Monday, March 20, 2006

Doing the honourable thing

Well, that was quick: allegations in the morning, and a resignation just in time for the six o'clock news. David Parker's decision to resign from the position of Attorney-General was very much doing the honourable thing, and entirely justified given the nature of the office. And by doing so he's preserved his future political ambitions and other Cabinet positions - at least unless he is prosecuted. I don't understand company law, but according to Investigate's press release the offence could carry a penalty of up to five year's jail - which under s55 (4) of the Electoral Act 1993 would be enough to force Parker to resign from Parliament if convicted, regardless of any actual sentence imposed. The reason this is relevant is that, while coming clean, he also seemed to be doing his best to dig himself a deeper hole on both Campbell Live and Close Up this evening.

It would be a shame if he was forced from Parliament; Parker is one of Labour's up and comers, and relatively talented at that (compare with Taito Philip Field or George Hawkins). But this is what happens if you fuck up in politics.

Meanwhile, the contrast with David Benson-Pope (both in his behaviour and the PM's handling of it) couldn't be any clearer...


It's what happens when you get stabbed in the back by someone with a grudge. Oh well there should be plenty of knives to go into Tory backs when it is their turn.

In the meantime, just to keep some sense of proportion:

Posted by Anonymous : 3/21/2006 12:50:00 AM

hopefully he has saved us many months of wasted time in parliment as opposition parties do a "beat up" on an issue with little wider significance.
good on him I guess.

Posted by Genius : 3/21/2006 07:51:00 AM

I'm not sure that Parker would have to go from Parliament if he was convicted. The clause refers to a 'crime' which I understand means something contary to the Crimes Act. Parker has broken the ComPanies Act.

Similar situation to Nick Smith - his conviction for contempt of court was not a 'crime'.

Having said all that, don't rely on my advice - I'm not a lawyer.

Posted by Michael : 3/21/2006 02:35:00 PM

I think that breaking certain bits of the Companies Act is a criminal offence.

Posted by Muerk : 3/21/2006 06:00:00 PM

michael - a crime is an offence for which an offender may be proceeded against by indictment. This qualifies. Speeding doesn't. National's breach of the Broadcasting Act doesn't. Contempt of Court doesn't.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 3/21/2006 07:54:00 PM

Well, at least that's cleared up. But how common is for the Companies Office to prosecute this sort of offence?

Not that it matters, since National will scream "political bias" if he is not prosecuted, even if such is entirely normal...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/22/2006 12:11:00 AM

avoiding an audit on a bankrupt company. almost victimless crime.
stealing over $1m from taxpayers? There is no question of who should and who will probably be facing charges. And they are not the same people.

As RB says, Parker has done the appropriate thing. the best thing for him now would be charges and a discharge without conviction by a court. then he would be free to resume his political career.

the companies office will only prosecute really egregious flouting of the law when something else has gone wrong. I guess if Hyslop were to lay a complaint they would be forced to act. Otherwise my guess is that nothing will happen

Posted by sagenz : 3/22/2006 01:42:00 AM

I tend to agree with Greens leader Jeanette Fitzsimmons on this whole debacle- valuable time is being wasted on stupid little character assassination games. In the case of David Benson Pope, he was continuously carped at by that obnoxious Collins creature on the other side.

Please, let's restore some dignity to Parliament and focus on the issues at stake, not personality

Craig Y.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2006 10:06:00 AM

Is it me or have the motives of Ian Wishart and the team at Investigate been ignored. Clearly he is targetting Labour MPs, and judging by his allegations about Helen Clark last year this seems to be a concerted effort by the man. I seem to remember that he became a born again Christian a couple of years ago, and was hanging around with some people with extremely literal Biblical ideas. I'm just wondering whether, as with the Exclusive Brethren business, there is a deeper story here. I'd hope a journalist would start asking where he got the money from to start the magazine and keep it going and look at some of Wishart's more fundamentalist ideas, if only for the sake of context. Check out the PR for The God Factor.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2006 10:20:00 AM

Oh, I have my suspicions, all right. How the hell does he manage to keep that tragic tabloid gutter glossy of his afloat? Why does it appear comparatively late each month, and why haven't Investigrunt's circulation figures been properly audited for the last four or five years? It cam't be the EBs, they're not particularly
tactically sophisticated, and the Derek Corporation is a lot more choosy about whom it funds these days.

What is Wishart hiding, one wonders...?

Craig Y.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2006 06:13:00 PM