PM Jacinda Ardern says Gaurav Sharma's accusation Labour MP misused taxpayer money is incorrect

The Prime Minister is hitting back at claims a Labour MP misused taxpayer funds, revealing Parliamentary Services looked into the allegations and found no wrongdoing. 

It comes after Labour backbencher Gaurav Sharma launched a stunning broadside against his Party last week

Sharma made a myriad of accusations first in an opinion piece for the NZ Herald and then in an explosive follow-up social media post.

Among accusations of covering up widespread bullying and cultural problems, Sharma went on to accuse a Labour MP and a Parliamentary staffer of misusing taxpayer money. 

"As someone who took an oath to uphold and protect the interests of this country I raised my concerns with the Relationship Manager at Parliamentary Services," Sharma said in a Facebook post on Friday. 

"Instead of protecting my identity and looking into this matter, Parliamentary Services forwarded my concerns to the Labour Party Whips and alerted them of what I had said." 

Sharma went on to accuse Chief Government whip Kieran McAnulty and junior whip Duncan Webb of bullying him for raising concerns about how the money was being spent. 

"Following this incidence (sic), I was put through further bullying. I was told by then Junior Whip Duncan Webb that what I did was wrong and I should be ashamed of myself," he claimed. 

The Hamilton West MP also accused Webb of saying: "The only way this country can succeed is if Labour is in government. Government means Labour. So the Party comes first and foremost before the country". 

But speaking with AM's Melissa Chan-Green on Monday, Jacinda Ardern said Parliamentary Services looked into Sharma's claims taxpayer money was being misused but found it wasn't. 

"We take such claims very seriously. Gaurav raised that issue directly with Parliamentary Services and the issue was that he believed a staff member had travelled inappropriately with an MP," Ardern said. 

"So he raised it with Parliamentary Service - who are in charge of making sure the rules are followed. They found that it was not inappropriate. Parliamentarians across the House will know that that is not unusual for particularly a staff member based in Wellington when they first join a team to go and meet the local office staff that they'll work with day to day.

"They found that to not be an issue. Again, despite that having been looked in, you see that Gaurav is continuing to raise that issue."

The Prime Minister also revealed she had no plans to stand down Webb or McAnulty to investigate the bullying claims because she had seen no evidence it was true. 

"This comes back to the fact that there were accusations made by staff members around the conduct of an MP [Sharma]. Rightly, the whips and Parliamentary Services intervened because this was not just one case there was more than one case, so it gave them grounds for intervention. 

"The MP [Sharma] has not agreed with those interventions. I have seen nothing to substantiate the claims that have been made against these MPs in the way they have intervened," she said. 

When asked whether the reason she hasn't seen any proof is because there hasn't been a review, Ardern said she has gone through "the documentation that exists around these issues". 

"As you can imagine there's timelines and notes and annotations taken of all these interactions, this has been going on for some time."

Ardern also revealed Parliamentary Services has been working to resolve multiple employment issues within Sharma's office.

She said staff complaints prompted them and the whips to intervene which Sharma did not agree with. 

"Ultimately what gave rise to Guarav raising issues is that we identified, because staff raised it, issues with his management within his office and interventions were made by the whips and Parliamentary Services - which he disagreed with," Ardern claimed. 

"That is actually the very reason this occurred in the first place because we do work very hard to ensure we have a good working environment with those who are here in Parliament."

It comes after National MP Sam Uffindell was stood down last week after several unsavoury allegations about his past were revealed.