2 Nov 2010

Labour wants overhaul of MPs' expenses rules

9:13 pm on 2 November 2010

Labour is calling on Prime Minister John Key to overhaul the rules on MPs expenses.

Speaker Lockwood Smith will no longer make public the names of MPs who claim rebates on private international travel, saying they are covered by salary deductions.

Mr Key says he disagrees with Dr Smith's decision because he wants MPs' spending to be more transparent. He says National Party MPs should voluntarily release their travel expenses. He will also raise the matter with caucus.

But Labour leader Phil Goff says Mr Key is dodging the need for a fair and transparent system.

He says Mr Key should come up with a system that is acceptable to the public.

Mr Goff says travel privileges should be based on work requirements, not a way to get a cheap holiday.

He says he is concerned that withholding the information will create an impression that the cost is much higher than it actually is.

Information released by Labour shows its MPs' expenses for the quarter were $741,568, more than the Speaker's figure of $679,563.

The Green Party says it has released its MPs' expenses for the last quarter in a move to help keep politics honest.

Co-leader Metiria Turei says her party is committed to open honest government and has decided to release its own expenses under the old more accountable system.

She says travel expenses should be for work-related travel, and remuneration should be provided through a salary.

Mrs Turei says mixing up the two creates confusion and perverse incentives.