Should Ngaro have offered his resignation?

Going by Lloyd Burr’s claims in Alfred Ngaro’s threat to Willie Jackson was worse than just a brain fart Ngaro was slow to comprehend or acknowledge the mistake he made in a National Party regional conference speech.

Alfred Ngaro’s threat that non-government organisations shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds is extraordinary.

Not just because of his complete lack of judgement, or the fact he did it on stage in front of hundreds of National Party members, or because it shows cracks in the party’s extreme culture of discipline.

It’s extraordinary because he didn’t back down from his comments until he was forced to.

It was much more than just a brain fart or a case of misspeaking.

Prime Minister Bill English and National’s campaign manager Steven Joyce were quick to activate damage control, downplaying the comments as “naive from a new minister”.

But before they could both get their hands on him and before the storm of bad PR hit, Mr Ngaro was still unapologetic when Newshub asked him to explain.

“It was actually about saying ‘look let’s be mindful about the working relationship we have’,” he told Newshub at the conference.

“It’s the context of saying that on the one hand we’re working together, and on the other hand too, if people are criticising, we just need to be mindful of that type of relationship, yep,” said Mr Ngaro.

NGOs being “mindful” of criticising the Government sounds strikingly similar to threatening them to watch what they say.

“If we’re going to have a positive partnership of working together, then it’s around having that, it’s talking about wider context but also all the things we are doing and working collectively together,” said Mr Ngaro.

“My comments was (sic) just to be mindful of the fact that if we are going to be able to have these partnerships, we’ve just got to be political, what you call sensitive, in that context, yep.”

All this was very embarrassing for National, not just the initial comments but on how Ngaro handled it. His subsequent apology was very lame too.

I’m sure Ngaro regrets what he said but this sounds like a ‘I’m sorry I got found out’ and then a switch to campaign politics sort of non-apology. It is nowhere near good enough.

Audrey Young thinks that Ngaro comments warrant the offer of a resignation

The stupidity of Alfred Ngaro’s judgment at the weekend was so gross it warranted at least his offer of a resignation from the cabinet to Prime Minister Bill English.

None was forthcoming, English confirmed at his post cabinet press conference.

But it was clear from English’s response that he was not looking for a resignation from Ngaro.

That may be because it would have signalled a misjudgment on English’s part in having promoted him in December from the backbench into cabinet.

English did admit, however, that Ngaro had apologised to the cabinet, adding to a long list of groups to which he has apologised.

I haven’t seen a decent apology yet – and this lack of an adequate response is as bad as the initial comments which sounded like insidious political threats.

The biggest reason English has been so forgiving of Ngaro is that he does not believe the junior minister would have followed through on his threat – and there is no evidence of it.

Ngaro has not yet had the opportunity to walk the way he talked. As a new minister, and Associate Minister for Social Housing, his work and decisions are closely watched by Social Housing Minister Amy Adams.

He would not get away with it.

Ngaro’s comments smack of an inexperienced minister trying to sound as though he was an experienced political operator by talking tough.

He showed the complete opposite.

It’s ironic that an inexperienced minister has portrayed his party as arrogantly misusing power after nine years of government.

23 Comments

  1. NOEL

     /  May 16, 2017

    One sentence could be apology whilst the rest promotion of National Party policy.

    Yup fits the form for a trough feeder.

    • Gezza

       /  May 16, 2017

      This is his form:

      “Alfred is a New Zealander of Cook Islands descent married to Samoan-Niuean Moka Fuemana with four children and two grandchildren.

      Alfred was raised in Te Atatū and attended the local schools of Edmonton Primary, Rangeview Intermediate and Henderson High School. He played for the local Rugby clubs and was an active member of Te Atatū St Giles Church. He trained and qualified as an electrician out west [self-employed as one for 5 years according to Wikipedia-G] and also completed his theological degree at the Henderson campus of the Bible College of New Zealand.

      Prior to entering Parliament, Alfred was a consultant in community led development and governance with expertise in New Zealand, Cook Islands and Canada. He co-pioneered several community initiatives such as the Tamaki Achievement Pathway, Healthy Village Action Zone (HVAZ) Project, Whānau ora and the Inspiring Communities Exchange Network sponsored by the Tindall Foundation.

      Alfred’s governance experience includes key roles on the National Anti-Violence Taskforce, Auckland District Health Board and Pacific Advisory Committee Auckland City Council and others.  He is also an Ambassador for the White Ribbon campaign.

      In 2009 Alfred received the Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader Award in recognition of his work.

      In 2011 Alfred entered Parliament as a List MP for the National Party.
      During the 50th Parliament term he was Deputy Chair of the Justice and Electoral Select Committee from February 2013 to February 2014.  From January 2014 to August 2014 he was Deputy Chair of the Social Services Select Committee.

      In 2014 September elections, Alfred represented the National Party for the Te Atatū electorate. Although he did not win the seat he and his team ran a vibrant campaign and halved the majority of the incumbent.  Alfred returned to the 51st Parliament as a List MP based in Te Atatū.

      In October 2014 he became the Chair of the Social Services Select Committee.

      In December 2014 Alfred opened an office in Te Atatū and is proud to be serving the interests of the Te Atatū constituency.

      “Raised, schooled and trained in Te Atatū, I had lots of challenges in my upbringing but I have always taken the positive from this. It allowed me to get a real insight into the tests people in our community face that sometimes leaves them on the wrong side of the tracks. Those insights have helped me to contribute to our team in developing strong social policy that is now delivering results for our country.”

      https://www.national.org.nz/alfredngaro

  2. Ray

     /  May 16, 2017

    This sort of thing is unacceptable but I note certain cultures have trouble differentiating the difference hats those in power have to wear ( thinking Trump and his like here).

    Interesting how a gap of 9 years leads to amnesia about how some in Labour used to work.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/21284/Labour-activist-got-job-as-Setchell-sacked
    Though I am sure Clare Curran MP remembers.

  3. Disclosure first: I know Alfred Ngaro personally, and think he is a very decent bloke.

    His reported comments at the weekend were stupid, but probably fell short of what Helen Clark would have called “a hanging offence”. He was put on the mat by Steven Joyce and Bill English, and as Barry Soper mentioned yesterday (having been on the sharp end of English’s tongue in the past), it would have been a sobering experience. I would be very surprised if he reoffends, and if he does, he cannot expect a third chance.

    What he said about the Salvation Army though was dead right. I know from conversations I have had with church members that there is concern at the level of anti-government activism from the policy arm of the Sallies. The Army is not alone in this, but because of the reach of their social/community programmes, are probably the most invested.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  May 16, 2017

      So he was wrong…but he was right?

  4. Gezza

     /  May 16, 2017

    Damn. No Question Time today. Parliament in recess, resumes Tue 23 May.

  5. Gezza

     /  May 16, 2017

    Beehive Letters take on it.

  6. Blazer

     /  May 16, 2017
    • That’s the beginning of the list I was talking about the other day Blazer … Thanks for posting the link … The Standard has nailed it this time …

      Reminds me of Chris Trotter’s description of the first National government in ‘No Left Turn’.

      “It has been considered polite … not to dwell too much on the intellectual and cultural shortcomings of the first National government, but the truth of the matter is that they were the crudest, most ignorant and bigoted collection of far-right reactionaries by which NZ has ever had the misfortune to be governed.”

      It may be that they’ve been surpassed … ?

      • High Flying Duck

         /  May 16, 2017

        For that to be true we would need to have a right wing government. This one would be be
        a stretch to call centrist. It definitely has leaned to the left.

        And to be honest all Governments get arrogant. Especially when the opposition are complete numpties – it gives them a false sense of superiority.

        Clark’s Govt were shocking – Cullen especially. As were previous Labour and National stripes when they got a third term.

        • Blazer

           /  May 16, 2017

          Cullen was way too clever for the..Nats..not a bad sense of humour either,but the..knighthood…lost me.

          • Corky

             /  May 16, 2017

            High IQ, no doubt…. but his jam tomorrow and never today helped Labour lose power. National then knighted him and made him a useful idiot. People only think they beat the National Machine, Blazer. National has a simple internal motto: ‘bend if you must, but don’t break. On the rebound cut the bastards in two.’

            • Blazer

               /  May 16, 2017

              sounds like the Nats..kick the can down the road…policies…pestfree in….??clean water in??…housing,crime,everything in the distant future when this lightweight cabinet are retired or…dead.

      • Corky

         /  May 16, 2017

        Said like a true Liberal Fascist. Lets be fair Parti- a mass murderer has more chance of being in your good books.

        And mass murder could be on the agenda for the Left post election. Lets hope Andy has the good sense to step down as leader on election night should he lose.

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