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Mike's Minute: Shane Jones saga isn't sackable - but it's shabby and arrogant

Author
Mike Hosking ,
Section
Video,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 7:21a.m.

COMMENT:

I don't really think Shane Jones and his presence in that meeting while being in charge of the Provincial Growth Fund, and while having connections to people getting money from that fund, is the scandal of the century.

But it is without question against parts of the Cabinet Manual. And it is without question not ordinary practice, but that's if you are interested in adhering to ordinary practice.

No, it's not sackable. But it is shabby, it is arrogant, it is yet again a display of haphazard government from a group of people that look increasingly like they're out of their depth. And that the norms of decent leadership and governance don't really apply because they're either inept, in terms of procedure and discipline, or literally making it up as they go along.

Many of them look like they won government in a chook raffle, $10 a ticket, winner gets to run the country for a day. At this level the aim is to be squeaky clean, to look like you care about the way you conduct yourself - and to actively show that you are seasoned professionals endeavouring on all occasions to produce policy, law, ideas and governance of the highest level.

This lot are falling well short. If the Cabinet Manual is to be dismissed when it suits, don't have a manual. If indiscretions are to be explained away, don't then say you're wanting to be the most open, honest, and transparent government this country has ever seen. Because you can't be both.

What they increasingly are being is fraudulent - either wilfully or through the increasing series of bumbling, stumbling, amateurish, and hamstrung cock ups. They look out of their depth. They look like they're being expected to perform above their talent pool.

Not all of them, of course. But an image is built up over time, and the more they touch, the more they mess it up.

In this case the PGF is what you'd describe as their second biggest policy plank.

KiwiBuild was their first, and that's in tatters: 74 houses built, 39 not sold, and not a future target anywhere to be seen.

And a company (no matter how worthy) that once claimed the minister in charge of the fund as chairman, with the minister having called a conflict of interest, in the same room where the decision on the money was being made, and answering the critical question from the Finance Minister as to whether they were competent, breaches all rules of good governance and common honesty.

It's shonky, it's shady, it's loose, it's arrogant.

And where in this is our leader? Jacinda Ardern, once again, clings to her skills as a likeable, personable politician who, sadly, when it comes to hard decisions in the real world is hopelessly out of her depth. From Iain Lees-Galloway, to Clare Curran, to Phil Twyford, and now Shane Jones, there seems no indiscretion she would find remotely troubling.

Under Ardern you can do what you like, because she's not into discipline.

It will bite her eventually, you can't run this fast and loose with the rules and precedent, without the image forming that you're really not up to much, and certainly not taking it seriously.

You either want to aspire to good governance or you don't. And the evidence is there now, and sadly too much of it, that they don't.

ON AIR: Larry Williams Drive

4p.m. - 7p.m.