26 Feb 2015

MP's mother faces 19 benefit charges

8:25 pm on 26 February 2015

The mother of Labour Party social development spokesperson, Carmel Sepuloni, faced 19 charges of benefit fraud when she appeared in the New Plymouth District Court this morning.

Carmel Sepuloni

Andrew Little yesterday stood down Carmel Sepuloni as social development spokesperson. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Beverley Anne Sepuloni is accused of applying for benefits she was not entitled to and not declaring she was living with her partner.

The 59-year-old appeared with joint accused, Michael Charles Rangi, who faces four charges.

Neither were required to enter a plea and they were remanded to reappear next Thursday.

Labour Party leader Andrew Little yesterday stood down Carmel Sepuloni as social development spokesperson saying there was a conflict of interest while her mother was facing the charges.

Carmel Sepuloni has released a statement saying the first she knew of her mother's charges was when she was called by a reporter yesterday.

"I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio - it's the right thing to do.

"I look forward to resuming my duties when the matter is resolved.

"This is a difficult time for my family and I ask the media to respect their privacy."

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