There’s a nasty stench . . .

September 27, 2008

The ODT can smell it:

Indeed, contempt is a word many voters might well be employing to describe the poisonous state of affairs where the MPs’ behaviour and standards have sunk so low as to bring the very concept of the “people’s representatives” into serious disrepair.

The Timaru Herald can smell it:

To put Mr Peters out to pasture, as Prime Minister Helen Clark should have, would have been to admit Labour were wrong in supporting him. So the man who once made a show of shunning the baubles of office drifts to the end of this Government’s term still holding the baubles, but without the office. Enough said.

The Press can smell it:

So why is it that for the next two months or more, until the shape of the next government is known, he is allowed to retain his ministerial salary and the other perks of the job? The only answer is that it is still politically expedient for Labour to let him cling to the baubles of office.

The Tarankai Daily News  can smell it:

It’s a sweet lullaby of conspiracy and political back-stabbing, played on the strings of a David versus Goliath battle for survival; a lullaby perfectly pitched to filter out the clangs and bangs of common sense and truth and put the listener into a content, compliant trance over the next six weeks.

The NZ Herald  can smell it:

It is stating the obvious to say Winston Peters should have resigned as a minister some time ago. And that he should go now, after the censure delivered by Parliament’s privileges committee. He will not, of course, and, the New Zealand First leader may even see a silver lining in that dark cloud. The Prime Minister has said she will not reinstate him as Foreign Minister, but that he will remain a minister without portfolio. As such, Mr Peters is free to hit the campaign trail with the salary and perks of a minister but none of the responsibilities. This farce will end with voters having to deliver the Don’t Come Monday letter on November 8.

Michael Bassett  can smell it:

Overtly buying political influence by giving large donations to parties and murky private trusts like the Spencer Trust appears on the face of it to be corruption of a kind that has been foreign to New Zealand, and which is always likely to bring any Parliament into disrepute. When will these matters be investigated by the Privileges Committee? Why has Winston, who has always posed as a friend of the old and the vulnerable, been spreading tens of millions of dollars of public money on wealthy racing magnates who don’t need it, rather than on better health care and services for his supporters? And in particular, why has the Prime Minister been a party to all of this by allowing her ministry to fund Winston’s backers? There is much yet that needs unearthing about this whole murky business.

Colin Espiner  can smell it:

. . . it meant Labour and Winston Peters failed to pervert the cause of justice and will of the majority despite the most underhand of tactics. As I’ve said below in this post, Labour’s attempt to politicise the committee and discredit its findings was shameful – amongst the worst things the party has done in the past nine years, in my opinion.

We know Labour and New Zealand First can’t but we won’t know until election night how many of their supporters are prepared to hold their noses.

[ Cicero  and  Keeping Stock comment on Michael Bassett’s column]


Why has this slipped under the radar?

July 31, 2008

Sunday Star Times journalist Tony Wall wrote about the links between New Zealand First and the racing industry on Sunday.

Michael Basset says:

On the face of it, this looks like a scandal that dwarfs the Winebox. It’s time Tony Wall received a bit more encouragement from the mainstream media. He must surely be the best investigative journalist in the country? What he has told us appears to amount to corruption on a grand scale.

I blogged on the story on Sunday and included a summary  from the print edition which isn’t on line but I haven’t seen any other references to the story until today. 

Given the attention on donations to NZ First and its leader I would have thought the story might have got much more attention than it has. Now the blogosphere is on to it, perhaps it will.

Hat tip: No Minister, Keeping Stock,


Pope’s attack on Bassett’s book reminds me

June 29, 2008

Michael Bassett’s book Working With David, Inside the Lange Cabinet,  is sitting on my books-to-read shelf so I read this attack on the book and its author by Margaret Pope  with interest. It reminded me of an incident after a celebrity debate in Queenstown about 18 years ago.

Garrick Tremain and David Lange were in opposing teams and in ribbing Lange, Tremain blamed him for his (Tremain’s) wife not letting him have a secretary.

Lange took it with a grin but after the debate Pope went up to Tremain and abused him in very basic language for what he’d said.


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