web analytics

Hide vs anonymous editorial on Sabin

Written By: - Date published: 12:44 pm, February 16th, 2015 - 51 comments
Categories: accountability, journalism - Tags: , ,

Once again Rodney Hide has come out with a fiery piece on National’s handling of Sabin:

Government attitude disrespects us

I concluded last week that Prime Minister John Key would have to do some explaining. He didn’t. He has refused. He’s not saying whether police briefed him or other ministers about their investigation of MP Mike Sabin. That’s it. Move along. Nothing to see. To hell with Parliament. To hell with ministerial accountability.

The date of any briefing is explosive. It’s certainly not nitpicking. Sabin chaired the law and order select committee, which oversees the police. He was hopelessly conflicted. So, too, was our Parliament and justice system. How could the chairman be holding police to account when he himself was under police investigation? We deserve to know who was responsible for such dreadful judgment and management. …

Read on for plenty more. In contrast, The Herald’s anonymous editorialist de jour would rather sweep the whole matter quietly under the carpet:

Sabin a matter for the police, not politicians

Since the resignation of Northland MP Mike Sabin two weeks ago persistent questions have been asked about what the Prime Minister knew of a police investigation and when he knew it. But those questions beg a much more important one: ought ministers be told anything about an investigation such as this? The disturbing element in the story is not so much that Mr Sabin was given the chair of Parliament’s law and order select committee when he was already under investigation but rather that all sides assume the “no surprises” rule in the public service extends to a police inquiry.

“No surprises” may be a common convention for public servants, requiring them to alert their minister to anything likely to attract adverse public attention, but it should stop short of investigations by law enforcement agencies.

The whole “no surprises” policy is certainly a matter worth debating (see David Fisher’s excellent piece on its consequences). But as it operates now – of course the police informed Ministers:

The country’s top cop says police did not drop the ball when it came to telling the Government about the Mike Sabin issue under the ‘no surprises’ policy.

The anonymous apologist can’t change the facts. Ministers were briefed, and Key either knew or is running the most incompetent administration ever. Final word to Rodney:

It’s distressing to see Parliament treated with such disrespect and a disrespect that continues through blanket refusals to answer straightforward questions.

I fear ministers are confusing public interest with their own interest. It’s easy to see why. To tell us who was briefed, and on what date, would be to tell us who was responsible for such an appalling and unacceptable undermining of Parliament.

51 comments on “Hide vs anonymous editorial on Sabin ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    I have to wonder, if Rodney was still in Parliament propping this government up, if he would be a lot more circumspect in his opposition, or if he’d actually do something about it – like refuse to vote for government bills until they answered the questions in the house.

  2. Blue 2

    The Herald are really trying to bury the Sabin story. Even though they have sunk to such awful lows over the past few years it seems there is still room to fall.

    I read that appalling editorial and thought ‘what would you be saying if it were a Labour MP?’

    • Jilly Bee 2.1

      Something like a “DEMOCRACY UNDER ATTACK” banner on the front page.

    • marya46 2.2

      @Blue, if it was a Labour MP in the same position as Mike Sabin is now, it would be headline news in ALL msm networks. And there would be no let up!

      But I guess being in the back pocket of the PM, msm has to carry on being the cheerleader for John Key and his motley lot of crooks, despite their filthy activities and disdain for the rule of law, which applies to the rest of us!

  3. Treetop 3

    Key and the last two ministers of police strategy, is so simple. No answer in the House = not misleading the House. This has NOTHING to do with the suppression order on confirming the date of having known about a police investigation.

    Key is not going to play me as a dumb arse, this is why I do not like him.

    • Brendon Harre 3.1

      Key can treat Parliament and by extension all New Zealanders as ‘dumb arses’, while he has a Speaker covering his arse.

      New Zealand desperately needs an independent Speaker to get some accountability into our political system, like me and Tracey discussed some time back.

      “We may as well kiss democracy goodbye”

      • Treetop 3.1.1

        Agree that Carter needs to take control of the House during question time and to be impartial. Carter let the cat out of the bag last Wednesday when he joint up the dots,[r0b: the speaker can do it, we can’t].

        Carter has started off the year trying to have question time run more smoothly by abiding by the rules. Already he has made an error similar to last year. Can’t remember what over, but Key had to return to the house to answer the question.

        I consider it to be in the public interest for the last two ministers of police and the PM to answer, who and when Bush informed a member and whether the member/s informed the PM or his office and when?

        There is a precedent for this, Sir Alfred North’s December 1976 inquiry.

      • Tracey 3.1.2

        It is now blindingly obvious why Lockwood had to go…

  4. tangled_up 4

    Wow. That anonymous editorial takes partisan media up a notch.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1

      Their editorials are all ways anonymous.

      • tangled_up 4.1.1

        Yeah but they’re not all that blatantly biased towards National.

        • adam 4.1.1.1

          Oh yes they are. And always have been, It’s a Tory paper. A Tory paper, pushing a Tory agenda for the betterment of Tory Scum everywhere. The sooner the left realise this, the better. It’s not a free bloody press – it’s all about the almighty dollar.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1.1.2

          Well yes.

          Often political columns start off with praise Key to the skies before there is a change of tone which suggest all is not good in Denmark.

          A rewrite by the senior editors who know the board would explode if they read it ?

          Their pre election coverage trying to be balanced in some situations led to lots of ‘im not been a subscriber for 20 years for this rubbish’ calls .

          of course that sort of older demographic is not wanted by the advertisers, and subscribers forget the paper LOSES MONEY to print and distribute so they save money if the oldies give it away.

          • phillip ure 4.1.1.2.1

            the herald is (bravely/foolishly to my mind) going behind a paywall..

            ..and the really fucken hilarious aspect of this – is that they must think/believe their supermarket-tabloid-giveaway stylings/contents..

            ..are that good..

            ..that mug-punters will pay to click on their poxy-site..(!)

            ..now that..is funny..

  5. emergency mike 5

    Mr Key spoke so well about his high principles regarding accountability and other democratic concepts back when he was in opposition. Since then he’s given a smirk and an extended middle finger to those things each and every time they’ve been remotely inconvenient. And Rodney is noticing this just now? Can anyone remember our leader John Key accepting responsibility for anything ever?

    Either he is thick as sh*t or certain factions have decided that now is the time to slip the knife in.

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.1

      Can anyone remember our leader John Key accepting responsibility for anything ever?

      Yes, he accepted responsibility for winning the World Cup.

  6. Anne 6

    The Herald’s anonymous editorialist de jour would rather sweep the whole matter quietly under the carpet:

    John Roughan – I’ll bet.

    • Colonial Rawshark 6.1

      The press is full of careerist lackeys.

      • Anno1701 6.1.1

        its not like there’s a lot of media jobs in NZ so if you want to make use of that expensive degree you probably have no choice but to get on board…

        let alone any work for real investigative journos !

    • Jilly Bee 6.2

      @Anne – that was my thought too when I read the editorial this morning.

    • Unicus 6.3

      I wonder if Roughan and the rest of the execrable hacks at The Herald will continue their titillating vendetta over Len’s sad sex life now that they are confronted with a genuine social outrage in their pet party

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    The final version we were told- via NZ Herald, as usual- was that TWO ministers were told an unnamed MP was under investigation.
    Which was very convenient as it was understood by then we had been mislead about when the government was told ‘anything’

    Its just a bit unbelievable that the day before parliament sits- when questions would be asked- that the latest version is leaked to the Herald, this shuts down the speculation.

    Colour me a cynic, but I think the official briefing was preceded by an informal, ‘ how much do you want to know’ chat

    • rawshark-yeshe 7.1

      surely they would have been told what the MP was under investigation for ? yes ? no ? that vital detail seems to be missing ?

      • Lanthanide 7.1.1

        The line seems to be that the police didn’t say who the MP was, or what the charges were, because they were deemed to be very prejudicial to their career and reputation if they proved untrue.

    • Anne 7.2

      Colour me a cynic, but I think the official briefing was preceded by an informal, ‘ how much do you want to know’ chat

      That’s not cynical. That is facing the obvious reality of the situation.

      I expect a senior detective handling the ‘preliminary’ investigation (probably the one rumoured to have begun earlier in the year) gave an informal briefing… nudge, nudge, wink wink… no formal inquiry yet but thought you might want a heads up minister, and that was followed by the formal briefing by a very senior cop – possibly the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner early August.

      No wonder Key was so venomous about Hager and his book “Dirty Politics”. You could see the hatred in his eyes every night on TV. It wouldn’t surprise me if they thought Hager knew about Sabin (plenty of people apparently did) and had timed the launch of his book to coincide with the investigation.

      • Anne 7.2.1

        Ooops, I’ve just thought… is that another reason why the cops ransacked Hager’s house a few months back? They wanted to know about rawshark yes, but they also wanted to know what – or if – Hager knew about Sabin?

        My imagination running away with me? Well, you can’t rule anything out under this corrupt government.

        • Tracey 7.2.1.1

          It seems to me that given an MP is an elected representative, there at the (cant remember the word) of the voters of NZ, any investigation by a police authority MUST be reportable to the Leader of that person’s party. Had key stood Sabin down from the Law and order Committee there really wouldn’t be as much air in this story. But Key chose to lie and obsficate. His default position seems to be to lie. And it is catching (note Tolley and Bennett when asked about Cabinet Club ).

          As they say it’s the cover-up that proves the downfall.

          The police would, like the defence forces, dislike Hager, they wouldn’t take much convincing to raid.

          • Anne 7.2.1.1.1

            Why do they dislike Hager? Don’t like their dirty linen being aired in public? There’s an easy answer to that one. Don’t soil the linen in the first place or at least don’t try to cover it up.

            Btw is the word you can’t remember ‘mercy’ or ‘courtesy’?

          • freedom 7.2.1.1.2

            behest -?

          • Anne 7.2.1.1.3

            Tracey, we’re waiting with bated breath to find out which one of us was right?

  8. Treetop 8

    3.1.1 needs to be removed. [r0b: thanks]

  9. Treetop 9

    I have questions for the writer of the editorial: Sabin a matter for the police not politicians.

    What if a police officer is involved in an incident concerning an MP?

    What if the involved officer is used by the police to benefit the government of the day?

    What if a police officer uses police resources to silence a person e.g. (their ex girl friend) who they mentioned the incident to and the ex girl friend threatened the officer with going to the newspaper?

    Is the police commissioner protecting his employer the government?

    The only partly honest person so far has been the commissioner of police. He could easily find himself misleading the public if the minister of police or Key push him into a corner.

    • adam 9.1

      I don’t have a problem with the headline – but the reality is – it is a political issue. Because it questions the role and relation of the executive and the legislative. Now they are desperate for the legislative to protect the executive, because of alleged behaviour by a member of the legislative, was wilfully ignored by the executive.

      Now silly me think that this undermines the constitution, and threatens the viability of executive – no matter how popular they are – this is really high levels of incompetence, or. It goes to show – the executive will work in the interests of the old boys network rather than for a stable and effective government – and be damned the consequences. And as far as the Tory scum in power are concerned, our constitution is not worth the paper it is written on. Nor are the conventions and norms.

      So, you have to ask yourself – if this is a government that is willing to throw away the constitution over alleged offence. Then what else are they willing to do? Personally, I think even conservatives at this point will be quoting from Hobbs, and worrying what is going to happen to them and theirs.

      • Treetop 9.1.1

        The spotlight is now on the PM and the police commissioner, the executive vs the legislative.

        The above could have been avoided had Sabin withdrawn being a candidate for Northland. He had enough time prior to the election. He could have asked to go on the list even though he had a big majority. (I know hindsight is a wonderful thing).

        Your second paragraph has the makings of a police state.

        “Then what else are they willing to do?”

        This is why it is in the interest of the public.

  10. Skinny 10

    If National knew of an investigation into Sabin prior to the 2014 election well thats corrupt as it would have had an effect like this;

    Two hours ago I ran into a farmer who farms just inside the Northland boundary, we talked about the need for some rain. Eventually
    I angled on to the By-Election and without too much pushing the cow cocky said “if I’d known what I know now National would have got my party vote and the local girl my candidate vote.”

    If that’s one voter how about the rest?

    • Treetop 10.1

      Key knew the numbers were going to be tight concerning the September 2014 election and that NZ First were likely to be required to prop him up. There is no way that Peters would have proped Key up. As well the election date was called months prior to the police investigation (which appears to be in August 2014).

      Until you know the outcome of something you are kept in the dark.

      Standing Sabin as a candidate when he had not been convicted of an offense is one thing. Not answering when you have been informed of the person being under investigation is another matter.

      Can a person stand as a candidate when they are under a police investigation?

      • Murray Rawshark 10.1.1

        “Can a person stand as a candidate when they are under a police investigation?”

        Obviously they can. I believe the real question is “Should they stand” and the answer is no. If I were in that situation, I would withdraw my candidacy. Actually, I’d hang myself as well if I were in exactly the situation in question.

        • Treetop 10.1.1.1

          See Treetop@ 8.1.1

          “Should they stand?”

          No

          I have looked at why Sabin did not withdraw, he had a sure electorate seat win and people may have raised why Sabin was withdrawing, which would have been damaging to the government. Anne@7.2 & 7.2.1 talks about Key being venomous about Hager’s book and that the raid on Hager’s home could have been to find out what Hager knew about Sabin.

    • Jeeves 10.2

      Tories- man they really know how to polish their own turds.

  11. Paul 11

    The Herald is a rag.

  12. ankerawshark 12

    Someone may have said this already, but I noticed the vast majority of commenters on the Herald’s editorial were not in agreement with this.

    Also wasn’t Phil Goff given s…t for not coming out immediately and saking Darren Hughes or standing him down, while he was under investigation????

    • Murray Rawshark 12.1

      Some things are too much even for Bradbury’s “sleepy hobbits”. I think a lot of people are starting to have an idea of what was involved and the significance of what Key actually is doing. It’s something that would have been previously unthinkable.

    • Treetop 12.2

      There was some transparency about Darren Hughes (it was on the radio, TV and in the newspaper) within a day of the incident and Hughes was not charged with an offense following the police investigation.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Update to air border order strengthens crew requirements
    Additional measures coming into effect on Monday will boost our defence against COVID-19 entering New Zealand through the air border, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “As part of our precautionary approach and strategy of constant review, we’re tightening the requirements around international aircrew,” Chris Hipkins said. The COVID-19 Public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • A true picture of Māori business activity
    A better picture of the contribution Māori businesses make to the economy will be possible with changes to the way information is collected about companies and trading enterprises. Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced a new option for Māori enterprises who are part ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF funding for Taranaki projects
    The South Taranaki museum, a New Plymouth distillery and a Pasifika building firm will benefit from a Government investment totalling more than $1 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The $1.05m in grants and loans from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will help the recipients expand and create ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Fijian Language Week 2020 inspires courage and strength during COVID-19 pandemic
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the theme for the 2020 Fijian Language Week reflects the strong belief by Fijians that their language and culture inspires courage and strength that is strongly needed in times of emergencies, or through a significant challenge like the global COVID-19 pandemic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Trades training builds on iwi aspirations
    An investment of $2.025 million from the Māori Trades and Training Fund will support Māori to learn new skills while making a positive difference for their communities, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “K3 Development Limited Partnership will receive $2,025,000 for its Takitimu Tuanui apprenticeship programme, which will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Conservation Minister plants two millionth tree in Raglan restoration
    A long-term conservation project led by the Whaingaroa Harbour Care group in the western Waikato reaches a significant milestone this week, with the planting of the two millionth tree by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “Planting the two millionth tree crowns 25 years of commitment and partnership involving Whaingaroa ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago