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Ministers Should Be Stood Down In Interim

Ministers Should Be Stood Down Pending Results Of Investigations

"It is inappropriate that the two MPs being investigated for what may prove to be criminal offences should retain their places in Cabinet in the interim," National's Roger Sowry said today.

"When Dover Samuels was investigated by police earlier this year he stood down from his duties, a step Prime Minister Helen Clark described as 'appropriate' and 'honourable'. Helen Clark said Mr Samuels could not carry on with his Cabinet role while allegations were 'swirling around him'.

"We now have two Cabinet Ministers with allegations swirling around them. They are being investigated over payments which may have been illegally obtained.

"The Ministers have, under pressure from the Opposition and the media, admitted they accepted tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money which they may not have been entitled to. Obtaining that money may have involved signing declarations and statements which were false.

"If the Ministers were not entitled to that money then they may face criminal charges.

"Those Ministers, Phillida Bunkle and Marian Hobbs, should be stood down until such time as the investigations are complete. If it is found they obtained money inappropriately then the matter should be handed to the Police to determine whether charges should be laid," Mr Sowry said.


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