Two former senior Housing New Zealand executives went on a $35,000 trip to visit a software company in Britain just months before both quit Housing NZ and set up a private company which went into partnership with the same software company.
Labour housing spokeswoman Annette King yesterday questioned Housing NZ chief executive Lesley McTurk about a trip to London and Canada in June 2011 by Stephen McArthur and Roy Baker. The two were senior executives at Housing NZ who left soon afterward to set up their own consultancy firm, Tinakori.
The trip to London was for a conference held by Northgate - a software company Housing NZ has contracted for a major part of an $80 million IT upgrade. Northgate is now also a partner for Tinakori which was set up in February this year. Mr McArthur left HNZ in August 2011 and Mr Baker left in December 2011. Both are now directors of Tinakori.
Mr McArthur was the chief operating officer of Housing New Zealand and Mr Baker was the chief financial officer - both had significant roles in the IT project's development.
Ms King asked Ms McTurk if she was aware the pair intended to leave Housing NZ when she approved the travel costs and whether there were questions about conflicts of interest.
Ms McTurk said she had no knowledge at that point that they planned to leave and believed it was appropriate the pair went to the conference given their role with the IT upgrade.