The Political Panel with Jacinda Adern and Simon Bridges

Talking about Labour moving to the middle and Nick SMith

Bronwyn Pullar comes out swinging

It would seem that Bronwyn Pullar kept her head down one she became ‘public fodder’ maybe it was because she was aware that once she was in the public domain it would reflect poorly on Nick Smith…but now that the Smith saga has come it it’s very high profile sticky end, it seems Ms. Pullar is coming out swinging.

In the Dominion Post this morning she has made allegations that ACC has made about complaining to the police are false and defamatory

“Given the false assertions and the contradictory evidence, I have solid grounds to make a complaint to police over ACC’s false accusations lodged against me in an attempt to defame me.”

She also made clear that she did not make any blackmail threat.

“This new response from the ACC managers was a shock to me as it totally contradicted their initial response. It also contradicted their subsequent correspondence. I never threatened to use the file containing sensitive date at the meeting. I never threatened to use the file in any way at this meeting, or any other time.”

Bronwyn Pullar goes on to make her case to the public, now that she seems to be speaking freely, succinctly.

“ACC has deliberately leaked my name to the media and has set out to intentionally destroy my privacy and reputation. It shows how ACC treats claimants with disdain,” she said. “It shows how ACC will smash anybody who dares speak out. It is simply not good enough that sensitive claimants’ names are published every month in ACC reports.”

Pullar made a public declaration yesterday to TVNZ that she is sorry for what happened to Nick Smith, but now that that part of this soap opera is over, it would appear that the bit is firmly between her teeth and the saga goes on.

Nick Smith…another in a long line of shamed politicians

I referenced in my last post that Nick Smith was “another example of an MP abusing his position…denying it, then having to fall on his sword.”

From the Dom Post here are some details just in this century

  • Nick Smith, 2012: Resigned after he came under pressure for writing a reference letter for his friend Bronwyn Pullar, who was seeking help with her ACC case. His letter was written on ACC letterhead and used to advance Pullar’s claim.
  • Phil Heatley, 2010: Resigned from housing and fisheries portfolios after misspending taxpayers’ money. He was reinstated a month later after the Auditor-General’s inquiry found that while he spent $1402 wrongly, he did not intentionally break the rules.
  • Pansy Wong, 2010: Prime Minister John Key said he would have sacked the Ethnic Affairs Minister if she hadn’t handed in her resignation. Wong came under fire after she used her travel entitlement to pay for parts of her husband’s trip to China in late 2008, where he conducted private business.
  • Richard Worth, 2009: Resigned as Internal Affairs Minister and from other portfolios after it was alleged he offered a woman a job in return for romantic favours. Police investigated Worth after the woman laid a complaint, but no charges were laid.
  • David Benson Pope, 2007: Forced to resign as Social Development and Environment Minister after making misleading statements about the removal of Madeleine Setchell from her job as Environment Ministry communications manager.
  • Lianne Dalziel, 2004: Resigned as Immigration Minister after misleading the media over leaked documents about a controversial immigration case. Reinstated October 2005.
  • Ruth Dyson, 2000: Quit after being caught drink driving. Reinstated in 2001.
  • Dover Samuels, 2000: Sacked as Maori Affairs Minister over allegations of sexual misconduct. Police investigated but no charges were laid.

And these are just ministers who have had the ‘decency’ to  fall on their swords, we could now start to mention, imagine the list of those who have abused their position and thought nothing of it al a  Rodney Hide and his overseas jaunt with his girldfriend.

I shudder to think how long that list is

As you can see several were reinstated, I think this is the likely situation for Smith, he’ll be on the back bench for a year, then he will come back into cabinet in the shuffle just prior to the next election.

 

Gone by…well about 2pm. Nick Smith Resigns

It’s been a shoddy affair, and I don’t mean the ‘affair’ comment literally although we’ll wait and see what the relationship between Nick Smith and  Bronwyn Pullar was all about, and another example of an MP abusing his position…denying it, then having to fall on his sword.

How often more do we need to see this before people of influence realise that it’ll catch up to them.

Nick Smith has him self admitted to more than one ‘error of judgement’ in this whole fiasco.

“I have tendered my resignation, I do so because I made not one error of judgment but two in dealing with a conflict of interest in respect of a friend.”

“It was an error of judgement firstly in doing the letter but more so on it being in ministerial letterhead.”

There was another incident in 2010 where then associate minister for ACC, Pansy Wong, declared a conflict of interest as she also knew Pullar so she referred the situation back to Dr. Smith. (imaging Pansy Wong doing the right thing for a change when it came to ethical questions)

“ACC prepared a formal response to that letter, I signed out that error back to that constituent without acknowledging that I too had a conflict of interest.”

“I did not in my view interfere in any way in the judgement calls that ACC made about that persons claim.”

“I do accept that the signing of those two letters is not up to the standard this Parliament can rightly expect of its ministers.”

Smith said that it was because he erred twice that he had to resign, one would assume that means if it was only one letter he would not have.

John Key promised to clean up our political scene and this example just shows nothing has improved in that house. Another MP makes a decision that the public cannot abide by, the leader then defends them and minimises the situation, the MP the steps aside.

When will this end?

I guess on thing seems pretty clear, Nick Smith lost the support of John Key earlier today so one assumes that he had been given the chance to do the ‘honourable’ thing before Key would have thrown him out of his portfolios anyways.

One last thing, I don’t think this soap opera is quite over, even though Nick Smith has stepped aside, I can assure you that the media world will still want to look into the private life of the ex-ACC Minister to see about this relationship he had with Pullar. Currently Smith has been left with a black eye, it’s highly probable he will end up with a bloody nose as well when we find out more about his ‘friendship’ there.

 

The Panel with David Farrar and Petra Bagust

Talking Uruwera Four and Nick Smith’s ACC fallout