Reasons to sack a Minister

Written By: - Date published: 12:15 pm, July 22nd, 2020 - 154 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Iain Lees-Galloway - Tags:

Ian-Lees Galloway wasn’t sacked for an extra-marital affair. He was sacked because he had a sexual relationship with someone at work where there was a significant power imbalance due to his role as MP and Minister, and because as Minister for Workplace Relations it’s a job requirement not to act in a way that is against good workplace relations.

Matthew Whitehead explains,

1) It’s completely untenable for the Minister of Workplace Relations to leave themselves open to allegations of an improper relationship with someone he’s responsible for and is a sacking offense given that it shows he does not believe in the policies he is required to implement on others. It’s probably a demotion-to-backbencher-level offense for any other minister too, IMO, so long as there is an inappropriate power relationship or corrupt use of their ministerial powers.

<2) IMO if he has an affair but wasn’t a ‘family values’ campaigner or anything similar, it’s none of our fucking business by default, but if it involves misconduct as a Minister, it comes into the public arena because of that conduct. The PM has been clear that this example involved ministerial misconduct, even if she hasn’t revealed the gory details.

(examples such as misappropriating public funds to hide the affair, not declaring a potential conflict of interest due to an intimate relationship, or behaving in a manner that demonstrates they are not fit to hold their portfolios would be the sorts of things I would look for)

Jacinda Ardern explained well what her rationales are (starts at 12m 30),

This is power analysis 101. It’s not a moral issue, it’s one of appropriate behaviours when one has institutional power.

Given the history from both sides of the house on issues related to sexual abuse, harassment, inappropriate behaviour, and issues of power can we please drop the partisan reactions?

It might also be time to look at the clear connections between macho politics, the promotion of abusive culture by some politicians and political parties in their attempts to gain and retain power, the MSM’s role in that, and wider society that sanctions abuse of that power.

Men have a particular part to play in this, because the patriarchal, domination structure we use to organise society favours power towards men (who then often don’t want to share power), and favours abuse of power. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t also women behaving inappropriately, neoliberal patriarchy is quite happy to allow women into positions of power so long as they play by the patriarchal rules (not too many women though, because then things might change towards egalitarian structures).

It’s good that the situation with ILG has come to light now. Best we bring out all the bullshit into the light and have a serious debate what it means. It’s long past time that we stopped giving power to people who don’t know how to use it ethically. That requires New Zealand to take a long hard look at our political culture and what kind of people it is attracting as well as what kind of behaviour it engenders. Individual sackings and resignations won’t change that culture but they do present us with an opportunity to examine more deeply what is going on.


154 comments on “Reasons to sack a Minister ”

  1. observer 1

    "Given the history from both sides of the house on issues related to sexual abuse, harassment, inappropriate behaviour, and issues of power can we please drop the partisan reactions? "

    I think "history" is a key word here. There is plenty in Labour's history, but it's obvious Ardern is aiming to raise standards. It's not at all obvious in National (they even had a report that they have shelved).

    We should certainly not be partisan, a red/green abuser is 100% as guilty as a blue one if they do the same thing. But we should not equate different cases. ILG is not Falloon, at all.

    (to avoid any doubt, I think PM was right to sack him)

    • Grant Insley 1.1

      Except that only National found they absolutely needed to create an 'intelligence gathering unit' under Brownlee. Was this it's first scalp?

      • weka 1.1.1

        Or National have been sitting on biding their time. Who would know. But the reason National can do that kind of thing and get away with it is because it is culturally sanctioned by most of parliament and society in general. National are a whole set of particular problems we won't be able to solve while we still think hard man, macho politics is the way to run things.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Yesterday people commented here that if the parents of one of Falloon's 'targets' hadn't taken the matter to Ardern, then Falloon would still be the PM for Rangitata.

          I admire PM Ardern's personal values and political nouse, but wonder if ILG would still be the Minister of Immigration if Collins hadn’t spilled the political beans.

          Open and transparent‘ – some MPs will be more than a little concerned as the prospect of an all-out tit-for-tat attack.

          • weka

            Imagine a culture where either of those two behaviours would have been dealt with without the politicking.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              yes, but human nature means voters must take the rough with the smooth. Not all politicians are benign geniuses and/or empaths – consider the typical type of campaign that is fought to become an MP, PM etc.

              Sometimes I dare hope that Ardern's style of relentless positivity will rub off on other politicians – recent events suggest that’s unrealistic, naive even, but they do highlight the exceptional nature of her genuine style of politics. Long may she reign.

              • Matthew Whitehead

                I mean, she stole that brand from the Greens, so arguably, it's already contagious.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  yesNat MPs either have herd immunity or they're vaccinated on selection.

                  • Incognito

                    Nah, they live in their own bubble of managed self-isolation in a stasis of self-preservation AKA status quo.

      • Matthew Whitehead 1.1.2

        Even if this is its first scalp, it's kinda irrelevant. ILG did this to himself by not behaving ethically, potentially pressuring (or being SEEN as pressuring) someone under his influence into a sexual relationship. I know it's hard to handle power well, but there are Ministers who've done it.

        I don't even mind that he had an affair in terms of his career- it's terrible for his family ofc and people shouldn’t, but the problem is that he had one in a way that has undermined his professional conduct. If people can have a discreet side-relationship without fucking subordinates, committing fraud, or being involved in conflicts of interest, I say we should leave them to it. That's a personal moral failing to be litigated at the next election/selection process, not an issue for the PM.

        • Andre

          potentially pressuring (or being SEEN as pressuring)


          Even if the other person was a star-struck groupie working every possible angle to get their reluctant target in the sack, it's the existence of a power imbalance due to the workplace structure that makes the relationship problematic.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            It is NOT irrelevant. The standard for Ministers is that they should avoid the perception of corrupt behaviour, not just actual corruption.

            Being star-struck is fine, but my understanding is that ILG was at the top of their org chart. That’s not fine. If Ministers want to trade on their importance to date, whether for an affair or because they’re single, they need to do it outside their own departments or ministries, or in the private sector.

            • Enough is Enough

              Are you saying that there is no situation where a consensual relationship can exist between people at different levels in the department or ministry?

              That defies perfectly natural human behavior and emotions.

              • Matthew Whitehead

                No, at different levels is fine so long as they're not above that person in the management heirarchy. I once had an entire team I was in have to be shunted to a different manager one level above my immediate boss when a family member of one of the managers joined it to avoid conflicts of interest. That is the sort of thing that's necessary when people at different levels of the heirarchy develop and declare a romantic or sexual relationship in the workplace IMO.

            • KJT

              If that was really the standard for Ministers, Collins would not be in Parliament. Nor would most of Nationals MP's and some more of Labours

              • Matthew Whitehead

                We don't get to control the National Party's unacceptably low standards and misapplication of the cabinet manual. I agree Collins ought to be disqualified from ever being any sort of Minister ever again, but I don't see any way we can convince the Nats about that.

          • Foreign waka

            Firstly, there is no mention or proof that the lady was pressured, secondly she was as far as we know not under aged. To imply that she was irrational and "starstruck" would be adding insult to injury. Maybe she liked the guy, do you know the facts?

            Therefore, this is a private matter unless we are now in a new age of puritanical life of the 1700's. Isolation can do many things.

            Stupidity to do this with the risk involved and a price is paid. .

            I do hope that everybody on the high horse of morality is in the same ecstatic mood when it comes to true imbalances in the workplace. And by that I mean people on min wage working long hours without overtime pay, being told take it or leave it.

            Always great to see the bouncing on irrelevant stories taken up by media and all and sundry. Best part is that no one gives a single thought about those hurt in all of this – partner, kids maybe – and the story being dragged trough the media. Well done, good job sarc.

        • Shanreagh

          Until we know when this occurred ie during or after the adviser’s tenure we cannot say a Minister was 'pressurising' anyone. I would doubt it…..the offices are very small, the relationships between advisers and the office managers are intense and close. The employments contracts and liaison with MS is available at a drop of a hat.

          If after the adviser had left & the relationship started then then how is this pressurising? They are out of reach ie free then from that office’s people and politics

          As I have said from experience as a portfolio adviser, shrinking violets or shy retiring types are not usually chosen for this position. I would be very careful about power imbalances. May have been a mutual attraction that was taken up after the adviser left his office. And this is not unusual either.

          PM has handled it well.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            I thought the PM was pretty clear that the person in question was in one of ILG's departments during the relationship?

            • Shanreagh

              Departments? gets fuzzier by the minute.

              I thought they were a departmental portfolio adviser within his office.

              A person working in a govt dept is a very very long reach away from a Minister even if they have to come over to brief regularly on issues. Power imbalance recedes even more if this was the case.

              Mutual attraction comes very much to the fore.

              PM right to speak up if the Minster had lost her confidence.

              • Matthew Whitehead

                This was my understanding from the very beginning listening to the PM's press conference. It might get fuzzier for you, but this has always been a clear violation of ethical standards in my mind.

            • froggleblocks

              They are described as being a "former staffer" and "working in an external agency". It seems the affair started after they no longer worked in ILG's office, but their new employment may still have had some involvement with ILG's ministerial work.

              • Matthew Whitehead

                Yes, that was my understanding of what was going on, although I wasn't aware their nature might have been as an external contractor or similar. The behaviour is still unsupportable and unethical in that situation though, IMO.

          • weka

            From RNZ,

            Ardern said the staff member had worked in Lees-Galloway's office but was not working in his office at the time the relationship started.

            Asked if it was a junior staffer or intern Ardern said: "Not the latter."


            Obviously Ardern is protecting the staffer (rightly so). There will be a limit to the detail we will get (unless it gets Tova-ed). It seems reasonable to discuss the issues as potentials given this isn't just about ILG, but parliament generally.

            • Shanreagh

              So no power imbalance then?

              • weka

                "the staff member had worked in Lees-Galloway's office" = issues of power.

                • Shanreagh

                  'Had worked', past tense.

                  If they had worked together then after ceasing working together they had an affair this is not a case of imbalance of power.

                  If they had an affair while the person was working in ILG's office then long bow could say imbalance of power issues. These advisers are not shrinking violets and if connected with their dept still will have the CE and HR units of their dept to confide in and also the SPS or office manager and MS in-house to raise issues with. Inappropriate conduct especially when a Minister for Workplace relations but prob no imbalance of power.

                  If they were in a position where they came across from their dept and briefed the Minister a couple of times a week, then doubtful if an imbalance existed as they were still under day to day control of their own CE & day to day acess to HR depts. A bit sleazey but prob not imbalance of power

                  If used to work with ILG in parlt Office or as a departmental or agency staff member briefing and had a mutual attraction that was not actioned until after the person had left the office and the dept, then no imbalance of power. Morality issue.

    • weka 1.2

      agreed, and a motivation for the post was to make the reasons for the firing clear, lest we're left with the wrong impression 😉

      The partisan issue is where someone in Labour fucks up and we minimise this by pointing out how bad National are, and thus we lose sight of the underlying issues. Partisan reactions to individuals won't help us address the root causes.

      Ardern's handling of this and the Falloon email have been good, setting new standards.

      • Matthew Whitehead 1.2.1

        I feel more like Ardern is living up to the minimum standards we always should have had and tried to pay lip service to. It's a much better practice, but it makes me sad that this is viewed as exceptional behaviour. This is normal behaviour, it's just the first time we're seeing it from Labour! 🙂 It’s praiseworthy, but like, just a little.

        Thanks for meeting reasonable ethical standards, Prime Minister! lol

        • weka

          Lol, so true. It's such a shitshow that the relief at normal behaviour elevates it.

        • Shanreagh

          Agree with this. She handled it well but we have been in such a sleaze bowl lately that handling things normally, decently, kindly and carefully is still coming as a bit of a shock.

  2. Ad 2

    It's very sweet of you to make it a straight "power" issue. Ardern can refer to the rules all she likes, but the public won't buy that for a second.

    We are in a little sexual moral panic this week. Check out the outrage on TS about pornographic pictures: hundreds upon hundreds of comments. The right now gets to do the same.

    We haven't had one of this scale since Colin Moyle.

    The media are just going to gut us with schadenfreude for another week.

    • weka 2.1

      We all have a choice about how we respond to the individual events, the cumulation of events, and the overall situation. If people want to be spectators of the circling round the drain, that's up to them. I'm offering a space for a different conversation.

    • weka 2.2

      dismissal of the power dynamics is particularly useful to macho politics.

    • dv 2.3

      Wasn't Moyle set up by Muldoon?

      • Yep. Moyle did nothing wrong, morally or legally. Muldoon, on the other hand …

        • Treetop

          And with the help of the probable police leaker and Burnside and Walton let that go. In September 1995 the cop involved in the 17 June 1975 incident said to me that most likely there was a mole in the police. I told him I want to read the full police evidence and he said he would like to read it to.

          Sir Alfred North did not interview all of 10 policing and he needed to.

          I will not discuss the ex cops personal life and I have nothing to hide. He can name me for all I care, I might finally get the inquiry owed to me. At some point our paths will cross again.

    • Matthew Whitehead 2.4

      Sure, that's a reality of how it will be seen by the electorate, and that's likely why he took the "extra" step beyond the PM's requirements of resigning from the Party List. (Frankly IMO, he should have been told he'd be sacked from the Party, too) But if we're analyzing this in Realpolitik, there would be a tension between covering for him as a useful senior minister and the potential loss of votes from doing so. Ardern clearly didn't make her decision that way if you believe her comments at the press conference.

      • Ad 2.4.1

        Ardern is going to find it harder to hide her blushes as she ages into the role. For ILG it's just not necessary. It's not like anyone's going to disagree with firing him.

        Still, the next step is going through the Regular Client list from the Wellington brothels. The SpyVersusSpy of sexcrime will take a while to bottom out now.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          This isn't sex shaming, though. Every case we've had in the public eye thus far has involved major ethical violations, too. I'm okay with us going after people who can't keep their ethics straight, whether or not an affair is involved.

          • Ad

            There's no ethical consideration in sex?

            You might want to ask the person on the other end of ILG's relationship .They will feel exactly the same as the people who got the pictures sent to them from the National MP.

            The media have gone all-in to shame the Nat guy for it. As have commenters here.

            ILG wasn't fired for a commercial relationship, or a patronage relationship, or regularly playing Monopoly in front of the fire. You know what kind of relationship he was fired for.

            No need to be all buttoned-down because the left in government are screwing the crew and got caught.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              It's a social and personal matter if ILG behaves unethically in his relationship but it doesn't impact his public role, IMO. There's no issue of professional ethics. But in this case, and in Falloon’s case, it has been clear breach of professional conduct as well as being a terrible human being.

  3. Some regulars here will be surprised to read me saying that Ms Ardern nailed it this morning…even if the principled stand was also the convenient one.

    A staffer – even for an MP let alone a Minister – is in a terribly vulnerable position with regard to his or her employment: they can lose their job for any reason or none, and the politician never has to face any consequences (Parliamentary/Ministerial Services as the employer might, but usually the person is just quietly found another job).

    Given the censorship over here this bit of my comment may not last long, but there were persistent rumours about ILG "playing away" during my time, ten years or more ago. Of course he wasn't a Minister then.

    But still, a bouquet to the PM over her handling of this. Can't fault her really.

    • Robert Guyton 3.1

      What a paragon!

      • I Feel Love 3.1.1

        Robert, ha!!!!!

      • Not coming here often I am not sure of the commenting format…but if I read arright, you Mr Guyton are sarcastically suggesting that I see myself as some sort of paragon.

        Please find and cite reference to ANY such claim by me – either during my brief time as an MP or subsequently – and I will send the box of chocolate fish I recently won in a wager from a left wing journo direct to you. (Of course you'd have to actually provide contact details for me to do that, and lefties seem paranoid about doing that. Like other right wingers I am quite happy to disclose my actual address not just my e-mail….oops, is that a claim that I am "a paragon"?)

        [lprent: We don’t allow email addresses or phone numbers on this site for quite a prosaic reason. It makes us as a site a target for email and phone number harvesting bots. This increases the load on the server, so we don’t allow it. It also makes those addresses and phone numbers a target for bots and cold-calls. FFS you sound like you’re still living in the 1980s.

        Perhaps you should quell your quite evident abilities as a creative liar and just look at the obvious occasionally. Then I wouldn’t have to leave notes on your pathetic pleas to be regarded as a victim that I read most of the time when you’re here.

        Of course actually reading our policies would be a good start as well. You really mostly impress me as being a classic caricature of being a bit of a whining dickhead eh?]

        • te reo putake

          "Like other right wingers I am quite happy to disclose my actual address not just my e-mail …".

          Total honesty about your personal details is not what you're best remembered for David. Just sayin'.

        • KJT

          You should ask yourself why "left wingers" could be worried about giving out their details. Whereas "right wingers" including proto fascists, don't have to be concerned.

          • David Garrett

            Well, if I knew what a "proto fascist" is I might be able to comment! Am I are one? (I have received many online threats, both subtle and not so…my response is always : "I live in Kanohi Road Kaukapakapa…do come out and see me for a discussion, any time you like…but don't come unannounced at night…that can be problematic out here in the rural sector")

            • Robert Guyton

              " Am I are one? "


              • Mr Guyton: (If in fact that's your name, which is highly unlikely given where we are) Please do tell me what a "proto fascist" is…I suppose I could Google, but I really can't be bothered…I am however prepared to bet (I am a betting man) that without the assistance of Mr Google my accuser hasn't the faintest idea which country first embraced fascism…

                • Incognito

                  Too easy: Gondwanaland.

                  I think this sub-thread has now run its course.

                • Gabby

                  He may have meant neofascist. That would make more sense.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Well, David Garrett, my name is Robert Guyton, as advertised here (where we are) and if you can't be bothered Googling a phrase I won't bother giving you my opinion, 'cause I ain't your research assistant. You ordinarily roam Farrar's blog and stick out here like, well, you know what, so your unwillingness to learn for yourself the meaning of a label is not surprising but given that you've ventured out of your natural range, you might be a different sort of fish, so we'll/I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and expect that in the meantime, you have in fact, researched "proto-fascist" and know full-well its meaning. As for the "first country to embrace" – do tell?

                • Muttonbird

                  Hey, mate. Threatening or questioning the pseudo-anonymous status of commenters here is a bannable offence.

                  You spent most of Monday trying to out commenters identities on Farrar's forum. Just doesn't wash here.

    • Thanks for commenting, David. You'd know better than most how Iain Lees Galloway feels today.

      There's no censorship here at TS, but there is a close eye being kept on unsubstantiated gossip and anything that crosses the line will be deleted.

      • Matthew Whitehead 3.2.1

        Remember, the law technically makes it the Trust's responsibility if a libelous claim is posted here, so this isn't just a matter of moderation policy. You need to have receipts if you want to claim that sort of thing online rn, and the contributors to the Trust shouldn't have to pick up the tab for you to do so if someone gets lawsuit-trigger-happy. Do it on your own blog or social media.

        • lprent

          That is a good statement of why I roam the comments section and why I spend time looking at what the moderators found worth looking at.

          I'm personally (as a trustee and an individual) adverse to spending time in court. On the other hand I'm not adverse to causing damage up to bankruptcy to whomever wastes my personal time trying to send me there either.

    • Robert Guyton 3.3

      Why would we be surprised to read you saying that the PM "nailed it"?

      She did. We know that. You acknowledge that. No surprises here!

    • mickysavage 3.4

      So can I take it that you think that Collins' handling of Falloon's issues is not optimal? Trying to pass his behaviour off as a mental health issue appears to be not great.

  4. Mr Nobody 4

    Personally I think it is overdue that the media place ALL of our politicians on the rack and expose every piece of dirt. Let us the voters decide whether they the people we vote for represent us warts and all and not just the persona's they want to portray to us.

  5. Treetop 5

    There is some sort of revolution going on and women are leading it. Power imbalance, what a person's core values and beliefs are will be questioned by women when men overstep the territory of women.

    Men will not be able to hide from behaviour which in the past was excused or covered up when it came to demeaning a woman and not understanding what her objection or complaint is about.

    Being a 60 year old woman I see 2 types of men, those who get there is a revolution led by woman about unacceptable male behaviour and those who do not get it what acceptable male behaviour is publicly or in private.

  6. Dennis Frank 6

    Well, I have to say that I listened carefully to the PM, and didn't hear her identify what the guy did wrong. Your interpretation may be correct – but how will we ever know??

    I respect her right to hire & fire ministers according to how she feels about them, but the morality of the situation seems to be irrelevant to her decision. Maybe she simply felt she didn't need to explain that to the public?

    I realise the days when politicians were expected to provide moral leadership are long gone, of course. So the lack from her is understandable.

    • observer 6.1

      If you don't think the PM has provided any moral leadership, you must have spent the last 3 years in a cave.

      • Dennis Frank 6.1.1

        I don't think that. I was pointing to her lack of explanation of whatever morality influenced her decision. She did declare her intent to not go into details. Obviously wanted to keep to the essentials. Fair enough. I just feel that making assertions of why she made the decision without that basis of evidence is mere speculation.

    • Denis: You can't have been listening old boy. She spelled out clearly what he did wrong: he bonked a person who had virtually no power compared with him, and to make it worse, he did it while he was the Minister Responsible for workplace relations or whatever it's called now.

      As you of course know, my politics are the polar opposite of most if not all of those commenting here, but it was crystal clear to me both why she sacked him, and why that was the correct thing to do.

      • Dennis Frank 6.2.1

        Just your take, David. I'll believe it when quotes of what she actually said show up here to prove it! I'm just as good at reading her intent as you, and I see it as pragmatic removal of a political liability. Reading morality into it is spurious and unjustified unless fact and evidence provide a basis. Consensual, right?

        • Shanreagh

          Yes consensual and away from the office. Free agents to conduct an extramarital affair. Apart from the moral aspects about him being married etc.

          PM has lost confidence in him at a time when she will have undoubtedly wanted her parliamentarians to be squeaky clean.

        • Lucy

          No not consensual – consent is between equals!!!!!!!!!!!! If one party is in a servant status no consent can be given. In simple terms a person under 16 can not consent (even if some judges don't get that), a person whose employment is controlled by another person can not consent. So if they worked together and he was her Minister then there is no possibility of consent.

          • Shanreagh

            The affair apparently happened after the adviser left the office and the agency. So that employment nexus was broken. Out of the office as two individuals free to do as they wanted except for moral strictures.

            The person was not under 16 as I understand it.

            The person's employment was not controlled by the Minister at the time they embarked on an affair as I understand it.

          • Dennis Frank

            Didn't the PM describe their relationship as consensual?? That's what I recall happening. Are you saying she was wrong to do that?

            • Shanreagh

              I understand the relationship was consensual.

              Not all relationships that start at work have a big bad black mark against them. Not all relationships that start at work between a boss and a staff member have a big black mark mark against them, or suffer from an imbalance of power scenario. The key is whether the approach for a relationship, say to go out, is welcomed by both.

              If it is not welcomed and then all sorts of coercive things happen then that is not appropriate and would be classed as harassment. If it is not welcomed and nothing further happens, then nothing further happens.

              Many people I know have had relationships at work that have worked out and some that have not. In the have nots mostly both parties have conducted themselves well. Some have asked to go to different parts of the work place and this has usually been offered to them.

              In the 1940s my very upright and honourable uncle, an insurance company boss, asked out and subsequently married my aunt who worked in his office and was younger than he was. My aunt, had she not welcomed the approach, to go out would have said no. The marriage lasted over 50 years

              A relationship that is coercive or not welcomed does not usually last 12months as this one of ILG did.

      • Grafton Gully 6.2.2

        " a person who had virtually no power compared with him" has the REAL POWER to publicly humiliate him. And remain anonymous.

    • weka 6.3

      Well, I have to say that I listened carefully to the PM, and didn't hear her identify what the guy did wrong. Your interpretation may be correct – but how will we ever know??

      It's explained very clearly in the post Dennis. You can't have a sexual relationship with staff in your office when you are a Minister, and you definitely can't when you're the Minister for Workplace Relations. How is this not obvious?

      • I Feel Love 6.3.1

        It seemed pretty obvious to me too, she repeated it often enough, very clear.

      • Dennis Frank 6.3.2

        I just pointed out that she did not actually specify those reasons. Fact versus assumptions. Is there a relevant clause in the cabinet manual?

        She didn't even accuse him of having this consensual relationship when the woman was working in his office, did she? So that bit is pure speculation.

        I recall hearing her say that she was not going to go into the details. Did you not also hear that??

        • Matthew Whitehead

          For starters, Section 3.51(c) of the cabinet manual: Avoidance of conflict between public duty and personal interests. Forming a relationship with someone you manage inherently compromises your ability to make decisions about anything related to them, and isn't appropriate without prior arrangement to hand off decision-making duties to someone else.

          There's also section 2.56 saying Ministers most both uphold and be seen to uphold the "highest ethical standards," both in personal and professional communications. There's potentially issues with 2.63. (a personal conflict of interest)

          The Prime Minister hasn't made clear exactly what decision-making was compromised in order to protect the privacy of the individual involved in the affair, but IMO that's okay. He's not running again and that is the appropriate outcome for anything short of illegal behaviour.

          • Dennis Frank

            Forming a relationship with someone you manage inherently compromises your ability to make decisions about anything related to them, and isn't appropriate without prior arrangement to hand off decision-making duties to someone else.

            Irrelevant, n'est ce pas?? He wasn't her manager. 2.56 is relevant, but enforcing it would apparently eliminate most current parliamentarians. A good thing? Probably, but we can only test it by departing from random arbitrary application, and requiring our politicians to adhere to their rules consistently.

            A good method for achieving that would be to create the Parliamentary Enforcement Bureau – since the speaker clearly can't cope with enforcement challenges. Hold a competition amongst the nation's designers to see who can come up with the best fancy uniforms for the PEB enforcers. I look forward to this suggestion emanating from our moral zealots sometime soon…

            • weka

              Do you believe Ardern sacked ILG because of morals? Which ones exactly?

              • Dennis Frank

                No. I can see why some suspect that though. I believe her reasons were those she expressed in her press conference – but other reasons that she didn't express may have also influenced her decision…

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Not being a direct manager in an operational sense isn't particularly relevant if one is at the top of the policy heirarchy, and all of one's policy decisions can be called into question in the light of an inappropriate relationship.

              I disagree about "most," unless you're talking about the National Party specifically. I mention it here because of the distinction between having actually done something wrong and putting yourself in a position where a reasonable person would perceive you as compromised. ILG is certainly in that position.

      • Shanreagh 6.3.3

        She apparently was NOT in his office though? She was a departmental employee. Big difference.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          Not really. In his office means he does operational management as well, but in his department still gives him wide policy control over decisions in their workplace which then all become potentially tainted by whether they were made due to sound policy advice or being influenced by his relationship.

          • Shanreagh

            Bit mixed up there I think.

            I am thinking they may have worked as a portfolio adviser in his office and were employed by MS or they were employed by dept and seconded, or came over and briefed once twice or more times a week. I have worked with 2 Cabinet Ministers from Nat/Lab with Ministerial powers in diverse legislation over 5 years ie who had legislatory or regulatory responsibilities and these were not handled in the way you suggest.

            We and the depts kept everything clean and clear so the decision making chain was clean/clear and impartial having regard to the legislation etc. Otherwise we left everyone open for a judicial review on process grounds as opposed to merit grounds.

            Ministers had/have no reach into the dept in regulatory/legislative matters. To have had this would have severely compromised the advice he was getting in order to exercise an impartial decision making under the legislation/regulations. He could provide the dept with Govt policy that could be taken into the briefing materials but this could not conflict with the legislative advice that was being given

            Ministers always knew who had prepared the material and would often call for additional information from or through me as adviser. On particularly gnarly ones CE and/or dept'l people would be invited over to talk through work with us on the legislative issues in depth….often with legal advisers as well.

            Ministers would have no reach into the dept in policy matters either.

            The sense of imbalance diminishes the further you get away from an adviser or staff member working in the parliamentary office. A person preparing material and or briefing a Minister while physically located in a dept is far away from reach of the Minister and under the protection, as it were, of the CE/Secretary or other name of the departmental head.

            • Dennis Frank

              The PM seems to have felt that her decision was not moral – it was driven by her confidence in his judgment. Herald reporter quoting her here:

              While the woman had worked in Less-Galloway's office, the relationship had started while she was working in one of his agencies. Nevertheless, Ardern said she no longer had confidence in Lees-Galloway's judgement.

              "I am wary about making moral judgements here," she said. "For me this is about a demonstration of judgement; it's about whether I maintain confidence.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              It's not mixed up. You're right that matters get more operational closer to the ground, (although it doesn't sound like this person was a ground-level employee) but policy vs operational is the official name in the cabinet manual for what sort of matters ministers may or may not be involved with in their areas of responsibility, respectively, and are a known delineation of executive power. This is different from the normal meaning of "policy" and could be taken as a delineation between political actions of the executive and non-political if you prefer those terms.

              I'm not even talking about who calls for what official advice. I'm talking about a lack of confidence that the relationship wouldn't cause ILG to be symapthetic to this person's views on various decisions he had to make as Minister that might influence their work or workplace, of which there are plenty. Government departments are certainly guided by independent advice on the law and can make their own decisions, but that doesn't mean Ministerial directives have no influence, either.

              I take Ardern at her word when she says ILG's political decisions were sufficiently compromised – or would have appeared so to a reasonable observer- by his behaviour. I have every reason to trust her judgement here, and I don't understand why you're second-guessing it.

    • Matthew Whitehead 6.4

      He had a relationship with someone whose department he was responsible for managing, while they were working there. It is an inherent conflict of interest, it is a perceived conflict of interest even if he always made rigorous and fair decisions, and the PM has said some of his actions during that time were not up to the standard she expects either. It leaves him vulnerable to blackmail, and it likely means he failed to declare any conflicts that arose due to the relationship, too, in order to keep it secret.

      I'm 100% ride or die that ministers cheating of itself is none of the public's business, even if we feel like it shows they're "not honest." (most MPs aren't, they're just good at not getting caught, sadly) That said, I would require them to disclose that they're cheating to the PM so they didn't make any unethical decisions and could be recused out, which I think practically won't happen, lol.

      That crack about moral leadership is a bit much in my opinion. This is honestly the first Prime Minister in my lifetime where I have been completely satisfied with their handling of scandals, if not the timing of all of that handling.

      • Dennis Frank 6.4.1

        He had a relationship with someone whose department he was responsible for managing, while they were working there.

        How do you know? I didn't hear the PM say that. I thought I heard her say it happened after that, when the woman had shifted to a different dept.

        If you are right, I'd agree. And she has handled it well. But my view of moral leadership, in respect of contemporary society, is that it works best if the rationale for decisions is explained. That enables others to evaluate the moral basis of the decision – or the lack thereof.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          She said it happened after they were a staffer, but staffers are political employees and are a different thing to departmental employees. That they were also a former staffer of his is just context that establishes a prior professional relationship.

          I think explaining decisions and being transparent is good, but there's a tension there with protecting the privacy of parties who haven't done wrong- and whoever he had an affair with is such a party. The PM is operating according to high ethical standards in protecting their identity and I am fully in support of that.

        • Shanreagh

          As you will know DF Ministers don't manage departments. CEs appointed by SSC etc manage departments.

          If the person was a portfolio ministerial adviser in ILG's office then it is bad. it is a workplace situation.

          If the two met while one was a person from a dept was advising the Minister from time to time and got together after the person moved from that department then to me it is a case of acting on a mutual attraction. The person was free to decline advances just as we all all are. They apparently did not. Had an affair. Unbecoming conduct from both but sadly not rare either in Parlt or in the wider world. .

          • Matthew Whitehead

            This is… a little incorrect. There are ethical issues with a relationship with ANYONE in a department whose policy direction a Minister is responsible for, because it becomes untenable to claim that the relationship isn't affecting any policy decisions the minister makes that might positively impact them or negatively impact others. Whether there's actual compromise in judgement or not, the perception of unethical behaviour in that matter is the standard the cabinet manual holds them to, and that Ministers need to avoid.

            ILG can't have a sexual relationship with anyone under him in any of his portfolios IMO without compromising himself, and he CERTAINLY can't then fail to disclose such a relationship to the Prime Minister at the first reasonable opportunity.

            (And yes, Ministers manage Ministries and Departments, but they manage the policy direction, not the operations)

            • Dennis Frank

              So are all workplace liaisons nowadays deemed unacceptable if there's a rank differential? Or is it just that parliamentarians are being discriminated against by the pc police? Seems wacky, either way you look at it.

              I'd rather human nature prevailed over idealistic zealotry. Why should folks be required to eliminate their career if they fall for someone they meet in their workplace? What a disgusting bullshit scheme that is.

              • Matthew Whitehead

                I replied to this point elsewhere in the thread, but the relevant factor is that this person was in his managerial sphere of responsibility. Let's say there's an organization with multiple Ministers responsible for it, and ILG manages half of it. As long as an employee worked in and stayed in the other half, ILG could have an unconflicted relationship with them under reasonable professional ethics, but they would need to declare it to the CEO and the PM to avoid conflicts in joint decisions with the other Minister, and so that there was no temptation to move to the other half of the org.

                This isn't about being "PC." This is about whether we can trust that Ministers are making decisions that are at least ostensibly for the public benefit.

                • Matthew Whitehead

                  I should also point out: I know we live in a small country and a lot of people meet partners at work, but… it is not the primary reason anyone goes to a workplace, and people should respect that, and maintain good professional conduct.

              • Shanreagh

                DF Yes there is this 'idealistic zealotry' about now. We are fired up and getting right into it for two days in fact. Hypocrisy unfortunately is one of the 'flowers' that sprout when talking about affairs whether parliamentary or otherwise. Workplaces are recognised and usual places for romances, affairs, loves, break-ups to happen. This is not going to stop happening and nor should it.

                No mater when or how the relationship started or continued the PM has no confidence in ILG ie one of her Ministers. She apparently said it was not on moral grounds so I took from that the mere fact of the affair was not the concern but was of concern perhaps is that ILG has missed several opportunities (while going, when it ended, when he was found 'in flagrante') to let her know about his unexploded bomb.

                If he has missed these then how could she rely on him to be upfront on other issues that might cross the portfolio/s.

                • Dennis Frank

                  Yeah, he seems to have not figured out that he needed to declare the affair – or else deliberately chose to hide it, more likely! This other Herald report illuminates the PM's stance:

                  Ardern said ministers having affairs was not necessarily inappropriate behaviour, and it depended on each individual circumstance. But Lees-Galloway's position was untenable because he was the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, and he had opened himself up to accusations of improperly using his power.

                  "He has not modelled the behaviour I expect as a minister in charge of setting a standard and culture in workplaces," Ardern said.

                  The Prime Minister did not want to identify the woman involved, but added that she wasn't an intern.

                  Asked about whether it was now open season on MPs' affairs, she said the compelling factor was the perception of the inappropriate use of his ministerial position, in particular the Workplace and Safety portfolio.

                  Ardern wouldn't be drawn on whether affairs were automatically conduct unbecoming of a minister, saying that she would deal with each particular circumstance.

                  I deduce from this that she doesn't see any moral rule applying in general to ministerial affairs. I'm tempted to draw the further conclusion that political morality is simply `make it up as you go along'.

            • Shanreagh

              If a departmental person felt conflicted they have all the protections of their department, all depts/agencies have conflicts registers and a relationship could have been advised and then the usual risk mitigation exercises carried out.

              The key thing is the timing and the location. The possible power imbalance diminishes the further away you get from an employee having an affair with one's boss while employed in the actual parliamentary office of the Minister ('boss')

              A consensual affair that starts after the person ceases to be an employee and ceases to work for any agency advising the Minister is possibly sleazy and conduct unbecoming as he is married.

              In not coming clean about this ILG lost the confidence of the PM. When should he have come clean is the question?
              Obviously there will be some who say, as soon as he embarked on the affair…..perhaps depending on who was the instigator of the ending then ILG could have come clean and fallen on his sword and left office then. At the ending is a well time for things to come out. If he was found ‘in flagrante’ then at that time.

              He didn’t. PM is right to have lost confidence.

  7. swordfish 7

    This doesn’t mean that there aren’t also women behaving inappropriately, neoliberal patriarchy is quite happy to allow women into positions of power so long as they play by the patriarchal rules (not too many women though, because then things might change towards egalitarian structures).

    Riiiight … so when women bosses do it …. it's entirely against their own will, is it ? … as much as they abhor having to initiate a sexual relationship with someone they have power over, they're just reluctantly trying to conform, are they ? … forced to play by the patriarchal rules.


    Intersectionality: The dogmatic belief in eternally virtuous demographics vs eternally evil demographics = massive, systematic double-standards & a quite sickening hypocrisy.

    Not so much “Patriarchy” as All Power Corrupts (regardless of which demographic weilds it)

    • weka 7.1

      you put words in my mouth as an author again, anywhere on site, and you will get banned. Only warning, given there's history.

      If on the other hand you would like to discuss what I actually meant, I'm happy to do that where there is a clear indication for good faith debate.

    • Treetop 7.2

      Women demeaning men or any other identified gender is not to be tolerated either.

    • Matthew Whitehead 7.3

      There is a context of unequal power leveraged against people even perceived as female, (regardless of how they feel about their own gender or sex) yes. That doesn't mean that if I have a female boss and she comes onto me that it's appropriate. It's not, and she should suffer the same consequences a man does- but it's less likely to happen, because most women have been subjected to unwanted advances and are determined that it's wrong.

      There has been a history of women having to "consent" to relationships or sexist harassment to advance their career in certain fields, and hell, it's probably still going on in many industries to one degree or another- I was reading yesterday about a video games studio in Canada where the bosses would play raunchy songs about characters named after female employees when they left the room in high-level meetings.

      (By coincidence, this company also refused to make games with only a female lead, as “women don’t sell games,” apparently, despite all evidence to the contrary)

      Patriarchy is not about how men are "evil" as a demographic. It's about how some men who abuse power have created a system where women can't be as confident that they will be treated as favourably as men are, and can't be as confident that the "good" men will stand up for their rights and dignity as men can be about women.

      Patriarchy also hurts men: it creates the expectation that we should play along with sickening harassment, that we should be treated as financial providers and protectors of women rather than that we should all be able to stand individually or together as we choose, and that men must be tough, or strong, or unemotional, or [insert other toxic meme here.] It expects less of us and thinks we should be okay getting a free ride. I want to be judged for my competencies equally to my female colleagues, and I don’t want them receiving either unfair harassment or unfair favour due to their attractiveness to some manager who can’t meet ethical standards. I’d also like them to be paid the same rate for the same standard of work as I am, because I have a lot of women I care about as people and in my family and they deserve to be treated better.

      You don't have to agree with that theory, but it's well-evidenced, and you shouldn't straw-man it when you don't understand it yet.

      • Nic the NZer 7.3.1

        "You don't have to agree with that theory, but it's well-evidenced, and you shouldn't straw-man it when you don't understand it yet."

        On the contrary the basis for the philosophy behind many of the concepts referenced in that paragraph reject reason being the basis for their existence. Specifically even if none of your examples can be cited, even if there is zero statistical evidence for the biases described and even if nothing like that happened with ILG in this case then patriarchal exploitation was regardless the underlying cause.

        "With the resistance to traditional forms of knowledge making (science, religion, language), inquiry, communication, and building meaning take on different forms to the post-structuralist."

        Unfortunately the (absurd) comment above which implies the ILG case should be referred to the police next, is equally as viable a meaning as anything Swordfish or yourself has conveyed about this event.

        Exactly the right response to this kind of nonsense is to make fun, because its exactly the reasoning equivalent of violating the law of non-contradiction in Mathematics, once that is done "anything follows from a contradiction.".

  8. woodart 8

    its good that judith collins showed the same class that jacinda has by not running to the media for a hit,oh wait…..

  9. observer 9

    I'll put this here, even though I'd really like to put it all over the media and social media as various idiots say the reason was "Collins going public made Ardern do it" – a depressingly high number of people …

    When Collins was on the AM Show, Ardern had already sacked him yesterday.

    Met ILG 5.45pm on Tuesday. Said at press conference: “Over the course of the conversation with the minister, it became clear to me that his position as a minister was untenable. I advised him of that at the time”.

    This opposition tactic of anticipating the past is not new (see Simon Bridges in lockdown) but I suppose it works for them if people can't grasp the concept of time.

    • observer 9.1

      Gonna tap this sign. Gonna tap it some more.


      Not at the press conference this morning. Sorry, but time really matters. Collins shat on a sacked minister, and stoked rumours about all the Ministers. All for short-term headlines (a few hours).

      She is *****.

  10. rrm 10

    Gone by lunchtime.

    Does anyone imagine for a MOMENT that Jacinda would have acted this fast, if Crusher hadn't just shown her how it's done by crushing Falloon on Monday?

    Labour MPs under Ardern can previously expect to live on for MONTHS after their indiscretions are made public, while the party stonewalls. Ask Claire Curran, ask Meka Whaitiri, ask David Clark.

    Crusher makes Jacinda look like a girl trying to do a woman's job, and today's events show that Jacinda knows it.

    In the interests of unbiased coverage, when will the media be knocking on ILG's mum's door and asking her for comment?

    • Drowsy M. Kram 10.1

      It's a marathon (with hurdles) – in a sprint Crusher is typically slower out of the blocks.

    • observer 10.2

      You are so absurdly out of touch with reality it is hilarious. Or would be, if not so sad for our country.

      Falloon was "crushed" by the truth. Collins wanted to leave it alone. Have you forgotten already? ("mental health … matter has been dealt with" – Collins, 2 pm Monday).

      Before Ardern acted (honourably), National did nothing. If Ardern had not acted, Andrew Falloon would today be part of your strong, united team.

      But you know this already, of course.

    • Matthew Whitehead 10.3

      lol please

      And sure, the media shouldn't harass Faloon's family. I don't think that means they need to harass ILG's too because some of them are so unethical they did it last time, but it's entirely possible they will do it, because some of them have no standards.

      As to your main point, I'll simply say: I wouldn't trade Collins for Ardern, and I wouldn't trade Ardern for Davidson, either.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.4

      Does anyone imagine for a MOMENT that Jacinda would have acted this fast, if Crusher hadn't just shown her how it's done by crushing Falloon on Monday?

      As observer points out above, Adern acted far faster and more appropriately than Collins did.

      Crusher makes Jacinda look like a girl trying to do a woman's job, and today's events show that Jacinda knows it.

      No, today proves that Collins is still playing Dirty Politics.

      And proves that your nothing more than a National Party fan-bois who will do anything to defend National's immoral actions.

      • rrm 10.4.1

        You might have to help me out Draco I'm a bit slow today being a RWNJ and all..

        • Someone went to Ardern with a complaint about a National MP. Ardern notified Collins, Collins sacked her MP.
        • Someone went to Collins with a complaint about a Labour Minister. Collins notified Ardern, Ardern sacked her MP.

        Somehow, you contend that this is further evidence of Collins' Dirty Politics?

        Dirty Politics is apparently just Original Sin for the 21st century. Nobody can quite say what it is, but everybody I want to tilt against definitely posesses it.

        • observer

          Collins told media first, Ardern didn't.

          I doubt you are that slow.

        • In Vino

          By grotesquely over-simplifying things, you make two differing cases sound the same. Infantile drivel.

          • rrm

            Sorry I forgot, it's completely different when someone on the left does it.

            • observer

              Differences have been explained multiple times, on this thread and others.

              You simply choose not to address them.

              • Draco T Bastard

                He will do anything, no matter how immoral, to defend the National Party and his leaders. Its in his psychology and, in fact, the psychology of the right in general (I'd link to the study but can't find it – meh, I've linked to it before).

    • Gabby 10.5

      They''ll be knocking on Druncan's door and asking how long he and Codger spent rehearsing their interview play.

    • anker 10.6

      rrm. your comments about Jacinda are ridiculous and note worthy of the time to set you straight

  11. tsmithfield 11

    The events of the last few days look very much like dirty politics to me from both sides.

    I think it is a real stretch to think it coincidental that Faloon's misdemeanors should come to light at exactly the moment that Collins was grabbing headlines in the pointy end of the election cycle. These details could have been brought to light at any time prior to that, but weren't.

    Saying the above in no way minimises my view that Faloon is a fool and a creep to do what he did.

    Neither do I think it is coincidental that Lee's Galloway should be outed several days after.

    This has all the hallmark of tit-for-tat dirty politics to me.

    I hope this isn't going to be the way the rest of the election will be run, and both sides will focus on the issues from now on.

    • Matthew Whitehead 11.1

      He issued the press release himself, they came to light because journalists did their job and investigated. That false equivalency is a ridiculous stretch, as usual.

    • observer 11.2

      I certainly agree that we don't want to go into a downward, dirty spiral.

      But some facts on the timeline: Falloon's behaviour had already been raised by the first woman's family, with the police. The cops decided not to prosecute (based on the limited info then, with Falloon lying to them). We don't know who else they contacted to try and get something done. Eventually they wrote to PM's office.

      So they did not sit on the info, and this was in a short space of time (Falloon sent texts early July).

      Whereas … ILG's affair/behaviour had ended well before. It had lasted for months. Then suddenly … last night.

      So the "both sides" line really doesn't stack up.

      • Treetop 11.2.1

        It keeps being overlooked that a third party was involved in the disclosure. This is the give away for me that the ILG situation was being saved for a rainy day.

        So partly dirty politics, partly lack of judgement from ILG and partly public opinion.

    • bwaghorn 11.3

      There a large difference between quietly passing info through back channels to another "leader" and shitting on the carpet as you leave on a morning news show.

  12. gsays 12

    At the risk of outing myself as a fuddy duddy….

    Any minister having an extra marital affair, should be close to losing their job.

    If one can not be trusted by those nearest to them, how can they be trusted by the rest of us.

    Trust is an all too rare commodity nowadays.

    • I Feel Love 12.1

      I dig your logic gsays, amazing how a lot of people don't connect that, how someone can lie to their partner for days, months, years, the parent of their child, their family, and yet they are to be trusted by everyone else? I'm certainly more ambivalent about infidelity than I used to be, but the logic of trust should be a factor in showing integrity. It ain't that hard to not cheat, or at least be honest to your partner, imo.

      • gsays 12.1.1

        I've never been keen on infidelity having known a few adulterers in my time. They had shared an arrogance or confidence that wasn't necessarily overt. Also a strong streak of how important their needs were.

        All of them thought no-one else knew, that they were 'getting away with it'.

    • bwaghorn 12.2

      You're not alone there in you fud dudery , I agree whole heartedly .

      I've noticed more than a few here have no problem with fence bounding probably because it calms their guilt.

      Confession time, to my shame as a young drunk I was on the other side of the fence when someone jumped it an found me lying there so no I'm not pure but I have grown up.

  13. The Lone Haranguer 13

    All people do dumb shit. Some get caught, and some dont.

    Im a bit concerned that there will be nobody perfect enough to actually stand for any party by September.

    I would suggest that our MPs are a representative bunch who reflect all of us, and none of us are perfect.

  14. rod 14

    Last week Judith said she was done with dirty tricks. Well that didn't last long.

  15. Simon Louisson 15

    I think this business is about Dirty Politics and political optics.
    Long-term affairs like this are rarely a secret in Parliament. For example, everyone in the Press Gallery when I worked there knew about the affair between David Lange and his speech writer Margaret Pope long before one media outlet decided to expose it for political and commercial exploitation. (Some argued, with reason that the gallery journos should not have been so discrete.)
    Collins is already in a desperate situation. Three of her senior women MPs had decided enough was enough, then came the Falloon fiasco, and then she was creamed in her first encounter at Question Time, with Ardern. She desperately needed to deflect attention, so she reached into her Dirty Politics handbag and pulled out Iain Lees-Galloway which I am fairly sure she would have long known about.
    On the optics front, Ardern (who very likely also already knew about the affair), had to show she was more decisive than Collins. ILG was shoved under the bus and Collins once again has been neatly outflanked.
    By failing to keep his zip up, ILG put himself in a vulnerable position where he could easily be put under the bus and you can't argue against Matthew Whitehead's coherent and valid arguments that ILG was in a position of power. Still, I think you also have to allow some agency to the woman involved. The affair continued after she quit. In Margaret Pope's case, she not only went on to marry Lange after he split with Naomi, but was hugely influential in Lange famously calling for a "cup of tea" on Labour's monetarist experiment and the subsequent split in the government that led to them being turfed out of office in 1990.

    • Gabby 15.1

      What a shame none of you had the guts to mention it at the time.

      • Simon Louisson 15.1.1

        Are you trying to say that if the affair was outed earlier then it may have been stopped in its tracks and Douglas et al would have been able to continue the monetarist experiment including the 20% flat tax proposal?

  16. bwaghorn 16

    As far as I'm concerned, if you that dishonest that you'll lie to supposedly one of the closest people to you how the fuck are you to be trusted as a politician???

    Btw weka I've noticed that when I'm on mobile I often dont see more than just the headline to your posts, and have to switch to desktop to see the text of your post .

    The comments show up ,just not the actual post text itself.

  17. KJT 17

    From Reybon Khan." A consensual office affair may be many things: 'juicy gossip’; ‘a symptom’; ‘a cliche.’
    What it isn’t is a crime.
    I reckon a consensual affair is what adults often do behind closed doors. (Assuming the doors were closed.) Yet this affair is being thrown at Labour as tit-for-tat to change the subject from unsolicited porn, as if a consensual relationship is equivalent.
    The timing is the giveaway. This wasn't a pressing issue for National at any time during the year-long affair. Suddenly, months after it’s over, it becomes urgent and relevant to National — because they need mud, any mud, to sling at Labour.
    Right now, there are people in the National Party high-fiving the fact that everyone is discussing a consensual office affair, which ended months ago — instead of their deeds, eg privacy invasion and unsolicited porn.
    But unlike an affair, privacy leaks and sexual harassment fall in a different category: ‘possibly a crime.’
    Our attention is diverted. The tactics worked. Dirty politics scores again.
    And if an affair is a sackable offence, doesn't that mean mass unemployment in media and politics?"

    • observer 17.1

      Unfortunately TV1 news have just backed up what you say.

      Of course we can't expect depth and detail from TV news, but even a once-over-lightly summary should be able to include the obvious difference between consent, and no consent. They didn't bother.

      Blurring the two is, as you say, what Collins & co wanted, and they got it. But I still think the PM's high ground is going to be more appealing to the voters overall. Collins will get her RW base cheering ("Crusher scores! Yay!") but swing voters know and like Jacinda's approach better.

      • I Feel Love 17.1.1

        Ben Thomas was blurring the 2 on twitter, the power imbalance insinuates she didn't give consent, or some slippery argument. That's maybe where tv1 got it from. But, the Falloon thing has legs, it'll be ongoing, ILG (unless there is more to come) is yesterdays news, all Collins has done is highlight the porno phone guy, instead of bury it.

        • I Feel Love

          My mistake, not Ben Thomas, I can't find it, apologies to Ben, someone else.

  18. Peter 18

    Trevett, Herald:

    "Collins – like Ardern – did the right thing in passing the information she had on to Ardern's office.

    But Collins did not do the right thing by publicly revealing she had done that, rather than waiting for Ardern to make her own decisions and act.

    The challenge for all leaders is to clean up their own house – not to point at the neighbour's and say it was just as filthy.

    At the moment, all the voters see of Parliament is a pigsty."

    In a flash we have it, Judith Collins = Miss Piggy

  19. Brian Tregaskin 19

    So are Newshub involved in the dirty politics by asking Judith before 8am Asked by host Duncan Garner if she had "received anything about Labour ministers or Labour MPs", Collins said: "I have actually".

    So who tipped Newshub off -is the question everyone should be asking.? If the public of NZ are disinterested to demand answers from Newshub perhaps we all deserve a National Govt and a MSM to run AWOL unchallenged!

    • observer 19.1

      I mentioned this on the other thread:

      So much has happened today that this crucial point is being lost. Timeline:

      1, Collins' staffer told Garner what to ask.

      2. Garner followed the instruction, and asked.

      3. Collins answered, pretending that the question was Garner's, not planted.

      4. Her answer was sufficiently vague (Labour, not ILG) to smear.

      5. Approx 3 hours of speculation.

      6. Ardern holds press conference, announces that ILG had been sacked the evening before.

      7. At subsequent stand-up, Collins tells reporters that she simply answered a question. She does not tell reporters that her staff had planted the question.

      People really need to know and understand what happened. But who is telling them?

      • Muttonbird 19.1.1

        I feel like the cycle will have moved on before anyone really gets to grill Collins on this but there are at least two articles I've seen where Judith is either having to defend herself against accusations of Dirty Politics and political corruption, or is being criticised for her actions in this case.

        Most of the serious reporters are onto it. Not so much tabloid journalists like Garner and Duplicity-Allen.

        • RedBaronCV

          Give them a bit longer and some of the journalists may wind up being seriously annoyed by Judith dragging them into her little power games.

          She's played the mental health card to cover sleazy behaviour by her MP and then largely violated the unwritten rule that consensual adult stuff gets left out on the range.

          What do they do now about the next affair they know or hear about? Do they run the ruler over it and out it for conflicts of interest etc if they think they exist or not? How do they find out when it started or ceased. Interview the participants?

          Or do the chiefs of staff or whips for the various leaders and parties simply swap lists of all the malefactors who have misbehaved since they entered parliament – oh to be watching – and then decide who deserves an outing? Do they let the press watch so they can check for their own names? Can we all watch ? It would sink all electioneering without trace and none of us would get any work done.

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    Tangi ngunguru ana ngā tai ki te wahapū o Hokianga Whakapau Karakia. Tārehu ana ngā pae maunga ki Te Puna o te Ao Marama. Korihi tangi ana ngā manu, kua hinga he kauri nui ki te Wao Nui o Tāne. He Toa. He Pou. He Ahorangi. E papaki tū ana ...
    20 hours ago
  • COVID-19 funding returned to Government
    The lifting of COVID-19 isolation and mask mandates in August has resulted in a return of almost $50m in savings and recovered contingencies, Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Following the revocation of mandates and isolation, specialised COVID-19 telehealth and alternative isolation accommodation are among the operational elements ...
    22 hours ago
  • Appointment of District Court Judge
    Susie Houghton of Auckland has been appointed as a new District Court Judge, to serve on the Family Court, Attorney-General David Parker said today.  Judge Houghton has acted as a lawyer for child for more than 20 years. She has acted on matters relating to the Hague Convention, an international ...
    1 day ago
  • Government invests further in Central Hawke’s Bay resilience
    The Government has today confirmed $2.5 million to fund a replace and upgrade a stopbank to protect the Waipawa Drinking Water Treatment Plant. “As a result of Cyclone Gabrielle, the original stopbank protecting the Waipawa Drinking Water Treatment Plant was destroyed. The plant was operational within 6 weeks of the ...
    2 days ago
  • Govt boost for Hawke’s Bay cyclone waste clean-up
    Another $2.1 million to boost capacity to deal with waste left in Cyclone Gabrielle’s wake. Funds for Hastings District Council, Phoenix Contracting and Hog Fuel NZ to increase local waste-processing infrastructure. The Government is beefing up Hawke’s Bay’s Cyclone Gabrielle clean-up capacity with more support dealing with the massive amount ...
    2 days ago
  • Taupō Supercars revs up with Government support
    The future of Supercars events in New Zealand has been secured with new Government support. The Government is getting engines started through the Major Events Fund, a special fund to support high profile events in New Zealand that provide long-term economic, social and cultural benefits. “The Repco Supercars Championship is ...
    2 days ago
  • There is no recession in NZ, economy grows nearly 1 percent in June quarter
    The economy has turned a corner with confirmation today New Zealand never was in recession and stronger than expected growth in the June quarter, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. “The New Zealand economy is doing better than expected,” Grant Robertson said. “It’s continuing to grow, with the latest figures showing ...
    2 days ago
  • Highest legal protection for New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs
    The Government has accepted the Environment Court’s recommendation to give special legal protection to New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs, Te Waikoropupū Springs (also known as Pupū Springs), Environment Minister David Parker announced today.   “Te Waikoropupū Springs, near Takaka in Golden Bay, have the second clearest water in New Zealand after ...
    2 days ago
  • More support for victims of migrant exploitation
    Temporary package of funding for accommodation and essential living support for victims of migrant exploitation Exploited migrant workers able to apply for a further Migrant Exploitation Protection Visa (MEPV), giving people more time to find a job Free job search assistance to get people back into work Use of 90-day ...
    3 days ago
  • Strong export boost as NZ economy turns corner
    An export boost is supporting New Zealand’s economy to grow, adding to signs that the economy has turned a corner and is on a stronger footing as we rebuild from Cyclone Gabrielle and lock in the benefits of multiple new trade deals, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. “The economy is ...
    3 days ago
  • Funding approved for flood resilience work in Te Karaka
    The Government has approved $15 million to raise about 200 homes at risk of future flooding. More than half of this is expected to be spent in the Tairāwhiti settlement of Te Karaka, lifting about 100 homes there. “Te Karaka was badly hit during Cyclone Gabrielle when the Waipāoa River ...
    3 days ago
  • Further business support for cyclone-affected regions
    The Government is helping businesses recover from Cyclone Gabrielle and attract more people back into their regions. “Cyclone Gabrielle has caused considerable damage across North Island regions with impacts continuing to be felt by businesses and communities,” Economic Development Minister Barbara Edmonds said. “Building on our earlier business support, this ...
    3 days ago
  • New maintenance facility at Burnham Military Camp underway
    Defence Minister Andrew Little has turned the first sod to start construction of a new Maintenance Support Facility (MSF) at Burnham Military Camp today. “This new state-of-art facility replaces Second World War-era buildings and will enable our Defence Force to better maintain and repair equipment,” Andrew Little said. “This Government ...
    3 days ago
  • Foreign Minister to attend United Nations General Assembly
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta will represent New Zealand at the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York this week, before visiting Washington DC for further Pacific focussed meetings. Nanaia Mahuta will be in New York from Wednesday 20 September, and will participate in UNGA leaders ...
    4 days ago
  • Midwives’ pay equity offer reached
    Around 1,700 Te Whatu Ora employed midwives and maternity care assistants will soon vote on a proposed pay equity settlement agreed by Te Whatu Ora, the Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Service (MERAS) and New Zealand Nurses Association (NZNO), Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. “Addressing historical pay ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand provides support to Morocco
    Aotearoa New Zealand will provide humanitarian support to those affected by last week’s earthquake in Morocco, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. “We are making a contribution of $1 million to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to help meet humanitarian needs,” Nanaia Mahuta said. ...
    1 week ago
  • Government invests in West Coast’s roading resilience
    The Government is investing over $22 million across 18 projects to improve the resilience of roads in the West Coast that have been affected by recent extreme weather, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today.  A dedicated Transport Resilience Fund has been established for early preventative works to protect the state ...
    1 week ago
  • Government invests in Greymouth’s future
    The Government has today confirmed a $2 million grant towards the regeneration of Greymouth’s CBD with construction of a new two-level commercial and public facility. “It will include a visitor facility centred around a new library. Additionally, it will include retail outlets on the ground floor, and both outdoor and ...
    1 week ago
  • Nanaia Mahuta to attend PIF Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta will attend the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, in Suva, Fiji alongside New Zealand’s regional counterparts. “Aotearoa New Zealand is deeply committed to working with our pacific whanau to strengthen our cooperation, and share ways to combat the challenges facing the Blue Pacific Continent,” ...
    1 week ago
  • PREFU shows no recession, growing economy, more jobs and wages ahead of inflation
    Economy to grow 2.6 percent on average over forecast period Treasury not forecasting a recession Inflation to return to the 1-3 percent target band next year Wages set to grow 4.8 percent a year over forecast period Unemployment to peak below the long-term average Fiscal Rules met - Net debt ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New cancer centre opens in Christchurch
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall proudly opened the Canterbury Cancer Centre in Christchurch today. The new facility is the first of its kind and was built with $6.5 million of funding from the Government’s Infrastructure Reference Group scheme for shovel-ready projects allocated in 2020. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government invests in top of the south’s roading resilience
    $12 million to improve the resilience of roads in the Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions Hope Bypass earmarked in draft Government Policy Statement on land transport $127 million invested in the top of the south’s roads since flooding in 2021 and 2022 The Government is investing over $12 million to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealanders continue to support the revitalisation of te reo as we celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Mā...
    Ko tēnei te wiki e whakanui ana i tō tātou reo rangatira. Ko te wā tuku reo Māori, e whakanuia tahitia ai te reo ahakoa kei hea ake tēnā me tēnā o tātou, ka tū ā te Rātū te 14 o Mahuru, ā te 12 o ngā hāora i te ahiahi. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Wildlife Act to better protect native species
    The 70-year-old Wildlife Act will be replaced with modern, fit-for-purpose legislation to better protect native species and improve biodiversity, Minister of Conservation Willow-Jean Prime has announced.   “New species legislation is urgently needed to address New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis,” Willow-Jean Prime said.   “More than 4,000 of our native species are currently ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Further safety initiatives for Auckland City Centre
    Central and Local Government are today announcing a range of new measures to tackle low-level crime and anti-social behaviour in the Auckland CBD to complement Police scaling up their presence in the area. “Police have an important role to play in preventing and responding to crime, but there is more ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt confirms additional support for Enabling Good Lives
    The Government has confirmed $73.7 million over the next four years and a further $40.5m in outyears to continue to transform the disability support system, Minister for Disability Issues Priyanca Radhakrishnan has announced. “The Enabling Good Lives (EGL) approach is a framework which guides positive change for disabled people, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand gets AAA credit rating from S&P
    Standard and Poor’s is the latest independent credit rating agency to endorse the Government’s economic management in the face of a deteriorating global economy. S&P affirmed New Zealand’s long term local currency rating at AAA and foreign currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook. It follows Fitch affirming New ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointment of Environment Court Judge
    Christchurch barrister Kelvin Reid has been appointed as a Judge of the Environment Court and the District Court, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Mr Reid has extensive experience in Resource Management Act issues, including water quality throughout the South Island. He was appointed to the Technical Advisory Group advising the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ’s biggest ever emissions reduction project hits milestone
    New Zealand is on track to have greener steel as soon as 2026 with New Zealand Steel’s electric arc furnace project reaching a major milestone today.   The Government announced a conditional partnership with New Zealand Steel in May to deliver the country’s largest emissions reduction project to date. Half of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Poroporoaki: Paki Leslie Māngai Nikora
    Pokia ana te tihi Taiarahia e Hine-Pūkohu-rangi Hotu kau ana te manawa! Horahia ana te whārua o Ruātoki e te kapua pouri Tikaro rawahia ko te whatumanawa! Rere whakamuri kau ana te awa o Hinemataroa Ki te kawe i te rongo ki te mātāpuna i nga pōngaihu Maungapōhatu, tuohu ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 50,000 charges laid in crack down on gangs
    Police Minister Ginny Andersen has today congratulated Police in their efforts to crack down on gangs, after laying 50,000 charges against gang members and their associates through the hugely successful Operation Cobalt. As at 31 August, Police have: Laid 50,396 criminal charges against gang members and their associates Issued 64,524 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Farmers and cyclone-affected properties supported with tax rule changes
    The Government has confirmed details of the tax changes to the bright-line test for cyclone-damaged properties, with the release of the required legislative amendments. Revenue Minister Barbara Edmonds has released a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) to be considered by the Finance and Expenditure Committee in the next Parliament, as it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand wins CPTPP dispute against Canada
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor has welcomed the CPTPP Panel’s ruling in favour of New Zealand in our dispute against Canada, a significant win for our primary sector exporters. The Panel found that Canada’s dairy quota administration is inconsistent with its obligations under the Comprehensive and Progressive ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New intensive turnaround programme launched to break the cycle of offending
     The next phase of the Government’s response to youth crime is underway, with an intensive programme for the country’s most prolific young offenders launched today in Auckland, Minister for Children Kelvin Davis said. The programme, announced by Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in July, will see up to 60 recidivist young ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government extends report date for COVID inquiry
    The Government has agreed to a request from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 for extra three months to deliver its final report. The Royal Commission was established in 2022 to strengthen New Zealand’s preparedness for any future pandemics. It was originally due to conclude mid-2024. “The Commission has ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Wainuiomata school property upgrade making great progress
    The Wainuiomata High School redevelopment is making great progress, with two more classroom blocks set to be complete by the end of the month, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The Prime Minister visited today to see first-hand the progress of the redevelopment which is continuing at pace and is ...
    3 weeks ago

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