23 July 2009

For want of a nail: cabinet ministers and conflict of interest version

The issues raised by the Paul Oram case just got a whole lot worse, politically:

…Oram replied that "if you look at any business people that are involved in government you'd have to ask the same question."

"I'm not the only one that owns businesses within government and owns shares within government, and has been a director of a business within government. There's all sorts of people that are involved there."

Expect reporters and others to ask some logical questions:

  • Who are the others in cabinet with business interests that aren’t in a blind trust?
  • Has there been a real or perceived conflict of interest in each of these?
  • How come the Premier didn’t simply require his ministers to put their businesses in a blind trust when they were appointed to cabinet?

That last one remains the crucial one for your humble e-scribbler.  This entire issue was one of the easiest to manage with a little preventive action.

As a result of that initial decision, Paul Oram’s answer to The Telegram just opened up a whole new line of inquiry where really there shouldn’t need to be one.