Discredited former National MP racked up $10k bill to taxpayers in final months in office

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 25 Feb 2021, 4:29PM
The National Party's former Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The National Party's former Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Discredited former National MP racked up $10k bill to taxpayers in final months in office

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 25 Feb 2021, 4:29PM

A discredited former National Party MP accrued a $10,000 expense bill in his final months in the job, according to just-released records.

Hamish Walker's expenses for the October 1 to December 31 quarter last year included $5800 on transport such as taxis, ubers and car hires last year.

There is usually a lag period with the spending data - some of it could have been some months prior to October 1.

Walker has not been back to Parliament since his dramatic fall from grace in June but he remained an MP until Election Day.

That meant Walker received three months' pay, totalling $60,000.

The former Clutha-Southland MP resigned after the Herald revealed he had leaked confidential Covid-19 information.

His spending records also show $4000 for Wellington accommodation in the final quarter of last year.

In late July, the Otago Daily Times reported Walker embarked on a thank you road trip in his then-electorate.

Meanwhile, the list of MPs expenses revealed New Zealand's 120 MPs spent a collective $2.17 million in the final quarter of last year.

The biggest spender of all MPs, perhaps unsurprisingly, was Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who racked up $46,600 between October 1 and December 31 last year.

She was followed by Damien O'Connor, David Parker and Kelvin Davis – all live geographically far from Wellington.

This all consists of regular accommodation and travel costs.

All up, ministers spent a collective $658,000 in the fourth quarter of last year.

This is lower than in previous years as there was no international travel costs charged to taxpayers as New Zealand's borders were closed.

In terms of highest-spending non-ministerial MPs, at a whisker under $60,000 National leader Judith Collins spent the most,

But this is not unusual, as the leader of the Opposition is eligible for VIP transport – that accounted for $36,200 worth of her quarterly cost.

Former leader Simon Bridges was the second-highest spending non-ministerial MP, and spent $31,660.

Collectively, non-ministerial MPs spent just over $1.5 million.