Members of Parliament on all sides of the House were dismayed and concerned last night at the unprompted resignations of two sitting MPs, Mr. David Turoa Field (Labour, Lake Taihape) and Ms Satchya Anderson-Hussein (National, List).
Both have resigned over matters of honesty and integrity, and members of both Labour and National expressed concern that such actions could set an unfortunate precedent for parliamentarians.
Late yesterday Mr Field said that after a constituency meeting in his electorate he had been offered a cake by an elderly woman whom he had assisted in a legal matter, and which he had accepted.
“This woman had come to me previously in good faith as a Member of Parliament and asked for my advice over a tenancy matter. I gave her some advice and referred her to the local Citizens Advice Bureau, and then unexpectedly after the meeting last weekend she presented me with a cake she had baked herself.
“In my culture it is not uncommon for this to happen and we accept such things in good grace so as not to cause offence to the giver. But in this case she also asked if I could help her daughter in a separate matter and, without thinking, I agreed to meet her at my office next weekend.
“However on reflection and searching my conscience, and after consulting my electorate secretary and my family, I have realised that this behaviour goes beyond the standards of ethics of an MP and so I have tendered my resignation. Accepting gifts for services rendered is unconscionable.”
Ms Satchya-Hussein would not be drawn on the details of the incident behind her sudden resignation but it is believed to have involved a flight to hospital for her son Roger on a WestPac helicopter when the 13-year old had fallen while on a Scout hike in the Waitakere Ranges.
“It is enough to say that I felt afterwards that Roger’s injuries had not been serious enough to warrant this call-out. I unreservedly apologise to those people inconvenienced and for the cost involved and fully intend to repay any expenses incurred.”
Roger Satchya-Hussein is believed to be resting at home with a broken leg and mild concussion.
Political observers say that these two incidents may prompt questions about codes of conduct for MPs, some of whom have been less than forthcoming about gifts, gratuities and backhanders from constituents.
The prime minister last night said the door was now open for a number of MPs to consult their own consciences and take appropriate action.
This has been widely interpreted to mean that sleazy bastards who have slipped through the net by hanging tough -- despite public derision and calls for their resignation from within their electorate and in editorials -- might now have to think again about their positions.
One of those MPs who preferred not be named -- but the joker who is in deep shit, and you know who we mean -- said last night that there was no need for any precipitous action on his part.
“Not only do I have the support of the people who I’ve done favours for, but I also didn’t do anything wrong, and if I did I choose not to recall it.
“I think it would be a sad day if MPs were expected to resign just because they have behaved irresponsibly, accepted money, or taken advantage of their position.
“If Ms high’n’mighty Satchya-Hussein wants to pay back some money because it makes her feel good then that’s fine. In my culture the giving money is considered a good thing too, which is why I have always accepted it when it is offered. No coins though.
“And to people like that weasel David Turoa Field I say, ‘Mate, you can have your cake -- and eat it too’.”