When is John Key going to act on Nick Smith?

Nick Smith gave a reference for his girlfriend and lost his cabinet position…he came back because he is part of the protected mob surrounding Bill English.

Since then though he has continued to be ineffective and somewhat dodgy, but he hasn’t really put a foot wrong until now.

Now it has been revealed that he is part of a scheme to help promote a National List MP ahead of the expected by-election in Mt Roskill.

Housing officials have tried to hide information showing list MP Parmjeet Parmar asked to be part of a housing roadshow to improve her chances at a future by-election.

But in an apparent oversight an uncut version of an internal email has been released to Labour MP Kris Faafoi disclosing the National MP’s plan.

The email from Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith’s private secretary to Housing NZ states: “Parmjeet Parmar has also expressed a strong interest in hosting a roadshow as she is keen to raise local profile in Mt Roskill in case of a by-election.” A by-election in the seat could be triggered by the resignation of sitting MP Phil Goff, who has all but confirmed he will seek the Auckland mayoralty. The email goes on to say Parmar is “keen to support the Maungakiekie event with billboards and letters in Mt Roskill.”   

It notes Onehunga would be a good location “as it is close to the boundary with Mt Roskill”.

But in three other versions of the email contained in the released information the reasons for Parmar’s interest in being at the KiwiSaver Homestart roadshow have been blacked out. Officials said the reasons for the redaction was because it was “out of scope” of Faafoi’s request, They also cited the Official Information Act provision that allows information to be withheld to protect “the free and frank expression of opinions by or between or to Ministers of the Crown or members of an organisation or officers and employees of any department or organisation in the course of their duty”.

Faafoi said it was an outrage the words were deleted.

“It’s not an opinion. She did ask to be part of the roadshow because she wanted publicity to raise her profile in case a by-election was coming up. They’ve been caught out trying to conceal the fact they are using ministerial departmental funding as a showcase for campaigning,” he said.

“That’s an absolute no-no. They are not the reasons you ask to be part of a roadshow that is being run by a ministry or a department. It crosses the line from being an advocate to being out there basically to promote yourself and for votes.”

The documents show the June 11 roadshow in the Maungakiekie electorate cost $460 with all costs covered by Housing NZ. It shows Parmar was a supporting MP at the event along with Maungakiekie MP Sam Lotu-Iiga.

Faafoi said the deletion also raised questions about what else was withheld and whether this was the way officials generally dealt with OIA requests.

It isn’t the cost of the roadshow that is relevant, it is the use of a government department roadshow to shamelessly promote yourself. For the MP that is bad enough, but for a minister like Nick Smith to be a party to it shows he has learned nothing.

This has come from Nick Smith’s office, and being the micro-manager he is he can’t really weasel out of this although he probably will given how useless the opposition is at prosecuting scandals.

This won’t do Paula Bennett any good either as Parmjeet Parmar has made herself a mini-me to Bennett.

Other ministers have been sacked for less, some even cleared by subsequent inquiries but not returned to the ministry. What does it take for John Key to sack Nick Smith?

I mean the idiot should be sacked for even putting this sort of thing in writing so it could be found by the opposition.

This why New Zealand needs an Independent Commission Against Corruption.

 

– Fairfax

 


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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