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Inquiry needed into English-Peda scandal

Written By: - Date published: 9:54 am, December 24th, 2010 - 30 comments
Categories: bill english, corruption, pasifika - Tags: , , , , ,

The day before Christmas, in what will surely be a forlorn attempt to bury the story, Bill English’s office has finally relented after months of resistance and released under the OIA papers on how the unknown Pacific Economic Development Agency was awarded a $4.8 million blank cheque in the Budget. This looks serious.

The Herald has helpfully compiled a timeline of events:

THE EMAIL EXCHANGE

MID-MARCH
Bill English’s office emails Treasury to inform it of decision to give $4.8m over four years to Peda.

TREASURY EMAILS THE MINISTRY OF PACIFIC ISLAND AFFAIRS
“We don’t know a great deal more about this initiative…presume someone in [Pacific Island Affairs] must know about it?”

MINISTRY REPLIES
“The information we have over here on this is very sketchy. Are you able to send us or point us in the direction of the Cabinet papers so we can proceed?”

TREASURY ANSWERS
“We are even more in the dark on this one – there are no Cabinet papers or anything else…Maybe worth asking your minister’s office.”

MARCH 25
Ministry advice on Peda says it is untested, unproven, does not work well with others and is proposing programmes that would overlap with existing ones.

APRIL 1
Pacific Island Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu meets her officials, requesting information to be presented in one A3 sheet to “show the big picture and overlaps”.

APRIL 29
Ministry head Colin Tukuitonga’s email (recipient withheld): “I am unconvinced about the [Peda] ideas.”

MAY 20
Budget announcement of $4.8m over four years going to Peda.

AUGUST
Ministry announces competitive tender process.

YESTERDAY
Four companies win Government contract. Peda not one of them.

So, out of nowhere, this unknown, unproven agency is awarded $4.8 million from the Pacific Affairs budget with no knowledge of the ministry or, apparently, the minister. This seems to be entirely an initiative of English, with Georgina Te Heuheu coming in later to try to cover his tracks.

Why was English trying to give $4.8 million of our money to this organisation, which couldn’t even get a dime when the contract was put to competitive tender?

An independent investigation (not run by Hugh McPhail) into English’s personal links with Peda along those of prospective National Party candidates Michael Jones and Inga Tu’uigamala is called for.

The only explanations for English’s actions that make any sense are a personal favour or an attempt to boost the profile and popularity of National’s two World Cup year ring-ins. It would be staggering if English has fallen to such depths but, then, the man earned the title Double Dipton for a reason.

It’s worth pointing out at this point that this apparently corrupt attempt by English to put taxpayer money into a slush fund for his mates and National Party candidates might have gone unnoticed if he hadn’t been for the sterling work of Pasifika media including Efeso Collins on 531 PI, who was taken off the air for asking too many questions, and the gutsy Pacific Eye Witness blog. Carmel Sepuloni and Su’a William Sio also asked the tough questions in the House.

English may think that he’s managed to get away with whatever he was up to by releasing this information on Christmas Eve but he’s wrong. This is no longer the age when the political media was limited to a handful of gallery journos who don’t come back till work until mid-February, barely remembering December. The gallery and the non-msm media are a lot more tenacious now. English will be hounded until he explains what the hell he was doing with our money.

30 comments on “Inquiry needed into English-Peda scandal”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    They interviewed some dude on Morning Report about it this morning, but he didn’t really say much.

  2. Tigger 2

    So will anyone be chasing Bill English down corridors to get the truth here?

    Thought not. They didn’t chase Pansy either. Or Worth. Or Heatley…

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    THE EMAIL EXCHANGE (put into easy to understand txt)

    MID-MARCH
    Bill English’s office emails Treasury to inform it of decision to give $4.8m over four years to Peda.

    TREASURY EMAILS THE MINISTRY OF PACIFIC ISLAND AFFAIRS
    WTF? Ask PIA

    PIA REPLIES
    WTF?

    TREASURY ANSWERS
    WTF do you mean WTF?

    MARCH 25
    PIA looks at PEDA and wonders WTF these n00bs are.

    APRIL 1
    Pacific Island Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu finally looks in her in-box and asks for a simplified breakdown

    APRIL 29
    Ministry head Colin Tukuitonga’s email (recipient withheld): “These ppl [Peda] are a bunch of n00bs.”

    MAY 20
    Our money promised to the n00bs anyway as requested by Blinglish’s office.

    AUGUST
    After PEDA proven to be n00bs and other questions the Ministry announces competitive tender process.

    YESTERDAY
    Four companies win Government contract. Peda not one of them (because they’re n00bs).

  4. Bill 4

    I thought budget announcements were cast in stone, as it were. So, how does it come about that a budget can allocate specific monies to a specific cause, organisation or whatever, and then just fairly arbitrarily ‘unallocate’ the same monies ( announce a competitive tendering process) three months later?

    • Bright Red 4.1

      good question. The Budget is the Government seeking Parliament’s permission to raise taxes, which must then only be spent on the specific costs identified therein.

      you’ve got a post about it relating to PEDA: /english-misleads-on-peda-money/

      I’m sure a bit of retrospective legislation at the next budget will tidy this up.

  5. randal 5

    how about some good old fashioned anglo saxon words like.
    payoff.
    patronage.
    bribery?

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    Frak this.

    Its of utmost importance that we find out what English’s EXTENDED FAMILY links to PEDA are.

    • marco 6.1

      Or how PEDA started…what government funding was used to start this organisation? Which Minister from the previous Government presured a large Government Department to fund the inception of PEDA’s parent organisation? Why did she do this?

      Hate to be the party pooper but this fiasco goes right back. I agree what has gone on here with English is just plain wrong and needs to be investigated. However if it is, it will sully the reputation of a well regarded Minister from the previous government who will be in this up to her eyeballs.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        However if it is, it will sully the reputation of a well regarded Minister from the previous government who will be in this up to her eyeballs.

        Since I’m guessing that you’re full of it from top to bottom, bring on the inverstigation ASAP and let the chips fall where they may.

  7. randal 7

    colonial viper dont hold your breath.
    that sort of information could lead to a vote of no confidence and the fall of this government.

  8. bbfloyd 8

    it is actually a serious issue when spending announced in the budget, which is then ratified by parliament, is then allocated to other uses,or providers. this has surfaced before with this government. but from what i’ve read from experts in this field, this is one that could, or should have repercussions…

    but, of course, we are in the grip of a seriously corrupt administration that has placed it’s operatives into strategic positions within the relevant govt departments(and media) in order to be able to flout the laws with relative impunity.

    good luck to anyone who tries to call dipton to account on this one…

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      but, of course, we are in the grip of a seriously corrupt administration that has placed it’s operatives into strategic positions within the relevant govt departments(and media) in order to be able to flout the laws with relative impunity.

      good luck to anyone who tries to call dipton to account on this one…

      Thanks, definitely not blind to your points bb. No matter how impossible the task seems, English must be made to explain in full his connection to PEDA, including how hw became aware of the small organisation first up, and then how the sum of $4.8M was determined.

      Are you a little surprised that an old school operator like English would go about allocating these monies in such a ham-fisted way? I am. He must be slipping.

  9. bbfloyd 9

    he must be slipping…. looks as much like overconfidence to me.

  10. BLiP 10

    PacificEyeWitness.com has been all over this and its not just Bill English that needs investigation. John Key and Sam Lotu-Iinga should also be dragged kicking and screaming into the spotlight. This is a deeply murkey story which, althought not involving all that much money, goes to the heart of National Ltd™’s deeply cynical approach to securing power.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      A police investigation, or better, should have started months ago.

    • marsman 10.2

      re. ‘This is a deeply murky story.’ This is a deeply murky administration!

      • pollywog 10.2.1

        What irks me since they opened the money up for contract tender was that it was still ringfenced for Auckland.

        It should have been open to all and sundry up and down the country to pilot programmes targetting Pasifikan youth and if they worked then look at franchising them to Auckland.

        and BTW Pollywogs breed and grow in the murk 🙂

    • SPC 10.3

      The real story is why the Finance Minister felt he should (was expected to) deliver on the promises made by someone else. Only someone who could protect him from any consequences – would have had that sort of influence.

      So don’t expect him to be asked to resign by the PM, or anyone to have the balls to investigate this, because we all sort of guess (if not know) where this all leads. And who really wants to live in a country (and be known internationally as such) which is run by a … who was, is and would remain popular into a second term.

  11. Craig Glen Eden 11

    This is just wrong in so many ways. Philip Field looks like a saint now and we know a saint he is not. Shame on Key, English,Inga and Jones.

    • SPC 11.1

      We told Field that he was accountable to our parliamentary heritage and traditions when acting as an MP in office. Now this.

      One can only speculate there was an attempt to show National could deliver patronage to the Polynesian community – via its party member agents – and this might “trickle down” increase their share of the Polynesian vote in South Auckland.

      National obviously hopes to build a network of such middle class tier support that it achieves in the Maori community via chiefly iwi elites and via patronage of the MP (middle class managers of whanau ora etc).

  12. Rodel 12

    Henceforth known not as Pedagate but the ‘Pedafiles’

  13. tc 13

    “..not just Bill English that needs investigation. John Key and Sam Lotu-Iinga should also be dragged kicking and screaming into the spotlight…..”

    And is this ever happens can we establish if Sam has contributed his akl city council full time salary he collected whilst also being an MP to charity as promised.

    I’m not expecting any further shite to stick to Blinglish and Sideshow they’ll have the inexperienced Sam to shaft this with should it all go pear shaped…..bring it on he’s and f’n disgrace already.

  14. burt 15

    This post might provide some ‘noting to see here’ reference material for DPF.

    The Hawke’s Bay DHB report

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