Northland shootings

The killing of two women and injuring of a man in Northland looks like a tragic and sad mix of mental illness and firearms.

It was known that the murderer was a frequent user of firearms.

It seems to have been known that he suffered from mental illness and depression, and he had a record of violence.

He didn’t have a firearms license but had somehow acquired a lot of weapons.

RNZ:  Gunman had multiple weapons – reports

Police are refusing to discuss how a convicted criminal who shot two women was able to collect firearms without a licence.

Quinn Patterson killed property manager Wendy Campbell, 60, and her 37-year-old daughter Natanya on Wednesday morning when they visited his home with a contractor to install smoke alarms. The contractor was also shot, but managed to escape and raise the alarm.

There are reports that Patterson, aged in his 50s, had multiple guns and other weapons, including grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Police have confirmed he did not have a firearms licence.

He served 18 months in prison for stabbing a police officer multiple times with a 33cm hunting knife in Hamilton in 1983.

Patterson’s only sister, Gloria, says her brother’s mental and physical health deteriorated rapidly this year and she had urged him to seek help.

NZ Herald: Northland shooting: A portrait of killer Quinn Patterson

Friend Leah Cameron said Quinn’s father brought his children up with a “Doomsday” mentality.

“He was fatalistic about the world, that it was not a good place. He could have been classed as being a bit of a fanatic”.

He made his children dig graves with him and he and his wife apparently wrote a book about UFOs.

Patterson liked guns despite friends saying he did not have a licence and was not a hunter. Neighbours would often hear him shooting in his backyard.

“He just shot in his back lawn by the sounds of it, you could hear it from here, you could hear it from everywhere,” Walters said.

“They were big guns. we’re talking automatics, semi-automatics, big calibres. They sounded like cannons, you could hear them going off with, like, 16 rounds.

“He was just sort of a law unto his own.”

He became paranoid and started to accumulate several weapons. A friend told Newshub he had grenades, shotguns, rifles and hand guns. He had “barricaded” himself in the property with bars on the windows.

He was becoming more and more depressed and paranoid, friends said.

He had taken several types of medication over the years, including sleeping tablets and had tried natural medication, vitamins and exercise in an attempt to get better.

There are some obvious questions that need to be asked about all this.

Hikoi highlights ‘P’ problems

This year’s hikoi to Waitangi highlighted ‘P’ problems, which are a major issue in Northland. It’s a good choice for the hikoi, addressing problems that the community can and should do something about.

Northern Advocate: Northland hikoi from Cape Reinga to Waitangi demands end to P scourge

Marchers in an anti-P hikoi from Cape Reinga to Waitangi say they succeeded in raising awareness about the drug’s devastating effect on Northland – and where people can go for help.

More than 500 people took part in the final stage of the hikoi yesterday from the campground next to Te Tii Marae to the Treaty Grounds, where they were given a rousing welcome at Te Whare Runanga (the carved meeting house).

A day earlier about 50 people arrived at Waitangi after a five-day walk from Cape Reinga, with more joining in each time the hikoi passed through towns on the way.

While past hikoi have focused on environmental or land issues, this year’s called on Government and iwi leaders to do more to combat methamphetamine, also known as P.

The hikoi was also unusual in that it had wholehearted backing from the police, and some of the marchers called on the Government to boost police numbers so they were better able to fight the class A drug.

The Government recently announced a significant increase in police numbers.

Hikoi leader Reti Boynton, of Kaitaia, said in parts of Northland it was easier to find P than it was to get cannabis, and addicts had to wait three to six months to get into rehab. By then it was often too late.

The drug made people aggressive and willing to sell anything to get it, he said.

“It turns women into prostitutes, men into thieves, and takes food out of cupboards. And what is the Government doing about it? Nothing.”

I don’t think it’s true that ‘the Government’ is doing nothing about it, but ‘P’ has become a major problem.

And it’s not just up to the Government and the police to deal with social issues, society itself, and communities, need to take some responsibility in speaking up and acting.

Which is what this hikoi has done. Good on them.

By-election in Clutha-Southland

What are the chances of a by-election in the Clutha-Southland electorate?

It has been  reported that 24 year old MP Todd Barclay, or something related to him in his electorate, is subject to a police inquiry. See Police involved in MP complaint.

Two of Barclay’s staff members have resigned, as has his electorate chairman who said his position was ‘untenable’.

There has been talk of a secret recording being made, but (and this is only online speculation) there are suggestions the problem could potentially be more serious.

There have been posts about this at Kiwiblog – More weirdness in Clutha-Southland – and The Standard – Wee Todd Barclay may have a wee problem with discussions about possibilities in comments.

National have already had electorate problems this term, at the other end of the country in Northland. MP Mike Sabin mysteriously resigned not long after the 2014 election, and the damage from that and the skilled political opportunism of Winston Peters meant an embarrassing electorate loss for National, and the loss of a crucial seat in Parliament.

National can ill afford to lose another electorate and another vote in Parliament.

What are the chances of a by-election in Clutha Southland? I don’t know, it’s too soon to tell.

Could National lose the seat in a by-election? I doubt it, it currently has one of the biggest National majorities in the country. And Winston Peters is tied to his electorate at the opposite end of the country.

Comparing the two electorate party vote results from 2014:

CluthaSouthlandNorthland

Barclay got a similar electorate vote (63.27%) to the party vote.

Labour’s candidate Liz Craig bettered her party result with 19.62% but it’s hard to see a Labour candidate getting close in a by-election. In the past two elections they haven’t stood a local candidate. Craig is an epidemiologist from Dunedin (Otago University child health academic). And  in 2011 Labour’s candidate was Dunedin chiropractor Tat Loo (aka Colonial Viper).

NZ First didn’t stand a candidate in either electorate in 2014.

After Peters won Northland in the by-election last year Southlander Ria Bond entered parliament as NZ First’s next list candidate. But she hasn’t got anything like Peters’ experience or profile, and her background in the hairdressing industry is unlikely to gel in a largely rural electorate.

Bond didn’t stand in an electorate in 2014 so presumably has scant campaigning experience.

So it looks unlikely that National could lose Clutha-Southland in a by-election.

But they could lose a lot of votes and be embarrassed, not just be a reduced winning margin but by the bad publicity another electorate MP in trouble would give them.

Currently John Key and Bill English (who had been Clutha-Southland MP until going list only in 2014) are publicly standing by Barclay.

But they and National can’t risk botching another MP scandal. The Clutha-Southland electorate is probably not a serious threat for them, but the overall party vote and their hold on government could take a serious hit.

A young and inexperienced MP in a super safe seat could potentially end the Key Government’s tenure.

Whatever the police are investigating and whether the police lay charges or not may determine whether there is a by-election in Clutha-Southland.

How National are seen to handle it may significantly influence the outcome of the next election.

Team Key and English are one of National’s  main strengths. Hugging another political corpse would not be a good look. They must have checked out the risks that Barclay poses, it would be politically stupid not to have.

Giving an impression of sweeping things under the carpet will be a bad look.

The Clutha-Southland may not be at risk for National, but Government could be.

 

Winston peters out… Northland relieved

A clever tweet (it does happen sometimes):

Peters a million dollar muck raker?

After acting indignant about a minor dig from John Key in Parliament that he either took major exception to or saw it as an excuse for getting some media attention – see Peters back to barrel scraping  – Winston Peters has proven he is as adept as any politician in making up allegations.

In Question Time on Wednesday Key suggested that Peters spent time in his Northland electorate on his boat fishing – “Not if you count time in your electorate being on a boat, fishing”.

Just prior to that Peters had himself made a claim without proof (and unprovable) – “is it not a fact that I have spent more time in my electorate in the space of just 9 months than he has for the whole time he has been an MP in his electorate?”

Peters followed this up with a $100k challenge to Key to prove his jibe. Key declined.

Then yesterday Peters made the headlines again.

Winston Peters demands explanation after being barred from school bus

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is demanding an explanation from the Education Minister — after being barred from travelling on a school bus.

In a press release titled, “Minister throws Peters off bus”, the MP for Northland said he was today scheduled to visit the Mangakahia Area School, which is at Titoki about 23km northwest of Whangarei.

The community there has been campaigning against the amount of dust thrown up from unsealed roads.

However, Ministry of Education officials informed organisers that the NZ First leader would not be able to join the children on their school bus, as planned.

He suspected that directive came from the National Party, that “will stop at nothing to thwart the Northland MP from doing his job”.

“Minister of Education Hekia Parata must provide answers as to today’s appalling and disgraceful decision-making.”

So Peters has accused the National Party of interfering. This is from his press release:

Northland Bus Ban Just Petty Bullying

Banning Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters from a bus was an act of petty bullying by the government, the MP says.

“For Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye and ministry officials to claim my presence would breach a certificate of loading is bizarre.

“This is a government pushing their officials to tell porkies, to cover up a nightmare of political decision making that went so horribly wrong. They bullied the bus company.

“For the Associate Minister to say, as the media reported, that there were safety concerns if a bunch of politicians went on board with the schoolchildren is absurd.

“This was about one MP, who is a former teacher, has a police clearance, and was invited by parents and a school principal, being banned for political reasons.

“Now we have the government resorting to a cover-up described appropriately by broadcaster Willie Jackson and his commentator today as Busgate – that’s when those in power lie to cover up wrongdoings.

There’s serious repeated accusations of lying to cover to cover something up.

Radio NZ reported:  The wheels on the bus grind to a halt for Peters

Mr Peters was going to take a trip on a school bus in his Northland electorate today but was stopped from doing so after the Education Ministry alerted Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye’s office.

Ms Kay said it was an operational decision based on safety concerns, not a political one.

The Herald explained:

Kim Shannon, the Ministry of Education’s head of the education infrastructure service, said its transport agent had been advised by Ritchies that Mr Peters wanted to travel on the bus.

“Ritchies had health and safety concerns about this. Under the terms of Ritchie’s contract, they are not able to carry adults or any other ineligible passengers without our permission.”

The bus is a 20-seater vehicle and Ritchies advised that it carried 20 primary and secondary aged students on it.

“Our transport agent advised us that carrying Mr Peters and other adults in his party would placed the company at risk of exceeding the limits of the Certificate of Loading and could mean not all children would get seats,” Ms Shannon said.

“As this request was made at such short notice, it wasn’t possible to ensure that we could ensure the health and safety of the children on the bus under these circumstances. We informed our agent to turn down the request.”

If more notice had been given Mr Peters may have been allowed on the bus, Ms Shannon said.

In John Key turns down Winston Peters’ challenge to find a photo of him fishing in Northland Stuff reported:

Peters says Key should apologise, “pay $100,000 to a Northland charity of my choosing, and stop wasting Parliament’s Question Time with such blatant untruths.”

If Peters thinks a jibe in Question Time is worth $100k how much should he have to pay if his accusations of lying are blatant untruths?

Peters is well known for making things up to attack MPs and not substantiating his accusations.

Does this make him a million dollar muck raker? Or can he back up his claims of Ministers lying with some substance?

Another point – I can’t see any indication when this bus saga happened. Monday was a public holiday and Peters was in Parliament at least on Tuesday and Wednesday, so when was he denied a school bus ride, and why was the story put out yesterday?

Peters back to barrel scraping

Winston Peters came across as the most sensible MP when speaking on the Te Tii Marae issues last week. But back in Parliament he has quickly returned to scraping the bottom of an attention seeking barrel.

He has just issued a challenge to John Key:

Challenge To PM – Prove Your Fishing Story Or Pay Up

Author: Rt Hon Winston Peters
Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 – 17:45

The Prime Minister today introduced a new element of misinformation when he claimed I spent all my time up in Northland on my fishing boat, fishing, says New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“I challenge the Prime Minister and I will pay to his favourite charity, not himself, $100,000, if he can find one witness that has seen me out on my fishing boat, fishing, since the Northland byelection.

“He won’t, of course, which is why he should apologise, pay $100,000 to a Northland charity of my choosing, and stop wasting Parliament’s Question Time with such blatant untruths.”

I presume that relates to their first clash of the year exchange in Question Time today.

9.Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister: Does he have confidence in the Hon Steven Joyce; if so, why?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes, I do have confidence in Minister Joyce, who is both hard-working and effective. I would say, after he released the Northland report last week and went up to Northland to do that—not only did it have 58 initiatives in it, but I dare say that Minister Joyce now knows more about Northland than the member does. In actually having been there once this year, he has probably been there more than the member has—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is the very last warning to Dr Megan Woods. If I hear her interject again, I will be asking her to leave.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Seeing as the Prime Minister put it at issue, is it not a fact that I have spent more time in my electorate in the space of just 9 months than he has for the whole time he has been an MP in his electorate?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Not if you count time in your electorate being on a boat, fishing.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: How—

Hon Member: Well, that didn’t go anywhere.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Of course it did not go anywhere, because it is not true.

The rest of the exchange only mentions fishing once more:

…the “member for fishing” has come up with zero.

So it seems like a bit of an over-reaction from Peters.

This would probably have passed by virtually unnoticed, but Peters is drawing attention to it which is unlikely to do himself any favours.

The rest of the Q&A transcript:

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Less interjection from my right-hand side, and when the member—I call him for a supplementary question. Could we have the supplementary question?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: How can he have confidence in a Minister who launched the Northland economic plan and is so proud of it, when it catalogues National’s record: the unemployment rate there is 3 percent above the national average, nominal GDP—all in this book—per capita is 32 percent below the national average, and 20 percent of the population is living in deprived areas. Why is that a cause for pride?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Just to give a flavour of the facts that the member has quoted, which are not factually correct: the unemployment rate in Northland fell, actually, in the December quarter from 8.2 percent to 6.2 percent. It is certainly not new that Northland is a deprived part of New Zealand, but this is a Government that has actually been looking to do a number of things to change that position, and if the member wants to support them, including potentially more mining in Northland, reform of the Resource Management Act in Northland, more tourism activity, a whole bunch of other initiatives that were included in the document—58 in total—we look forward to his support. But as per normal, he will—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Order! The answer is long enough.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: How can this 58-point plan even touch the surface of Northland’s needs, when Mr Joyce confirmed that there are no monetary or fiscal changes to give it effect, or any plans for seven of the 10 two-laned bridges that he talked about or the enhanced taxpayer-funded cellphone tower coverage or the ultra-fast broadband or, for that matter, the Wellsford to Pūhoi motorway? Where is that in his—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The question has been asked.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: It is good to see the member is now supporting the Wellsford to Pūhoi part of the motorway. We look forward to that. The member should know, actually, that the Minister is not responsible for monetary policy in New Zealand, but when it comes to so many other initiatives like ultra-fast broadband and rural broadband and the likes, the Government is involved in that, and in terms of upgrading the infrastructure of roading and bridges. But I would just make this simple point: if we just want to have a point-for-point comparison, it is 58 to zip, because this Minister has come up with 58 initiatives for Northland and the “member for fishing” has come up with zero.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: When he and his colleague Mr Joyce were in Northland, albeit briefly, and promised 10 two-laned bridges, taxpayer-funded ultra-fast broadband, and extra cellphone coverage paid for by the taxpayer, and the Pūhoi to Wellsford highway, did they not plan to give it any funding to make it happen? Because if it was the plan, where is it in his master 58-point plan?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: We are good as a Government—I am prepared to accept that—but even we do not think we can build roads, bridges, and ultra-fast broadband without putting in money. So, yes, there will be money following those initiatives, as there already has been. And, actually, that report indicates that we decided to put $4 million into the Hundertwasser project in Whangarei. There are 58 very bold and good initiatives in this plan, and the member should either come up with his own 58 or get on the bus and support it.

 

Davis backs talk with sexual violence walk

Kelvin Davis promised to campaign against sexual and domestic violence when he was elected for the Te Tai Tokerau electorate. He’s putting his talk into action.

On Friday Davis and several friends will begin a Massive (Men Against Sexual Violence) 17-day hikoi to raise awareness around sexual violence, starting at the Auckland Harbour Bridge and plans to arrive in Cape Reinga on June 14.

Stuff reports Kelvin Davis walking the talk highlighting sexual and domestic violence.

Davis says it isn’t a new issue and for decades women and children have carried the secret but it was time for everyone – men in particular – to speak out.

Good on him, I agree men should be speaking out more.  And it’s not always easy as it can come up against resistance, as Davis recalls:

He was working only a six-minute drive down the road from Pamapuria School where paedophile school teacher James Parker was deputy principal. Parker was sentenced in 2013 for more than 300 offences.

Five years before Parker’s atrocities were revealed, Davis had held a meeting with a number of community leaders about the increasing amount of sexual and domestic violence in the Northland region.

In just three weeks he had heard of 13 incidents but when he expressed his outrage at the meeting it was met with deathly silence.

His pleas to do something were met with concern about whether the region could cope with “what might come out of the woodwork” if the issue was exposed.

Not wanting to expose what’s been happening ‘in the woodwork’ has protected sexual offenders for far too long.

“Five years later and the James Parker stuff happened and I kicked myself for not backing my instincts. If I’d done something more when I’d first had concerns about it then maybe we could have done something to have stopped him hurting more victims.”

So now Davis is prepared to raise the issue right through his electorate.

So many people spent their time navel gazing about the high youth suicide rate when “in most cases you can guarantee there was sexual violence or domestic violence in the background”, he claimed.

That kind of upbringing ruined a child’s potential, he said.

“Teachers are trying to teach kids when their heads are full of what happened last night when Uncle snuck in the bedroom and teachers are wondering why kids are gazing out the window and totally not interested.”

Domestic violence generally and particularly sexual violence and offending cause many problems in families and throughout society. Damage can last for a lifetime.

This is sleeves rolled up representation so top marks to Kelvin for confronting what has long been a dirty secret.

Key remains committed

John Key has told National’s Northland regional conference that he’s as determined to still lead National in 2017 as he was in 2008.

NZ Herald reports John Key determined to stick around.

Prime Minister John Key has scotched speculation he could stand down this term, telling National Party faithful in Northland that he is just as determined to lead National in 2017 as he was in 2008.

Mr Key’s speech to National’s Northland regional conference at Waitangi was his first on home soil after a torrid fortnight dominated by questions about his pulling a waitress’ ponytail.

He avoided directly referring to that incident in his speech but made it clear he did not intend to quit: “I am just as committed today to leading National to victory at the next election as I was when first taking up the role as your leader in November 2006.”

Mr Key also gave a behaviour pledge of sorts, referring to the need for hard work, oversight and good judgment.

He said he did not take the high levels of support in the polls for granted. “You have my strong commitment that I will do everything I can to lead a strong Government and a strong National Party as we face the next two and a half years until the 2017 election.”

This will please staunch National supporters and dismay the left.

It may also dismay some on the right. Judith Collins played down her comeback ambitions on Q & A yesterday:

Judith Collins is happy as Larry in her role as member for Papakura and dismisses any chatter of a come back.

The former justice minister says she’s getting on with her work, having fun, and leaving it up to the Prime Minister when/if she will re-enter Cabinet.

“Obviously I would like to be back in Cabinet,” Ms Collins told Q A this morning.

Asked if she was planning a come back, Ms Collins fired back, “what come back?

But fanboy Cameron Slater seems to have different ideas. Yesterday he posted:

AFTER KEY. THEN WHAT?

When the media regularly speculate about what is to happen after you’re gone, it is an indicator that you are in the autumn of your political career.

It continues to amaze me how little political journalists understand of the National Party’s internal leadership processes.

They continue to confuse the apparent outward popularity of an MP with the public as a critical factor.

Not so.

But that aside, the talk about “after Key” has started.

Slater has been talking about “after Key” ever since Judith Collins was dropped from Cabinet.

Unusually for him he posted the full transcript of Collins’ interview in JUDITH COLLINS INTERVIEWED BY HEATHER DU PLESSIS-ALLEN ON Q&A.

But if Key stands again in 2017 and wins then time is running out for Collins’ (or Slater’s) leadership ambitions. By 2020 Collins will be a politician with a long past – she was first elected in 2002 and is seen as of Key’s generation.

Even if Key loses in 2017 National may look to a new generation of leadership. Paula Bennett is often talked about as a potential successor to Key.

But anything could happen. Slater may become a credible power broker.

In the meantime Key looks set to continue and Collins herself looks set to bide her time and see what opportunities may arise.

Stupid National propaganda crooks

Some funny things get dredged up. Yesterday at The Standard there was an accusation that National organised rent-a-crowd during the Northland by-election.

Adrian:

The wheels really are falling off.
My boy just showed me some video ( on his phone ) from Stuff. Key visiting somewhere meeting the locals, in the doorway of a shop a young couple , mock surprise, 3-way handshake, grip and greet move on to next place, what appears to be a garage, fuck me, the same couple , in the same blue uniforms no less pretending to be yokels.
Boy said they’re Young Nats.
Three things.
1, Do they just not care anymore.
2, How fucking stupid do they think we are?
3, Can’t they even find two people who actually want to shake his greasy little paw?
Make that 4, Are they shit-scared now of meeting un-vetted real pissed off people?

It’s on Nobody Likes A Tory. 2nd item on page. It’s Key in Dargaville but apparently only noticed today.

A link was provided to I won’t pick up the phone: John Key dismisses Winston Peters at Stuff on 27 March. The Standard detectives pinpoint a pair of ladies who appear once shaking John Key’s hand and then again later.

At 1:00

Key2ladiesNorthland

“The same blue uniforms no less pretending to be yokels”- they appear to work in United Travel and are wearing United Travel uniforms. Blue isn’t an uncommon work uniform colour.

And at the end:

Key2ladiesDargaville2“Boy said they’re Young Nats”. In at least one case, I very much doubt it, the lady on the right looks a similar age to Key.

Felix:

Oh my giddy aunt that’s awful. Thanks Adrian (and Boy)

‘the pigman’:

Haha, what a joke. Looking at their faces, it seems these lucky ladies can barely conceal their senses of humour about the situation, either. Do thank The Boy.

Ahh the Northland buy-election..!
*nostalgic sigh*

They could be rent-a-mob. They could also be two people who thought it was nice to be able to shake hands with the Prime Minister. Or they could have been trying to increase their chances of appearing on the news.

Clemgeopin:

Thanks, you are correct! : The SAME two National crap sycophants dressed in blue in two completely different places within a minute ! As pointed out by Draco TB, observe at 1:00 and 1:53. Well spotted!

Within a minute! On an obviously edited video which shows Key in obviously different locations. Clemgeopin could further edit the video and prove they shook Key’s hand within 10 seconds.

The two Nat women simply went (or were asked to go) to another spot and changed the way they stood before, at 1:00 the older woman was on the left, but at 1:53, on the right!

Ah yeah, I’m sure they deliberately swapped sides so no one would recognise them. In their uniforms.

The stupid National propaganda crooks probably thought they could fool all the people all the time!

It’s possible they were opportunist hand shakers. Of course it’s also possible National organised them, it wouldn’t be the first time political photo opportunities had been set ups.

I don’t think this is a big scandal.

Unless Stuff colluded with National under Key’s instruction to deceive the voters! It could have swung the by-election. Now there’s an angle the Standard could investigate.

Polity on Northland bridges ‘scandal’

Rob Salmond has been doing a lot of work on OAI requests and writing up the results in a series of posts at Polity. If he turns out to be on target with this then a Simon Bridges risks collapsing.

Polity posts:

Northland bridges – OIA scandal (1 of 3)

The paper trail behind National’s disastrous Ten Bridges bribe in Northland is almost comic in how damning it is of Ministers Bridges and English. Here’s the OIA I got back recently from the New Zealand Transport Agency. (Reply, briefing 1, briefing 2, email 1, email 2, email 3)

In this post I address whether or not getting advice from officials took place, and whether it was allowable for this promise, billed by National as a National Party promise.

Northland bridges – OIA scandal (2 of 3)

Overnight, I have received Simon Bridges’ version of events in relation to his abuse of public officials over the Northland bridge bribe.

Hilariously, he claims that the trail of increasingly panicked emails from NZTA officials about the costs of upgrading single lane bridges in Northland had nothing at all to do with National’s promise one working day later to upgrade several single lane bridges in Northland. I’m serious. That’s his actual story.

Northland bridges – OIA scandal (3 of 3)

Following from my earlier posts, readers may recall that one bridge in particular among National’s awful ten bridges bribe got a lot of stick – the Darby and Joan Kauri Bridge.

First, two-laning that bridge got some stick because it is completely in the middle of nowhere, on a rarely-driven State Highway connecting two very small population centres.

Cabinet Manual section 6.60

Chapter 6 is about pre-election periods. Here’s paragraph 60 of that chapter:

Before and after an election, the incumbent Ministers should ensure that any requests they make for advice or information from their officials is for the purposes of their portfolio responsibilities and not for party political purposes.

Someone should show this paragraph, along with my timeline of the advice Simon Bridges received from NZTA about replacement of single-lane Northland bridges just before his political party announced a policy to replace some single-lane Northland bridges, to John Key.

Looks like he’s got a clear case of a Minister in breach of the Cabinet Manual.

I’ll leave the arguments to those who know more about these things. The politicians are at odds:

NZ Herald: Minister should be sacked over bridge pledge – Labour

Labour leader Andrew Little says the Prime Minister should sack Transport Minister Simon Bridges over claims Mr Bridges broke ministerial rules in developing the Northland byelection bridges pledge.

TVNZ: John Key stands by Simon Bridges after he’s accused of breaching Cabinet guidelines

Prime Minister John Key says he has no plans to take action against Transport Minister Simon Bridges following claims he may have breached Cabinet guidelines by receiving official advice on his by-election bridge upgrade promises prior to their announcement.