HBDHB scandal deepens

Row over sacking heats up – 05 Mar 2008 – Politics: New Zealand Political News, Analysis and Comment including 2008 election coverage – NZ Herald

In a strange twist we had the news on both channels last night desperately trying not to mention the evisceration of David Cunliffe at Question Time yesterday nor did they mention the Urgent Debate on the HBDHB scandal.

Why not?

Well my informants tell me that government and private lawyers are desperately sending out legal letters to try to hush it all up, effectively bullying people into silence. They appear to have (temporarily) silenced TVNZ and TV3. Not so the NZ Herald which reports on the scandal this morning.

In a highly charged political battle, National yesterday used parliamentary privilege to allege that former board member Peter Hausmann colluded with Hawkes Bay chief executive Chris Clarke to make changes to a tender document to benefit his firm.

National also tried to portray Mr Cunliffe’s sacking of the board as a move designed to protect former Health Minister Annette King – who appointed Mr Hausmann to the board in 2005, and whose husband now works for Mr Hausmann’s company.

That smear of “cronyism” drew a furious reaction from Ms King, who invited selected reporters to her office to hand out documents detailing the standard statutory process she went through when she appointed Mr Hausmann.

Ms King said she was never advised not to appoint Mr Hausmann for conflict of interest reasons, and said she was “indignant” about the unfairness of what was being said, especially as it involved her family.

She said Mr Hausmann was not a personal friend of either her or her husband, but instead she had met him professionally and appointed him after being impressed by his knowledge.

The problem for King is that those explanations don’t wash. They simply do not stand up to any reasonable scrutiny. They also raise further questions. If Annette King thought that Peter Hausmann could manage conflict of interest issues why did the government think Madeleine Setchell couldn’t?

The stench of rotting, corrupt meat hangs all over this and meanwhile the government announces a distraction. Watch the leftist client-blogs of Labour spin all week on the fact that John Key’s National protects private property rights whilst the Labour government squashes them.

The shame is the cowardly way the MSM doesn’t want to deal with this and it is up to the blogs to dig deeper. We must be days away from someone leaking the first report to a blogger.