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Pansy’s future wilting

Written By: - Date published: 6:30 am, November 15th, 2010 - 40 comments
Categories: corruption, crime, elections - Tags:

Will Pansy Wong face criminal charges for fraudulently abusing her MP’s travel perk? Will she be forced to leave Parliament triggering a(nother) by-election and possibly even an extra early election? What will Lockwood Smith’s investigation turn up? Whatever comes, at least she isn’t a minister anymore but who will replace her?

After initially defending Wong and making moronic attacks on Pete Hodgson, John Key has been forced to acknowledge the fact that one of his ministers was ripping off the New Zealand taxpayer right under his nose (he and Wong were on a trip together to China where she appears to have misused her travel allowance). His office has now released that her husband was routinely rorting the system.

It looks like there’s going to be plenty of material for Lockwood Smith to investigate, although Key’s office will be keen to get anything embarrassing out as soon as possible.

Whether it will then lead into criminal charges is harder to know. Certainly, it seems to me there will be grounds for investigation (I presume the Police will hold off until the Speaker is done). Former MPs have been convicted of rorting their travel perks but never a sitting one, it will be interesting to see whether the Police believe that her actions constituted fraud and if Wong waits out a Police investigation or jumps earlier.

Key is certainly giving her an indication that he’s happy for her to go. He hasn’t been as explicit as he was about Richard Worth (whatever his crimes were) but nor has he said that Wong can hope for forgiveness and possible reinstatement, as he was with Phil Heatley.

Of course, if Wong leaves it will trigger a by-election in Botany. I think the parties and the country probably have a bit of by-election overdose already and National will want to avoid the chance of an embarrassingly close race in Botany. Of course, Key could announce a general election will take place within six months of Wong’s resignation, forestalling the need for a by-election as long as Labour agrees, but that would mean a very early election when Ministers are meant to be getting the Budget ready.

For those reasons, I think Wong will be encouraged to stay on, sitting quietly disgraced in the back row until the election is held in July next year.

There’s talk of giving Hekia Parata a hail Mary pass for the Mana by-election – making her minister in the desperate hope that it will somehow give her a few more votes. Of course, now that National proxies are raising that possibility, if Parata isn’t given the portfolios it will look like a vote of no confidence from Key in her chances of winning.

I think Key is unlikely to take the chance of appointing a minister who is odds-on to lose an election within a week. More likely there’ll be a little shuffle with Craig Foss coming in and the portfolios being changed around. Georgina Te Heuheu (who is Acting Minister for Wong’s former portfolios) might achieve the ‘Token in National’s Cabinet’ trifecta of Pacific Island Affairs, Ethnic Affairs and Associate Maori Affairs while giving Courts to Foss. Wilkinson might pick up Women’s Affairs, to which she can be expected to apply as much diligence and intelligence as she does her other roles.

So, Wong is gone. One of the worst ministers in recent times whose one redeeming feature, according to her colleagues, was her willingness to steadfastly defend the indefensible. Here’s hoping her replacement is better, but they’ll be a Nat so no point hoping too hard.

40 comments on “Pansy’s future wilting”

  1. Bored 1

    The velocity of NACTs swindling of the public purse is truly staggering.

  2. just saying 2

    It’s the extra-early election option that worries me, and no matter the experts dismissing the possibility out-of-hand, National’s popularity is going to start steadily declining soon, as more and more people are directly affected, or have loved ones hurting because of increasing ‘austerity’. National will need to whip up and sustain a hell of lot of panic and hatred to maintain the support of even parts of the talk-back taliban before an election, if the pulse I’m starting to pick up from the red-necks in my orbit are anything to go by. They’d be fools if they don’t go early IMO.

    Regarding a potential prosecution, does anyone know a bit more about the wording of the “rule” she broke and the nature of documents she signed attesting that each expenditure met it’s requirements? I don’t know about the other past case, but I think McClay’s prosecution involved defrauding the charities in claiming expenses from them as well, and was therefore a bit more complicated (and serious).

    • Agreed about the early election.

      With a further pounding of the economy just around the corner (see http://thestandard.org.nz/jeff-rubin-on-oil-the-end-of-globalisation/) why not go early while the polls are still reasonably firm?

      • Carol 2.1.1

        Andrew Campbell said this morning on Nine-to-Noon there’s a rule about early elections that requires a 75% agreement in parliament, which means Labour has the veto on it. This is, I think relevant when there is a trigger for a by-election. If National chooses an early election, rather than have the required by-election, the 75% rule is in play.

        • Irascible 2.1.1.1

          Pansy will wait until as late as possible – just before the December recess – to resign thus giving Key to call a General Election in early July.
          She and her husband are in love with the baubles of power and the opportunities to impress their business associates with titles past & present to leave overly fast.
          A reminder to the NACT bloggers Key didn’t sack Wong. He accepted her resignation from cabinet only after the evidence had hit him between the eyes. Hardly an indication of a strong, principled leader.

  3. jcuknz 3

    I think it is sad that a hard working and popular MP is being dragged down for not controlling her husband’s actions. I wonder how many husbands permit their wives to control their actions or how many wives are fully aware of what their husbands are up to. Hypocracy rules supreme as ever.

    • Joachim's 3.1

      jcuknz – nice try mate except not only did Pansy Wong approve of her husband’s actions she ***signed off*** on them.

      Unless you are now saying that Wong was a Minister of the Crown who signed off on pieces of paper that she doesn’t read properly?

      • Craig Glen Eden 3.1.1

        “I think it is sad that a hard working and popular MP”

        Hard working or working hard to rip the NZ tax payer off?

        Popular MP with who?

        This woman is a disgrace IMO having watched her many times in Parliament she bought nothing of substance to the NZ parliament other than her ethnicity.

        Why cant National produce some decent female MPs more like for example, Cathrine Rich.While I don’t support her National team at least Cathrine almost always had something useful to bring to the table

      • William Joyce 3.1.2

        “…signed off on pieces of paper that she doesn’t read properly?”

        Well, you have to concede that they can give speeches without reading them properly!!

    • gobsmacked 3.2

      @jcuknz

      “not controlling her husband’s actions”

      You really haven’t followed this story at all, have you?

      He booked the trips through the Parliamentary office of Pansy Wong MP, with her knowledge and approval. She didn’t have to “control her husband’s actions”, she just had to control her own.

    • David 3.3

      jcuknz – What about using her electorate office as registered address of the private companies??

      • Treetop 3.3.1

        Is this a first by a government minister? Looks like the tip of the iceberg?

        • Treetop 3.3.1.1

          “Mr Hodgson said it was not known whether the companies traded from the office, held separate leases or shared any service.”
          NZH 4.24 PM Monday Nov 15, 2010

          Does Lockwood Smith have the brief to investigate this as there is now involvement of a private individual in parliamentary matters?

          • Carol 3.3.1.1.1

            People have been dropping in what looks like facts of wrong doing, without fully showing the sources. I had to go look for it & found this:
            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10687789

            Mr Hodgson said today Mr Wong had interests in two private companies registered at Ms Wong’s Botany electorate office.

            While members of Parliament are ultimately responsible for how they use public money, expenditure must only be incurred in respect of public business, and individuals must be open about how they use public resources.

            Mr Hodgson said it was not known whether the companies traded from the office, held separate leases or shared any services.

  4. ianmac 4

    That would look good wouldn’t it jcuknz? Poor little Minister of the Crown with power, and fate of millions in her hands being bullied by her husband out of thousands of tax-payers money. We thought that a Minister was a leader, an upholder of the law, a paragon amongst the people but no. She is a weak and fragile flower wilting and spent and easily out-gunned. Who chose this poor thing to such a role?

  5. M 5

    ‘…not controlling her husband’s actions.’

    Who was the MP here?

    ‘I wonder how many husbands permit their wives…’

    Permit? In this day and age?

    Given how ridiculous National are SpongeBob would be the best candidate to take over.

    • Akldnut 5.1

      But if Spongebob becomes an MP we would need a new set of rules to stop a Squarepants rort
      ordering large pineapples for the subdivision of his underwater garden in the sea

  6. grumpy 6

    Is a “moronic attack” an attack on a moron?

    • felix 6.1

      Nah, it’s when all the righties (including John Key & his staff) call someone names because they don’t want to hear what he has to say, and then when it turns out that he was right all along, and the guilty party resigns/is fired, and everyone who’s taken even a passing interest in the affair has concluded that Pete Hodgson was correct to pursue this matter and the righties were 100% wrong…

      … and then you come here and insinuate that he’s a moron. That’s a moronic attack.

    • gobsmacked 6.2

      No.

      Got anything to say about Pansy Wong, tedious troll Grumpy? Do you think she should be held to account, or not? Do you think she should still be a Minister?

      • grumpy 6.2.1

        Wrong is wrong gobsmacked, (in this case Wong), Key was right in firing her and if she’s broken the law I would not expect the Nats to die in a ditch defending her like Labour did with Field. At least she didn’t spend the money on ladyboys or hotel porn (as far as we know).

        I supposed you still support Field and Carter then? The right have the higher moral ground on this as they have never supported this type of activity, whereas Labour always seem to be revelling in it.

        • mickysavage 6.2.1.1

          Grumpy

          The funny thing is that Carter has never been shown to have breached his MP’s travel perks.

          And if you disagree please name me one trip where it was shown that he had. Just one trip, any one will do.

          • grumpy 6.2.1.1.1

            Offhand, I seem to remember a large bill (around $US180 from memory) for a massage in a hotel in Cambodia.
            Do you have any idea what type of massage you can buy for that amount of money over there? I am surprised TV3 didn’t send Duncan Garner over there for some “in depth” investigation. Sort of makes Shane Jones look like a wilting virgin eh?

            • toad 6.2.1.1.1.1

              $204, and it was for 3 massages in a posh hotel – 2 for Carter and one for a staff member he was travelling with. So probably not what you are speculating grumpy (and so what if it were), but a bad look anyway to charge it to the Ministerial credit card.

              • grumpy

                $US204 you mean. Still worth sending Duncan over for, “posh” hotel or not.

                ….and the film crew.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Just so long as it’s paid back I don’t care about such services being charged to the ministerial credit card. In fact, I’d probably expect massages to be picked up by the government as a work expense – it would help to keep our politicians relaxed and working at their peak.

                • William Joyce

                  Hhhmmm, what about putting a relaxing hummer on the ol’ card (and I don’t mean a ministerial car).
                  I think I know why JonKey smiles all the time – he’s so relaxed!
                  Has anyone checked under JonKey’s desk? I wonder who’s turn it is today?

        • Akldnut 6.2.1.2

          grumpy Key was right in firing her and if she’s broken the law I would not expect the Nats to die in a ditch defending her like Labour did with Field. At least she didn’t spend the money on ladyboys or hotel porn (as far as we know).

          As far as I’ve heard she didn’t get fired she quit. Looks like you’re making shit up, say it enough and it’ll become true seems to be the plan of RWNJs.

          Stealing the taxpayers buck is wrong fullstop. Watching a bit of porn in private while on a taxpayer trip is a lot less sinister than this shit.

          • grumpy 6.2.1.2.1

            I agree that using the taxpayers buck to watch porn is a step more acceptable than using the taxpayers buck for (say) a blowjob or more. What Wong did is clearly illegal, not just immoral and she should pay the price.

            However, there was no outrage on these pages over Fields criminal actions – only unflagging support. The right are consistent on this issue – it’s the left who have problems with selectivity.

            • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.2.1.1

              However, there was no outrage on these pages over Fields criminal actions…

              You’re re-writing history there. There was quite a bit and it went up once due process had been followed and he was actually found guilty.

              • Colonial Viper

                Well grumpy/DTB, we should certainly lay off Wong once criminal charges have been laid. In the interests of fair due process and all that stuff.

            • r0b 6.2.1.2.1.2

              That’s just bullshit grumpy. Field was condemned here as everywhere else.

              You’re running a dpf argument. If would be like us arguing that Key was absolutely fine with everything Wong did, and defended her to the utmost, based on for example this piece here: “Wong didn’t do anything wrong – Key”. Horror! Horror! Key defending Wong’s troughing!!! Would if be fair for us to level those charges at Key? Of course not. It’s just playing games with the time line. But it is what dpf has done consistently with, for example, the Field case.

              Left and right we tend to defend our people from minor charges or malicious attacks, and we tend to chuck them out when it is clear that they have done serious wrong. In fact I’d argue that the left are much more scrupulous about it than the right. Exhibit A: Bill English.

              • grumpy

                So r0b, what’s the chances of Labour doing more than just “acknowledging” the verdict in the Field case? I’m certainly not sticking up for Wong, it appears to me that there has been too much temptation for too long for some MPs to resist. I suppose it just shows that despite what is often written on these pages, base human greed is not limited by political persuasion.

                • r0b

                  Labour kicked him out of the party grumpy. And the legal system ran its course. What more do you want them to do – hunt him down and personally kick him in the shins? Tell me – what did the Nats do to Worth after they chucked him our for crimes that we the public are not even allowed to know about? What should they have done? What did the Nats do to ex Minister Roger McClay when he was found out to have been ripping off a children’s charity? What should they have done?

  7. Shazzadude 7

    I wonder what chance there would be of National giving Kenneth Wang a free ride in a Botany by-election in order to avoid the Hide/Epsom dilemma. Kenneth Wang took the second-highest number of electorate votes for an ACT candidate at the last election after Hide so there’s a base to work with.

    • Irascible 7.1

      NACT’s Wang campaigned for Wong with the slogan: “Vote Wong and get Wang”. He also campaigned on a Garrett based issue of more violence in punishing the NACT identified criminals.
      He was as intelligible as Wong on the hustings both in logic and in comprehension.

      Wong’s campaign was based on an “I love Key… therefore I love you” meme coupled with an I’m the woman to “Get tough on crimes against Asians” message. Botany being the scene of a large “get tough on the crims attacking Asians” march.

      Lots of ironies in both campaigns here. Can NACT afford to be seen as the Parties of irony by continuing to endorse such candidates?

      Yes, of course.

  8. Rharn 8

    And to think these bastards spent years claiming the corruption of Labour that Labour lost the election.

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