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Heatley keen to get back to work

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Phil Heatley
Phil Heatley

Wellington, March 31 NZPA - Phil Heatley says he is keen to get back to work on his ministerial portfolios when he is reinstated to Cabinet tomorrow.

Prime Minister John Key quickly announced the reinstatement after an Auditor-General's inquiry found that while Mr Heatley wrongly spent $1402 of taxpayers' money, he did not intentionally break the rules.

"I think Mr Heatley is a very good minister, I now want him to get on and actually take charge of his portfolio areas," Mr Key said within hours of the report being released.

"It's not my view that a reasonable person would exclude someone forever from Cabinet because of the findings of this report...I think that he has acknowledged he's learnt some lessons from this experience and I am sure he will be very careful in future."

Mr Heatley told NZPA he was accepting reinstatement but would not say if he had asked for his job back.

"I am pleased to be back on the horse and keen to get on with it...he (Mr Key) was happy to take me back and I was enthusiastic about getting back."

Mr Heatley resigned his housing and fisheries portfolios on February 25 after admitting he misused his ministerial credit card.

Auditor-General Lyn Provost yesterday published her report into his ministerial spending from when he became a minister in November 2008 until he quit the job.

The report found $1402 of Mr Heatley's expenditure -- $608 from Ministerial Services and $794 from Parliamentary Service -- was outside the rules which the minister had misunderstood.

Labour leader Phil Goff said Mr Key had made a judgment call and New Zealanders would make up their own minds.


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