How do you spend $114,000 in three months?

How do you spend $113,973 on travel and accommodation in just three months? I have no idea, but that’s what opposition leader Simon Bridges spent between 1 April and 30 June this year. Ranking MP’s spending from most-to-least shows how outrageous this sum really is. Here are the top ten spenders in the April-June quarter:

Second-place getter Hamish Walker spent almost $75,000 less than his chief. No wonder Bridges’ wants to distract us all by calling for an enquiry into how the figures were leaked early.

Still, it should be noted that Bridges’ total carries a footnote saying “Some costs included in this Surface Travel disclosure relate to periods before 1 April 2018 due to the late arrival of invoices from VIP Transport.” So maybe he didn’t claim anything in the previous quarter. Maybe he actually paid Parliamentary Services by mistake …

Nope. A look at his spending for January–March this year gives his total as $32,314 – enough to easily to put him in the top ten for this quarter too.

We’ve had teachers’ strikes this week because their lowly pay. The average primary school teacher earns around $56,000 a year and the average secondary teacher around $67,000. The lowliest backbench MP earns $163,961. I’ll leave you to decide who does more work and who is of more value to society, but I should note that teachers’ salaries don’t come with added allowances for travel or accommodation expenses.

In that light, I thought I’d graph MP’s travel and accommodation expenses for the June quarter in terms of teachers’ salaries. Taking an average of those primary and secondary salary figures ($61,500), here’s how they look by party total:

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