Can you trust Nick Smith?

Check out below and you decide.

In February this year the Green Party heard a rumour that the review of ACC was being conducted solely by Treasury and Business New Zealand, so on 5 March we decided to put this to Nick Smith in the House.

Sue Bradford: Is it true that Business New Zealand and Treasury are currently the sole drafters of the terms of reference for a full Government review of accident compensation?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: No, that is completely false. I have not had any discussions with either of those organisations about the changes that the Government will need to make in accident compensation, nor have officials. I wish to reassure the member that this Government is absolutely determined to ensure that New Zealand has a 24/7 accident insurance scheme that is both affordable and sustainable in the long term.

Now, this seemed a little odd – no officials had talked to Treasury about a review of a scheme that was allegedly in financial trouble.

So OIAs were put in, and the information that eventually came back showed that Nick Smith had received a briefing on 23 December 2008 about the Stocktake of ACC [PDF] that clearly stated that  … “ the department and the Treasury are still considering the scope of the review.”

On 20 February 2009, Nick Smith received a briefing on the ACC review from the Department of Labour [PDF] which was developed in consultation with the Treasury, and on which he wrote a note about the role of Treasury in the review.

In Parliament today, Green Party’s new ACC spokesperson Kevin Hague, asked Nick Smith about this. The Minister both confirmed that he stands by his answers in the house and the Treasury has been involved in the review of ACC…..


This raises the issue of whether this is the only time Nick Smith has been caught out – according to this Labour press release it isn’t.

So can Nick Smith be trusted? Over to you.

19 Comments Posted

  1. Who are the officials being referred to when Nick Smith said:
    “I have not had any discussions with either of those organisations about the changes that the Government will need to make in accident compensation, nor have officials.”

    I suspect he will mean the ACC ministry officials, not DOL officials. I also expect that he was thinking of verbal discussions – face to face or by telephone, not written exchanges.

    I also suspect that he may have a different view about what changes are needed.

    So yes, I believe that there is a way of intrepreting what he said that is actually true – just not necessarily the way most people would intrepret it.


    PS: What was that phrase used in “Independence Day”? Ah yes, “plausible deniability”.

  2. So trev lets get this straight you think that there were no discussions between DOL and Treasury officals about changes to accident compensation from late 2008 to march 2009?

    because that is what would need to be true for Nick Smith’s answer to be literally true.

  3. I can trust Nick Smith to:
    – be economical with the truth;
    – use phrases that are literally true.

    What does “discussion” mean in this context? Is requesting and receiving information a “discussion”. Was that “note” intended for Treasury or BNZ?

    Unfortunately it seems that senior National (and Labour) Party members have better skills in asking and/or answering/evading such questions than younger members of smaller parties. This may be an area where some training of the Green MPs could be useful…


  4. Trusting-of-Nick-Smith-Pentwig – what other proposals did you look at?

    Photonz1 – the title of this thread asks,
    “Can you trust Nick Smith?” but despite having posted twice, you still say,
    I’ve never said a single thing about whether or not I trust Nick Smith

    Why ever not???

    Quite odd behaviour.

  5. Having watched Smith as much as I could and my eyes would allow me, Yes I trust Smith in that he has brought to NZ an economical and sound stategy that is not going to impact on the lesser income earners and keep them employed with the rider that their employer can afford to keep in business.
    Looking at other proposals this was not a consideration.
    There is also room to move if the science proves false.
    Having said that only the future will tell and to speculate is only insidious.

  6. I don’t trust Nick Smith, but then I don’t trust any of them but having said that Photon has a point.

    Frog needs to establish beyond reasonable doubt that Business NZ has been involved in the drafting of this ACC bill and to what extent.

    That shouldn’t be too difficult


    I’m sure that the only thing that is saving him is that Tolley is even less competent, and that Brownlee, Bennett and Wilkinson are at about the same poor standard as Smith.

    League tables for Ministers, anyone? Too embarrassing for Key to sack them all.

  8. greenfly – you’re just like frog – twisting things so they can be misrepresented.

    I’ve never said a single thing about whether or not I trust Nick Smith – I just said for the case at hand, his comments have been completely misrepresented by frog.

    So clearly I could not trust frog.

    Whether or not Nick Smith is trustworthy, is somehting I have not commented on.

    But I certainly would NEVER trust anyone who slags people off primarily for the party they are in, rather than what they actually do – I find that very UNtrustworthy.

  9. Can you trust Frog?

    1/ Clearly Nick Smith’s answer to Sue Bradford is accurate – in his notes, he says there needs to be a wider discussion including the likes of DOL (who were already having an input to what should be considered).

    2/ The second part of his answer is also accurate, as how could he possibly have had discussions about “the changes that the Government will need to make” (the results of the review) when the review to decide those changes, hadn’t even started.

    Are you not trying to trick up into believing that talking about doing a review (which happens before it starts) is exactly the same thing as talking about the results of the review (which can’t happen until it finishes)?

  10. >Can you trust Nick Smith?
    I think that has already been established over a number of years
    Keep the pressure up there is no room in NZ politics for one so blatantly dishonest as he

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