I/S on Wong

Written By: - Date published: 5:20 pm, December 3rd, 2010 - 44 comments
Categories: accountability, national - Tags: ,

From I/S at No Right Turn:

Two stories from today’s Dominion-Post: Number one:Compromised official gets top job:

Months after former Mental Health Commission head Selwyn Katene resigned amid allegations of dishonestly misusing taxpayer funding, he got another top taxpayer-funded job.

Dr Katene resigned suddenly from his $150,000 job in December 2008 when a whistleblower alleged he made multiple claims for travel, accommodation and meals when he was on personal business. An investigation found that Dr Katene used taxpayer money totalling $1501.80 for personal use and the misuse was possibly dishonest.

[…]

Soon after his resignation, Dr Katene was appointed director of Manu Ao – an inter-university Maori academy launched by Associate Education Minister Pita Sharpleslast year with $2.5m of taxpayer funding.

Number two: Pansy Wong investigation finds minor breach:

National MP Pansy Wong and her husband have been told to repay $237.06 each for breaching the rules on Parliament’s international travel perk.

The ruling follows an investigation ordered by Speaker Lockwood Smith after Wong resigned as a minister following revelations she had witnessed a business deal signed by her husband, Sammy, during a trip to China in late 2008.

[…]

[Wong] hoped the findings would enable her to return to Cabinet and said she was looking forward to returning to Parliament.

So, steal $1,500 as a public servant, and you should never work again. Steal $500 by the same method as an MP, and you simply have to repay the money and expect to be back in Cabinet. The message is clear: its one rule for politicians, and one for everyone else.

44 comments on “I/S on Wong”

  1. Jane 1

    Chris Carter.

    • Craig Glen Eden 1.1

      Carter stole nothing Jane, Wong has and she is in breach of cabinet rules.

    • Chris was never found to have done anything wrong. He failed the attitude test but was never actually found to have broken any rules apart from the expenditure that he declared to have breached the rules.

      Pansy’s breaches were clearer and I cannot believe the way the inquiry was conducted. Essentially it seemed to be that Pansy was asked did she do anything wrong, she said no and this was then reported.

      I hope the Auditor General decides to conduct an investigation.

  2. Errrrm have I missed something? Who’s saying Dr Katene should “never work again”? Certainly not Pita Sharples.

    I’m the last person to argue that a criminal offence – even one of dishonesty – should keep you out of the workforce forever. But a position as director of something presumably grants one access to its cheque book. That seems a somewhat unwise decision on Dr Sharple’s part, to put it mildly.

    Surely Dr Katene’s talents could be utilised in a position where he doesn’t have the taxpayers’ funds on tap?!

    As for Pansy Wong… the “investigation” report screams “methinks he doth protest too much”, so desperate is it to say “look how much more they could have stolen, but didn’t!!”

    • r0b 2.1

      Yeah the post isn’t all that clear is it. But if you click through the first link the tone of the piece is an attack on Katene. It describes the investigation that the Dom carried out, and the clear implication is that they consider his new appointment completely inappropriate.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    National’s not even hiding their intentions of turning NZ into a banana republic any more.

    • WOOF 3.1

      The place is going to the dogs. 🙁

      • Inventory2 3.1.1

        So CV; do you apply the same standard to Shane Jones for the porno movies he paid for (in breach of ther rules) with his ministerial credit card? What about Mita Ririnui buying golf clubs on his card? What about Chris Carter buying UK Labour coffee mugs?

        If you are going to apply the rules to one, chuck around the “banana republic” accusation and call for accountability, it has to apply across the board.

  4. Doug 4

    A Union steals $130,000.00 and they get a chance at paying it back.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/4416587/Union-owes-IRD-over-130-000

  5. graham 5

    She will never be a cabnet minister again
    and she is a lame duck mp
    she paid a price thats for sure
    She should have know better so has no one but to blame but herself but its 500 dollars FFS

    • Vicky32 5.1

      The price she paid, IMO, is nowhere near high enough! On the radio this morning, they were talking about her as if she was completely exonerated.
      Deb

    • pollywog 5.2

      but its 500 dollars FFS

      tell that to a struggling family who’ve just been turned down for 5 hundy to cover essentials at work and income.

  6. John Dalley 6

    Waiting expectantly for a complaint to the Police.

  7. Herodotus 7

    Minor question how is a return airfare to China with I presume 90% discount/subsidy total $240? so does that man we the public can get return tickets to China with connections for under $300.
    How much “stealing” from the public purse warrents sacking???

    • Kevin Welsh 7.1

      Apparently the money to be paid back is only to cover the internal airfare used within China when the business took place. The rest of the trip was for, ahem, holiday purposes.

      Fucking bollocks if you ask me.

      But don’t panic, Smile and Wave is taking Wong and husbands word that no other business took place on any other trip.

      Words fail me some days.

  8. tc 8

    lovin that higher standard …..looking forward to a similar exoneration of D Carter….that’s if they even bother to have sham inquiry.

  9. Tanz 9

    Well, that stiffed the celebrations, didn’t it? Labour must be gutted. See, everybody sins.

  10. gobsmacked 10

    This is playing into Key’s hands. I’m surprised people are falling for it.

    If the issue is presented as a sum of money, then it just becomes a matter of degree. So the waters are deliberately muddied (see reference to Chris Carter above, predictable and irrelevant, but invited by this line of argument). The idea is to downplay the Minister’s wrongdoing, of course.

    But it’s not about the airfare. It’s about a large number of trips taken by Pansy and Sammy Wong, sometimes together, sometimes apart, and the use of her Ministerial status, for private gain.

    It’s NOT the cost, it’s the corruption.

    The focus on the exact sums of money is classic diversion. As the old line goes, “we’ve established you’re a whore, we’re just haggling over the price”. The price is not the central issue at all.

    Also, note the deliberate use of the word “rules”, as if it were a game. The correct word is “law”. The Wongs should be investigated by the police.

    • pollywog 10.1

      It’s NOT the cost, it’s the corruption.

      The focus on the exact sums of money is classic diversion.

      exactly…she’s guilty as charged

      ZERO TOLERANCE !!!

  11. Jeremy Harris 11

    Comment directed at Lynn:

    LP I’m confused by the poster’s name here “The Standard”, when you seem especially annoyed when people say, “The Standard thinks this” or “The Standard thinks that”…

    The policy says:

    Attacking the blog site or attributing a mind to a machine (ie talking about The Standard as if it had an opinion) is not allowed.

    So why the handle The Standard..? Surely it encourages exactly this..? I apologise for the off topic comment in advance…

  12. Anne 12

    Phil Goff is saying that the Auditor General should be investigating this case. Okay, Phil and Labour… put your money where your mouth is and write to the Auditor General requesting such an investigation.

  13. swimmer 13

    Good idea, I hope this proves fruitful for them if they do this.

  14. bobo 14

    So think back to the long drawn out media circus Winston went through day in day out for months with an open trial by media compared to a piss poor whitewash we get with Wong, so we have to take Sammy’s word, I hope Labour have more proof that other trips out of the 11 had business meetings and chinese press clippings of deals done. I see Lockwood made a loose threat to Labour to drop the issue or else…

  15. ianmac 15

    Have we seen this before with MPs?” I got caught. It was a mistake. I pay it back. Sweet.”
    Have we seen this before with beneficiaries? “I got caught. It was a mistake. I will appear in court next week and my reputation will be shredded.”

  16. ianmac 16

    “”no evidence of systemic abuse” which is not the same as saying “innocent of all abuse.”
    Does this mean that they did not have the means to enquire more thoroughly?

    • BLiP 16.1

      Didn’t you know? Its okay for a National Ltd™ Cabinet Minister in the John Key Higher Standards Government to steal tax payers’ money so long as its not “systemic” theft. Random acts of theft perpetuated by a National Ltd™ Minister who’s been an MP for 15 years and *still* doesn’t know the rules only has to pay *some* of the money back. If they get caught.

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.1

        Well not so much random acts of theft being OK, more like occasional/semi-regular dishonesty is OK.

      • YG Huang 16.1.2

        There is something rotten in the state of New Zealand.
        My family moved from the Old country to New zealand, thinking we had left the corrupt and the worst of them back there. And we have one of those here. And getting away with it.
        Pansy: you make me feel ashamed that I look Chinese. You don’t deserve to be in this country. You give a bad name to those of us who are honest and work hard here.

      • Huang YG 16.1.3

        There is something rotten in the state of New Zealand.
        My family moved from the Old country to New zealand, thinking we had left the corrupt and the worst of them back there. And we have one of those here. And getting away with it.
        Pansy: you make me feel ashamed that I look Chinese. You don’t deserve to be in this country. You give a bad name to those of us who are honest and work hard here.

  17. ak 17

    Garner tonight: Sammy Wong spent $93k on domestic flights. None of it on business. Yeah, wight.

    • Jim Nald 17.1

      Any more details? $93,000? Break down of the flights? Wellington/Auckland-Christchurch?
      Let’s see, that is $93,000/356 days = $261.24 per day. Right?
      Does the man fly to Christchurch every night to brush his teeth?
      And where else?

      • Jim Nald 17.1.1

        Thought it is unbelievable and looked through the report.
        $93,935 over 1998-2011: see chart at paragraph 126.

  18. Drakula 18

    Mrs. Wong? or is it Mrs. Wrong?

  19. Irascible 19

    In this day and age of NACT double standards one can expect Pansy & Sammy to be exonerated and accused of a minor malfeasance as they are but servants of the National Party and merely following party protocols and established practice for after all did not Bill double dip, Melissa use creative accounting, Brownlee & Heatley misuse their credit cards, Hide take his mistress on holiday to Disneyland and, in Heatley’s case, take his family to watch whales on the ministerial card while Key visits NZ from his home in Hawaii for OTTP photo opportunities while selling NZ to Warner Bros?
    Something stinks in NZ politics and it certainly is the present government.

    • Hamish Gray 19.1

      Mmmm, the problem with claiming “double standards” is that they invariably get lobebd back at your own side of the equation. Winston’s foibles and Labour’s pledge card fiasco spring to mind.

      Frankly, everyone’s in the troff (left, right, whatever) and the whole system needs a cleanout. Which is why it’s so disingenuous for The Standard to get all righteous about the issue now and commentors to lcaim this is a specifically right wong/NACT characteristic.

      Key has played it well in that he can now demand changes and come out looknig all righteous. I don’t particularly care who fixes the system, as long as it’s fixed.

  20. Irascible 20

    Key fix the system?? Not likely!!! The only fixing he will do is to load the system to allow greater rorting by his cronies who pose as responsible Cabinet Ministers.
    This Wong Report is a whitewash and nothing more than that to hold over embarrassment until the writs are called and Pansy is consigned to the compost heap of the Botany hothouse.

    • Of course its a whitewash did anyone really believe that it would be anything else? The political Right have well connected friends in all areas of business and power. How do you think Key made 50.Million . not by hard work but by being in the know . Its a frightening fact and the only way to break it is the by having a very strong union movement .Which is firmly behind the Labour Party. Its when one sees the result of such so called enquiries that one realises just how important the harmony of all the Left is so essential . The example set by the Swedish Social Democratic Party is a good example ,where all the “Ginger Groups’ are grouped within the party. The British LP also has groups within the Party . However when I see the results of cases like the Wong case I despair.

  21. john k 21

    wong has done a fine job of bringing the same style of corrupt government here that is in china
    i live in botany and friends from china have told me when they set up a business in china you have to bribe someone,an easy was to do it is to buy a house in botany in their name and then the other person can sell the house and get the cash.

  22. deemac 22

    surely a journalist can find out when the directors’ meetings (or similar events) for Sammy Wong’s businesses occur and see if these match his travel dates??

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