John Armstrong has joined in the powerful pieces from the likes of Sean Plunket and Matthew Hooton and called out Key for his dirty, cynical politics – even while he oddly fails to call for Key’s resignation, despite calling on Cunliffe to do so for far less:
The Key administration has plumbed new depths of arrogance and contempt for the notion of politicians being accountable for their actions in its response to today’s hugely embarrassing report by the independent watchdog who maintains oversight over the Security Intelligence Service.
National instead simultaneously released the findings of the Government inquiry into allegations Judith Collins undermined the former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley.
And just to make sure Gwyn’s report did not hog the headlines, the Government also released the result of the review of the Corrections Department’s handling of the temporary release of Phillip John Smith and his absconding to Brazil.
Dumping all your potentially bad news at once is an old political trick designed to limit political damage to one day – rather than taking taking political hits as each report is released over a period of days or weeks.
The ruse should not be allowed to shift the focus from Gwyn’s report, however.
An apology is also owed by the Prime Minister to Nicky Hager. If there was any doubt about the veracity of Hager’s claims in his book Dirty Politics – which there was not – then Gwyn’s report vindicates him completely.
But all of it soundly calls Key out – now can the media keep up the pressure over this awful abuse of power?
Also – Andrea Vance:
Key might feel inoculated from Dirty Politics by both reports because they do not directly implicate him. He takes hands-off to a disturbing extreme.
It stretches credibility to suggest Key – and his chief of staff Wayne Eagleson – bear no responsibility for the conduct of de Joux and Ede.
Using a burner phone – like a character out of Breaking Bad – and deleting emails is not behaviour becoming of a senior adviser to the prime minister. Neither is drafting character attacks to be run on a notoriously vicious blog. Nor is leaking sensitive information from intelligence briefings for use in a pre-election smear campaign. The report reveals Ede recognised his behaviour overstepped the mark (even in his black ops role) remarking it may land him “in the s…”.
Still, Key continues to insist his staff acted professionally at all times. Perhaps that is because Ede and de Joux were doing exactly what they were paid for: the dirty work while keeping the boss’ hands clean.
How long until National starts looking at how to get rid of their dirty Prime Minister?