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$769,955 of international jet-setting at Ministry for the Environment

While taxpayers are being told to stump up for fuel taxes, off-set their carbon emissions, and watch on as oil and gas jobs face the axe in Taranaki, Ministry for the Environment officials are enjoying luxurious trips abroad, exposes the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.

The Union can reveal that since July 2017, the Ministry for the Environment spent $769,955 on international flights, at an average cost per person per trip of $6,637.

The Ministry for the Environment has a section on its website where it explains to New Zealanders what they can do to help combat climate change, including flying less, working remotely, and using video-conferencing. The Ministry claims that flying less is ‘one of the most effective climate change actions you can take’.

But clearly Environment officials are not practicing what they preach. Despite the age of Skype and video conferencing, Environment Ministry officials are opting for first class flights on the taxpayer. Do as I say and not as I do.

The environmental hypocrisy isn’t the only issue. Why did it cost $14,112 to fly a single Ministry Director to Thailand? Was business class not sufficient?

Sending policy analysts on first class trips to international conferences is an insane use of money for a Ministry who tells Kiwis not to fly.

The Ministry also instructs taxpayers to pay to offset their carbon emissions when travelling, but when we asked the Ministry whether the costs of flights included carbon off-set charges, they said no.

A list of transactions for International Flights by Ministry for the Environment Officials between 1 July 2017 and 10 December 2018 can be viewed here.


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