David Parker’s and Parliament’s reputations enhanced

Last week David Parker was under fire for alleged, with claims he had a ‘close personal relationship’ with property  developers given a Government exemption for overseas investment in a development at Te Arai.

Matthew Hooton said that Parker should stand down pending an inquiry, and made allegations that he later retracted and apologised for. A Facebook post and an NZ Herald article are no longer online.

On Thursday Hooton tweeted:

‘Entirely blameless’ is a major retraction.

Audrey Young writes:  David Parker emerges with reputation not just intact but enhanced

When things get really bad a fog can sit over the whole Government for weeks. Sometimes it results in a political scalp, sometimes it just damages the individual.

Rarely does it enhance the reputation of the minister involved. But in the case of the exemption for Te Arai development to the foreign-buyers ban, that is what has happened to David Parker.

The only other occasion in which a political reputation was clearly enhanced in the face of a ministerial crisis also involved David Parker, in 2006.

He shocked everyone including his own Prime Minister when he resigned as Attorney-General the day allegations were published in Investigate magazine over some historic filing of returns to the Companies Office.

Parker was reinstated to cabinet a few weeks later when evidence turned up at the Companies Office disproving the allegations. He returned a more honourable minister than when he resigned.

In the 10 days since the select committee recommended the controversial 15-year exemption for Te Arai development at Mangawhai, events have moved more slowly, but no less honourably.

And most of the stunning relevant revelations exonerating Parker occurred in House itself as National has put the heat on Parker.

National had legitimate questions for Parker about the background to an exemption for one development at Mangawhai involving settlement funding of two iwi – and Parker more than answered them, which he did so at length, and with reasoned and passionate argument.

It is National’s job to hold the Government and Ministers to account. In this case Parker responded and showed there was no cause for concern about his involvement.

What has emerged is that although the Treasury advised against any exemption for any development, it was done after Parker took a paper to cabinet and sought its approval.

Parker refused to listen to any private pleadings of any developer during the course of the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill banning foreign buyers from buying New Zealand houses.

He made it clear they should make to the committee.

When select committee members and cabinet colleague Shane Jones (at the behest of John Key) raised the potential injustice, Parker did the proper thing and took it to cabinet.

So Parker acted properly.

Disarmingly, Parker did not defend every aspect of what has occurred.

He conceded in the House it was fair enough that National question whether he and select committee should have looked into details about the level of the iwi involvement in the development before recommending the exemption.

As they haver a right to do this, and a responsibility to do this if they think that things warrant proper scrutiny. It was a proper use of Parliament. And Parker responded properly and showed that he had acted properly.

There are still things to be asked over the Te Arai development, but both Parker and Parliament have had their reputations enhanced over this.

Parker stands out as probably the Government’s most capable looking Minister.

Leave a comment

26 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  July 1, 2018

    damage control and about turns with the revelation that Nationals very own Sir John Key was the lobbyist!
    Typical right wing acolytes hunting for blood.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  July 1, 2018

      John Key suggesting Shane Jones meet with the developers to discuss their plight is a red herring – Key and Jones are on friendly terms but Key has no stranglehold over the govt in terms of getting an exemption through – quite the opposite. As pointed out below who was really pushing this one-off exemption through once Jones met with the developers and for what reason?

      Parker’s reasoning regarding iwi rights doesn’t stand up to scrutiny considering the legislation would affect other iwi up and down the country as well, and the conflict of interest regarding the developer’s consultancy company ‘Thompson and Lewis’ (GJ Thompson was acting chief of staff for Jacinda Ardern earlier this year when this was going on & both are ex-Labour staffers) involvement remains unresolved and conveniently forgotten.

      Reply
  2. artcroft

     /  July 1, 2018

    I still find it strange that legislation was written excepting one business by name. Coupled with the fact that the speaker had to send the draft legislation back to get this removed makes it odd indeed.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  July 1, 2018

      Except it was Maori business so expected privilege as of right?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  July 1, 2018

        But the iwi have minimal involvement in the project & no other iwi-related developments like this have received any exemption. Key bought Jones off once already. There’s your suspicious element.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  July 1, 2018

          Iwi think they own this government.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  July 1, 2018

            More the other way round I think.

            Reply
          • Gezza

             /  July 1, 2018

            Although I will concede National hasn’t got a show of having a shoe-in with Maori now because it’s too late for them to start giving any of their newborns Maori names. JAG’s will have at least one, maybe a first name. And if there any other breeders who have any more babies in this government before 2020 they’ll be getting at least one Maori name too. Something I think will score well with Maori & & I quite like the idea anyway.

            Reply
  3. Trevors_Elbow

     /  July 1, 2018

    As Artie says why was the clause put in and by whom?

    Reply
    • Ray

       /  July 1, 2018

      Obviously John Key “dead” hand could force a Labour lead Government to show preference for his rich mate with a specific mention in a bill written to stop just this thing (rich foreigners buying our land).
      If you believe that I have some spectacular investment opportunities designed just for you.
      So if Blazer, Robert Guyton, and any others suffering from John Key Syndrome could send me their bank details, we can make money.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  July 1, 2018

        Key approached Jones.Key gave Jones a cushy sinecure swanning around the Sth Pacific on 200k a year.
        Key thought it was worth a go…quid pro quo sorta style.’
        Main beneficiary is always the billionaire not the Maori….Capitalism downunder 101.

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  July 1, 2018

          Of course the guy inside Ardern’s office (GJ Thompson as Ardern’s acting chief of staff) who also worked for the developer had nothing to do with it….

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  July 1, 2018

            Are there any links between G J Thompson & Key?

            Reply
            • PDB

               /  July 1, 2018

              Wayne Eagleson joined Thompson Lewis in February just as GJ Thompson left his role as Ardern’s chief of staff.

              Concerns were raised at the time about Thompson being put into that role in terms of a conflict of interest.

              https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/22-02-2018/conflict-of-interest-concerns-over-lobbyist-turned-chief-of-jacinda-arderns-staff/

            • Blazer

               /  July 1, 2018

              Eagleson ..Keys right hand man.

            • Gezza

               /  July 1, 2018

              I think any rational observer can conclude that completes the loop.

            • PDB

               /  July 1, 2018

              Again though GJ Thompson is the only one that had direct access and influence deep inside the govt.

              From the Spinoff article: “Without knowing who Thompson’s clients are, it would have been challenging for the department and the prime minister’s office to decide what steps should be taken to mitigate potential conflicts of interest, such as what information Thompson should have had access to, and whether he should have resigned his directorship of the firm.

              A director has legal duties to a company, including to act in the best interest of the company, which they cannot delegate to another director short of resigning. It is possible that by remaining a director Thompson risked at least a tension between his duties to the firm as director, those to the prime minister as her advisor, and those to his employer under the code of conduct.”

              Who is Thompson?: “having served as press secretary to Helen Clark and chief of staff and chief advisor to Phil Goff after Labour moved to opposition in 2008. He is one of several Clark-era staffers involved in the early days of the new government, including Heather Simpson, Clark’s former chief of staff, and Mike Munro, Clark’s former chief press secretary. Munro is now Jacinda Ardern’s chief of staff following Thompson’s departure.”

            • Gezza

               /  July 1, 2018

              So what? Nothing illegal in having principles for hire. Look at Jonesy & Winston.

  4. NOEL

     /  July 1, 2018

    “It has a higher standard of accuracy than last week’s effort about @DavidParkerMP. With everything that has come to light, it’s now clear Mr Parker was entirely blameless in the Te Arai matter”

    Thanks for the heads up buddy. Will by pass anything you write from now on.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  July 1, 2018

      What with Hoots’s Steven Joyce allegation debacle & embarrassing backpedalling & now this Parker one the man has devalued what little value his currency has had for some time now. He’s not someone I’ve paid any attention to as he seems irrelevant. I assume these stunts were meant to reposition him on the political radar but he’ll quite likely just be dismissed as a flock of birds in future.

      Reply
  5. Corky

     /  July 1, 2018

    ”Parker was reinstated to cabinet a few weeks later when evidence turned up at the Companies Office disproving the allegations. He returned a more honourable minister than when he resigned.”

    Bullshit. Wishart’s article was very exact, just like his Winebox investigation. At worst his article points to records, omissions and possible commissions that cannot be explained.

    If ever there was a case to for a politician to sue and claim the scalp of a troublesome investigative reporter, this was it. Nothing happened.

    To be fair, Audrey Young isn’t in Wisharts league. She probably thought that Wisharts investigation was another conspiracy theory, just like his Winebox Investigation.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  July 1, 2018

      Wisharts Paradise Conspiracy was on the…money….thieves and charlatans in suits raiding the public coffers.

      Reply
    • Perhaps nothing much happened (Parker did stand down, was officially cleared, and then reinstated) because Wishart wasn’t as exact as you claim.

      Reply
    • phantom snowflake

       /  July 1, 2018

      I think you’ve missed the obvious as to why Wishart doesn’t get sued. It would only serve to place his bullshit fringe conspiracism in the public view, thereby achieving his aims. Streisand Effect.

      Reply
  6. duperez

     /  July 1, 2018

    It’s all a bit front page headlines in the paper for days and two weeks later a retraction in a small column at the bottom of page four.

    The ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ brigade will have something to work with for years. Hooton will simply move to the next ruck or maul heartened by the magnanimous acknowledgement of his magnanimous apology.

    None of that means there won’t be opportunities for eye-gouging or head kicking being sought in the next period of play.

    Reply

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