Thursday, February 19, 2004

Caught red-handed

So Lianne Dalziel has been caught red-handed waging an underhanded spin campaign against a helpless refugee. Having first lied about it, she has now admitted in Parliament that she had her press secretary leak documents to TV3 in an effort to portray Takshila's lawyer as a cynical manipulator of public opinion. Apparantly only politicians are allowed to do that.

It will be interesting to see where this goes from here. Dalziel claims to have obtained the document from the PM's electorate office; Takshila's lawyer says it was never sent there and that it must have been looted from her client's posessions after she was deported. Which is fairly dodgy. Either way, it's an embarassment to the government.

I'd like to see Dalziel forced to resign over this. She has been the most mean-spirited Immigration Minister I can remember, and scandals such as the "lie in unison" memo (and the subsequent attempts to stymie an investigation by the Ombudsman) seem to be a reflection of her attitude that immigrants and refugees are the enemy and anything is justified to keep them out. This latest scandal is not an aberration, but part of a continuing trend. Hopefully it will be the straw which finally breaks the camel's back.