Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Edwards on Heatley

Over on Liberation, Bryce Edwards points out the unpleasant truth in the Heatley resignation which National would rather we ignored:

Various commentators and politicians have expressed bemusement about what they see as the essentially trivialness and non-intentionality of Heatley’s resignation-inducing offence with his credit card. Yet it should be reiterated that [the] Heatley scandal was over what was essentially his theft of taxpayer funds for his own private use. As a minister, Heatley charged Ministerial Services with expenses that he wasn’t entitled to, and then in the case of the National Party conference booze he tried to disingenuously conceal such expenditure in official documents as what he called ‘Minister and Spouse: dinner’. In this particular episode he obviously knew he was inappropriately paying for the wine, because he signed it off as something else, indicating a clear intention to deceive in order to ensure that Ministerial Services paid for what he thought should be his.
As Edwards points out, people outside Parliament get sacked for these sorts of offences (and in some cases prosecuted). But political commentators are treating Heatley's resignation as an over-reaction and saying that he will be back in Cabinet by the end of the year. It seems the ethical sickness doesn't just affect our MPs, but the media who are supposed to watch them as well...