The result was that the Crown was renting a property for Mr English from a trust in which he had an interest, and the arrangement was explicitly based on a view that he did not have an interest. Clearly, this was unfortunate. We emphasise that the Minister’s declaration was based on advice. However, in our view, the advice was not directly relevant to this situation. We consider that Ministerial Services should have raised this with the Minister.
In other words, English tried it on and got away with it. The AG’s report doesn’t conclude that he is blameless, just that nothing more would be added to her existing conclusions by further investigation. English will spin that as a “vindication” and will probably get away with it.
There is No Shame
‘The New Zealand public will ultimately decide the standards of public probity in politics. If they let [… get] away with rort, then standards of transparency and honesty will drop across the board. New Zealand politics stays clean because all politicians have presumed the public don’t tolerate corruption, and because politicians do not want the shame of being seen as anything but squeaky clean until now that is. believe that can tough it out, that if doesn’t admit any wrongdoing, the media will eventually drop it, and the public don’t really care. doesn’t appear to believe the idea than any rules of public probity should get in the way of [the party’s] interests.’
He is condemned by the words of John Key:
On a prior scandal: “That may still legally be the case because it’s a grey area but that doesn’t meet the standards I believe in. I set high standards and the standards for the party are arguably different standards than just being close to the law.”
On being a politician: ‘Yeah, well I think the characteristics that you need anyway are.. Honesty and integrity. … And so I think the fact that they can trust you has got to be paramount in the end I mean I wouldn’t vote for someone I didn’t think I could trust.”
He is condemned by the words of National mouthpiece David Farrar:
On the Greens’ accommodation: “It is all within the rules, but so were most of the rorts in the UK. As David Cameron said, the issue is not the rules, but whether the behaviour is ethical and correct. And most of all, it is about whether the rules should allow an MP to maximise profit from their Wellington accommodation.”
And on others: “But the issue has never been one of legality as much as ethics. The criminal code is the bare minimum standards for society. For MPs we expect behaviour well beyond that.”
Bill English stands condemned by anyone who is concerned about the appropriate use of taxpayer funds, and anyone who expects ethical behaviour from our elected representatives…