Three Labour MPs have been demoted for misusing taxpayer-funded credit cards while they were ministers in the previous Government.
Labour Party leader Phil Goff announced today Shane Jones, Chris Carter and Mita Ririnui would be demoted and stripped of their portfolios.
Jones and Carter would be removed from the front bench, Mr Goff said.
Mr Goff said none of the infractions of spending rules were excusable and he was imposing the sanctions "on the basis of poor judgement".
"Ultimately, it was clear what decision I needed to make in these cases," he said in a statement.
Mr Jones' portfolio was environment and economic development, Mr Carter's was foreign affairs, and Mr Ririnui's was forestry.
We wonder what tangible effect this will have. When all is said and done, Carter, Jones and Ririnui are opposition MP's, and will enjoy the same level of status and remuneration no matter where in the House they are seated. In many ways, it's a Clayton's demotion.
And the Herald notes that Goff has been particularly critical of Shane Jones:
Mr Goff said Mr Jones' repeated misuse of his card needed a clear sanction but that he believed the MP had a lot to offer Labour and New Zealand in the future.
"But he will now have to prove that he is worthy of future consideration and the onus will be on him to earn his way back into a future Labour ministry."
Is his apparent silence on Chris Carter because Carter DOESN'T have "a lot to offer Labour and New Zealand in the future", because he doesn't want to upset a large segment of Labour's caucus, or is it because Chris Carter is gay?
UPDATE: We note that Chris Carter has been stripped of the shadow Foreign Affairs protfolio, but not Ethnic Affairs. What does that say about the calibre of MP's such as Ashraf Choudary, Rajan Prasad, Su'a William Sio or Raymond Huo?