Politicians could find it harder to hire relatives in taxpayer-funded jobs after changes to the way support staff are recruited.

After the General Election, Parliamentary Services will require job applicants to register on an electronic recruitment system that will favour candidates with experience.

The majority of the 730 staff have to reapply for jobs at the end of each three-year parliamentary term.

Under new guidelines issued by the Speaker, Parliamentary Services can block an MP from hiring staff if they are "clearly lacking the skills to meet the requirements of the role".

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MPs are not allowed to employ their spouse or partner, in or outside Parliament, or any dependents. But many MPs filled their offices with immediate family members.

NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor employs two of her daughters, Fleur and Amy, in her Papatoetoe office.

Lole-Taylor appeared unaware of the rules around hiring family members as staff. "Is that a rule that they're not allowed to be employed?"

Lole-Taylor said the daughters did not live with her and were not dependents.

"You're more than welcome to go around to their house," she said.

She said her daughters were over-qualified for constituency work as both had law degrees and added it was hard to find trustworthy staff.

Retiring Maori Party leader Tariana Turia employed her son Alan and a granddaughter in her Te Tai Hauauru electorate office in Whanganui.

She also hired a niece as a private secretary. When contacted by the Herald on Sunday, Turia's press secretary Makere Edwards referred questions to Parliamentary Services.

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In May, the wife of outgoing National MP Claudette Hauiti was sacked because she had been hired in breach of the guidelines.

NZ First MP Denis O'Rourke was cleared of any wrongdoing for hiring his live-in friend Stephen James as a staffer by Speaker David Carter.

A spokeswoman for the Parliamentary Service said the shift to the new system would be more efficient and save money.

Keeping helpers close

• Shortlived National MP Claudette Hauiti hired her wife Nadine Mau as an issues assistant in her electorate office. Mau was sacked a month later.

• NZ First MP Denis O'Rourke was investigated for hiring a friend, Stephen James, who lived at his Christchurch home. The Speaker investigated but found no wrongdoing.

• Asenati Lole-Taylor hired two daughters in her electorate office.

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