Labour's Sepuloni stood down over mum’s alleged misdemeanours

Loses social development role due to mother's benefit fraud charges.

Labour MP Carmel Sepuloni was stood down from her role as social development spokeswoman today after being approached by One News for comment about the benefit fraud charges her mother faces.

According to Labour leader Andrew Little, the first Ms Sepuloni knew of the charges was when she was informed by the TVNZ reporter. She then told Mr Little’s chief of staff, who immediately informed Mr Little.

One News has reported that just two hours elapsed between the time its reporter contacted Mr Little’s office about the issue and Ms Sepuloni being temporarily stood down.

Mr Little said the move was due to “an obvious conflict of interest”, though he also said Ms Sepuloni would remain junior whip and number seven on his front bench

"Carmel is an adult and her mother is an adult. Carmel is not responsible for the actions of her mother,” Mr Little noted.

Ms Sepuloni’s mother, Beverley Anne Jordan, is due to appear in the New Plymouth District Court tomorrow on 19 benefit fraud charges – some of which date back to 2003.

The charges include claiming sickness and disability benefits and rent subsidies she wasn’t entitled to.

Ms Sepuloni said the allegations against her mother put her “in an awkward position”, even though "I don't actually have a lot to do with her.”

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