"There's pansies, that's for thoughts."
- Ophelia, Hamlet
The fall of disgraced minister Pansy Wrong offers both thoughts and opportunities.
To lose one minister for abuse of office is an accident. To lose two looks like carelessness. John Key knows that’s what we’re all thinking.
Key says Wrong should not answer questions about her abuse of her parliamentary office to those who paid for her and her husband’s holidays and business trips, i.e., the taxpayers, until all the facts about her abuse of those trips and that office are known.
Translation (straight from the Sir Humphrey Appleby Handbook): “This problem is a bloody nuisance, but we hope that by the time Parliamentary Services reports, four months from now, everyone will have forgotten about it or we can find someone else to blame.*
The fact is that she knows the facts. And if she doesn’t, she’s incompetent. So she should answer now either to her dishonesty or to her incompetence—or both. Now, not when the story has blown over.
The flatulence of John Key on this is disgraceful.
But the demise of the minister of Ethnic Affairs and Women’s Affairs offers a heaven-sent opportunity for him to be decisive.
As the former minister shuffles off into the dustbin of history, he should grasp this as the ideal; opportunity to put the ministries there too over which she presided with such anonymity. Announce that it’s time for them to stop spending money we don’t have to produce reports no-one reads. Time, in other words, to take a hike.
In all the years of their existence, it’s not like they’ve actually achieved anything with all the money we’ve been forced to spend on them.
That’s just one opportunity.
And it offers the opportunity too to declare than MPs will no longer receive the perks about which they’ve demonstrably shown they can’t be trusted to be honest. They must be confiscated without compensation—the only appropriate reaction in a deep recession.
This is surely however an idea whose time has come.
Naturally, however, since such opportunities exist for the PM to be decisive, this flatulent status-quo worshipper will do neither.
UPDATE: You can always rely on David Farrar to completely fail to understand that there’s a world outside Wellington.
Well, no, David. It is not. Or should not be. But what might help make it inevitable is lame-arse lame-brained “analysis” like yours, suggesting these overpaid burdens on the taxpayer deserve more of the same instead of the kick in the pants they deserve.
In case you and your coterie of Beehive Bludgers hadn’t noticed (which you haven’t), whatever your jacked up figures say, we out here in the real world are in middle of a quite severe recession.
Such a time is not the time to increase salaries. It’s a time to cut them—and really quite savagely. It’s a time for these highly-paid and highly-visible beneficiaries to lead by example.
Pansy’s abuse (on top of abuse by legions of others, including Roger Douglas and Rodney Hide) is the ideal opportunity to do that.
In my submission, if anyone were to listen to the Manatee’s ill-thought rationalisations for raising MPs’ salaries then, it would be an(other) example of the benighted following the delusional.