Once is a mistake

In the days when rugby was just a game, All Black coach Charlie Saxton encouraged players to think for themselves and said he didn’t mind them making mistakes if they learned from them.

But he said while doing something wrong once was a mistake, failing to learn and repeating it was a cock-up and while he accepted mistakes, he hated cock-ups.

John Key is taking a similar line with his ministers:

Mr Key made it clear when he named his ministers that he wanted “outcomes, results and accountability”. Yesterday, he said if anyone in government “needed a bollocking” it would come from him.

And, unlike the previous Prime Minister who showed unusual tolerance when Winston Peters breached the Cabinet Manual, Key has warned his patience is limited.

It doesn’t matter that Richard Worth was paying for his trip to India himself, acting in a private capactiy and made no personal gain, there was a perceived conflict of interest because he’s a minister and he ought to have realised that.

However, it was a mistake rather than a cock-up and I’m pleased it’s been accepted as that by the Prime Minsiter because Worth has brought a long over due and welcome improvement to the relationship between LINZ and farmers as Minister of Lands.

The previous incumbent had neither understanding of nor sympathy for high country farmers. Worth has done more good in his four months as minister by working to heal the rift in the high country  than the former minister did in the whole of his term.

14 Responses to Once is a mistake

  1. Deborah says:

    it was a mistake rather than a cock-up

    I don’t understand the distinction.


  2. homepaddock says:

    Deborah – everyone makes mistakes, fools repeat them and turn them into cock-ups.

    Or as Lady Bracknell might have said, to make one mistake is a misfortune to make two looks like carelessness.


  3. poneke says:

    Gosh I’d love to hear your explanation for Worth’s actions and comments as reported in the Indian Express newspaper:


    Bet you didn’t think this could be found on Google.

    Puts the camel ride and the pyramids into the shade.


  4. Lou says:

    The left can make ugly over this issue all they want, but it isn’t getting any traction whatsoever out in the burbs…and I see hundreds of kiwis a day, every day, and the goings on of the political call are often commented on in my place of business, but John and Jane Public are just not interested is this.


  5. poneke says:

    John and Jane Public are just not interested is this.

    Maybe, but you’re scared to death. This smells. It’s in an Indian newspaper and is independent, so it contradicts everything being claimed here.


  6. homepaddock says:

    Poneke – I’m pleased you’re okay and hope your blog will be open to public viewing again.

    I saw a reference to the link you gave somewhere this morning (maybe in a comment on Kiwiblog but it’s off-line at the moment so I can’t check).

    I am not defending Worth, I’m just saying once isn’t a hanging offence.

    And that’s once collectively, if other ministers don’t learn from this too then I’d have no sympathy if they’re not given a second chance.


  7. homepaddock says:

    “Maybe, but you’re scared to death. This smells. It’s in an Indian newspaper and is independent, so it contradicts everything being claimed here.”

    What’s to be scared of, what’s the smell and where’s the contradiction?

    Worth travelled to India at his own expense and while there was interviewed by a paper, which correctly identified him as a minister, and he said NZ is keen to help Indian agriculture.

    He should have resigned his directorships when he became a minister and realised there would be a perceived conflict of interest between them and being a minister when he went to India. That he didn’t was a mistake – but it’s a perceived conflict not a real one, there’s no evidence of any personal gain so where’s the smell?


  8. Deborah says:

    “For students who want to study in New Zealand, the Civil Aviation sector has a lot of scope. One can get a Commercial Pilot Licence in our country in only eight months at the cost of 70,000 New Zealand Dollars, around Rs 18 lakh, from Southern Institute of Technology Civil Aviation Limited,” he added.



  9. […] Poneke spotted 2009 March 31 tags: Blogging, Enfield, Palmers Green, Poneke, Routemaster, Trolley buses by adamsmith1922 Poneke has been ’sighted’ so to speak. Adam caught ’sight’ of him commenting at Homepaddock. […]


  10. homepaddock says:

    Deborah, that’s the perceived conflict of interest but was there a real one or any personal gain – potential or actual?


  11. Deborah says:

    Yes, but in politics, perceptions matter.

    I agree that given the Winston Peters debacle, this “mistake” is trivial. But I also recall that in the early days of the Helen Clark Labour government, ministers were tipped out of office, even if only temporarily, for “mistakes” like this (for example, Ruth Dyson and ACC, when she was caught drink-driving). There were pretty high standards back then.

    Perhaps John Key is setting more realistic standards.


  12. Deborah says:

    I should really say, the Winston Peters outrage, not debacle. You may recall that I expressed my opinion of it at the time.

    It’s a little bizarre to argue that Worth should be allowed to stay on because he’s a great minister for the high country. Peters was a great minister for the horse racing industry, but that didn’t mean that he should have been kept on as a minister.


  13. homepaddock says:

    Deborah – The “mistakes” you mention were sins of commission rather than ommission which makes a difference, albeit small, because they did something wrong, he failed to do something right.

    But I’m not arguing he should stay on because he’s a great minister for the high country, just that what he did was wrong but wasn’t a sacking offence.

    However, he and every other minister should consider themselves on notice because a repeat of this would not be a mistake but stupidity.


  14. LaFemme says:

    I was really surprised at how low key TVNZ treated the issue tonight, so I’m guessing that even they’ve figured out that the great unwashed are giving this one a yawn.


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