A friend was dropping me off for a meeting in parliament buildings. When I suggested she stop on the street so I could walk from there, she said no, she wanted to drop me right outside because she could, and weren’t we lucky to have that level of freedom.
She was right. We have very free access to parliament and MPs. For those of us who are party members that freedom extends to the opportunity for frequent casual chats and in depth discussions.
But that freedom requires trust which has now been broken. The secret recording of BIll English’s and Lockwood’s Smith’s comments at Friday’s conference cocktail party mean MPs will no longer be as relaxed or as open, even when they think they are among friends.
There is nothing mementous about Bill’s comments (which are transcribed on Kiwiblog); National’s policy has always been quite clear: no state asset sales in its first term and should it wish to sell something in a second term it will announce and campaign on that before the next election.
Lockwood’s comments show the reality of MMP and he mentions going through a discussion document process so he’s not talking about ramming anything through without consultation.
But the abuse of trust is serious; our MPs will be less free with us as a consequence and we’ll all be losers because of that.