16 Jun 2010

MPs bicker over who spent most taxpayers' money

5:13 pm on 16 June 2010

An exchange over possible asset sales led to tempers fraying in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon as National and Labour MPs pointed the finger at each other over ministerial spending and allowances.

It started when the Finance Minister, Bill English,made reference to a month-long world trip by the Progressive Party leader, Jim Anderton.

In response to a question from Mr Anderton about Treasury advice on privatisation, Mr English replied the Treasury could also give the MP advice about his trip, which included $1000 dinners.

That prompted a series of questions from Labour's Trevor Mallard about Mr English claiming $500,000 worth of housing allowances.

Mr English rejected the allegation, and Mr Mallard yelled across the chamber that the minister wasn't telling the truth.

At that point Parliament's Speaker, Lockwood Smith, told Mr Mallard off and made him apologise.