Brownlee enjoys burgers, room service
Burgers and room service appear to be popular with Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee when he travels abroad according to the latest release of Ministerial credit card expenses.
But Canterbury's other Cabinet minister, Amy Adams, is frugal by comparison, settling for some low-cost meals and the odd magazine subscription when she is on the road.
The Department of Internal Affairs today released the latest ministerial credit card expenses documents for Crown Ministers as well as how much taxpayer money they spent on travel.
Brownlee's credit card statements show he put about $150 on his credit card to hire a formal suit for the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in April.
When Brownlee has been overseas, trying to attract foreign investment in the Christchurch rebuild, he racked up some hefty accommodation bills in Australia, Monaco, San Francisco and London.
His sole visit to London in April was to represent the Government at Thatcher's funeral. While there, he spent $3287 staying at the swanky Sofitel Hotel and put another $146 to hire a formal suit for the official funeral.
He also spent more than $200 on breakfasts, $45* on a room service dinner and consumed a $12 bottle of mineral water from the mini-bar.
During a visit to Australia in May, he enjoyed a $40 breakfast and a room service dinner that cost about $55.
But it was a four-day stay in the United States in July where he spent up big.
Over a week, he put $3737 on his credit card.
Most of this was for accommodation but his credit card statements reveal he also spent $59.80 at a Burger Urge outlet in San Francisco and just under $300 at a restaurant called Waterbar in the same city.
During that visit, he and three un-named guests bought some beers, a coffee, mains meals and desserts.
For her part, Adams spent just over $200 on four meals during a convention in Singapore in June.
Her other spends included $19.80 on her credit card to buy two magazines that featured an article about her and about $17 buying some gift bags for overseas gifts.
One of her more costly spends $129 for an online subscribtion to the New Zealand Listener magazine.
But the two MPs' travel costs show a different pattern.
Brownlee's domestic and international travel habits over the last three months were relatively low-key whereas Adams needed her passport more often.
Brownlee saves on domestic travel partly because, as the third-ranked Minister in the Government, he is allocated a Crown-owned Wellington property.
In the July to September period, he racked up $26,513 in travel - all of it within New Zealand.
This included $7121 in domestic air travel, $631 for out-of-Wellington travel expenses and a further $18,762 in surface travel for him, his spouse and ministerial staff.
Adams, on the other hand, was more of a high flyer, incurring nearly $16,000 in international travel costs over that same period.
In total, her travel cost taxpayers $41,915 in that same three-month period. This included $10,069 on Wellington-based accommodation and another $10,119 on domestic air travel for herself.
Adams bill for surface travel for herself, her spouse and ministerial staff was $20,557 for the three months reviewed.
* An earlier version of this story reported a $450 bill for room service. We apologise for the error.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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