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Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

Ministers spend $5.5m on international flights 47 minutes ago Many have a penchant for flying with Emirates and Singapore Airlines.

by July 24, 2017 General

The records do not reveal what class of travel ministers and their staff flew in but based on the cost it’s likely most of the flights were in first class or business class.

The Department of Internal Affairs – which manages the bookings – says the class of travel is not recorded by the TravelCard system that is typically used, but it is recorded if flights are booked by other means.

Of the flights booked outside of the TravelCard system, all were in business or first class if it was offered by the particular airline.

Former Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully clocked up the most flights, spending $895,512.68 on 519 flights for himself and his staff. He flew with Air New Zealand 198 times, and Emirates 142 times.

Trade Minister Todd McClay is in second place, with 251 flights which cost the taxpayer $522,601.79. Air New Zealand made up 113 of those flights, and Emirates 76.

Not far behind was McClay’s predecessor Tim Groser and his staff, who flew 248 times, costing $512,862.85. Most of his travel was with Air New Zealand (111 flights) but unlike McCully and McClay, the airline in second place is Singapore Airlines, with 32 flights.

Besides Air New Zealand, Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett flew the most with Singapore Airlines, and Bill English flew the most with Qantas.