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Politician in Our Sights - We Pulled the Trigger

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Dave Griffith
Dave Griffith

The sun rose today on a land where two rarities have come to pass in the one event. A politician has been found guilty of something and high level corruption is proven to exist in our land.

Time and again over the years we have sat on the sidelines and watched politician after politician wriggle off the hook. We have long understood that there is one set of rules for the rule makers and one for the rest of us.

Usually they would try and ride out the publicity and block attempts at investigation. If on the rare occasions they were forced to do something then they would set up a commission of inquiry, hand pick the chairperson, then carefully set the terms of reference so that the real issues and guilty ones behind it all were never revealed. The blame was shared around enough that no one person was accountable. The way the politicians set up MMP means that they can get back into power with a high enough list position, so that regardless of what they have done they can never be accountable to the vote of the people.

So when Field was jettisoned by Labour before the last election with the wiff of corruption charges in the air, in the normal course of events we would have expected whatever form of investigation to be inconclusive and no further action pursued. The whole thing would die quietly. But charged he was and yesterday he was found guilty by a Jury of the people. I am struggling to think of a time where the people have had the opportunity to pass direct judgement on a politician.

The other issue is that of corruption. Now we are naïve in the extreme if we don't believe that our politicians indulge in unethical behaviour from time to time. Corruption though is not normally a part of our culture, even for politicians. Normally when those international surveys are done on levels of corruption, New Zealand finishes up near the top in the squeaky clean stakes. The fact that one of our Cabinet Ministers has been found guilty of corruption will definitely slide us down the 'field' so to speak in the next survey.

So while this trial has tarnished our country's image with its long public airing of dirty laundry. It is a rare day in the history of our nation that a politician has been judged directly by the people and been held accountable. This verdict is not just about corruption charges around granting of immigration visas. It for all those politicians that have schemed and fudged in the past for political gain and personal preservation and for one reason or another slid away from accountability.

Finally we got one in our sights, no amount of political manoeuvring, fancy words or spin doctoring could shake the cross hairs from the target, and for the first time in our history we pulled the trigger – GUILTY – a politician guilty. Now that’s something in years to come you can tell your grand children and they won't believe you, along with the All Blacks once being the best in the world.         

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