Arguably the most hypocritical statement of the decade

November 23rd, 2010 at 4:27 pm by David Farrar

Just when I thought their collective amnesia and rewriting of history could not get worse, hits a new record.

Here is the NZPA story:

Prime Minister John Key should stop protecting former minister and sack her after she misused MPs travel perks, Labour leader Phil Goff says. …

“She is aware of when she broke the rules and how often she broke the rules. It doesn’t need a speaker’s inquiry to confirm that.” …

“I just remember the constant attention that was given to Chris Carter. No excuses for Carter. I never made any. Excuses are being made for Wong,” he said.

“Other MPs have been prosecuted criminally for doing what she has done. She is still there as an MP, she ought not to be.”

When asked about leniency for former Labour Minister Taito Phillip Field, who is in jail for misusing his position, Mr Goff said that case needed to be determined in court.

“He was prosecuted. He was booted out of the Labour Party and I say there is enough evidence that the same should happen to Pansy Wong.”

So Phil Goff is demanding Pansy be booted out of Parliament without even any sort of report or inquiry. Further down we will look at Labour’s record on this, but let us put things in perspective. Pansy claimed a perk she should not have. For doing so she was immediately sacked from Cabinet.

Numerous Ministers in the last Government had the taxpayer pay for things, which they were not entitled to. We paid for Shane Jones’ porn, amongst other things. None of those former Ministers have quit Parliament over it. Even Chris Carter was merely demoted from the front bench to the second bench. That was in fact a pathetic punishment.

But let us look at our friend . Did Labour sack him without even waiting for an inquiry? No, they did not. Here is what they did.

  1. Refuse to sack him when allegations arose before election
  2. Refuse to have an inquiry before the election
  3. Defend Field as being only guilty of helping his constituents
  4. After election announce an inquiry with no powers
  5. When inquiry finally reports (six months later – and Goff is complaining about a two week wait) it details dozens of abuses, lies and the like from Field.
  6. Amazingly Labour still defends Field, with Cullen saying he is only guilty of working harder for his constituents than National MPs
  7. Also Clark holds out the possibility that Field could return to the Ministry, despite the abuses listed in the report.
  8. And Labour at no stage move to evict Field from caucus for his criminal behaviour and multiple abuses. They only kicked him out when he publicly mused that he could stand for another party, if not re-selected.

So Goff’s is simply staggering. In Government they defended a corrupt MP, even after a damning report highlighted his abuses. In Opposition, they are demanding Pansy be sacked from Parliament without even waiting for any sort of report.

Let me be clear – if the report by the Parliamentary Service concludes criminal behaviour has been involved, then the Police should prosecute. Even if no criminal behaviour is involved, what emerges from the report may be serious enough that Pansy is not re-selected as a candidate, or even is expelled from Caucus. But those decisions can not be made without knowing the facts.

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34 Responses to “Arguably the most hypocritical statement of the decade”

  1. 3-coil (1,215 comments) says:

    Interesting post DPF, but who is this “Phil Goff” you speak of?

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  2. homepaddock (434 comments) says:

    Funny how workers’ rights to a fair process only matter some of the time for Labour.

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  3. themono (132 comments) says:

    Chris Hipkins said something interesting on the Labour Blog with regard to the lessons Labour learned due to the Field saga. I’ve asked him for clarification but my comment is still in moderation: http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2010/11/23/keys-position-not-credible/comment-page-1/#comment-122239

    So what’s the statute of limitations on Field? At what point can one say, That was the Clark / Cullen Labour party, and this is the Goff / King party – how you deal with an errant MP is obviously a leadership issue, so why can’t it just be that Goff does things differently than Clark did?

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  4. La Grand Fromage (145 comments) says:

    Remind me. When Leanne Dalziel broke the law with her drunk driving was she removed from Caucus?

    In order to help New Zealanders recognise the opposition leader on his billboards next election I would suggest the tag line:

    Phill Goff. Twat.

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  5. BeaB (2,103 comments) says:

    It’s such a shame all these things are inconveniently remembered so clearly by many of us.

    I don’t defend Pansy for breaking the rules but I still think it’s a bit laughable to be castigating someone for working instead of having a holiday at our expense! And we should remember this was in 2008 (albeit there may be later revelations).

    Perhaps Phil could put his hand on heart and swear NONE of his caucus now or in the previous 5 years, ever misused the holiday perk. Then open the books.

    If he won’t, then I consider Pansy has been punished for doing what probably others were doing too, she has said she is sorry, now it’s up to her electorate to decide if they still want her.

    I dislike this vengeful pursuit of anyone unless there is a deliberate attempt to cover up wrongdoing. I suspect we all know what the Wongs did, on more than one occasion. It was against the rules but hardly corrupt like Field.

    Let’s draw a line under it all and enforce the rules much more stringently in the future.

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  6. Jack5 (4,997 comments) says:

    3-coil posted at 4.34:

    …who is this “Phil Goff” you speak of?

    I think DPF meant Phil Gaffe, the Leader of the Opposition, colloquially known as Labour’s Head Gaffer.

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  7. wreck1080 (3,852 comments) says:

    pansy would appear to be a constant liability for national anyway right?

    Labour were absolutely corrupt, i discount anything they say.

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  8. DJP6-25 (1,340 comments) says:

    It’s part of their SOP.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  9. jaba (2,117 comments) says:

    La Grand .. I think it was Dyson who drove while pissed and Daziel was caught lying to parliament … ummm, both are front bench Labour MP’s still, go figure

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  10. La Grand Fromage (145 comments) says:

    Thanks Jaba. It is quite a difficult game playing pin the crime on the Labour MP. So many to remember.

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  11. jaba (2,117 comments) says:

    and Homepaddock .. just made a comment similar to yours on Redablurt .. wonder if it will get through

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  12. Christopher Thomson (376 comments) says:

    Is that the same person known as the Gaffe-father?

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  13. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    How the hell can Key sack her ? Suspend from caucus is an option available to caucus. By this logic Goff could have sacked Carter.

    Is there a mechanism other than resignation that is available to remove an MP before being convicted of a serious offence ? I have said before on this blog that Goff was probably going to get my constituency vote but the latest series of stupid statement is making Jackie Blue ( Black ? ) look like a serious contender for my vote.

    I suspect Wong has made a foolish mistake and her political career is over as a result regardless of the result of the inquiry. That is quite a high price to pay.

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  14. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    When asked about leniency for former Labour Minister Taito Phillip Field, who is in jail for misusing his position, Mr Goff said that case needed to be determined in court.

    “He was prosecuted. He was booted out of the Labour Party and I say there is enough evidence that the same should happen to Pansy Wong.”

    Has he totally lost the plot?
    How can she be sent to jail with no inquiry??
    Idiot!!

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  15. backster (2,135 comments) says:

    I seem to recall that GOFF was one of three Labour Ministers that visited FIELD in Samoa while his Thai Tiler slave was working on the mansion. He claims he asked no questions, saw no evil.

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  16. tvb (4,307 comments) says:

    The Parliamentary Inquiry better stop short of making any allegation of criminal behavior. Rather if there are irregularities that need further investigation then they refer it – probably to the SFO with little comment. But as for Goff he is a nutcase. I will never forgive him over the way he used confidential information to embarrass Don Brash even to risk the NZ-USA relationship.

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  17. Nookin (3,239 comments) says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t Field booted out because he threatened to stand as an independant — nothing to do with corruption? He actually stood against Sio and lost.

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  18. Rex Widerstrom (5,342 comments) says:

    Even if no criminal behaviour is involved, what emerges from the report may be serious enough that Pansy is not re-selected as a candidate, or even is expelled from Caucus.

    Obviously the criminal investigation has to run its course etc. But surely ACT have set the benchmark, with Donna Awatere-Huata, for handling matters such as this, where wrongdoing is obvious and all but admitted by the perpetrator, albeit couched in self-justification?

    And just as clearly it isn’t a benchmark which National has any intention of meeting.

    [DPF: Doing some work on a holiday, hence disqualifying use of the perk, is not in the same league as the criminal behaviour of Awatere-Huata. If evidence emerges that this was repeated and calculated then it may reach that level]

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  19. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    Oh help, I can’t stop laughing. A bit off topic but on the thread at redablert:
    http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2010/11/23/keys-position-not-credible/comment-page-1/#comment-122231

    Clare Curran says:
    November 23, 2010 at 4:00 pm
    @Richard 1 No it’s not true that I am Colonial Viper or Loota.

    I am Clare Curran MP. What you see is what you get. Though I’m flattered that people might think I’m CV or Loota coz they are quite brainy.

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  20. excusesofpuppets (134 comments) says:

    What Labour did in the past is irrelevant in my mind. National want to be more open and transparent, but keep hiding one of their former ministers away until an ‘enquiry’ is conducted. Smells too much like the bad old days for me. So everyone attack what was done in the past. I’m not interested in what has happened.

    All of this nonsense means absolutely nothing though, it distracts from real issues. Like the fact that I have a brother, 2 sisters and 4 cousins, all highly educated and creative contributing their talents to overseas markets rather than their own home. Or that petrol and GST means that after my tax cut and WFF boost (a whopping extra $2 a fortnight, thanks Johnny taxman!) our family income is going down $4 a week at the moment. I don’t give a toss why a minister has allegedly befouled some 40 year old travel perk clause – just cut the fat and move onto issues that really matter.

    We keep getting distracted by this nonsense…Labour…National…all the same.

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  21. Mr Gronk (45 comments) says:

    @IHStewart:

    Regarding resignation, you’re right. See here, the section of the Electoral Act that describes how MPs can be sacked. I think the only relevant one is the bit where an MP’s seat doesn’t become vacant on account of wrongdoing, unless that wrongdoing is a “corrupt practice” or could otherwise result in a prison term of at least two years.

    Regarding Phil Goff’s call, I can’t believe he could seriously want to give the Prime Minister, or any party leader, the power to unilaterally sack his party’s MPs (as opposed to Ministers). [Actually, on second thoughts, I can see how a party leader might want that for himself, but not necessarily for leaders of other parties...] For one thing, that would surely kill off any remaining vestiges of independent judgement on the back benches, and we might as well give up on having a Parliament at all – just elect a Dictator every three years and be done with it.

    A reasonable argument could be made that the standards of behaviour expected of MPs, as evidenced by the vacancy criteria, are too lax and should be tightened up. Taking effect from a future election, of course, so candidates can decide whether they want to stand under the revised rules. But in general, I think we can agree that whether an MP should be re-elected on behalf of a political party is a matter for the candidate selectors and ultimately for the voters. Not for party leaders who find a given member inconvenient.

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  22. alex Masterley (1,507 comments) says:

    Le Grand,
    you are being offensive to twats comparing them to Mr Goff!

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  23. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    Thanks Mr Gronk
    I was fairly sure I had that right but I do seem to remember reading about a mechanism in the British Parliament in Geoffrey Archer’s novel “First Amongst Equals ” about something called the Chiltern 100 ? Might be way wrong on that spelling or for that matter my memory.

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  24. Inventory2 (10,245 comments) says:

    Phillip Field was NOT dismissed from the Labour Party for corruption. The crime which led to his expulsion was daring to suggest, on the day that Helen Clark was to make her annual State of the Nation speech to Parliament, that he might start his own party. That tells you all you need to know about Labour’s attitude to Field.

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  25. Rex Widerstrom (5,342 comments) says:

    DPF suggests:

    If evidence emerges that this was repeated and calculated…

    If? And what does one assume, then, from the perpetrator’s own admission that “I am not able at this point to give the Prime Minister an assurance that this is a one-off situation” and the PM’s remark that there “could potentially be more” (over and above the one on which details have emerged)?

    In politics one doesn’t make those sorts of statements without already knowing the answer, in an attempt to soften the blow of the revelations when they eventually come.

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  26. merlinnz (53 comments) says:

    Some corrections

    Pansy Wong, like Heatley and Worth resigned. The PM didnt sack any of them.

    Ruth Dyson was stood down not Dalziel

    For those running the argument that Labour was so bad that anything is better, the PM campaigned on a HIGHER standard than Labour, on transparency etc. If all some of you want from your leaders is to not be as corrupt or sleezy or hair splitting as the last lot, then I despair for all our children.

    I want the highest standard from our leaders, not the lowest acceptable…

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  27. kiwi in america (2,494 comments) says:

    merlinnz

    Pansy Wong, like Heatley and Worth resigned. The PM didnt sack any of them.

    And had they not resigned, Key would’ve sacked them in a heartbeat. All 3 knew Key’s expectations of accountability and barely hesitated to profer their resignations. Contrast that with the twisting and turning of David Benson-Pope over his lying to Parliament – a substantially more egregious breach of trust than a bottle of wine paid for by the tax payer or sending sleazy text messages versus rorting the taxpayer of $800k for the pledge card. Labour wrote the book on corrupt and sleazy and this administration doesn’t even come close.

    If Pansy Wong or her husband have taken other tax payer funded private business trips you’d better believe she’ll be out of National’s caucus before the ink dries on the report as opposed to Field who resigned…oh wait he never resigned he was put on gardening leave and then when he said he’d run as an Independent, he was gone in a nano second.

    Explain to us precisely what about how John Key has handled each of these incidents that would cause anyone to despair for their children.

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  28. Chuck Bird (4,819 comments) says:

    Has Goff condemned Field to this day? I think not. All I have heard Labour say was that they accept the verdict of the court. Does anyone else think Labour is scared of pissing Field off? I bet he would be prepared to reveal more than Carter.

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  29. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    I really do think that all posts relating to Goff need to have the tag “Twatwatch”.

    It seems only fair.

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  30. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    Makes me wonder why Pansy didn’t just take a couple of months stress leave.

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  31. Inky_the_Red (746 comments) says:

    As I have stated before. Compare the first two years of Key government with the first two years of the Clark government. It seems the Key cabinet have a large number of troughers in such a short time. I can recall no (Alliance or Labour) cabinet ministers from 1999-2001 engaging in the personal enrichment of them or their family. Yet in the same period under National we have English, Wong, Hyde, etc all taking public money for themselves.

    Yes Labour had bad eggs but that happened after they became arrogant and developed poor habits in their second term. The current lot seems to be thinking about their own pockets from the start. The sooner they are gone the better.

    Hopefully too another Alliance Party will emerge to keep Labour honest too. As they seem to fall pretty soon after the alliance Party imploded.

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  32. kiwi in america (2,494 comments) says:

    Inky
    The big difference is that Key raised the bar with much higher expectations and has driven higher transparency such as the publishing of Cabinet ministers expenditures – it is much easier now for even minor infringements (ie Phil Heatley’s bottle of wine) to be picked up and for there to be accountability for even small breaches. Clark showed zero inclination to move to this higher level of disclosure so it was hard to know at what level troughing might have been going on with her Ministers because of lower levels of tracking and disclosure she required in 1999.

    Of course you fail to mention the troughing that was engaged in by the Labour Party as an institution over the pledge card rort which is in addition to any activity by individual ministers. It would take a huge number of private international trips, out of town accomodation claims and bottles of wine to even come close to $800k!

    I’m curious to know how the presence of the Alliance would’ve act as an additional check on someone like Chris Carter and his outrageous spending of tax payers funds. As I recall the Alliance’s own cabinet minister Philida Bunckle became ensnared in a out of town expenses rort of her own. Which lefty minor party should’ve kept check on her – the Greens? Clearly they failed.

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  33. Seán (397 comments) says:

    Here’s another candidate for hypocrisy:
    UN votes that executing gays is okay DPF: “So pretty much everyone except gays have the right to life.” [due to "The United Nations has removed a plea for lesbians, gays and bisexuals not to be executed in a narrow vote".]

    and

    Abortion on demand bill DPF: “I support this.” [due to "A Labour MP has taken the controversial step of proposing a new law to legalise abortion on request for women up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy."]

    Hmmm, so some inconsistency on the “right to life” sincerity…..

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  34. merlinnz (53 comments) says:

    kiwi in america

    “And had they not resigned, Key would’ve sacked them in a heartbeat. ”

    Are you in Vegas doing a Mind Reading Show?

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