Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Expenses leak inquiry: MPs to hand over communications

Jo Moir, Political Reporter

National Party MPs have been forced to hand over communications dating back to the start of February.

National party
leader Simon Bridges says the seven-month period expected
for the investigation is appropriate. Photo: RNZ / Richard
Tindiller

National party leader Simon Bridges says the seven-month period expected for the investigation is appropriate. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The National Party launched its own inquiry into who leaked Simon Bridges' expenses to the media after the Speaker, Trevor Mallard, cancelled a Parliamentary inquiry into the matter.

All 56 National MPs have now signed a privacy waiver.

Mr Bridges said the investigation by PWC and Simpson Grierson will look into the original leak of his expenses.

But it will also consider a text that was sent by someone claiming to be a National MP begging for the Speaker's inquiry to be called off for mental health reasons.

The investigation's start date coincides with the time that rumours about the National Party leadership under Bill English started circulating - barely two weeks later he was gone.

On 8 February, the caucus gathered in Tauranga for a retreat, which was hosted by Mr Bridges who would go on to become the leader.

PWC will conduct the forensic work and lawyers at Simpson Grierson will be responsible for filtering what information is and isn't passed onto Mr Bridges and his deputy, Paula Bennett.

Mr Bridges has given an assurance that no communications between journalists and MPs, outside of the terms of reference of the inquiry, will be passed on to him.

"There is a filter for this from PWC to Simpson Grierson before it would come to us ... myself and the deputy leader. For it to come to me it would only be in realtion to the leak and the text," Mr Bridges said.

"It would have nothing to do with journalists, journalistic privilege, I take those issues seriously and I can assure you they form no part of this."

Mr Bridges said it was appropriate for the investigation to cover a seven-month period.

"Look simply I think if we're going to do this we need to do it well and to do that and to give PWC here the best chance to do the job you do need a time period in which to do it,'' he said.

National MPs confirmed they had signed the privacy waiver and none denied they would have to hand over both their laptops and mobile phones.

Senior MP Judith Collins said she was no stranger to inquiries and was happy to oblige.

"I've done it so many times ... you must remember I have already undergone the Chisholm inquiry which took six years of all of my details, so I have no problem handing over all of mine,'' she said.

It is unclear how long the inquiry will take or whether it will name the person responsible if they are found.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Ian Powell: Doctors Call For Vaccine Development In New Zealand

On 10 June the Democracy Project published online an article by me on why New Zealand should seriously consider developing its own vaccine manufacturing and supply, particularly in respect of the coronavirus pandemic.. More>>



Peter Dunne: What Has Happened To Tolerance?

An unpleasant aspect of our current national character has come to light in recent times. When it comes right down to it, no matter what our pretences to the contrary, tolerance for a different point of view, or approach to things, is not a commodity in great supply at present, right across the political spectrum... More>>


Keith Rankin: Inflation Fears, Bullshit Costs, And Inappropriate Policy

It is true that New Zealand – and the rest of the world – now faces substantial inflation pressure. As the 2020s unfold, the biggest macroeconomic story – as in the 1920s after World War 1 – is likely to be about how we address these pressures... More>>




Climate Explained: Is New Zealand Losing Or Gaining Native Forests?

Apart from wetlands, land above the treeline, coastal dunes and a few other exceptions, New Zealand was once covered in forests from Cape Reinga to Bluff. So was Europe, which basically consisted of a single forest from Sicily in southern Italy to the North Cape in Norway, before human intervention... More>>




Sydney Mockdown: The Delta Variant Strikes

It is proving to be an unfolding nightmare. For a government that had been beaming with pride at their COVID contract tracing for months, insisting that people could live, consume and move about with freedom as health professionals wrapped themselves round the virus, the tune has changed... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why The J&J Vaccine Isn’t An Ideal Back-up Option, And Haiti

The news that Medsafe has given approval to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine means the government is finally putting a backup plan in place, after the series of close shaves it has been experiencing of late in getting its deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine... More>>