Claire Trevett in the Herald reports:
Labour leader Phil Goff told Darren Hughes he would be stripped of his portfolios regardless of the outcome of a police investigation as soon as he became aware of the complaint against Mr Hughes. …
Mr Goff denied there was any attempt to protect Mr Hughes by keeping it secret, saying as soon as he was told of the nature of the complaint “I made it clear to Darren that I thought given the circumstances there had been a lapse of judgment and that would result in his losing his positions.”
I’m sorry, but I simply do not believe this – and it is very rare for me to actually claim an MP is deliberately not being truthful. Here’s why:
- On Wed 22 Hughes put out a PR saying “I have done nothing wrong”. His PR would have been approved by the Leader’s Office. So Goff is saying he had already told Darren he would lose his portfolios over his lapse injudgement, let allows him to put out a statement claiming “I have done nothing wrong” rather than “I have broken no laws”
- The previous week, Darren took part in a celebrity debate affirming “That politics is a grubby business”. Would he have been allowed to do this, if Goff really had formed an opinion that he should have been stripped of his portfolios?
- Goff’s initial statement on Wed 22 says he holds Hughes in high regard – not any suggestion that he thought there had been a lapse of judgement
- Goff also said that day “he accepts the MP’s word that he did nothing wrong” – yet now claims he had already told Hughes he would sakc him from his portfolios
- Goff also said that day “he had felt the complaint was ‘not relevant’ to his ability to do his job” as a specific reason why he did not strip Hughes of his portfolios
- Goff on Wed 22 of course did not announce he was being stripped of his portfolios, despite the matter now being public. In fact he said that only if the Police investigation lasted a couple more weeks, would he consider appointing acting spokespersons
- Then on Thu 23 Goff announces Hughes will temporarily stand down from his portfolios, and appoints Acting Spokepersons. So again we are meant to believe that Goff had already decided to permamently sack Hughes from his portfolios, yet rather than announce this, he announces a stand down only
- In fact it was reported that “Any decision on whether Mr Hughes would get his positions back would made after the police inquiry was finished”, yet Goff claims he had already decided and told Hughes three weeks earlier.
- On Fri 25 Hughes resigns from Parliament and again states “I have done nothing wrong”
So I simply do not believe that Goff told Hughes he would lose his portfolios. It is inconsistent with every previous statement and action made by Hughes and Goff.Tags: Darren Hughes, Phil Goff