“One law for all” – except MPs
The government is going after cameraman/journalist Bradley Ambrose with a vengeance, demanding $14,000 in court costs,
It seems that this government is as vindictive as ever, when it comes to “settling scores” with critics. Their recent history has other similar examples of coming down hard on those who would dare criticise the current regime.
This list outlines just some of the people who have criticised this government and been abused or derided;
Natasha Fuller & Jennifer Johnston, solo-mothers
Personal WINZ details released to the media by Social Welfare Minister, Paula Bennett, to discredit both women after they criticised National for canning the Training Incentive Allowance (which Bennett herself used to pay her way through University).
Jon Stephenson, journalist
John Key derides Stephenson’s research into NZ activities in Afghanistan: “I’ve got no reason for NZDF to be lying, and I’ve found [Stephenson] myself personally not to be credible.”
Nicky Hager, writer, researcher
John Key dismisses Hager’s book, on CIA involvement in NZ military activities in Afghanistan: “I don’t have time to read fiction,” quipped the Prime Minister, adding that the book contained “no smoking gun”, just supposition, which, “makes it business as normal for Nicky Hager”. (Despite the book having 1300 footnotes to referencing documentation.)
Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury, broadcaster, blogger
Criticised John Key on Radio NZ. Subsequently banned/ “uninvited” from returning to Radio NZ as a panellist for the Afternoons with Jim Mora segment.
Robyn Malcolm, actor
Criticises the John Key led National government for it’s failures at a Green Party campaign launch, and is, in turn, vilified by the ‘NZ Herald’, and by one-time National Party aspiring-candidate, Cameron Brewer.
Bradley Ambrose, journalist/photographer
Investigated by police after complaint laid by the Prime Minister, over the “Teapot Tape” affair. Ambrose investigated and interviewed by Police. Media office raided. Property seized. Eventually, no charges laid. Government considered seeking costs of $13,669.45 from Ambrose – but eventually decided not to.
Whilst “Bomber” Bradbury and Ms Malcolm were not directly attacked by this government, actions taken against them were made as a direct result of criticising John Key.
It appears that Bradley Ambrose can now be added to that growing list of harassed or vilified dissidents. If it’s any consolation for Mr Ambrose, he appears to be a member of an “exclusive club” of some very talented individuals.
It also seems that the National Party is not averse to resorting to Muldoonist tactics – where the Prime Minister of the same name had little hesitation in attacking critics on a personal level. Many of us still recall Muldoon’s abuse of power against cartoonist and journalist, Tom Scott, in the 1970s.
I thought those days were over, and behind us.
What is even more outrageously hypocritical is that Ministers of the Crown are not above dipping into the public purse to pay for their own court costs – some of which are considerable,
National MP, Gerry Brownlee also tried to seek reimbursement for a $48,000 legal bill – though this was knocked back. Brownlee knew he was “trying it on”, when he admitted,
“In hindsight, I would have thought ‘oh well, I’ve got this big bill, I may as well see what is possible’. But quite clearly it wasn’t appropriate.” – Ibid
Nick Smith has received $122,000 taxpayer funding in his case against timber preservative company Osmose, and an undisclosed sum to reimburse his court costs in his case against David Henderson.
One cannot help but arrive at the conclusion that there is one law for Members of Parliament – and another law for the rest of us plebs.
It was highly ironic then, considering Bradley Ambrose’s case that the Speaker of the House, Lockwood Smith referred to court action against the media, as justification for using taxpayers’ money,
“Dr Smith said allowing MPs to use public money was warranted, likening it to a media company paying for a defamation case against a journalist.” – Ibid
John Key also climbed into the fray, justifying the use of taxpayers’ money thusly,
“”It’s a question about whether ultimately those disclosures are brought into the public domain by greater levels of transparency, but that has never been the rule in the past. I don’t think it would be of concern to me if it was opened up to a greater degree. There’s nothing to hide here.” ” – Source
Well, obviously there was quite a bit to hide when it came to the “Teapot Tapes”. So much to hide, in fact, that police were called in to raid several media offices and punitive action is being meted out to Mr Ambrose. Not very “transparent” at all.
It is quite obvious that this government has little hesitation in using taxpayers money – our money – against members of the public who dare annoy a Minister.
It is also quite obvious that this same government will dip into our wallets and use our taxes when it suits them, to pay for their legal expenses.
The term for this is hypocrisy.