Why Gerry Brownlee is calling for the expenses inquiry to carry on

Drive 25/08/2018
Photo: Newshub.

The inquiry into the leaking of Simon Bridge’s expenses has been called off, which National MP Gerry Brownlee says is a mistake.

On Friday, Speaker Trevor Mallard called off the inquiry into who leaked the information to Newshub, citing that it's a National Party matter and not something the country or the Parliament needs to be involved in.

But Mr Brownlee told RadioLIVE that in his opinion, the Speaker “outrageously” alleged that the leaker is from the National Party.

“He’s pointed the finger at 56 MPs, half the Parliament, and said you guys are the guilty ones.”

Mr Brownlee argues that the finger-pointing can’t be ignored, which is precisely why the inquiry into the leaker should carry on.

Last Thursday, Mr Bridges, Mr Mallard and Newshub's political editor Tova O'Brien were sent a text from the leaker pleading for the inquiry to be called off, indicating that they had a "prolonged serious mental illness".

The leaker identified themselves as a member of the National Party caucus and gave examples from the caucus meeting to prove it.

In the text, the leaker says: "You [Mr Bridges] told [an MP] in front of everyone that you thought it was the Speaker that leaked the information."

Nevertheless, Mr Brownlee emphasised that there is no evidence to prove that the text actually came from the leaker and was unsure whether the leaker came from his own caucus.

He told RadioLIVE that should the leaker be identified, their actions would be seen in the context that they did “while they were in an unwell state”.

Trevor Mallard called off the inquiry into the expenses leak

“How do you help them if you don’t know who they are?” he asked.

Mr Bridges, who originally called for an inquiry, says he went to police and shared the text out of concern for the person's safety.

He says police have worked out their identity and have made it clear the person is receiving the help they needed.

Despite the texter’s plea, Mr Bridges has also indicated that he wants the inquiry to continue.

Mr Bridges said there are a "range of credible scenarios" for who the person is, including an MP, a staffer, a member of Parliamentary Services or a person in the "wider system".

"I can't think who it is... I feel strong support. Whether it's a National MP... I hope we can find out," he says.

Listen to the full interview with Gerry Brownlee above.

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