Party leaders call for full investigation of Government
MICHAEL FOX, TOM HUNT AND DAVID GADD
Labour leader David Cunliffe has called for a full commission of inquiry into the allegations against Judith Collins and the actions of ministers and their offices.
A minister allegedly undermining a chief executive under their control was unacceptable.
"Words cannot express how inappropriate that is to have a minister of the Crown, a minster of justice, seeking to gun for a chief executive who is a in a very sensitive regulatory role... [it] has no place in New Zealand politics," he said.
"To use underhand tactics to destroy the civil servant in question is utterly beyond the pale, utterly beyond the pale. Now those are allegations, they need to have a full inquiry in order to be established."
Key now had a number of questions he needed to answer including the identity of the Chinese border official Collins met with on her controversial trip to China and why he would not release the Cabinet Office advice he says cleared her of any alleged wrongdoing.
Collins should have been sacked "months ago" over the Oravida issue.
"But this is now a broader issue than just the Minister of Justice, there appears from the [Whaledump] dumps to be several minister's offices who have been implicated in similar practices, this is not acceptable in New Zealand politics, we need to clean it up."
Cunliffe said "National's dirty politics appears to have backfired on itself, there is no place for that in New Zealand politics".
Collins' resignation was damaging for National but not as damaging as keeping her in place.
It could lose National the election, he said.
He did not know who was behind the release of information but hoped the inquiry would turn that up.
"Of course we want to move on but only when New Zealanders have answers first."
Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said John Key's ''sacking'' of Collins had thrown National's campaign into chaos.
''National is totally immersed in dirty politics and John Key condoned it.
"John Key should have sacked Judith Collins the minute the extent of her involvement in dirty politics was revealed. Instead he sat on his hands until public pressure forced him to act.''
While Collins had long shown she was unsuitable as a minister, the new revelations were ''very disturbing'', Turei said, renewing a call for a commission of inquiry into the ''dirty politics'' allegations.
Hone Harawira said: "There has been scandal after scandal after scandal, and her relationship with Cameron Slater and the evil to which they have descended and the way they communicated with one another about ordinary New Zealanders ... I think [the resignation] is just and appropriate."
Laila Harre said: "I don't think the decision to resign or John Key's decision to sack her - we will never know the truth about that - makes any difference to the substance of the allegations that have emerged over the past few weeks. We will ensure these allegations are fully investigated.
"Neither John Key or Judith Collins are off the hook for the behaviour of their Government. There are genuinely real concerns about corruption here and these issues must be fully investigated and scrutinised.
''The convenience of the decision today does not change the fact that there needs to be a full investigation into the operations of the whole Government."