First off I am no supporter of Dr Nick Smith.
His position on the ETS scam and some of his environmental stances in general often leave me somewhat confused as to whether he is in the right party.
However, as I subscribe to a position on "broard church" party representation as opposed to a proliferation of single issue parties in the Parliament, I accept wholeheartedly his views and the pursuit of them as healthy democracy in action.
He has proved in the past that he indulges in activities as an Electorate MP whose judgment is to often questionable in that he sails close to the wind and the use of ministerial letterhead stationary in an attempt to get a very persistent, to the point of harassment, person from his past, off his back, a big error. It has turned out a mistake that has brought his career to a shuddering halt.
I concur with those who are questioning John Keys handling of the cluster f**k and earlier less dramatic action was, with the benefit of hindsight, probably a more acceptable and pragmatic course of action.
Dr Smith is a very popular MP in an area of the political landscape that must be courted by any right of center Government and Nick Smith was clearly a force in that demographic.
As technological advances make our national "Village" political activity, a minefield for perceived "Conflict of interest" charges, politicians both national and localbody will be potentially conflicted with every decision they contribute to, so perhaps we have to take a deep breath and accept that with the sunlight of scrutiny that they work in, avoiding such conflict is counter to why they are sent to the table to make decisions that affect us all in the first place.
In the elected Environment Canterbury Council, that could not achieve a water management policy in 19 years of wasted opportunity, one of the major problems was the requirement for the rural based elected members to be excluded from discussions and decisions on water issues on conflict grounds when a significant majority of their support came from those who sent them to council in part because they had a deep understanding of the issues around water.
Nick smith is one of an increasing number of elected representatives with virtually zero life experience outside the pressure cooker of education and politics that includes over 20 years in The Parliament. He was elected to a council at 19 and has been in what many see as an insulated position ever since. Despite a very comprehensive education and a demonstrable intellectual ability maybe there is still a rather gaping hole in his makeup that has contributed to his political demise.
Vulnerable? yes, stupid? yes, clever? yes, a loss to the government? clearly yes, as he is widely seen as a cornerstone of "blue/green faction that contributes to a rounded image for National. However conflicted? definitely not as apart from getting a very focussed Brenda Pullar off his back there was nothing in it for the still, imo, Honorable Dr Nick Smith.