Greens scuttle National’s travel perks plan

National just can’t get anything right at the moment. ?Even allowing the Greens to take the credit for scuttling the deeply unpopular and absurd ex-MP travel perk increase.

The Government will not increase travel perks for retired MPs after the Green Party thwarted its plan to do so as an amendment to an existing bill.

Currently, any politician elected before 1999 can claim up to $11,000 worth of free international flights every year – but National wanted to boost that to around $20,000.

The change was included in a raft of technical legislation to go before Parliament over the coming week, but the Greens blocked it this afternoon.

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges introduced the change among a host of minor amendments under the Statutes Amendment Bill in an attempt to correct the Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Services) Act 2013.

The proposal would see a change to the way rebates are calculated on international travel for former MPs, with the current annual maximum defined by the cheapest business class return fare between Auckland and London.

A new proposed benchmark would use the lowest Air New Zealand business return fare as at July 1 each year ? the figure is much higher and offers a significant boost to former MPs.

However the pitch did not go to a select committee and was instead heard in Parliament where a single vote could bring it down.

This afternoon John Key told reporters at a post-Cabinet press conference he doubted the Government would force the changes through as a separate bill, saying the status quo would remain.

The fact that the whole issue was mismanaged to the point where one vote can bring it down is a sad indicator that the government are at sixes and sevens. ?It’s sloppy, and 100% predictable that the Greens would oppose.

The pattern of National bumbling along since the election continues, and they’re running out of time to fix it before it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.


– 3 News