13 Nov 2010

Wong resignation 'proof MP expenses need overhaul'

4:29 pm on 13 November 2010

The Green Party says the resignation of Womens' Affairs Minister Pansy Wong from Cabinet is more proof that an independent overhaul of MPs' expenses and entitlements is needed.

Mrs Wong resigned from her ministerial portfolios on Friday over questions about the use of her parliamentary travel entitlement to pay for her husband to travel within China.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says it is glaringly obvious that Parliament needs to change the way the system works.

She says the rules should be set by an independent body, not by MPs.

'Double standards at play'

The Tongan Advisory Council says politicians who get into trouble are dealt with in different ways, depending on the colour of their skin.

Citing the treatment of Samoan-born former MP Taito Phillip Field, who was sentenced to six years' jail for bribery, corruption and perverting the course of justice, council chair Melino Maka says there are double standards at play.

New Zealand Chinese Association president Steven Young says the minister's downfall is a bitter disappointment, and Auckland Indian Association president Harshad Patel says Mrs Wong - the country's first Asian MP - worked tirelessly in her ministerial role.

Mr Patel says she was committed to ethnic communities much earlier, as an opposition MP.

The founder of the Aotearoa Ethnic Network, Ruth De Souza, says that Mrs Wong worked incredibly hard for ethnic communities, and that her rise made politics interesting for many Asian people.