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Later Nick

Written By: - Date published: 7:58 am, June 1st, 2021 - 48 comments
Categories: Dirty Politics, jacinda ardern, Judith Collins, national, nick smith, religion, same old national - Tags:

So Nick Smith is leaving Parliament.  This is not a planned exit and the circumstances are from his view unfortunate.  But leaving he is.

The cause?

A leaked report on an employment dispute where it is alleged that Smith verbally abused a young staff member.

Claire Trevett has some of the details:

In a statement, Smith said he would leave Parliament on June 10, and revealed Parliamentary Service was investigating “a verbal altercation in my Wellington office last July that has not concluded”.

“I was advised on Friday that the inquiry and its details have been leaked to the media for release tomorrow. It is inappropriate for employment disputes to be litigated in public.

“I will put on the record that I regret the incident, I apologised at the time and I apologise again today.

“I have decided the best course of action for the parties involved, the National Party, my family and myself is to retire now.”

It is understood the altercation was with a young staff member who had worked there for less than a year prior to the incident.

It followed Parliament’s review into bullying and harassment in the workplace – the Francis Review – which was completed in 2019 and led to Parliament adopting a code of conduct for MPs and Parliamentary managers and staffers.

Smith said he had decided to retire after losing the Nelson electorate in 2020, but that inquiry had prompted him to leave now.

He also said that he wanted to spend more time with his family.  If that was the case then he should have gone earlier.

The main story containing the details has not broken yet.  One wonders if Tova O’Brien will be the author.  And if so was the leak a hit job on Smith from within his party?

A motive is not hard to find.

Smith’s replacement will be Harete Hipango.  This is a win for Judith as Hipango is said to be a loyal supporter.

She will give National’s caucus a more diverse feel although it appears the status quo in terms of race baiting will continue.  From Henry Cooke at Stuff:

She would not be drawn on National’s current campaign against alleged Māori separatism, saying she hadn’t read the He Puapua report and was not sure that a Māori health authority was the best way to get better outcomes.

She is another very conservative Christian who told lies during the abortion debate and posted on Facebook a made up statement attributed to Jacinda Ardern.  She refused to take it down even when it was pointed out to her that the claim was false.

Clearly she will fit right into National’s caucus.

Stand by today as the details emerge.  And wonder in amazement how National managed to keep quiet a potential story about bullying during an election campaign but managed somehow to lose control of the details at a time that suited it best.

48 comments on “Later Nick ”

  1. Muttonbird 2

    Heather Duplicity-Allan and her soulmate Brian Soper were claiming suggesting this was a deliberate leak by Mallard.

    Hard to believe, but I’m sure they have evidence. Meh.

    • Stuart Munro 2.1

      I imagine their real grievance is that it wasn't leaked to them.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1.1

        Mr and Mrs Soper have long had a jihad against Mallard.

        Seems strange that Soper who has his close contacts inside Parliaments bureaucracy didnt release this ages ago, unless Smith who like him has been around forever, is one of Sopers long time sources.

        • greywarshark

          Mallard can duck that one. Mr and Mrs Soper must put vinegar on their porridge instead of maple syrup or perhaps, brown sugar. You would think that people of their fine sensibilities would have better taste.

          • ghostwhowalksnz

            They are both transaction journalists- you do something for me, I do something for you.

            • greywarshark

              Maybe if I give therm some sugar they will give me all their vinegar – I need some to clean the drains.

    • mickysavage 2.2

      Aye leak the information now so that it helps Judith and not leak it during an election campaign when it would have hurt National. Makes perfect sense …

    • gypsy 2.3

      I'm glad to see the back of Smith, but to be fair I wouldn't put anything past Mallard. He is a most unpleasant individual in a most unpleasant business. So the perfect fit, perhaps.

      • Sacha 2.3.1

        As others have noted, if it was Mallard why would he wait until now? Red herring. Trevett has already published more details than other journos..

        • gypsy

          Mallard is a mean and vindictive individual. I doubt he would be thinking through the timing with any degree of foresight. I have no idea whether it's him or not, and frankly if it is him, he's done us all a favour.

          [This kind of commenting opens the way for other people to make defamatory comments about Mallard or others, which could put the site owners at risk. Please stop now (!) making these unsubstantiated accusations or provide a link to support your rubbish allegations – Incognito]

          • Incognito

            See my Moderation note @ 3:44 pm.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              It seems the news media is now reporting that the original complaint wasnt made by person subject to the personal abuse, but another staffer who made a recording and then a formal complaint.

              The national party is a bed of knives for Smith

            • gypsy

              I would have thought that falsely accusing someone of rape (which is not a matter of conjecture because he later apologised), and then his later conduct in the house, which the PM herself expressed 'serious concerns' over (https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/pm-has-serious-concerns-about-mallards-conduct) would qualify someone as mean and vindictive?

              By the way, since when is calling someone ‘mean and vindictive’ defamatory?

              [You seem to be suffering from reading comprehension deficit disorder and might want to re-read the Moderation note again. In any case, this is not about Mallard, but about your behaviour here, which others may take as an invite to follow and copy. In any case, you failed to produce a link as requested. In any case, you’re doubling down and digging in with your smearing of Mallard. In any case, the story about Nick Smith is evolving – MickySavage just put a Post up. Since you’re relatively new here, I’ll let you off with a warning – Incognito]

  2. Smith has been around for far too long in my opinion. His legacy to the nation appears to be the freedom camping problem.

    But at least he canned the crazy idea of a tunnel and monorail in Fiordland national park back in 2012.

    Note that if that project went ahead, it opened up the way for Ngai Tahu to put roads etc up the Greenstone and Caples valleys. See https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/concerns-over-fiordland-monorail-flow-ons

    Sheer lunacy, but money is colour blind.

    • Janice 3.1

      He also took away the protection of urban trees unless they were specifically named in the District Plan. This opened the way to the destruction of many Auckland trees where prior to that you had to get Council permission to remove a tree of a certain size. He also removed the tax break for R & D as his accountant brother told him it was open to exploitation. I'm sure others can think of many more examples of his meddling Come in Cinny we miss you.

      • gypsy 3.1.1

        Well said on Auckland's trees. As someone who has followed that space closely, we are also being badly let down by our Council, who could be doing so much more to protect mature trees across the city.

      • Lettuce 3.1.2

        How about gutting ACC and directing it to refuse funding for thousands of shoulder operations its "clients" were legally entitled to?

  3. I'm saddened by Nick leaving.

    Insert TUI ad here.

  4. Incognito 5

    I was wondering why National had gone quiet all of a sudden. Even enfant terrible Simon seemed to have gone underground. I guess they were sharpening the daggers and that poor old Nick was pushed backwards into a few sharp objects. National needs another JC loyalist like NZ needs Covid-19; plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. I look forward to Nick’s memoir and it’d better be a political one; I bet he’s got a few stories to tell.

  5. Ad 6

    I liked him. Sure, he'd been passed over often enough and was jaded.

    But National will certainly miss him with the climate mitigation debates that hit once the Commission's plan comes out on the 9th.

    It certainly cements Boyack in Nelson.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.1

      "cements Boyack in Nelson."

      Doesnt actually, for the simple reason the Nats used to win on a minority against a split Labour- Greens votes

      in 2020 the Green vote dropped 19% and Labour won on 48%. Usually Smith would win on 40% or so

      The highest vote Smith ever got was 60% when the won the seat in 1996, its been declining ever since

      • Ad 6.1.1

        National wont recover his huge voter loyalty. Boyack will take that wavering vote.

        I don't see the Greens recovering for some time beyond 10%.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          You would think so. But its wishful thinking that the Greens vote wont recover, this is Nelson after all.

  6. mac1 7

    Folk in Marlborough and Golden Bay have known for some time that Nick Smith was over the hill.

  7. Tiger Mountain 8

    NZ National Party members and MPs so thoroughly debased themselves in numbers during 2020–from “Merv” to Ms Boag, the “sexter”, Mr Muller, Mr Woodhouse, Messrs “COVID road trip” Bridges & Bishop, Matthew Hooton and so forth, that Nick Smith almost just merges into the motley crew. Almost…he could be as nasty as any of ’em.

    Unfortunately few leave Parliament with their heads held high, whether shattered dreams, exhaustion or scandal. The exception being some Greens who seem able to leave and genuinely get a life, but not too many others.

    • If Smith had had any integrity he could have pushed himself forward as the leader of the left-wing faction of the National Party, and could have become leader and PM.

      Unfortunately, like the rest of the National front bench, he is integrity-free. As such, as you say Tiger, he ended up blending in with the other motley crew.

      In response to Hunter above: Canning the Fjordland monorail was a no brainer-it was a crazy idea that would have been fought tooth and nail by locals. Smith (and National) spun a blindingly obvious decision as a win for the environment.

      • ianmac 8.1.1

        Nick Smith was Deputy Leader about 15 ? years ago but only lasted about a week and resigned in panic.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          "pushed" ?

          Smith , even though he trained and worked as a civil engineer never joined the familys bridge building business -Smith Bridge. You have to wonder why he didnt join his brothers for something 'where he could be the smartest guy in the room'

        • Bearded Git

          Ah yes I had forgotten that Ianmac.

          Very odd….maybe the party's right made it clear to him they wanted him out….behind closed doors of course.

  8. AB 9

    A 'junior staffer' eh? Who was emotional, who was tired, and who was both?

  9. mac1 10

    Interesting that family reasons get cited so often for explaining why MPs resign. So much so, I'm starting to doubt the veracity of their statements especially when terminating under a cloud.

    Some would say that they are only leaving in the same way as they conducted most of their political business.

    Lies, half-truths, obfuscation, weasel words…….

  10. tc 11

    What a bunch of beltway suck ups we have for a press gallery. Smith's no saint who knows where the skeletons are.

    IMO another party and this would've 'leaked' all over the joint to see if national could gain from it as we've seen time and again when it suits them.

  11. Tricledrown 12

    Smith sacked the democratically elected Ecan board which had limits on dairy farming in Canterbury.Allowing unfettered destruction of Canterbury rivers and the rest of NZ followed Smith and National are responsible for one of the biggest environmental disasters in modern times.

    Also with his brothers company benefiting from the withdrawal of a prosecution over pollution.

    Smith carried a stench of Dirty politics throughout his career.

    • tc 12.1

      Most of them still do which's totally expected given the current leaders MO and all that pre selection work under shonkys reign to place the likes of Mitchell and others

  12. Sacha 13

    Don't we also have Smith to thank for whipping up the foreshore and seabed conflict that started in his electorate?

  13. ghostwhowalksnz 14

    I tried getting the online stories about Nick Smiths conviction by 2 High Court judges over his trying to dissuade a witness in a court case.

    But it seems hard to find, as its is vaguely described as contempt of court, when it was really based on him influencing case by putting 'pressure on a witness'. For obvious reasons I will provide the details in a source

    "The most recent case in New Zealand involving scandalising was Solicitor-General v Smith (Smith).252 The Hon Dr Nick Smith MP had become involved in a custody dispute involving constituents in his electorate. He twice spoke to the litigant caregiver who was seeking custody of a child in proceedings against the child’s biological parents, asking her how she felt about “stealing” her sister’s child and telling her that Parliament was “the highest Court in the land”

    "The Court found Dr Smith made his media releases and gave the interviews on television and radio with the intention of persuading the litigant to give up on her custody case"

    From the NZ Law Commission

  14. mosa 15

    " He also said that he wanted to spend more time with his family. If that was the case then he should have gone earlier.

    Yes but like all long serving parliamentarians Smith would have decided that personal gain is more important than resigning much earlier when he knew he should.

    Smith is a product of a party and attitude that no longer has a place in Nelson. There will be many in the electorate not sorry that he will be gone.

    How appropriate that as soon as he faced the fire without protection he ran away !

    That says it all.

  15. After 30 years in the bear pit "family reasons" suddenly become important?

    Every single public resignation, in or out of parliament, sports organisation, religious group etc cites "family". It is PR (smirk) BS.

    Family probably means there has to be some complicated explaining to do.

  16. Rapunzel 17

    Judith? Really? Was ILG not enough for you you will take down your own when it suits?

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