As I predicted on 12 June, Bob Harvey is backing away from his own e-mails which clearly showed Chris Carter had pre-determined the Whangamata marina decision.
The Herald reports today that Harvey is using two of the three excuses I predicted he would use (Nos 1 and 2).
Compare the words of the e-mail to the weaselly explanation afterwards:
E-mail: The minister had asked him to get a “group of people together to support him in his decision …
Later: At no point … was it suggested or indicated to me he had made a decision …
E-mail: The minister felt it would be “overkill” for him to organise it “so he has asked me to assist quickly and effectively in getting a group of people together to support him
Later: An adviser in Mr Carter’s office, Michael Gibbs, had called Mr Harvey on March 1 and “we discussed the desirability of there being a more balanced set of views on the issue in the public domain”
The Herald also notes that Harvey did not call Gibbs, but Gibbs specifically called Harvey to get him to wind up supporters. Now who thinks a Ministerial staff member would do this, if he did not know the decision?
Gibbs is incidentially, not a neutral official, but a Labour activist. Nothing wrong with that, but it fits in with him being the sort of person you would delegate the job of organising support for a decision that you had to announce and would be controversial. Again there is nothing wrong with that except when the Minister claims to not have made his mind up in public, and is saying he is still considering the matter. That is the problem Carter faces.