New Zealand may be a country divided between the centre right and centre left, rural and urban, old and young – but it isn’t the United States.
The issue of MPs’ travel expenses – and its disreputable cousin, government spending – have thrown up a pretty interesting moral distinction. Government spending, which provides services to the general public, is seen to be an intrinsically bad thing that must be rationed. MPs’ travel spending on the other hand, is seen as an intrinsically good thing that does not even need to be justified. It just is – here’s the amount we spent, don’t ask to know the purpose. The worth is assumed, and is beyond challenge.