Wednesday, February 04, 2009

ACT recommends business breaks the law

One of ACT's key platforms last election was law and order. They pushed for tougher sentences, "three strikes and you're in", and they stacked their list with refuse from the Sensible Sentencing Trust (including death penalty advocate David Garrett, who is now their "law and order" spokesperson. So you'd expect them to take a pretty strong view on lawbreaking, right?

Wrong. ACT leader Rodney Hide is going around recommending businesses break the law whenever it is inconvenient for them:

TVNZ's Close Up programme last night said Christchurch businessman Gary Bull had been told by his local council that if he wanted to build a shower for his employees then he had to make it wheelchair accessible.


Asked if Mr Bull should ignore the law and "do it on the sly", Mr Hide said "Look as a minister I can't recommend breaking the law, but I believe he should."

Asked if that was not an extraordinary thing for a minister to say, Mr Hide replied it was, but it was not possible for people to comply with the law.

Asked again if he was advising Mr Bull to break the law, Mr Hide replied that since he had been on TV the council might frown upon it, but he personally would take issue with a council for "running over this guy".

This is simply extraordinary. Hide isn't just a minister, but the minister in charge of the sector responsible for policing the Act. And he's not only saying "break the law", but also offering his personal protection for doing so. In other words, behaving like a feudal gangster.

The Cabinet Manual requires Ministers to "act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards". Do you think this is the case? Answers to