Tuesday, August 08, 2006



Supporting corruption

It's official: the Labour Party supports corruption. That's the only conclusion that can be drawn from Helen Clark's refusal to consider internally censuring corrupt MP Taito Philip Field. While she's right to point out that Field has suffered a great deal of informal punishment, including the humiliation of losing his ministerial position, that simply isn't good enough. I expect all political parties in New Zealand to take a hard line against corruption, and when this sort of case comes up, to condemn it and any member involved. Labour's refusal to do so sends a clear message: that they will turn a blind eye to corruption in order to retain power. This is simply unacceptable, and such a party is not worthy of anyone's vote.

19 comments:

Labour is likely to find allies in the Green Party, NZ1st to'legalise' protecting themselves from having to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars after solicitor-general suggested taxpayer funds were used unlawfully ... SO WE HAVE 3 CORRUPT PARTIES, not 1?

www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/
0,2106,3757546a6160,00.html

Posted by Anonymous : 8/08/2006 07:25:00 PM

You are starting to sound like Farrar's hypebolic rantings.

At NO point is there ANY suggestion that Field ever said to anyone.."If you do this for me then I will get your immigration sorted". That would be extortion. What appears to have actually happened seems to have been a lot less clear-cut that that.

Bear in mind that there are hundreds of Thai immigrants running around Sth Auckland routinely doing work at FAR below market rates...and that the workers concerned have never come forward to complain that they were ripped off. If this is corruption, it seems to be more an act of failure to think the whole thing through on Feild's part than any venal act deliberate extortion. For that his political career is wrecked. Punishment enough in my book.

The whole reason for the continued brouhaha is simply that Brash sees the potential for a short-cut to power without ever having to face an actual election.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/08/2006 07:54:00 PM

...sanctimonious? naw.

except that, even for you, idiot, that was self-righteous. A new high. Congrats.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/08/2006 09:07:00 PM

Logix:

To be quite honest, it's really a waste of time for I/S, me or anyone else to fisk how utterly disingenuous your spin is. Have you bothered to actually read the Ingram Report, as opposed to regurgitating the post hoc talking points coming out of the Labour camp - because you seem very confident coming to conclusions Noel Ingram was not only very careful not to make, but explained in great detail why.

But to get back on topic, if I was a grassroots Labour activist I'd be rather pissed off at the leader of the parliamentary wing laying down the law via press conference. Someone believing her own PR, perhaps?

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 8/08/2006 10:55:00 PM

And, Logix, the Labour Department and NZIS would be very interested to hear about these "hundreds of Thai immigrants" (overstayers?) you know are being exploited in South Auckland. After all, I thought this Government was getting serious about making sure immigrant workers were getting the pay and conditions they're entitled to under the law? Or does that only apply to orchardists and vintners?

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 8/08/2006 10:59:00 PM

Anon1: the two are quite seperate issues, and I think that the other parties at least have a point that it is rather rude of the Auditor-General to come back and declare their spending illegal hen it had been explicitly approved as within the limits by Parliamentary Services. They shouldn't be made to pay for PS's fuckup Labour of course has no such excuse. As for the long-term rules, as I've said earlier, we're going to have to either bite the bullet and accept that such advertising is a legitimate use of the party budgets, or cut off Parliamentary Services funding the moment an election is called. I'm currently agnostic about which I'd rather see, but I note that the latter hands an enormous advantage to an incumbent government, and its not unreasonable to dismiss it on that basis.

Logix: no, there's no suggestion the arrangement was explicit - but there still seems to have been an arrangement, with favours being traded for his services as an MP. That is corrupt, it is exploitative, it stinks to high heaven, and its not what this country is about. And I am absolutely disgusted at the Labour Party for tolerating it.

Though to be fair, it seems there's a fair amount of disgust within Labour as well. The silence of Labour MPs (and bloggers, at that) on this matter has been conspicuous. But on this sort of issue, silence isn't enough - it needs to be condemned regardless of which side of the House it happens on.

Craig: with the possible exception of the Greens and the Maori Party, our Parliamentary parties have been utterly divorced from their grassroots for some time now. Party members and activists are just a source of funds, and people to do the donkey work come election time. Other than that, they're completely sidelined. And they wonder why people don't join any more...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/09/2006 01:45:00 AM

Craig,

Funny how the original issue...the Cole house sale...has completely dissapeared from the radar. I vigorously defended Field on that one in the face of endless abuse and now it just...dissapears. In time I may even be proven right over this as well.

Until any of you have EVIDENCE...not just half-assed allegations...that Field deliberately set about extorting immigrants against their will, then you are all just pursuing an agenda to suit your own political desires.

You have all defended GW Bush to the hilt that he didn't lie his way into Iraq...in the face of massive actual evidence that he did....yet you are happy to continue to try and get Field on far flimsier evidence...simply because it might get you into power. Am I so ever WOW'ed by your high principles.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/09/2006 07:13:00 AM

>"If you do this for me then I will get your immigration sorted".

even if you were in Nigeria you probably wouldn't get told that. It would just be abundantly clear that was the case. If you require a very explicit statement like that them you just gave the white card to just about any corruption.

I don’t suppose Field extorted immigrants. He just converted his political power into influence and cash in exchange for corrupting our immigration system etc. And even if that is wrong that is what the public thinks and that is a problem in itself that needs investigation.

We can decide if we approve or don’t approve of that but I would suggest we shouldn't.

> the Labour Department and NZIS would be very interested to hear about these "hundreds of Thai immigrants"

LD and NZIS are clearly too weak on this issue - but that doesn’t mean we should let people get away with it when we do catch them. Besides we jsut want the investigation not to procecute yet. Of course the fact it takes years to procecute this sort of thing probably leaves certain people laughing at the NZ legal system.

Posted by Genius : 8/09/2006 07:56:00 AM

Logix:

So, George W. Bush is vicious and corrupt so it's A-OK if Philip Field does the same? Pshaw... If Dubya really is the Great Satan lording it over a cesspool of sleaze, perhaps we shouldn't be taking Amerikkka as the ethical baseline for New Zealand's legislators?

And, Logix, I'm getting a little tired about being lumped in with some mythical "you" psursuing some shadowy "secret agenda". As I've said until I'm blue in the face, I'd be equally disgusted if (for the sake of argument) Pansy Wong was facing similar allegations, saying "it's just guanxi, you stupid white devils" and had a National-led Government stonewalling all the way.
Believe it or not, I think I'm competent to know my own mind.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 8/09/2006 08:28:00 AM

Logix..... Do we have proof TPF explicitly did a contra deal with the immigrants? No, of course we dont.

Why dont we have this proof? Because, A) the enquiry had very limited ability to investigate, B) Ingram DOES report people refusing to give evidence, contradictory evidence, "rehearsed" statements, threats to keep quiet.

So, tell me again what is and isnt corruption? Rehearsed statements to an inquirey? Threats to keep quiet? Collusion to not give evidence?

I think it was it Nixon who said it was the cover-up, not the crime, that lead to his downfall?

Posted by Anonymous : 8/09/2006 08:57:00 AM

Nailed.

Posted by Unknown : 8/09/2006 09:04:00 AM

I/S, I am no defender of PTF, but hasn't he got the Labour party between a rock and a hard place? I mean poor ethical values is presumably not a reason for an MP to be forced out of office. It is not a case of avoiding a by-election (Labour would likely win that) because unless criminality can be proven shifting him becomes impossible.

Here's the scenario then...PTF defects to the great defender of values, Peter Dunne, and then what? An excuse for the coalition to fall appart? A fresh general election?

Please explain how this a) punishes PTF in the way you see fit and b) is somehow a more honourable course for Labour?

Posted by Anonymous : 8/09/2006 01:16:00 PM

and whilst I am at it how does - "Labour supporting a failed Greens motion that would have meant Mr Field was handed a parliamentary censure last week" (FTFA).

tie in with your position today ? Was that an honourable course of action. Did it satisfy your yearning for Labour sackcloth and ashes then, if not, why not :-)?

Posted by Anonymous : 8/09/2006 01:21:00 PM

Noddy wrote:

Here's the scenario then...PTF defects to the great defender of values, Peter Dunne, and then what? An excuse for the coalition to fall appart? A fresh general election?


None of the above, actually, as the Government would still have a healthy majority on matters of confidence and supply due to the Greens agreement to abstain on such votes. With all due respect, if relations between the Coalition and Greens were that FUBAR Clark would have much bigger problems that Field.

And if the Government had to moderate and consult more widely to advance it's legislative agenda, what's wrong with that? Wasn't a huge part of the rationale for MMP in the first place?

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 8/09/2006 01:58:00 PM

Fletch: OTOH, what it did find is bad enough. Jobs done on the cheap repeatedly "out of a sense of gratitude or some sense of obligation" for immigration assistance provided by Field. No evidence of an explicit arrangement, but again, one hand washing the other...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/09/2006 02:37:00 PM

Noddy: "Poor ethical values" are not a reason for an MP to be forced from office - he'd need to be convicted for that - but they're certainly a reason for a political party to publicly show its disapproval. And Labour has failed to do so (if the Greens motion had succeeded, I'd be mostly satisfied - but given its failure, shouldn't Labour be voicing their internal disapproval as well?).

Field may have a political gun to Labour's head - but bluntly, there are some things more important than politics. While its not jail, censuring Field is punishment, and it is the honourable thing to do. Yes, it might result in him jumping ship (though I'm not sure what party would take him), and in the government falling or having to seek new coalition arrangements - but honour has nothing to do with consequences, and as I said, there are some things more important than politics.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/09/2006 02:56:00 PM

I should add that the punishment I want to see for Field is for the police to investigate, and if a case can be proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, for him to spend some time in prison. Until that happens, I think ostracism and the vocal disapproval of his compatriots in Labour is a good start - and at the least would show that they take the issue of corruption seriously.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/09/2006 03:00:00 PM

I/S - it seems that demotion from being a minister, forcing a public apology, the PM stating that PTF has to change the way he operates and supporting another party's motion of censure is not enough voicing of disapproval for you. In fact, you are willing to describe all this as "supporting corruption" because one chance of voicing disapproval has not been taken. Talk about precious.

Yes, there are more important things than petty politics, how about things like representing the folks that actually voted for you. You know, implementing the policies and a form of government that represents the wishes of the voters in this country.

Seems that the wider obligation has been forgotten by people like yourself as you seek to claim some moral high ground that totally ignores the legitamate democratic process.

I want a government determined by elections, not by some dodgy gerrymandering pushed by a dodgy opposition party and their allies like Ian Wishart and the Exclusive Bretheren. I will also chose who I vote for based on a wide range of issues rather than one example of poor behaviour.

I could point to people who are undersireable in any political party and yet on the day I will still vote and there will still be 2 or 3 parties for me to realistically chose from.

Craig, I love MMP for the very reasons you speak of, and in my opinion all governments since MMP have been much more consultative and inclusive and therefore representative.

However Greens abstaining on confidence and supply in this situation would still lead to paralysis. I doubt that the Nats and their allies are in too much of a mood for a consultative approach. They seem very bitter about losing the last election and in no mood to work with Labour on anything much at all.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/09/2006 04:18:00 PM

Craig,

So, George W. Bush is vicious and corrupt so it's A-OK if Philip Field does the same?

If you cannot tell the difference between invading and destroying a nation on a pretext known to be a pack of lies....and getting a few houses painted on the cheap....I think we have a problem.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/10/2006 07:17:00 AM