Part 4: Other issues

Inquiry into the use of parliamentary travel entitlements by Mr and Mrs Wong.

Domestic travel

The Parliamentary Service investigation covered domestic travel as well as the international travel rebate. We noted that Mr Wong’s use of the spousal travel entitlement was reasonably high in some years, although overall his use was broadly in line with the average cost of travel by other spouses. In particular, there was a period when he travelled frequently between Auckland and Christchurch.

We reviewed the various directorships Mr Wong holds, and sought information from him to enable us to check whether there was a possibility that some of his travel might relate to business meetings. Because we reviewed bank statements, we were also able to check what payments were received for board meetings or similar work.

We found no evidence to link his domestic travel with his business activities. We are satisfied that Mr Wong’s domestic travel was personal. The high level of travel in some years was largely because of the Wongs’ domestic situation while Mr and Mrs Wong made the transition from their family home in Christchurch to Auckland, where Mrs Wong’s constituency seat was.

Involvement with the rail industry

There has been speculation in the media that there may be some connection between Mr Wong’s Chinese business links and the way in which KiwiRail has been carrying out its activities – in particular, its interaction with Chinese suppliers. Particular concern was expressed about a major tender that KiwiRail recently conducted.

We sought information from KiwiRail about the tender process and on any contact the organisation had with Mr Wong. We also asked Mr Wong what connections, if any, he had with the rail industry in New Zealand and China.

Mr Wong told us that his only contact with the industry had been in 2005 when he introduced two Chinese acquaintances to a person he knew in Toll NZ, the company that at that time was operating the rail network. The two businessmen were from Pacific Power Development (NZ) Limited, which he understood acted as an agent for the Chinese train company, CNR. Mr Wong acted as interpreter for an initial meeting between them. He did so simply as a favour, and did not seek payment.

Mr Wong told us that he has had no other contact with the rail industry in New Zealand or China. Our review of his financial information did not show any relevant business activity. Representatives from KiwiRail also told us that they were not aware of any contact between the organisation and Mr Wong. KiwiRail deals directly with relevant Chinese companies and has no need for intermediaries. KiwiRail also explained to us how the recent tender was conducted.

We are satisfied that there is no connection between Mr Wong and his business links and KiwiRail’s procurement activities and interaction with Chinese suppliers.

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