Yesterday morning, John Key expressed his confidence in Heather Roy as a minister. That was later backed up by Bill English, answering on behalf of Key in the House, who said that the Prime Minister always has confidence in his ministers, otherwise they would cease to be ministers. English also stated that who is a minister is the Prime Minister’s prerogative.
So, how come it was Rodney Hide that announced Roy’s replacement with John Boscawen as Commerce Minister and announced that he himself would be taking over Roy’s Associate Education portfolio. Isn’t that the PM’s job? In fact, I’ve yet to see Key say that he wants Boscawen to be a minister in his government. That decision seems to have been solely made by Hide and his caucus. Did Key simply agree to whatever Hide presented him with? It looks that way, with Key saying there is an “implied concept” that the Deputy Leader of ACT, whomever that may be (except Roger Douglas), becomes a minister in his government. So, if Hide has made David Garrett his deputy, Key would have shrugged and made room for him at the Cabinet table.
It was bad enough when Key sacked Richard Worth without explanation. It was highly suspicious when no adequate explanation was given for Phil Heatley’s departure. But, now, we have support partners doing the job of the PM in appointing ministers and no explanation at all being given by anyone apart from a rumour that it was to do with Hide stealing ministerial papers from Roy’s office. And if that story is true, it’s Hide that needs to be sacked.
We’re in a depressingly familiar position under this Key government: We don’t know why one of our government’s ministers was forced to resign yesterday. It’s not good enough in this age of supposedly open and transparent government. The really scary thing this time is it appears the Prime Minister doesn’t know either.