Thursday, 20 September 2018

Sorry, Mr Bridges

Simon Bridges has accused the PM of weak and indecisive leadership and says the Coalition government is "coming apart at the seams."  Several journalists have also said the PM Jacinda Adern has been too slow in coming to decisions. 

What are their reasons for these accusations?

 In general, the lengthy consultative processes which precede government decision-making.  

More immediately, the  PM refusing  to demote  Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri (who had been charged for misconduct relating to an incident in Gisbourne in late August in which the Minister allegedly assaulted as staff member) until she received and fully considered the report of Ministerial Services. 

On receiving this report  tonight, the PM dismissed the Minister, saying "I no longer have confidence in Meka Whaitiri as Minister at this time."

Whaitiri will, however, retain her role as Maori Caucus co-chairperson thanks to the support of caucus members, and she will, of course, remain the MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti, the PM noting her "incredibly hard" work in the electorate.

The PM has asked that a  version of the report be released to the public.  

Sorry, Mr Bridges.  I do not see the PM's actions as evidence of weak  or  indecisive leadership  or of a Coalition in collapse mode.   

Rather,  I see this incident as further evidence of a cool-headed leader following a process of natural justice and facts-based enquiry where decisive action is taken only after the full facts are known.  

Do we take it, Mr Bridges, that you would act otherwise, judging a person guilty before an enquiry?

I hope not because if the Leader of the Opposition really thinks otherwise,  many in National would not agree, and the Opposition could well  find itself coming apart at the seams.

Most New Zealanders would agree that our whole justice system is based on that central tenet of British justice: a person is innocent until proven guilty. And justice takes time.


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