Ministry of Environment spends $45,000 per month on airfares

Green co-leader James Shaw combating Climate change

If you ever wanted proof that the whole climate change issue is a rort, then take a look at this. The Ministry of the Environment spent $769,955 in the last 18 months on air travel… to combat climate change. quote.

The Ministry for the Environment spent $45,000 a month to jet its staffers around the globe.
Policy experts were sent on 116 individual international trips – to countries including Korea, Jamaica, Germany, France, Africa, Canada, the United States and China.

An Official Information Act request by the Taxpayer’s Union has revealed the ministry spent $769,955 on international travel between July 2017 and December 10, 2018.

In a single return trip in October 2017, it appeared the ministry had sent a senior policy analyst to Santiago in Chile with the airfare totalling $23,826. However a spokesman later clarified the trip was for two people. 

The most expensive business class flights available with Air New Zealand to Santiago in October this year would set a traveller back between $9000 and $9500. end quote.

There is nothing like spending other people’s money, is there? Particularly when the department involved actively discourages people from flying in order to keep down their carbon footprint. What a bunch of hypocrites. quote.

In August 2018, three staff members – a senior policy analyst, a senior analyst and a director – all travelled to Bangkok in Thailand. While the two analysts’ trips cost $4921 and $4833 respectively, the director’s travel bill was nearly $10,000 [more, and] came to $14,112.  end quote.

See what I mean about spending other people’s money? Obviously, these guys do not fly economy. quote.

“Our policy is that the most economical fare and direct route will be booked. That means that all flights are economy class unless total continuous flight time (including transit time) exceeds 10 hours. In this case, the traveller may fly business class,” the spokesman said. end quote.


Auckland to Bangkok is about 12 hours, but it still wouldn’t cost $14,000 on business class. quote.

The ministry’s website offered advice to New Zealanders looking to reduce their carbon footprint, including flying less, working remotely and using video conferencing. 

While the total international travel spend averaged out over those 15 months was about $45,000 on international travel per month, the ministry said it was necessary as a number of its officials were required to service New Zealand’s treaty obligations. 
“New Zealand is a signatory to a range of international environmental agreements, and that requires travel to negotiations around the world.  end quote.

Oh no, it doesn’t. Why can officials not use the videoconferencing option, like you suggest for everyone else? Answer: do as I say, not as I do. quote.

“It is worth noting that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade often reimburses our costs associated with such travel, as our people may be part of a wider NZ delegation.” end quote.

It’s still public money being spent on jaunts, whichever way you look at it.

All is not lost, though. Jacinda’s ‘captain’s call’ to freeze MPs pay last August has apparently saved $750,000 in taxpayer’s money.

Well, we all know where the money went. It went on jaunts for officials from the Ministry of the Environment. What an absolute joke.