Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Their silence is deafening

Given all the media attention being paid to MP's travel perks, you'd expect some MPs to be coming forward to defend this spending. But as I noted this morning, their silence is deafening. The closest we have is Trevor Mallard's confession that he will be taking a taxpayer-subsidised rugby-junket to London, with a side-order of networking and "fact-finding".

The first is private travel, and we should not be paying for it in any way. If MPs want to fly to Europe to watch sport, then that is something they can pay for out of their very generous salary. As for the latter, to the extent it is Parliamentary rather than party business, it should be treated as an expense, and funded transparently through the leader's budget, rather than through a blanket subsidy on all travel which might be used for such purposes. That way we have clear accountability for the way the money is spent - and someone with a clear political interest in making sure it is not misspent.