Dom Post on Jones inquiry

March 13th, 2013 at 6:30 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

Given the paucity of talent within Labour’s ranks and the divisions within the party, Mr Shearer’s desire to restore a supporter to the front bench is understandable.

The public, however, may well have different priorities when it comes time to assess Labour’s fitness to operate the levers of government.

Ms Provost’s investigation found no evidence of corruption, but it did find ample evidence of poor judgment on the part of the former associate minister of immigration.

A harsh summary is not corrupt, just incompetent.

She found Mr Jones acted hastily before he was in possession of all the relevant information, did not consult either police or the Immigration Service despite knowing both were investigating Mr Liu, and failed to document the reasons for his decision.

Immigration and citizenship cases are fraught with danger for ministers because the final say on cases rests with them and because those making representations on behalf of applicants are often their parliamentary colleagues.

It is easy for the perception to develop that it is not what applicants offer New Zealand that is important, but who they know.

Especially when the applicant boasts to the Department that he is mates with MPs, insists on a quick decision despite officials telling him they will recommend no.

In those circumstances the best protection for ministerial reputations and New Zealand’s reputation as a country free of corruption is for the decision-making process to be properly documented.

Mr Jones’ failure to record why he ignored official advice to reject Mr Liu’s application and his failure to even document under which section of the Citizenship Act he granted Mr Liu’s application brought his reputation and that of New Zealand into disrepute.

As Mr Jones observed, officials were also criticised by the for failing to adequately brief the minister and assuming he understood his responsibilities. Fair enough. It is as important for them as it is for ministers to follow proper process.

However, having explained their concerns about Mr Liu’s dual identity and the fact he had been red-flagged by Interpol, they had grounds for thinking the minister would put the integrity of New Zealand’s citizenship ahead of his impatience to be done with a vexatious case.

The question voters may want to ask themselves ahead of the next election is would they employ someone with Mr Jones’ impetuous nature to run their company. If not would they trust him to run a government department?
A question that may be answered in time.

10 Responses to “Dom Post on Jones inquiry”

  1. Warren Murray (400 comments) says:

    Contrary to his remarks, i don’t think that Jones is contrite, by failing to heed advice and deliberately avoiding putting critical info on the file, he has achieved his objective. He is quite pleased that his and Dover’s mate is a NZ citizen and seems pretty chuffed that Notional wont do anything to cancel it. Even though the AG didn’t find any corruption, it rankles that Liu was given special treatment including a ceremony in a select committee room in Parliament.

    It is a well known tactic of ministers is not to document very dodgy decisions, to save them lasting damage from reviews such as this.

    Im sure most ppl, regardless of their political affiliations, are feeling quite let down by this shoddy affair, esp after Patrick Gower pointed the finger at Notional for doing nothing to cancel the citizenship. Yet that is exactly what is needed, cancel his citizenship and repeat the process (at no additional cost to Liu). If he can pass the standard required of any other applicant, then everyone would have confidence that our system works.

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  2. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    Excellent proposal in your last paragraph/sentence Warren.

    Pity it will not happen though.

    Maybe it’s the old, ‘people with power will never give it up unless compelled to.’ syndrome.

    National ministers like the power just as much as Labours did.

    They are all corrupt.

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  3. Steve (North Shore) (4,968 comments) says:

    Sort it at the Election

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  4. burt (11,491 comments) says:

    Not corrupt…. I stopped reading right there…

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  5. oob (206 comments) says:

    Labour sold Kiwi citizenship to a wanted criminal.

    And got away with it.

    I demand accountability for this crime.

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  6. thas (61 comments) says:

    Warren Murray (above) has the right solution. Lets watch it not happen.
    I see Jones’ actions as corruption of the soft New Zealand kind – not proven, but he was clearly motivated by his own ambition and by extension his party’s. Given the chance, he’d do worse.
    He didn’t care about NZ.

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  7. pearlgal (25 comments) says:

    Why is John Key not using this opportunity to score some brownie points with voters? So, we will just let this Chinese criminal get away? That easy huh? Well the rest of the criminals of the world can just turn up in New Zealand and cosy up to politcians and get their stamp as Kiwi! There is no credibility in the system. Thought I immigrated to a 1st world country with good justice system but the underlying corruptions is very subtle and the worst of it all, people get away scott free! I am going to e-mail John Key directly. I wish you would too.

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  8. pearlgal (25 comments) says:

    I would encourage you to e-mail John Key directly at Hopefully, he will give an answer. I had just done that myself.

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  9. landoftime (71 comments) says:

    Shane Jones is talented but truly, truly arrogant. He has no humility at all. Pride comes before a fall. He is too arrogant to get very far in politics. But as far as this goes – basically, he doesn’t need to explain anything. The law provides for the Minister to override officials and provides unilateral and total power to grant citizenship. If there is problem, they might do well to fix this loophole rather than putting expectations on Ministers that are actually not required.

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  10. Manolo (22,068 comments) says:

    Incompetent? No way! Shame Jones is a Master Bator.

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