Carter blames media as he cancels holiday

CHRIS CARTER: Blames the media for ruining his planned holiday in Sri Lanka.
CHRIS CARTER: Blames the media for ruining his planned holiday in Sri Lanka.

Independent MP Chris Carter is blaming the media for ruining his summer holiday after the itinerary for his taxpayer-subsidised trip to Sri Lanka was leaked.

Mr Carter and his partner, Peter Kaiser, were to leave on December 29 flying business class to Colombo, via Singapore, at a cost of $13,902 – 75 per cent of which was to be paid by the taxpayer.

Details of the trip were leaked to TV3, which said Mr Carter and Mr Kaiser were due to holiday with British MP Ben Bradshaw and his partner.

Mr Carter was not keen to discuss details of the trip when contacted last night. "We have cancelled it. We've lost the deposit. We've cancelled. We're not going. Ok, fair enough? You guys have had yet another victory. So thanks, that's the end of the discussion."

He said he was being unfairly targeted and many other MPs were using the travel perk to take holidays.

"But we'll never know, will we? Only me. You would wonder why my travel's been leaked and nobody else's. I wonder why that was."

He said the trip was booked "months and months ago", before Speaker Lockwood Smith axed MPs' travel perks, and was within the rules at the time.

Mr Carter has accused Dr Smith's office of leaking the details of his trip.

"The leak had the date I was leaving, the hotel I was staying [at] in Singapore, the flight numbers – the only people that know that are Parliamentary Travel and the Speaker's office, I'm quite sure that Parliamentary Travel wouldn't have leaked it, so that only leaves one suspect," he said. The leak was " incredibly pathetic, vindictive and spiteful".

Dr Smith has denied leaking the documents and said he did not even know about Mr Carter's planned trip.

"I didn't want to comment because I didn't want to lend dignity to his accusation, but I didn't even know he was going anywhere, so there was no way I could possibly have leaked anything."

Mr Carter was expelled from Labour after running foul of leader Phil Goff for refusing to apologise over extravagant use of both his parliamentary travel perk and a jetsetting lifestyle. He racked up an $83,000 travel bill as education minister in 2008 and $57,000 in six months in Opposition.