We learn today that “disgraced MP” Pansy Wong is said to be “gutted and humiliated” at being forced out of cabinet for abusing her travel perk.
Alf will be gutted and humiliated, too, if he doesn’t emerge from poor Pansy’s downfall with a ministerial post.
His constituents are expecting it.
Missing out would be bad news for the Grumble household, as Mrs Grumble will tell you, because Alf is apt to sulk and be seriously moody for several days after a major setback, although he prefers to keep this personality weakness under wraps.
Anyway, he knows that a bit of reshuffling of the Key team would be required to accommodate him, because he would not want Pansy’s Women’s Affairs job. Along with the ministry it should be abolished, he reckons.
The media have obviously sensed his attitude on this matter and is discounting his prospects, and so the Sunday Star-Times today goes on to say The Boss
… is set to make a decision this week on Wong’s replacement and could use the opportunity to promote Mana by-election candidate Hekia Parata – in parliament on the list – who has been talked about as a cabinet prospect before, although promoting her days before the by-election could be seen as a bid to grab votes.
A bid to grab votes?
Ms Parata might be robbed of promotion just because she happens to be standing in a by-election?
That’s ludicrous (although behind the scenes Alf will not be saying so).
Oh, and there’s talk of a by-election in the Botany Downs seat held by Pansy, New Zealand’s first Asian MP.
But the Sunday Star-Times can’t make up its mind whether a by-election is a goer or not, – even though it put three of its hacks on to the job.
The bob-each-way report says –
Prime Minister John Key insists Wong won’t resign but it seems unlikely she will stay if an inquiry turns up evidence of systemic abuse. Key said it was premature to talk about a by-election before an inquiry was complete.
“I’d be surprised if there was a by-election myself.” He would not speculate on the police becoming involved.
Ooh. Isn’t that a nice barb to stick into the story.
The prospect of a police investigation.
Anyway, our three hacks continue to avoid making up their minds.
Government sources said they would not be surprised if Wong had already considered quitting parliament.
Then comes a further blurring of the picture and the further exercise of the Sunday Star-Times ploy of putting up a possibility, then shooting it down.
A by-election could be avoided if Key indicated an election was due within six months of any decision by Wong to go. But party sources were dismissive of the prospect of an early election yesterday, and said there was no reason to go to the polls early.
“I can’t think why we’d want to,” one source said.
Alf would like to think he does not have to background the story, and believes most of his constituents know what happened to Wong.
But for those who might have missed out on the news, she resigned from cabinet overnight on Thursday after being challenged over her husband using her travel perk for a trip to China on a private business deal.
Parliament’s rules expressly forbid MPs from using their taxpayer-funded subsidy for private business.
Alf, you can be sure, has been squeaky clean on this score.
Parliamentary Services is responsible for administering the perk and is checking out how many trips the Wongs had taken.
According to Key, a report is likely “within a couple of weeks”.
Dunno when Alf will be in a position to report back on whether he got a promotion to ministerial rank, preferably as Minister With Responsibility for the Liquor Industry, although this would be a new portfolio and The Boss isn’t quite ready to go that far just to keep Alf on side.
The Racing and the Rugby World Cup jobs would suffice.
Alf, where the hell were you when Keith Holyoake was putting your neck of the woods on the map? The bunch of weirdos masquerading as the National party today would never have got a look in forty years ago.
Alf was having his budding political career nurtured by the great man, 40 years ago. He was a constant source of encouragement and support.