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NRT: An untenable position

Written By: - Date published: 3:02 pm, January 29th, 2015 - 27 comments
Categories: law, national, police - Tags: , , ,

I/S at No Right Turn on the Mike Sabin situation:

An untenable position

For the last month, allegations have been swirling around National MP Mike sabin, who is currently facing a police investigation for assault. A key question was whether Sabin would continue to hold his position as chair of the law and Order select committee. Yesterday, after attempting to distance himself from the affair, Prime Minister John Key confirmed that yes, he would. And today, we get to see what that actually means:

Mike Sabin, the MP under police investigation for assault, is set to grill senior cops as part of an annual review.


The law and order committee is preparing questions for an annual review of the police force. Previously called a financial review, it allows MPs to put a range of questions to the police executive. As chairman, Sabin would direct those public meetings.

And of course as chair, he will be able to steer the committee towards adverse recommendations towards the police and their management, and even budget cuts. And the Prime Minister expects the police to conduct an investigation under these circumstances? The proposition is simply untenable. To point out the obvious, if the police conclude – as they do every other time they investigate a politician’s wrongdoing – that there is nothing to see here, move along, it will be hard for the public to escape the conclusion that they’ve done so for fear of rocking the boat and offending someone with power against them. It will throw the principle of equality under the law in the dustbin – as well as encouraging the public to seek their own justice against politicians, rather than go to a police force seemingly incapable of providing it. Both are very bad messages to send.

For the sake of propriety and the integrity of our justice system, Sabin must be stood down. There is simply no other tenable course of action.

27 comments on “NRT: An untenable position ”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Different people say it is just a matter of when he goes.

    Interesting to think about what would have happened if this was a left wing MP and Slater had the information …

    • McFlock 1.1

      Or, I suspect, a right wing MP who didn’t have one or two members of the Dirty Politics notorieties on their payroll for campaigning within the national party.

    • Tracey 1.2


      Surely the PM was able to comment just not about specifics of the charge? he could have said he was standing Sabin down from the committee or as a MP until the situation was cleared up? He made it sound like he “couldnt” legally comment.

  2. Clemgeopin 2

    I agree.
    The worst bit is that Key has been avoiding the Sabin conduct related questions with silly excuses and hiding from his accountability. It is a disgrace that Key is not coming clean on this important public interest issue regarding his MP who is, ironically, the head of the ‘law and Order Committee! Time for the PM to be open and honest.

    • tc 2.1

      ‘Time for the PM to be open and honest’ ….not happening anytime this millenium matey.

      Why should he when the MSM play along and never ask the obvious questions repeatedly whereas if they did as he ducks and weaves he’d get all snarky and nasty as he’s just not used to being held up to any accountability.

    • Anne 2.2

      Don’t lets beat about the bush. The story as far as I understand is:

      Someone (and there’s rumour who the someone is) has laid a complaint of assault to the police against Sabin – a former senior cop himself. We don’t know how many assaults took place and we have yet to learn the severity of them or indeed if there was one or more victims. Whatever, it appears to be a serious offence and our supposedly responsible prime minister is playing his usual political games. This is intolerable. If he doesn’t pull his finger out within the next few days then its time for powerful people to stand up and demand he stand down Mike Sabin… at least until a full police investigation has been completed.

      And where in god’s name is the MSM? They are supposed to be the public’s watchdog. The stench of dirty politics is once again becoming very strong!

  3. John Key does golf, John Key does radio bits with sycophants, John Key does many events overseas with movers and shakers. With that heavy load isn’t it expecting a bit much for him to also do open and honest?

  4. Graeme Stanley 4

    Isn,t this all part of a purposefully crafted John Key Media Strategy.? Don,t discuss anything that affects the ratings unless absolutely necessary.Zero-Accountability a hallmark of John Key and his Government and his professional media minders.Is there no media left in this country who believe in transparency and accountability?

  5. TruthWillOut 5

    Breathe through the nose here. There is every chance the complainant is holding their powder while the Police figure out whether they can get away with playing it down or burying it to help National out. It all comes down to the severity of the alleged assault(s), as well as the extent of the grievance the complainant(s) have, and whether or not the complainant(s) will want to take it further if the Police fail/refuse to handle the complaint to their satisfaction. If, for example, it turns out Sabin smacked up a convicted drug dealer or other criminal, the mob mentality will mean the complainant doesn’t stand a sh*t show in hell of gaining any traction with it. Alternatively, if the nature of the alleged assault turns out to be shocking to the majority of average voters, and the complainant goes public with it, then it is unlikely to matter whether the Police act(ed) appropriately or not in terms of reputational damage to Sabin and the Nats. Personally I hope it was very serious and the Police DON’T handle it appropriately because that will ensure maximum reputational damage at all parties imvolved including the Police, with the exception of the complainant. At least that would be one more impediment to the rising Police state.

    • Potato 5.1

      I feel nothing but loathing for Sabin but let’s remember that there is a victim at the other end of this. I hope for their sake that the alleged offense is not as serious as rumours have suggested and that it is being handled properly.

    • Murray Rawshark 5.2

      If Sabin had bashed a convicted drug dealer, he would be proud of it. Think back to what Ross Meurant was like before he woke up. It’s not that.

  6. Tracey 6

    good on the head of the police union for speaking out against sabin remaining chair of the review. we need more strong unions like this one.

    • Graeme Stanley 6.1

      Will it get reported on or lost or destined to Page 29 with Knitting and Crosswords though? Ethics and Standards do not apply to John Keys Government? Why is that?

  7. TruthWillOut 7

    @Graeme Stanley:

    Because ethics and standards don’t matter to his supporters.

  8. Skinny 8

    John Key knew about these allegations against Mike Sabin prior to the election. As part of Nationals election campaign Sabin organised a Northland economic forum. Key, Joyce and Finlayson were noticeable in keeping a bit of distance between themselves and Sabin.

    This was a deliberate cover up from the Prime Minister, an absolute disgraceful contradiction, considering Sabin was championing a Bill the removes the right to silence. If Key had an ounce of morals he would have stood Sabin down. This Country is being run by a shady shyster.

    • Key is not a lawyer, so shyster is the incorrect slur to use.

      When you want to publicly display your bigotry and racism, the correct slur you should be using against John Key is Shylock.

      Or you could, you know, not be a racist.

      • Skinny 8.1.1

        My apologises for the insult to lawyers.

      • Murray Rawshark 8.1.2

        Merriam-Webster: shy·ster noun ˈshīs-tər
        : a dishonest person; especially : a dishonest lawyer or politician

        I don’t think shyster has anything to do with race, although shylock does.

        Origin of SHYSTER

        probably from German Scheisser, literally, defecator
        First Known Use: 1844

        • Naturesong

          The etymology you’ve described is correct.

          In the course of my life, I’ve only ever heard shyster used to describe a corrupt jewish lawyer. It’s a word seldom heard in New Zealand, and my exposure to it is mostly from my time living in the UK.

          English is a living language, the meanings of words change over time, as do peoples emotional connection to them.

          Por exemplo, Negro is simply the Portugese word for black. But for the vast majority of the english speaking world, it’s really offensive.

          The actual reason I had a crack at Skinny is that I’ve seen people attack John Key using anti-semitic slurs a few times over the years and it really gives me the shits – it’s a sideshow which detracts from identifying and opposing the vandalism his government is currently engaged in.

          • Murray Rawshark

            Hoje em dia, chamar alguém de negro no Brasil vai comprar briga, mas chamar de preto é pior ainda. Não é mais simplesmente a palavra que traduz a palavra inglesa “black”.

            In Aotearoa, I’ve heard shyster used quite a bit and never attached any hint of anti-semitism to it. We have never really had a huge vein of anti-semitism through our culture, despite what Zionists say about objections to Israeli atrocities.

        • Skinny

          Thanks Murray, yes I was pretty sure it was used in the context to describe a ‘shyster politician’ where as Shylock i know is a slur.

          I’m far from racist or sexist so Naturesong and others who think I am can go get a life.

  9. Murray Rawshark 9

    I have a feeling that this might be the issue that brings Key down. If the complaint is what I suspect, there is no way Sabin should still be in Parliament. Given Key’s refusal to answer simple questions, on what look like spurious grounds, he seems to be hoping for a coverup. Keeping Sabin on the lawn order committee could be an attempt to intimidate the police into going along with a whitewash.

    If I’m right, FJK is being incredibly stupid here, because these things always come out. I can’t understand why he has stood by Sabin. Getting rid of him and having a byelection in a deep blue seat wouldn’t seem to be a problem.

    • tc 9.1

      Key wouldn’t give a rats about the severity of the allegation, he does nothing until he’s forced to do something based on polling results from the penguin.

      He doesn’t run on law or ethics just popularity and perception as thats what keeps the whole shonkey crew in power.

      Collins being a recent example, hagers book contained more than enough but it wasn’t till farrar waved the flag he acted as it was damaging them.

  10. saveNZ 10

    Sabine must stand down. But why aren’t the opposition parties kicking up a fuss?

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