Nick Smith out of the dog box? | The Jackal

8 Oct 2012

Nick Smith out of the dog box?

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Since his resignation, Dr Smith said he had been able to spend more time with his family and also doing constituency work.

He had also been able to spend more time seeking expert advice in policy areas of interest which are likely to be part of the Government's legislative focus in coming months including water, climate change, land use planning and earthquake standards.

That work would be useful "whether I be a backbencher or a rehabilitated minister".

"I'm hopeful I might again be given that opportunity at some stage but equally so that is a call totally for the Prime Minister."

A rehabilitated minister? Don't make me laugh! Nick Smith is still wearing the same old stripes and has undertaken no rehabilitation to make him a better minister. He's the same old dodgy Smith he ever was and it's only been six months since his resignation... Certainly not long enough for the public to forget about his abuse of power.

Just to recap, while minister of ACC, Nick Smith was caught out providing a letter of support to Auckland "friend" Bronwyn Pullar to help advance her claim for compensation. He sought to impose undue influence on ACC and failed to declare his conflict of interest. This is a direct breach of the Government's Cabinet Manual (PDF), which states:

Ministers are responsible for ensuring that no conflict exists or appears to exist between their personal interests and their public duty. Ministers must conduct themselves at all times in the knowledge that their role is a public one; appearances and propriety can be as important as an actual conflict of interest. Ministers should avoid situations in which they or those close to them gain remuneration or other advantage from information acquired only by reason of their office.

Let's be perfectly clear, Smith resigned to avoid an investigation into the extent of his corruption. Without an investigation, Smith can never be exonerated, which should mean he never again returns to a position within cabinet.

In fact he shouldn't be allowed to be a minister at all... But I guess it's too much to ask John Key to uphold those higher ethical standards he used to talk about.