Yes, none other than our old mate Chris "Koru Club" Carter - he's off again. No, he's not paying his own way to Japan to rescue Pete the (alleged) Pirate as we suggested that he should; he's off to the UK and Europe. And you and I dear readers are footing a good portion of the bill. Check this out:
Labour MP Chris Carter is tonight defending a planned two-and-a-half week trip to Europe as just doing his job.
Mr Carter was much-criticised for his hefty travel bills when he was a minister, but now Carter is off to observe the upcoming UK elections.
Mr Carter was dubbed the 'Minister for Overseas Travel' when he was in office, spending $131,000 over a year. Now in opposition and with the spotlight on MPs' spending, Mr Carter has had to be more careful.
3 News can now reveal he is off to Europe for two-and-a-half weeks, including more than a week observing the UK general election.
Mr Carter will be in Berlin on the April 26 for two days. He'll then head to the Polish capital of Warsaw for two days. He'll be in the UK from May 1 to May 9, observing the UK elections - it's likely to include a trip to Ireland. He'll then go to Paris for two days He's likely to then have a day in Brussels and then return home.
Mr Carter told 3 News the only taxpayer-funded part of the trip is the heavily-subsidised return airfares to Europe he's entitled to as a long-serving MP, and he's likely to fly business class.
It seems that Mr Carter's largese knows no end, although he's clearly just a little chastened by all the attention his penchant for international travel attracts. And he's wrong in one aspect; we're still paying his salary whilst he is away, and presumably, there will be the added expense of covering his electorate activities. Or will the voters of the Te Atatu electorate be unrepresented in Carter's absence?
There are some interesting comments in the thread which follows on the 3News site, but this one stands out:
06 Apr 2010 7:48p.m.
Carter appears to have a hightned sense of entitlement. Philin Goff need to be more aware also as the previous Labour expense sheet is going to be released soon and it will not be a good look also as the expenses will be shown to be 'excessive'. If Labour want to come close to winning the next election they need to get rid of people like carter and Phil - sorry mate you just are not PM material.
Ah yes; the release of Labour Ministers' expenses - that had momentarily slipped our mind. Perhaps THAT'S why Chris "Koru Club" Carter is so keen to be on the other side of the world in early May ...