Some useful comments from John Armstrong and especially Fran O’Sullivan on Labour’s attempted H-Fee smear. It is worth remembering that this was a smear thay had been pushing for over a year, with Ministers in the House going on about it.
Labour did trip itself up this week, the cynicism and arrogance of power coming back to bite it with a vengeance. That was most obvious in Labour’s latest attempt to dredge up something, anything, in John Key’s foreign exchange dealing past which might make voters question whether National’s leader has the integrity worthy of a prime minister.
Labour believes it is perfectly within its rights to probe Key’s character. That may be so. But New Zealand voters have huge difficulty with investigations into MPs’ pasts and private lives. Some discretion is required on Labour’s part. Yet, it clumsily seems to think it can fool the public that it is performing a public service that gives it the latitude to parade the flimsiest material as proof of Key’s unfitness to govern.
When it turns up nothing – and no less a figure than the party’s president is doing the digging for dirt – Labour looks as if it is driven by a fatal mix of arrogance and desperation. Hardly a good look in the penultimate week of an election campaign.
Labour (and many others including myself) were appalled when the Exclusive Brethren hired a private detective to investigate the Prime Minister. Labour are acting no better than the Exclusive Brethren when they have their party president flying to Australia and hawling back 20 kgs of papers in an attempt to smear Key.
O’Sullivan points out how truly desperate Labour must have been to try this:
Labour Party president Mike Williams must have been tired and emotional or greatly deluded to believe he was finally on the track of a “neutron bomb” which would blast National leader John Key’s election campaign into smithereens.
The upshot of Williams’ lunatic attempt to try and link Key with the notorious 1988 H-fee scam – when no such evidence has been uncovered – is that Labour is now (rightfully) scrambling to fight off accusations that it is more interested in launching smears against its opponents than fighting a fair election at a time of extreme international financial turbulence.
The Prime Minister’s pathetic attempt to distance herself from Williams’ ham-fisted behaviour lasted a mere 24 hours before she was forced to confirm the Labour Party paid for what she initially described as his “private mission”.
Have no doubt if the smear had worked Clark would have fronted it.
It is unfathomable that Williams and Labour’s taxpayer-funded “researchers” thought they would drive home a connection putting Key at the centre of this white-collar crime by uncovering evidence that had eluded the Australian National Crimes Authority’s forensic investigators.
If evidence existed linking Key to the transaction he would either have faced charges, or been subpoenaed to give evidence in the subsequent court cases against Jarrett and Hawkins. He wasn’t.
This is the part that made me realise how desperate Williams was with his Keystone Cops routine. Williams thought his collection of amateur detectives would find evidence that had been overlooked by the Serious Fraud Office and the Australian National Crime Authority’s foresnic investigators.