Peters stays silent over pal's $50,000 pay details

Last updated 01:17 08/07/2008
DIEGO OPATOWSKI/The Dominion Post
NO COMMENT: NZ First leader Winston Peters still won't say what a friend and NZ First staff member has done in return for a $50,000 salary paid by the taxpayer.

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NZ First  leader Winston Peters has continued to refuse to say what a friend of his who is a NZ First staff member has done for a $50,000 salary paid by the taxpayer.

The Dominion Post revealed on Saturday that Tauranga man Tommy Gear had been paid hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for a job many in NZ First know almost nothing about.

Yesterday Mr Peters again refused to answer questions about Mr Gear's role. The Parliamentary Service, which employs Mr Gear, declined to comment.

Mr Gear is likely to face police scrutiny over banners promoting NZ First that were hung from a Tauranga property he owns. The Electoral Commission has asked police to investigate the alleged breach of the Electoral Finance Act.

Mr Peters said yesterday he would not "waste my time" discussing Mr Gear's role with NZ First.

"This is a matter in which I wrote to the police, said to them `Who do you want me to talk to?'

"A complaint has been made and we going to have it done by people who are half-way qualified to do an investigation, which doesn't include you," Mr Peters said before hanging up.

ACT leader Rodney Hide said Mr Peters demanded transparency and accountability of others but "can't answer the most basic questions to do with public money and his own behaviour".

Parliament Speaker Margaret Wilson referred questions about Mr Gear's job to the Parliamentary Service.

Its general manager, Geoff Thorn, would not comment on Mr Gear's employment. The number of hours an MP's support staff worked in a week and how much they were paid was up to the MP and the staff member, he said.

 

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