Most attention is on the news that Don Brash will resume his public duties today. The NZ Herald suggests this doesn’t mean a 100% decision to stay on, but that he will decide over the next couple of weeks. They also quote from the e-mail Don sent to Caucus yesterday:
“Guys, I strongly believe that we should not respond in kind to the comments about my personal life which Labour threw in my direction in the House last week.
“We don’t want to descend into that kind of politics. I therefore ask that none of you refer, directly or indirectly, to any of the gossip/rumours about the private lives of any other politicians, or their families. It is pretty clear that the public do not like this stuff, and even if they did we should stay away from it – it can only distract attention from the important issues which should be our focus.”
The Herald also looks at the behaviour of Mallard and Benson-Pope and whether it represents a new low.
And the NZ Herald editorial says that Labour should not get away with not paying the money back, due to the publicity of the (alleged) affair.
The Dominion Post compares what has happened to the 1976 Moyle Affair.
Finally the Dom Post editorial has a warning for Labour:
Attention has been deflected away from the mounting body of evidence that Labour abused parliamentary funding and the parallel evidence that Labour MP Phillip Field privately benefited from his public position.
But this is grubby politics that could yet backfire on Labour. One of Mr Mallard’s colleagues is presently the subject of a particularly ugly rumour. The rumour has not been substantiated, may not be true and may never come to light.
But if it does, Labour will have no grounds for complaint.
By fossicking in the private lives of its opponents, it has made the private affairs of its MPs fair game for any who choose to profit from them.
UPDATE: Good commentary on Radio NZ this morning with Kathryn Ryan and Matthew Hooton.