Minister Phil Twyford has offered his resignation today, after revelations from the opposition that he took a call on an aircraft after its doors closed and devices were supposed to be switched to flight mode.
The Prime Minister has declined to accept his resignation as Minister of Transport, but has sanctioned him by taking the intermediate step of transferring all his responsibilities for the Civil Aviation Authority to his Associate Minister, Julie Anne Genter.
It is an interesting study in contrasts. As you all know, I am on record as wanting a high degree of accountability for Ministers, even when they come from Governments I support. It is also raises the spectre of the so-called “GateGate” incident, where Brownlee barged past airport security and
never offered any sort of resignation. I’m inclined to say in this case that the Minister has received the appropriate slap on the wrist, especially as he was humble and put his head on the block voluntarily. Being prepared to be accountable, rather than being defensive, makes a huge difference for Ministers, in my view.
National is being… understandably quiet about this issue so far, as the counterbarbs are obvious, but it’s good to see the government working a bit more like it promised to in Ministers being accountable and holding themselves to high standards, not just making the PM enforce discipline.
UPDATE: Quick correction as I’m updating this story- as per Alwyn’s comment 126.96.36.199, it appears Brownlee was reported as offering to resign by RNZ. Thanks for the correction.
If you’d like to join us in making fun of the severity of the second accusation that Twyford stowed an item that he potentially might have had trouble securing safely in his hands after the safety light went on, (seriously, you don’t even have to let go of a coat for it to hit someone during turbulence) #twyfordaccusations is active on Twitter, and I’ve even submitted a few myself. Here is a sampler:
— Ma††Çamþßell (@MttCmpbll) May 25, 2018
I hear he didn't pay FULL attention to the safety warning briefing#twyfordaccusations
— WhakarauJK (@ArrestJK) May 25, 2018
— TristanRS (@TristanRS) May 25, 2018
Twyford opened the air vent above his seat, almost disturbing the person next to him.#TwyfordAccusations
— Pen Quinnan (@penquinnan) May 25, 2018