Wednesday, June 07, 2006

In god's hands?

Taito Philip Field is reportedly refusing to answer questions about whether he will leave the Labour Party if not exonerated of wrongdoing in demanding a quid pro quo from immigrants for lobbying on their behalf, telling reporters

"Only God knows the truth of what is going to happen ... you should ask him"

What's disturbing is that Helen Clark is playing along with this, saying that she is "perfectly satisfied with [Field's] position", while being intentionally vague on exactly what that position is. While I don't expect her to preempt Noel Ingram's report, given the seriousness of the allegations against Field - they are at best grossly exploitative, if not outright corruption - there can only be one response if they are upheld: Field must not only leave the Labour Party, but Parliament as well. And Clark should be making that clear in her public statements, rather than this sort of vagueness. Corruption has no place in New Zealand politics, and any party who would look the other way on it in an effort to maintain their majority simply does not deserve to be in government.


OK, that's the principled position I/S but I'm sure Clark is thinking about the politics and there's a lot of internal focus grouping/polling and way off the record meetings with PI community leaders going on in Mangere as we speak.

After all, Clark isn't going to force a by-election in Mangere if she think it's going to end up with her own Winston Peters in the House, and a lot of broken fences to mend in the electorally-critical PI constituency in South Auckland.

There's also the larger question about by-elections in general - they always end up turning into referrenda on the Government. It's debatable whether Clark - who is risk-adverse to a fault - wants to chance that if there's any way to avoid it.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 6/07/2006 12:21:00 PM