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The beam in the eye

Written By: - Date published: 5:31 pm, June 10th, 2010 - 17 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

For me the main scandal about taxpayer funding this week is the fact that we have all contributed $209,000 towards  helping Nick Smith  get  out of a $15 million lawsuit. For saying something for which he has given an apology in court and paid up more than that out of his own pocket.

None of us said – “Say what you like, Nick, we”ll stump up for the costs”. I’d like Nick to pay the money back, to the taxpayer as well as the people defamed. Otherwise it could happen again  – here’s what the Nelson Mail had to say in its editorial today:

Perhaps the most telling lesson to come from the saga will be whether it puts paid to his habit of speaking first and facing the consequences later.

It has to be said that on all the evidence to date, that seems highly unlikely.

There is all sorts of “heads must roll” talk about Ministers’  credit cards, starting with Phil Heatley. It seems that inappropriate use is being acknowledged, repented for, and where necessary paid back. Nothing like $209,000 involved anywhere.

I don’t hear any kind of apology to the taxpayer from Nick Smith. Only that he is “delighted” to have got off lightly. So he would be, with all of us taxpayers footing that much of his legal bill.

17 comments on “The beam in the eye ”

  1. tc 1

    Well someone has to pay for his incompetance…..not being a legal eagle how would it have played out if Smithy had of stayed in opposition? Or been out of politics after 08 ?

    Still another bullet dodged from tricky nicky…..what odds on more soon directed at this incredibly inept and integrity challenged minister.

  2. To be fair if an MP was sued because they were part of a Government and the action in essence was against the Government I believe the Crown should foot the bill. But if this is the case the Crown should be a party. As a taxpayer I would expect the Crown to also control the proceedings and to decide if a settlement was appropriate or not.

    It is not clear to me why funding was stopped. Hopefully we can find out although Parliamentary Services no doubt paid and are not subject to the OIA.

    If it was my employee I would also take steps to have the employment contract terminated for the stupidity of the employee in opening up the business to a claim.

    Capcha unwanted!

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    Hes been caught out telling lies about a public company. Before that he was hauled before two High Court judges for trying to influence the complainant during a court case, and then previously an employment hearing the judge found his evidence ‘unbelievable’. He cant speak two words without 75% untruths

    Hes not fit for public life! But in Keys governmeent anything goes.

  4. Salsy 4

    Shane Jones: Is this the end of his political career?
    After watching him tonight on Close Up – Its just the beginning Utterly fantastic, totally endearing and as we all know, NZ loves a politician who is not afraid to say sorry when he makes mishtakes..

    • Hey Salsy

      We are trying to debate something serious here, like what happened to $200k of our money spent helping a MP who quite possibly defamed a company.

      We could debate another MP who might have spent $20 watching a porno movie but he did pay the money back. What is more important for the country? Please comment.

      • Salsy 4.1.1

        Sorry wrong thread… But Of course its far worse to use public money in to defend the indefensible. Nick Smith getting sued again. The man is not value for money and in my opinion a great liability – would any serious company keep such an employee? What the public really need to see is a diagram of left and right inapproriate spending.. I think the big blue block will tower over the little red block- then lets see whos left explaining..

        • mickysavage


          Now if we could only persuade the MSM to do their job …

          • spot

            “Now if we could only persuade the MSM to do their job ”

            Which is to build brand, audience, sell copy, flog spots and make money for them that owns them…

            Oh, THAT other job….

            Yep, waiting, bated breath and all that…..

            • mickysavage

              You are right. We should stop buying papers and rely on the blogsites. They do a far better job …

              Capcha collapse

              • Sam

                That double-edged sword is a bitch.

                We need those useless papers to hire the journos who go and get news published that the blogs make commentary on. By not buying papers we are potentially undermining the ability for the raw product that the blog takes in, thus possibly shooting ourselves in the foot.

                That all said, I’d love to see nothing more on this earth than to see the Granny go under.

  5. really 5

    Interesting interpretation Salsy. I would consider that Jones is fighting for his political career by doing what he does best which is bullshit, bluster and bully.

  6. Bunji 6

    Yes I do worry that people will use this to tar all politicians with the same brush. Most polticians (even some of the right wing ones!) are there because they believe they can make the country a better place (some of them are misguided…).

    The few who use it to feather their own nests (Double Dipton) give them all a bad name; if Nick Smith has done wrong (and he has: speaking first, thinking later) it shouldn’t be up to us to foot the bill.

    But the media will be far too focused on the credit cards, they’re desperate for a UK-style expenses scandal. But our system doesn’t have the expenses and rorts available to the UK parliament, and it already had more transparency. And we don’t have Lords who need moats cleaning.

    $231 of wrong expenses over 5.5 years? Give Carter a break! But Duncan Garner no doubt can’t wait to get those civil union videos out again…

  7. Name 7

    Members of Parliament have the protection of Parliamentary Privilege to make any kind of allegation in the House without fear of the libel laws. They have that extremely valuable privilege precisely because outside the precincts of the House they are required to watch and be sure of what they say just like the rest of us. Only it seems they aren’t just like the rest of us, ‘cos the rest of us have to pay for them shooting off their mouths before they engage their brain.

    • Makes you wonder what Smith was thinking when he made the statement outside of Parliament, and why we should pay for that brain freeze …

  8. gingercrush 8

    Then campaign for the law to be changed. It changed when Labour was in government and its been that way since 2001 and Smith rightly sought approval from the speaker (Margaret Wilson) and she approved it.

    Why Smith should apologise to the taxpayer is beyond me. Sure you can disagree with the rule but then you should campaign for that rule to be closed. Not start a post and criticise Smith under the guise of a scandal that isn’t there. Because he was fully entitled to use taxpayer money to defend himself in court.

    • Marty G 8.1

      you could make exactly the same argument about the credit card receipts that ministerial services permitted, ginge.

      It’s about personal responsibility. Jones, Carter, Groser, McCully, and Smith can’t hide behind formalities.

  9. ghostwhowalksnz 9

    Perhaps I caught the wrong clip, but I have heard audio of Smith, after admitting in court he was wrong, but still in public saying ‘hes was standing up for what was right’

    I suppose hes a Minister NOW , so costs and damages can be fully charged to the taxpayer

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