Thursday, December 10, 2009

Value for money?

Back in September, Local Government Minister Rodney Hide took an official trip with his partner to London, Toronto, Portland and Los Angeles. The trip took a week, and cost taxpayers $100,000. So, how long did he spend on official business during this vital fact-finding mission?

Only nineteen hours, or about two hours a day:

“Aucklanders will be fascinated to learn that, according to the official trip diary, Rodney Hide spent around 10 hours on Auckland governance, three and a half hours on regulatory reform, four and a half hours on ACT party policy, one hour in media interviews, and seven and a half hours having breakfast and lunch with his tour party who accompanied him on the trip,” Mayor Williams said.

“When you break it all down, the trip which is estimated to have cost over $100,000 for the Minister, his companion, and two staff members, bought the taxpayer around 19 hours of official meetings and discussions over 12 days...”

Hide says the trip was "value for money". I don't think so. Instead, it looks simply like a rort, a taxpayer-funded junket so he could show his new partner the sights on the people's tab. A decade ago, Hide would have been screaming at such an abuse. Now, he is the abuser. How the perkbuster has fallen...