Source: Taxpayers Union
9 FEBRUARY 2021FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Taxpayers’ Union understands that a New Zealand Member of Parliament is currently in managed isolation having travelled overseas over the NZ summer break, despite clear Government advice not to travel.The Union has received the unverified report that the MP arrived back in New Zealand on 1 February, after unsuccessfully applying to jump the queue for an emergency MIQ spot last month. It is understood the application was turned down by Minster Chris Hipkins after consultation with the relevant Party’s leader.Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, said:“There may be valid reasons why the MP had to travel overseas – New Zealanders would totally understand if there was a family emergency for example, and it is very unlikely further questions would be asked.“But the idea that an MP can fail to turn up to work because they are secretly camped out in MIQ is incredible. If true, it is beyond believe that a statement wasn’t put out to at least give the public the heads up that the MP was on personal leave.”“If indeed we are paying a Member of Parliament to sit in an hotel because they chose to take a trip overseas, that would amount to arrogance in the extreme. Putting aside the needs of other New Zealanders currently desperate for limited MIQ spots, anyone in the private sector would lose their job for this kind of abandonment of employment.”“If an MP has chosen to skip the country during a literal pandemic, it calls into question their judgement, their fitness for office, and their financial credibility in accepting a pay cheque for a job they are clearly unwilling to do.””Except in the most extraordinary of circumstances, given we pay MPs handsomely, it’s not unreasonable to expect MPs to hang around during a global pandemic.”The Taxpayers’ Union has decided not to name the MP due to the unverified nature of the report, and in order to give the MP a chance to explain their reasons for travel – in particular whether there were personal circumstances which justified the trip.Questions for the MP include:When did you book the trip, and depart New Zealand?Why was MIQ not booked prior to leaving and before Parliament resumed?On what grounds was the application for an emergency spot made?Why was the public not informed that this MP was on leave?