This Blogger has deduced the new, simplified, John Key Style of Doing Business.
Meet socially and conduct an ‘informal chat’. This leaves only the barest record of any meeting; nothing said is documented or reported; and plausible deniability exists if things go pear-shaped.
From April, last year,
Prime Minister defends loan to MediaWorks
” Published: 8:28PM Friday April 08, 2011 Source: ONE News
The Prime Minister is defending his decision to loan $43 million of taxpayer money to private media companies.
John Key claims the loan scheme was designed to help the whole radio industry.
But a ONE News investigation has revealed MediaWorks was the big winner after some hard lobbying.
Key is known for being media friendly, but he’s facing criticism from Labour that he’s become too cosy with MediaWorks which owns TV3 and half of New Zealand’s radio stations.
It has been revealed the government deferred $43 million in radio licensing fees for MediaWorks after some serious lobbying.
Key and the former head of MediaWorks, Brent Impey, talked at a TV3 Telethon event.
“I just raised it as an issue but we’d been looking at it for sometime. My view was it made sense. It’s a commercial loan, it’s a secured contract,” Key said.
It’s believed the loan is being made at 11% interest.
But in answer to parliamentary written questions, the Prime Minister said he had “no meetings” with representatives of MediaWorks to discuss the deal.
Two days later that answer was corrected, saying he “ran into” Brent Impey at a “social event” in Auckland where the issue was “briefly raised” and he “passed his comments on” to the responsible minister. ” – Source
The up-shot of Key “running into Brent Impey at a ‘social event’ in Auckland” was that Mediaworks were offered a $43 million dollar loan, despite being earlier declined by Broadcasting Minister, Steven Joyce.
For full background on this story, see earlier blogpost: Politics-Free Zone? “Tui” time!
As John Drinnan, the NZ Herald’s business writer and media commentator wrote at the time,
“So much for market forces. The future of the radio industry was decided behind closed doors in talks between industry incumbents and a former industry player, and signed off by Cabinet. ” – Source
Hmmmm… Now where have we heard this just recently?!
From April, this year,
SkyCity deal was PM’s own offer
” 10:20 AM Wednesday Apr 18, 2012
Prime Minister John Key has confirmed he offered a deal to Sky City allowing the casino to have more pokie machines in return for building a multimillion-dollar convention centre. Mr Key, speaking from Indonesia, confirmed he made the offer to Sky City in his capacity as Minister of Tourism, Newstalk ZB reported…
… Mr Key was asked last July in a question for written answer from Green MP Sue Kedgley whether he or any of his ministers had met representatives from the casino to discuss changes to the Gambling Act.
He replied: “I attended a dinner with the Sky City board 4 November 2009 where we discussed a possible national convention centre and they raised issues relating to the Gambling Act 2003″. ” – Source
That’s how it’s done. Neat, no fuss, no questions from pesky media – sorted. (Even better if the business party pick up the tab for the evening!)
Promise Big Numbers. It doesn’t matter if the numbers never eventuate because they were fictitious to start with. By the time the media and public realise the true facts, the issue will be all but forgotten. A week may be a long time in politics – but a year positively guarantees collective amnesia for 99% of the public.
From December, 2010,
Cycleway jobs fall short
“6:00 AM Wednesday Dec 8, 2010
The national cycleway has so far generated just 215 jobs – well short of Prime Minister John Key’s expectation of 4000.
In May, Mr Key said he expected the $50 million project, which involves building 18 cycleways throughout the country, to generate 4000 jobs.” – Source
Who can remember the initial cycleway project and the promise of 4,000 new jobs?
From March, this year,
Key defends casino pokie machine deal
.“08:23 Mon Mar 5 2012 – AAP
Opposition parties are accusing the government of selling legislation through an agreement that will see Auckland’s Sky City build a $350 million convention centre in return for more pokie machines…
… But Mr Key says it’s a good deal for New Zealand.
“It produces 1000 jobs to build a convention centre, about 900 jobs to run it… ” – Source
In a year’s time, who will recall the promise of 900 new Convention centre jobs?
Who will care that only a hundred-plus eventuate?
That, my fellow New Zealanders is how John Key Takes Care of Business, in this country. (Dropping to one bent knee and kissing his Don Of Don’s ring, wins extra ‘brownie points’.)
Of course, this isn’t the transparency that John Key promised the country in two recent elections – but considering that National has no other job creation policies they can rely on, they are desperate to clutch at any offer of a business proposal that may create even a handful of jobs (no matter how short-sighted, shady, or ethically dubious).
National’s blind adherence to new right dogma that “governments do not create jobs; only the private sector creates jobs” is not only nonsensical, but traps them in an ideological mindset that does not permit them to consider historical alternatives. John Key’s – and National’s – dilemma forces them to rely on business, whether it be shady casino deals or selling our productive, revenue-earning farms to overseas investors.
It is a trap of their own making, but we the taxpayer, will end up paying one way or another.
= fs =
First blogged 23 April 2012
John Key today delivered his State of the Nation speech. This is my appraisal of the contents of his address to the people of New Zealand…
“Whether it’s welfare reform, law and order, education, the rebuild of Christchurch, or continuing our improvements in public services, it’s full steam ahead.“
But no mention of jobs?
“We’ve made a huge turnaround in the government’s books, we’ve brought in the biggest changes to the tax system in a generation, and we’re making significant changes to reform the welfare system and strengthen work obligations.”
Still no mention of jobs!
“Among other things, we’ve introduced 90-day trials; set time limits for the consenting of large projects under the RMA; introduced a competitive new system for awarding oil and gas exploration permits; got ACC back into good financial shape; and kick-started a multi-billion dollar programme of infrastructure investment.”
Where are the jobs?
” …an economy that was left unbalanced, and in poor shape, by the previous government.“
Bullshit. Aside from being National’s “Big Lie“, Labour posted several Budget Surpluses, and payed down debt. How long can National keep blaming Labour for non-existant ‘mis-management’?
“… the impact of the Global Financial Crisis“
That was FOUR years ago – what has National been doing in the meantime – aside from banging on about welfare “reforms” and adding to unemployment by cutting back on the State sector and under-mining the export sector by not addressing the high Dollar?!
“Since the bottom of the recession, in mid-2009, the economy has grown at an average of just under 2 per cent a year, and economists are expecting that to strengthen further.”
Which economists? These ones; Rodney Dickens finds economists consistently over-estimated growth?
And how can it be ‘strengthening’ when unemployment is rising; the export sector is being knackered by our high dollar; and government austerity is dampening growth?
Key is practicing more of his “vacant optimism”, and bugger all else.
” Our employment rate is very high in comparison to other countries, with over three-quarters of all New Zealanders aged 20 to 64 in work. There are still too many people looking for work who can’t find it. But forecasts show employment continuing to increase and unemployment falling.“
Bullshit. Unemployment has risen in the last four Quarters,
Source: Trading Economics – Unemployment
By what stretch of his money-addled brain is he expecting it to fall? Especially when the 170,000 new jobs predicted in 2011 by a vacantly optimistic Key, have yet to materialise.
“Interest rates are at 50-year lows. “
Interest rates are not determined by government. They are set by the Reserve Bank. And current interest rates are low only because the economy is weak.
Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard said: “New Zealand’s economic outlook has weakened a little since the March Monetary Policy Statement.
“Political and economic stresses in Europe, along with a run of weaker-than-expected data, have seen New Zealand’s trading partner outlook worsen. Furthermore, there is a small but growing risk that conditions in the euro area deteriorate more markedly than is projected in the June Statement.
The Bank is monitoring euro-area developments carefully given the potential for rapid change.“Increased agricultural production and the weakened global outlook have driven New Zealand’s export commodity prices lower.
The resulting moderation in export incomes, although partially offset by depreciation in the exchange rate, will weigh on economic activity in New Zealand. Fiscal consolidation is also likely to constrain demand growth going forward.
Is Key taking credit for a weak economy?! Go on, Dear Leader, I dare you to do it!
“Prices for primary exports are holding up, and our terms of trade remain high. “
Say whut? Has Key been caught out fibbing – again? Terms of trade are not “remaining high”. Quite the opposite,
New Zealand’s terms of trade fell to a three-year low in the September quarter as the country’s strong currency ate into returns from an increasing volume of dairy exports.
The terms of trade, which measures how much imports can be bought with a fixed quantity of exports, fell 3.2 per cent in the three months ended September 30, according to Statistics New Zealand. That’s more than the 1.8 per cent forecast in a Reuters survey of economists. Export prices sank 6.3 per cent, ahead of the 3.6 per cent expected, while import prices declined 3.3 per cent versus an anticipated 2 per cent fall.
Primary export prices are not “holding up”. They are falling,
Dairy, which accounts for about a quarter of New Zealand’s exports, was the biggest contributor to the falling export prices and rising volumes, with volumes surging 32 per cent in the quarter, even as prices sank 13 per cent.
This isn’t a “State of the Nation” report – it’s a work of goddamn fiction.
” That will be centred, of course, on Christchurch, where the spend is now estimated to be around $30 billion. But construction is also expected to pick up in other areas, and manufacturers across the country will be gearing up to supply materials.”
Again, more vacant optimism from Key.
If two major earthquakes had not trashed Christchurch, where would the “growth” come from? What would be driving economic growth and employment? Faith in the Free Market?!
Total manufacturing rose 2.6 percent.
Excluding meat and dairy product manufacturing, sales fell 1.4 percent.
Meat and dairy product manufacturing rose 13 percent.
Total manufacturing rose 1.6 percent.
Excluding meat and dairy product manufacturing, sales fell 1.1 percent.
Meat and dairy product manufacturing rose 9.3 percent.
“In any three-month period in New Zealand, between 100,000 and 200,000 jobs disappear, and between 100,000 and 200,000 new jobs are created, as businesses start up, expand, contract and close altogether.”
Is Key suggesting that there are “100,000 to 200,000 new jobs” created within a three month period?!
The man is in la-la land.
Statistics NZ revealed that for the Setember 2012 Quarter,
The number of people unemployed increased by 13,000 people.
The employment rate fell 0.4 percentage points, to 63.4 percent.
The number of people employed decreased by 8,000.
The labour force participation rate remained unchanged, at 68.4 percent.
I see no evidence of 100,000 or 200,000 new jobs anywhere. Unemployment, however, rose from 6.8% in the June 2012 Quarter to 7.3% in the September 2012 Quarter.
Key’s speech mentions none of this, and is as vacantly optimistic as he was last year, or 2011, or 2010, or 2009…
“Because the truth is, you only get jobs and growth in the economy when people invest money, at their own risk, in setting up a business or expanding an existing business.
But the only way net new jobs can be created is by private investors putting their money into businesses in New Zealand.”
Which brings us to the matter of Market failure. We simply are not seeing the number of new jobs required to soak up any of the 175,000 unemployed.
Since 2009, a net total of 114,200 Kiwis left for Australia and elsewhere (see: Johnny’s Report Card – National Standards Assessment y/e 2012: migration ). One could only imagine the staggering level of unemployment if Australia wasn’t an economic “safety-valve” just across the ditch.
” Governments can encourage investment but they can also discourage investment.
A government can load up big costs and uncertainties onto business.
It can make people unwelcome because they are considered to be the wrong nationality to invest here, or in the wrong industry.
And it can lock up the resources of the country.
That would certainly discourage investment.
But as I said, we have to be a magnet for investment.
That’s why my Government is working hard to reduce costs and uncertainties for business.
That’s why we welcome investment that benefits New Zealand.
That’s why we are keeping our own costs down.
That’s why we are ensuring people have the right skills to contribute to the workforce.
That’s why we are ensuring the country has the infrastructure it needs to grow.
And that’s why we’re focused on opportunities to use our natural resources productively and sustainably.”
Ok. So again – where are the jobs?!
After four years of National’s “working hard to reduce costs and uncertainties for business”, “welcoming investment that benefits New Zealand”, “keeping our own costs down”, “ensuring people have the right skills to contribute to the workforce”, “ensuring the country has the infrastructure it needs to grow”, and “focused on opportunities to use our natural resources productively and sustainably” – why are we not seeing this translated into more jobs?
Instead we are seeing unemployment GROWING – not reducing.
Something is terribly wrong here.
” This year we are launching five new vocational pathways that clearly signpost the subjects young people should take to prepare for vocational careers in construction, manufacturing, the primary sector, the service sector and social services.
This year there will be over 4000 places available in trades and services academies, allowing young people to explore vocational career opportunities while still at school.
And there will be around 8700 Youth Guarantee places for young people to study fees-free outside the school environment.”
Two years after the earthquakes that levelled Christchurch?! National has belatedly realised that Market failure is not delivering the number of skilled tradespeople required, and government intervention is needed?
Oh well, better late than never. At least they didn’t wait till after the 2014 elections… Or the turn of the next century… Or the Second Coming…
“Under Labour’s wasteful management, up to 100,000 people a year listed as being in industry training were in fact “phantom trainees” who achieved no credits and in some cases were no longer alive.”
Oh, how original – more Labour-blaming!!
I suspect that figure of “100,000″ is pure Key bullshit. But regardless, how long is National going to use Labour as a scapegoat?! Especially since, I suspect, that had National kept Labour’s apprenticeships scheme, we’d have the necessary numbers of tradespeople to help re-build Christchurch.
But I guess it’s easier for the Nats to do nothing; wait for the Market to deliver results – and then blame Labour when that nutty idea crashes and burns.
I hope Key realises that the finger-pointing of Labour-blaming is wearing rather thin? People are wondering when the Nats will start taking responsibility for their actions. Especially since National is the Party of personal responsibility,
“ We also need to remember the enduring principles on which the National Party is based – individual responsibility, support for families and communities, and a belief that the State can’t and shouldn’t do everything.” – John Key, 30 January 2007
Source: National Party
“That has freed up some very significant funding to re-invest in expanding apprenticeships.”
Oh? How much?
Is this “new” money?
Or money stolen from other budgets such as Vote Health, eg; for grommet operations for kids with glue ear? (see: Grommet cuts fear )
One will excuse my cynicism, but with National’s current maniacal obsession with balancing their books, they are constantly robbing Peter to pay Pauline. The net result is that state services are being cut back and no part of our community is safe from National’s cost-cutting slash-and-burn activities.
One thing is for sure – some other part of the community may find their services wound back to pay for National’s “expanding apprenticeships”.
” So today I am announcing a new initiative to expand and improve apprenticeship training.
This has a number of parts to it:
1. From 1 January next year, we are…”
Well, never let it be said that National moves with decisive speed when confronted with critical economic and social problems.
Initiating their “new” apprenticeships scheme will mean another year that Christchurch suffers a shortage of trained workers; another year we could have been training some of the 85,000 unemployed youth in this country. Another year – wasted.
This isn’t a government “on top of things”. This is procrastination by deliberate design. Perhaps Key is hoping that the Market will do the job in the next twelve months, giving National an excuse to quietly forget and drop this scheme?
“…we estimate that around 14,000 new apprentices will start training over the next five years, over and above the number previously forecast.”
This sounds remarkably familiar… Didn’t we get a similar promise in 2011,
“Treasury say in the Budget, as a result of this platform on what we’ve delivered, 170,000 jobs created and 4% wage growth over the next three to four years.” – John Key, 19 May 2011
Which was backed up on their 2011 election flyer,
“National’s Brighter Future Plan will help businesses create 170,000 new jobs over the next four years.”
Source: National Party
That one didn’t work out very well either.
Key went on to say,
“The whole idea is to kick-start new apprenticeship opportunities ahead of the curve, so that thousands of New Zealanders get to learn a new trade that will last them a lifetime.”
I have a simple question for our smile and wave Dear Leader; why didn’t they do this immediatly after the 2008 election? Why didn’t this come out of the Jobs Summit in 2009?
And why, as he’s said above, are they now leaving this critical problem to be addressed next year???
All in all – there is little here to create new jobs, now, when we need it the most. Even his comments regarding infrastructure are just so much ‘fluff’,
“Moving on to infrastructure, the Government will this year continue its significant programme of investment, which supports thousands of jobs across the country.”
Well that “support for thousands of jobs across the country” hasn’t worked out so well. Unemployment has risen four quarters in a row. Redundancies were happening across the board, up and down the country. 175,000 New Zealanders are now out of work. Three months prior, that number was 162,000.Before that, 160,000. (see previous blogpost: Johnny’s Report Card – National Standards Assessment y/e 2012: employment/unemployment ) The numbers are going the wrong way.
“In terms of housing, the Government is itself planning to build more than 2000 houses over the next two financial years…”
That number is derisable and falls woefully short of the 20,000 new houses required to be built each year to keep up with demand. As Warwick Quinn, from the Registered Master Builders Federation, said last October,
“New Zealand had fallen way behind the required build rates of 20,000 homes a year, hit by the global financial downturn that began in 2008...”
Two thousand new houses over the next TWO years?
That doesn’t cut it, Mr Key. Not even close. In effect, what Dear Leader has done is acknowledge that a critical housing problem exists – but that National is unable/unwilling to address it in any meaningful way. Their ideological attachment to free market dogma binds their actions at every turn.
Two thousand new houses over two years is a joke. Not a particularly funny one at that.
” We need more houses built in New Zealand, at a lower cost. That means we need more land available for building, more streamlined processes and less costly red tape.”
Now THAT comment worries me.
Didn’t we go through a de-regulation of the building industry in 1991? And didn’t we end up with billions of dollars of poorly built homes that leaked and rotted?
And wasn’t the end result of that disaster a situation where liability ended up with local body councils paying 25% for repairs; central government 25%; and home owners were lumped with 50%?! Oh indeed that IS the case!
Up to 89,000 home owners were affected by the “red tape” de-regulation of the early 1990s – and Key appears to be staggering drunkenly down the same route. (see: Leaky home payouts start tomorrow )
Will this be a repeat of the same errors of history all over again?!
Key went on,
” It’s ridiculous that we allow councils to demand almost anything as a condition for the consent.
And it’s ridiculous that we allow them to charge whatever fees they want.”
Why not? After all, National demands whatever taxes and government fees they want. Eg; rising petrol taxes; increased early childhood costs; increased ACC fees; raised GST, etc.
But when backed into a corner, default to Strategy #1 – blame Labour. As Key then said,
” Labour’s so-called ‘plan’ to build 100,000 houses doesn’t do anything to fix the actual cost of building – so will either fail miserably, deliver dwellings that people don’t want to live in, or require massive taxpayer subsidies. It’s dishonest and it doesn’t stack up.”
Well, Key would know about dishonesty: John Banks. Raising GST when promising not to. Mystery email regarding Standard & Poors. Clandestine meetings with Skycity executives. Pledging meals in schools, then recanting.
Key derides Labour’s plans to build 100,000 new houses, proclaiming it will “fail miserably”.
This from the smile and wave man who lives in a multi-million dollar mansion; has a holiday home in Hawaii; and god knows what other property – while young New Zealanders are desperate to buy their own homes. (See: Frustrated home buyers want investors to be discouraged)
This from the same smile and wave man who offers New Zealanders 2,000 new homes over TWO YEARS.
It beggars belief how anyone can take John Key seriously these days. The man is a joke.
Key then took the stick to local body councils,
“But if councils aren’t able to change their planning processes, then the Government would have to get a lot more proactive, because we are very serious about resolving this issue.”
Oh really? “Very serious”, eh? So serious that in four years National has done nothing about our housing shortage?
Moving from blaming Labour, Key now seems to be beating up on local body councils.
Does National ever take responsibility for anything?!
On the environment…
” New Zealand is rich, for example, in minerals. The Greens and Labour oppose it, but we are going to continue to encourage development of our country’s oil, gas and mineral resources.
Looking across our resource base as a whole, what’s clear is that we need a much better system of planning and resource management – one that enables growth and provides strong environmental outcomes, and does so in a timely and cost-effective way.”
National’s ‘devotion’ to “strong environmental outcomes” is amply illustrated by their abandonment of the Kyoto Protocol; watering down the ETS, and scrapping the five yearly State of the Environment Reports, despite John Key having endorsed it in September 2008 as one of National’s own policies. (See: National scraps crucial environmental report , Government shuns second Kyoto committment )
Anything Key, or one of his ministerial muppets, utters about environmental concerns can be safely dismissed as empty platitudes.
On the TPPA,
“The Greens and their fellow travellers say the TPP is anti-democratic. That is nonsense.”
Interestingly, Key does not say why claims that the “TPP is anti-democratic” are “nonsense”.
Nor does he acknowledge that the TPPA negotiations are currently held in secret. The public and media are excluded from proceedings. Eventually, the TPPA presented to Parliament will be a done deal, with no chance for media analysis and public oversight. If that’s not anti-democratic then I fear that Dear Leader has no concept of the principles of democractic participation.
Considering Key’s penchant for secretiveness when it comes to deals with corporates such as Mediaworks, Skycity, et al, It’s not clear to me why we should take him at his word.
On asset sales…
” Subject to the Supreme Court’s decision, this will start in the first half of the year with our offer of up to 49 per cent of the shares in Mighty River Power.
We also want to proceed with another IPO later this year.
The whole share offer programme will be a shot in the arm for New Zealand’s capital markets.”
Really? So National is flogging of half of Meridian, Genersis, Mighty River Power, Solid Energy, and further down-selling Air New Zealand… to satisfy “New Zealand’s capital markets”?!
Key’s background as a money-trader appears to have besotted him. The Big Sell-off has begun, and he’s positively salivating at the prospect.
Meanwhile, over 75% of New Zealanders don’t want a bar of state asset sales. But hey, so what? Anyone would think this was a democracy?
“At the same time, the Government will maintain majority ownership of the companies, and will use the proceeds to invest in other public assets, like schools and hospitals.”
Rubbish. National will use the proceeds to balance their books. Any other suggestion to the contrary is patent nonsense.
“That’s because overseas investment in New Zealand adds to what New Zealanders can invest on their own.”
That makes no sense… Typo? Brain-fade? A drunk speech writer?
“It creates jobs, boosts incomes, and helps the economy grow.”
So much bullshit…
Let’s remind ourselves for the zillionth time that,
- unemployment is up
- the income gaps between New Zealand and Australia continues to widen
- the economy is “growing” at a snail’s pace and as it does, our Current Account deficit grows. Why? Because increasing economic activity boosts profits for foreign owned companies, which means more profits remitted overseas, which results in a worsening Current Account deficit. That, in turn, impacts on the interest rate we pay for our own capital (borrowings for mortgages, etc),
John Key knows all this – but he ain’t sayin, Billy-Bob boy.
And businesses aren’t so happy either,
On Science & Innovation…
” Finally, despite tight times, the Government is continuing to put a real priority on science and innovation. Research funding will be greater this year than it ever has been, because new ideas are a key driver for a modern economy.”
Didn’t National remove the 15% R&D tax credit soon after winning the 2008 election? If that’s putting “a real priority on science and innovation” – I’d hate to see the Nats in full-flight when they positively hate something. (Oh yeah, kinda like beneficiary bashing.)
So back to default Strategy #1,
“But I can guarantee you one thing – Labour will oppose almost all of it.”
Yeah. Piss poor of Labour not to support National when Key demands absolute fealty. In fact, Labour, Greens, and NZ First should just bugger off and leave National to govern on it’s own… and we know what that’s called, don’t we?
Perhaps New Zealand would be better served if – instead of constantly deriding and blaming Labour, the Greens, NZ First, local body councils, and Uncle Tom Cobbly – that National focused on the problems confronting our nation; our economy; and our society. Fixating on Opposition Parties for eighteen paragraphs is not a good look. Defensive, much, Mr Key?
John Key’s constant reference to Labour makes him look fearful – and perhaps so he should be.
By 2014, National will have been in office for six years, with very little to show for it. If Key goes to the election with nothing more except playing a bitter blame-game against Labour, voters will desert him in droves. Voters want results; something reassuring to make them feel better - not excuses. Certainly not high unemployment, a stagnant economy, growing child poverty, lagging wages, more and more people taking flight to Australia, etc.
” As for the National-led Government, our plan will encourage investment, strengthen the economy and boost jobs.
People know what that plan is, we have stuck to it and we will continue to stick to it.”
Well, I’m happy-as-larry that National has a plan. Because most people haven’t got a clue what Dear Leader and his Nat mates are up to. Aside from cutting state and social services, asset sales, and subsidising multi-billion dollar film companies, most New Zealanders are scratching their heads wondering precisely what this wonderful “Plan” is.
In 2011, business leaders were asking precisely the same thing,
Key’s speech can be summed up threefold;
1. Consisting mainly of wishful fantasy – with facts and the last four years disproving almost everything he claimed as a “success”,
2. Constantly blaming others for his own Party’s policy-failings. Grow a pair, Mr Key; man up and own your failings.
3. National’s faith in the ability of the Market to produce economic growth, jobs, and higher wages has been sadly misplaced. His announcement on 2,000 new homes over two years is an insult, and National’s new apprenticeship scheme is two years too late, and too little.
National’s neo-liberal policies are more faith-based dogma than anything rooted in Real Life – and the chooks are coming home to roost.
This wasn’t a State of the Nation speech – it was a Statement of National failure. A Hekia Parata-style own-goal.
If this is National’s idea of a “bright new future”, they’ve just sent Labour and the Greens a very long concession speech for the next election.
Idle thoughts of an Idle Fellow: The Ruminations of Robert Winter: The Negative Mr Key
The Dim Post: All part of the service
= fs =
In politics, there are several ways to discredit your opponant or critic;
David Lange was the past-master of the one-liner riposte. His classic, “I can smell the uranium on your breath”, is now firmly ingrained in our culture.
- Attack Reputations
A favourite of Robert Muldoon, who had little reservation in undermining, or even destroying, a person’s reputation if they crossed him.
- Buy them off
Our best and most experienced journalists gave up their professions to join the Dark Side of politics, and become Press Secretaries and spin doctors for politicians, government departments, SOEs, and corporations.
Some of the most well-known media names from the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s now work for employers who do not want the public truthfully informed on certain matters.
- Deride & Dismiss
If you can successfully paint your critic or political opponant as a “loony”, incompetant, naive, or possessing some other faulty character-trait, then you may persuade the public not to listen to them.
The Right deride the Greens as “tree hugging socialists” – and other epithets – when attacking their policies. Even when said policies are clearly delineated and sheer common sense – the derision and dismissive retorts are by now an automatic kneejerk from the Right. No thought required.
- Off to the Gulag!
Very popular with the old USSR, and still in heavy usage in the last remaining Stalinist regime in North Korea. The Chinese have their own Labour Camps (prisons) for their political prisoners. And even the United States – the Land of the Free – has their own dirty little ‘secret’ at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Probably not feasible for dear little New Zealand… yet.
National’s tax-payer funded spin doctors have been working overtime this year on new angles for their Ministerial Masters to use to dismiss the growing clamour of criticism against their policies, and more increasingly, criticism of John Key’s style of leadership.
With National dropping in the polls and Key’s popularity not what it once was, it is fairly obvious that critics are starting to hit home – and the Tory hierarchy is worried.
One response has been the Deride & Dismiss tactic.
Increasingly, Dear Leader and his ministers have taken to referring to critics and political opponants as “conspiracy theorists” – a jibe designed to make someone appear to be on the fringe of politics; slightly unstable; not thinking rationally; and espousing ideas unsupported by facts.
It’s like suggesting that your opponant or critics believes in fairy tales. And it’s becoming more and more common,
“Mr Key is rejecting all their allegations.
“It went through the normal tendering process, Sky City was the only bidder prepared to look at a deal that didn’t involve government resources. They can run around as much as they like looking for conspiracies but they’re never going to find one”. ” – John Key, MSN News, 19 April, 2012
“ But despite the paper, he denied there was any connection between him calling off the business case and SkyCity indicating it was considering extending its centre. “Not despite your wildest conspiracies, no,” he said. ” – Dominion Post, 24 April 2012
“But I would say it’s a really positive thing to do. You can make a difference. And it’s like the convention centre. People want to chase their tails in conspiracies. There is no conspiracy. The conspiracy is we haven’t had a convention centre for decades. We will get 160,000 visitor-nights. They will spend roughly twice as much as everybody else. The Government has got no money to pour into it.” – John Key, The Listener, 23 June 2012
“There is no conspiracy here. There’s a failure by an individual, there’s a cock-up, but there’s not a conspiracy.” [re, GCSB] – John Key, TV3, 29 September 2012
“Yeah the conspiracy theorists won’t like it they’ll be on TV tonight saying ‘yeah you know Dotcom’ and all this sort of carry on but they live in fantasy land.” – John Key, TV3, 1 October 2012
“There’ll always be conspiracy theorists out there but I’m interested in jobs, not people who live in Fantasyland and want to make things up.” – John Key, Fairfax media, 2 October 2012
” Meanwhile Mr Key is writing off the concerns around Dotcom as “conspiracy theories”.
“I’d caution New Zealanders not to buy into conspiracy theories too much,” he says. ” – John Key, TV3, 4 October 2012
Even Fran O’Sullivan, NZ Herald columnist and bearer of the Honorary Captain Key De-Coder Ring, joined in to support National’s spin-dictoring.
“The conspiracy allegations against Key are over-egged.” – Fran O’Sullivan, NZ Herald, 3 October 2011
As these quotes show, Key has been using the “conspiracy” pejorative as often as he can get away with it.
Without indulging in conspiracy theories, one could almost come to the conclusion that “Conspiracy” and “conspiracy theorists” are the magic words in 2012 – as determined by National’s back-room spin doctors. These guys have been racking up serious over-time to create the right things for Key and other National ministers to say.
Anyone criticising Dear Leader is engaging in “conspiracies” and accusations against National are “conspiracy theories”.
Otherwise it’s off to the Gulag for you!
Meanwhile, here is one example of pre-scripted spin being delivered incompetantly, by an incompetant Minister. Listen and weep, for our taxes are paying for this woman’s salary,
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From previous related blogpost,
NZ First Leader, Winston Peters, managed to extract this gem from Dear Leader during Question Time in Parliament,
Government Communications Security Bureau—Briefings Since November 2008
3. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister: How many times has he been formally briefed by the Government Communications Security Bureau, by year, since November 2008?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister) : My diary indicates that I have been formally briefed by the Government Communications Security Bureau the following number of times, by year, since 2008: twice in 2008, 15 times in 2009, 11 times in 2010, 10 times in 2011, and 15 times in 2012.
Key’s response is extraordinary for two reasons,
- He gave a serious answer and not the flippant, juvenile wise-cracks he normally indulges in (which, we, the taxpayer, have to pay for as he wastes Parliamentary time)
- The answer he gave revealed that Key had met with the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) fifteen times this year alone – and the subject of GCSB surveillance on Kim Dotcom – possibly one of the most colourful, controversial, and contentious people in the country – was never raised once?!?!
John Key. Met. With. The. GCSB. Fifteen. times.
See: Dear Leader, GCSB, and Kiwis in Wonderland (1 October)
Key was definitely in the country – in part - whilst the GCSB was spying on Dotcom. (See: Prime Minister John Key’s Address in Reply Debate – 21st December, 2011)
At some point between 21 December and 27 January, Key holidayed in Hawaii. (See: John Key Video Journal No.50)
On 27 January 2012, Key attended the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting and joint meeting of senior Cabinet Ministers. (See: PM to visit Australia with Ministers)
Second question: Was surveillance of Dotcom discussed at any meeting around that time period by the Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination (ODESC)? If not, why not? Considering that ODESC is responsible for “oversight and policy guidance of the Bureau“, if the Dotcom cases and cross-organisational liaison did not merit discussion – what then, is ODESC overseeing?
See: Spy VS Politician
And now today; 3 October,
As this blogger wrote two days ago (1 Oct),
“The answer he gave revealed that Key had met with the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) fifteen times this year alone – and the subject of GCSB surveillance on Kim Dotcom – possibly one of the most colourful, controversial, and contentious people in the country – was never raised once?!?!”
It now appears that my disbelief was well-warranted.
The issue of Kim Dotcom did arise at a GCSB meeting on 29 February, this year.
That 29 Feb meeting with GCSB took place only forty days after the raid on Kim Dotcom’s mansion in Coastville (Jan 20).
And Key still maintains he can’t recall being briefed?
It appears that this is not the first time Key’s memory of events has ‘failed’ him,
The Prime Minister has not been upfront with the people of New Zealand. This blogger believes there is more to come out, and furthermore that we will see some damning revelations disclosed to the public.
In fact, if it is proven that John Key knew more about the GCSB-Dotcom Affair than has been revealed thus far, and if links to overseas interests are shown to be correct – then this government will fall.
National has been on borrowed time since the John Banks-Teapot Tape Affair, and this issue will be the final straw.
This blogger endorses full citizenship to Kim Dotcom; his family; and his mates. Anyone that can show up a government to be as corrupt/inept as National deserves full citizenship.
It appears that the public already had an inkling in November last year as to “who was more likely to bend the truth”. See: John Key: Safe hands, forked tongue?
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Announced in July 2010,
So let’s see if this blogger has sussed this correctly…
Postponing an election in Fiji is a bad thing, with Dear Leader demanding that the Fijians tow the line,
“Nothing I’ve seen would mean that Mr Bainimarama would have any reason other than to hold elections in 2014 if he’s a man of his word.”
“Man of his word”! Good! Well said, Dear Leader, well said. Coup leaders who over-turn democratically-elected institutions need to be held to account.
Announced today (7 September),
But… but… Prime Minister John Key said that pledges to hold an election should be honoured!?
What’s going on here?
Surely, Dear Leader is not having one standard for our Fijian cuzzies, and one for himself? That would be… hypocritical.
Let me say one last thing – Nothing I’ve seen would mean that Mr Key would have any reason other than to hold elections in 2013 if he’s a man of his word.
= fs =
If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call?
If it’s somethin’ weird an it won’t look good
Who ya gonna call?
Ever since the National Party conference at the end of July, the National Party has been strutting the political stage like a bunch of patched gang-members, strutting about the main street of some small town in the back-blocks.
Key, Bennett, Joyce, Collins, Parata, Banks – even lowly backbenchers like Maggie Barry – have been obnoxiously aggressive in policy announcements and dealing with the media and critics.
The Nats have been unrelentingly in our faces ever since John Key uttered the threat,
This is not just about confidence.
This is something new. This is about a new, hyped-up, aggressive style of taking criticisms and failings, and turning it back on the critic.
Steven Joyce was on-style on TV3′s “The Nation” (19 August), when he belittled and badgered two journalists (John Hartevelt and Alex Tarrant) who asked him pointedly about National’s short-comings. Joyce’s response was typical Muldoon-style pugnacity.
This interview with Joyce is charachteristic of how National Ministers have been belligerent in their responses. It is singularly instructive,
Interestingly, Joyce has a “go” at Labour; then the Greens; and even Hone Harawira throughout the course of the interview. He even blames the global financial crisis and throws that in the face of Alex Tarrant, as he responds to a point.
Everyone gets a dose of blame – except the one party that is currently in power. So much for National’s creed that we should all take personal responsibility for our actions.
It appears that National’s back-room Party strategists have been analysing the first few months of this year and have realised that when things go horribly wrong, or the latest string of economic indicators reveal more bad news, the relevant Minister(s) responds with aggression and with defiance.
If the old say “explaining-is-losing” is a truism, then any explanation offered automatically puts a Minister on the back-foot.
The best way out of such a sticky moment; take a page out of Rob Muldoon’s book, ‘How To Win Friends/Enemies and Influence the Media‘.
And National’s Ministers have been playing this ‘new’ game perfectly…
Key has always played the part of the arrogant, born-to-rule Tory well.
Despite trying to put across the meme that he has never forgotten his “working class/beneficiary” roots (See: Reflections from New Zealand: Address to the Menzies Research Centre John Howard Lecture), his obvious disdain for those who are the most deprived and powerless in our community occassionally slips out, as when he derided the poor for being… well, poor,
“But it is also true that anyone on a benefit actually has a lifestyle choice. If one budgets properly, one can pay one’s bills.
And that is true because the bulk of New Zealanders on a benefit do actually pay for food, their rent and other things. Now some make poor choices and they don’t have money left.”
That attitude came to the fore recently when Key decided that attending his son’s baseball game in the United States was a more pressing engagement than attending the funerals of two Kiwi servicemen killed in Afghanistan,
Key gave an explanation that, well, frankly astounded most New Zealanders,
“In the end it’s a very, very difficult decision. I’ve got to let somebody down, but my son makes huge sacrifices for me and my job and, in the final analysis, I’ve just decided it’s probably the right thing to do – to go and support him.”
It’s hard to see how Key’s son has made a “sacrifice” that is more “huge” than two soldiers who gave their lives in the service of their country.
For good measure, Key then had a ‘go’ at our Hungarian allies – also serving in Afghanistan – and who have lost seven of their own troops in the neighbouring Baghlan province,
“As far as I’m aware, the Hungarians don’t go out at night. Not in Afghanistan anyway – they might in Budapest.”
A nice bit of deflection there, from Dear Leader. What better way to evade his responsibilities in an apalling decision not to attend the two funerals, than to point the finger at somone else.
It’s not often that one of our Prime Ministers has successfully disrespected the fallen soldiers of not one – but two nations. Quite a feat – even by arrogant right wing stands.
It seems that Dear Leader is not above a bit of “embroidery” when it comes to singing the praises of his son’s involvement in the game of baseball,
” Prime Minister John Key has told United States media his son’s baseball team’s appearance at an international little league tournament is “big news back home”…
… His support for his son caught the attention of the local Bangor Daily News. He told the paper his son’s team making the tournament was big news back home, and might spur growth in a sport that was already “growing reasonably rapidly”.
“I think over time there’s a chance baseball might be a much bigger sport relative to softball in New Zealand,” he said.
“But competing with big sports like rugby I think is a long way down the road.” About 4000 people are involved in the sport in New Zealand and Baseball New Zealand said it was the “fastest growing summer team sport” in the country. “
The deaths of three more New Zealand soldiers was announced on the morning of Monday, 20 August.
On Radio NZ, John Key stated that he would be attending their funerals. Apparently he has no other pressing engagements coming up.
Listen: Radio NZ Prime Minister John Key on Morning Report (@ 8.10 )
Continued at: What’s up with the Nats? (Part rua: Paula Bennett)
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- Evelyn Gilbert, Aotearoa a wider perspective
If you find this informative may I suggest you send the link to your John Key voting palls!!!
Eugene Bingham is a journalist for the New Zealand Herald and he has been the writer of most of the articles about John Key and has repeatedly interviewed him. He wrote amongst others the Unauthorised biography which appeared in the 19 July 2008 New Zealand Herald edition and is well worth reading.
“You have sold your soul to the Devil and wrote the article as a PR stunt for the man who is now our Prime Minister but who is in fact one of the Arsonists of the perfect firestorm about to hit this poor small Nation.” Evelyn Gilbert
I have been thinking about writing this open letter to you for a while and today I felt was the right moment to tell you what I think about you and the way you have helped John Key get elected.
I will not beat around the bush. I’m not build that way, so here goes.
You are an insult to what was once a noble and very necessary profession in order to take our politicians to task if found wanting (thanks to the internet people like me can do our own research and we are no longer depending on frauds like you for our information).
You are either incredibly bad at your job because it appears that either you did not double check John Key’s story, something every self respecting journalist should do, or you have slipped over to the dark side and you willingly lied and allowed John Key to lie to your readers.
Either way you ought to be ashamed of yourself and resign today.
Why, you ask, is this blogger so crass in her accusations?
We have a government in which John Key is the Prime Minister. He has been elected based on information available and let’s not forget the much hyped need for “Change”.
In a functioning Democracy the press as the fourth estate is responsible for making sure that all the relevant information is available for the public to be able to vote in their best interest.
In the run up to an important election it is of the utmost importance that the public knows all about their politicians there is to know and if it means that a politician is not voted in because it turns out that said politician is a liar or a criminal than so be it.
In a time such as this when the entire global economy is crashing because of Wall street manipulations it is of the utmost importance to know everything there is to know of the most important opposition leader especially if that politician has made his money through parasitical speculation in the international finance world. That same world which is now collapsing due to it’s own irresponsible financial speculations.
Eugene, you failed to do that job so spectacularly and in doing so you helped put in power a man who has no business governing us in these times and the future will tell that you were instrumental in keeping information away from us that would have surely changed the out come of this election.
Let me give you but three examples of your failure to supply us with real information.
- The true relationship John Key had with Andrew Krieger and the attack on the NZ dollar in late 1987.
- The role John Key had in the Asian Crisis, the Russian collapse and the collapse of the LTCM hedgefund.
- The role John Key had in the Subprime trade and the real timeline of the Subprime crisis and the subsequent collapse of the global economy.
1. The true relationship John Key had with Andrew Krieger and the attack on the NZ dollar in late 1987.
You have in multiple articles told us that John Key only went to work with Andrew Krieger after Andrew Krieger in 1988. In fact you even give a specific date in this article. In it you state that John Key starts to work for the Bankers Trust on 29 August 1988. If this is true than John Key could not have worked with Andrew Krieger. Not for the bankers trust or any other bank. Because Andrew Krieger left Forex on 30 June 1988 and did not return to that trade until September 1990.
How do I know? Because Eugene, I did what you should have done.
I googled the name Andrew Krieger and Bankers Trust and found 3, that is three, (here, here and here) articles in the New York Times online archive (Especially put on line for journalists like you Eugene) written by three different journalists at three different times and each of those articles Chronicles Andrew Krieger’s career at that very crucial time. It turns out that Andrew Krieger (who because of his spectacular attack on the NZ dollar was a bit of a Wall street celeb) left the Bankers Trust in as early as December 1987 but no later than February 1988. He then went to work for George Soros as a senior manager from sometime March or April and left that position in June 1988. An interview with him in September 1990 reveals that he didn’t trade in the Foreign Exchange business beyond some very limited trading conducted solely for himself.
Other than that, the trade that made Andrew Krieger famous was conducted in mere hours only seven days after Black Monday (while New Zealand was still reeling from the worst crash in recent history) and if John Key was the sole manager of the hundreds of millions of dollars he traded in for Andrew Krieger as you state in your 19 July “Unauthorised” biography, it can only have been during that famous attack.
Eugene, if John Key traded with Andrew Krieger during what was the first speculative attack on a currency ever and which was followed by several world crisis provoking super attacks in which John Key partook don’t you think it would have been essential for us to know?
If John Key willingly engaged in behaviour that risked his country’s economy and he is prepared to lie or let you lie about it 20 years after the event I thought it would have been paramount that you let the public know especially in an “Unauthorised” biography. It sets after all a precedent. If he was prepared to collapse his own countries currency in a speculative raid than he would have no qualms about doing it to other countries either.
2. The role John Key had in the Asian Crisis, the Russian collapse and the collapse of the LTCM hedgefund.
Totally lacking in your “Unauthorised” biography is one of the most important periods in recent banking history other than the mere mention of how John Key came through the Asian crisis relatively unscathed and how John Key had to fire hundreds of colleagues earning him the nickname “the Smiling Assassin”.
Whether that is because John Key just fluttered over it while he spoke to you or you choose not to go into the subject it is never the less another gross dereliction of duty on you part.
The Asian crisis 1997 and the collapse of the Russian currency in 1998 were closely connected.
They were both the result of the actions of several hedgefunds. One of them being George Soros’s hedgefund and the other the Long Term Credit Management hedge fund also known as LTCM.
This hedgefund collapsed so spectacularly as a result of speculative Forex and derivatives trading it had to be bailed out by the Federal Reserve of New York in order to protect the entire global system from collapsing. John Key may or may not have been involved in the trading that lead to the collapse of the fund but you picture him as firing hundreds of his colleagues at Merrill Lynch, earning him the endearing nickname of the “Smiling Assassin” but the only time Merrill Lynch was forced to fire that many people was in the aftermath of the LTCM scandal putting John Key right in the middle of yet another major Forex scandal. In fact in 1999 John Key is introduced as the managing director of Debt in 1999 in this article.
How do I know? Because unlike you I did the research and a couple of simple google searches wielded al this information. So once again Eugene you either are bad at your job or you and John Key willingly lied to us, the punters.
3. The role John Key had in the Subprime trade and the real timeline of the Subprime crisis and the subsequent collapse of the global economy.
In what is perhaps either the most blatant show of ignorance on your part or perhaps the most blatant lie you state unequivocally in your “Unauthorised” biography that the subprime products were only hatched in 2004 and 2005.
That is outrageous. In fact it’s so outrageous that for this remark alone you should resign.
Why is this outrageous? Because it is common knowledge that house prices started to rise in the late nineties.
Not just in the US but around the world, including New Zealand.
This rise had nothing to do with higher wages, more prosperity or more production. In fact jobs in the entire Western world had been disappearing for years to China, wages were either stagnant or falling and more and more people had to take on debt to make ends meet.
That alone is a sign of bubble building.
But once again if you had taken the trouble Eugene to google subprime timeline you would have found this interesting Subprime timeline (just one of many) and this little graph telling you that as early as the beginning of 1998 the subprime markets exploded from less than 1% market share to a whopping 14%.
The years 2004 and 2005 was merely the time the bubble started to show it’s first cracks.
And if you had done your job and you would have spend another 5 minutes googling you would have found this graph as well.
And to top it off you would have found what enabled the subprime crisis and why it will inevitably collapse our economy together with the entire world’s economy, thanks to scumbags like John Key and his ilk aided and abetted by people like you.
What enabled the subprime crisis were three factors
- Easy CreditProvided by the Federal Reserve bank of New York and the City of London.
- The order given by the US Congress to Fanny mae and Freddy mac to give mortgages to every Tom, Dick and Harry and their dog. Yep, the US congress actually started the subprime mortgage selling. I suggest you read the timeline I linked to above.
- The repeal of the Glass Steagall act, unofficially in 1997 and officially in November 1999.This act put in place in 1933 to prevent Commercial banks from merging with investment banks to stop them from acting like the right side of the second graph had been promoted by Alan Greenspan since 1987 and had cost the Wall street investment bankers between $ 100 to $ 200 million dollars.It would have been inconceivable for John Key not to have known about the 1997 beginning of the subprime housing bubble build up because the repeal of this law was literally like giving the fox the key to the hen house and was greatly anticipated by every single Wall street/ City of London banker because it would strip every single bit of regulation away.In fact it was signed the same month John Key was invited to become one of only four advisors to the Federal Reserve bank of New York. He represented Merrill Lynch. The others represented Citibank, Lehman Brothers and UBSWahrburg. All those banks are either gone or in the process of going as a result of the subprime crisis.
These three items alone are enough to expose John Key as at least a liar and as the financial collapse progresses he will perhaps even be called a criminal as the mechanisms of the crisis will be exposed for what they are; The wilful manipulation of the money market by a small group of private banksters.
I said I would only take three issues on which you have been either ignorant or wilfully dishonest and I have shown comprehensively that you could have given us all the relevant information but you didn’t.
I could have added to that the derivative trade which has been building up another bubble about to collapse and in which John Key was a Key operator for Merrill Lynch or the collapse of the Bankers trust bank as a result of fraudulent Derivative trading or the fact that Andrew Krieger traded not in actual currency but in a Derivative called “options” connecting John Key to the Forex derivatives trade in as early as 1987. In fact in 2006 the Chinese government suspended the Forex Derivatives trade on the grounds that it was way to dangerous. The list is simply too long but rest assured Eugene, the information you refused us is out there and available to us.
In ending this open letter to you Eugene, I have to conclude that either you are staggeringly ignorant and therefore undeserving of your job as a journalist for a major newspaper in such a position to be tasked to investigate and write an “Unauthorised” (let’s face it there was nothing Unauthorised about the whole stinking article) biography of the man poised to become the next Prime Minister or you have sold your soul to the Devil and wrote the article as a PR stunt for the man who is now our Prime Minister but who is in fact one of the Arsonists of the perfect firestorm about to hit this poor small Nation.Either way the only honourable thing to do is to resign.
If you sold your soul to the Devil I hope he paid you handsomely because you are going to need every cent in the next 10 years as you find that less and less people can buy the rag you call home.
- Evelyn Gilbert
Reprinted with kind permission from aotearoaawiderperspective.wordpress.com
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It appears that having had a “taste” of selling our state assets, Dear Leader is continuing the process. Will he personally benefit from the partial privatisation of SOEs, by buying shares?
Because it seems that members of parliament may already be lining up to buy state assets that we, the people, currently own.
Minister for Courts, Associate Minister of Justice, and Associate Minister for Social Development, Chester Borrows has admitted his intention to buy shares, according to comments he made on the last episode of ‘Backbenches’, on 27 June,
[click on image above to carry through to TVNZ video - See comments @ 4.45 ]
The exchange between Host Wallace Chapman and Chester Burrows;
CHAPMAN: “Will you be buying shares in Mighty River Power?”
BORROWS: “Yes, probably.”
BORROWS: “I’m a mum and dad investor, well I’m half of a mum and investor partnership.”
CHAPMAN: “So you will be.”
It appears that all pretences of avoiding conflicts of interest between National MPs and investments, have been done away with. With the wealth that many National MPs possess, it is not hard to see that they stand to benefit from state asset sales.
National Ministers will no doubt have a deep understanding of which ‘Mixed Ownership Model’ corporations are good investments. They will also know which ‘Mixed Ownership Model’ corporations will benefit from future government policy-decisions and infra-structure development – all of which will boost the value of any shares they hold.
Is this a vested interest in partial-privatisation?
Is this a conflict of interest?
Is this verging on self-serving corruption?
In this blogger’s opinion, it is hard not to arrive at these conclusions.
= fs =
THAT SKY CITY DEAL, AND DUE PROCESS
“He’s impatient at progress to allow SkyCity more pokies in return for a new convention centre and more jobs. ‘Opponents would want to criticise it for lack of process. In fact the argument has probably been that there is too much process and it has been negotiated for two years”
Indeed, and it is still full of holes. That’s why you have process John. So we get to find out whether you’re selling us one more bile-ridden lie. And it appears that is indeed the case… too much process brings up difficult concepts such as due diligence, assessing the costs and benefits realistically, not ideologically, and putting it all on the table for the citizens who are going to have to pay for it in real terms see whether they actually do want to prostitute themselves to the forces of corporatism that have wrecked many a country before, and will continue to do so.
A SALESMAN, NOT A STATESMAN
“His salesmanship can cause you to forget the appalling rates of child poverty, abuse and violence and have you believe he can actually solve it“
Nope, not this guy. We haven’t seen real progress in the time they’ve been in. We’ve seen: declining wages, higher costs in food, taxation skewed toward the low end in order to prop up tax relief for the high end. To create what? More jobs? That dribble down theory? Gee it didn’t happen last time, won’t happen this time. How quickly people will forget. As Hitler once remarked, you can always rely on the people to have a short memory.
EVER THE OPTIMIST
“The Government may still have reserves of political capital, but Key accepts it will never have any real money to spend“
He then goes on to quote the woes of Europe. Woes created in large part by the former collegues of his, through financial tools that were labelled by the New York Lottery Board as so similar to Casino gambling they would have to step in and regulate it as such, unless the Fed fiddled some more. They did. Enter global economic meltdown.
ON AUSTRALIA AND OUR EVER INCREASING EMMIGRATION…
“Key doesn’t blame them for leaving if they are low-skilled people who can massively increase their wages.”
Trouble is, it’s not only the low skilled. The highly skilled, the highly educated are also leaving in droves. And he’s going to increase that through his Governments complete mismanagement of the Education sector, in particular their attitude toward Graduates.
ON SELLING US TO THE WORLD (QUITE LITERALLY)
“Anyone who thinks he is going to ‘abandon the view that trying to sell NZ to the world’ is misguided. ‘The future of NZ lies in selling more to the world than we buy from it and earning more than we spend’ In his eyes, it’s that simple“
Trouble is: he is taking a simpleton’s approach. We could sell a crapload more to the world by retaining our own resources. We could therefore presumably earn more instead of hocking it off to the highest bidder and letting that earning potential sink totally. As it did last time we sold off our SOE’s and NZ earnt nothing. Actually some NZers earnt a lot, Sir Michael Fay and David Richwhite spring to mind.
That is, after they’d excused themselves from the country to a tax haven, having gutted NZ rail and reduced it to a wreck – that the public had to clean up of course. Somehow, people think (although a lot less are convinced now) that selling your assets that are giving a good rate of return for the investment made … is going to *make* you more money. The brutally simple logic of “How about instead of earning 51% of possible returns we earn 100% of possible returns, like we are doing right now, is really intelligent.” Way to grow the economy John…
THE UNDERCLASS and WELFARE REFORM
“The bad news is that there has been relatively low pay increases and you may have lost overtime and things like that, so the houshold income may have been more constrained than usual.”
Oh indeed they’re more constrained. Which is why foodbanks were running short, poverty is on the rise, more are unemployed than ever. And that line to Australia for actual real pay, and household income you can actually live on, is getting bigger.
‘At the end of the day a little more cash may or may not at the end of the margins help. Usually more money helps a little bit but it is much more deep-set than that’
Actually, a little more cash would FUCKEN HELP A LOT YOU BASTARD. But yeah I agree, it is more deep set than that.
It’s called being deep set enough at ensuring those at the margins are kept marginal by following outdated Neo Lib dogma and the Chicago school of Economics that has been shown to be the vile sham it is. It delivered us a global meltdown and took a wrecking ball to countries that were coping, and now, thanks to the derivatives bullshit that Key and his cronies presided over, the 99% as such is paying for. With massive, massive interest, and a debt burden for generations to come.
ON ATTITUDE, GETTING OUT THERE, GETTING A JOB! ANY JOB DAMN YOU!
He respects his mother for her attitude at getting out there and getting a job, as a cleaner.
Well good on ya, I’m sure she was a nice woman, but let’s again be honest. Attitude alone won’t create a job. It’ll help get the job… but not if there isn’t one to get. And forgive me for not aspiring to be a cleaner, as I’ve been told to, what with degrees and a work history of 15 years, I’m still aspiring to give something to this country.
Just not that enthused at aspiring to work in a depressed, low-wage, set-to-be-loaded-with-debt so we can subsidise these companies that aren’t creating jobs despite the passes they get kinda country.
“So, are the sole parents cleaners of today voting for him? ‘Probably not,’ he concedes. ‘But some will, some do. And there are lots of people I meet that like the fact I am ambitious for their kids and for them.’”
Then get on with creating an economy and framework whereby people see, for real this time, that they’re valued as workers, where earnings keep up with inflation and we have a society that values community over aspiring to simply be rich. Instead, he’s set about creating a society that somehow is supposed to handle the idea that a 30% wage gap with Australia is a good thing, as Bill English opined, where workers aren’t changed in status overnight at the behest of a corporation and that some people just don’t aspire to be all about the money as a measurement of success.
“‘We’ve done a lot more probably we have been given credit for,’ he claims, listing the 200,000 homes …”
Yes John, that policy was forced onto you by the Greens. It had to be, otherwise you wouldn’t have given a flying fuck about it, just be fucken honest about it for once.
AND ON BEING THE POSITIVE SMILEY GUY
“‘Yep, I’ve been positive in the last four years and will be positive till the day they drage me out, because I am fundamentally a really positive person.’”
Happy happy joy joy John. I’d rather you drop the smile, get real about things, and realise the hopeless optimism in the face of the crushing fact (dirty four letter word that it is) you have failed utterly in every single election promise you made first time round, let alone the second swindle.
ON WINNING IN 2014
“If he wins again in 2014, will he guarantee to see the term out? ‘To be honest, I haven’t actually thought that through at this point,’ he stalls, before recalling his sales pitch. ‘I’m going to stay for as long as I think I can make a difference‘”
You have indeed made a difference John: you delivered us a country that was once producing well, and are now planning on selling our productive capacity / wealth to the highest bidder not for economic reasons of “growing the economy” and “wealth for all NZers” (because any look at the economics lays that lie out flat for the bollocks it is, even 5th Form maths will tell you that one) – surely what you sold most vehemently – but for the reason that it actually only increases the bottom line of your favourite mates, let’s be clear about that one, that’s where you’re going, so it is necessary to prove you’re still in the fold really.
It could never create wealth for NZ, because we won’t have a handle on that wealth creation. Not to mention that his mixed ownership model might run foul of the WTO anyway, favouring as it does certain parties and not others. Let’s not forget your hasty and intense negotiations on the FTT, which would hand corporations an even BIGGER rod to beat up countries economically by allowing them to sue governments where they think their bottom line is being unduly diluted by – shock horror – policies that might actually benefit citizens above the bottom line.
ON BEING A GREAT LEADER OF OUR COUNTRY
“‘Look around the world, Cameron is polling 29%, Merkel is in the 20s. THere isn’t an incumbent government in the world that is polling anything near like we are‘”
There is also no incumbant government in the world that has PR like you do to paper over all your shite. Cameron is coming unstuck because his PR machine is knee deep in shit, and the veil will soon be lifted on Fairfax’s overtly sycophantic drivel so more people will ultimately see that it has all been pretty one-sided cheermongering.
RICHARD PREBBLE CASTS HIS EYE ON OUR DEAR LEADER
“I think he is possibly the most gifted politician in our lifetime, certainly the most popular“
True. I’m sure people thought Hitler quite gifted too. Popular doesn’t equal substance, and Key lacks in spades the substance side. But popular works, so haul out Watkins for the lovefest to begin all over again when the going gets tough for the Dear Leader.
TROTTER ON KEY
‘There is a tremendous amount of intellectual snobbery in the Labour Party in particular, if not across the left in general, which regards someone who’s done very well in business as a lesser being than someone, perhaps, who’s won the Booker prize.’
Not really, I don’t consider myself a snob. But hey I lose my rag at people who claim they’re proud to be Right Wing, but don’t even know where it began, and what it has generally delivered since time began. The roll call of disasters on the right could certainly have some companions on the left side of the spectrum, but if people raise that Stalin was a communist line, yes I will lecture them on the difference between the types of communism, and totalitariansim, which is Stalin’s home.
Not to mention all the other mad, mad theories of the Right that have delivered financial markets that fail, corporations that fail, banks that fail, endless wars, and that nameless and unsee terror we need to fight in an endless battle between y’know, us and the “evil doers”
I consider that being informed and wanting to be a citizen who is aware of what impact he has one his fellow human beings and the planet we live in, not one who doggedly pursues the fatally flawed built-on-a-lie money is everything vibe.
The whole article left me a tad depressed about our future as a country, one that might not recapture the egalitarian, give everyone a fair suck of the sav country I think used to exist at one point.
We’ve been taken over by the corporatists globabally, and we’ve got one of the slimiest of them all in charge of sending us to our economic and social oblivion faster than he can make it to his holiday house in Hawaii…
It is a truly sad thing.
We need these people gone, if not by snap election, PLEASE by 2014!!!!!!!!!!!
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Disclaimer: This blogger is not a National Party voter. In fact, Hell would experience a Christchurch-style snowstorm before I would support National in any manner – unless it was to assist them to call an early election.
Having said that, there are three reasons why Hekia Parata does not deserve being stood down as Minister of Education – despite the debacle over classroom sizes and cutting teacher numbers.
1. Collective Responsibility
Parata’s attempt to cut back on teacher numbers was a budgetary consideration handed down from on-high, from Bill English’s office.
Since 2008, National has been cutting back on government departments and state sector employees. Almost every part of government – from the Department of Conservation to the NZ Defence Force – has been forced to cut staffing numbers. These cuts were part of National’s policy of reducing state expenditure after their April 2009 and October 2010 tax-cuts.
As journalist Duncan Garner wrote earlier this year in January,
” Key has finally dropped the optimism and is talking about the downside. He doesn’t do downside well – he prefers the good news.
But there’s no walking away from the reality. The Government’s treasured surplus target in 2014/15 may not happen. And if it wants to get there then more cuts are on the way. “
Parata’s Plan to cut teaching staff and increase classroom sizes was dressed up as “improving teaching quality and professional leadership” – which was exposed as patent bollocks when she stated,
” The changes to teacher:student funding ratios were to have saved the Government around $174 million over four years, of which $60 million was going to be invested in improving teaching quality and professional leadership. “
Sacking Parata for policies that every other Minister has been implementing seems pointless. Especially when National’s essential policy of cutting expenditure and services would remain unchanged.
That is the real crux of the matter; an ongoing programme of reduction in social services because of two tax cuts we could ill afford, and which National was irresponsible in making.
2. No mis-deed
Parata did nothing illegal, immoral, or inappropriate.
She simply carried out National Party policy.
So if the buck stops anywhere, it should be on the desks of Dear Leader John Key, and Finance Minister Bill English. At this point, rather than unfairly targetting one single person, we should be looking at National as a whole.
Will the Prime Minister take responsibility for National’s slash a burn of the state sector? Fat chance. Thus far, Dear Leader has shown little inclination to taken responsibility for anything – unless it involved opening the Rugby World Cup; supping beer with visiting royalty; or other smile and wave photo-ops.
In fact, John Key seems more than willing to allow Hekia Parata to be hung out to dry on this issue.
This blogger sees no political gain in demanding Ms Parata’s head on a plate.
However, in the spirit of collective responsibility and shared culpability, National should resign and call for an early election. The classroom/teacher debacle has impacted on National’s mandate and an early election is necessary to restore confidence in government.
3. Who would replace her?
Perhaps the strongest reason not to sack Parata is simply that it would achieve very little for National’s opponants. John Key would simply replace her with another Minister – one perhaps tougher and more doggedly determined in pursuing narrow, National Party policy.
Better Parata, a chastened lame duck - than a cocky pitbull, looking to prove himself in the eyes of his fellow Tories.
Keeping Parata as Education Minister, it is unlikely that she will attempt further cuts to the education sector. Not unless she has a deeper masochistic streak we were unaware of?
Further to my previous blogpost where I wrote,
“ Congratulations to National.
John Key, Bill English, Hekia Parata, et al, have succeeded in teaching our children their first lesson in politics. An entire generation of children have seen political machinations at work, first hand, and the “bad guys” were ministers from the National Party.
When our children learn about the Right Wing in politics, in such a personalised, in-your-face manner, the future of this country suddenly became a lot more rosy.
Future support for the Greens, Labour, and other centre-left Parties is all but assured.
Thank you, Ms Parata. You are a fine teacher for our young folk. “
Duncan Garner wrote in his blog on 6 June,
” I got home last night and my 12-year-old step daughter was waiting for me with a stern message: “We all hate John Key,” she exclaimed.
Why, I said – pretending to be shocked by it all, but secretly knowing what she was about to say.
“Well, he’s going to close our cooking and technology classes at our school. So we all hate him. And we’re writing him letters – no one likes him at our school anymore,” she said.
I won’t name the school. But whether or not she’s right, and whether or not this Government backpedals on its move to increase class sizes, the fallout is immense – and perception is reality – especially for the children and their mums and dads. “
John Key’s legacy for the future: an entire generation alienated by this arrogant National government - a gift of immeasurable value to the left wing. Just as many who lived through the “reforms” of Roger Douglas in the 1980s use the term “Rogernomics” as a pejorative, to describe destructive, extremist, politics from a past era.
No one saw that coming.
And now, waiting in the wings, the coming asset sales furore…
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Politicians take utmost care when the media are anywhere within cooee. They understand that a slip of the tongue or the wrong facial expression can be recorded, and reported, for the rest of the population to witness firsthand.
The “tea party” between John Banks and John Key was a conversation they believed to be private; was recorded; and subsequently made public. With thirty-plus media within a metre of the two politicians, what were the chances of holding a ‘private conversation‘ separated by a few millimetres of glass? Slightly better than wining 1st division Lotto Powerball, one would have thought.
So politicians choose their words carefully and present their best possible image to the voters.
Every so often, though, their guard drops and we glimpse their real personas. Once their public mask slips, we discover what they really think – especially of us, the voting public…
4 May – The Prime Minister’s blokey facade is momentarily displaced by his obvious disdain for New Zealanders who oppose him, and oppose his planned state asset sales. With mocking dismissiveness, he said,
“How many people did they have? Where was it? Nope wasn’t aware of it.
Well over a million New Zealanders voted for National in the full knowledge we were going to undertake the mixed ownership model. So look, a few thousand people walking down the streets of Wellington isn’t going to change my mind.” – Source
The words were bad enough, but look at the expression on his face and vocal tone, @ 2:14,
His arrogance was laid bare for all to see. He was laughing at us.
25 May – Following the release of Budget 2012, University students showed their displeasure and protested on the streets of Auckland. The protestors blockaded streets; over-turned rubbish skip-bins; and vented their frustrations at guests who attended a post-Budget-related function where Dear Leader was giving a speech.
English responded with breathtaking, derisory, arrogance,
“ Yes, there’s a protest movement out there but who’s really listening to them? They get on TV and they can make a bit of a racket … dragging a few rubbish bins around, they need some Greeks to show them how to do it.
It gets reported, mainly because it blocked the traffic, [but] who’s listening? Most people actually think the students got a pretty fair go and they should count themselves lucky that they’ve still got interest free loans and get on with it because, you know, get your training finished and get a job and start contributing. ” – Source
Aside from the fact that politicians like Bill English and John Key took advantaged of free tertiary education (prior to fees being introduced in 1992), and others like Paula Bennett had their tertiary fees paid by WINZ – it is staggering that English could respond with a comment inciting protestors to riot !?
When English said that “ they need some Greeks to show them how to do it “, what else could it be called, except incitement? See video @ 1:19,
It seems fairly clear as to the contempt that National politicians have for the rest of us. But that’s ok. Many of us feel precisely the same contempt for John Key, Bill English, Paula Bennett, et al.
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National supporters seem somewhat antagonistic – especially if someone dares criticise their Dear Leader.
In another insight into the psyche of the National supporter’s mind, this Blog presens this post from John Key’s Facebook page. It starts of with an image from National’s regional conference, held at the up-market Wairakei Resort.
Another Facebook User, Ms Allyson Lock, was not impressed. And she made her feelings known in a somewhat innocuous post.
It drew an instant, venomous response from National groupies and John Key sycophants.
Even after they discovered that Ms Lock was suffering from a terminal disease; that she and her fellow sufferer’s of Pompe’s Disease had been consistently ignored by this government; John Key has not shown the same concerns he expressed to breast cancer sufferers in 2008; and that her disease was terminal – many of the National supports showed an utter lack of empathy and caring. Many were contemptuous of Ms Lock and her condition.
Is this the core culture of National – an extreme selfishness and uncaring with is borderline sociopathic?
I let the reader decide.
58 people like this.
Chris CampbellSome people will complain regardless of the party leading the country and their political orientation. Only when they are handed a quality of life to those ‘above’ them will they ever appear satisfied – they are prime candidates for illustrating New Zealand’s epidemic of tall-poppy syndrome. However, class equality is very much infeasible (if you agree with the concept so much, take a look at Soviet Russia or China). John and his party are doing a stellar job, and those knocking them typically do not understand the rationale behind decisions made, expect instant results, and/or are delusional left-wingers.
Allyson LockStephen, my attitude is appalling? How dare you! I have a fatal disease which has a treatment available, John Key won’t even reply to my to my letters begging for this treatment to be funded. This treatment has been approved for use in NZ, but NOT funded! There are 5 of us in this country condemned to death because of John Key and his cronies! So, Stephen, WHICH is most appalling? My ATTITUDE, or John Key’s lack of care? A brighter future for ME? I DON’T THINK SO! And before you slate me even further, if it was your son, daughter, Mum or Dad, sister or brother with this disease, would you have the same attitude?
Allyson LockDi, i don’t blame John Key for my illness at all. Why on earth do you think that? What I need is medication to help me. Do you get medication for your nasty illness? I hope there is a medication to help you. There is for me, John Key won’t make money available through Pharmac to fund it. That’s my beef!
Mark GrayAllyson bugger off to the whinging labour facebook page, plenty of negative losers over their with the “poor me”, “give me everything for free” syndrome. And no I dont care about your illness, everyones got problems. Some of us just choose to get on with it. This page about the great things JK and national are doing. Keep up the great work Mr Key.
Allyson LockGee Mark, i sure hope you never get an illness that you need treatment for. And i’m not a labour voter, i actually voted for Key. And i don’t ask for “everything”. My husband works full time in the military and works more hours than most people do in a week. So why don’t you bugger off Mark? I’m not a negative loser, but you certainly know how to put the boot into someone when they need help. Yaay for you, hope you feel really good about yourself.
Rachel LodewykThanks Allyson for standing up for,those who have medical conditions for,which there is treatment but no funding. Inherited conditions can strike anyone at anytime… Especially rare ones. So for all of you commenting on Allyson’s remarks, this could be your child, grandchild or any family member. She is not asking for any special treatment just a chance at obtaining drug therapy that is available. NZ gives cancer treatment to smokers and drug treatment to diabetics who are obese… Smoking and over eating are by choice. Drunk drivers are cared for in our hospitals… I could go on… Those of us living with inherited conditions that are not our fault live,with the knowledge that governments promise assistance to get into power then do not follow through.
Allyson LockThank you Rachel, i know you understand our plight. I tell you, it gets hard to keep standing up to be counted when you receive so much negativity. I cannot beleive there are so many nasty people out there who absolutely do not give a toss about their fellow human beings. You’re right though, it can happen to ANYONE! God help them when it does, because this government won’t. I bet most of the people on this thread have been helped by medication or have a family member who has, and they take it without even thinking twice. Imagine if they knew this medication was out there, which could save their life, or the life of a loved one, but John Key said…NO! For those of you who have said my attitude is appalling, shame on you.
Allyson LockYes it is a shame. I guess mans inhumanity to man is alive and well in NZ, right from John Key down. I also wonder how many mothers are reading this. How would they feel if it was one of their kids? How would they feel if they knew they would not live to see their kids finish high school? I wonder if just ONE person on this thread will think about it and feel ashamed enough of their nastiness to want to make a change and gain an understanding? I sure hope so. I think I can guess the ones that won’t. Sad.
Rachel LodewykThey live in a different world where the biggest problem is what to serve for dinner. I don’t understand why my life is the way it is… I just wish I could live in new Zealand AND my child could receive the medicines that are saving his life. But as long as some one some where is paying the bill… What does NZ care? We are no longer a burden on the government after 20years of paying taxes..
Allyson LockYes exactly Rachel! I actually am even surprised that some people in this thread actually admit to not giving a dam. Or maybe I should not be surprised? Shame on them. I bet not one of them will say “hey, let’s here your story, let’s see what we can all do to make NZ a better place for all Kiwis”.
Steve LockAs usual the ignorant are willing to put the boot into someone who has made a negative comment about John Key. Mark Gray, Di Black and Jonathan Allen (who isnt even in NZ) are quite happy to slam someone for raising a valid issue without even understanding it themselves. John Key is great at having his photo taken – he never misses an opportunity, but he wont stand up and do anything to help the people who actually need assistance. His MP’s are just as ineffective – there are over 50 other countries in the world that support people with the rare disease that Allyson has and that Rachels son is getting treatment for but John and his cronies like Tony Ryall continue to ignore our repeated request. Maybe there just arent enough votes in rare diseases to make them care
Stephen KeastAllyson, your first comment was “Wairakei resort eh, pretty flash! I guess us Kiwis are paying for that? No wonder there’s no money for Kiwis who have Pompe disease and need treatment! Brighter future? What a crock!”That sounds like a snobby little stuck up idiot with a bad attitude who is just an anti-government broken record.Perhaps you could pitch what is actually wrong with you and what you have done to try and get support before using your situation as flack against me? That would be much appreciated and you’d probably get a better reaction from others
Allyson LockStephen, I have been to the doors of parliament, and to the doors for my local (National) MP, no one is interested. I’m not a snobby little stuck up idiot, and I have not previously been an anti-government broken record. As previously mentioned, i voted for John Key. If you would like me to “pitch what is wrong with me” I will. I have a disease called “Pompe”. It is a fatal disease without treatment. Treatment for this disease is funded in nearly 60 countries worldwide. New Zealand, Australia and Wales seem to be the only “first world” countries dragging their heels on funding treatment even though enough evidence exists to show that treatment works. I have fundraised to get myself overseas to get on an experimental treatment because our government refuses to fund treatment for me and the other 4 people here in NZ with this disease. One of those people is my twin brother.
Stephen KeastWhat I’m getting as is that before you explained anything, you came across as just another person who seemed to think that party meetings should be held in some mud hut somewhere and that anyone that spent any sort of money was some kind of deranged dick. That to me is an appalling attitude.
Allyson LockI’m not going to make an apology for that considering the fact it’s not what I meant at all. And that said, do you find it “appalling” that the National government spend around $8million per year on cheauffeurs but ignore people with rare diseases who need treatment to survive?
- 12 minutes ago
To those folk who support National and John Key – that is your democtratic right, and let no one take that away from you.
It is worthwhile, though, to pause for a moment and consider that political parties and their leaders are no infallible. They can make mistakes.
When folk like Allyson Lock take time to share their feelings about the way our own government has treated someone (or, in this case, totally ignored her) – then it is worthwhile listening and trying to understand where she’s coming from.
If a business ignores their customer’s needs – those customers will go somewhere else. That business will suffer accordimngly.
If a Party in power ignores it’s constituents – the same principle can apply.
What is the point of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising, at election time, to attract voter-support – when in the intervening three years, your Party ignored the needs of constituents?
Ponder that, next time National drops in the polls.
And ponder that a modicum of compassion to one of your fellow Kiwis, who is facing an uncertain future, will not go amiss.
Ms Lock is simply seeking her own “bright future”.
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- 17 May 2012 -
- Phoebe Fletcher & Phil Twyford -
Issue 1: John Key attacks the media and then says he didn’t attack the media, legitimate concerns about the fourth estate or the need to get prescription cost increases, union bashing and Teacher basing out of the headlines?
Issue 2: Paula Bennett has announced a new board of business people to evaluate welfare reforms. What do we pay Paula for and why are they only business people?
Issue 3: Did the revelations in the Sunday Star Times last weekend of how involved John Key was with the ‘financial services hub’ idea concern anyone else?
Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV
Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)
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Questions to Ministers
1. Hon PHIL GOFF (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that by early 2010 New Zealand will be coming out of the recession “reasonably aggressively”?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister) : Yes, I stand by my full quote from March 2009, which is: “… I think by the end of 2009 early 2010 this time next year we’ll be starting to come out of that and I think starting to come out of it reasonably aggressively. I’m more optimistic about 2011 than 2010 but nevertheless I think 2010 will be positive.” Those statements have proved to be absolutely, entirely, 100 percent correct.
Hon Phil Goff: When looking at the blowout in the Government’s deficit of $2.5 billion over the last 6 months, how much of that deficit can be accounted for by tax cuts for the wealthy, which it is now shown that he is effectively borrowing in order to pay for?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: None.
Hon Phil Goff: Two years into his Government does he take responsibility for the economic results that came out today, which were much worse than Treasury estimated 6 months ago, or will he continue to blame everybody else for his failure?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, I cannot take responsibility for a global financial crisis, although Michael Cullen once blamed me for it. I cannot take responsibility for an earthquake. I can take responsibility for doing something about leaky homes—the previous Government did absolutely nothing for homeowners—and I can take responsibility for New Zealand having the best tax switch it has had in 25 years.
Hon Jim Anderton: Has the Minister of Finance seen figures released today showing that retail sales slumped by 2.5 percent after the GST increase to 15 percent in October, which went with rising prices, falling real wages, and higher unemployment; if so, how are those outcomes a sign of the economic step change that the Prime Minister promised?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I agree that the flat consumption is in sharp contrast to the record of the previous Government, when from about 2004 onwards the export sector was driven into the ground and New Zealanders went on a debt-funded spending binge. We make no apology for the fact that our policies are designed to turn that round by encouraging savings and exports. An increase in GST and an increase in the effective tax rate on housing will help us to avoid the same kind of binge occurring again.
7. Hon ANNETTE KING (Deputy Leader—Labour) to the Prime Minister: In light of his statement of 9 February 2010 that “I worry that there are signs of an emerging underclass in New Zealand”, what action has his Government taken to reduce the number of children living in poverty since that statement?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister) : The Government believes that paid employment is the best way out of poverty for children and families. This year we have been working hard to create jobs and grow family incomes by strengthening the New Zealand economy, and repairing the damage done by a global recession and 9 sad years of a Labour Government. We have continued to run substantial deficits to fund social services that support children and families, including those in vital areas such as education and health, and to fund income support payments, like Working for Families.
Hon Annette King: Did he say to a delegation of Church leaders whom he met in late November to discuss the future of welfare in New Zealand: “If we cancelled welfare to 330,000 people currently on welfare, how many would starve to death? Bugger all.”; if so, does he stand by that stupid comment?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I have no recollection of the comment. What I do have a recollection of—
No doubt we can take John Key at his word?
Of course we can.
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Previous Blog post
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ACT PRESIDENT CONFIRMS DOTCOM – BANKS
SUGGESTED $50K DONATION SPLIT IN TWO!
In an interview on Radio NZ’s ‘Checkpoint’, ACT President Chris Simmons confirmed that ACT MP John Banks did ask Kim Dotcom to split a $50,000 donation in two.
He told Radio NZ’s Mary Wilson,
“He has given me an indication as to why he made that suggestion – and that was that he initially was going to put in $25,000 of his own money and he figured that other people should be putting in the same sort of numbers.”
This astounding admission contradicts John Banks’ earlier assertions that he had no knowledge of any donation from Dotcom,
“If someone says to me, ‘How can I put money into your campaign?’ what would be wrong with telling them that – if that was that case? “
John Key must stand down Banks as a Minister, whilst the matter is investigated by Police. In fact, this blogger goes further; there is now sufficient evidence that John Banks has consistently lied on this issue; provided a false campaign donations return; and tried to cover up the donations from both Sky City and Kim Dotcom.
As John Key said to then-Prime Minister Helen Clark, over Winston Peters,
“It is no longer acceptable or credible for Helen Clark to assert a facade of confidence in her Foreign Affairs Minister and to fail to ask the plain questions of him that she has a duty to the public to ask. Helen Clark must stand Mr Peters down as a Minister. That is what I would do if I were Prime Minister. Helen Clark has stood Ministers from Labour down for much less.”
Key is now Prime Minister. He should know what to do next.
As this blogger wrote in a previous blogpiece ( Money in the Banks ,Part #Rua ); again, Dotcom’s claims are confirmed – whilst Banks’ story changes almost daily.
Previous Blog Posts
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One of the Golden Rules of politics is: learn to count. This refers to everything from passing legislation to votes of confidence. In short, it means if you don’t have the numbers in government, you might as well call it a day and hand power to the Opposition (or call a snap election).
Counting especially focuses the attention of parliamentary leaders such as Key and Gillard, who have (respectively) one and two seat majorities in their respective Parliaments.
It means, also, that if a government has a generous majority, it can afford the luxury of holding their own Ministers to account and make grand exhibitions of standing down those who have done something naughty.
Conversely, if a government has only the slimmest majority, that same government will hang on to, and defend to the bitter end, any errant Minister or MP.
Some recent history should illustrate how this works…
That Was Then…
2008 – 2011 National-led government majority: 16
Richard Worth was Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister for Land Information, Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand, Minister Responsible for the National Library, and Associate Minister of Justice, in the Fifth National Government.
In March 2009, reports emerged that Worth’s trips to India were a conflict of interest. It was alleged he spoke on behalf of the Government while engaging in private business deals.
On 3 June 2009, Prime Minister John Key announced Worth’s resignation from his Ministerial portfolios, after several allegations of inappropriate behaviour toward woman.
John Key said,
“Dr Worth tendered his resignation to me last night, and I have accepted it. He advised me of some private matters in respect of which he felt it appropriate that he should resign as a Minister. I accepted his resignation and have advised the Governor-General accordingly.”
On 12 June 2009, Worth announced his resignation from Parliament.
In October 2010, Richard Worth was appointed to a diplomatic role, “to the surprise of the prime minister”, as Monaco’s honorary consul to New Zealand.
Former National Party politician. Ms Wong was New Zealand’s first Asian MP, serving as a member of parliament for the National Party from 1996 to 2011. She was also the first Asian Cabinet Minister, with portfolios; Minister for Ethnic Affairs, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Associate Minister for ACC, and Associate Minister of Energy and Resources in the 2008-11 National Government.
In November 2010, it was alleged that Ms Wong mis-used Parliamentary travel funds so that her husband could conduct private business in China.
On 12 November 2010, as allegations surrounding her and her husband’s mis-use of Parliamentary funding were investigated, Pansy Wong stepped down from her Ministerial portfolios.
John Key said,
“At the end of the day she has to take responsibility for the fact her spouse was using her travel discount by virtue of her tenure in parliament, and on that basis she failed to exercise her responsibilities properly. She offered her resignation to me and I though it was appropriate that I accepted that resignation.”
On 3 December 2010, an investigation by Speaker of the House, Lockwood Smith, found “no evidence of systemic abuse” of the Parliamentary allowance,
“It found that one trip, a flight from Beijing to Lianyungang, China in December 2008, could have been in breach of the Speaker’s Directions,” Speaker Lockwood Smith said in a statement.
“While this trip was unplanned and inadvertent, it could be construed as having been for a private business purpose.”
The report recommended Mrs Wong and her husband repay the travel rebate for that trip of $237.06 each.”
Dissatisfied with the Speaker’s investigation, Labour MP, Pete Hodgson, called for the Auditor-General to carry out an inquiry into Mrs Wong and her husband’s use of the travel allowance.
Eleven days later, on 14 December, Ms Wong made her decision and resigned from Parliament.
On 25 February 2010, Phil Heatley resigned from his portfolios of Minister of Housing and Minister of Fisheries after announcing that he had wrongly charged two bottle of wine to his Ministerial credit card,
“I charged two bottles of wine already highlighted this week to my account as food and beverages. There was no food included in this purchase, and I accept this could be viewed as an inaccurate representation of the expense.”
John Key said,
“I spent about an hour saying to him `look, I don’t think you should resign, I think you should stand aside. I don’t think he’s a dishonest individual, I think he made some mistakes and they were silly, stupid and misguided.”
However, Heatley did not resign from Parliament, and regained his Ministerial portfolios about a month later.
This Is Now…
2011 – ? National-led government majority: 1
Allegations of not disclosing the sources of campaign donations have been made against John Banks. These donations were made by Sky City and web entrepreneur, Kim Dotcom.
In the case of Sky City, Mayor Len Brown received a similar amount of $15,000 from the Casino, and Brown later formerly declared it.
John Banks listed his $15,000 donation as “anonymous”.
In the case of Kim Dotcom, Banks has repeatedly stated, that he,
- “could not remember” discussing donations with the businessman;
- “could not recall” flying in Dotcom’s helicopter;
- “could not recall” suggesting that Dotcom split the $50,000 donation into two separate amounts of $25,000 each
- “could not recall” phoning Dotcom to thank him for the donation
- “barely knew Dotcom” and had met him for only 20 minutes – despite video later emerging of Banks and his wife partying with Dotcom and his wife, at the Dotcom mansion
John Key said,
“At the end of the day, he either complied with the law or he didn’t – he said he did, I have absolutely no reason to doubt him. That’s not my responsibility. If somebody thinks that John Banks isn’t telling the truth, there’s a very simple remedy: they go to the police. That’s not my job to do a forensic investigation, my job is to assure myself I can retain confidence in a minister. If he tells me he followed the local government laws, then I accept him at his word.”
It appears that John Key’s previous standard of accepting Ministerial resignations, whilst investigations are carried out, no longer applies.
A difference in majority of 15, I would guess.
PS 1; In yesterday’s NZ Herald, John Banks repeated his now well-known mantra,
“I have nothing to hide and nothing to fear...”
The Herald noted that Mr Banks has not been returning their calls.
So much for not hiding or being fearful.
PS 2; Police have confirmed they have received two complaints over “anonymous” donations made to John Banks during the 2010 mayoralty campaign.
Your call, Prime Minister.
Radio NZ Interview: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams
Previous Blog Posts
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= That Was Then =
= This Was Before=
Of course, the “cap” soon turned into cuts. Two thousand five hundred cuts.
It’s not very fashionable to say it these days – but these were 2,500 hard working, dedicated, state sector workers who made sure that the wheels of government moved efficiently. They made sure police got their cars, radios, and tasers. They made sure doctors got their hi-tech machines-that-went-*ping* and medicines. They made sure schools were resourced (as much as penny-pinching politicians might permit).
And all the other jobs that are quietly done, out of sight, and which make our society function. John Key said pretty much the same thing in a speech, in March 2008.
Key was also adamant that National would not cut front-line staff, and instead would re-direct resources to where it was needed,
Both Key and English repeated the mantra; “no cuts to frontline staff, no cuts to frontline staff, no cuts to frontline staff, no cuts to frontline staff...”
The public came to believe Dear Leader and Little Leader.
Until the day of reckoning, and the lie was exposed…
= This Was Before=
The first lie was that there would be a cap on the state sector.
The second lie was that there would be not cuts.
The third lie was that cuts would be made on the “backroom bureacracy” (whatever that is), and not on the front line.
Does anyone know if, or when John Key, Bill English, aren’t telling lies?
This blogger has been politically involved since his late teens. I have lived through the Muldoon regime; the Lange/Douglas “reforms”; the cock-ups of the Bolger/Richardson/Birch/Shipley circus; and the safer, more steady stewardship of Clark and Cullen.
I can tell the reader one thing: of all the governments we have had since the 1970s, the two most mendacious; dishonest; deceptive and manipulative ones have been;
May we have the envelope please.
And the winners are…
#1. Key & English
#2. Lange & Douglas
No need to clap.
Even Bolger – to his credit – kept to his word on most of his policies and pledges.
To my fellow New Zealanders – even to you folk who naively voted for National last November – I offer you this prediction; by the time the next election rolls around, you will be climbing over each other to cast your ballots, and to vote to throw out this shabby, dishonest, visionless ratbag regime.
You will have had a gutsful of Key’s empty promises and National’s shady dealings with casinos and other corporate interests.
You will have had enough of the relentless bad news; the growing inequality; the lack of jobs and spreading poverty; and losing more of your friends and family to Australia.
You may not even be here in New Zealand by the next election.
But I hope you still vote. We will need it.
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= 1 =
John Key continues to bury his head in the sand regarding Skycity’s demand for 500 extra pokie-machines, in return for a $350 million convention centre.
Considerable community concern has been expressed that National’s close connections with Skycity may result in more pokie machines, with the inevitable consequence of increased problem gambling. Even the neo-conservative organisation, “Family First” has condemned National and Skycity’s plans to expand it’s operations.
National Director of Family First, Bob McCoskrie, said,
“Tourists come to see the country and the culture – not the casinos. If tourists were really focused on gambling, they would be going to Las Vegas – not the Sky City casino venue in Auckland.”
“Casinos thrive on the false promise of getting rich quickly, but the reality is that those who can least afford to gamble are gambling themselves deeper into debt. The government should be protecting families – not fleecing them. It is ironic that the government is targeting loan sharks at the same time as increasing the number of pokie machines.” – Source
McCoskrie said that “there are far too many pokie machines in our communities. Recent figures show one machine for every 180 kiwis, yet one for every 4000 in US“.
Indeed. Here in New Zealand, we do ‘Dumb‘ exceedingly well.
The Green Party has been particularly scathing of National’s intention to amend legislation, to facilitate Skycity’s expansion plans.
Green Party spokesperson, Kevin Hague, condemned National’s irresponsibility in no uncertain terms,
“The profits that Sky City believes it can extract from vulnerable gamblers are obviously immense to make it worthwhile for them to build the centre.
This ‘public policy for sale’ approach by the Government is strongly reminiscent of its rush to change industrial relations law to suit another multinational corporate, Warner Brothers.
I predict that the ‘behind closed doors’ negotiations between the Government and Sky City will find ways of allowing Sky City to extract more profit from the New Zealand public without needing to change the law, thereby entirely shutting the public out from having a say.
The extraordinary hardship and suffering caused by the gambling industry in New Zealand should see the Government trying to find ways of reducing the size and reach of the industry, not cosying up to it and making the regulatory framework looser.” – Source
Why is it that everything has a fair degree of common sense on this issue – except National?!
The Prime Minister, John “Dear Leader” Key, has been in utter denial about the destructive effects of gambling addiction. It’s not just his head that is buried in the sand – he’s climbed in, and buried himself.
Amongst other statements of unbelievable naivety, Dear Leader has stated,
“In a casino they are in a better environment say than attached to a pub deliberating targeting low income people in South Auckland.” – Source
Because low income people don’t go to casinos!?
Actually, they do. This blogger has visited Skycity Casino on a couple of occassions. (No, I didn’t place a bet. If I wanted to waste money, it’s easier to throw it out the window.) On both occassions, judging by dress style; worn clothing and shoes; and other tell-tale signs, many of those who seemed cybernetically linked to rows of pokie machines – were from low-income households.
I could not recall a single person in a suit, or upmarket dress, on the pokies.
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But perhaps the most eye-opening aspect of Keys comments was when he referred to a “professor” from University of Adelaide – whom he did not name – who had told of a gambling studies conference in 2008, where it was claimed that Sky City’s host responsibility programme was “probably the most advanced in the world“.
An un-named source?
Is this Un-named Source related to the other Un-named Source, who had supposedly emailed John Key about a supposed meeting – where Standard & Poors had supposedly claimed that New Zealand would have had a credit down-grade had there been a Labour Government in office??
(Which, later, Standard & Poors rejected as being untrue.)
The same Un-named Source who supposedly sent Key this unsigned email,
But it strikes me as symptomatic of the bizarre “JohnKey In Wonderland” we have created in our country when the Prime Minister bases government policy on mysterious, un-named sources, who we cannot discuss; nor debate; nor even understand; because we know nothing about his/her/it’s credentials.
Too many of these Un-named Sources floating around. Hard to keep track of them. We need to start numbering them.
Or, here’s an idea, give them names?
And just maybe, New Zealanders need to be just a little less trusting of the man – whose name I will keep confidential – who is our Prime Minister.
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