Odd timing as everyone powers down for Christmas, but The Herald (emulating papers elsewhere) has published the Wikileaks cables relating to NZ. Brace yourselves for a lot of wallowing in ancient gossip, and spin as left and right sift through the entrails looking for something that they can use against each other.
The Herald got their own early start, with a piece yesterday: “Nuclear stance sacrificed for votes”. If that nonsense (which Eddie immediately took to task) is the worst they have on Helen Clark then a lot of frothing righties are going to be pretty disappointed!
More recent, clear, and significant, a good old fashioned case of broken promises and misleading Parliament, which The Herald reported today here:
Key exposed over Dalai Lama
Prime Minister John Key is facing tough questions as details from leaked US Embassy cables appear to contradict statements made in Parliament.
The embarrassing details are contained in a cable which has revealed secret details of his meeting with Chinese premier Wen Jiabao. … Among the cables is a briefing which stated that Key told Jiabao in April last year neither he nor any of his ministers would meet the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
The statement broke a promise Key had made before the election – and reassured the Premier almost eight months before the New Zealand public was told.
But the statement might also have landed Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully in trouble after he assured Parliament that there was no boycott. On November 19, Green MP Keith Locke asked McCully: “Is it government policy that no minister will officially meet with the Dalai Lama when he visits next month?” McCully answered, “No”. He also said he had discussed the issue with Key.
But the US Embassy cable quoted Ministry of Foreign Affairs diplomat Grahame Morton as stating: “PM Key had earlier conversed with Premier Wen Jiabao concerning the Dalai Lama’s December 4-7 visit to Auckland, saying that neither he nor any of his ministers would meet with the Dalai Lama.
“Morton said the Chinese ‘obviously registered’ this. Morton added that the PM … made this decision without any consultation, but others in the Government are still obliged to respect it.” …
Labour leader Phil Goff said: “That’s a very clear contradiction. Murray McCully appears to have misled the House.” …
Key had left the country and was unavailable for comment yesterday. Spokesmen for acting Prime Minister Bill English and McCully did not respond by deadline.
April 2009: John Key tells the Chinese Premier neither he nor his ministers will meet the Dalai Lama.
November 2009: Murray McCully tells Parliament there is no ban on ministers meeting the Dalai Lama.
December 2009: The Dalai Lama visits. No ministers meet him.
Broken election promises are a dime a dozen for the Nats, but McCully should be held to account for misleading the house. But by the time Parliament reconvenes this will likely have been forgotten. (Hey – maybe the timing of the release makes sense after all! Just kidding.)
Still, if these are the headline issues that The Herald’s intrepid sleuths have uncovered in the cables then I’m guessing that politicians on both sides, past and present, will be vastly relieved.