Farewell parties for ministers and junior ministers in the last cabinet cost the taxpayer over €300,000, RTL Nieuws said on Friday.
The justice and home affairs ministers – Stef Blok, Klaas Dijkhoff and Ronald Plasterk – held a combined party costing €71,000, RTL said. The finance ministry’s farewell do for Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Eric Wiebes cost €46,500.
There is an official ceiling of €30,000 per minister for a farewell event and the parties have not broken the guidelines, RTL said. Nevertheless, opposition MPS say the bill is too high. ‘€30,000 is an awful lot for a drinks party,’ CDA MP Harry van der Molen told RTL while Labour MP Henk Nijboer said the size of the bill is ‘bizarre’.
However, MPs from the ruling parties told RTL the events are much more than a farewell do and are attended by hundreds of people. ‘We oppose extravagant drinks parties paid for by the taxpayer but there is no question of that here,’ VVD parliamentarian Albert van den Bosch said.
RTL also highlighted the presents given to some of the ministers as farewell gifts – which should not cost more than €750.
Defence minister Jeanine Hennis was the only one to break that limit. She was given a full survival kit including compass and rucksack costing €768.
Justice minister Stef Blok was given a ‘contribution’ towards his allotment while Labour’s Sharon Dijksma gets a cooking workshop. Foreign minister Bert Koenders was bottom of the spending pile with a photograph on himself on an official visit to Indonesia which cost €260.