Taxpayers pay minister's $300 tab

Last updated 16:55 31/07/2014

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Taxpayers picked up the bill for a lavish dinner, featuring foie gras and toothfish, attended by Trade Minister Tim Groser.

Ministerial credit card receipts, released today, show that Groser charged the Singapore dinner for three in February.

On the menu were foie gras, considered abhorrent by animal rights activists, and Chilean seabass, better known as toothfish.

Environmentalists consider the fish at risk, and New Zealand diplomats last year pushed for a Southern Ocean marine reserve to protect its spawning grounds.

The $300 meal, which also included porcini souffle, tofu omelette and roast duck, was washed down by a $90 bottle of Locharburn pinot noir.

Groser was in Singapore for a round of talks on the Trans Pacific Partnership pact.

The ministerial disclosure also shows that Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully paid for internet access on the same day that diplomats sent an email about sex-case accused Muhammed Rizalman bin Ismail.

Rizalman, charged with burglary and assault with attempt to rape, invoked diplomatic immunity and fled home to Malaysia.

McCully says he was not told until late June.

The May 22 email went unopened, apparently because McCully was on his way to New York and communications were limited.

Quarterly expenses for MPs were also released today.

They show National list MP Claudette Hauiti charged more than $30,000 in travel and accommodation expenses over three months.

Hauiti is leaving politics at the election after Fairfax Media revealed she had to surrender her taxpayer-funded charge card for wrongly charging up fuel and a personal trip to Australia.

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