On Nightline just now there was coverage of a meeting held by Nick Smith in St Heliers. Two interesting things:
1) there was an astounding level of anger, even vitriol, against him and the government over the ETS (from both sides of that argument), over the shabby backhander for selected iwi to buy Maori Party support, over the ACC levy hikes, and over the removal of coverage for sexual abuse victims. Bikers calling Smith a liar. Sexual abuse victims calling him heartless. Smith locked positively pathetic in the face of it all. In fact, the footage showed him losing his temper with one speaker.
Smith is clearly a liability to the government. But, then, which minster isn’t? English, Hide, Bennett, Brownlee, Wilkinson, Tolley, the Cabinet is a roll-call of people who have managed to embarrass the government and anger the public in one short year. And it’s all being allowed to go on because there’s no leadership from the top and no control, because the supposed leader is no leader at all.
2) Smith admitted that National would never have given the forestry backhander to those iwi if it weren’t to buy Maori Party support. Which makes a lie of everything he, John Key, and every other Nat and Maori Party MP has been saying for the last two weeks.
National claimed that had they not bribed the iwi there would have been court cases over the lost of forests those iwi had won in Treaty compensation because they couldn’t be converted to non-forest uses without facing carbon charges. That argument was obviously a lie along, the documents to prove the iwi had no legal case were public. Nonetheless the lie was told and the minister has now admitted he, his Prime Minister, his party, and his allies lied to us. Of course, he’s only admitted that after the ETS is safely passed.
This government believes it’s OK to lie to the public if it helps get their policies passed. Well, they may have fooled the public once but in two years they’re going to have to try to do it again, and with ministers like Smith that job gets harder by the day.