Acting Prime Minister Bill English took dramatic steps on Monday to clear up the controversy swirling around his ministerial housing allowances.
He will no longer accept any housing allowance, he told a press conference in Parliament.
He has also repaid all money received for his accommodation from Ministerial Services since the election last November, now a total of $32,000, he says.
"Public discussion about housing allowances has become an unnecessary distraction and doubt about my eligibility has become unacceptable to me," he says.
The Auditor-General is now deciding whether to investigate a complaint against English over the housing allowances.
Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton wrote to Auditor-General Lyn Provost asking for an inquiry into whether English met the criteria for being an out-of-town MP.
English considers the Southland town of Dipton, in his electorate, to be his primary residence under parliamentary rules.
He has been embroiled in the row over housing allowances for the past two months after it was revealed he was claiming a much higher allowance for living in the same house as a minister that he lived in as an opposition MP.
He admitted that was "a bad look" and paid back the $12,000 difference in allowances.
"I understand this does not look good, it doesn't really matter what the technicalities are," he said at the time.
But that admission didn't help in the eyes of many voters.
In a ONE News poll it was asked whether his actions had damaged his credibility as Finance Minister.
Sixty two percent said yes, 29% said no, with the remainder were unsure.
ONE News asked people whether they believed English had acted with integrity, 54% said no, 30% said yes and the remainder didn't know.
Prime Minister John Key says he fully supports English's decision to give up his ministerial housing allowance.
Key says English has been doing an outstanding job as Finance Minister during tough economic times and the issue over his housing allowance has become an unfortunate distraction.
Key has since reformed the rules around ministerial housing to a series of one-off payments.
Since then Opposition MPs have argued English is not entitled to any ministerial housing allowance as his family home is in Wellington.
They contended English arranged his affairs to get the entitlement by declaring he has no pecuniary interest in the house he lives in.
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