Thursday, January 29, 2015

An untenable position

For the last month, allegations have been swirling around National MP Mike sabin, who is currently facing a police investigation for assault. A key question was whether Sabin would continue to hold his position as chair of the law and Order select committee. Yesterday, after attempting to distance himself from the affair, Prime Minister John Key confirmed that yes, he would. And today, we get to see what that actually means:

Mike Sabin, the MP under police investigation for assault, is set to grill senior cops as part of an annual review.


The law and order committee is preparing questions for an annual review of the police force. Previously called a financial review, it allows MPs to put a range of questions to the police executive. As chairman, Sabin would direct those public meetings.

And of course as chair, he will be able to steer the committee towards adverse recommendations towards the police and their management, and even budget cuts. And the Prime Minister expects the police to conduct an investigation under these circumstances? The proposition is simply untenable. To point out the obvious, if the police conclude - as they do every other time they investigate a politician's wrongdoing - that there is nothing to see here, move along, it will be hard for the public to escape the conclusion that they've done so for fear of rocking the boat and offending someone with power against them. It will throw the principle of equality under the law in the dustbin - as well as encouraging the public to seek their own justice against politicians, rather than go to a police force seemingly incapable of providing it. Both are very bad messages to send.

For the sake of propriety and the integrity of our justice system, Sabin must be stood down. There is simply no other tenable course of action.