Kevin Hague
Wilkinson resignation only symbolic

On Monday, in light of the Royal Commission report into Pike River, Kate Wilkinson resigned as Minister responsible for the Department of Labour.

This was the right decision, given that Pike River was the most serious industrial disaster in the last fifty years, and it happened on her watch.

What’s interesting is that she has only stepped down from that one portfolio, meaning she is still the Minister of Conservation, Food Safety and Associate Immigration Minister.

Looking back over the last 16 years under MMP, all but one of the other 28 Ministers that have resigned (for a wide variety of reasons, have resigned their Ministerial warrant completely – i.e. they have stepped aside from all of their portfolios, given up the Minister’s salary and car, and spent some time on the back benches.

The one exception to this is David Parker, who in 2008 resigned as the Attorney-General. However, the following day he resigned from all of his portfolios. In his words: “So following the Westminster tradition that I believe in, I resigned my other portfolios this morning”.

The honourable thing now is for Kate Wilkinson to follow suit.

5 thoughts on “Wilkinson resignation only symbolic

  1. One gets the feeling that her resignation as Minister of DOL was done to take the heat off the mistakes caused by lax regulatory oversight. If Kate Wilkinson resigned from one ministary becuase she wasn’t up to the job then clearly she has to go from all.

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  2. Pretty much a statement of the obvious, that her resignation was symbolic. But then, why would any more than symbolism be justified? Wilkinson was actually correct when she asked the reporter yesterday “What did I do wrong?”

    You just want to drink her blood, for no reason other than you glory in drinking blood. There is no other justification for drinking Wilkinson’s blood other than your thirst for it.

    What the Hell did we have such an expensive enquiry for if you are going to ignore what the expensive process actually said – that the company was primarily at fault.

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  3. Hi Kevin, fair enough post; although if the lack of mine inspectors is what the gov’t is blamed for, wasn’t that decided 20years ago.
    I also liked your ‘gay T’ post, and the fact you gave credit to Shonkey where it’s apparently due.
    I hope you don’t go so easy on the mine management; I eagerly wait for a more in depth post regarding the Commission report. Did they turn off methane monitors?!?!
    BTW, if Wilkinson resigns from conservation, we could have the Gigantuan minister for everything overseeing conservation..

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  4. Would anyone have a count, from those 28 Ministers, of how many had actually held more than one primary portfolio in the first place? For those who didn’t, it’s really not possible to gauge whether they’d have been of the mind to resign from others that they’d held or not. I do tend to agree, though, that if you’re admitting an inability to be responsible for one portfolio then there should at least be a need to convincingly explain why you’re capable of managing others.

    On disasters resulting from collective incompetence, I do remember that after Cave Creek, Denis Marshall made a big thing in a speech to justify his non-resignation about how Ministers couldn’t be held personally responsible for everything done in their name, and shouldn’t take the rap for things they didn’t know about or didn’t authorise, invoking a quote from Geoffrey Palmer when he did it. I don’t know if GP was quoted in context. That Minister lasted another year before he resigned.

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  5. Kate Wilkinson, being an abject party hack and fairly spectacular dimwit to boot, can’t possibly be asked to relinquish her Ministerial warrants.

    Compelling her do do so would merely add another number to the ever swelling ranks of under-educated, under-skilled and under-employed – though apropos, her boss isn’t too worried about unemployment data released today.

    Courtesy of Stuff:

    Prime Minister John Key today said the figures were surprising and at odds with other data. Unemployment raced up to 7.3 per cent in the September quarter, from 6.8 per cent in the June quarter…

    Key said the data was “unusual”.

    “In the end these things bounce around quite a bit… it’s at odds with what most of the economists thought would happen.”

    Asked whether the data was wrong, he said only it was at odds with other information around.

    “Like a lot of surveys, from time to time, it can produced usual data, let’s see what happens in the next one. But it’s not going to make the Government change tack.”

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