Thursday, June 21, 2012


Apparently a member of the foreign monarchy will be visiting Nw Zealand later this year. We'll be paying for the visit, so you'd think we have a right to know how much it will cost, right?

Wrong. The Department of Internal Affairs won't tell the public how much it will cost, and now they won't even tell Parliament:

Officials are refusing to say how much the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall's visit to New Zealand will cost.

Prince Charles and wife Camilla will visit in November as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year celebrations.

Ministerial Services, the organisation in charge of logistics and funding for the trip, appeared before a select committee yesterday but said it was too early to say how much the visit would cost taxpayers.

No extra funding has been allocated to cover it. It is understood that the cost of the royal visit would be high because Prince Charles refuses to fly on scheduled commercial flights.

This is deeply disturbing. Parliament authorises and reviews all spending. They have an absolute right to know how public money is spent. And yet here we have a government department refusing to tell them, not even to give them a best estimate. From here, it looks like outright Contempt of Parliament, and the head of Ministerial Services needs to be reminded of who he works for.

As for their reasons, the Stuff poll attached to that story may have something to do with it. Currently, around 80% of over 6000 people say that we shouldn't be footing the bill for this visit. That's a pretty strong rejection, and its only likely to get stronger when the actual figures emerge.