NZ First MP Denis O’Rourke is being investigated by Parliamentary Service after allegations that he is employing his partner, Stephen James. Mr O’Rourke denies that Mr James is his partner.
Here’s the facts as reported thus far:
- In the 2011 electoral roll, Mr O’Rourke and Mr James were listed as living at the same address.
- In this year’s electoral roll, they are listed as living at different addresses. However, Mr James’ “different address” is in fact a bedsit attached to Mr O’Rourke’s house. It has a separate letterbox. Says Mr O’Rourke: “Yes, there’s a flat attached to my home with separate bedroom and kitchenette and an ensuite and so on. It’s separate accommodation.”
- The pair have been company owners together in relation to a number of different companies.
That in itself does not make the two men partners. They could simply be very close friends who obviously get on well enough to live on the same property.
Here’s where it gets very strange though. Mr O’Rourke is quoted as saying:
“We’re deliberately not partners and whatever it takes to convince people we’re not partners, that’s what we’ll do. We don’t intend to be partners, we’ve agreed not to be partners, we don’t do the things that partners do, so we’re not partners.”
If you’re just good friends who live on the same property and have had common business interests together, why on earth would you say, “We’re deliberately not partners” and “we’ve agreed not to be partners”? Is he saying that they were partners, but have decided not to be in order that Mr James can benefit from a Parliamentary Services-funded job? Is he saying they had a drunken one night stand and agreed in an embarrassed fashion the next morning that it wouldn’t happen again?
Whatever the truth of the matter is, Mr O’Rourke’s comments certainly seem to make a Parliamentary Services investigation warranted…