Duncan Garner: Jacinda Ardern made ethical judgement on Iain Lees-Galloway, but dangerous place to go

The AM Show 23/07/2020

OPINION: Iain Lees-Galloway, in the eyes of the Prime Minister, took his job far too literally.

Given the ministerial job of being in charge of workplace relations, the honourable member set about his work.

Workplace relations can mean many things. Sadly for this busy member, he spent an intensive 12 months on the job that ultimately has seen him left naked in so many ways.

He will no longer be the upstanding member for Palmerston North, where he used to talk on his website about the need for integrity.

Let's not get too judgy, judgy here. But when you peel this back to what did he do that was illegal - nothing. 

This is an ethical and moral judgement from the Prime Minister and she had no other option but to sack him. 

Not because his behaviour was unbecoming of an MP - because you won't ever convince me this is some kind of new dilemma.

Under Jacinda Ardern's judgement, she would have had to sack former PM David Lange who infamously had an affair with his speechwriter while married to Naomi.

These aren't isolated affairs. You'd be bonkers for thinking that.

Away from home, bored, under-used, throw in some booze and the power imbalance rumours run around Parliament on a daily basis.

Even if half of it was true, the place would be rocking most of the time. 

I'm aware of a number of MPs over time who were apparently engaged in giving Lees-Galloway a run for his money in the race to win the award for services to 'workplace relations'.

Now I don't know if these rumours were ever true. I wasn't there at the time. But where there is smoke in Parliament, there is usually a bonfire.

But anything you've heard about me - don't believe it - only half of it will be true.

So Lees-Galloway's crime is not the affair - no, no, no. It's that he was caught and it was that he was the Workplace Safety Minister having a workplace affair.

I don't buy it. It's a convenient excuse.

In short, Ardern was snookered by Collins in this ruthless game. Had Ardern failed to act she would have looked weak.

Ardern's judgement stands, but it's a dangerous place to go.

If this is the new standard, some MPs will not only have to pull their socks up but their pants too.

I would have given him the sack 18 months ago for his lack of performance as Immigration Minister, allowing a foreign crook to stay in NZ permanently.

No wonder he didn't spend long reading the file, he was busy, busy, busy performing his workplace relations duties.

Duncan Garner is the host of The AM Show.