Foreign affairs minister Nanaia Mahuta has welcomed an investigation looking into potential conflicts of interest linked to government contracts offered to her husband.
Gannin Ormsby was awarded contracts by four different agencies, prompting questions about whether these were accurately disclosed.
Mahuta has maintained that she “assiduously” declared possible conflicts, but the opposition has continued to pressure the government to do more to allay concerns.
“It’s concerned me for some time that even though I have declared conflicts of interest and noted that they’ve been managed in accordance with the Cabinet manual, these stories are still persisting,” Mahuta said.
National’s Simeon Brown said he wrote to the Public Service Commissioner twice asking for investigations into how the contracts were awarded.
“I am pleased the Public Service Commissioner has agreed to investigate this matter. New Zealanders have a right to know how contracts were awarded to Mr Ormsby when Ms Mahuta was the associate minister for three ministries that entered into contracts with him,” Brown said.
“Conflicts of interest, or even perceived conflicts of interest, can severely undermine public trust and confidence in our democracy and public service.”
The letter sent by the commissioner to Brown revealed that Labour minister Chris Hipkins had also requested the matter be looked into. This followed Mahuta herself asking him as the public service minister to check over the contracts.