MP's husband admits money saga

By Claire Trevett

Rahui Katene became an MP just before her husband quit his job. Photo / Supplied
Rahui Katene became an MP just before her husband quit his job. Photo / Supplied

The husband of Maori Party MP Rahui Katene resigned as the head of the Mental Health Commission in 2008 after he was confronted over using commission money for personal spending.

Dr Selwyn Katene confirmed yesterday that he left the job in December 2008 after paying back about $1500 for personal spending such as use of taxi chits.

"There were some items of expenditure that were of a personal nature which were inadvertently not reimbursed. I paid that money back."

Dr Katene also used office resources for non-work purposes, including photocopying - understood to be related to the Maori Party - for which he had provided the paper.

He would not confirm it was for the Maori Party or his wife's campaign. He said the cost of the copying was minimal, but was still wrong. He had paid it back after he was asked about the spending by the commission.

"It's two years ago. I regret what happened and it's now behind me. I've moved on, I've resigned."

The spending dated from the period before Ms Katene became an MP in November 2008. Dr Katene resigned in December that year.

A spokeswoman for the Mental Health Commission said it had been alerted to the issue, had followed the proper process and was satisfied with the outcome.

Dr Katene is now the academic director for Manu-AO - a programme led by Massey University aimed at promoting Maori academic success and professional leadership.

Dr Katene was also a government-appointed member of the Capital Coast District Health Board until last month.

He was first appointed to the board in December 2007 by the Health Minister at the time, David Cunliffe, as part of a clean-out of the board. He had previously worked as an adviser to Labour Party ministers Damien O'Connor and Annette King.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Tony Ryall said Mr Ryall was advised in his first few weeks as minister of an employment matter between Dr Katene and the Mental Health Commission and that Dr Katene had resigned as general manager.

He was also advised that Dr Katene disputed some of the issues involved.

- NZ Herald

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