Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A junket?

National is boycotting a select committee trip to Australia, claiming that it is a "junket". The basis of their claim? That the committee would work for only 20 hours during the week they're in Australia. This seems fair enough, until you remember one very important fact: that the committee normally works for only four hours a week - and in fact normally wouldn't be sitting at all next week as Parliament is in recess.

Still, MP's do more than just sit on committees - they have to sit in the House too. So, how long would they spend doing this in a normal week? Seventeen hours (and that's a maximum; in practice MPs are rostered in and out depending on their other duties). So, add that to their Select Committee work, and it looks like they're doing close to a full week's work. Which incidentally many of them will be flying the length of the country every week to do.

So, rather than making a principled objection to a junket, National is instead relying on people's ignorance of our political system to stage a tawdry beat-up. How typical.