Sep 13, 2008

McCarthy: Brown Made An Ass Of Himself But Peters Has Made An Ass Of Us All

Noelle McCarthy compares New South Wales and NZ political scandals in today's NZ Herald.

The parallels between the Brown situation and the one bedevilling Helen Clark are obvious. Writhing half-naked on sofas is a bad look for a police minister. Much as raking in money hand over fist from a variety of donors and then funnelling it through a secret trust is not a great look for the leader of a political party who happens to be Foreign Minister in a Labour-led Government.
It's arguable that it's not so much the acts themselves as the attempts to obfuscate and cover up the facts of the matter in both cases.
Matt Brown's hangover came with a three-month time delay.
We saw him trying to put it to bed this week but fronting up, finally, to his boss, issuing the standard mea culpa and attempting to restore at least some of his past reputation as a hard-working, family values type MP by holding a press conference while kissing and cuddling his young niece Ruby.
The overall impression was a million miles away from the grubby goings-on on the ministerial lounge suite.

Whether we'll get a similar apology from Winston Peters remains to be seen. But it's going to take more than the company of a toddler in a fairy skirt to make the former member for Tauranga palatable to New Zealand voters before the coming election.
Brown got drunk and made an ass of himself; it is becoming increasingly obvious that Winston Peters, whilst sober, tried to make an ass of all of us. It's clear which is the bigger infraction.
As human failings go, mendacity trumps incontinence every time.