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MPs’ Own “Bonuses” Must Stop!

MEDIA RELEASE

26 January 2001

Rosemarie Thomas
Social Services Spokesperson


MPs’ Own “Bonuses” Must Stop!

Christian Heritage spokesperson Rosemarie Thomas has called on the government to have the courage to completely stop the travel perks paid to former Members of Parliament and their spouses.

Rosemarie Thomas was commenting on recent reports showing that travel expenses for former Members of Parliament and their spouses now greatly exceed that of current Members of Parliament. “In light of the Government’s continued attack on bonus payments made to staff of State Owned Enterprises it seems incredible that they can still justify paying travel perks to former employees. Surely if the Government is serious about tackling big payouts, this is an area that urgently needs attention.”

Rosemarie Thomas observed that the Government will need a lot of moral fortitude to instigate changes to the current travel perks as these changes will also affect their entitlements when they leave Parliament. “However,” she said, “one thing the Government could do to gain back some respect from taxpayers would be to disclose the names and details of all taxpayer funded travel for all former MPs and their spouses,” (information that is not currently available under the Official Information Act). “The Official Information Act had become a blanket with which former MP’s and their spouses were hiding,” she said.

“Currently former Members of Parliament receive very generous taxpayer funded Superannuation payments and surely these should be more than adequate to cover any travel expenses they may have. In the real world it is impossible to find any business that pays perks like these to former employees and their spouses.

“If the Government is serious about tackling big payouts then perhaps they should start closer to home and put a stop to such largesse,” Rosemarie Thomas concluded.

Contact: Rosemarie Thomas is also a Wellington Regional Councillor and can be contacted on either (025) 846 627 or (04) 939 8466
Party Leader Graham Capill (021) 661 766


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