Dyson to pay back cost of perk trip

Labour MP Ruth Dyson, accused of ramping up travel just before a perk for MPs was axed, says she will pay back the $16,000 cost of her holiday to Ethiopia.

Parliamentary and Ministerial Services expenses for the final quarter of 2010 showed some MPs making the most of the taxpayer-subsidised international travel perk in the three months before it ended.

Ms Dyson and her husband recently travelled to Ethiopia. Today she said she would pay back the cost "because it is no longer appropriate for taxpayers to subsidise such trips when so many Kiwis are struggling to make ends meet".

She said she applied for funding last July before the rules changed.

"However, I felt uncomfortable about the subsidy all the while I was overseas, and when I got back yesterday I informed Labour Leader Phil Goff I would be repaying the subsidy of just under $16,000, and making a statement about it. Phil said he believed my decision was the right one.

"Over the past month or so, there have been more and more stories about Kiwis struggling to pay their weekly bills and put food on the table. MPs must show a lead in terms of spending. Kiwis expect nothing else."

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