Posted By

Tags

Indiscretions of Nash could rattle Labour



This is our Leader in our April 1, 2023 Edition

 

Venkat Raman
Auckland, March 31, 2023

The indiscretions of Stuart Nash in leaking Cabinet proceedings to his business friends have cost him dearly- he lost his ministerial portfolios and stands the risk of losing his political career as well.

Rumours are rife that he will announce his withdrawal from politics after April 15, 2023 so as not to force a by-election in Napier, which has remained with Labour since 2014. In fact, Labour has been the most successful Party in the electorate since it was established in 1861.

That position could become shaky if the New Zealand voters take their unforgiving stand against Members of Parliament, no less ministers playing foul. Politics is a rough game. Just as there is no place for the meek, there is no place for the imprudent.

Mr Nash should have known better than to display such indiscretion- calling the Police Commissioner on a judicial verdict and leaking Cabinet information to two major donors. There could be more revelations in the ensuing days.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins did well, albeit a little late, to call for his resignation.

Opposition’s opportunity

Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon, who also leads the National Party grabbed the opportunity to call for an inquiry into Mr Nash’s behaviour in his various ministerial roles to determine if any other information which is otherwise confidential, has been leaked.

“Minister Nash has walked past the standard,” he said and urged Mr Hipkins to expel him from the Labour Caucus as well.

“This is a really serious and egregious contravention of the cabinet manual. A Cabinet Minister with confidential information which has been discussed in Cabinet, leaking and sharing with his donors is utterly inexcusable. If Mr Hipkins has lost confidence in him how can he be sure that other information has not been leaked?,” he said.

Mr Luxon for a by-election but softened on that position, saying, “None of us wants to go to a by-election. I am sure that it is not helpful for what the people of Napier need,” he said.

The bane of democracies

Leaks are common in democracies, although their discovery and punishment of the guilty may not be as common. In Britain, when the details of the decision of then Prime Minister Theresa May to allow Huawei, a Chinese Telecommunications Company to build the next-generation infrastructure appeared in the Daily Telegraph, an inquiry was launched. In less than a week, it was revealed that the mole was Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. He was sacked.

Ms May was an unlucky Prime Minister- she lost three other cabinet colleagues for behaviour unbecoming of ministers.

Keeping things under wraps is becoming extremely tricky in the age of smartphones which can record and transmit images and data from almost anywhere to anywhere.

But Cabinet meetings are serious business. They involve national security and sensitive issues.

The Cabinet Manual is specific in the Crown’s expectations. Conflicts of interest may arise between Ministers’ personal interests and their public duty because of the influence and power that they exercise, and the information to which they have access, both in the individual performance of their portfolio responsibilities and as members of the Executive.

Ministers are responsible for ensuring that no conflict exists or appears to exist between their personal interests and their public duty. They must conduct themselves at all times in the knowledge that their role is a public one; appearances and propriety can be as important as actual conflicts of interest.

Perhaps it is time to think of harsher penalties for those who breach the norms.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this story

Related Stories

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement