Jacinda Ardern crisis as one of her own MPs attacks New Zealand government for wasting taxpayer funds

Labour’s Hamilton West MP Gaurav Sharma has made the allegations in a post on Facebook

Published

Jacinda Ardern is facing another crisis after one of her own MPs attacked the New Zealand Government for wasting taxpayer funds.

Labour’s Hamilton West MP Gaurav Sharma has gone public with allegations of misspending taxpayer funds, allegations of bullying and wrongdoing by staffing and standards agency Parliamentary Service.

Mr Sharma alleged MP-to-MP bullying in a column in the NZ Herald last week, before also penning a post on Facebook which included further allegations.

Mr Sharma said current whip and emergency management minister Kieran McAnulty “kept gaslighting me, shouting at me, degrading me in front of caucus members ... and telling me that I was a terrible MP”.

Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern
Ms Ardern faces a fresh crisis following Mr Sharma's allegations
Ms Ardern faces a fresh crisis following Mr Sharma's allegations

While he also hit out at fellow whip Duncan Webb in the post.

He added that an unnamed Labour MP and a parliamentary staff member had misused taxpayers money, but the issue was “hushed”.

Mr Sharma said he told the Parliamentary Service about his concerns last august "as someone who took an oath to uphold and protect the interests of this country".

Parliamentary Service chief executive Rafael Gonzalez-Montero has since confirmed that the issue was looked into last year.

But Mr Gonzalez-Montero added that the money was spent on travel for a staff member who was visiting an MP’s electorate office for the purpose of team building and assisting the wider team."

He added: "This is normal practice for many members when establishing a new team which has staff dispersed in different regions."

Mr Sharma has since hit back, telling RMZ: “The Parliamentary Service definitely did not investigate it."

He continued in his Facebook post: "I was told by then Junior Whip Duncan Webb that what I did was wrong and I should be ashamed of myself.

"I was then told by Duncan Webb that an accusation like this could mean that the government could get into trouble, lose the election etc and such issues needed to be contained rather than discussed freely."

Mr Webb has since described the allegations as "unfounded and not accepted".