Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Dunne Speaks: Donghua Liu saga

Dunne Speaks: Donghua Liu saga


26 June 2014

Just when it seemed almost impossible, there has been a new twist in the Donghua Liu saga. No, I am not referring to his amended statement about the nature of his relationships with and contributions to the Labour Party. Nor am I referring to the apparent amnesia of the man who granted him permanent residence in the first place.

Rather, the latest developments reveal something far more worrying about the relationship of the citizenry to its elected representatives. As I feared, the antics of Mr Liu and others like him appear to be leading to a loss of confidence amongst members of the public about the traditional role of MPs as the constituents’ advocate when they have issues to pursue with the government or one of its agencies.

A widely respected constituent of mine, whom I have been privileged to know for many years, contacted me last week about some issues he was facing. He said it was the first time he had ever felt the need to contact an MP, and then he added this chilling statement: “In light of current difficulties experienced by MPs trying to assist constituents, I certainly do not expect you to become directly involved, but merely advise who I should be contacting, or have them contact me.”

This is an appalling state of affairs if good, decent constituents feel unable to seek the assistance of their MPs, because of fears of perceptions of undue influence, brought on by the improper actions of the few who have tried to exert such influence – usually through the lure of financial support – to achieve their ends. MPs helping constituents, without fear, favour or recompense has been at the heart of our system forever, and it is extremely worrying if constituents now feel constrained from seeking that help.

So, what to do? In part, the answer lies with considering whether there ought to be limits placed on the amounts individuals can donate to political parties within specified time periods to blunt the influence of wealthy individuals. But MPs have to accept some responsibility as well. A new sense of wariness needs to be inculcated amongst them, especially where the attraction of the big dollar is concerned.

It is a truism that MPs have a duty to represent all their constituents, regardless of political allegiance, which most MPs honour. But it will become a serious problem if constituents begin to feel that they can no longer solicit their MPs’ assistance when they need it, because of fears of perceived undue influence. Yet, if my constituent’s concerns are widespread, as I suspect they may be from other conversations, that will be the unintended consequence of the Liu saga. People may well choose to just suffer injustice in silence. And when people lose confidence in the system that way, and the capacity of their MPs to represent them when they need it, the premise on which our representative democracy has been founded will really begin to totter quite sharply.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sits at 10.30am today before MPs are summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber.

The speech delivered by the Governor-General on the Government’s behalf outlines its priorities for this Parliament.

After this MPs will return to the House for the presentation of petitions and papers and the introduction of any bills.

The Government has five notices of motion on the Order Paper which can be debated. These relate to relating to the appointment of the Deputy Speaker, Assistant Speakers, the reinstatement of business in a carryover motion and one on “Entities to be deemed public organisations”. More>>

 

Tertiary Education: Students Doing It Tough As Fees Rise Again

The Government is making it increasingly difficult for Kiwis to gain tertiary education as fees continue to rise and access to student support becomes even more restricted, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. More>>

ALSO:

Housing, Iraq: PM Press Conference – 20 October 2014

Prime Minister John Key met with press today to discuss:
• Housing prices and redevelopment in Auckland
• Discussions with Tony Abbott on the governmental response to ISIS, and New Zealand’s election to the UN Security Council More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Review Team Named, Leadership Campaign Starts

Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban.

ALSO:


Roy Morgan Poll: National Slips, Labour Hits Lows

The first New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll since the NZ Election shows National 43.5% (down 3.54% since the September 20 Election). This isn’t unusual, National support has dropped after each of John Key’s Election victories... However, support for the main opposition Labour Party has crashed to 22.5% (down 2.63% and the lowest support for Labour since the 1914 NZ Election as United Labour). More>>

ALSO:

In On First Round: New Zealand Wins Security Council Seat

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed New Zealand securing a place on the United Nations Security Council for the 2015-16 term. More>>

ALSO:

TPP Leak: Intellectual Property Text Confirms Risk - Jane Kelsey

The US is continuing its assault on generic medicines through numerous proposed changes to patent laws. ‘These are bound to impact on Pharmac if they are accepted’, according to Professor Kelsey... Copyright is another area of ongoing sensitivity... More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith Plans Reform To Ease Urban Development

Newly appointed Environment Minister Nick Smith has announced Resource Management Act reform to foster urban development, where high land prices and expensive resource consents are blocking efforts to provide affordable housing. More>>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On New Zealand getting involved (again) in other people's wars

Apparently, the Key government is still pondering how New Zealand will contribute to the fight against Islamic State. Long may it ponder, given the lack of consensus among our allies as to how to fight IS, where to fight it (Syria, Iraq, or both?) and with whose ground troops, pray tell? More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On child poverty, and David Shearer’s latest outburst

The politicisation of (a) the public service and (b) the operations of the Official Information Act have been highlighted by the policy advice package on child poverty that RNZ’s resolute political editor Brent Edwards has finally prised out of the Ministry of Social Development. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On the government’s review of security laws

So the Key government is about to launch a four week review of the ability of our existing legislation to deal with “suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters, and other violent extremists.”

According to its terms of reference, the review will consider whether the SIS, GCSB and Police are sufficiently able right now to (a) investigate and monitor suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters… More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news