close
1 mins to read

The trip that led to Wong's demise

An independent inquiry into National MP Pansy Wong's use of the international rebate found no systematic abuse of the perk but recommended she repay almost $500 relating to one trip which it said could be construed as personal business.That trip involved

NZPA
Fri, 03 Dec 2010

An independent inquiry into National MP Pansy Wong's use of the international rebate found no systematic abuse of the perk but recommended she repay almost $500 relating to one trip which it said could be construed as personal business.

That trip involved a flight from Beijing to Lianyungang, China in December 2008.

Mrs Wong was keen to visit "Pumpkin" -- the young girl who was abandoned by her father at a Melbourne railway station in 2007, and to attend the inaugural flower festival in Lianyungang.

Mr Wong had earlier been visiting a hovercraft business, of which he is a minority shareholder, in Lianyungang and paid for his own flights there.

Mrs Wong flew from Auckland to Lianyungang via Singapore and Beijing, then she and her husband flew to Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuching, Sibu, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and finally back to Auckland.

The full cost for Mrs Wong was $8191.50 (the rebate covered $7372.35) and $1429.10 for Mr Wong with the rebate covering $1286.19.

"After going on ahead to China, without the benefit of the rebate, Sammy Wong had visited friends in China and had also travelled to Lianyungang to assist with the communication issues (at the hovercraft company).

"He left Lianyungang for Hong Kong to catch up with friends, then travelled to Beijing to meet up with Pansy Wong and begin their holiday together, including the return to Lianyungang," the report said.

While back in Lianyungang they visited the hovercraft factory where Mrs Wong witnessed the signing of company documents.

"My conclusion is that by becoming a party to the signing of a document relating to a business in which her husband has an interest, Pansy Wong became involved in his private business activities, even if it was largely unintentional and inadvertent on her part.

"It is unlikely that the Wongs would have been in Lianyungang if it had not been for Sammy Wong's business interest in the hovercraft company."

For that reason it was recommended they repay $237.06 each.

Mrs Wong had not intended to use the trip to conduct private business when she booked the flights and the rest of the trip was eligible for the rebate, the report said.

NZPA
Fri, 03 Dec 2010
© All content copyright NBR. Do not reproduce in any form without permission, even if you have a paid subscription.
The trip that led to Wong's demise
10898