I was going to do an OIA request to Parliamentary Services to ascertain if there was a shift in staffing, given that the different physical locations does make it seem unlikely that the offices have merged. Maybe, being charitable, Blue had meant to say that the admin work had merged, not that the actual offices had merged. However, thanks to some help from Idiot/Savant, it seems that Parliamentary Services is not covered by the OIA, so there goes that idea.
I've had a bit more of a think. And it seems to me pertinent to point out that from the original Herald story Nathan's job appeared to disappear immediately after the November 2008 election. Yet Sam Lotu-Iiga's office didn't even open until May 2009. So there's at least a five month period there when the offices/admin work couldn't possibly have been merged, yet Nathan's job had already ended.
The questions that occur to me, and which I wish a journo would ask, are these:
- Was Nathan's 10 hour a week admin job at Jackie Blue's office actually a PR stunt?
- What did the job involve?
- If it wasn't a PR stunt and the work was genuinely required, how come it suddenly wasn't required after the 2008 election?
- If it was required before the election but wasn't required afterwards does that mean it was in fact campaign work, in which case was she paid as a Parliamentary Services staff member, or as a National Party worker?
- Who is doing that work now? (Don't need a name, just some kind of evidence that the work Nathan was doing has shifted to someone else)
- Who did the work for the five month period between Nathan's job ending and Lotu-Iiga's office opening?
- Given that the staff for Lotu-Iiga's office would likely have been new, why would you take work off an existing member of staff in one office and give it to a new member of staff in another office? Particularly if it meant no more work at all for the existing member of staff.
- What was the process around the staffing restructure at Blue's office?
- Did Nathan receive any redundancy for her job ending?
- Was Nathan given the option of doing the same work at Lotu-Iiga's office, if that is really where the work went?
And we should expect our MPs to be honest. The holes in Blue's story about Nathan's employment are significant and worth investigation, because it seems to me that an MP may have lied to the media. Which is a Big Deal, even if it is about something that seems inconsequential.
It wasn't inconsequential for Joan Nathan, and actually the integrity of our MPs should be of consequence to all of us.