Housing Minister Resigns

Do you remember our post “Allegations of bribery at Housing New Zealand?” on 11 February ?(click here to read it) It ended with the comment “Stand by to see what else comes out of the woodwork over the next few days.”

Exactly 2 weeks later the Housing Minister, Phil Heatley,  has announced his resignation which was “accepted with regret” by Prime Minister John Key. And the reason for his departure? his ministerial credit card expenses and not being “as familiar with the rules” as he should be. See his statement here  in which he said:

“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 this could be viewed as an inaccurate representation of the expense.”

Two bottles of wine, that was a bit sloppy perhaps but was it really worth resigning over? to err is human after all and to forgive is divine. Even Mr Key has made some slip-ups in recent weeks, look how easy it was for him to forget about owning those mining company shares. See “‘Sloppy’ Key to sell uranium shares”(source)

“New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key, has admitted to being “sloppy” after it was revealed he owns shares in an Australian mining company which has uranium interests.

New Zealand has had an anti-nuclear stance for the past 25 years and is passionately anti-nuclear.

In 2001 Mr Key bought about 1 million shares worth $NZ200,000 ($157,382) in a small Australian gold exploration business called Jackson Minerals.

Last year it merged with a uranium mining company called Scimitar Resources to form Cauldron Energy, which has a number of uranium exploration projects.

Mr Key admits he should have got rid of the shares.

“It’s a small technical issue. I’ve been busy running the country,” he said.

“I’m the first to admit it was a bit sloppy.”

Mr Key says the shares are now worth very little and when he offered them to his 12-year-old son, even his son did not want them.

Mr Key now plans to sell them.”

See also: “Key to sell uranium mining shares” – “Prime Minister John Key says he will sell his shares in a mining company that has extensive interests in uranium mining. Mr Key was confronted about the shareholding on TVNZ’s Q+A programme in the context of his Government’s policy to open more conservation land to mining.”

Mr Heatley’s resignation statement went on to add:

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 get ahead.”

Will the NZ public buy it? watch this space.

Today’s posts – click here

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