Friday, February 04, 2005

How not to handle a portfolio

Just when the government is cheered by the sight of Don Brash demoting Katherine Rich, George Hawkins scores an own goal. It all goes back to January 16th when Tame Iti carried a shotgun and discharged it onto a flag when the Waitangi Tribunal was being welcomed by the Tuhoe. Despite the police being present and photographic evidence available, Tame had not been arrested when parliamentary questions started for the year over two weeks later. There is the additional question of whether Tame should have been arrested for gross indecency for not wearing a shirt but I'll leave that aside.

On Wednesday, George Hawkins was questioned in parliament about the matter. He properly answered that it was an operational matter for the police. But that was not good enough for George Hawkins. Before he was questioned again on the matter the next day, not only was Tame arrested the very next day but his office issued a press release stating that it would be helpful that the police should issue a statement about the matter. Not only has he confirmed the impression of being asleep on the job in the first place but he has also given the appearance of clumsy-handed intervention in police matters. However I doubt this would be a sacking offence given that none of his other misdeeds have given Helen cause to dismiss him.