MP Poto Williams claims expenses before swearing-in
Canterbury's newest MP claimed more than $2000 in travel and accommodation in the last quarter of 2013, despite not being officially sworn in as an MP until this week.
Figures released by Parliamentary Service showed Christchurch East MP Poto Williams spent $1798 on flights, $278 on Wellington accommodation and $167 on taxis.
She replaced former MP Lianne Dalziel after winning the November 30 by-election but was only sworn in on Tuesday.
Williams said she began travelling and working in Wellington immediately after the by-election. Her time there included inductions, training, working with Parliamentary Service and setting up her office.
"Even though I didn't have a [MP's] warrant, there was still work to be done," she said.
The South Island's 26 list or electorate MPs spent more than $380,000 on travel and accommodation in the same period.
The biggest spending non-minister was Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner, who claimed $41,561 which included $27,380 in air travel, $9217 on Wellington accommodation, $4669 on surface travel (cars, taxis) and $295 for accommodation outside the capital.
Dalziel, who left Parliament to successfully challenge for the Christchurch mayoralty, spent $2079 on travel and accommodation in her last few weeks as an MP. The most frugal MP was Selwyn MP and Cabinet Minister Amy Adams, who claimed $1319 in expenses.
Nationally, MPs spent more than $3.8 million on travel and accommodation in the last quarter of 2013, rounding out the costs of travel for the year to just over $11m. That figure includes domestic and Cabinet-approved international travel for ministers and MPs.