There is something whiffy about this story in today’s Herald.
It appears that Dennis O’Rourke, the NZ First justice spokesman is rorting the taxpayer.
A New Zealand First MP is the subject of a complaint to Parliament’s Speaker over the employment of a person who lives at the same property.
Queenstown resident David Simpson has raised questions about the nature of the relationship between MP Denis O’Rourke and Stephen James, whom Mr O’Rourke employed after the 2011 election. MPs are not allowed to employ their partner, husband or wife in or outside Parliament.
A spokeswoman for Parliamentary Service, the in-house watchdog, confirmed Speaker of the House David Carter had “referred an issue to us and we are looking at it, but that’s between us and the Speaker’s office. I’m not going to say any more than that”.
She said there was nothing in its files to indicate that Mr James was Mr O’Rourke’s partner.
Mr O’Rourke last month confirmed he employed Mr James after the 2011 election but denied Mr James was his partner. Mr James also denied the relationship.
Mr Rourke this week said he was “not interested in people making allegations”.
“They are not relevant to anything as far as I’m concerned, it’s just politically motivated nonsense.”
Mr O’Rourke also said rules around MPs employing their spouses or partners were “something we looked at very closely after the election … . and we understand the situation”.
“Stephen is definitely not my partner, he lives at a separate address in Christchurch.”
That is a pretty emphatic denial.
Mr O’Rourke and Mr James were listed as living at the same address in the 2011 electoral roll, but Mr James is listed as living at a separate address in last year’s roll.
However, Herald investigations reveal both addresses apply to the same property – Mr O’Rourke’s home.
On Tuesday Mr James emerged from the Mt Pleasant property to check the mailbox. He was later seen inside the property but refused to answer the door.
Mr O’Rourke later confirmed Mr James lived at the same property.
“Yes, there’s a flat attached to my home with separate bedroom and kitchenette and an ensuite and so on. It’s separate accommodation.”
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