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

Gordon Campbell: On The Russel Norman Resignation

While not the decisive factor, last year’s election result must have made it easier for Greens Co-Leader Russel Norman to finally call it a day. After three years of solid campaigning on social justice, economic and environmental issues – and amidst another round of self-destruction by Labour, its ally and rival on the centre-left – the Greens had realistically expected to end up close to 15 % on election day. Instead, it barely held its own, and failed to increase its vote.

This would have been an especially bitter result for Norman. For the past six years, Norman has been the de facto leader of the Opposition – especially after Labour lost the plot with a series of inept leaders and a chronic identity crisis about what, if anything, it now stood for. More>>

 

Quick By-Election Expected: Mike Sabin Announces Resignation As Northland MP

Northland MP, Mike Sabin, today announced he has resigned from Parliament, effective immediately. Mr Sabin said he had decided to resign due to personal issues that were best dealt with outside Parliament. Mr Sabin will not be making any further comment. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Eleanor Catton Rumpus

If anyone was in doubt about the accuracy of the comments made in India by Eleanor Catton, the reaction from some quarters here at home has gone a long way to proving her point… More>>

ALSO:

More Rent Assistance, Less State-Owned Housing: John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider. The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news