A few months ago a Ministry of Health official contacted us regarding the use of taxi charge cards within the Ministry, and suggested we look at the number of 'micro-trips' taken by managers, often between the Ministry's Wellington offices and Parliament.
Details of the Ministry's taxi charges show its Wellington staff are making more than 1,000 taxi trips a year costing less than $10.
In the 2012/2013 financial year, Ministry staff based in Wellington charged taxpayers for 8,645 taxi trips with 1,076 of those for journeys costing less than $10.
It is sadly ironic that while the Ministry of Health spends taxpayer money to promote active living, officials are getting taxis a few hundred metres down the road.
A taxi trip for the sake of a five minute walk is simply not justifiable when it’s someone else's money. The documents show that these short trips make up more than ten percent of all taxi charges by Wellington based staff.
Taxpayers will not be impressed that Wellington health bureaucrats are the in habit of getting them to pay for micro-trips when it is probably faster to walk.