4 Jun 2009

Speaker to call MPs expenses meeting

4:19 pm on 4 June 2009

A cross-party meeting to look at whether MPs expense claims should be made public could be held at Parliament later this week.

Speaker of the House Lockwood Smith has confirmed he will call MPs together as soon as possible, following a recommendation from Prime Minister John Key.

Mr Key on Tuesday wrote to the Speaker recommending a cross-party group of MPs be called together to consider the extent to which MPs' expenses should be disclosed.

The National, Labour, Green, United Future and ACT parties have confirmed they will take part.

Dr Smith says a variety of questions will need to be considered, including the need to ensure that the privacy of constituent work is not compromised.

The move follows controversy in Britain over expenses claimed by MPs there. One of the most senior government members in Britain, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, is to stand down over the scandal.

ACT party leader Rodney Hide says details of MPs expenses should be open to the Official Information Act.

Mr Hide says the concern has been that public enquiries about MPs' expenditure would reveal details such as the identity of people MPs' are phoning, however he says the law is quite clear that such detail would not be disclosed.