14 Feb 2012

TPK head to repay money spent on trips for wife

8:29 pm on 14 February 2012

Te Puni Kokiri chief executive Leith Comer is repaying just over $1000 of taxpayers' money he spent on taking his wife to two events in Auckland.

The disclosure of chief executives' expenses for the six months to the end of December reveals Mr Comer twice flew his wife to Auckland, for the Style Pasifika event and the Maori Sports Awards.

The trips cost taxpayers $1014 and prompted State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman to question the spending.

In a statement Mr Comer says while he believes the spending was justified at the time, he now accepts the perception that it wasn't a good use of taxpayers' money.

He says rather than go through a protracted debate on the matter he will repay the money.

A spokesperson for the State Services Commission says Commissioner Iain Rennie believes Mr Comer has taken the appropriate action.

Mr Coleman says it is a matter of judgement and he questions whether Mr Comer has exercised good judgement.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says Mr Comer's offer to repay the money should be the end of the matter.

Dr Sharples says the issue is a matter of judgement, between Mr Comer and his employer.

He says if the offer to repay the money is accepted by the commission, then that should probably be the end of the matter.