Firstly kudos to Hon David Parker for resigning as Attorney-General without delay and sparing us an awful Benson-Pope type saga where he attacks the accusers, denies he did it, then claims he can not remember and finally says it wasn’t that serious.
How-ever despite that laudable act, there are real questions remaining about whether he can remain a Minister at all. After all losing a portfolio is not exactly a major thing. The question is whether his admission (made far worse every time he gives more details on TV about it) that he falsified company documents means he can remain a Minister at all.
I think Clark will look very shabby if she tries the line that it is okay for Ministers to falsify company documents so long as they are not the Attorney-General. If Parker gives up his other portfolios he can be rehabilitated in due course.
His bigger concern may be keeping his seat in Parliament. If he is charged and convicted on the false returns then he stands to lose his seat as you are automatically expelled from Parliament if convicted of a crime with a maximum sentence of more than two years – even if the actual sentence is only a fine.
So if he is charged, then he may be expelled from Parliament. if he is not charged despite his admission, then it will just cement in the impression of a Government whose MPs are above the law.
UPDATE: Just announced that David Parker has resigned from all his portfolios. The PM in just 24 hours has gone from a position of there is no issue, to he must go as Attorney-General to he must resign all together as a Minister.
David Parker probably didn’t help his position with his interviews on this issue – especially last night on Campbell Live.
Commiserations to the staff on his office who are suddenly out of a job. Until a decision is made on whether a new Minister will be appointed and who gets what portfolios will be fairly miserable for them.