Winston Peters is being chauffeured in a crown limousine, collecting his ministerial salary and living in a ministerial house while Prime Minister Helen Clark does his duties.
Mr Peters stood down from his foreign affairs, racing and senior citizens portfolios on Friday while the Serious Fraud Office investigates NZ First funding, but has kept all the perks of the job.
While Miss Clark was meeting veteran Australian diplomat Richard Woolcott at Parliament yesterday, Mr Peters was being whisked away in a crown car after arriving at Wellington airport.
Miss Clark's meeting with Mr Woolcott, who has been given the task by his prime minister, Kevin Rudd, of creating a mega Asia-Pacific community, was scheduled, but Mr Peters was to have met him today. That is now off because Mr Peters has stood aside.
Under an agreement with Miss Clark, Mr Peters keeps his ministerial home in Thorndon and his $195,700 salary while the SFO and privileges committee investigate donations claims.
Miss Clark took responsibility for his portfolios on Friday.
A spokeswoman for Miss Clark said though Mr Peters had stood aside, he retained a ministerial warrant. Other ministers who had stood aside from portfolios in the past but retained their warrants had also kept their entitlements.
- The Dominion Post
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