Written By: - Date published: 2:47 pm, August 30th, 2017 - 50 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, brethren, business, capitalism, crosby textor, democracy under attack, Dirty Politics, uncategorized - Tags:
Bennett made a number of statements today in her interview with Jack Tame which may or may not be of interest. I note Tolley remains silent.
The full interview (and full view of Bennett in righteously indiginant mode) is here
She made several comments:
- Why would we stuff up our own launch? This seems to be a red herring because a leaker doesn’t determine when the reporter will publish and time is running out before the election.
- “I didn’t tell anyone”. Why did she need to speak to Tolley about it if she wasn’t interested in the information? Gossip? How does that line up with integrity with confidential information (see below)?
- It’s not something we would do – Er, except that it is and here is the National Party manual for this behaviour and here
Justice Minister Judith Collins has admitted giving information about a public servant to Whale Oil blogger, Cameron Slater. The minister believed the public servant, whose name she gave Mr Slater, had leaked information to the Labour Party; he was then targeted on the Whale Oil site and received death threats.
The information was that Mr English (now PM) was double dipping on a housing allowance.
The statement of major interest to me is this one (and with which she and I are in agreement):
“Our integrity and our role as Ministers in holding confidential information is absolutely pivotal to our role”
And yet she and Collins willfully disclosed private information of citizens for political advantage. Now, Bennett is still claiming she knows the Law better than those who administer it. Robert Hesketh, Director of the Office of Human Rights Proceedings has had his own issues but note the comments made about his integrity here. Astonishingly she seems to be now stating that behaving contrary to integrity and ethical standards is ok if you do it yourself and in the open (her reference to revealing the income of a beneficiary challenging her).
That leads me to a pet topic, Ethics. Why do we bother with a Cabinet Manual?
2.55 A Minister of the Crown, while holding a ministerial warrant, acts in a number of different capacities:
2.56 In all these roles and at all times, Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards. This includes exercising a professional ap proach and good judgement in their interactions with the public and officials, and in all their communications, personal and professional. Ultimately, Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister for their behaviour.”
Ethics have to filter from the top down of any organisation.. It rarely works the other way round. Those at the lower end can behave ethically but usually get isolated and weeded out by those above without ethics. Ethical decision-making can be learned. It is not about being a perfect human being and it is not about being moralistic per se (it is not about religiosity).
Maybe the Cabinet Manual needs to become more toothy. An independent panel to make determinations? In the past elections would have punished such low level behaviour. Increasingly our politicians are showing themselves wholly unable to behave to anything other than the “if it is legal it is ok “ standard and some, like Bennett, Collins and Brownlee all broke laws, so fall short of even that low standard. All remain ministers and one has been promoted to Deputy PM. What message is that sending? And it is sending a message.
They may be innocent this time but clearly people think they are more than capable of it based on past experience.
Advance warning. If Labour are to lead the next government I will hold their feet to the same fire. National claim to aspirational in everything except ethical behaviour.