Wellington, February 20, 2018
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters have received an apology from officials following an administrative error with their accommodation arrangements.
Department of Internal Affairs officials advised them late yesterday of the administrative error which has seen them receive Wellington accommodation payments since they moved into official residences.
The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister are the only Ministers residing in official residences.
“As soon as we were advised of the error, we both immediately took steps to reimburse the money. That has now happened. The error occurred when the DIA’s Ministerial Services continued to pay each of us a Member of Parliament’s Wellington accommodation allowance after they had moved us into official accommodation, at which point payments should have stopped,” Ms Ardern and Mr Peters said.
DIA has acknowledged the Ministers did not seek to claim the allowances which were incorrectly carried over during the executive transition with the officials only recently realising the error.
Both Ministers have reimbursed the overpayments which cover the period from late October to early February.
Ms Ardern has repaid $12,205.49 and Mr Peters has repaid $9123.29.
The difference is explained by the dates on which they moved into the properties.
“While mistakes happen, we have accepted the officials’ apology. Appropriate use of taxpayer money is something we both take extremely seriously, and we have set a high bar for ourselves and others,” they said.