Labour leader Andrew Little has been labelled “gutless” for standing down MP Carmel Sepuloni after her mother was charged with benefit fraud.
Mr Little was also defending another one of his MPs today, David Cunliffe, who was pulled over for talking on his cell-phone while driving.
[Carmel Sepuloni’s mum] Beverley Anne Sepuloni appeared in New Plymouth District Court today, facing 19 benefit fraud charges.
Her daughterÂ is collateral damage – the frontbench Labour MPÂ has beenÂ stripped of her shadow social development role by Mr Little.
National MP Judith Collins took to Twitter to criticise Little, saying: “Message to LabMPs is if anyone of your family’s in trouble, so are you. No leadership, no guts [sic].”
Yesterday Andrew Little stood down Carmel Sepuloni for something her mother is alleged to have done.
At the same time David Cunliffe was actually breaking the law, driving erratically and was pulled over by Police near Plimmerton.
Former Labour leader David Cunliffe has been nabbed by police for using his mobile phone while driving.
Mr Cunliffe was pulled over by police yesterday morning near Plimmerton, north of Wellington, after a complaint by a motorist who said he was driving erratically.
It was a second incident in a bad day for Labour MPs.
Party leader Andrew Little also stood Carmel Sepuloni down as social development spokesperson after learning her mother faced multiple charges of welfare fraud.
Mr Little said Ms Sepuloni told him the first she had known of the charges was when One News contacted her for comment yesterday.Â Read more »
It is not often that I am wrong, but when I am I will apologise.
I said that Andrew Little shouldn’t have stood Carmel Sepuloni down, I was wrong.
The reason I have changed my point of view is this:
1091 (2015). Carmel Sepuloni to the Associate Minister for Social Development (23 Feb 2015): What is the process that the Ministry uses for establishing whether suspected benefit fraud relating to a client having a partner despite saying they live alone, has taken place?
Hon Jo Goodhew (Associate Minister for Social Development) replied: Reply due: 03 Mar 2015
It would appear that Lindsay Mitchell was right in pointing out that Carmel Sepuloni has a history of interfering.
On one hand I can agree with the Whale that Carmel Sepuloni should not be punished for the (alleged) sins of her mother. Andrew Little has stood her down from the welfare portfolio because her mother is facing numerous benefit fraud charges, citing a “conflict of interests”.
On the other, Sepuloni has a history of getting directly involved with WINZ staff and interfering in their decisions.
In her own words, after intervening to get a benefit reinstated when someone volunteering in her office missed a WINZ seminar thereby breaking the rules of entitlement
Earlier I blogged that I thought that Andrew Little had got it wrong on standing down Carmel Sepuloni.
In public statements Little is all over the place.
He started off by saying:
“Well it’s because as spokesperson for Social Development, when she has a close family member involved in an issue like this, it’s appropriate that she step aside so that there’s no claim of a conflict of interest,” Mr Little says.
Which changed to:
“Carmel has assured me she didn’t know her mother was facing these charges.” He said she would stay on the front bench and in her role as Junior Whip, but had agreed step aside temporarily as social development spokesperson while the matter was dealt with.
– NZ Herald
And then changed to:
“Carmel is an adult and her mother is an adult. Carmel is not responsible for the actions of her mother,” he said.
“We have agreed she will step aside … on a temporary basis while these matters are dealt with. There is a conflict of interest at the present time.”
In a bizarre decision, one which shows signs of cracking under pressure, Andrew Little has stood down Carmel Sepuloni from her Welfare spokesperson role because her mother is on charges of benefit fraud.
The Labour Party’s welfare spokesperson has been stood down from that role following a ONE News revelation.
ONE News has discovered high-ranking MP Carmel Sepuloni’s mother, Beverley Anne Sepuloni, is due to appear in court tomorrow on benefit fraud charges. She is expected to plead to the charges tomorrow.
Carmel Sepuloni, a young rising star in Andrew Little’s Labour Party, was the party’s spokesperson on welfare – until this afternoon. One News called the Labour leader’s office just after 2pm today and by 4pm he had stood Carmel Sepuloni down.Â He moved fast.
“We’ve agreed that she will step aside from her role as spokesperson for Social Development. There’s an obvious conflict of interest,” Mr Little says.
Mr Little decided to stand Carmel Sepuloni down after ONE News revealed the accusations against her mother.
Beverley Anne Sepuloni is due to appear in the New Plymouth District Court tomorrow morning on 19 charges laid a month ago. She’s accused of claiming the sickness benefit in 2006 when she shouldn’t have. She’s also accused of applying for the disability allowance in 2008 when she shouldn’t have.
It’s alleged she claimed rent subsidies between 2003 and 2010 which she wasn’t entitled to.Â And she’s also accused of failing to tell welfare officials – for 10-and-a-half years – that she was living with a partner.
Today’s face of the day has been stood down by the leader of her party even though she hasn’t done anything wrong.
Labour MP Carmel Sepuloni has lost her social development role because she is being held responsible for her mother’s actions.
Her mother has been charged with benefit fraud. While the matter is being dealt with, her leader Andrew Little asked her to step aside temporarily. This is insanity. Doesn’t Andrew realise the precedent he is setting here? Until the ‘Little precedent’ MP’s were only held responsible for their actions. Thanks to Andrew the sins of the mother or father or brother or cousin can be used to hurt an MP’s career!
Honestly what ‘ matter, ‘ is there to look into? Her mother is the one being charged not Carmel. What are they looking for? Is this a witch hunt to get rid of her by trying to somehow link her to her mother’s crime?
If Carmel loses her role permanently the flood gates will open. National will be able to declare open season on all opposition MP’s family members! Got a Granny with a speeding ticket? No transport portfolio for you. Your sister is a drug addict? No Social Services involvement for you. Getting rid of Angry Andy will be a cinch. All we need is a cousin’s, sister’s, boyfriend’s, Uncle who is a terrorist. GOTCHA!
Andrew Little has announced that I won’t be in contention for their advertised role for chief spin weasel in the Leader’s office.
The Labour leader stops short of saying the new communications director has to vote Labour, but says they need to be sympathetic to the cause.
“We don’t expect to employ Cameron Slater,” says Mr Little.
Be that as it may, it was always unlikely that I’d work for Andrew Little. Â Read more »
Bottom line is, nobody cares about the Pasifika vote, until it is time to vote. Â And they know it.
Despite big Labour majorities in the top three Pasifika electorates, voting age participation in Mangere, Manukau East and Manurewa was down and among the lowest for all general electorates.
Labour MP for Kelston Carmel Sepuloni said it had been a problem for the past three elections and needed to be “seriously addressed” for 2017.
She said young, educated Pasifika who were born in New Zealand were the key to reversing that falling turnout and to the future of the Pasifika vote.
National Party list MP Alfred Ngaro said the challenge for all parties was to recognise Pasifika voters were no longer migrants.
Most are now “Kiwis of Pacific descent” who are younger, more educated and looking to do things differently from their parents.
“There is no more traditional vote. The vote has shifted and changed and if we’re not cognisant of that, then I think we’re gonna miss the mark,” said Mr Ngaro.
Alfred Ngaro believes younger, Pasifika New Zealanders will be attracted to National’s message that individuals can aspire to more for themselves and that cultural obligations to church and family need to change.
But Carmel Sepuloni said collective cultural values were not being abandoned in the push for higher education and better jobs.
“We’re encouraged to do that for wider family and community. But if the principle of collectivism dilutes the longer we are here, will there still be that alignment to the Labour Party? I’m not sure.”
What the hell did she say? Â Collective cultural values and principles of collectivism dilutes? Â I swear, I don’t understand Pasifika talk. Â Read more »
Last-minute Labour leadership contender Nanaia Mahuta wants to assert the Maori and Pasifika presence as the party rebuilds.
Ms Mahuta said her rivals all had something to offer, “but certainly the party is looking at a different way of doing things and I think I offer a difference”. She was hopeful of one day becoming New Zealand’s first Maori Prime Minister, “but one step at a time”.
What do the Twits on Twitter think about this latest development?