Vance on Sabin

Andrea Vance indicates that the media knows the story behind Mike Sabin’s resignation but can’t tell it in Five unanswered questions from the Beehive (but some of her questions aren’t really Beehive questions):

3. Does a politician ever really step down for family reasons?

In Russel Norman’s case: it’s complicated.

In Mike Sabin’s case it’s even more complicated.

All Sabin has indicated was ‘personal reasons’ via a press release: “Mr Sabin said he had decided to resign due to personal issues that were best dealt with outside Parliament.”

John Key, who should by now know most of what it’s about, said:

“Mr Sabin reached that conclusion himself on the back of personal and family reasons he is pursuing.

“He’s obviously made the best decision for himself and his family.”

In what looks like one of the worst kept secrets ever it is widely believed that Sabin has now been been charged of an offence or offences by police and has made a court appearance.

4. Why was the usually loquacious Key acting so weird on Sabin?

Like I said, it’s complicated. When a job is a stake, natural justice is always a consideration. That is less easy to hide behind when an MP is at the centre of a police investigation. Key clearly didn’t want to be anywhere near this damaging scandal and all but threw Sabin under the bus with his taciturnity. Less than 24 hours before the resignation, Key told reporters Sabin would be at a Tuesday caucus meeting – suggesting that behind the scenes things weren’t under control in the way he would have liked.

Key shouldn’t have had a police matter under control, and he was bound by principles of natural justice and confidentiality.

The whole issue will not be something Key will have liked at all. But as a party leader you often have to deal with things largely outside your control, including MPs getting into trouble in their private lives.

I suspect that if a colleague of Vance’s got into trouble like Sabin appears to have she or her boss wouldn’t have much control over it either, and I also suspect they would be very careful about what they said about it. Probably more careful and less critical than they are with Sabin’s case.

But on Sabin the media have let out enough information and hints over the last six weeks to enable us to have a good guess about what is going on.

Sabin was under police investigation, it was serious enough to use an investigation team outside Sabin’s home province and old workplace (he is an ex Northland detective) and is likely to have now been charged over something serious that appears to be family related.