"New Zealand minister resigns over bottles of wine - Thu, Feb 25, 2010 AFP
WELLINGTON - A New Zealand cabinet minister resigned Thursday after becoming embroiled in an expenses scandal that turned on his purchase of two bottles of wine.
Housing Minister Phil Heatley apologised earlier this week and repaid about 1,000 dollars (S$978) after a newspaper revealed he had incorrectly claimed some expenses on his government credit card.
Today it was revealed he had incorrectly claimed for two bottles of wine at the conference of the governing National Party by describing them as a meal for him and his wife."
Well, we had the British MPs' over-claiming scandals last year or 2 years ago and now we have a Kiwi cabinet minister resigning to take responsibility for signing an inaccurate account of his expenses. Looks like people in authority in the developed world also get trapped in 'over-doing things' and 'forgetting their roots of public services with no special entitlement'!!
Lessons for me are:
1. know why you want to be a leader. If it is just for fame and fortune, I worried for you as you will fall or trip by doing something for fame (or infamy) and fortune (or misfortune!);
2. when you made mistakes as leader, take responsibilities for them and accept the punishment. There is a price to be paid. When you are a leader, the standard of scrutiny and the expectation is very much higher than if you are just a lay person. If your motivation is to be of service to the people and do the right thing, it is highly unlikely that you will fall into the trap of over-doing things thinking that the people owed you a favour and/or that you deserved some special entitlement for your public services!;
3. to guard ourselves against this complacency or developing the entitlement mindset, we must deliberately surround ourselves with people who are constantly being reminded to 'keep us in line' and 'ask hard questions every time we may be straying!'. By surrounding ourselves with 'non-yes men and women', we have a better chance of keeping it straight and getting the right things done!
I salute the Kiwi minister for taking responsibility and took the punishment upon himself. While some may argued that a capable talent is lost, I argued that let the talent makes a comeback if he so wishes!!