New Zealand hit by MP porn expenses scandal

By Nick Bryant
BBC News, Sydney

Image caption,
Hundreds of purchases were found to have broken official rules

New Zealand's politics has been hit by a parliamentary expenses scandal.

It involves the misuse of official credit cards by members of the last Labour government.

One MP, marked out as a possible leader of the Labour party, admitted to charging 20 pornographic films to his official card.

Up until this year, only the total amount spent on ministerial credit cards was made public. Now everyone can see precisely what was purchased.

New Zealand journalists have been poring over 7,000 pages of credit card expenses, released under freedom of information laws, and found that hundreds of purchases from former Labour government ministers broke the rules.

One former minister bought flowers for his partner's birthday, the former arts minister purchased a bottle of Bollinger champagne.

But much of the attention in this expenses scandal has been focused on the former housing minister, Shane Jones, who has admitted to using his ministerial credit card to pay for 20 adult movies.

Calling it "Shane's day of shame", Mr Jones said he was not a sex fiend, but "a red-blooded robust dude".

Mr Jones, who was widely seen as a future leader of the Labour party, said he repaid the money spent on the pornographic films, and said that watching them during ministerial trips "was not a good look".

He said his wife was threatening to kill him.