No-one asked her

August 29, 2008

It’s the fault of the media and the opposition, it might even be our fault that Helen Clark  didn’t tell us Owen Glenn had told her he’d donated $100,000 to New Zealand First.

Asked why she had not mentioned knowing about the donation six months earlier, Miss Clark said no-one had asked her.

So it’s definitely our fault because if any of us had only thought to ask her, we’d have got an answer.

We’d better all be thinking about all the other questions she’s bursting to give us answers to, if only we were to ask.

Will Clark cut the thread?

August 29, 2008

Dene Mackenzie says Winston Peters’ political career hangs by a thread:

A visibly annoyed Miss Clark would not be drawn last night on what the future looked like for Mr Peters, even though she conceded to having previously stood down ministers under investigation.

“I don’t wish to make any further comment until I talk to Mr Peters.

“I haven’t had a discussion with Mr Peters.”

Ideally, she would like to have a face-to-face meeting with Mr Peters this morning and, ideally, she would like the issue completed before the election, Miss Clark said.

Mr Peters is unlikely to stand down voluntarily while the SFO investigation is under way, giving Miss Clark no alternative but to sack him.

Serious Fraud Office director Grant Liddell said there may be innocent and honest explanations for the matters to be investigated. But it’s not a matter of innocence or guilt, it’s simply that it is untenable to have a Minister of Foreign Affairs cling to his post while under investigation.

Miss Clark said a Bill to wind up the SFO would be put on hold until the investigation was completed.

We can be thankful for that because had it not been we’d have been in real banana republic territory.

Silver lining in corruption cloud

August 29, 2008

Jim Hopkins sees a sliver lining in the cloud of corruption:

Yet for some inexplicable reason we expect a mere Minister of the Crown – a baublemeister, no more – to meet a more exacting standard. And when he doesn’t we howl “Corruption!!!” and demand his dismissal.

Okay, we’re a puritanical lot and righteous indignation is invariably our first port of call. But quite apart from the particulars of this case – which only involves a politician and a lawyer who may have approached the truth creatively – it’s time we reconsidered this aversion we have to corruption.

There has, after all, been quite a lot of it lately. Or, more prudently, quite a lot that looks quite a bit like it, including the jolly adventures of those poor Thai tilers and that bossy person at Immigration who was soooo nice to her own family, not to mention the lady who lost her ministerial job because her boyfriend worked for the Leader of the Opposition.

Heck, we’ve even had a Police Force that wouldn’t prosecute a particular political party for some major campaign misdemeanours, even though there was a prima facie case, because to do so might affect the result of the election.

Which, youd’ve thought, was the very reason they should have pursued the matter.

However, be that as it may, we have seen quite a lot of malodorous stuff lately and we’re going to see more. Particularly since we are, like it or not, sliding slowly but inexorably down prosperity’s greasy pole. We’ve already joined the second world and the third’s not far away. Which suggests a semi-endemic cloud of corruption will soon hang over us.

So we’d better start looking for its silver lining or endure a state of constant perturbation. Happily, that lining is easy to find. To begin with, you know where you stand in a reliably corrupt society. You can be certain, if you slip someone a few notes, that you’ll get what you want – a favour, a contract, an honour, even a photo with the PM at the opening of some flash new building with your name on it. (Hey, nobody’s perfect!)

Equally, if you know the Immigraton sheila is inclined to assist her own, then just change your name or leave an envelope on the table “To help with your cousin’s trip” when you apply for a visa.

And if the rozzers show a preference for a particular party, then join it for Pete’s sake. Get with the programme. Be certain.

Yes!! We like certainty. Certainty is good!! And corruption equals certainty. Look!! You’re feeling better already.

Another good thing about corruption is, it’s sexy. Dark. Mysterious. Enigmatic. Menacing, yes, but exciting as well.

Corruption’s a big league, metropolitan sort of thing. It’s the public equivalent of a liaison dangereuse, redolent of power – and its abuse. Corruption is illicit, hot. It quickens the heart. It stirs the loins.

That’s why it sets the blogs and talkback humming. And why we should embrace it. With much more enthusiasm, be it said, than the dreary matter that will preoccupy us next week, namely this tiresome business of carbon emissions…

The whole column is here.

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