No details yet.
UPDATE: Heatley has resigned as a Minister and is now a backbencher. Staying on as MP for Whangarei.
The catalyst was further checking of his expenses and it seems the fatal act was that a $70 expense for food and beverages did not include any food, so it was an inaccurate claim.
According to Radio NZ, Heatley has asked the Auditor-General to investigate his expenses, which is a good move.
It has been made pretty clear that unlike Helen Clark who would recycle Ministers back into Cabinet within 12 months, despite sacking them for very serious stuff such as lying directly to the media, or drink driving, that Heatley does not face a return to the Key Cabinet in the short or even medium term.
It is a bit of a tragedy for Phil Heatley. He is one of the nicest guys around, and has been a superb MP for Whangarei. In 1999 he had a very small majority and has turned it into a massively safe seat for him.
His first couple of term were focused on securing the seat, but then as he turned more to portfolio stuff, he suprised a few people by performing very well, despite his friendly nature. He did good work in Opposition, and as a Minister had done very well as Housing Minister, especially as it was such a nightmare portfolio in the 1990s for National.
A parliamentary career is a harsh one. There are many perks, but mistakes can be fatal, and the lack of judgement shown on expenses has proven fatal.
I expect this will lead to Nathan Guy being moved in Cabinet, and possibly a new Minister outside Cabinet – with Craig Foss being the most likely if they decide to keep the Executive the same size.
Not sure yet who is Acting Minister of Housing and Fisheries, let alone who may get the portfolios permanently.