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Air Points a Green Circus

Air Points a Green Circus

Wednesday 16th May 2001 Richard Prebble Media Release -- Other

New rules regarding MPs’ air points are exactly the same as the old rules, only the wording has changed, ACT leader Richard Prebble says.

The Speaker, Jonathan Hunt, today put a proposal to the Parliamentary Services Committee to cancel all air points earned by MPs on parliamentary travel, after they retired from Parliament.

The government, through Minister Mark Burton, said it believed the existing rules were sensible allowing ex-MPs to use air points to save taxpayers’ money. However, because of adverse publicity, the government supported the Speaker’s proposal to cancel air points for former MPs.

The committee was stunned by Green MP Rod Donald’s amendment that ex-MPs be allowed to keep using air points.

The Speaker’s original proposal was for “the surrender of accrued air points” but Mr Donald’s amendment added the words “or utilisation of”.

He also added to point three of the new rules: the words: “or will be used to offset travel costs (domestic or international) that would otherwise be charged to the vote”.

“That makes the new rules the same as the old ones,” Mr Prebble said.

“It appears Mr Donald’s earlier public opposition to MPs and ex-MPs using air points was just a publicity stunt.

“I’ll be interested to know how he’ll explain to the Green Party his extraordinary U-turn on what he previously described as a perk.”

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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