Police remove themselves from Sabin time-line debacle

The country’s top cop says police did not drop the ball when it came to telling the Government about the Mike Sabin issue under the ‘no surprises’ policy.

That means at least one senior government minister knew and that raises the question: why did it take so long for the Prime Minister to find out?

Or did it?

Police Minister Michael Woodhouse was talking freely with his Police Commissioner Mike Bush, as expected – especially when something big is going down.

“There is a ‘no surprises’ policy, obviously,” says Cmmr Bush. “The ‘no surprises’ policy relates to significant issues.”

Issues like a police investigation of a government MP definitely count as significant, but Mr Woodhouse refused to comment at Waitangi today.

“The Police Minister has very simple question to answer which is when he was told about the investigation involving Mike Sabin,” says Labour leader Andrew Little. “It’s a pretty simple question, its needs a pretty straight answer, he should give it.”

National are in a mess of their own making. ? It’s never the actual issue that trips you up. ?It’s the covering up. ?This is why these mind numbing “who knew, and when” questions are so effective. ??

Police became aware of matters affecting Sabin in early August last year.

Mr Woodhouse took over as Police Minister from Anne Tolley in October, but the Prime Minister says he didn’t find out about Mr Sabin until December.

I can’t speak for Key, but I knew in late September. ?(Just because others have asked…) no I didn’t inform the PM. ?Not my job, and he’s more focused on being able to publicly deny any contact with me anyway.

So either the Commissioner failed to tell his boss, or the Minister failed to tell Mr Key.

Or…. ?the elephant in the room.

Again, Mr Woodhouse refused to comment – it’s become the Government catch cry on this issue and is a strategy now moving from Waitangi back down to Wellington.

Parliament sits next week for the first time this year and given there are still so many questions about what happened here, it is likely the Sabin issue will dominate.

Expect a forensic blow-by-blow of what happened when, who told who and why it took so long to get to the top.

It’s insane.

However, here is the perverse upside: ?every time Labour goes down this road, National’s support goes up and Labour’s goes down.

But it can be worth the risk if there is a significant scalp at the end of it. ?I suspect the OIAs and Questions for Written answers will be heavily used and this issue won’t progress past National refusing to comment until more information comes out from other sources.


– Tova O’Brien, 3 News