Thursday, April 28, 2011

Paying for McCully's drinking

The government dumped its Ministerial expenses today, clearly hoping that they'd be lost in the media noise from the inbred wedding. I've spent the afternoon going through the credit card receipts. The good news is that most of our Ministers are careful with public money; I'm not seeing the enormous booze bills we saw in early releases, and they tend to avoid their hotel minibars. Judith Collins spends a lot on flowers for injured police staff, but that seems entirely justified. Note that I say "most". The big exception is Murray McCully, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, whose credit card statements [PDF] are a litany of eating and boozing around the world. Here's just a few examples:

  • An AU$233 dinner for the Minister and his private secretary at the Waterfront in Sydney. 3 glasses of wine each, plus a top-range seafood platter. This is followed by an AU$ 166 repeat performance the next night.
  • An AU$238 breakfast for the Minister and two IRB bigwigs. No detailed receipt is available.
  • An ~NZ$900 dinner for the Minister and 8 local diplomatic staff in Jakarta. They had a private room and blew $150 on corkage alone (at least they were BYO). These aren't foreign dignitaries the Minister is trying to impress, but NZ public servants.
  • An NZ$355 lunch for 3 at the Intercontinental in Yokohama. Again, no detailed receipt is available.
  • NZ$45 on dinner at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo (which isn't a problem) - then twice that in the bar (which is). The detailed receipts from that trip show that he and his staffer were rounding out every evening with a taxpayer-funded drinking session.
  • A $620 lunch for 6 at Soul in Auckland for the Aid Advisory Board, including $250 on alcohol.
And while we're paying for all this, the government is cutting funding to women's refuges. National's priorities in action.