Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The standard you walk past is the standard you accept

When John Key was first elected, he promised "a higher standard of government". Since then we've had Richard Worth, Rodney Hide, and of course John Banks. But yesterday we saw just how low he was willing to go, with the news that he had refused DPMC-head Andrew Kibblewhite's resignation:

The Prime Minister's chief public servant, Andrew Kibblewhite, offered his resignation to John Key for breaching the no-surprises rule in matters crucial to the David Henry inquiry, but it was rejected.

Mr Kibblewhite, however, has apologised to Mr Key for failing to tell him that the content of emails between United Future leader Peter Dunne and reporter Andrea Vance had been sent to the Henry inquiry into the leak of a report into the Government Communications Security Bureau spy agency.

Kibllewhite fucked up grievously in the worst possible way: he oversaw an investigation which ran amok, exceed its authority, violated people's privacy, and repeatedly lied to the public about what it had done. His head should be on a spike next to Geoff Thorn's. But Key is fine with this, because Kibblewhite's "oversight" of not telling him crucial, politically sensitive information has insulated him from blame.

If this is the standard of conduct Key is willing to tolerate from his senior public servants, then we could be in for a very rough ride.