Martin Kay at the Dom Post reports:
Mr Carter revealed yesterday that he had offered to reconcile with Mr Goff in a joint press conference similar to that attempted by ACT leader Rodney Hide after Heather Roy was deposed as deputy.
“I reluctantly agreed two weeks ago to send Goff a message that I would do a Heather Roy-Rodney Hide-moment press conference, where I would admit to a moment of madness and he would admit to not giving me the support that he should have over the media beatup around travel, but we got the message back last Friday that [there would be] no reconciliation, no negotiation.
My God. Chris actually proposed a Rodney-Heather style press conference as something positive to be emulated?
And further he wanted Phil Goff to publicly apologise to him, for not defending him over his travel?
I can say without hestitation that if Phil Goff had agreed to this, his political career would be over.
If any staff member actually advised him to take up Chris’ offer of a reconciliation press conference where he apologises for being critical of Chris’ travel, then that is a sure sign that they are in fact a National Party plant in your office.
If any MP advised Phil to agree to the reconciliation press conference, then they are planning to become Leader in the near future.
What is interesting is that Carter’s sense of entitlement over the travel is what is really driving him, not the performance of Phil Goff.
Carter also gave an interview to gaynz.com, where again he said he was picked on for being gay.
“To have Phil Goff say it’s not homophobic – of course it’s homophobic. Why was I different to everybody else? Because I was the top spending MP? I wasn’t actually. Because I was the top spending minister? I was number four actually.
The Prime Minister, Foreign and Trade Ministers all have international travel as an integral part of their job. With other Ministers it is an occassional requirement.
I have to say, I was loyal to him a lot longer than he was loyal to me. Hanging me out to dry over that ministerial travel – he was one of the ministers that signed it off.”
This sounds like a fair point, but overlooks the reality of ministerial approval. Ministers are not treated like junior sales clerks, where their boss scrutinises travel applications and turns them down if not convinced. If a Minister decides to apply for overseas travel, they will almost inevitably have it approved. Ministers are expected to use their political judgement about whether their amount of travel can be perceived as excessive or extravagant. And in this area. chris did not show judgement – and still does not get it.
Carter questions why any concerns about the travel spending were not raised at the time, saying he believes there were no concerns. He says every trip has to be approved and if he had not gone another minister would have.
And it would have been better if others had gone.
The reality is that a Minister could find enough worthwhile conferences and seminars in their portfolio area that they could spent half their job overseas. And taken individually one could justify each and every trip. But what one should do is look at your total travel, and exercise judgement as to whether you are spending too much time overseas.
The proudly-gay MP, who has been the voice and face of gay New Zealand in Parliament for almost two decades, at least in the eyes of the mainstream and the media, has one lingering disappointment. Two weeks ago he received an invitation from the British Labour Party to come and speak at the Rainbow Network Fringe event in Manchester.
“I felt that I couldn’t go because of my estrangement from the Labour caucus. No other New Zealand Labour Party politician has ever been invited to speak at the British Labour Party Conference before.”
So his big regret is that he had to turn down another overseas trip! Incredible.
And without wanting to be a party pooper, there is a massive difference between being invited to speak to a British political party conference, and to a fringe event at the conference. I have been to the Conservative conference so this is from first hand experience. There are generally 80 – 150 fringe events at a party conference. It is not a huge thing to be invited to speak at a fringe event. At the risk of sounding immodest, I could probably arrange for myself to be a guest speaker at a fringe event at the Conservative conference. If I did, I would not of course have the NZ taxpayer pay for me to attend!
Carter says he has a personal connection to the area as his family emigrated from Preston, near Manchester.
“That’s been my greatest disappointment really, in this whole drama.
Not going to Manchester is his greatest disappointment? I really thinks words fail me.