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"Mysterious" resignation questioned - the housing man calls it quits - a quiet key in another rusty lock...
Labour is questioning why Phil Heatley has resigned his ministerial portfolios, when the Prime Minister said he did not need to
Labour is looking for answers over the fall of Housing and Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley.
The Whangarei MP has resigned from his portfolios today after admitting a further mistake on his use of his ministerial credit card, where he documented two bottles of wine costing $70 as 'food and beverage', when no food was purchased. He says he has been careless.
It comes just two days after he apologised and repaid $1,114, saying he had mistakenly used the card for expenditure that fell outside the determination of "ministerial business".
Prime Minister John Key has confirmed that he suggested Mr Heatley stand aside while the Auditor General looked at how he had been using the credit card. He says Mr Heatley instead resigned.
Labour deputy leader Annette King says the affair is mysterious and more information is needed.
"There is a bit of a pattern here, because you'll recall when (Richard) Worth resigned we didn't know why and we weren't given the reason. So I really do think the Prime Minister needs to front up and tell New Zealanders why he has resigned. Particularly as the Prime Minister said he didn't need to."
Mrs King says if Mr Key was showing leadership he would be fully explaining the situation.
However the Prime Minister says if an audit of Mr Heatley's card shows he has simply been careless, then the door is always open for his possible return to Cabinet.
"His actions have been untidy and they've been careless. But as I also said, ministers are human beings and from time to time they'll make mistakes."
One of Mr Heatley's Whangarei constituents Martin Kaipo, who runs the Otangarei Community Trust, would back any possible return to cabinet for his MP. He says Mr Heatley's a hard-working man who would do well with any portfolio.
Mr Kaipo says he was pleased when Mr Heatley became Housing Minister as he has done a lot of work in the Otangarei community.
"I hope John Key decides to encourage him to stay with some portfolios. He's definitely a person that can achieve a lot of stuff."
Mr Kaipo says it takes an honest man to say he is not happy with what he has done, and resign.
Another wino hit the dust!