It’s Sunday afternoon and I shouldn’t be thinking about politics but there was a radio programme this morning on RadioLive that deserves some scrutiny.
The Mark Sainsbury show (10am-11am) was hijacked and became the Matthew Hooton and Michelle Boag show. The two of them are known as “National party zealots”. In fact Matthew probably believes that Key is a left-wing sell-out and would rather have Genghis Khan rise from the dead and lead us to a triumphant right-wing utopia.
However today they were not friends. Matthew in fact accused Michelle of being a hack, loyal to the National Party even when its policies don’t marry up with the “right” ideology – “you supported Muldoon, Richardson, Bolger” etc. The discussion was tense.
As the show went on Matthew kept attacking PM Chief of Staff Wayne Eagleson. Michelle wanted to know why. She kept pushing on this point. Matthew then said that the Prime Minister’s office allegedly tried to have Matthew fired as a PR advisor.
The allegation was that the PM’s office called CERA after Matthew won a contract through the normal (painful) Government process (GETS). The PM’s office said to CERA that they should kick Matthew out of CERA’s office and not use him as a provider. Matthew then said that apparently Gerry Brownlee intervened and said the State Sector Act prevented the Government from doing such a thing.
Matthew then went on to say that he had a private client who the PM’s office also allegedly rang to say that they should fire Matthew and hire Mark Unsworth – a noted friend of Wayne Eagleson’s – otherwise they would never have access to the Beehive. Mark was subsequently hired as the frontman in Wellington while Hooton remained in the background.
If this is true, then this needs to be investigated. Because it would mean the Prime Minister’s office is intervening in a) Government Department contracts that are supposed to be done in a politically neutral way, and b) intervening in a large New Zealand business and telling them to hire a mate of theirs to do their lobbying (we all remember the infamous trip to Las Vegas trip where Wayne and Mark had a gay old time). This would be cronyism at its worst.
In the interests of disclosure, I am friends with Matthew. But that in no way shapes my disgust at how awfully the Prime Minister’s office seems to behave. It thinks it can behave above the law. Well the times, they are a’changin.
Cam Slater has said that September 11th, a day already darkened by events last decade, is going to be a very uncomfortable day for members of the Prime Minister’s office. That a number of them will be talking to the Inspector General of the SIS about the OIA release concerning Phil Goff’s briefing. Jason Ede will be there. Wayne himself will be there. I’ve even heard that John Key may be one of them. Cameron Slater will also be one of them. And I’ve heard that Cameron Slater is now gunning for Key. After having been a confidante for so many years, Key has hung Slater out to dry who I understand is considering a little “whaledump” of his own (pardon the imagery). If Slater releases his emails himself he’s not only hitting the self-destruct button but the fall-out will go from Auckland, right to the doorstep of level 9 of the Beehive.
And there’s still three weeks to go.