Maori Party leaders, Prosser big spenders

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2013
Richard Prosser
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ
NZ First MP Richard Prosser.
Pita Sharples
Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples.

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Maori Party co-leader Dr Pita Sharples spent more than $500 a day being driven around the country last year.

The latest round of MP expenses shows that in the last three months of 2012, MPs claimed more than $2.6 million in travel, accommodation and other expenses, including more than $1m spent by the 28 Government ministers.

Controversial NZ First MP Richard Prosser was one of the country's top-spending parliamentarians, claiming $23,673.

The Canterbury MP, who sparked outrage by calling for Muslim men to be banned from flying on Western airlines, spent $13,757 on flights.

Prosser said the inspiration for his words came after his Swiss army knife was taken off him during a security check at Christchurch Airport.

While the $67,698 claimed by Sharples at the end of 2012 was not the most expensive (Prime Minister John Key claimed $78,784), his spending was almost as much as Trade Minister Tim Groser and Foreign Minister Murray McCully combined.

Tariana Turia had the third-biggest claim at the end of 2012, of $49,342.

In two quarters last year, Sharples outspent Key, while in the other two quarters he was second.

Throughout 2012, Sharples claimed $295,772 in expenses, on top of his salary as a minister outside Cabinet of $217,200.

In a statement Sharples said he was a "hardworking minister" who travelled throughout the country to visit Maori.

"Some of these places are off the beaten track, and take hours of travel by car, but it is important that we do see people kanohi ki te kanohi [face to face], and continue to work towards engaging Maori communities."

Turia said the level of spending reflected the challenges.

"I think all it shows is that the Maori Party ministers work extremely hard, we're very busy, we're around the country constantly so that [level of spending] wouldn't be unusual."

Figures cover the three months to December 31.

Key's claim includes no Wellington accommodation.

OTHER CANTERBURY/WEST COAST MPS' BILLS

Kevin Hague (Greens): $22,677

Mojo Mathers (Greens): $21,773

Eugenie Sage (Greens): $12,245

Clayton Cosgrove (Labour): $20,696

Lianne Dalziel (Labour): $22,104

Ruth Dyson (Labour): $16,394

Damien O'Connor (Labour): $27,708

Rino Tirikatene (Labour): $16,380

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Megan Woods (Labour): $18,583

Nicky Wagner (National): $9343

Denis O'Rourke (NZ First): $12,549

Richard Prosser (NZ First): $23,673

- © Fairfax NZ News

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