Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The cost of the ex-PMs travel rort

How much does the former MP's travel rort cost us? We don't know, but we do know how much it costs for former Prime Ministers: over $100,000 a year:

She lives in New York, but former prime minister Helen Clark still claims about $20,000 a year in domestic travel from New Zealand taxpayers.

And Jim Bolger, who has not been prime minister since 1997, spent more than most of today's working MPs between 2011 and 2012, when taxpayers forked out $51,500 in travel expenses for him and his wife.

The travel allowance for former premiers allows them, or their spouses, free internal flights, cars, trains, ferries, and chauffeur transfers for the remainder of their lives.

The total cost to taxpayers is more than $100,000 on average each year. For most former prime ministers, , the benefit is on top of an annuity payment of between $19,400 and $48,500 each.

In the case of former PMs there's some justification for funding travel - they still occasionally do official duties, and the travel funding of future former PMs will be limited to that. But these former PMs enjoy unlimited travel, usable for any purpose they want. And they shouldn't. There's no justification for it and it is simply a waste of public money. The fact that so many of them simply refuse to talk it simply adds insult to injury. They're spending our money, and they should be accountable for it publicly. As for the long-term solution, they've parasitised us enough; we should cut off their travel and limit it only to official purposes.