The e-mails from former Labour Party President Bob Harvey show beyond any doubt that Chris Carter had made up his mind at an early stage to deny the application, and then sought supporters to justify it.
This creates two problems for the Minister. The first is that there must be a very real risk of the High Court ruling he did not follow correct process in declining the marina proposal.
The other is that he may have lied to the House, and is now the subject of a complaint to the Privileges Committee.
Now this is an unacceptable outcome to Labour, so Bob Harvey will know he has to take the fall for the Minister, and claims his own e-mail was false. Now how do you do that?
I predict Harvey will use the following claims:
1) The Minister never told me what he would do, I just gained an impression that he might go against
2) I in fact made the offer to the Minister to get people to come out opposing it, and it was a hypothetical “Would it be useful to have more voices in the debate”
3) I am passionate about this issue and in my passion I attributed desires to the Minister which were in fact my own.
Crown Law (representing the Minister) have insisted on Harvey doing an affidavit explaining the context of the e-mails. I will be most surprised if it is not similar to the above, because if he came out and said “Yes that is right the Minister told me his decision, asked me to line up supporters for my declining the application” then there would be a new Minister of Conservation and maybe even a new MP for Te Atatu.