today.

                I have no idea what current schemes, either here or in Australia, might be like. I retired a long, long time ago.

                • Tracey

                  It’s certainly better than most employees get in NZ so is still another case of do as I say and not as I do.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2.2.3

          Lots more than that.

          Speaker Carter 94, Brownlee 96, Dyson 93, Mahuta 96 and there is Goff and King who were from 81 and 84, but not continuous service.
          O’Connor is from 93 but not continous.
          Peters is a real granddaddy from 78, but not continous

          • alwyn 3.2.2.3.1

            The first thing to note is that the travel perk had nothing to do with the Super scheme. The rules were entirely different and the travel perk was not really part of their Super.

            The five I was talking about were those who will qualify for the old Super scheme. There was a cut-off date in 1992. You had to be a member on that date to qualify.
            Everyone entering after that date would be in the new scheme. There were some who had entered Parliament earlier but weren’t there in 1992 and got back in later. They were Goff, King and Mallard. Goff, as you say got in in 1981. King and Mallard were in 1984. They all lost their seats in 1990 and returned in 1993.
            Goff would, I think have qualified for the old scheme as he did 3 terms before getting the push. King and Mallard, after 6 years would only have got their contributions back as a lump sum (I think). I don’t remember all the fine details but I think you had to do something like 3 terms and(or) 8 years to get the Super at all. Less than that and you got your money back.
            Winston would have got his money back in 1981, when he first lost his seat. He could have then joined again in 1984 and would have started being paid the Super in 2008 when he got bumped a second time.
            All four above mentioned could be in the present scheme as they have all re-entered Parliament after 1992. I don’t know whether they are or not.

            I don’t really know, and can’t be bothered checking the finer details of the travel perk. The ones you mention will probably get some of it but I don’t really know exactly what.
            The Travel Perk has nothing to do with either the old or the new Super schemes. It was a fiddle introduced by Kirk as an alternative to a pay rise.

            • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2.2.3.1.1

              Some news reports refer to 1999. so there might be different things for the two dates.
              ie old Super scheme for 1992, and lifetime travel perk 1999 ?

              Wasnt there always some sort of travel perk for ex Mps. Something like free travel on the (government owned) railways. That then would have extended to free travel on government owned NAC. At least ex Mps could travel to party conferences and contribute to political life.

              The overseas travel thing is so beyond the pale, and to try and increase it , a ‘bridge’ too far!

  4. felix 4

    How about instead of calculating perks based on airfares we just buy these greedy troughing pricks an actual ticket, one way, to wherever they want to fuck off to.

  5. Skinny 5

    Its a perk that very few, if any other worker gets. They should not get any free travel full stop, let alone an increase. Change the law and scrap it. The thought of Douglas, Preeble, Bolger, Shipley all flying high on the tax payers hog is sickening.

    • Once was Tim 5.1

      Agreed!!!. It goes completely against any argument they might try to offer that suggests they entered politics for ‘public SERVICE’ reasons – not that many ever did these days. It’s complete and utter troughing. Oink Oink in an unfriendly pig ‘farmery’ with sloth/hampering of movement/I I I, me me me own ye animals, and I’ll slaughter you and pump you full of water then hock you off at the nearest duopolistic supermart (ya cnut)
      Still ….. I have complete faith in the idea of Karma-BUT the only problem with that is the payback never seems to occur in a timeframe that they’re ever be conscious of.
      Sure as shit their offspring will be however ( and given the new world, will be as quick to apportion blame )

  6. Jones 6

    Unbelievable… so soon after the red face and backtracking over MP’s salary increase. No, actually… totally believeable.

    I think this could be used as an example of political corruption: the abuse of public power, office, or resources by elected government officials for personal gain.

    • Once was Tim 6.1

      It’s not unbeliveable @ Jones – this is the new ‘normality’ FFS.

      As to your second para – I agree. I could. I’m not holding my breathe tho’. There’ll need to be a risk assessment study; several (hundred) committee meetings – followed by another risk assessment analysis (probably carried out by a panel wondering how they might fit a document template that includes something like a
      SWOT analysis); then a 3 month recruitement process (that’s likely to pick up a Pagani or a Quin – or two) …………..

      I sincerely hope this is the sort of kaka Andrew Little is battling – but somehow I doubt it

  7. greywarshark 7

    Is there a defined statement of what is expected from our governments, in short summarised version, not convoluted pagers of arcane legal terms and explanations of explanations? It would be good to see in a short read what is expected and then compare what we got at the end of a term. Sort of like a report card for the caregivers of the nation – us!

  8. saveNZ 8

    Totally right.

    The retired MP’s are playing the fiddle while Rome burns!

  9. One Anonymous Bloke 9

    I seem to be the only person who doesn’t resent MPs being paid a good salary, nor the perks of the job.

    What I don’t like is when they use their privileged position to constrain everyone else by enabling bad faith employment practices.

    • OAB, please re-read the post, especially the bit where I say: “we must in some way recognise the work and commitment of our elected representatives”. Spinning people’s criticisms into “resentment” is unfair and unconstructive.

  10. Alfonso Peres 10

    Don’t want to rain on the hate parade, but has anyone checked that St Helen is not claiming this perk? She would be entitled to it and I think many here would hate to accidentally malign her service to NZ by calling her a filthy trougher.

    • thatguynz 10.1

      What makes you think that the application of “trougher” would depend on which party they are from. I’ve seen plenty of applications on The Standard of “trougher” to Labour Party MP’s as well.

      tl;dr If the shoe fits, wear it, irrespective of colour.

      • Alfonso Peres 10.1.1

        Fair enough. It’s a shame Rod Donald couldn’t be alive to be labelled a “greedy, troughing prick” by some brave chap called “Felix” on a left sympathizing website.

        • felix 10.1.1.1

          Rod wouldn’t have voted for it, just like today’s Green MPs aren’t voting for it. Dickhead.

          ps I am the real felix. I doubt very much that you are the real Alfonso, so enough of the “brave” bit, eh?

          • Alfonso Peres 10.1.1.1.1

            Apologies, I didn’t realise that you were the real Felix. I find it hard to keep up with who is a celebrity/famous these days. Just this morning I had no idea who some guy called Willy Moon was.

            • felix 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Bro, don’t talk to me about Willie Moon. I haven’t forgiven him yet for stealing my wiping technique.

    • This is a derail. No one is in any position to know which former MPs are claiming which perks and trying to demand that lefties denounce Helen Clark specifically before criticising perks in general is obnoxious trollery.

      • Alfonso Peres 10.2.1

        ” trying to demand that lefties denounce Helen Clark specifically”

        I did no such thing.

        I was pointing out that when referring universally to retired MP’s as “greedy, troughing, pricks” you are going to end up with a bit of “friendly fire”.

        I couldn’t see much “criticising perks in general” in many of the comments above. It was mainly attacks on the recipients.

        • If you want to respond to specific comments, respond to them. If you leave a top-level comment criticising things that aren’t even in my post you risk having future comments moderated.

          And your implication was clear – “has anyone checked” if Clark claims the travel rebate, because obviously we wouldn’t make such a fuss if she were. Otherwise, why bring Clark into it at all?

        • b waghorn 10.2.1.2

          Did you miss the bit near the bottom of the post were King gets a mention?

      • alwyn 10.2.2

        I don’t know what MPs were claiming but former PMs, Governor-Generals and their widows were certainly claiming plenty.

        Here is an example of a story. I don’t claim that the figures are anything like that today but in 2010 we had examples like this.
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4472263/Former-governors-and-PMs-spend-up-large-on-travel

        I found Rowling’s widow the hardest to accept. It was 35 years after he was PM. Wallace had been dead for 15 years and his wife had remarried. Still she used the Limo.

        Take Helen Clarks disclaimer with a grain of salt. It does NOT cover her time as PM and of course she immediately retired as leader of the Labour Party on election night. The claims cover, exclusively, costs she incurred that she could only claim because she was an ex PM, not because she was a current MP.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 10.3

      As an ex PM she gets a different level of perks

  11. AUDNZD 11

    Outrageous greed from a bunch of self-serving individuals from all corners of the political spectrum. Shame on them.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1

      The Greens just pulled support: an effective veto.

      • alwyn 11.1.1

        It took them a very long time to come to that decision didn’t it?
        The cynical side of me says it was because they had trouble tracking down Jeannette Fitzsimmons. They would have to check that she wasn’t relying on it for an overseas jaunt.
        She certainly took advantage of it when she first left Parliament. She took about a six-month world tour if my memory is accurate.
        She didn’t have the slightest qualm about the carbon emissions either. As she said at the time “She and her husband deserved it”.
        It was rather like when she was having a burn-off during a time of a total fire ban. “But I know what I am doing”
        In other words. The rules for you lot don’t apply to those of us who are important.

        • weka 11.1.1.1

          how many lies did you just tell alwyn?

          • alwyn 11.1.1.1.1

            With respect to the above comment you mean?
            NONE.
            I don’t guarantee the exact words that Jeanette used but the sentiment was certainly accurate.
            For example look at this report in the Herald about her burn-off during a total fire ban.
            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10362592
            Wouldn’t you agree I gave a very fair summary?
            Look at the quote “We’ve never had anything get out of control because we understand the conditions.”
            All the other statements are equally true.

            • alwyn 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Correction. I have been told it was only a three month tour.
              She did use the MPs travel perk and said that she had earned it though, so the air fares and the carbon emissions would have been the same.

  12. mac1 12

    There seems to be a great deal of hate talk about MPs and their salaries and salary packages.

    See, it already sounds better than ‘troughers’ and ‘perks’.

    I entertained, twice and unsuccessfully, the prospect of becoming an MP. The salary was not a consideration. I knew it was decent. What I did know, especially the second time round, was that several thousand dollars were privately spent on the campaigns.

    To whoever above decries the idea of ‘public service’ for standing for Parliament, I say fuck you, you cynical bastard, but people do still have that as a motivation. You say more about your own self than you do about others and their motivations.

    My final point, a fine and decent man who stood for Labour in my electorate and was an MP for five years had his barn burnt down on the night he was unseated and furthermore was unable to get a job in the town as he was effectively blacklisted.

    There is a downside to putting your hand up for public office. A great deal of that is the unsubstantiated and cruel abuse which members of an uninformed and self-righteous public give their elected representatives, and even to those who stood but were not elected, because I have been subjected to the same abuse.

    There is another point of view. Thanks for reading.

    • My post does not use the term “troughers” even once. If you leave a top-level comment responding to things that do not exist in my post you risk being given a holiday from this site.

      Categorising criticism as “hate talk” and pretending that comments on a blog are comparable to acts of criminal vandalism are also very, very good ways to get moderated out of the discussion.

    • Murray Rawshark 12.2

      You make a good point, mac1. I would be happy if any politician who retired facing Tory hatred kept receiving their salary. They would have earned it.

  13. b waghorn 13

    I would imagine they’ll roll out everyone’s favorite Roger ( fuck you all) Douglas to again tell us how he’s entitled to it.
    All this is happening while teachers are being told at this very time that they will have to settle for a lot less of a raise then expected again .

  14. mac1 14

    Stephanie, you did not use the term ‘troughers’, Therefore, the comments I made were to those who did use the word. For example, Felix @ 4, Skinny @ 5 and OnceWasTim at 5.1. and OAB @1 and That guy at 10.1.

    I was responding to five different commenters.

    Now, why would I have mentioned a criminal act of vandalism? To compare them to comments about ‘troughing’ ands other abusive term?

    Not my intention.

    That was to put another point of view to “all MPs are troughers’ or do well out of being in politics. One man suffered at the hands of some in his community because he was a Labour MP.

    I’d go further. I know of another MP who was unseated. His name is on the blacklist and he has to be very careful about how political he can be, and get work. These two aren’t on parliamentary pensions and they have suffered for their beliefs, for their desire to “do public service”.

    I note that in your last comment to me that you do acknowledge that I was hitting back at comments made. Not at you.

    • alwyn 14.1

      My memory may be astray but if I recollect correctly there was a story about what happened to Mike Moore after he lost his seat in the Muldoon landslide of 1975. Mike had only done 3 years in the house.

      The story may be apocryphal but he supposedly could only get a job as a night watchman at the Port. Nobody else would hire him. He would of course not be a good long-term bet as an employee as it was no secret that he wanted to go back to Parliament but he could surely have done something more that that.

      Does anyone remember the details?

      • ghostwhowalksnz 14.1.1

        That doesnt make any sense.

        Mike Moore couldve talked himself into almost any job. he might have said something like hes ‘qualified’ to be a night watchman.

        I think he worked as a printer after school and was an active trade unionist, there would have certainly been a job in a trade union for him.

    • Your “other point of view” draws a direct connection between the perks received by MPs and the criminal acts and abuse they may receive. The only point in talking about these things is to paint those who have served as MPs as victims who are deserving of lifelong travel subsidies.

      When you are responding directly to specific commenters, say so.

      • mac1 14.2.1

        Or, Stephanie, my point might just be that to paint all MPs as troughers is wrong.

        Then, having got rid of the pointed language as my first comment’s first two sentences address, we can then talk about whether MPs are entitled to a salary package which includes a decent salary and other payments such as a travel subsidy.

        That I believe is what the argument is about.

        I put a view that some MPs, of the left, are at a disadvantage in terms of future good work prospects, once they leave Parliament. Remember, they only get the package after three terms. Also, we ask MPs to interrupt careers to which they might only return with difficulty- and my point about blacklisting is real.

        All MPs are there at the whim of a 30-40,000 electors. Little job security for many.

        And lastly, if we do not pay our politicians well- that is, at above a level where bribes and kickbacks become attractive- then we run the risk of personal corruption. This is why, after all, we pay judges especially well.

        Someone mentioned above the retirement package for the Governor- General. What job can he or she resume after that role? The incumbent retires from that role in 2016 aged about 63. He has to be fairly pensioned. What’s fair?

        W hat’s fair for an MP?

        I’m a retired teacher, but without a job-related pension. People used to complain about teacher’s salaries and holidays. But they never volunteered to become teachers themselves- they knew what the job entailed. The same with MPs. How many people actually say, I can do that, I want to her an MP, so I will put my hand up?

        I did.

        • felix 14.2.1.1

          How much free air travel do retired teachers get, mac?

          • mac1 14.2.1.1.1

            Never was in my salary package, Felix. Had it been, I am sure that I would have deserved it! 🙂

            I also did not have the same stresses as does an MP, better job tenure, and at least the potential voters I was dealing with were still adolescent, literally. I was also far less inducible to bribery and corruption as a teacher, since I got paid pretty well, thanks to a good union and generally good public relations.

        • alwyn 14.2.1.2

          mac1
          You are living in the past.
          You say “Remember, they only get the package after three terms. “.
          That scheme, assuming you are talking about their super, was scrapped in 1992. That is nearly 23 YEARS ago. The current scheme is simply a fairly generous defined contribution system.
          Can I suggest you have a look at some of my other comments about the Parliamentary Super.

          You then say “All MPs are there at the whim of a 30-40,000 electors”. You must be thinking about the old MMP days. Unless your party gets wiped out in a landslide the only MPs in a party who are at risk are one or two at the margin.
          Just when do you think the top people on the list in National, Labour or the Greens are at risk?
          You also propose that “This is why, after all, we pay judges especially well.”
          Actually we pay judges pretty well so that they will cut their income a bit but will take the prestige of being a judge. That is why we dish out quite a lot of knighthoods at the higher levels.
          You then say ” The incumbent retires from that role in 2016 aged about 63.” He was head of the armed forces, and retired from that didn’t he. Wasn’t that going to provide a very generous pension already?
          If you are a retired teacher why don’t you have a pension? Did you never join, or did you resign before reaching the pension age. I thought every teacher could join. That is a rhetorical question by the way. No answer is required.

          • mac1 14.2.1.2.1

            Alwyn, the pension was not available to me as I did not stay in teaching but had spells away either to be a house husband or because I wanted a good break away from education before I married. I organised a different retirement plan.

            The point why we pay judges well is to keep them well away from possible bribery. The point about the current G-G is well taken but I’m asking for all G-G’s.

            My understanding about MPs super is out of date. Thanks.

            “mac1
            You are living in the past.”

            Some would say so………………….. but my past is what tells me that I can’t let slide by the sort of remarks made in general terms about all MPs.

            Generalisations about ‘troughing’ was what got me going. Generalisations that were levelled at unsuccessful candidates, as well.

            So, as I have all my life, I “saw Red”. Cheers.

  15. Tracey 15

    air new zealand used as a benchmark…. cos it works out cheapest… in business class.

    why do they get to travel business class when most retired taxpayers travel economy… lets benchmark it to economy and if they want to pay the difference personally and fly business great.

    • alwyn 15.1

      The business class sets the amount of money they can get. You don’t actually have to go business class and you don’t have to go to London either.
      You can do a lot of economy travel for the price of a return business class fare to London.

  16. Pasupial 16

    Twitter & NRT still lead the coverage:

    [Bridges] will withdraw a controversial increase to travel perks for retired MPs after the Green Party pulled support.

    http://www.norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2015/03/sometimes-you-win.html

    But Scoop wasn’t much later and more detailed:

    “The Green Party cannot support a change that has a real likelihood of increasing travel rebates for MPs elected prior to 1999 and their spouses,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

    “Changing the criteria for the rebate from “lowest cost” to “Air New Zealand” means that the value of the rebate will almost certainly increase.

    “We can’t see any good reason to move away from specifically tying the value of the rebate to the lowest cost option.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1503/S00225/greens-block-expansion-of-mp-travel-benefits.htm

    • alwyn 16.1

      This opens them up to the complaint that “Of course they are against it. That’s because they don’t qualify”.
      It won’t actually change the chances of the change being made of course. It just means that it won’t be able to be done in this particular bill.

  17. MrSmith 17

    Good on the Greens.

    We’re still waiting for the Labour parties position? Maybe they are waiting on standby!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 17.1

      What you forget is that the Greens were for increase in travel perk before they were against it.

      Just like they were for maxing out the super subsidy perk before that.

      • MrSmith 17.1.1

        I was just asking a Question about Labours position, but the silence is deafening Ghost, so we’re left to assume they’re still a party who’s elected members only represent their own self interests.

  18. AUDNZD 18

    Both Nats and Labour are guilty parties and troughers when it comes to “free” travel and other perks.

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