Compare and Contrast over $70 wine

In February 2010 Phil Heatley resigned over two bottle of wine valued at $70.

Key explained the inconsistency in Heatley’s expenses documents.

“It came to my attention yesterday that the documentation used to support Mr Heatley’s expenses claim for $70 in Christchurch last year was incorrect,” Key says.

The expenses claim said the spending was listed as ‘Minister and Spouse: dinner’.

But the credit card receipt showed the card was used for two bottles of wine for his and his wife’s table at the National Party Conference.

“I have asked Mr Heatley to explain the inconsistency and he has indicated to me that this was an unintentional error on his part, and he had not sought to mislead Ministerial Services in the characterisation of his claim.

“However, he feels that he has not lived up to the high standards required of a minister and has resigned his portfolios.”

Phil Heatley was later re-instated once an investigation showed there was no intent in his actions. Contrast that with Five Fingers Feeley attitude for the same value of wine:

“I would struggle to think that any reasonable person would consider a $70 bottle of wine an outlandish recognition … I doubt that any reasonable person would take issue with the use to which the drink was put.”

No remorse, shows intent. Unrepentant. All for the same amount of money.

This isn’t about the value this is about the head of an organisation responsible for maintaining and enforcing high ethical standards in business and government, getting a five finger discount on a bottle of wine and thinking there is nothing at all wrong with that. Phil Heatley knew the difference, he resigned and showed  a refreshing amount of integrity.

What is astounding is the fact that Bill English, who has no responsibility for either the SFO or the State Services Commission sees fit to wade into the debate and pass judgment on what is an employment matter. If I was Labour I’d be loading up a whole heap of questions to Collins and Ryall about the meddling in their portfolios by Bill English.


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  • Anonymous

    People who think it is just a minor matter are obviously not familiar with the expectations  involved with Caesar’s Wife. It’s not the size of the pilfering, it is the principle that if he will do it on a small scale, he will do it on a larger scale, including being economical with the TRUTH to persue an investigation.I suspect that any half-decent lawyer will now have a field day with this in Court . He is finished and should resign . (BTW, it is the same reason that you can not trust a politician who cheats on his partner. If the partner can not trust them, why should the voters. Another thing poiticians like to keep quiet about )

  • bruno32

    Well done whale. This feely prik has overstayed his welcome. John Key has to relieve him of his duties ASAP. No golden parachutes,No friendly thank yous. He needs to be put in front of a Kiwi jury ,and let them decide the armholes fate.

  • Agent BallSack

    Totally agree on the trustworthiness issue on this case. The man needs to be above reproach at all  times, filching a bottle from an empty office is theft no matter what way you try and split it. Bill English should step back from this case lest be tarred with it, or drag the government and its ministers into a nasty little spat.

  • bruno32

    How can a common thief be allowed to judge a man of integrity like the late Alan Hubbard ? I smell a  dead rat.

  • Todd

    Theft is theft end of story.The law does not place a monetary limit on what stealing is.The guy has shown himself to be an idiot,which is worse that the stealing.If I was his boss I would fire him for being a plonker with no integrity.

  • Agent BallSack

    Whats next? Cops taking lawnmowers from crown seized assets? Lawyers entering jailed criminals homes to recoup legal fees? 

  • bruno32

    No different to the cops smoking a big doobie ,from that big bust on those gang boys,when they go down.I am not that naive to believe it all gets into the incinerator.What else has feely pinched ?

  • Chris

    And Bill English says it’s okay because the SFO boys “have been under a lot of pressure lately”.  Tell that to the judge.  Almost as good as the “he makes us laugh” defence. 

  • Anonymous

    Agree, theft is theft.. Feely, admit you are a thief, resign and step down.

    Very silly move by English, very silly indeed…

  • Cactus Kate

    Key called it a storm in a champagne flute.
    Problem is that even Riedel champagne flutes are prone to snapping under the slightest bit of pressure.
    Careless choice of words.

  • bruno32

    did the prik have  a carafe of holy water to sup when he put Mr Alan Hubbard away ?

  • Naylor

    This is just not tidy and the sad reality is that Feeley thought taking a bottle of grog for his own purposes (ie when he knew he was going to the SFO) is simply wrong. And now to boast to his staff about the bottle shows poor judgement. Sadly, and unfortunately he should go.

  • It’s no more serious than shop lifting.

    • Which is a crime. Are you suggesting that it is ok for the head of the SFO to commit shop lifting?

  • Agent BallSack

    I still reckon my idea is best for grovel status ;) …make him face up with media in situ and replace said disgusting wine in person…governments have been all out non accountability. Subsequent Governments have passed laws reducing any culpability in any area. Lets change that this year

  • Alan

    What a cheep prick he could have at least bought the team some beers and vino
    out of his expense account if he intended celebrating . Though wonder he got dobbed from within. Celebrating with 1 bottle of stolen sparkling horse piss, talk about drinking from a poisoned chalice.
    if they has any balls they could have a go at some of our  gangs , the proceeds would more likly be multiple pallets of Waikato and Lion Red . Imagine  the staff party .

  • Doc

    String him up, he’s no better than a common thief. When the hell are the public service going to realise that:
    a/ They are accountable for their actions and
    b/ They are accountable to the public?

    He should be in the teachers union or a University Vice-Chancellor.

  • Naylor

    What till he gets into Customs and gets access to all the seized loot! 

  • Chris

    Feeley’s cavalier approach to this suggests it’s been common practice for a while.