I see that Jonathon Coleman hung up on Susie Ferguson when she tried to question him about Middlemore Hospital. I am not suggesting he did anything wrong or knew about the mould problem but this raises a larger issue with me. Politicians and upper level bureaucrats who resign their positions when problems under their watch emerge, then use the fact that they have resigned to avoid all further accountability for or investigation into whatever went wrong (unless it is a criminal matter). 'I no longer work there, it is not my responsibility.'
Should this be accepted? If someone has been responsible for something that then goes wrong on their watch, I do not think they should be able to walk away from questions about it just because they have resigned. This is like someone declaring corporate bankruptcy to evade debts. If someone, especially a Minister, has been in charge of a Ministry for a significant period of time, and then problems emerge after that Minister has left politics, why should there not continue to be at least some personal accountability for the time the Minister was in that role? Coleman was in his job for a considerable length of time. He was well-paid by the taxpayer during that time. How dare he hang up on a journalist who is just doing her job? I think that is the height of arrogance. Whether he knew about the mould or not (the consensus seems to be that it is hard to understand how he could not have), he owes it to those of us who paid his salary to at least have the basic manners to hear out the interviewer (who was not being hostile) and to give fulsome answers to her questions. We have a right to as much and politicians need to learn that being in office does not exempt them from the rules of civilised conduct.
The government has just changed the year and a day law that limited criminal liability for causing a death. I don't see why there shouldn't be something similar for former politicians and civil servants.