2015年1月23日 星期五

美國新貴族America’s new aristocracy; 紐西蘭某部長的兩瓶酒



WHEN the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination line up on stage for their first debate in August, there may be three contenders whose fathers also...
ECON.ST

兩瓶酒毀掉一個"總理" (sic 部長)

目前,紐西蘭房價在整個太平洋地區是最低的,吸引了許多歐美國家的人前來購房投資,帶動了新西蘭經濟的發展。

這些成績的取得,和紐西蘭房屋部長希特利的出色工作是分不開的。


他是資深的內閣高官,作風果敢,有魄力。多年來,他一直致力於紐西蘭的住房改革,一方面,打擊開發商囤積土地哄抬房價;另一方面,大力開發平價房,使紐西蘭房價一直維持在低水平上。

最新民意調查顯示,希特利是下屆總理最熱門的競選人之一,被人們普遍看好。希特利本人也雄心勃勃,準備好好大干一場,並已著手籌備競選班子。

今年2月5日,他約好了幾個同事和朋友到自己家共進晚餐。希特利下班後,路過一家超市,想到家裡的酒沒有了,便進去買酒。他掏錢包時,發現錢包沒有帶在身邊,猶豫了一下,從口袋裡掏出一張信用卡。

這是一張政府專用的信用卡,主要用於公務招待。希特利手裡拿著信用卡,彷彿在做賊。他用眼睛向四周一瞄,迅速地將這張卡遞給超市收銀員,刷了約1000紐西蘭元,購買了兩瓶酒。

當收銀員將這張卡遞還給希特利時,不經意地發現他好像有點古怪,手在微微發抖,臉漲得通紅,額頭還滲出絲絲汗珠,眼睛不敢正視別人。

看著希特利拎著兩瓶酒匆匆離去的背影,收銀員心裡一直嘀咕,這人怎麼啦?慌慌張張的,像做賊似的。

第二天,希特利回到部裡,在去報銷前,他拿著賬單思前想後了好一番,才來到財務部門。對這兩瓶酒的用處,他謊稱是上次參加會議的餐費,是用於公務接待的。

出了財務辦公室,希特利長長吐了一口氣,掏出手絹,不停地擦拭著額角。有人從旁邊走過,發現希特利臉色蒼白,虛汗直冒,就關切地詢問他,是不是身體不舒服?希特利連忙擺手說沒事,然後匆匆離開。

過了一個多星期,政府的審計員對希特利的報銷賬單作審查,發現那張購買兩瓶酒的賬單好像有些問題。於是,審計員立刻把這一重大發現向審計長作了會報。審計長聽了,感到事態嚴重,心想,如果這是公款私用,將是一起十分嚴重的腐敗事件,直接影響到政府的信用。他立刻成立了以自己為組長的調查小組,對希特利購酒的事件立案調查。

很快,調查小組就掌握了希特利購酒的整個過程和用途。於是,立刻向內閣會議作了報告。事情很快被媒體獲知,被連篇累牘地報導出來。

一下子被推到輿論風口浪尖的希特利,馬上退還了兩瓶酒的錢,還透過媒體向公眾做出深深的道歉和反省,並向總理遞交了辭呈,總理約翰•基伊隨即接受了他的辭職請求。

隨後,檢察機關向法院提出訴訟,追究希特利的法律責任。根據紐西蘭的法律,希特利的行徑,很有可能被判處三年以下有期徒刑。希特利的腐敗醜聞,在威靈頓、奧克蘭、漢密頓等地引起了人們大規模的遊行示威。有媒體猜測,這件事很可能導致這屆政府提前解散。

在紐西蘭老百姓看來,兩瓶酒的腐敗就是天大的腐敗,如果不依法追究政府的瀆職和監管責任,這件事就沒完沒了。

Minister quits over two bottles of wine

Published: 2:40PM Thursday February 25, 2010 Source: ONE News/NZPA


Two bottles of wine have prompted the shock resignation of Cabinet Minister Phil Heatley, but he could make a comeback if he gets a favourable report from the Auditor-General over his misuse of expenses.

His resignation, which even caught the Prime Minister by surprise, comes after Heatley admitted making a false ministerial credit card declaration for wine he ordered at the National Party Conference.

An emotional Heatley resigned as Housing and Fisheries Minister on Thursday morning over misspending taxpayers' money and making wrongful declarations.

He has now given all his accounts to the Office of the Auditor General to investigate.

Key told an afternoon media conference his officials have been talking to the Auditor-General's office already over the expenses issue.

An investigation was to start on Thursday afternoon to check the appropriateness of the expenses claimed by Heatley, Key says.

He says his minister has been sloppy, but he has no evidence of deliberate abuse of the system.
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Heatley wasn't pushed, in fact quite the opposite.

Key says he would have preferred Heatley had stood down while the Auditor-General investigated his claims, but the Whangarei MP offered his resignation and this has been accepted with regret, Key says.

"I wouldn't have asked for his resignation. It was the Minister himself that offered his resignation."

What he did wrong

Key explained the inconsistency in Heatley's expenses documents.

"It came to my attention yesterday that the documentation used to support Mr Heatley's expenses claim for $70 in Christchurch last year was incorrect," Key says.

The expenses claim said the spending was listed as 'Minister and Spouse: dinner'.

But the credit card receipt showed the card was used for two bottles of wine for his and his wife's table at the National Party Conference.

"I have asked Mr Heatley to explain the inconsistency and he has indicated to me that this was an unintentional error on his part, and he had not sought to mislead Ministerial Services in the characterisation of his claim.

"However, he feels that he has not lived up to the high standards required of a minister and has resigned his portfolios."

Key says he expects high standards from ministers but they are also only human and make mistakes.

"I have no reason at this stage to believe that Mr Heatley has been dishonest. However, it is important that the Auditor-General investigates this issue to ensure that public money is spent appropriately."

He has asked Ministerial Services to work with the Auditor-General to look at systems and processes for dealing with ministerial expenses.

Heatley is the second scalp from Key's Cabinet after Richard Worth resigned following the election over inappropriate behaviour.

Key says using a credit card in the way the former Housing Minister would not cost most workers' their jobs.

"I'm not sure that at every company in New Zealand if someone inappropriately, but in a misguided basis, used their credit card for a small amount they would be sacked. In fact in my experience they wouldn't be."

But Labour says there must be more to it.

"It just seems strange and a mystery as to why a minister would stand down when his Prime Minister said he didn't need to," says Annette King, Labour MP for Rongotai.

Maurice Williamson (Housing) and David Carter (Fisheries) will take over Heatley's portfolios for now.

Heatley's "step too far"

Heatley's latest incorrect claim came after he had already been caught out using his ministerial credit card to pay for a family trip and other personal transactions.

"I've had to pay back things that have been charged and I need to do that and I will do that," he told a media conference on Thursday morning.

"The difference here is I have represented, signed a document, that is not accurate and that's a step too far. It's just a step too far. It tipped it over the edge for me."

Heatley said it had been a privilege to serve as a cabinet minister and he had failed to live up to his own standards.

"...And for that I am embarrassed and immensely sorry".

"I have absolutely no desire to become the focus of a distraction for this government, which has much to do to grow the economy, invest in jobs and help Kiwis get ahead."

Heatley was not surprised Key accepted the resignation, which he tendered on Thursday morning.

"I wanted him to accept it because I meant it. I want to resign, I haven't lived up to my own standards."

He will remain in parliament as MP for Whangarei which he has represented since 1999, he says.

"I think I need to spend a long time on the backbenches."

Heatley this week paid back over $1,000 worth of illegitimate spending, the bulk of which involved a taxpayer-funded family trip to the South Island where he visited Kaikoura's Whale Watch and attended a conference in Christchurch.

He made a public apology after the spending discrepancies, including wine and food he bought at a National Party conference last year, were revealed in The Dominion Post.

Heatley has also been under fire in the past for his accommodation allowances.



Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee also apologised this week and repaid $151.90 spent outside the rules in September for a lunch with his electorate staff.
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