The Herald reports:
The Treasurer of the Parliamentary Press Gallery has stepped down after admitting he used press gallery funds for his own personal use.
A statement from the executive said NZPA reporter Ian Llewellyn made the admission in writing.
I was stunned when I read this last night, and am incredibly saddened by the revelation.
I’ve known Ian for over a decade, and regard him as an excellent journalist and a really good guy. This is so out of character for him that I almost couldn’t believe it.
According to the executive, Mr Llewellyn said he had been in financial difficulty but had made some repayments.
While financial difficulty is no excuse, a thought that crossed my mind was that if Ian had crossed over to the dark side (comms/pr) he would have been better off financially, but NZ has been better served by the fact that not all the experienced journalists do cross over. Again, this is no excuse.
Press Gallery chairwoman Jane Patterson and deputy Vernon Small said they were extremely disappointed at the breach of trust by a longstanding office holder and colleague.
As much as my thoughts are with Ian, I also feel very sorry for Jane and Vernon. Having to deal with this must have been very unpleasant for them. Also Ian’s NZPA colleagues especially will be finding this tough.
The Press Gallery intends to ask an independent auditor to examine the accounts covering the period in question, the statement said.
“Given the watchdog role the Press Gallery plays, it intends to handle this matter as openly as possible, and is intending to seek advice from the police.”
Yeah, there really is no choice but to do it publicly.
The statement said Mr Llewellyn has promised to pay back any missing money.
“The Press Gallery voted today to recommend to the Speaker of the House that Mr Llewellyn’s accreditation be suspended pending the outcome of the audit.”
Ouch. I can’t even recall the last time that happened. I’m not sure if it will ever be feasible for Ian to return to the gallery, but I do hope there is a way he can remain with NZPA. It would be sad to lose Ian from journalism, and he is paying a high price in terms of publicity for what he did.Tags: Ian Llewellyn, press gallery