National not letting Treasury off the hook

Photoshopped image credit: Pixy

It is really noticeable with this government that nobody is ever held to account. The speaker can accuse a man of rape and ruin his life and nothing happens. The head of Treasury accused the opposition of a criminal act, and when this was found out to be grossly incorrect, nothing happened. The minister of finance, who is responsible for Treasury, carried on as if nothing had happened. This is a sharp contrast with the previous government where, if John Key didn’t act quickly to force a minister to apologise or step down, the media would be baying for blood for weeks on end. Don’t ever forget the way Todd Barclay was hounded out of his job for what was essentially a rookie mistake.

No one in the sycophantic media ever tries to hold a minister of this government to account either, and so they can, and do, get away with murder. Our government ministers show no respect to anyone, the opposition least of all.

It is true that the current government’s talent pool is so shallow that parliamentary cleaners will be sitting at the cabinet table if too many ministers are forced to resign, but that is hardly the point. We expect a certain standard of behaviour and professionalism from our government ministers, and frankly, we are not seeing anything like it from this lot.

Well, hold my beer. If they think they are going to brush the Budget debacle under the table, I am afraid they are going to be disappointed.

The National Party wants a wider inquiry into how Treasury and the Labour Party handled the pre-emptive publication of sensitive Budget documents.

Last week, National released information contained in Thursday’s Budget after searching the Treasury’s website. The documents were mistakenly visible on the site.

National’s deputy leader, Paula Bennett, has written to the State Services Commissioner asking for a wider scope into an inquiry into how the mistake happened.

“The GCSB’s National Cyber Security Centre has said publicly that it told Treasury its computer system was not compromised, yet both Gabriel Makhlouf [Treasury Secretary] and [Finance Minister] Grant Robertson chose to issue statements implying National carried out a ‘systematic hack’,” Bennett said in a statement.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern needed to be open and transparent about what questions she asked Robertson since allegations were made that National acquired Budget documents through criminal activity, Bennett said.

Open and transparent… This government is about as open and transparent as a bank vault.

“Among the many questions that still need answering is what information Treasury and the Finance Minister had at their disposal before they issued those statements.

“The SSC inquiry should also include a complete review of all communications between the Finance Minister’s office and the Prime Minister’s office under the ‘no surprises’ approach.

“It took 36 hours for Treasury to come clean,” Bennett said.

On Friday, people were still saying it was a hack. This government is a complete disgrace.

Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf may be stepping down to join the Bank of Ireland, but he should still have been forced to apologise and resign. All evidence points to the fact that he knew full well that this was not a hack, but he called the police in anyway.

Whether Grant Robertson was also aware that this was no hack is another question. Makhlouf may have misled the minister of finance, which is a sackable offence in itself. Either way, Robertson is responsible for the goings-on at Treasury, and previous form suggested that he should have offered his resignation because of the leak of budget documents, even though this may not have been accepted.

But when did any member of this government ever do anything professional and respectable? How far the standard of behaviour in our government has fallen in a year and a half is reprehensible. They should be truly ashamed of themselves, but they are all too busy ducking for cover… with the speaker being the worst of them all.

Good on National for not letting this go. The government, with its media henchmen, were hellbent on brushing this whole matter under the carpet. Now that isn’t going to happen. Well done National. It may be too late for any consequences for Makhlouf, but it will mean more egg on the face of Grant Robertson. Sorry, Grant, but you probably deserve it. Try upholding some standard of professional behaviour next time.