Greens block expansion of MP travel benefits

The Green Party has blocked the Government’s plan that could have increased travel benefits for MPs that entered Parliament prior to 1999.

The Green Party has blocked the Government’s plan that could have increased travel benefits for MPs that entered Parliament prior to 1999.

Any party opposing an aspect of a Statute Amendment Bill means that component does not proceed.

“The Green Party cannot support a change that has a real likelihood of increasing travel rebates for MPs elected prior to 1999 and their spouses,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“Changing the criteria for the rebate from “lowest cost” to “Air New Zealand” means that the value of the rebate will almost certainly increase.

“We can’t see any good reason to move away from specifically tying the value of the rebate to the lowest cost option.

“The Government hasn’t provided any analysis of the impact of the cost of their proposed changes, or justified their assertion that they are fixing a mistake. Without additional information on those two things, we can’t support the changes.

“If the Government wants to make this change it should do it as a normal Bill, rather than trying to get it through as a late amendment to a Statutes Amendment Bill. That way it could be properly scrutinised in a Select Committee and the public would get a say.

“Statute Amendment Bills are supposed to be for non-controversial, technical changes to legislation that everyone agrees on. This change looked to be both substantive and controversial.

“In the wake of the public concerns about MP pay setting, the Government should be following a proper process to pass changes relating to MP and former MP travel rebates.”

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