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Shane Jones outspends PM as politicians' expenses revealed

Author
Boris Jancic, NZ Herald,
Section
Politics,
Publish Date
Thursday, 29 August 2019, 2:10PM
Economic Development Minister Shane Jones (right) accumulated a total of $44,728 in domestic costs in the June quarter. Photo / Warren Buckland
Economic Development Minister Shane Jones (right) accumulated a total of $44,728 in domestic costs in the June quarter. Photo / Warren Buckland

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones' journeys handing out funding to the provinces have seen him rack up the highest expenses of any MP in the past three months.

Politicians picked up about $3.6 million in bills in the quarter to June, according to just-released official figures.

Spending on domestic travel and accommodation across Parliament was similar to the same period last year, although international travel costs for ministers were up by about $200,000.

Jones, who has been distributing the Government's $1-billion-a-year Provincial Growth Fund in the regions, accumulated a total of $44,728 in domestic bills.

That's higher than even Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose internal expenses were $40,341 – although she also had just short of $100,000 of international travel costs compared to Jones' $19,960.

The same last year Jones accumulated bills of about $43,500. He also lives in Kerikeri in Northland, meaning he often has to take two flights home, raising his expenses compared to other MPs.

Opposition leader Simon Bridges was again the highest-spending non-ministerial MP, spending about $45,000.

However, that includes $13,210 in limousine expenses he would have only been charged $6412 for if a minister. The Leader of the Opposition gets access to Crown limos but at a higher cost than ministers.

Of the top 10 MPs who aren't ministers, nine of the highest spenders were from the National Party.

But costs are usually higher for politicians in larger or more remote electorates.

NZ First's Mark Patterson was the only one outside of National to make the top-10 non-ministers list, with expenses of $34,645.

 

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