5 Mar 2015

MP's mother convicted of benefit fraud

1:36 pm on 5 March 2015

The mother of Labour MP Carmel Sepuloni has been convicted of illegally receiving benefits totalling about $34,000.

Beverley Sepuloni and Michael Rangi at New Plymouth District Court on 5 March 2015.

Beverley Sepuloni and Michael Rangi at New Plymouth District Court. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

In the New Plymouth District Court this morning Beverley Anne Sepuloni pleaded guilty to 19 charges of applying for benefits she was not entitled to and of not declaring she was living with her partner between 2003 and 2014.

Sepuloni is a sickness beneficiary and a Housing New Zealand tenant paying income related rent.

The 59-year-old appeared with joint accused, Michael Charles Rangi, who plead guilty to four similar charges.

Rangi was overpaid about $62,500 in unemployment benefit and accommodation allowance.

Carmel Sepuloni was temporarily stood down from her role as Labour's social development spokesperson following charges being against her mother.

Party leader Andrew Little said Ms Sepuloni would get her job back later this month.

"Once the sentencing is completed and I understand that happens at the end of this month then life will return to normal for Carmel and for the caucus.

"She will go back to being the spokesperson for social development and all the portfolios will go back to where they were."

The couple will reappear on 31 March for sentencing.