A sobering experience after all those parties – Gilbert Myles finds himself before a judge

Alf proposes a Parliamentary Hall of Infamy for MPs and former MPs who finish up on the wrong side of the law.

He is pleased to observe this morning that Gilbert Myles is jockeying for a position.

That’s good. He could run the show.

In a court report today, the Herald describes him as “a former National MP”, but the bugger couldn’t stomach The Mother of All Budgets delivered by the admirable Ruth Richardson back in 1991.

He went on to join anything that looked like a party until the good people of Roskill had the good sense in 1993 – from memory – to biff him out.

He did a brief stint subsequently in NZ First livery.

More important in terms of his becoming a prospective member of the Parliamentary Hall of Infamy, he was convicted in Auckland District Court yesterday of attempting to pervert the course of justice, but was acquitted of a charge of conspiring to use documents with intent to defraud.

But there’s talk of an appeal, and a successful appeal would ddisqualify him from membership of the Parliamentary Hall of Infamy, which would be a shame.

His lawyer is saying his client was the victim of a “defective investigation” by the Serious Fraud Office.

Judge Roderick Joyce found that Myles had faked a receipt book to obstruct the SFO in its investigations of his dealings, but was not guilty of the issue he was charged with trying to hide: making illegitimate profits through selling books to a children’s charity.

Myles’ lawyer, Jeremy Bioletti, said yesterday that the SFO’s case had “fallen flat on its face”.

“The investigation of the fraud allegations was defective. It was hinged on the basis that somehow he was making some illegitimate profit when in fact all he did was sell books to a charity at the recommended retail price. That’s all he did. It’s not illegal to make a profit.”

Dunno if the crime will result in a jail term (assuming the appeal is turned down).

If it does, Gilbert will have the chance to reminisce about their days in parliament with the likes of Trevor Rogers, who was one of ours, Graham Capill, former leader of the Christian Heritage Party, and Philip Field, a former Labour MP.

Gilbert is ideally placed to run the Parliamentary Hall of Infamy.

It transpires he is a lifetime harness racing enthusiast and last September was returned as president at the New Zealand Trotting Hall of Fame’s annual general meeting at Alexandra Park.

Alf won’t lose any sleep if Gilbert is banged up for a few years.

The wayward MP let the side down after the presentation of the “Mother of all budgets”.

Political commentator Colin James has recalled how Gilbert bailed out in protest, an action which Alf regarded as unforgiveably disloyal.

There were fractious parliamentary sittings and there was serious tension in the National party caucus and cabinet.

The party conference in early August which followed the weekend after the Budget seethed with division, older delegates tending to be critical of the Budget and younger delegates tending to be delighted and congratulatory. (Significantly, Ruth Richardson was just 40 at the time and represented a new political generation; the Social Welfare Minister, Jenny Shipley, who drove through the welfare cuts, was also 40.)

Two backbench MPs, Gilbert Myles and Hamish MacIntyre, resigned from the party over the Budget.

Winston Peters was sacked from the cabinet in early October for disputing the cabinet line and was denied reselection as a candidate a year later; his response was to form the New Zealand First party which scooped up large numbers of older people who had previously voted National. A number of other MPs were also openly critical.

The trouble was, of course, that he openly identified with the pro-interventionist ‘Muldoonist’ faction of the National Party.

He once said “I joined the National Party because of Sir Robert Muldoon”.

Maybe so. But he was all over the paddock, when it came to party fealty.

He and McIntyre set up the Liberal Party in 1992 and spectacularly gained no traction; the Liberal Party merged with the Alliance Party in 1993; Gilbert quit the grouping within months in July.

Next, he joined the New Zealand First party, but he lost his seat at the 1993 elections.

Does he have any claim to fame (as distinct from infamy)?

Yep.

Phil Goff has been in Parliament since 1981 except for the 1990-93 period.

He lost Mt Roskill to – would you believe? – Gilbert Myles.

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