The Taxpayers’ Union is dismayed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (MFAT) outrageous expenditure on its delegation to the COP 27 climate conference. New information revealed under the Official Information Act shows that the total travel and accommodation cost to the taxpayer was an eye-watering $201,496.59. The kicker? All New Zealand-based staff flew business class.
Oliver Bryan, Investigations Coordinator at the Taxpayers’ Union, said, “This jaw-dropping cost is an affront to New Zealand taxpayers. Spending over $20,000 per person for ten staff members to attend a single climate conference, with the added irony of opting for business class flights, epitomizes extravagance. The accommodation costs for each member ranged between $10,762.95 and $12,781. It’s enough to make one wonder whether it was really about climate or just another public sector junket.
“But of course the environment is what matters when discussing COP. The hypocrisy of flying ten staff members internationally to attend a conference designed to combat climate change is laughable. International travel is the only mode of transport not included in our Emissions Trading Scheme, so flights like these simply add to global net emissions.
“This expensive escapade not only reeks of financial recklessness but also undermines New Zealand’s reputation in the fight against climate change. The public deserves better than this flagrant misuse of taxpayer money and woeful lack of environmental consideration. We will be watching to see if this year’s COP takes as big a toll on the public purse.”