Little avoids stink and Ardern questions

Andrew Little has avoided answering questions about Labour MP Jacinda Ardern’s father being involved as a trustee owner of the resort in Niue that Little was very critical of, having said the deal stinks.

NZ Herald had reported in NZ Labour questions $101,000 National donation and Niue resort management contract links:

Labour leader Andrew Little said the close timing of the donation to the awarding of the contract “stinks to high heaven” and he had asked the Auditor-General to investigate whether it was above board.

“New Zealand money, which was earmarked as aid for the island nation, has instead been given to upgrade a resort run by a National party donor.”

He said it was Mr McCully’s personal appointees on the trust which awarded the contract. “We must have questions answered on how the tender process worked, who knew about links between donations and the tenderer and whether Niuean people will ultimately benefit from the resort’s funding. The perception of propriety is key.”

But…

The Matavai is owned by the Niue Tourism Property Trust on behalf of the Government of Niue, which owned the resort before then. That arrangement was put in place in 2011 to ensure oversight of the aid investment New Zealand was putting in.

Mr McCully appoints the trustees who are Ross Ardern (NZ’s High Commissioner to Niue and father of Labour MP Jacinda Ardern), Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy secretary Jonathan Kings and former High Commissioner Mark Blumsky, who was formerly a National MP and now lives in Niue.

One News reported tonight: Answer the question Mr Little: Labour leader gets repetitive, won’t answer straight on Ardern link

It emerged today that the father of Jacinda Ardern, Ross Ardern, is a trustee owner of the resort, and would have helped appoint the hotel’s board of directors, who organised the contract tender.

Mr Little was asked repeatedly by ONE News if his accusations reflected badly on Mr Ardern, but he wasn’t biting, giving the same stock answer every time.

The interview (with One News edits):

Jessica Mutch: How do you think the trustees were involved in this, one of them obviously the father of one of your front bench MPs? How do you think he’s implicated in this?

Andrew Little: Well the issue isn’t the trustees, I don’t care about the trustees, what I care about is the fact that somebody who donated over a hundred thousand dollars to the National Party one month later gets a contract to run a hotel and then several months later gets seven and a half million dollars. That’s got to be investigated.

Jessica Mutch: You’re saying that you don’t care about the trustees but yesterday you did say that you’ve got all the trustees appointed by the Minister, you were questioning their position of being there. Has that changed now that the attention has come that it is Jacinda Ardern’s father ?

Andrew Little: There is only one issue here and that is a large donor to the National Party…

Jessica Mutch: How do you feel about indirectly implicating and some would say smearing the father of one of your front bench MPs?

Andrew Little: Well apart from that being one of the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard, I would be failing in my duty as the leader of the opposition if having seen a large donor to the National Party…

Jessica Mutch: You did say though that the deal stinks, do you not think that that reflects poorly on him?

Andrew Little: The fact that a large donor to the National Party donated over a hundred thousand dollars…

Jessica Mutch: Was it an oversight, did you forget about the link with Jacinda Ardern’s father? Did you know about it yesterday when you came out so strongly and spoke about it?

Andrew Little: I would be failing in my duty as the leader of the opposition if I didn’t actually draw attention to and ask for an assurance about a donor to the National Party donating…

Jessica Mutch: Isn’t it messy though that Jacinda Ardern’s father is involved in this?

Andrew Little: New Zealanders are entitled to an assurance from this Government when one of their biggest donors gets a Government contract a month later…

Yes it does have the perception of messiness.

And regardless of whether a family of a Labour MP MP is involved or not Little was  over the top with his suggestions that the trustees were involved in something that “stinks to high heaven”.

Ross Ardern is currently New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Niue, so any implication he is in some way connected to a stinky deal is quite a big deal.

It’s fair enough questioning whether contracts given to New Zealand companies are fair and proper, if there’s good cause to question them.

It’s not fair to say deals involving companies and trustees and places like Niue stink to high heaven without good cause.

And if Little wants to remain squeaky clean on perceptions of favours for supporters he will need to be very transparent about any Labour policies that could be seen to favour the unions that had the deciding votes on Little becoming Labour’s leader.

There’s a good reason why stinky smears and demands for inquiries need to be carefully researched to ascertain whether there is good cause to shine a spotlight on them.

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33 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  19th April 2016

    Skewered. Loaded the shotgun. Closed his eyes. Pulled the trigger. Shot his foot. Again.

    Reply
  2. jamie

     /  19th April 2016

    I would be more disappointed if he thought there was something worth looking into but kept quiet because of connections to a colleague’s family.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  19th April 2016

      We’ll have to see how it pans out. What do you think of his YEP policy?

      Reply
      • jamie

         /  19th April 2016

        What’s that?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  19th April 2016

          What’s that? Exactly. It’s new. It looks quite good. Nobody’s heard about it. Because he’s busy muck-chucking, which makes him look nasty and could backfire, instead of telling people about ideas like YEP. Go to his farcebook page. Scroll down to the box.

          Reply
          • jamie

             /  19th April 2016

            I’m probably not going to do that so you might as well just tell me.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  19th April 2016

              Young Entrepreneurs Plan. Google it or go to Labour’s website. Jesus. Do you want me to come round next election and cast your vote for you as well?

            • jamie

               /  19th April 2016

              Not if you’re going to be so pushy about it.

    • Gezza

       /  19th April 2016

      jamie, the media focus is already now on Jacinda’s father. It’s far more titillating than Andrew’s main story. It could end up being the main story with everyone. He doesn’t think these things through IMO.

      Reply
      • jamie

         /  19th April 2016

        Nah he’s just not as good as his opponents at directing the narrative.

        Reply
        • Pantsdownbrown

           /  20th April 2016

          What Little is now saying is the trustees now “don’t stink to high heaven” because he later found out Arderns Dad was a trustee……………the man is a walking disaster and a hypocrite.

          Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  20th April 2016

        It’s moments like these you need Minties.

        Let’s send him a few cartons of them.

        Reply
    • Iceberg

       /  19th April 2016

      The other possibility is that he had no idea. If that’s the (highly likely) case, then attributing him with this strawman virtue makes you look a bit, well, desparate?

      Reply
      • jamie

         /  19th April 2016

        I didn’t attribute any virtue. I think as usual your knee-jerk political bias is reading things into my comments that aren’t there.

        Reply
        • Iceberg

           /  19th April 2016

          Ya got me. I’m biased towards the side capable of running the country.

          You, on the other hand are the champion of the side that is broke, bitter, bitching and facing 9 more years in the same seats.

          Reply
          • jamie

             /  20th April 2016

            This is the knee-jerk I refer to. You assume I’m just you with a different coloured jumper.

            Your mistake is that I’m not championing anybody or any “side”. I’m not interested in this petty sports team approach to politics.

            The pity is that you would already know this if you had been reading instead of simply reacting.

            Reply
            • Iceberg

               /  20th April 2016

              ” I’m not interested in this petty sports team approach to politics.”

              You obviously mean from now on, because this blog is full of your petty sports team comments.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  20th April 2016

        If he had no idea, that shows that his research is very sloppy. Ross Ardern’s position should have been well-known, and AL is left looking very foolish again. He is also looking increasingly desperate.

        Reply
  3. Don McArtuir

     /  19th April 2016

    Just shows you. Capitalisim is corrupt, time to ditch it.

    Reply
    • Iceberg

       /  19th April 2016

      Think you’ll find it’s your spelling that’s corrupt.

      Capitalism (refer above) is the thing that delivers all the technology, services, products and whiskey at the right place at the right time, so that you can make inane comments on the Internet. Cool eh?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  19th April 2016

        I’m at the right place. It’s the right time. I have no whiskey. If Labour can get me the whiskey I might be persuaded …

        Reply
    • John Schmidt

       /  19th April 2016

      To what. No point in ditching anything unless you have something better to go to.

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  20th April 2016

      No, you just showed us how pitiful the rump of Labour’s support is.

      Obviously you cannot believe that as trustee Mr Ardern made a corrupt decision yet this does not inhibit you claiming it was. Credibility = integrity = zero.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  20th April 2016

        It’s a classic example of trying to have a bob each way.

        It’s not as if Ross Ardern was an unknown person with a name like Johnson-he is the High Commisioner, not someone who owns the local BP station. How did AL miss this-both that he was the High Commissioner and his front-bencher’s father ?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  20th April 2016

          His leadership is inspirational. When a brilliant idea hits him in the shower he runs with it before checking it out. That would be my pick. Checking ideas with McCarten doesn’t seem to be a very useful filter.

          Reply
  4. Iceberg

     /  19th April 2016

    How amateur is Little? Doesn’t he realise that the leader never delivers the dirt. At least Hulun would get someone like Pete Hodgeson to do this sort of underhand stuff for her.

    He doesn’t realise he’s in a continuous job interview. It would be like turning up to a job interview and telling the employer you should have the job because the encumbent is rumoured to have stolen a stapler.

    Reply
    • jamie

       /  19th April 2016

      Clark was good at it. Key is very good at it.

      Little has a lot to learn about two-track politics.

      Reply
  5. Kitty Catkin

     /  20th April 2016

    John Key would never be such a fool as to make an accusation that he can’t back up.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  20th April 2016

      Well, there was the claim about the cuppa and the microphone, and the other one accusing Labour of backing rapists …

      Reply
  6. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  20th April 2016

    I will ask again…. Who are Little’s advisors?

    Reply

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