Justice and law are too often only marginally related.
So it seems to be with John Banks and his anonymous mayoral campaign donations.
It’s not a good look but National had this outcome well covered from the beginning – rapidly lowering the required ethical standards bar for ministers from ‘highest’ in 2008 to just ‘legal’ in 2012.
Phil Heatley resigned as a minister in 2010 for claiming $70 worth of wine as a ministerial dinner. The Prime Minister said that Heatley had been 'untidy and careless' with his expense claims. How times change.
And stay the same. As John Armstrong points out, while Key needs to distance himself from Banks there are stronger motivations at work: ‘as Helen Clark did with Winston Peters, Key needs Banks' parliamentary vote’ – see: Toothless law Act leader's saviour
. The local electoral law should be changed pronto, but even doing that will be too much of an admission of guilt says Armstrong.
Labour are making lots of noise – see Andrea Vance’s Labour not satisfied as police close Banks case
– but they and Winston Peters have already done their bit to eliminate public expectations that ethics will trump political necessity. Banks and Act’s credibility will be the only serious casualties – or would be if there was any credibility left. Any doubt that Act is a ‘dead party walking’ it is now gone, and the only winners will be the potential replacement coalition partners: Colin Craig’s Conservative Party and, yes, Winston Peters.
It’s curious that on issues where MPs are free to speak their mind there is so much coyness about how they will vote. Isaac Davison’s Same sex marriage has wide support
makes the best job of assessing what stated support there is for Louisa Wall’s bill on marriage equality.
Patrick Gower thinks it will pass, but it may be close. Rather than exercising their own ‘conscience’ Gower says that many National MPs will ‘follow the leader’, and so John Key’s vote could be the deciding factor – see: Key will decide if same-sex marriage goes ahead
. There are some, of course, only too willing to share their views, including the Conservative Party leader – see: Colin Craig: Gay isn't 'normal'
. While his views are well within the minority, his target is only the 4-5% needed to enter parliament in 2014, and this Labour MP’s bill may actually provide the parliamentary coalition partner National desperately needs after that election.
The NBR’s Rich List is out, this year with an added international section – see: A place for business and pleasure – the international NBR Rich Listers
. This begs the question as to how much it is actually a ‘New Zealand list’ in any case. Owning a holiday home here seems to be stretching the definition of ‘New Zealand’ a bit, but finding out which of them actually pay taxes here might stretch the NBR’s investigative powers too far. Not many, may be the answer according to No Right Turn – see: A timely question
Nevil Gibson bemoans ‘the lack of understanding of how wealth is generated and the role of private enterprise in the economy. The Rich List provides insights into what one group of New Zealanders – and some foreigners who have invested here – have achieved’ – see: NBR RICH LIST 2012: Lessons in wealth
While the focus is on the up-and-comers and down-and-outers, the vast bulk of the list is actually fairly much the same as it has been for years. The lesson in many cases would actually to be born into a wealthy dynasty. Russian oligarch’s can teach us a thing or two apparently as the top rich-lister is Alexander Abramov ($7 billion). The NBR may want be careful in expanding this category in future – learning too much about how Russian billionaires came upon their wealth can actually be hazardous to ones health. In the case of another foreign inclusion – the Dowager Duchess of Bedford ($1 billion) – the lesson is presumably to carefully play both sides of the parliament vs King struggle and make sure the serfs pay their tithes on time.
Other important or interesting political items today include:
Chris Trotter laments that New Zealand politicians seem to deliberately dumb themselves down in an attempt to display ‘faux egalitarianism’ – see: Intelligence and the average Kiwi.
Emotional reactions to legislation are not just limited to so called conscience issues as Tariana Turia is moved to tears as four treaty settlements were finalised yesterday – see: Kate Shuttleworth’s 'Dark times' remembered as Treaty claims settled.
Paid Parental Leave and Maggie Barry
NBR Rich List