Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Key backs Brownlee

Over the weekend I revealed papers I had obtained using the OIA [PDF] which showed that Gerry Brownlee had mislead Cabinet in arguing for an inflated rate of pay for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Review Panel (which includes National Party crony and former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley). The papers show that while Brownlee had told Tony Ryall and Cabinet that his appointees would not work for a mere $270 - $415 a day, he was simply making it up. He'd never asked them, and it was simply his own judgement that it was a Very Important Job and they were Very Important People - something already factored into the standard rates.

So, how does John Key, Brownlee's boss, feel about this? Will he enforce basic standards of honesty and integrity on his Cabinet Ministers?

Yeah, right:

Asked if he was happy with the process, Mr Key today said the Government tried to make sure pay scales were "at the modest end" but special skills were needed in particular cases.

He said he clearly remembered Mr Brownlee telling Cabinet the rates were not high enough.

"The advice that he gave us was that those pay rates were required, that those specialist skills and because of the nature of the process in Christchurch, it was appropriate."

Mr Key said he accepted Mr Brownlee at his word.

Which was fair enough at the time. The problem is that we now have evidence that Brownlee was lying. Sadly, no journalist seems to have asked him what he thinks of that.

Unlike John Key, I think this is serious. Misleading your fellow Ministers and Cabinet in order to enrich a crony is corrupt. And it is Not Fucking Acceptable. Key should be demanding Brownlee's head on a spike. But I guess this sort of mutual back-scratching is just the way things are done in the National Party.