There is something not right about the whole Mahuta thing. The Foreign Affairs appointment came so far out of left field it made the Poto Williams appointment look like a stroke of genius.
A person who hates flying but is Foreign Affairs Minister. A person who has barely travelled post Covid, telling us the Pacific is fine and we can wait until the Pacific Leaders Forum next month while the Chinese park themselves locally aiming to achieve God knows what, and Penny Wong on a plane most days to try and mop up the potential damage.
There is a power struggle between the Prime Minister and the Māori caucus. There can be no other explanation for the ridiculous defence over a Minister who is low profile, work shy, and letting her portfolios down.
I am assuming the investigation will determine whether the explanation is true or not. But here is the simple truth, when you are in public office and when you are spending other people's money, you have to be squeaky clean and you have to be beyond reproach.
The Australians call it the pub test. Does the fact Mahuta's husband and other family members getting money for contracts pass the pub test? A simple and easy no. Does the fact family members receive high-powered appointments pass the pub test? The answer is a simple and easy no.
The amount of money so far doesn’t appear to be massive but that’s not the point. The question that needs to be asked and answered is, do the jobs and the contracts go to people in the Mahuta family who offer skills experience and expertise that no one else can offer? The answer is an obvious no.
So why did they get it?
Part of the defence has come in the form of examples of other governments and appointments from times past. The weakness there is each deal, appointment, or contract must stand on its own.
Does it pass the pub test? If the answer is yes, you can give a job or money to anyone you like.
Dame Annette King to Canberra I think most people saw as perfectly sensible and acceptable. Trevor Mallard to Europe? Not so much.
Also, previous poor decisions do not make current poor decisions any better.
The whole Mahuta thing stinks. It should never have happened, and they should have been smart enough to know that.
And yet here we are, more mess, more murk, and more reputational damage.
Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings