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Waiting on Wong to do right

Written By: - Date published: 6:12 am, November 23rd, 2010 - 67 comments
Categories: by-election, corruption, national - Tags: , , , ,

Why are we waiting for Pansy Wong to resign from Parliament for her corrupt use of her MP’s perks or, failing that, for the Nats to evict her? The theory is the Nats want to avoid a by-election over summer. As Trevor Mallard puts it – Key wants to have his Hawaii holiday in peace. But the NBR’s Matt Nippert has other reasons for Wong’s soft treatment.

Nippert’s article (behind the paywall) says that Wong is a useless electorate MP but has wiggled her way into vital positions within the party that make her difficult to dispense with:

“She was very important for National Party fundraising,” a source said. The insider recounts a party conference in the lead-up to the last election where Mrs Wong hosted a fundraising event that garnered $200,000.

“One Chinese businessman paid $50,000 for John Key’s tie,” the source said. “She was a money-making machine and therefore was given a lot of latitude.”

So, at one event Wong, with her connections in the Asian business community, raised $200,000. That’s a huge amount, enough to fund several electorate campaigns or a good hunk of the national campaign. With the electoral laws tightening up on donations through secret trusts, the ability to fundraise at events like this is something the Nats will be loath to give up. And they don’t have anyone else who brings the connections to the Asian business community, because Wong has been careful to eliminate competition.

A National Party source said Mrs Wong had been very effective in defending her turf. “Pansy and Sammy burned off other potential Asian candidates who might make a challenge and very much tried to own that part of the market.”

Another National Party source recounted a meeting in Mrs Wong’s electorate office in 2007. A young woman wanted to volunteer and said she could bring extensive contacts with the Korean community.

“Pansy pulled herself up to her full height and said she had contacts in the Korean community already. This girl was so humiliated, she never returned. Pansy would eliminate any perceived rivals to her grip on the Asian community.”

It’s a very Darwinistic way of doing politics – a very rightwing way. Like an animal eliminating competition for food sources, Wong forced out of the party people who would bring the same connections she had and, so, undermine her usefulness to the party.

But there’s another reason why a by-election in Botany is something the Nats are trying to delay. While she has been playing Machiavellian games of intra-party politics, being one of the worst ministers on record, and corruptly abusing taxpayer money, Wong has let the local party go to rot:

But this ability to raise funds hasn’t translated into effective grass-roots politics. Party membership of the Botany electorate, where Mrs Wong was elected with a 10,000-vote majority, is understood to be extremely low. Another party source cites the alarmingly low, and very precise, number of 134 National Party members in the electorate.

134 members in a seat where 19,355 people voted National at the last election. That’s disgraceful. To fight and win a by-election convincingly, National will have to draw on the resources of the rest of Auckland big time. And that by-election is coming, once National has the local organisation sorted and alternative routes to money from the Asian business community secured.

Sources said Mrs Wong would probably resign from Parliament and force a by-election.

And if she resigns, the Wongs won’t be left without income. According to filings with the Parliament’s register of pecuniary interests, the Wongs own property in Auckland and Christchurch, and shares in Smith City and Christchurch Gondola New Zealand.

Mr Wong is also a director and shareholder, along with former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley, in Shipley & Wong. The company was founded in 2002 with the involvement of another former cabinet minister, Wyatt Creech. Mr Creech resigned in 2004. Neither Dame Jenny nor Mr Creech returned calls.

Hmm. There’s that Wyatt Creech up to his ears in another dodgy business along with other former Nats. First Open County Dairy (which John Key has an interest in via the Dairy Investment Fund) and, now, the mysterious companies based out of Wong’s electorate office.  The Nats will want to make damn sure they’ve got any remaining skeletons out of Wong’s closest before the by-election campaign gets going.

Update: A mate points out the resignation may have been delayed by the Pike River disaster, which might explain this quote in a Stuff article “Mr Key flew back to Wellington last night from Auckland after a sudden change in plans”

67 comments on “Waiting on Wong to do right”

  1. Interesting. I understand that Bakshi is another who is there for his fundraising prowess rather than his innate talent.

    Wong has to go quickly so that Key can try a la Worth to refuse to disclose details. But it may not be so easy this time to refuse to provide details especially because others have recently been prosecuted for what appears to be not dissimilar behavior.

    I bet Melissa Lee is smiling …

  2. tc 2

    Meantime the punters disgust/distrust and general feeling of parliament being full of the worth’s/wong’s/field’s and Blinglish’s gathers more momentum.
    A mood the nat’s will encourage whilst they try and slip the shackles of MMP so they can rule like their idol…..Muldoon.

  3. higherstandard 3

    Isn’t standard operating procedure to do the dirty on friday afternoon to minimise PR issues ?

    • Marty G 3.1

      didn’t we have a friday afternoon just a few days ago?

      • higherstandard 3.1.1

        I think other events might have taken precedence.

        • lprent 3.1.1.1

          Yeah. It has been a bit noisy. I note that according to the Herald this morning that Pansy Wong took a weeks leave from parliament, which she is now exceeding.

          Perhaps there was meant to be a Friday special. But why they’d hold it up for a perfect cover like a mining disaster is beyond me.

          The same article was also pointing out that the speakers investigation is expected to take a few more weeks, probably after extending it’s scope.

          Update: Dang that predictive soiling on the pad is a pain. Decided that the speaker is a soaker. Even I wouldn’t say that about lockjaw

          • Marty G 3.1.1.1.1

            predictive “soiling” – lolz.

            • lprent 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Damn did not see that one. Makes a mockery of the whole sentence. The original misspell would have been more useful..

              Of course doing this in bed whilst mustering the awakedness to rise probably doesn’t help with my command of technology. Eggs, coffee, the bus and work await..

              • Zorr

                Maybe they aren’t using the distraction of the Pike River tragedy as cover because if they release Pansy Wong during it she will take some of the media spotlight and hence take some of the limelight off Jonkey if he manages to come across looking like a leader somehow.

                • Jim Nald

                  aahh! of course
                  they’ll release pansy’s sob story when jon panties is drying out in hawaii

        • felix 3.1.1.2

          I’d have thought the news from Pike River was a perfect opportunity to sweep Pansy under the carpet on a Friday afternoon.

  4. burt 4

    Eddie

    You seem to have forgotten how this works. We need an inquiry with terms so narrow it effectively checks that she completed the paperwork completely. Then once we have determined that she did put her name in the correct box on the expense claim (and even dated it correctly) we hold the report up in parliament and say it exonerates her. Oh, if she threatens to stand as an independent then the shit hit the fan and she becomes instantly accountable.

    Keep up Eddie, you team showed us the way and you supported it for the red team.

    • Marty G 4.1

      so were those good standards or bad standards, burt? and do you want key to set higher standards than the previous government, which you so hated, or not?

      • burt 4.1.1

        Shockingly low standards Marty G, but they are the standards that the supporters of the Labour team were comfortable with and supported in the best interests of protecting the precious Labour machine. I feel I can take the high ground and call for her to be charged and processed via the courts if she has broken any laws, but you Labour supporters need to either admit you are partisan hacks and that you have double standards for your team or be consistent and call for her to be protected by her leader long enough to stave off the by-election.

        Where do you stand Marty G? Is it a red vs blue thing perhaps?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.2

      Reality check Burt . She is the one wanting to get out quicker than a fart in the caucus room.

      After the ‘triumph’ in Mana , you would think the NP would drooling over the chance to have another ‘win’

  5. freedom 5

    a few travel expenses is not the important issue or has everyone forgotten Wong had private businesses registered to receive mail at her Electorate office

    also why is her Electorate office the only one with a dedicated foreign language (chinese) phone line

    Even the Maori Electorate Offices don’t have one listed, struck me a s a bit odd

  6. Matthew Hooton 6

    iPredict suggests only a 43% chance she will resign before the end of the year. See https://www.ipredict.co.nz/app.php?do=contract_detail&contract=MP.WONG

    • higherstandard 6.1

      If we were China she’d be out of parliament and her organs would already be harvested.

      • Lanthanide 6.1.1

        I don’t think so. She’s in the business class, and hasn’t killed anyone or harmed anyone significantly. Sure, she’d be out of office, but probably into something else nicely lucrative.

        • higherstandard 6.1.1.1

          Nah – bringing the party into disrepute with the resultant loss of face is about as bad as it gets in China.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.1

            Yeah vouch for that, any Politburo member who makes Dear Leader look foolish is all over rova.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.2

      ipredict is not iknow-

      There could be a ‘correction’ coming as inside information could make someone a killing.
      A bit like the SCF bond holders who ‘predicted’ very very nicely thanks to Power & key

  7. Bill 7

    So does the question arise as to how many wongs it takes to make a wight?

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      No, but I am wondering if Labour has managed to successfully find a chink in John Key’s armour.

  8. randal 8

    the first thing to ascertain is whether or not she thinks she has done wrong.
    the thing to watch with these tories is that they beleive their own thoughts to be facts and are unable to correctly determine the objective truth about anything.

  9. Wow Key has just said on Radio New Zealand that there is no justification for kicking Wong out!!!

    So why did she resign from her Ministerial position again?

    • Jim Nald 9.1

      He is joking, right?

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        He has said exactly what he needs to for us to kick him out.

      • No he’s not joking Jim N. The trouble is he will smile shrug and wave and the gullible public will say Oh Well ! and go back to Rugby . Beer and women magazines. I can not understand it Its beyond me . But then look at the times working people vote Tory. They never learn . So what do we do.?

        • I should of course have also mentioned the so called Royal wedding . Key will use this extravaganza to the full. He will be flouncing around like an eightenth century fop. Bobbing up and down in front of the members of the most parasetic family in Europe . He will be in his element. and the great unwashed will love him for it,Wong or no Wong.

    • felix 9.2

      So is this going to be used to hammer them in QT today?

      Or are we not allowed to ask questions ‘cos of the miners and that?

    • higherstandard 9.3

      Have you got a link for that – if that is what he did indeed say he’s fucked up big time.

      • Armchair Critic 9.3.1

        It would be a real laugh if he’d said:
        “I think the only thing she is probably guilty of is trying to be helpful to some, like her husband.”

        • Jim Nald 9.3.1.1

          live streaming from parliament

          listening to the pm read out the government motion re incident at pike river
          is this guy literate? he sounds like he is stuck in the formative years of schooling

          i guess, from now, i shouldn’t feel so surprised or traumatised when i hear him trying to respond to real questions put to him on morning report

          • Carol 9.3.1.1.1

            The strangest statement on the Pike River motion, came from Hide, IMO. The others talked, or read statements, with some heart felt emotion. Hide read robotically, was peering at his notes, often as if he wasn’t sure what was coming next.

      • toad 9.3.2

        Here you go, HS:

        The Prime Minister says there are no signs that Pansy Wong has broken the rules to such an extent that would justify kicking her out of caucus.

        “It’s always an enormous call to throw someone out of the caucus,” John Key said at parliament today.

        “Nothing I have heard in terms of the allegations would drive me to believe that she shouldn’t be a member of the caucus.”

        • higherstandard 9.3.2.1

          Staggering – I always thought theft as an employee was a case of instant dismissal.

          Obviously normal rules don’t apply in the den of thieves.

          • burt 9.3.2.1.1

            Staggering – I always thought theft as an employee was a case of instant dismissal.

            Not in parliament, it carries the horrendous punishment of being required to say “sorry” and pay it back. However considering Clark & Peters, sorry is optional and so is paying it back.

          • Akldnut 9.3.2.1.2

            WTF it’s just another case of “Do as I say – not as I do”, hypococritical and cunninng thieves!

            Burt I haven’t heard these pricks say sorry for anything or come clean until they’re at the point of no return

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    I think I/S has it right on No Right Turn:

    The real reason is that by keeping Wong out of the spotlight, National can preserve its reputation and manage the fallout from whatever is uncovered. The government’s desire to manage its image is being put before a fundamental democratic principle: accountability.

    She should have been gone from parliament immediately.

  11. bobo 11

    The longer Wong stays the better for Labour which can attack Key for his “higher” standards. A long drawn out affair is always the most damaging..

  12. Anne 12

    Agree with bobo.
    Labour has the opportunity to hammer the issue every question time from now until Xmas.
    But will they? I have a fear they will once again be risk aversive because of the Pike Mine disaster.

  13. Irascible 13

    The story about Pansy’s behaviour and her value as a fund raiser for Key & co recalls a certain Steven Ching whose name is raised by the Herald every-time they want to crucify Labour and its relationship with the Chinese community.
    I wonder when the Herald will start referring to Pansy & Sammy as being the Nat’s toxic names and questioning the honorability of their behaviours and attitudes.
    I’m not holding my breath… as if that nice member for Hawaii, Mr Key says she’s nice and not to be hassled out of Parliament by the media daring to question her behaviours she must be untouchable.

  14. gobsmacked 14

    This is why Key is playing for time:

    http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2010/4602/

    The significant point here is not the slight shift to the opposition, because that’s within the margin of error. There’s no real change in the poll.

    But hold on a moment. This is the first opinion poll taken after the Hobbit “triumph”. When almost every political commentator in the media told us that National would reap great rewards in the polls. They were (as usual) wrong.

    This is relevant to the Wong shambles, because you can be certain National’s private polling is saying the same thing. In other words, there is no “buffer” for an early election. Key would call an early election, if he was certain of victory. (So would any PM, to be fair). But he isn’t certain. Especially with his dysfunctional support parties.

    So he wants Wong to stay put, and out of sight. He doesn’t want a by-election, and the only other way to avoid that, is to have an early general election.

    Ain’t gonna happen.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      In other words, there is no “buffer” for an early election.

      And they’d need a fairly large buffer as calling an early election tends to make the electorate suspicious of the government which eats away at their support.

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