Hide on MPs hiding

Rodney Hide takes a swerve at Jami-Lee Ross and the National Party for not being upfront with the electorate who pay their wages.

It has been bad enough with various members of the government being put into their Witless Protection Programme and not fronting up in the House when they should; Clare Curran, Meka Whaitiri, Kelvin Davis, Chris Hipkins, Phil Twyford and so on.

But now a National MP has told us he is off for a few (unspecified) months. Quote.

You and I couldn?t tell the boss we?re taking a few months off for ?personal health reasons? but to keep the pay check coming.

The boss?s generosity would no doubt demand a fuller explanation.

Likewise, we couldn?t tell our customers we are off for a few months because: “There are times in life where you have to put your own health and family first. As a husband and a father I need to do that at this time.? Oh, and keep paying like I?m still delivering.

Life for all of us doesn?t work like that. People pay us for what we do. Not irrespective of what we do or whether or not we turn up.

And that?s why MP Jami-Lee Ross and the National Party, under whose banner he stands, owe the public a fuller explanation for why Ross is no longer working as MP.

The need to know is not for prurient reason. […] End of quote.

Quite so, no one needs to know all the intimate details but it is not okay to just say, “That is why I have asked to have some time off on medical leave for a few months.”

Take a month and then front up and ask for more if necessary, but expecting the taxpayer to sign a blank cheque is a bit on the nose. Quote.

The job of being MP can?t just matter when it suits the MP. It must matter or it must not. It?s not something that can be switched on and off at the MP?s convenience.

We don?t like being treated like we can?t handle the truth.

Those in power can handle the truth.

But those of us who just vote, who work, who pay our taxes, who are expected to follow the rules, can?t handle the truth because actually, what is the reason?

We haven?t even been told why we can?t be told.

I understand the reasons for Ross? absence can be both personal and private.

But his absence has social and public consequences. The voters of Botany are without their MP, for starters.

It comes with public life that when the personal impacts on the public role ? the personal needs explanation. People react well to being trusted. They react badly to being kept in the dark.

At the next election, National and their candidate will be asking Botany voters to trust them.

They will be promising the voters they have the best candidate. They will be saying they will work hard and will put the people?s interests first.

But can you trust them? The experience of Jami-Lee Ross suggests not.

They won?t trust us. Why should we trust them?

It?s not that Botany is without an MP for some months that is the problem. It?s that no proper explanation has been given for the absence. That?s the problem. End of quote.