Labour's complaint shot down by Smith

  • 16/02/2016

Cabinet minister Nick Smith has rejected a Labour Party complaint that his press secretary was wrongly reimbursed for a $55 dinner in Ashburton.

Kris Faafoi, Labour's state services spokesman, says he has documents showing press secretary Seonah Choi attended a National Party fund-raising dinner with the minister.

"The minister is entitled to have staff with him on the road when they are needed, but it is not on for taxpayers to pick up the tab for them to attend party fund-raisers," he said.

Dr Smith told NZ Newswire there was no fund-raising dinner.

"Mr Faafoi's claims are inaccurate and unfair," he said.

"My press secretary was accompanying me because the next morning I made an announcement of government policy around earthquake-prone buildings, and held a press conference."

Dr Smith says the only way his press secretary could have been with him was to be in Ashburton the night before.

"There was no fund-raiser, she had a meal at Hotel Ashburton alongside conference participants at a $55 cost," he said.