The coming by-election in Northland

The National Party have been slow on the uptake, with the stories about Northland MP Mike Sabin’s repeated offending being known for about a month.

Police have been investigating an assault complaint against government MP Mike Sabin.

The investigation is related to events in Northland, but detectives working on the case are based in Waitemata, north Auckland.

The investigation was moved south from Whangarei because Sabin was a police officer based there until 2006.

The officer in charge, Detective Inspector Kevin Hooper, refused to confirm Sabin was the subject of an investigation.

The story itself, which National have sat on for weeks, is almost too horrible for words, and there is little doubt that there will be a by-election in Northland.

This is the problem you get when you have an ethically challenged party hierarchy.

Northland was a strong National seat under John Carter, but it has lost a lot of its members and organisational knowledge since he has left.

Even so the by election will be won by National, as it the majority is currently 9300, and Labour’s well regarded Willow-Jean Prime is pregnant so it is unlikely she will be able to contest the by election.   

The potential by-election in Northland is going to cause National all sorts of problems. National’s ethically challenged party hierarchy have not been on the ball so have not dealt with this issue swiftly.

Word from Fraser House is that senior whip and pink cocktail drinker Chris Hipkins is sitting on another ethics story where a senior National Party figure has been nailed for wife beating, and doing a whole lot of things that are not OK. Combine that with the Sabin story and it really looks like John Key doesn’t care about ethics.

Ethics in politics matter.

Often the left get ethics wrong when they claim National are unethical essentially crying wolf.

The public expect politics to be dirty, and accept that it is, but they don’t accept wife beating, sex offending, assaults or other major ethical lapses.

John Key won’t find the radio interviews and tv appearances quite so easy if he is having to defend wife beaters or people under investigation for serious offences.

He should remove this problem by quietly cutting the throats of the wrong doers.

John Key really needs to get his Chief of Staff to up his game otherwise the next three years are going to be tough.

It’s politics though, no hard feelings.


– Sunday Star-Times


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  • Michael_l_c

    ‘otherwise the next three years are going to be tough.’
    Add to that Sky City, the cash grab by Bogan from Auckland power users, Jerry walking throu restricted doors & a few more that I am sure I have missed. JK aka teflon is looking a bit sticky. JK warned his MP’s about the third term, perhaps he needs to look in the mirror & keep repeating the warning.
    Is this the beginning of the slide to a messy National coalition in 3 years?

    • armotur

      Add to that endorsing the stupid move by Police to threaten drivers by attempting to enforce an unenforceable 1km over the limit rule.

      Add to that supporting the bill to reduce the blood alcohol limit to gather revenue and to penalise many sensible drinkers, particularly rural residents.

      • Wallace Westland

        Yes. the Nats continued backsliding to the PC teatotalier & wowser factions normally aligned with the left will not go unremarked.

      • burns_well_eh

        As someone that has been caught and paid for more speeding transgressions than most, including a DQ for demerits, I still have trouble understanding the unfathomable stupidity of people who fail to comprehend the words they utter.

        Which part of “over” “the” “limit” do you not understand?

        Speeding fines are a tax on stupidity, and the means to avoid them is completely in your own hands; the same with drink-driving. Complaining about “penalising sensible drinkers” is utter nonsense. I suppose you’re one of those who “drives better with a couple under your belt” and always has time for a “roadie”.

        • armotur

          You are unwise to make assumptions. I choose not to drink and drive. My point it about stupid laws that further control our lives.
          I have many friends who are very carefull to drink sensibly and drive under the old limit without issue. Now it means they need to be very careful, they will be but your comments don’t change my view on these particular issues.
          On the 1 km over the limit issue, to me this is simply scare tactics by Police, There is the question of accuracy of both car speedos and police equipment which means it is likely that there will be many. Challenges to speeding tickets issued for 1-4 km over the limit.

          • burns_well_eh

            Good on you for not driving after drinking. I have no qualms about consuming a couple of glasses of wine with dinner and still driving, but if I miscalculate and blow over .05 I won’t whine about it. I think the law’s fine and I have no need or desire to drink to the point where my driving is more of a risk than it otherwise would be.

            Your friends were “very careful to drink sensibly” and now the law has changed “they need to be very careful”. So, situation normal, I guess.

            Good luck challenging your speeding ticket for 1kph over the limit – if one is ever issued, which I very much doubt. Accuracy of speedos is always up for debate, but accuracy of laser police equipment is much harder to call into question – trust me, I’ve tried – and failed.

  • Souvlaki

    If what is alluded to is true…….its certainly NOT a good look, and your suggested remedy prudent!

    • dgrogan

      But at what point is it decided that what is alluded to IS true? And, who gets to make that decision? The court of public opinion, the PM or the justice system?

      • It’s politics, the court of public opinion rules.

        • dgrogan

          That’s harsh. Just another reason why i ask the question: “Who would want to be a politician?”

          • MaryLou

            You’re right, but people on both sides have always lost their job with only suspicions hanging over their heads. Dover Samuels was also one – it’s not just National. And no – I wouldn’t want to be a politician either! If people are cleared after an enquiry, just like in any other workplace, they should be able to be reinstated wherever possible…

  • dgrogan

    “He should remove this problem by quietly cutting the throats of the wrong doers”.

    You mean sack them before they’ve even been convicted?
    I think the PM has already demonstrated he’s got the stones to take this approach. You’ll recall what happened to Judith Collins, before she was cleared.

    • Yeah and Judith hasn’t done anything wrong…so why are these ratbags still in their jobs?

      • Effluent

        Maybe he’s learned something from the fallout over Judith Collin’s sacking. I’m not saying anything about his ethics, but as a very astute political operator, he might have taken the point you made at the time, that his colleagues would be feeling nervous after seeing how he dumped a senior member of caucus quite ruthlessly . If you were right, he’d have good reason to play things a bit more procedurally now. Good point about the CoS, though, it does appear that since the last one left, he isn’t as well advised on the more delicate questions.

        • Reid

          Only problem is, he’s NOT a very astute political operator. He’s great at calculating the political market based on what’s already happened, but politics requires foresight in knowing what’s going to happen, which he doesn’t have. It also requires leadership, which he doesn’t have either, otherwise he wouldn’t have allowed the internal factions to develop as they have and he would have run a ship that would have prevented idiots like Hauti and Garner from being selected.

          Fact is, Key is where he is because most voters and political observers are unsophisticated and conflate popularity with political success; his opposition had been complete tits since Day One of his Administration; and 99.99999% of the media in this country are utter morons who wouldn’t recognise a story if it physically assaulted them and landed them in hospital and even if they did recognise it, they wouldn’t know how to play it because their ideology wouldn’t let them think straight when they sat down to type it out.

    • peterwn

      There are ways and means of removing someone without sacking them. A high school principal caught one of his staff eavesdropping on a School Board meeting. Principal sought his resignation, teacher refused. By the time the principal had finished with the teacher, the teacher needed a few months in Kingseat to recover. Contemporary employment law would not apply between a MP and his/her party leader. Easier to smell the coffee and move on. Removal from Select Committees and a seat in the back corner of the Chamber is just the beginning.

  • Michael

    Sounds like a “Back to basics” campaign is about to happen to National. Time to clean out the trouble in one go. Anyone who refuses to go will have the whip withdraw their vote, even if it brings down the Government

  • caochladh

    In my book, if a public servant knows he or she has done wrong, the hand should go up automatically and they should stand aside. However, the current entrenched mind-set dictates that they hunker down and try to blag their way out. Ultimately, it takes an army of people with crowbars to prise them free of the public purse and that is just not right.

  • Warren Murray

    John Key can’t dismiss Sabin as easily as he can sack a Cabinet minister. There’s also a risk he might operate independently.

    There’s an investigation underway, he hasn’t been charged either but it’s not a good look.

    Sabin was on the way up having been recently appointed Chair of the Parliamentary Law and Order Committee. That call doesn’t look too good at the moment.

    They are damned if they knew about this before the election. He could have retired at the election and stepped down quietly.

    I sometimes wonder about the quality of National’s talent pool when stories like this break. How did they select people like Claudette Hauiti and Aaron Gilmour?

    • mitchell

      I have had the pip with Cameron for awhile over his association with Hotchin and Graham and for his distasteful and rabid rant against Judith Collins and so have not felt inlined to comment. His blog of course and he will say whatever he likes.
      However your letter encourages me that there is still some good sense to be found on this site.
      While National are certainly the only party fit to govern right now it says more about the pathetic state of the opposition than it does about any supposed ability on Nationals part. Some of them talk about Simon Bridges being leadership material for goodness sake.
      How did Gilmour and Hauiti get through the selection process? Why is Nova Pay such a debarcle? Who advised the Government on Nova Pay and at what cost? Why do they still use them? There are lots of things that the Government should be able to do to a much higher standard.
      The people are poorly served if their only choice for a Government is between a union led cabal of fools or a self serving old boys club.

      • mitchell

        I meant to say, I know nothing about the situation with Sabin but if it is indeed factual it certainly needs to be dealt with quickly.

      • Warren Murray

        Thanks for that, i feel the same about the people you named above.

        I must be a bit dim, as Sabin initially selected for 2011, after said events, and this would have been picked up by the Party’s vetting process. So expecting him to quietly bow out in 2014 wasn’t going to happen.

        If the allegations have any substance, due process will be followed and National will be down 1 vote for a couple of months.

      • Backdoor

        The NovaPay contract was signed by Trevor Mallard and was a Labour initiative. The previous pay system was becoming old and unstable. Unfortunately National inherited the mess. By the time National had come into office much work had been done on the new programme. With the old system starting to fail, the decision was made to implement NovaPay. Unfortunately Talent2 found that the development of NovaPay was far beyond their ability.

  • Sally

    The way I read this is there is only one MP who is being investigated. The other is a party official. Surely National Party members can stand up and cancel his membership.

  • Wheninrome

    The Public are too lenient, or do I mean the Press create a story which enables the public at large to forgive “crimes” against the person by those in the limelight, think Rugby players, cricketers and other sportsmen. Is politics another sport?
    Think teachers.
    Perhaps it is time to get tough at the top THEN the public might be more accepting of change at the bottom, ie. troughers on the public purse.
    What is the saying, lead by example.

    • James

      i agree- this Wiemar Republic is too sensitive