Gotta say Kate Wilkinson has come out of the Pike River thing better off than before.
On Monday morning she could boast she was –
Minister of Conservation
Minister of Labour
Minister for Food Safety
Associate Minister of Immigration
By the end of the day she had only three of those portfolios, having resigned as Minister of Labour.
Some unreasonable tossers were demanding she give up all her jobs, but she was having none of it (as you can learn here).
An emotional Kate Wilkinson replied ”what have I done wrong?” when asked why she hadn’t resigned from Cabinet over the Pike River mining disaster.
Wilkinson quit as labour minister yesterday after a damning royal commission of inquiry found a litany of failures by the Department of Labour (DOL) contributed to the deaths of 29 men in the mine.
When confronted by reporters this morning, Wilkinson said she resigned because it was the honourable thing to do.
“At the end of the day, 29 men died under my watch…I value my integrity and I thought it was the right and honourable thing to do.”
But asked why she hadn’t resigned her other portfolios – conservation, food safety, and the role as associate immigration minister – she said: ”What else have I… what have I done wrong?”
What’s neat about giving up the Labour portfolio but clinging on to the others is that she has reduced her workload.
Wilkinson will keep her $250,000-plus salary.
Less work for the same money.
And what’s more, she has The Boss saying laudatory things about her.
Key said Wilkinson’s resignation was the honourable thing to do.
Good work, Kate.
But Alf must confess to having a strong personal interest in seeing her step down from all her portfolios.
As his constituents well know, he fancies himself as a Minister riding in one of those chauffeur-driven limousines that are among the baubles that Ministers secure.
If Kate had resigned from all her posts – well, who knows?
The Boss would have had to reshuffle his cabinet more comprehensively than he has done.
And Alf had to be in with a strong chance of securing that long-overdue promotion.
Mind you, Chris Finlayson has been given the Labour post only as acting minister.
We can’t rule out something more comprehensive in the near future.