30 Oct 2009

Hide defends travel bill

7:54 pm on 30 October 2009

Act Party leader Rodney Hide has defended taking his girlfriend on a taxpayer-funded overseas trip.

Mr Hide is known for his views that MPs' perks are too generous, but he told Checkpoint that using them does not make him a hypocrite.

He also said while he doesn't agree with the generous travel privileges afforded to MPs and their partners, he's no martyr.

The Local Government Minister used his travel privileges to pay the $25,000 cost of his partner Louise Crome accompanying him on a trip last month to the United States, Canada and London.

Mr Hide says he has to follow the Prime Minister's rules on ministers showing restraint, and the details of his trip were checked off twice with John Key.

He says it's important that he can do his job as a Minister but also maintain his personal relationship, and he believes taking Ms Crome on the 10-day trip was justified.

Radio New Zealand political staff say the Prime Minister has told Ministers if they want to take their partners abroad they should pay for it themselves so Mr Hide used another perk he's entitled to as an MP who came into parliament before 1999.

This gives him 90% subsidised international travel for his partner.