In Budget week when eyes and ears tend to be on the government, Labour is in the headlines but for all the wrong reasons.
Shane Jones has been referred to the Auditor General over his decision to grant Chinese immigrant Bill Liu citizenship, at last.
He’s also been stood down from his portfolios – for the second time. As Lady Bracknell may be regarded as a misfortune, twice looks like carelessness.
David Shearer said:
“Based on my discussions with Shane Jones, I believe that he followed a proper process. But given the differing statements made in and outside of court and the questions that have been raised publicly, I believe that an independent agency should review the case.
“I’ve asked for the Auditor-General to look into all the departmental as well as ministerial processes involved in this case.
But the problem is about much more than the process. It is possible to make a mistake with the process and arrive and the right decision and to follow the correct process and still reach the wrong decision.
Keeping Stock has a round-up of news stories giving some background.
Kiwiblog asks several valid questions which need to be answered not least of which are the links between Jones’ decision and Liu’s donations to the labour Party.
All of that points to a lot more than a problem with the process.
It also points to Labour’s ongoing challenge to look like a government in waiting. Unless and until it sorts itself out, it will struggle to convince enough voters to give it the support it needs to lead a stable coalition.
If it can’t manage itself, it can’t be trusted to manage a multi-headed coalition.
UPDATE: Keeping Stock has spotted an immigration case where Jones disregarded submissions on humanitarian grounds on the advice of officials. That contrasts with the Liu case where he ignored official advice.