It just keeps getting worse for NZ First MP Denis O’Rourke. On the back of a complaint that he has employed his partner, Stephen James, the NZ Herald is now reporting that he’s now been “caught out over a fake testimonial on the Trade Me page of his classic car rental business”. The allegation again incorporates Mr James.
Mr O’Rourke and Mr James were former directors of a business called Gsrden City Weddings, and after that business ceased trading, Mr O’Rourke continued to lease classic cars for weddings. About three months before Mr O’Rourke was elected to Parliament, Mr James used his Trade Me identity of DJSteve to write the following review (which was subsequently deleted):
“Such beautiful black cars – thanks for your great service for our wedding.”
Mr O’Rourke then plays along, replying:
“Denis: Many thanks Steve. it [sic] was our pleasure.”
So having been caught out, what has been Mr O’Rourke’s response? Well, he’s admitted knowing that it had been Mr James who placed the reference. However, he says that because it occurred before he was an MP, he doesn’t need to apologise to the public. He’s quoted as saying, “It’s probably not proper but it’s no big deal, I wouldn’t have thought.” He also says that all of the other testimonials on the page were genuine.
What does this say about Mr O’Rourke’s character? Well, obviously he has no issue with fabricating testimonials in order to fool prospective customers into hiring his cars. “It’s probably not proper”? “Probably” doesn’t come into it. It’s deceitful, pure and simple.
Does it matter that all of the other testimonials on the page were genuine? No. The issue remains that Mr O’Rourke thought it was appropriate to collaborate in deceitfully writing a fake review.
Okay, it’s not an offence for which he should resign, but it certainly does point to the sort of person Mr O’Rourke is. And it certainly doesn’t improve the smell of Mr O’Rourke also being investigated by Parliamentary Services for allegedly deceitful actions.
Add to that the further allegations (reported here) that Mr James has regularly travelled from Christchurch to Wellington at the expense of the taxpayer, and Mr O’Rourke’s affairs look rather dubious.