Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: MPs to vote on raising international travel perk

25 Responses

  • Phil Lyth,

    Thanks, I think, for the mention. I'm more of a WWDITS sort of guy.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    As for why they're doing this: my guess is that when they wrote the perk into the new law, they didn't realise what the lowest cost business class return fare actually cost.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Phil Lyth,

    Thanks, I think

    Can remove, if you'd like.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    The old boys (and girls) lobby is strong then...

    I think they should add a more gladiatorial aspect to it, and create a tontine so that as the old 'entitled ones' pass on so do their travel perks to the remaining 'old ones' - until the last remaining 'ex-public servant from the twentieth century' can spend their final days continuously circling the globe for free...
    it is their right and our pleasure to serve them...

    <don't choke on the tongue in cheek!>

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    It's published, let it be.

    Not sure whether the old scheme is online anywhere, but the international travel perk was always capped at the value of a return business class airfare to London. I cannot remember if explicitly stated as Air NZ, but back in the day fares were pretty standard between all airlines.

    That's no longer the case. Yesterday I found Cathay Pacific offering as low as $3,400 each way.

    What I am very surprised at is that Cabinet agreed to make this change at this time and in this way.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Phil Lyth,

    What I am very surprised at is that Cabinet agreed to make this change at this time and in this way.

    I shall be needing my tinfoil hat before thinking out loud about a retired Prime Minister, current members of parliament, an ex-cabinet minister, the milking of cows and the dinner parties.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis,

    Here's what I wondered ... is there any Government procurement policy requiring ex-MPs to give preference to Air NZ for their travel (as, for instance, we're meant to at the University of Otago)? And it appears that there is: http://www.business.govt.nz/procurement/all-of-government-contracts/current-all-of-government-contracts/travel#air

    Question then is whether this applies to ex-MPs booking their own travel?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Good spotting (Philip).

    What is 'business class', anyway? If Jetstar decides that the difference between Air Mail Cargo and Business Class means that the latter gets a glass of water during the flight to London, is that what the current law recommends?

    If Air New Zealand renames 'Business Class' to something like 'Corporate Class' or 'Aristocrat Class', does that mean that pre-1999 MPs get nothing from Schedule 3?

    Or is there a clear, legal definition of what's meant by Business Class? I can't seem to find one in the Remuneration and Services Act.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    Business class on Air NZ is now the equivalent of first class ( lie flat beds etc). It seems that premium economy is now the new business class, wider seats more legroom.

    Regarding the preference for booking Air NZ, its usually a corporate deal, ie they save money overall with the discount based on the volume of travel. For ex Mps they would use their allowance to book economy and then try their influence for an upgrade for free. Different airlines " wouldnt know who they are"

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • JC Carter,

    Look. I cant do anything about these pay rises, its out of our control. These are set by an independent authority.

    Oh, perks, hell yea, we can up our perks. lets do that. Oh we handed back some payrise. ok lets raise the perks even higher.

    Space • Since Sep 2014 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • JC Carter, in reply to Steve Curtis,

    Tosh.

    Long haul business class in Air New zealand is not first class elsewhere. Air new zealand business class is on par with other three.four class airlines. Such as Singapore air, emerates, british airways, KLM, Ethiad etc. Lie flat beds are largely defacto in most modern airlines, bar older models that are being phased out. Im looking at you Lufthansa.

    There should be 0 preference ot support air new zealand if they do not offer the best value for money for the new zealand tax payer. I work with one of the largest companies in NZ, and we hold exactly zero ties to any airline,.

    Space • Since Sep 2014 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Phil Lyth,

    Nah, that would make you a sucker :)
    nice work

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • marty, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I think they knew entirely what it cost as some old boy mp would of complained about having to be seen getting on to a less high class airline and didnt want to be caught again on a cheaper outfit.
    They wouldnt of changed it unless someone had pointed out what it meant in practice

    New Zealand • Since Mar 2015 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    who put this in the Bill? #cuibono

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • jb,

    But with variable pricing, there is no such thing as an “Air New Zealand Business Class fare”
    AKLLHR 30 April? $7256 29 April? $5706
    The Cathay fare someone mentioned? Varies between $4100 and $8400 within a matter days next week.
    All of which might have changed by the time you look them up.
    The principle’s wrong, the methodology displays a total disconnect from reality…

    a.small.town.in.germany • Since Jan 2007 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Nomad MPs and other gangs....
    I've never understood the need to continue to reward MPs beyond their period in the House, it's not as if they aren't paid reasonably - and the nature of serving the public is just that, not going back for seconds - if they're not up for 'public service' or 'contribution' then don't run for the job.
    This case is even worse - what was so egregious and stressful about serving last century that warrants extra travel perks now - have they not sorted their Kiwi Saver or own retirement plans?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis, in reply to JC Carter,

    business class in Air New zealand is not first class elsewhere

    I didnt say that, its that Air NZ business NOW is the equivalent of first class back THEN and the economy + has moved up to be equivalent to business class back THEN. ( has wider seats 20 in, and legroom greater than economy
    http://www.thenzsource.com/boeing777-300erseatmap.html

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    There was a connection issue that didnt allow me to say the current economy plus has 6 across seating rather than the 10 across on 777-300ER flights to London.

    The point is, that when this perk came in business class was much more like the premium economy is now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    The story’s been picked up by the Herald. Less than impressed to see my local MP (Annette King) backing it.
    *wanders off to see just how long she’s been in parliament*
    …and of course, as anticipated, she’s been there since before 1999, so of course she’s arguing for it.
    Her claim that “"They benchmarked it to China Air or something, which was dearer than Air New Zealand, actually. If it had been benchmarked to Air New Zealand the allowance would have been cheaper” sounds like the usual load of poppycock one expects from self-interested politicians.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 580 posts Report Reply

  • marty,

    Lucy, yes my thoughts exactly her arguement makes no sense.. (and the reporter lets it go)
    Now lets see wasnt she one of those hypocritical labour MPs enjoyng the hospitality of Skycitys corporate box... yes she was

    New Zealand • Since Mar 2015 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Her claim that “"They benchmarked it to China Air or something, which was dearer than Air New Zealand, actually. If it had been benchmarked to Air New Zealand the allowance would have been cheaper”

    Where did she get China Air from? Is she saying that former MPs were paid based on China Air being the lowest Business Class fare, when Air NZ was even cheaper than them so should have been used instead? Or have I misunderstood something?

    Fairfax has also picked it up, btw.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    No, you haven't misunderstood anything. That does appear to be exactly what she's claiming, which is why it's such total poppycock. I wonder if that's what they've told the Greens and NZ First when they were convincing them to vote for it?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 580 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to izogi,

    King said the wording "Air New Zealand " had inadvertently been left out when the long-standing entitlements were transferred to the new Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Services) Act 2013. Because the benchmark had always been Air NZ prices they were rectifying the mistake and it has cross Party support. At least the query about using Air New Zealand has now been answered.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • marty, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I think Parliamentary Services needs to explain what they do. If they log on July 1st every year to book the fare when do they book it for? If they book it for July and at short notice then its going to be peak season and at short notice so it will be massive.

    Surely one MP would get some qudos saying more work is needed before this is past as Annette King has a conflict of interest here. Perhaps she is the one who brought up the matter considering it seems she may be out soon

    New Zealand • Since Mar 2015 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to marty,

    I think Parliamentary Services needs to explain what they do. If they log on July 1st every year to book the fare when do they book it for?

    I’d guess that if the Roger Douglas-esque "It's My Entitlement!" stakeholders have anything to do with it, it’d be a case of telephoning the airline and declaring “I’m from the government. How much would you charge us at commercial rates for a return Business Class fare to London? Oh yeah, must be fully flexible. By the way, this is to determine how much we give a bunch of people to spend on your services.”

    It must have been a confusing dilemma for everyone involved when the criteria switched to “lowest cost”.


    Nobody’s mentioned it in this thread, so for anyone who hadn’t noticed, Graeme’s posted an update.

    Fairfax is also onto this again this morning, but hasn’t latched onto Graeme’s later point that the “lowest cost” thing was explicitly inserted by a select committee.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

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