National Party MP
31 July 2007
National questions value of 'light agenda' jaunt
The three National Party members on the Justice and Electoral Select Committee have pulled out of an upcoming visit to Melbourne, describing the agenda as "light" and questioning the value of the trip.
"The committee is set down to do just 20 hours' business over four days," says the select committee's deputy chair, Christopher Finlayson.
"The long-suffering taxpayer, who is footing the bill for this, should expect value for money. Frankly, I don't see it coming from this trip."
The committee is due to leave for Melbourne next Monday and return on Friday.
"National supports select committees engaging in worthwhile fact-finding exercises. On this occasion, though, we're questioning the value of itinerary items, including a meet and greet at the former employers of Labour MP Charles Chauvel.
"We shouldn't just be engaging in these trips because we can. There has to be more to it.
"I asked repeatedly to see the itinerary and when I was finally let in on the big secret I was shocked at how light it was."
Mr Finlayson and fellow National Party members Chris Auchinvole and Nicky Wagner say they can spend their time more productively in New Zealand and in their respective regions.
"There are homeowners and exporters in my patch who are struggling to make ends meet," says Mr Auchinvole. "I can't look them in the eye and tell them this trip is worth spending their money on."
Nick Wagner says: "My question is - would the Labour members feel that the trip was worthwhile and money well spent if they were paying for it themselves?"