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Taxpayers shouldn’t fork out for fundraising dinners

Getting the taxpayer to pay for his press secretary to attend a National Party fundraising dinner is the latest in a litany of rule breaking by Cabinet Minister Nick Smith, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says.

“Documents obtained by Labour show taxpayers paid $55 for Nick Smith’s press secretary to attend the National fundraising dinner in Ashburton last May.

“That is a misuse of taxpayer money.

“Nick Smith should stop being tight and repay that money. It’s a small amount of money but there is a principle at stake here.

“It is also concerning the Department of Internal Affairs seems to think this okay. If the Department approved this spending, what else has it approved for National’s fundraising events?

“The Minister is entitled to have staff with him on the road when they are needed. But it is not on for taxpayers to pick up the tab for them to attend party fundraisers.

“It was a dinner, not a conference session or a speech. Did Nick Smith need help with his knife and fork?

“This is another sign of sloppiness from a Minister who lost his job for breaching the Cabinet manual, has shown contempt for the Official Information Act and now misspent taxpayers’ money.

“The Prime Minister needs to pull Nick Smith aside and speak remind him what taxpayer money can and cannot be spent on,” Kris Faafoi says.