Three Labour party ministers in New Zealand were demoted for misusing their taxpayer-funded credit cards for personal expenses several times in the past.
Labour Party Phil Goff responded to the public outrage which sparked after one of the accused party members, Shane Jones, had been discovered to have used his ministerial credit card to pay for watching pornographic movies in hotels while travelling. The other two accused, Chris Carter and Mita Ririnui, had also done similar misuse of public funds before and would be stripped of their positions and portfolios.
"Ultimately, it was clear what decision I needed to make in these cases," Goff stated.
Jones and Carter acknowledged their wrongdoings and submitted themselves for their sanctions. The two were removed from the front bench and would be relegated to lower positions, with the latter having been stripped of his portfolio for foreign affairs but still has that of ethnic affairs.
Meanwhile, Ririnui had yet to answer questions concerning the issue.
Officials are not permitted to use their ministerial credit cards for personal expenses even when they intend reimburse the cost, which Jones and Carter had done.
Jones had accumulated more $6000 of personal spending using his taxpayer-funded card for in-room "blue" movies over the years in office. He had reimbursed that amount around the time he stepped down from being Minister of Building and Construction last 2008.
Carter had used his ministerial credit cards for personal expenses such as overseas holidays, massages, spa treatments, and flowers. He had been warned about his misuse of public funds before, but he had not heeded them then. He admitted his mistakes of having misused his card five times and had sent a cheque of $251.16 for reimbursement, though he gave no apology.
Ririnui had used his credit card and spent $899 for purchasing sporting goods which include golfing equipment and a bike.
Despite Jones` repeated misuses of his ministerial credit card, Goff still believed that the shamed MP would still have a lot to offer for the Labour party and his country in the future. Goff believed that he will need to prove that he is still worthy of future consideration and will need to earn his way back to a future Labour ministry.
Even the former president of the Labour Party, Mike Williams, had said earlier this week, when the news of Jones`s activities came out, that Jones has potential to be future Labour Party leader.