29 Oct 2009

MP Carter's spending down, but not Harawira's

10:23 pm on 29 October 2009

Greater transparency about spending by MPs appears to have put some restraint on the spending of Labour MP Chris Carter.

Mr Carter was criticised when previous details of spending by MPs showed he spent $82,000 on accommodation and travel in the first six months of this year.

The latest information for the three months to the end of September shows he spent $19,000 in that period - a reduction of more than 50%.

But Maori Party MP Hone Harawira, another big spending politician, has not changed his habits.

Aside from Government ministers and the Labour Party leader Phil Goff - who gets a chauffeur-driven car - Mr Harawira's spending was easily double that of virtually every other MP.

He spent $53,000 in the previous three months, compared with $79,000 for the first six months of the year.

Mr Harawira says he could not care less about what the general public thinks about how much he spends on taxpayer-funded travel and accommodation.

He says it is costly for him to travel to his home in the Far North, and his constituents are the only people he is answerable to.

Overall, though there is little change in total spending. MPs and ministers spent $4 million in July, August and September compared with nearly $7.7m in the first six months of the year.