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Taxpayers' Union Exposes Outrageous Government Junket to Space Conference

Taxpayers' Union Exposes Outrageous Government Junket to Space Conference

The Taxpayers' Union has uncovered that the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) indulged New Zealand's Space Agency in a recent trip to the USA, costing $36,760.07. An Official Information Request revealed that the NZ Space Agency flew business class to Washington DC and stayed in luxury accommodation while attending the 25th Annual Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Space Transportation Conference.

The lavish excursion saw MBIE officials staying at the Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel for five days, despite the conference lasting only two days. The hotel bill alone amounted to over $5,500, averaging more than $1,000 per night. Furthermore, taxpayers were burdened with a hefty price tag of over $31,000 for business class travel, which MBIE defended as being "in-line with policy."

Oliver Bryan, Taxpayers' Union Investigations Co-ordinator, expressed deep concern over this misuse of taxpayer money:

"This seems to have been an exercise in flying around the world trying to find a purpose for the Space Agency's continued existence. Their five days in Washington DC for a two-day conference that no one has ever heard of is a clear example of officials having a junket at taxpayer expense.

"It is outrageous that hardworking New Zealanders are footing the bill for a lavish jolly like this. It's high time the Ministry began focusing on its actual remit rather than wasting our money on once again proving the Space Agency's is nothing but a government vanity project."

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