An ACT of ingratitude – we go out to bat for Rodney, only to have Douglas disparage us

Catching up with Australia would be great - but how far down has it gone already?

You would think the tossers in the ACT Party were grateful for the PM’s willingness to express his support for Rodney Hide as a Minister.

Not a bit of it.

As a consequence Prime Minister John Key has to smile sweetly and say he is unbothered by an ACT Party campaign that apparently portrays him with his head in the sand on economic matters.

On the other he is telling Parliament that Rodney Hide is a fit and proper bloke to be a Minister.

Never mind the abominably bad judgement shown by Hide when he wore a yellow jacket, took his girlfriend around the world at the expense of taxpayers, and encouraged David Garrett to become an MP to champion tougher law and order measures despite knowing about Garrett’s dodgy track record in the law and order department.

Alf can only say The Boss is a remarkably decent bloke.

Or a remarkably realistic one, more likely, who knows full well that without the support of ACT MPs in Parliament he becomes discomfortingly dependent on the ethno-centric Maori Party.

Yesterday in the House he had to endure Labour questioning around the rules of the Cabinet Manual about his continued support of the Act leader, who as a minister is accountable to the Prime Minister.

The manual states that the ministers are expected to “behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards” in their ministerial, political and personal capacities.

When asked if he thought his ministers had behaved according to the manual, Mr Key said: “Mr Hide has carried out his affairs in a personal and private capacity to a high ethical standard, but I am not responsible for who he might hire as an MP.”

But the Cabinet Manual tactic backfired on Labour, because it gave Hide an opportunity to ask about an incident involving former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

In response

… Mr Key said he thought it was improper for a minister to sign a painting they did not paint and then have it destroyed before the matter could be investigated.

But in the debate after question time, Phil Goff said Key should strip Act of its ministerial portfolios.

“The Prime Minister absolutely stunned this house and the country by defending Rodney Hide’s cover-up of the theft of a dead child’s identity as being ethical,” Mr Goff said.

“There will be no sympathy among ordinary Kiwis for a Prime Minister prepared to defend the cover-up of an appalling crime.”

Maybe not.

But there won’t be much sympathy for Hide and his cronies, either, after the mounting of the campaign – fronted by Sir Roger Douglas – that accuses The Boss of having his head in the sand when it comes to catching up with Australia.

The campaign

… was created by an former advertising executive John Ansell – the man behind National’s Iwi/Kiwi billboards in the 2005 general election.

The second in a series of campaign flyers will be released on Thursday. It coincides with the expected resignation from Parliament of former ACT MP David Garrett.

Alf would have thought The Boss was thoroughly pissed off.

Not a bit of it.

Mr Key says he is not offended by the campaign. He says politics is ‘a contest of ideas’.

He also told Morning Report it was hard to tell if the bloke depicted with his head in the sand is him, although he conceded the bloke’s bottom looked like his bottom.

Alf is musing on that last bit of information.

He doesn’t pay much attention to the appearance of his bottom and hence would not know if the bottom of a bloke with his head in the sand was his bottom or someone else’s.

This would be especially so if he happened to have his head in the sand at the time.

But if he did not not have his head in the sand, and if he could be shown that the bottom would sit snugly into the seat of his favourite chair in the Eketahuna Club, he would acknowledge it might be his.

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