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

 

Two Years With New Methods: Crime Stats Show Increase Led By Burglary

The two years of data show an increase in the total victimisation rate of 3.1 per cent, with 12,060 more victimisations in the 2015/16 year when compared to 2014/15 year. From this increase, 72 per cent is attributable to burglaries. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland Relocation Grants: 12 Grants Paid So Far

Since the policy took effect one month ago, 12 applicants have received the non-recoverable grant, supporting 32 people. $54,508 has been paid out, covering things like moving costs, bond, rent in advance and letting fees. More>>

ALSO:

Vaccine Funding Change: HPV Vaccines For All Children

PHARMAC has today announced changes to funded vaccines, which will benefit an extra 100,000 people... The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available for all children and adults up to the age of 26 years, and boys will now be included in the HPV school vaccination programme. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Why The Opinion Polls For Key And Trump Defy Gravity

What is going on? Donald Trump got confirmed as the Republican presidential candidate at a bizarrely chaotic political convention… and promptly received an upwards bump in the polls to where he’s now rating ahead of Hillary Clinton, for only the second time this year. More>>

Sugar: Auckland Leisure Centres Axe Unhealthy Drinks

Auckland Council is to stop selling drinks that are sweetened by sugar from vending machines at its leisure centres in a bid to try to reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Todd McClay’s Faulty Memory

Time and again, whenever an issue arises the initial response by government is to deny or diminish the problem – nothing to worry about here, everything’s OK, move on. Then, hang on. In line with the usual pattern, as embarrassing details emerged into daylight, the story changed. More>>

ALSO:

Labour's 'Future Of Work': Major Reform Of Careers And Apprenticeships

The next Labour Government will transform careers advice in high schools to ensure every student has a personalised career plan, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

State Investments Management: Treasury Likes IRD, Not Education Or Corrections

The Inland Revenue Department has scored an 'A' in the first tranche of the Treasury's investor confidence rating for state agencies that manage significant Crown investments and assets, gaining greater autonomy as a result, while the Corrections and Education ministries gained a 'C' rating. More>>

ALSO:

Govt Goal: NZ To Be "Predator Free" By 2050

Prime Minister John Key has today announced the Government has adopted the goal of New Zealand becoming Predator Free by 2050... “That’s why we have adopted this goal. Our ambition is that by 2050 every single part of New Zealand will be completely free of rats, stoats and possums." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news