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The real questions

Written By: - Date published: 8:29 pm, March 21st, 2012 - 83 comments
Categories: ACC, john key, slippery - Tags: , ,

Why did Key express confidence in Smith in the morning having read the 2nd letter that is the supposed reason for him going?

The 2nd letter is a red herring, a far more minor conflict than the reference letter that Key had no problem with, so what was the real reason for the resignation, what are they trying to distract us from?

How did it happen the woman with whom Smith’s had a conflict of interest that triggered his resignation is also the person who got the largest ACC leak in history? The two aren’t related – Smith’s letters were written before Pullar got the leak – so are we meant to believe it’s just one hell of a coincidence?

What deal did Smith get to stay in Parliament avoiding a by-election that could well see Street win – she’s been closing the gap on Smith who has huge personal support – costing the government its majority on asset sales and the rest of its rightwing agenda?

Check out Key at the stand-up after the resignation. Do you believe a word he’s saying with his tranzrail eyes on? He gives it away at 9.10 – 9.30, he’s just bullshitting.

83 comments on “The real questions”

  1. fender 1

    “How did it happen the woman with whom Smith’s had a conflict of interest that triggered his resignation is also the person who got the largest ACC leak in history?”

    Thats what I’d like to know too. I find it very hard to believe this was just a coincidence.
    More like some fucked up plan to give Puller some major ammunition for her negotiations.

  2. Agreed.  The second letter reads like a technical report that a staffer would have written and put under Smith’s nose.  There is nothing contentious there IMHO except the mention that Wong exercised discretion and Smith did not make a similar comment.  The first comment was way worse.

    There are two possibilities:

    1.  Key felt the issue was turning rotten and decided to ditch Smith.
    2.  There is something else to come out.

    I await with baited breath. 

  3. Something that I am interested in Standardistas to comment on.  

    Shearer has been very cautious on the issue.  Some are suggesting that it is part of the “new way” politics that he developing, others think that he missed a golden opportunity.

    What do people think?  Should Shearer have gone in boots and all or should he hold back?

    There is an interesting post by Patrick Gower where he suggests that Shearer missed a golden opportunity and even the “kumbaya-singing-Greens were waffling on about Smith needing to be “stood down”.”

    So how should a leader of a left wing party (I know that phrase will invoke some response) handle an issue like this?

    • Te Reo Putake 3.1

      I think it’s the done thing to back off in these situations, lest you be seen as gloating. That’s one of the left’s problems; we’re just too decent.
       
      Bated, by the way, Micky! It means shallow, quiet breath. Think ‘abated’.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        I think it’s the done thing to back off in these situations, lest you be seen as gloating. That’s one of the left’s problems; we’re just too decent.

        The done thing would have been to attack Key’s decision making slowness and ineptitude, made the situation more difficult for Key to manage in the media arena, bleed him until he was forced to make a decision, then bleed him more afterwards.

      • MrV 3.1.2

        The reason is as clear as day to anyone who can think.
        Labours closet is so stuffed full of poor ministerial behaviour it had to put an incinerator in there to dispose of the stench.
        It can hardly act as the great condemer. Taito Phillip Field anyone, oh thats right he was only guilty of working too hard for his constituents …….

        • fender 3.1.2.1

          Yes Field was found guilty in court and went to jail MrV,
          Now thats history, but what are these new closet stuffers you have for us?

          PS a can of V contains 7 teaspoons of sugar!

          • RedLogix 3.1.2.1.1

            Seeing as how V is traversing recent and pertinent history I was hoping he would also mention the Duncan McIntyre and Venn Young affair… guilty of working too hard for Duncan’s daughter and son-in-law IIRC.

            • Jackal 3.1.2.1.1.1
              I thought Tau Henare and David Cunliffe’s recount in the debate today was illuminating. They had it at around 7 Opposition to 10 Nact transgressions.

              However they didn’t include National’s Phil Heatley abusing his ministerial credit card spending, Labours Benson-Pope’s pre-parliamentary abuse of students, Acts David Garrett obtaining a fake passport with a false name using the birth certificate of a dead baby, the Darren Hughes complaint of a sexual nature that the police did not act upon and Acts Donna Awatere Huata convictions for stealing from a Maori trust.

              So that’s 9 Labour to 13 Nact transgressions. I would also note that the worst ones seem to come from the right wing.

              I have not counted Christian Heritage Party leader Graham Capill who was convicted for multiple sexual offenses, former National Government Minister Roger McClay’s 2010 double-dipping rort of cash strapped charities and former National MP Trevor Rogers being jailed for contempt of court in February 2011.

              • Vicky32

                Labours Benson-Pope’s pre-parliamentary abuse of students,

                Except that there was never any evidence for Benson Pope’s abuse of his students. A couple in Australia were the allegators, but other classmates in NZ, said that these men were fantasists, because they would have noticed the tennis ball incident if it had ever happened! 🙂

                • felix

                  There’s also the niggling wee matter of the size of a tennis ball vs the size of a mouth…

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 3.2

      Yeah that’s a very good question MS. I think the answer depends on the leadership style. This morning, Stuff was reporting that “The Labour Party” was putting pressure on Key and Smith. Shearer may have felt it more appropriate to leave the hunt to other members of the party – or Winston – “why have a dog and bark yourself”.

      He has put himself out there as above “gotcha” politics, to come out swinging would have contradicted that.

      On the flipside it was an opportunity for airtime.

      It also keeps his powder dry for Key 🙂

    • Adele 3.3

      For integrity’s sake, Shearer should have spoken out against Smith’s actions. But for decency’s sake, resist the urge to insinuate things about the man’s personal life.

      • Puddleglum 3.3.1

        Agree completely.

        The Leader of the Opposition can be both penetratingly critical of the behaviour of Ministers while sounding perfectly reasonable and measured and therefore remain ‘above’ so-called petty politicking.

        There’s nothing ‘gotcha’ about commenting very firmly about the inappropriateness of a Minister using his ministerial heft in an attempt to influence a decision being made by public servants in his own Ministry.

        I’d go so far as to say that keeping a very close watching brief on the actions of members of the executive is one of the pre-eminent responsibilities of an opposition and, therefore, of the Leader of the Opposition.

        One of the main reasons we have ‘loyal oppositions’ in our form of government is as a safeguard against abuse of power by those in government (rather than, for example, as a mechanism to provide ‘other points of view’).

        In skilled hands, it’s a no-lose situation for a Leader of the Opposition. You get to look statesmanlike in comparison to more ‘mongrel’ attacks and, at the same time, you get people seeing you hold a member of the executive to account.

        If an opposition leader feels that to comment on these kinds of matters is beneath him or her all I can say is that the atmosphere must be extremely rarefied way up above it all – in fact, practically as vacuous as outer space.

        • Reality Bytes 3.3.1.1

          ‘statesmanlike’ – that’s the word I was searching for in my brain 🙂

    • Reality Bytes 3.4

      He can sit back and watch the fireworks, then give his opinion once the smoke clears. He doesn’t look like he is jumping in on the matter half cocked, and he doesn’t look like oppourtunist of the latest nat fuckup (that’s Winston’s job anyway).

      I think he’s handling it well and coming across very statesmansly.

    • Blue 3.5

      Shearer declared his intention to stay away from ‘gotcha’ politics, and John Armstrong pointed out that the consequence of that is that he is at risk of being invisible when he really needs to be seen.

      Like it or not, the ‘gotcha’ thing is part of the game, and if you refuse to play, you lose by default. That’s one of my big concerns about Shearer at this point.

      If you are not a political animal, who thrives on the game, do you have a hope of winning? Helen Clark was a political animal, and so is Key. I tend to think it’s almost a prerequisite for being a party leader.

    • Ant 3.6

      Shearer should have done the old “disappointed dad” commentary about the situation, it puts the boot in without looking like it and appearing vindictive.

      Key does that act pretty well.

    • fender 3.7

      I thought Shearer called for Smith to resign yesterday, and I was all for that.
      It does look like Shearer is trying to appear more reflective and reserved than others. I get the feeling he wants to appear more statesmen like and more dignified. Well we are due for a real leader who is mature enough to avoid the snarky point scoring others concentrate on. If he can be quick, on point, accurate and wise as well as remaining a gentleman then it could be the fresh air we need to revive peoples interest perhaps. Labour is lucky to have D Cunliffe also, he seems to be a gentleman at all times as well.
      The left wing leader should concentrate on the issue, and impress us with his/her knowledge based on truth and facts. We don’t need an ankle-biter so much, we need a wise dignified leader that gets results and attracts loyal followers due to their humanity and ethical substance.

    • Pete 3.8

      The trouble is come 2014, I don’t think many will recall this incident in itself – much like few even recall Richard Worth in 2009. Unless this forms part of a wider narrative of incompetence, cronyism and scandal – in a similar way that the Tory government was painted prior to Blair winning the election in the UK in the 90s. The trouble is Shearer has cast himself as the non-politician politician and has ruled out gotcha politics. He’s going to have to rely on his surrogates to make sure the mud churned up by the tractionless wheel of the National 4WD sticks.

    • Tc 3.9

      I thought little nailed it, looks like Daves going to attempt some statesmanlike positioning which may work, may not and let the dogs bark.

      I don’t think he’s got any other clubs in his bag (sigh) but he needs to shake up some of his frontbench as Parker appears invisible as Finance spokesman….Double dipton is there for the taking with his fraudulent guessed budget, FFS where are you Parker !

      I’d be pleased if the others were lining up their opposites more regularly then the softly softly may be a cunning success story, time will tell as he needs to fire them up if it’s to work.

      • starlight 3.9.1

        I agree with you,parker,is parked outside the parliamentry chamber.
        The only one who took the smith case on was robertson.
        Shearer is a humantarian and not a politician, I am still in favour
        of cunliffe and i think labour made a big mistake in not electing him.
        The team of cunliffe and robertson would be formidable.

    • Akldnut 3.10

      mickeysavage – I think he missed his opportunity as with the POAL case. There comes a time to hang your hat and make a stand. He missed it trying to be too politically PC and as such is showing himself to be mariginal in the game. I want more fire and brimstone from him which I believe Cunliffe possesses in abundance, I don’t think he would have missed the boat on this one.

  4. spratwax 4

    I wonder if Winston Peters comments in the house of “a shabby little case involving blackmail, sex, a minister with a conflict of interest” possibly put the shits up Key and Smith, thinking that Peters might know more than he actually does (Peters says in the NBR today ” that ‘sex’ doesn’t mean what you think it meant”) and acting quickly to get Smith to resign to rescue Key from being discredited.

    Winstons unwhitting bluff may yet bring out the truth… or does he know more?

    [it means what you think it does. Zet]

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      (Peters says in the NBR today ” that ‘sex’ doesn’t mean what you think it meant”)

      That comes from Bill Clinton’s political guidebook methinks.

  5. Blue 5

    “Akshully, there’s nothing wrong with the Minister for ACC advocating for a personal friend who is having a dispute with ACC. I’m relaxed about it now that he’s resigned and my ass is covered. Nothing to see here. My judgment? Nothing wrong with that either. Dinnamic environment, ya know. One moment I can see nothing wrong with corruption, and then the next moment I can. Happens to everyone. Higher standards under my Govt? Absolutely. Cabinet manual’s just a guide of course. Really, it’s whatever I feel like at the time. Hypocritical? No, not in the least. Because I said so. Look, over there! Helen Clark! What? Sorry, that’s a hypothetical question, can’t answer because the alternate universe in which I would have had to make that decision self-destructs as soon as a different path is taken. Unavoidable, nothing I can do. My eyes do not have a ‘Tranzrail’ look.”

    • Reality Bytes 5.1

      lol. Am I the only one that recons JK could make an awesome career as a comedian parodying himself?

      As well off as the guy is, I would happily pay the guy to see such a standup routine (Hint-hint, there’s more to life than PM if you are reading this JK, consider it plz!). Could call it: JK’s jks.

  6. rosy 6

    I’m still trying to work out how he’s still in parliament at all:
    1. Contempt of court over revealing details of a child custody case.
    2. Stress leave for ‘erratic’ behaviour, whatever that is.
    3. Sacking Ecan co-incidentally after his brother was charged with 21 offences.
    4 The losing side of a defamation case over a timber treatment product that was settled out of court.

    And now this. The man has form. And Brownlee takes over …. again. It’s a broken record.

  7. Sex ?
    There is nothing new about being bonked by a minister, they are doing it to us all the time)

    But if there was physical contact wouldn’t that be automatic ACC?

    • Not if there was pre-existing degeneration.

      • Hami Shearlie 7.1.1

        Pre-existing generation or merely “wear and tear from overuse”? Well, one thing we know, Nicky’s sure been degenerated today! He looked pretty well eviscerated too! Too bad, I’ve heard he chews up and spits out his staff on a pretty regular basis – now he’s on the receiving end for once!

    • Jackal 8.1

      Farrar’s crystal ball is about as accurate as burt’s analysis below.

      One down… 58 to go. I can’t decide if it’s going to be McCully with another down-trow over MFAT or Brownlee because of some gross conflict of interest in Christchurch or perhaps even Collins when all the guts spills out over the ACC debacle… I could go on.

  8. burt 9

    I’m glad he has just stepped aside, such a refreshing change from the 3D Labour approach (Deny, Delay, Denigrate).

    Out he goes, we all go booo and National are as a team stronger for it. Nice, clean, inexpensive and principled beats expedient for right to govern – every time. It lifts, or at a minimum reinforces, internal standards and gives the public the perception of accountability which always beats being told to move on.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      What on earth are you doing backing National? I thought you weren’t a supporter?

    • Colonial Viper 9.2

      The press gallery journalists were a darn sight less impressed than you are with Key.

      • RedLogix 9.2.1

        Personally I find all this kind of tragic. Yes Nick Smith screwed up and he had to resign. Like Pansy Wong, probably to prevent even more damaging allegations from surfacing.

        Yet people are fallible and it’s a hubris to demand otherwise. Nick Smith isn’t a bad bloke, and this nation has been served by far more facile, venal Ministers than him. I’ve heard him speak on a few occasions and I’ve always been taken with his intelligence, conviction and energy. And while I was usually well on the other side of Nick’s politics… frankly I have respect for his willingness to go into to bat for things he believed in.

        That’s probably not a popular thing to say around here right now, and I’m not taking any personal pleasure in today’s events.

        • Colonial Viper 9.2.1.1

          Agreed. I commented earlier today that which ever National MP takes over Smith’s portfolios is likely going to be far worse than he was.

          The fact that Smith also had a PhD in engineering puts him high up in my books as well. I’ve had quite enough of paper pushers and finance types in senior roles at this stage.

          • Reality Bytes 9.2.1.1.1

            I agree, in-spite of idealogical differences I may have with Nat party policy; Smith never really bothered me much, the guy came across as an intelligent keen hardworking sort of fellow.

            In all likeliness he merely stuffed up and unluckily for him it was a slow news week or something. Over the past few years, numerous similar serious incidents have been forgotten about by the media… Fake blind trusts, serious privacy breaches, nepotism and more. It’s par for the course for the Nat’s. Not much happened in many of those other cases, but they were far more resignation-worthy than this incident imo.

        • This is not normal fallibility, let alone an acceptable level of fallibility for a minister. He wrote a reference for something which fell under his area of ministerial responsibility, which is a conflict of interest, it creates a perception of corruption, and it shows poor judgement.

          It reflects well on him that he resigned without dragging the issue out, and maybe if he survives as an MP until the next National Government he can become a minister again.

          If I wrote a reference letter for someone who I would be indirectly managing were they employed, that would also create a conflict of interest and I would be unsuited to continuing my job in a managerial capacity and expect to at least be demoted. I think that’s fair and reasonable, because creating a conflict of interest situation is not acceptable behaviour anywhere, and ministers are required to not even create the perception of said conflict of interest.

          • RedLogix 9.2.1.2.1

            This is not normal fallibility, let alone an acceptable level of fallibility for a minister.

            That is precisely what my first para says. On the facts he had to resign and I’m not quibbling that. Whether he stages a comeback or not will depend on whether there are other bugs in the bed.

            But it’s still worth stepping back and acknowledging the wider picture. Minister or not, Nick Smith is a fallible bloke like all of us; and there but for the proverbial grace go all of us.

            • Jackal 9.2.1.2.1.1

              I agree, Nick Smith supporting a “friend” by unduly trying to influence ACC should never have got a resignation, that’s because Smith should have been long gone by now.

              In 2004, Nick Smith was found guilty of contempt of court. In June 2010 Smith received $209,000 from Parliamentary Service to help pay for a defamation case Osmose New Zealand took against him. He was also implicated in the Cave Creek disaster and who could forget his advice to the terminally ill that they should throw themselves under a train.

              That goes way beyond being fallible RedLogix. Nick Smith’s crocodile tears mean nothing.

              • rosy

                Exactly.
                And that’s not counting the political decisions around ECan and a Commissioner for Christchurch City Council

                • manfromnelson

                  when you know how he has treated his Nelson staff
                  when you know how he treated his first wife
                  when you know the lies and half truths that are his operating style
                  The man is truly truly repugnant

        • Oh, and I agree with you that Nick Smith is competent, informed, and probably outside of the political arena, quite a decent human being, but I have to support the principle of holding politicians, and especially ministers, to high standards, and I find that much more useful a precedent to set than to keep “good people” as ministers at any cost, even corruption.

        • manfromnelson 9.2.1.4

          what? Nick Smith is one of the nastiest piece of work there is.
          not a bad bloke? fuck me jesus

      • burt 9.2.2

        CV

        I’m not impressed with Key, I’m impressed that a disgraced minister stands down rather than fights it out. Hell Smith could have gone all Winston on us.

        He could have appeared on a TV expose walking on the beach with his family and crying about his poor judgement.

        • Colonial Viper 9.2.2.1

          I’m impressed that a disgraced minister stands down rather than fights it out.

          Fights how? Smith was on a hiding to nothing: without the support of Key and English he knew the game was up.

          • burt 9.2.2.1.1

            … was on a hiding to nothing….

            That didn’t stop Field being on garden leave for a year, didn’t stop Winston from holding up a “NO” sign and sticking it out in govt even after the privileges committee nailed him. The pattern from the previous government hasn’t been followed here. How refreshing – Move on CV.

            • Colonial Viper 9.2.2.1.1.1

              A little investigation might find that Key knew about Smith a long time ago. No sense moving on until we get a chance to double check eh?

        • starlight 9.2.2.2

          Smith is a ‘bear with a sore toe now’ he will be like a loose cannon,if he has to
          he will bring down other ministers that have also been involved,watch this space.

    • burt 9.3

      I’m not backing National RedLogix, I’m simply observing the contrast with your team.

      I’m no National supporter but I’m a big supporter of the way they typically handle these things. That’s not enough to make me support ALL their policies and defend the indefensible for them.

      • RedLogix 9.3.1

        I’m simply observing the contrast with your team.

        Nah… you’re simply Denying, Delaying and Denigrating as usual.

        • burt 9.3.1.1

          No delaying, you might think I support National because I don’t support Labour but that’s you denying all the times I have told you it’s not that primitive for me. Denigrating… how so?

          • Matthew Whitehead 9.3.1.1.1

            What was this rubbish about needing to see the second letter before holding him accountable if not a delay? I admit, this was pretty speedy, but they still tried to put the brakes on before they realised there was a lot of evidence in the play. That’s not so much accountability as it is political expedience- Smith wants to stay an MP, Key doesn’t want to be too badly burned by this.

            • burt 9.3.1.1.1.1

              What was this rubbish about needing to see the second letter before holding him accountable if not a delay?

              A delay…. by me ? I don’t think so.

              • felix

                In case you’ve already forgotten:

                “I’m glad he has just stepped aside, such a refreshing change from the 3D Labour approach (Deny, Delay, Denigrate). “

                • burt

                  felix

                  How is that relevant to this;

                  Nah… you’re simply Denying, Delaying and Denigrating as usual.

                  I don’t think you’re and Labour are the same thing….

                  • felix

                    No, you said National’s (or Smith’s) actions were”a refreshing change…”

                    The comment from Matthew (the one you replied to) points out that, hmmm, not really.

                    Do I really have to walk you through this? It’s literally just above these very comments.

      • Colonial Viper 9.3.2

        John Key suddenly got principled this morning, I agree.

        Winston Peters got wind of this issue a long time ago. Maybe Key should be listening to Peters about being more proactive on his ‘principles’?

    • ScottGN 9.4

      Don’t let the facts get in the way of those spin lines eh burt?
      All day Tuesday Key tried the ‘move along folks, ain’t nothing to see here’ line. At first he claimed Smith hadn’t broken Cabinet Manual rules and when that went down like a lead balloon he made the extraordinary claim that the Cabinet Manual was only a set of guidelines (which presumably he could ignore if he wanted to). Later we learned that he had to do some homework Tues evening because he doesn’t even know what’s in the Cabinet Manual.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 10.1

      And who could argue with that?

      • Tom Gould 10.1.1

        Smith is certainly a victim at his own hand. But what of the conspiracy? We are not supposed to use that word these days, but what else would you call it? It seems that this is what Smith is really getting at in his call for an inquiry ‘to clear his name’. Maybe he just wants the others involved to also pay the price?

      • burt 10.1.2

        Perhaps the terms of the enquiry can be a Clark special so he can be exonerated by his own party … before being charged, convicted and sent to jail.

  9. Chris Oden 11

    Paula Bennett should be next.Surely her releasing private details of benefit receivers was illegal.

  10. My bet is that key knew about the acc conflict of interest with smith last year before the
    election and that was why smith was taken out of the acc portfolio,in order to distance
    him,however whether it be an act of god or stupidity or even a holyier than thou
    attitude it did come out,in spectacular fashion thanks to two national party insiders,priceless.
    An enquiry wont be wanted by key,just like the wong debacle,because key himself is
    somehow mixed up with the whole problem.
    If key knowingly changed smiths portfolio responsibilites because he knew of the breach of parliamentry rules by smith,then key himself is guilty of the same breach of the rules by not acting
    in a manner fitting of a pm.
    Key has to adjust to the parliamentry rules in nz as they are quite different from the
    money trading rules where there are no rules,responsibility or ethics.

  11. Kotahi Tane Huna 13

    Now it transpires that there were in fact four letters. Perhaps I am the last person to realise this but…

    It’s only the perception of a conflict of interest. Nothing to see here.

    • tsmithfield 13.1

      But two of those letters are absolutely appropriate, so are not an issue so far as Smith is concerned.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 13.1.1

        Except inasmuch as they prove he was aware of the conflict of interest but went ahead and abused his position anyway. I wonder what it was that changed his mind. What form of pressure or persuasion was applied…

  12. freedom 14

    Q1:
    How did Bronwyn Pullar get a meeting with senior ACC managers ? ? ?

    If the goal is to discover who knew what, did what, knew who, did who,
    are there any other questions that really need to be asked ?

  13. KATY 15

    If Smith is hoping for an inquiry to clear his name why?, he’s already told the world that he stuffed up and given the reasons why he resigned, so how is any inquiry going to help clear his name on those grounds. Has his name been tarnished in such a way that it needs to be cleared anyway, an inquiry certainly will not change the fact that he stuffed up big time, he should know and admits that. Does smith have a sour grapes attitude now and hoping to see that other heads will roll so he does’t go down alone with this sinking ship so he may be seen in a better light? (if that is at all possible). or is Nacts newest back bencher going to tow the party line as directed and wait for a future cabinet reshuffle. This I doubt as if anybody who has been their that long, and knows the inner workings of the Nacts inner sanctum sutch as he does would be happy with the role of sitting on a back bench.
    Key has said that there is no need for any further inquiries and quite happy to leave any investigating to the Police and privacy commissioner, effectively curtailing the issues to those to the box’s of criminal behaviour and privacy concerns. Surly any inquiry should have broader terms of referance than this, but that would lead to even more questions that Key would feel uncomfortable in answering, along with opening even more cans of woodworm on this sinking wooden ship called the national party.
    So I say go to it Nick sign up come onboard and set sail for an even biger brighter inquiry than you hoped, one that will try to clear your name and maybe even give an opertunity to catch up with some of your old mates on the poop deck.

  14. Adrian 16

    Why did Smith write the letters? Is it because Pullar had some real dirt on Smith and others and was threatening Smith with that? She sounds like a real manipulator with a particulary nasty steak, but then without those attributes she wouldn’t have had anywhere near the clout she had in the National Party. It’s the dogs you run with.
    Is Smiths call for an inquiry a slick way to put the shits up all involved in this sordid Nat fest.

  15. Listening to parliament winston is eluding to the fact that new acc minster (collins) was briefed on the smith problem,so key did know,of course winston was shut down though the speaker is not
    wanting to follow through with the public wanting to know the truth.

    • burt 17.1

      Quoting Winston as a reliable source of the truth… One word… “NO” !

      • felix 17.1.1

        You’d be a fool to take anything Winston says at face vale, to be sure, but you’d be a damn fool to ignore it.

  16. McFlock 18

    Minor correction – if Smith resigns from parliament and Street wins the by-election, there would be no change in numbers – Labour and national would just trade list seats.
         
    Now, if Banks or Dunne resigned during the term and Labour or national picked up the seat, then the seat allocations in the house would weaken national. And that’s regardless of which party picked up the seat. Basically, they’d have to have another act/uf party MP to be a national front.

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