Parliament's Speaker David Carter says he has had to accept
that New Zealand First MP Denis O'Rourke is not in a
relationship with his taxpayer-funded employee and housemate
NZ First's justice spokesman Mr O'Rourke was the subject of a
complaint to Mr Carter by Queenstown man David Simpson, who
claimed Mr O'Rourke and his out of parliament assistant Mr
James were in a long-term relationship. Parliamentary rules
forbid MPs from employing their spouses.
But in a response to Mr Simpson yesterday, Mr Carter said the
pair, who share a home in Christchurch, had denied they were
partners when asked by Parliamentary Service.
"Based on the information made available to me I have to
accept that Mr O'Rourke and Mr Jones are not spouses or
partners and as such the decision by Parliamentary Service to
employ Mr James did not contravene ... the Speaker's
Directions", Mr Carter told Mr Simpson.
Mr Simpson had also raised issues about Mr James' travel to
Wellington but Mr Carter noted the terms of his employment
required him to work in Wellington, "and on two occasions he
travelled to Wellington at the Parliamentary Service's
"However, Mr James' travel on both occasions was for
parliamentary business and was in connection with his job."
Mr Carter said he was "assured that there has been no misuse
of parliamentary funds to meet the costs of Mr James' travel
Responding to Mr Simpson's claims that Mr O'Rourke had also
been involved in placing a bogus testimonial for his classic
car hire business on Trade Me, Mr Carter noted that was
"outside my area of responsibility".
"In closing, without further substantial evidence to
allegations that have been made, I can take this matter no
further", Mr Carter said.
Mr Simpson this morning said he was "absolutely disgusted
because it didn't pass the sniff test in the first place."
He confirmed he had laid a complaint with police over the
bogus Trade Me testimonial placed by Mr James three months
before Mr O'Rourke became an MP in 2011.
Mr O'Rourke has said he knew Mr James had placed the
reference but, because it was done before he was an MP, he
did not need to apologise to the public. "It's probably not
proper but it's no big deal, I wouldn't have thought."
Mr O'Rourke last week said Mr Simpson's complaint was "just
politically motivated nonsense."
While he initially told the Herald he and Mr James lived at
separate addresses, Herald investigations revealed both
addresses applied to the same property - Mr O'Rourke's home.
- Adam Bennett of the NZ Herald