It's called covering your backside

David Bain's claim for compensation is starting to look more and more like Charlie Brown's attempt to kick the football.

According to the website, John Key said the following about Judith Collin's decision to seek further legal advice (actually, a review of the review) on David Bain's claim for compensation:

Asked if it was a question of the Government looking for the advice it wanted, he said: "No, I don't think so . . . she [Ms Collins] had some concerns, or at least issues, that she wanted to flesh out a bit more before she took the next step.

"There will be a lot of public interest in what happens here and obviously the Government needs to ensure it's fair."

Let me translate and flesh out that statement for Pundit readers.

"Look, just about everyone in New Zealand has an opinion on this Bain bloke's guilt or innocence, and a fair chunk of them think he's guilty as sin. And, to be honest, there's a lot of us around the cabinet table think that, too. So if we give him a couple of million dollars as compensation for being wrongly jailed, we know there's going to be a hell of a backlash from people who've read things like this.

So that's why Simon Power got this bloke Binnie in from Canada to have a look at Bain's claim for compensation. I suppose he hoped that getting an informed opinion on the case from an eminent outside source might work to convince everyone that, whatever their personal views, they should just accept his conclusion and let the issue go.

Now, frankly, the easiest thing for us would have been for this bloke Binnie to conclude that while Bain is not guilty of the murders, he also most probably is not innocent of them either. Then we could just do a Rex Haig on him by telling him to count himself lucky he's not still in jail before sending him on his way.

But unfortunately for us, this bloke Binnie has come back and told us that Bain actually is most probably innocent. And in the meantime, Simon has moved on and Judith has taken over his job. And Judith has some problems with some of the decisions that Simon made, so doesn't feel that she has to just carry through with the plans that he made.

So because we're not all that happy with this bloke Binnie's conclusions, and we know that there'll be a fair chunk of New Zealanders who won't be either, we're going to get someone else - this bloke Fisher - to have a look at what we've been told. If this bloke Fisher tells us that this bloke Binnie got it right, well then ... I guess we'll have no real choice but to go along with it.

However, if this bloke Fisher tells us that this bloke Binnie has gone off the deep-end and got it all wrong (which, to be honest, is what Judith herself thinks), then that'll give us a reason to say that the "special circumstances" needed to pay Bain compensation haven't been met. Which would, quite frankly, be a bit easier for us to sell. So that's what we're going to do."

I suppose that answer wouldn't really fit neatly into a press conference - and good luck getting it packaged into a neat sound-bite quote!