Andrew Williams appeared with Mike Hosking tonight on Close Up defending his position over the rumoured late night texts. It’s one of those situations of either you believe him, or you don’t. Each side seemed to have evidence that supported their own claims.
Rodney Hide, Andrew Williams, John Key
Everyone except John Key. Interviewed on Breakfast he appeared as vague as he always does when trying to evade specific questioning. He adopts exactly the tone he did when he “couldn’t remember having an opinion about the Springbok Tour of 1981”. All I can see is a man squirming and looking uncomfortable and evasive.
Williams has evidence that he only texted John Key at 12.16pm (two months ago) just after the house rose from urgency – so presumably John Key was awake at the time. But then Williams disingenuously claimed that he ‘couldn’t recall’ sending a text at 3.30am and that if he had it was longer than 4 months ago – which seems beside the point.
At the end of the interview Williams claimed this was all an ACT conspiracy to discredit him and to push the Super City – a shoot the messenger scenario. Maybe he’s right. Williams certainly has the knife out for Rodney Hide asking, under the OIA, for records on the actual meetings that took place while Hide was away with his girlfriend. Turns out there were not many.
This saga will continue until Andrew Williams is out of a job – which may be sooner rather than later.
Is anyone worried about Rodney Hide?
I watched him on Sunday tonight – what an arrogant and demanding man. No grace, no poise – this is what we want and this is what we’ll get. John Key stared blankly back. I’d live to know what was going on in his mind…
Compare Rodney’s performance to Pita Sharples of the Maori Party. Pita did not make one request of John Key. He said they had a ‘portfolio’ that they would present to Key on Tuesday, but other than that they would wait and see where the negotiations headed. He even avoided the question of whether they would accept a seat at the cabinet table.
Contrast that with Rodney Hide who sat there bulldozing John Key with demands he implement the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy as well as cutting government spending and scrapping the Emissions Trading Scheme.
- Key has already announced he’s making a big spending promise with the April 2009 tax-cuts
- National opposed the ETS but has expressed interest in reforming the current scheme, so there will still be one
- And it remains to be seen how staunch National will be on law and order, but likely not to be as staunch as ACT would like.
So, can National and ACT work together? If National invites the Maori Party in (and the Maori Party accept) then they don’t need ACT.
Close of business Tuesday will reveal all.
George Hawkins, after a week of murder, mayhem and violence in Manurewa is reacting to public sentiment by sneaking a bill through Parliament to reduce the number of liquor outlets…some would say he’s buying votes with this bill.
ACT MP Heather Roy says it’s “a knee jerk reaction to a terrible tragedy that could have been prevented but wasn’t.”
Heather Roy’s solution is to find some long term solutions to welfare dependency, and to begin educating those people that abuse alcohol.
While I don’t think reducing the number of liquor outlets is going to result in an immediate reduction in the levels of violence, a long term education policy is going to take years – perhaps generations – to implement and see tangible results. So George’s response in the short term is the most prudent.
If the murder of Navtej Singh hadn’t occurred in his liquor store would we be having this debate? Presumably the murderers targeted Navtej Singh’s store because they thought there’d be lot’s of money in the till – in their eyes it was a better, more profitable target than a dairy or hamburger joint.
TV3 had interesting statistics tonight which showed liquor stores per head of population is greater in Dunedin, Christchurch than it is in Manurewa – by nearly a factor of 2:
The police deal with drunk people every day, and they don’t all live in Manurewa, or Mangere, or Otara. They wander around The Viaduct Basin, and Courtenay Place and a lot of them are young and middle class, and not on welfare.