Turia's Actions Should Not Surprise
United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne, says Associate Corrections Minister Tariana Turia's actions in lobbying for family friends and associates to be transferred around from various prisons should not surprise anyone.
"This is the way the Labour/Alliance government sees political power - it is there to be exercised on behalf of your mates."
"Tariana Turia's actions are no different from Margaret Wilson's appointment of her friend Susan Bathgate, against official advice, to the Employment Relations Authority, or the way in which the government closed ranks behind Dr Ross Armstrong over the Syd Bradley affair in New Zealand Post."
"There is a pattern of arrogance here which, in effect, says that because they are the government, they have a right to do as they like, regardless of either official advice or accepted standards of behaviour."
"The Turia Affair is just another in the long line of such events, and the government will prove equally impervious to criticism of it, as it has on every other occasion," Mr Dunne says.
He says such actions overall contribute to a lessening of public confidence in the credibility of the political process.
However, he says, the Turia case raises additional concerns.
"At a time when many New Zealanders want to see violent offenders and other serious criminals serve longer sentences, Ms Turia's interventions send an unfortunate signal that the Associate Corrections Minister is trying to blunt the impact of the law in these cases and provide for a softer option for some of those offenders."
"It smacks of a double standard which will leave many New Zealanders more uncertain than ever about the government's commitment to law and order."
"They will be asking whether we now have one law for the government's friends, and another law for everyone else," Mr Dunne says.