Readers respond to Trevor and Gerry's $24k Japan rugby 'junket' - 'what a bloody joke'

Hundreds of Kiwis have spoken out after ACT Party leader David Seymour criticised Speaker Trevor Mallard and National MP Gerry Brownlee over a $24,000 taxpayer-funded rugby 'junket' in Japan.

The 'junket' involved the two MPs watching the All Blacks play a Test match in Japan over the weekend, which the pair described as "sports diplomacy".

Mr Seymour is calling for his colleagues to pay back the money, saying, "They are literally taking the mickey out of New Zealanders by saying a 24-hour trip that happens to coincide with the All Blacks playing was a diplomatic effort".

"Gerry Brownlee earns $180,000, Trevor Mallard earns $296,000. If they want to go to the rugby in Japan they can afford it, whereas a lot of taxpayers can't."

Many people, angered over the exorbitant fees for the trip, called on the MPs to repay the amount, with Arthur Bell writing on the 1 NEWS Facebook page, "Why can't they use their own bloody money? Poor tax payers pay out for bludgers again. Why did it cost $24k?".

Another commenter, Lyn Newcombe, said, "I guess it cost that much because they didn't share a room in a $90 per night motel and eat takeaways and a 24 pack like the rest of us would have had to".

Another commenter, Carole Jones, called it "disgraceful", adding, "As if they couldn't afford to pay their own way. I don't believe this is what they are supposed to be entitled to, too. Time we had a clear out of MPs and put some with integrity in".

Others took issue at the MPs' use of "sports diplomacy" as an excuse for the trip, saying that Mr Seymour was right to call for the MPs to repay the money.

Colleen O'Sullivan wrote: "What a bloody joke. Paint it any colour you like - it's still a bloody rip-off. Just this once I agree with David Seymour - pay it back. You take far too much from the taxpayer. A boys' weekend away - pay for it yourselves".

Rosemarie Kingi Rewa said, "Yes, David Seymour is correct, they should have paid for [the trip] themselves, which also raises another question: was David Seymour continually getting paid while he was busy on Dancing with the Stars? Just asking."

Meanwhile, commenter Samantha Emerson called on the Prime Minister to provide help for the homeless who "would have paid taxes at some point in their lives before becoming homeless - the same taxes that pay for these unnecessary trips".

"Please, we aren't slaves here to create ridiculous salaries for politicians, we are humans who just want homes, education and a chance to be happy.”

Commenter Gordon Lamb, however, said, "At least [it was] a junket with a purpose, unlike a family outing to New York for image building, photo ops, and speaking to an empty UN General Assembly..."

Neither Mr Brownlee or Mr Mallard would speak to 1 NEWS about the trip. 

National has sent a letter to Trevor Mallard outlining their concerns over his handling of Question Time in Parliament.
Source: 1 NEWS

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