Dodgy Dealings Dog Minister

Minister in $50m stoush – 08 Jul 2007 – NZ Herald: New Zealand National news

Helen Clark probably spat her Hubbard's cereal right across the table when she opened this mornings Herald on Sunday. After Judith had finished cleaning up the mess she would have been screaming down the phone at Annette King demanding answers for yet another cock-up from one of her ministers and their partner.

This cock-up looks particularly messy, especially after the conflict of interest shenanigans over the awarding of a the Laboratory contract in Auckland. It involves;

  • Annette King's husband who works for the company that won a $50 million contract
  • One of the Directors of that company was appointed in extra-ordinary circumstances to the DHB board by Annette King
  • That company the tendered for a $50 million contract
  • Peter Housmann, who gave the DHB Board an assurance he would not be involved in the contract process,? has subsequently been found to have done exactly that in discovered emails between him and senior health board managers discussing details of the process for the multi-million dollar contract which his company was bidding for.
  • The emails were provided by a whistle-blower.
  • The whistle-blower sought protection under the Protect Disclosures Act which is supposed to protect whistle-blowers.
  • The whistle-blower then subsequently lost her job in a "restructure" after being firstly identified and then threatened by Annette King's husband.
  • Annette King's husband tried to hush it all up, saying to the whistle blower "This is very very serious. Is at ministerial level. We need to de-escalate this."

This is all looking very much like the Auckland fiasco but with much more sinister overtones, especially how the identity of the whistle-blower became known and the subsequents threats to her job.

Labour is very much up to its neck in plenty of murky dealings in the health sector and now some of those dealing are starting to see the light of day.

Once again the Clark ministry seems to be guilty of the exact same practices that they were elected in 1999 saying they would put an end to. Again this looks like a prima-facie case of spitefulness by a minister or relative of a minister after they have been caught well and truly with their pants down. And once again don't expect to see any resignations from this as ministerial responsibility is un-heard of in New Zealand.

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