Slippery does a flip-flop

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, May 3rd, 2012 - 28 comments
Categories: by-election, corruption, john banks, john key, local government, slippery - Tags:

Slippery old Key said on Monday and Tuesday that he had to apply a legal test to whether John Banks should stay on as a minister. The Cabinet manual demands the highest ethical standards. Now, Key’s flip-flopped: ethics are required – but only after one becomes a minister. Which would be worrying if true. Pansy Wong won’t be the only one to note Key’s standards a slipping.

You’ll remember that Wong’s offence was using Parliamentary perks to fly to China for private business deals. Most of those flights were before she became a minister. Key had no trouble with (eventually) holding her to account for her unethical use of those perks before she was a minister. He said that he would have sacked her, had she not resigned.

Similarly, he thought that Garrett should resign from Parliament for his ethical lapse in using a dead baby’s identity to secure a passport (remember, Garrett was not convicted of any crime in that case). Hilariously, Key cites opinion polls saying that Garrett should go as a reason for him to go. Would that Key still listened to opinion polls: Banks would be gone, asset sales would be off the agenda, there would be no dirty deal with SkyCity, and Penxgin wouldn’t be buying Crafar farms, for a start.

If Key was serious about ministers only being required to behave ethically after they become ministers, that would be quite a worry – Key would have been ‘relaxed’ about Garrett becoming a minister, applying that test despite the fact he was clearly not of fitting character. At least he’s acknowledging ethics are required at some point now.

Of course, Key doesn’t really believe that ethical standards only begin once a person becomes a minister any more than he previously believed he only had to apply a legal test. Key’s flip-flopping on the standard he is applying to Banks is quite clearly an attempt to evade questions:

May 1:

Asked if he was happy for ministers to act unethically as long as they complied with the law, Mr Key said: “There is quite a wide definition of ethics … The test I have to apply is the law.”

May 2:

David Shearer: Does he find it acceptable for a Minister to act unethically, as long as they comply with the law?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: For a start off, the member is making an assumption, or an assertion, should I say, and, secondly, I would point out to the member that the issue of ethical standards applies to Ministers when they are holding their warrants.

Metiria Turei: Given the reason that the Prime Minister lost confidence in Richard Worth was “nothing of a legal nature”, why is he applying now only a legal test to John Banks?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I am not. The issue in relation to Mr Worth was his ethical behaviour at the time that he was a Minister.

Key’s standards are clearly slipping as he becomes a more jaded and disconnected Prime Minister.

But there’s also the simple fact, as noted by Anthony and Zetetic, that Key needs Banks in a way he never needed Worth, Wong, Heatley, Smith, or Garrett.

Political expedience will see Key continually try to redefine his responsibilities and the test of who is fit to be a minister. I don’t think the New Zealand public is dumb enough to fall for it.

28 comments on “Slippery does a flip-flop”

  1. Maui 1

    Ethics ? Merrill ? Where have you guys been for the last few years ?

    Ah, yes the South Pacific, that far away look as one gazes at Moruroa ..

    Shipley, Boag, and the Auckland push must have had a few chuckles
    as they eased Key’s entry into Helensville.

    • Jim Nald 1.1

      Ex-Merrill Lyncher, now in practice in the House, supplies definition for ‘obfuscation’:

      “It is when you do not answer any question, no matter how directly it is asked of you, and no matter how much you need to bend the truth.”

      http://parliamenttoday.co.nz/2012/05/questions-and-answers-may-2/

      Tune into Question Time today to see how he applies the definition to himself?

      • felix 1.1.1

        Today? Nah, Key’s weekend begins every Wednesday afternoon.

        2 days of democracy, 6 days of whhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Anne 1.1.2

        It is traditional for the prime-minister and the leader of the main opposition party not to be present in The House on a Thursday. Helen Clark was never present on a Thursday either. Much as I loathe the present incumbent, the prime-minister of the day – and the leader of the opposition – have extra things to do.

        • deuto 1.1.2.1

          I am pretty sure that Goff was usually in the House on Thursdays for Question Time over the last three years when he was Leader of the Opposition and Shearer was certainly there today and, if my memory is correct, most other Thursdays this year since he became LO.

          • Anne 1.1.2.1.1

            I watched regularly during the last term… sometimes live and other times the 6-7 pm replay – and I never saw Goff there on a Thursday. They must attend (unless out of the country or on very urgent business) on Tuesday and Wednesday QTs but not Thursday. Their deputies take over the role of party leader during the period in question.

            I watched today and Shearer’s seat was empty. Grant Roberson (Deputy Leader) was there.

            • Anne 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Sorry typo. Meant to be Robertson.

              • Anne

                Just been watching tonight’s debate on the Immigration Bill. Winnie has just finished a great diatribe against it. You have to hand it to him. He’s a great entertainer while at the same time putting across his points pungently.

                Hi deuto. Not trying to be at all critical, but I think you will find that the two main leaders don’t normally attend on a Thursday except perhaps in very special circumstances.

                • bad12

                  I am feeling a wee tad chimpish tonight, with reference to Winston’s speech on the immigration(farce) bill, really really smelly, pungent, or sharp and to the point, poignant???…

                  • Anne

                    Sharp and to the point.

                    • bad12

                      laugh,cheers,I out-chimped myself on that one,having managed to stick my nasal column into the book of words for a couple of ticks you could have been saying the same with both words although ‘pungent’ would be the more obscure…

                  • Anne

                    Should never end a sentence with an adverb though. I must try harder.

                    • bad12

                      Laugh,gee even in nit-picking mode i didn’t get that disectional, missed it completely,must sharpen my doctors equipment…

            • alwyn 1.1.2.1.1.2

              You will have to be careful Anne.
              Bringing facts into the debate is a total no-no.
              You are of course correct though. The PM and the leader of the opposition are never there.
              Clark wasn’t, Key isn’t.
              When leader of the opposition Key wasn’t, Goff wasn’t and Shearer isn’t.
              Mind you Shearer may be there shortly if the gossip about the Robertson BBQs is accurate.

        • Jim Nald 1.1.2.2

          Yup, I had briefly forgotten about the Thu thingy when I typed the comment above.

          On another note, about half a year ago, John and John played to the media with their cup of tea.

          Coming soon next, they should have, in full public view, their cup of hemlock.

        • felix 1.1.2.3

          Thank you Anne, I withdraw and apologise.

  2. Tigger 2

    Lines in the sand are so easily redrawn.

  3. Matt 3

    If we believe that the donation arrangement was unethical, yet Banks continues to deny any wrongdoing, or any relationship with Dotcom, or orchestrating the $25K increments in order to mask their origin, is his present course of obfuscation not also unethical? And is he not currently an MP?

  4. Jim Nald 4

    “Slippery does a flip-flop”

    Hmm.
    Also, online playbacks of proceedings in the House yesterday revealed –
    one john flipped,
    the other flopped.

  5. bad12 5

    With all His pre-election chanting of john key john key john key Banks every time I had the misfortune to see a televised replay of what to all extents and purposes gave every appearance of one old man well past His use by date swooning in love struck wonder lust over another the old song ”torn between two lovers” came to my mind,

    How easy was it for Banks to ditch last weeks ‘flame’ Don(Dr Dullard)Brash i wondered to pursue with plaintive cries of john key john key john key the new Slippery pinup idol of Banks life,of course after ensuring such TV coverage for Banks by making a guest appearance in the ‘Epsom chimps tea-party”, thus giving Banks another 3 years of having His snout in the publicly funded political trough it was obvious that Dr Dulllard would be getting no roses tonight from Banks and the phone would remain silent,

    Banks tho,had other interests besides those two and while i can see the nature of the relationship between Slippery and Banks as one of mutual co-dependence,(like that of a school of junkies),i have to ask what was Banks going to DO for all those who donated big to His failed Mayoral bid,

    Banks,(in the best tradition of the rat),while giving every appearance of being stupid is in fact not a total idiot,and, it is now obvious what Banks was, should He have been elected Mayor of the Auckland City Council, going to DO for SkyCity, one of His ‘anonymous’ donors,

    Was the Dotcom donation,such a large ‘anonymous’ sum of money in terms of local body politics a simple gesture of friendship reciprocated by Banks phoning His ‘friend’ in the National Government Maurice Williamson on behalf of Dotcom’s land purchase in Auckland,

    Remembering that THERE IS NO CORRUPTION IN NZ i would personally like to see the Serious Fraud Office conduct a complete audit of Banks’es Mayoral Campaign fund and find out where the money came from that went into it,

    And,more too the point,where did the money GO,i don’t believe for a minute that Banks spent nearly a million bucks on that Mayoral campaign, but, I would ask did any of the money from that Mayoral campaign bank account by any chance end up in any account that Maurice Williamson had access to….

  6. Graeme 6

    Key will hang on till the bitter end with Banks regardless. He needs him to ram through legislation. Key’s supporters will not allow any more concessions to the Maori party, although it would be interesting to see what it would cost for their support.

  7. aerobubble 7

    National party runs MP out of party for not knowing the richest person residing in their electorate!

    Oh, wait, except if he’s the PM.

    • Kiwi Pete 7.1

      When you put it like that aerobubble it’s just unbelievable that Key had never heard of Dotcom until the FBI came for him. It does make one wonder how many other $50g donations .com was anonymously scattering around.

  8. JonL 8

    “Key will hang on till the bitter end with Banks regardless. ”

    all too true Graeme….

    and bugger what the peasants think!

  9. captain hook 9

    i’m nearly falling off the floor here.
    smee, help me up.
    every time something happens they wheel out a platoon of anymous lawyers who spill a mouthfull of gobbleydegook and kwee wee repeats it and then they wait for the cops to say something an then she’s all jake mate.
    what the fuck is going on.
    the next legal test should be someone’s inanity.
    someone remind me who is supposed to tbe the government and why all these others want their 5 minutes of warholian fame and ten years of fees in one go.

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