Thursday, February 25, 2010

Breaking news - Heatley gone

Stuff is reporting that Housing Minister Phil Heatley is about to resign. He's holding a media conference at 11am

Watch this space ... whether Heatley fell, or whether he was pushed is a moot point. But John Key has again been quick to draw a line in the sand where a Minister behaves in a manner not befitting his role.

UPDATE: He's resigning because he wasn't completely accurate with his explanation of expense claims earlier in the week - but it's hard to escape the conclusion that there's something more going on.

UPDATE II: This, from Heatley's statement:

Mr Heatley said he had discovered another inaccuracy in his ministerial expenses, whereby two bottles of wine charged as "food and beverages" was actually only wine.

"I charged two bottles of wine already highlighted this week to my account as food and beverages. There was no food included in this purchase, and I accept that this could be viewed as an inaccurate representation of the expense.

"But rather than arguing semantics about whether this was deliberately misleading or not, I have decided that this is one step too far and I offered my resignation to the Prime Minister this morning," Mr Heatley said.

Earlier this week Mr Heatley was forced to apologise and has paid back $1260 after revealations that he used his ministerial credit card outside the rules.

His billing included $175 on alcohol and food at the National Party conference in Christchurch last August, and almost $1000 on travel during a ministerial trip to the top of the South Island with his family.

The former minister has also submitted his accounts to Auditor General to conduct an independent inquiry, which would be made public.

"I believe this is the right course of action. I have absolutely no desire to become the focus of a distraction for this Government, which has much to do to grow the economy, invest in jobs and help Kiwis ahead."

If that's the case, full marks to him. He's shown a level of personal responsibility that was sadly missing from the previous administration. Has anyone from Labour yet condemned Taito Philip Field?


alex Masterley said...

Corr Blimey.
That will get the chattering classes going!
Nice to see responsibility and consequences being accepted.
It will increase his poll ratings in whangarei and make it a safer seat for him.

pdm said...

INV2 and alex - the previous Labour Government was not able to enforce that sort of discipline because they would not have had anyone left in Cabinet.

It is a good feeling to know NZ now has a Government with integrity.