3 News has obtained emails that further embarrass Labour leader Andrew Little over his failure to pay a contractor.
The emails show Mr Little's closest adviser and fellow unionist, Matt McCarten, knew about the outstanding debt before Christmas. Despite promises, Mr McCarten did nothing about it.
- OPINION: Little's no-pay shocker
Mr Little failed to pay the bill for the worker for almost four months. The exchange is all in the emails from freelance journalist David Cohen and show Mr Little's chief of staff, Mr McCarten, promised to fix up the debt before Christmas.
But referring to Mr Cohen as "a worker" has made Mr Little grumpy.
"Your commentary talked about a worker," says Mr Little. "He was a contractor."
Mr Little's a former union boss, and Mr McCarten was too. But this was one worker whose rights they failed to defend.
The debt of $950 goes back to October last year when Mr Little got Mr Cohen's help on his leadership bid. On December 22, Mr Cohen went to Mr McCarten, Mr Little's closest adviser, who promised, "I will take this up with Andrew."
After the Christmas break Mr Cohen wrote again: "I may also need to add in a charge for hours spent chasing the payment."
This time Mr McCarten said: "I'll make it a priority. Every worker must be paid for work they are asked to do."
Mr Cohen tried again in late January, asking for closure, and there was still nothing.
Mr McCarten then let Mr Little give a major speech about helping small business, prompting Mr Cohen to ask: "What in God's name is happening?"
It got sorted yesterday – Mr Little paid straight from a joint account with his wife.
Mr Little has opened himself up to attack from National, and it's embarrassing. A $950 bill was surely easy to pay, given he's on more than $260,000 a year.
Mr Little is getting the speed wobbles over his first slip-up as leader, and he clearly doesn't like the pressure.
source: newshub archive