After the appalling behaviour of the Prime Minister in Parliament, what a way to end the week with 3 examples – count them – 3 examples of National Party Corruption in just one day.
1 – National MP busted ‘trying to use taxpayer money for political campaigning’
Housing officials tried to hide a National MP’s attempt to use a Government housing roadshow to raise her own public profile, documents show.
The Labour Party said National list MP Parmjeet Parmar was guilty of trying to use taxpayer money for political campaigning, and officials had been caught red-handed trying to cover it up.
Documents released to Labour MP Kris Faafoi revealed Dr Parmar wanted to co-host a meeting for the Government’s HomeStart programme near Mt Roskill, where a by-election will be triggered when current MP Phil Goff runs for the Auckland Mayoralty.
“Parmjeet Parmar has … expressed a keen interest in hosting a roadshow as she is keen to raise local profile in Mt Roskill in case of a by-election,” an email from Housing Minister Nick Smith’s private secretary said.
Dr Parmar wanted to support the event with billboards and letters, the email said.
Officials said a roadshow meeting in Onehunga would be a good location because it was close to the boundary with Mt Roskill.
Mr Faafoi said it was “black and white proof” that National was using Ministry and departmental funds for political purposes.
There was also a further twist. The key passages which revealed that Dr Parmar wanted to use the roadshow for campaigning were redacted by housing officials in three other versions of the email released to Labour.
The passages were redacted by officials on the grounds that they were “out of scope” and to preserve “the free and frank expression of opinions by or between or to Ministers of the Crown”, their employees, or departments.
Mr Faafoi said National had been caught out trying to hide “a dodgy bit of campaigning”.
“The facts are clear,” he said. “National has been caught red-handed hiding the truth, and it has been spending taxpayers’ money to campaign.”
So that’s purposely using Ministry funding to boost a National Party candidates profile to run in Phil Goff’s electorate of Mt Roskill.
2 – Flag process: Was it a spin job?
Nearly a third of public submissions to the Government’s flag consideration panel, all of them critical of the process and supporting the current ensign, were ignored in official reports and advertisements purporting to show public opinion.
Labour Party MP Trevor Mallard said the revelation showed the process was suffering from “total spin” and the panel was pushing to change the flag in breach of its mandate to be neutral.
The discounted submissions were revealed following analysis of more than 26,000 online submissions to the “stand for” campaign run by the flag panel from May to July.
So the government dishonestly dumped people complaining about the process and calling to retain the flag yet pretended it was an actual representation of public interest. That’s pretty bad, but the 3rd is the worst…
3. Damning report rewritten after ‘war-room’ meetings
A damning report by an education watchdog about babies and toddlers was partially rewritten after high-level meetings about its “risk” to the Government.
Documents show Ministry of Education advisers also tried to mitigate the impact of the Education Review Office report by planting good-news stories to balance negative media coverage, and carefully crafting a communications “narrative” during “war-room” meetings before its release.
Politicians and sector experts say the behaviour is concerning, and have raised queries about potential political interference in an independent body, plus a lack of transparency at the agencies.
…so another Ministry bent over backwards to hide the truth of another failure for National Party policy.
Misuse of Ministerial funds, a corrupt flag process, education officials hiding failures and a PM who thinks asking questions about citizens having their human rights abused mean you’re siding with the rapists, child molesters and murderers.