I'm sniffing some PR spin when it comes to how the PM is dealing with her NZ First MP's.
First up, we have Winston Peters, deputy PM and acting PM shortly, suing the government. When asked about how appropriate or otherwise this is, the Prime Minister's response was that he was doing it in a personal capacity.
Whose buying that? No one. It's not news because some random called Winston is suing the Government, it's news because the guy called Winston sung the government also happens to be THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER. That's the part that makes it newsworthy ... he doesn't get to step away from who he is.
You can't take a publicly elected hat on and off as it suits. Otherwise every politician in the universe would be up to all sorts and be able to get away with it just by saying, "Oh I was doing that in a personal capacity".
Likewise, Shane Jones. He makes comments in his capacity as a politician chased around by media. It's not like they were sitting at his house over a cup of tea having a private chat and he started bagging Fonterra. No, this was in front of a media pack, in his capacity as Minister. Yet when asked about it yesterday the PM rolled out her famous new line ... "he was speaking in a personal capacity".
Where's the marker for this? What's the criteria?
How much can you say and do in a "personal capacity" while still holding an elected position of office?
Or should you act and speak publicly according to your position at all times?
We expect these standards of our sports people, our media personalities, and our civil servants ... why not politicians? Why are the rules different for them?
Imagine if the Police Commissioner or Kieran Read started mouthing off whatever they wanted, having it reported, obviously because of who they are, and then getting to back track or hide behind the line "oh I was saying that in a personal capacity so it doesn't count".
It does count. You hold a position, it makes you accountable.
Especially when you are elected by the public.
This poorly advised spin of not reining in her MP's but instead giving them more rope, by allowing them to run off at the mouth, only to then pretend they're not politicians, is BS.
Show some leadership, accept their role in government, and demand they act accordingly. Because if you won't take them seriously when they speak, then how on Earth are we supposed to?