WELLINGTON, New Zealand—Government’s might want to think twice about becoming transparent. It seems as if the moment the bureaucratic veil of secrecy is lifted, revelations related to pornography and other indiscretions quickly ensue. Latest case in point: New Zealand, where for the first time credit card statements for politicians have been released to the public. Crikey!
“Political journalists in Wellington have been wading through cartons of ministerial spending documents dating all the way back to 2003—all in the name of greater accountability,” reported ABC News. What they find should provide juicy headlines for weeks to come. Right off the bat, a former MP is trying to explain the hotel porn he expensed to the taxpayers.
Former building and construction minister Shane Jones used his government issued credit card to watch a reported 20 porn movies in 2007-8, according to the records. Once heralded as a future Labour Party leader, Jones has been reduced to groveling before the press, admitting his wrong-doing while simultaneously insisting that he is not a porn addict.
“It's a day of shame for Shane," he told reporters. "In actual fact, I'm not a sex fiend or a sex addict, but the reality's there, I watched blue movies, and I’m not going to deny it. I've obviously got to watch BBC more." Funny line, that last one.
Jones says he no longer watches porn, but has no trouble rationalizing his prior weakness as one brought on by too many lonely days in strange places.
"During that period of time when I was a minister, I was on the road a great deal,” he explained. “I'm a red-blooded robust dude."
He and his wife have seven children, so the use of the word “robust” is not without some merit. Jones had other robust tastes, as well, which were also satisfied through the use of his government-issued credit card despite admonishments by the government in 2006 that they were not to be used for personal expenses.
“However,” reported ABC, “Mr Jones nevertheless charged not only pornographic movies but a chartered plane trip, wine, breakfast for his family, sporting gear and CDs totaling about $5,000 to his ministerial credit card.”
Other New Zealand ministers have committed credit card indiscretions, but none has thus far used them to pay for porn. As a result, Jones is the current poster boy for political incorrectness. The New Zealand Herald even went as far as to document in excruciating detail the number of porn movies Jones watched, the days he watched them, the hotels he watched them in and even the amounts he paid to watch them.
The paper felt it was required to set the record straight after Jones said he had only watched the blue movies from “time to time.” Not so, said the Herald, revealing that at one point he watched four movies over two days.
Jones says he already has paid all of the money back and admits that the way back into the good graces of the New Zealand public may take a long time.
"It obviously has injured my reputation and it has pummeled [my] creditability and I have got one or two options; to leave this kind of lifestyle, go back and earn more money and have virtually no scrutiny or admit that I have been found wanting and then plot a trajectory as to how I can redeem myself in the political world," he said. "Only time will tell whether that proves to be the case."