David Shearer, with Shane Jones’ support, has stood Jones down and asked the Auditor-General to investigate his handling of Bill Yan’s citizenship affair. It sets a new, high standard. Whether Jones was right or wrong, he at least has a coherent story and there’s no suggestion of a crime. Compare that John Key allowing John Banks to stay on as a minister while under criminal investigation and having repeatedly lied as he tries to get out of it.
Let’s compare and contrast:
In both cases (and Nick Smith’s case, for that matter) the MP is under attack over events that occurred in a previous role. Jones is no longer minister, Banks is no longer an Auckland mayoral candidate. Yet Shearer has said that Jones will be accountable for the correctness of his actions in that previous role, whereas Key has said no ethical standard applies to the behaviour of ministers before they were ministers.
Shearer has spoken directly with Jones and, from that, come to the decision that the best way to clear Jones’ name and clear the air is an independent investigation with Jones stood down in the meantime. John Key has still, weeks later, not spoken to John Banks about the Dotcom affair. He has rejected calls for an independent investigation. He has rejected calls to stand down Banks during the Police investigation. He’s even used the bizarre ‘well, it sure didn’t help Dotcom, so how can it matter?’ line to try to trivialise the issue.
Banks faked memory loss and lied to the media in an attempt to wiggle out of the issue. Jones said, from the start, that he wouldn’t discuss the matter until the court proceedings had ended. Then, in light of the growing media interest, he revealed the reason he approved Yan’s citizenship. No claims of memory loss, no rabbit in the headlights interviews, no blatant lies. And he obviously has confidence that his records will show that he did get the advice he says he did.
So, come on, John. Let’s see your high standards. Stand down Banks. Oh wait, you need his vote to pass the Budget and asset sales, eh? Guess principles get trumped sometimes, eh John?
Update: The court has found Yong Ming Yan not guilty of all five immigration fraud charges. David Shearer says:
The reasons we have asked the Auditor-General to investigate the case still stand.
Shane Jones must be given the opportunity to clear his name given the apparent differences in evidence given during the court case and Shane’s recollection of events.
“New Zealand is highly regarded as being a country with open and transparent government. We must protect that reputation and reassure New Zealanders that ministerial and departmental processes are sound.