Kate Hawkesby: SFO inquiries not a good look

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 12 Mar 2020, 10:13AM
Serious Fraud Office director Julie Read is overseeing multiple investigations into political donations and expenses. Photo / Greg Bowker

Kate Hawkesby: SFO inquiries not a good look

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 12 Mar 2020, 10:13AM

COMMENT

Is there any politician left here not being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office?

Are we turning into Zimbabwe or something? What sort of country are we running here?

How much of the SFO's time should be taken up with investigating politicians? And why don't politicians know and abide by the rules?

How is it possible we have two of this country's most well known and seasoned mayors facing formal investigations into election expenses? What happened there? Worse still, it all appears a huge surprise to them.

The SFO has confirmed the two separate probes are in relation to 2019 election campaign donations.

So we have the leaders of two of the country's biggest councils being investigated. Two people who arguably should know better, be more professional, and not have the SFO sniffing at their doors. Not to say either is guilty of anything but you've got to admit, being under investigation by the SFO is not a great look.

National and NZ First should know.

The NZ First Foundation is under investigation over allegations it had a slush fund of money channelling through to the NZ First party.

As well as that, we've got former National MP Jami-Lee Ross facing SFO charges, alongside three other men, over donations to the National Party.

It would be interesting to know how much of the SFO's time is dominated by looking into our elected representatives instead of dealing with, I don't know, serious fraud? By actual serious fraudsters?

Is what we're seeing here, with the increasing number of politicians taking up their time, just a case of our political representatives not knowing the rules well enough? Are they not paying enough attention? Or are they too cavalier with the rules? Or are they, worse still, actually breaking the law? Hopefully, the SFO gets to the bottom of it. But ratepayers in both major cities of Auckland and Christchurch should be rightly concerned.

It feels like there are just a few too many allegations being lobbed against New Zealand politicians these days, who we should be able to trust beyond reproach.

No, they're not always honest and transparent in what they say and do, but when it comes to the books, surely they should be squeaky clean?