I accept that dumping “difficult” information in the week after Parliament shuts and immediately before Christmas has been done by many Governments, but the behaviour by the National government this year has been so cynical it is gob-smacking. We have had
- the release of the Hobbit emails
- the first steps towards privatisation of ACC
- the shutting down of TVNZ6
- sale of Whirinaki power plant
- and now the announcement this morning that the $4.8 million that the government gave to the Pacific Economic Development Agency (PEDA) without any tender process in the Budget has now been allocated to several other providers, with PEDA missing out.
The first thing to say is to congratulate my colleague Sua William Sio, other MPs and members of the Pacific community who doggedly pursued this case. It was an outrageous breach of good governance and convention to allocate the money to PEDA in the first place. This was an organisation with no track record, let alone the suggestion of links to National MPs.
The backdown that followed was the right thing to do, even if it took a long time. But there can be no doubting that the timing of the announcement today is deliberate to limit comment on the initial decision and the indictment on the National government that after a proper process PEDA did not get any of the money.
And we politicians wonder why many of the public don’t have faith or trust in us. Disgraceful.