Home > The Body Politic > National under attack – defaults to Deflection #2

National under attack – defaults to Deflection #2

Twentyfour hours ago, the Auditor general released her report into questionable (some might say, dodgy) dealings between SkyCity and Dear Leader John Key.

Whilst the report supposedly “vindicates” National and especially Key, there are questions as to the preferential treatment afforded SkyCity.

The MSM is especially hot on this issue;


Report sparks fresh debate over more SkyCity pokies



SkyCity report slates Government ministers



SkyCity 'treated very differently' in tender



The SkyCity convention centre deal 10 quotes from the Auditor-General report



Toby Manhire’s Listener report gives ten quotes from the report, which are damning in themselves,


1. “We found a range of deficiencies in the advice provided and steps taken leading up to [the] decision.”

2. “Although decisions were made on the merits of the different proposals, we do not consider that the evaluation process was transparent or even handed.”

3. “By the time it was expected that SkyCity would put a firm proposal to the Government for support, officials should have been working to understand and advise on the procedural obligations and principles that would need to govern the next steps. We found no evidence that officials were doing so at this stage.”

4. “The meetings and discussion between the Government representatives and SkyCity were materially different in quantity and kind from those between the Government and the other parties that responded.”

5. “SkyCity was treated very differently from the other parties that responded and the evaluation process effectively moved into a different phase with one party. In our view, the steps that were taken were not consistent with good practice principles of transparency and fairness.”

6. “Overall, we regard the EOI [expressions of interest] process in stage two as having been poorly planned and executed. Insufficient attention was given to planning and management of the process as a whole, so that risks were not adequately addressed and managed.”

7. “We did not see any evidence of formal discussions or decisions on the evaluation process and criteria, or mapping out of the basic options for what might happen next, or advice to Ministers on how the process would be managed and their involvement in it. We do not regard this as adequate for a project of this potential scale, complexity, and risk.”

8. “We have concluded that the preparation for the EOI process and the EOI document, fell short of good practice in a number of respects.”

9. “In our view, the result was that one potential submitter had a clearer understanding of the actual position on a critical issue – that the Government did not want to fund any capital costs – than any other potential submitters … We accept that it is unlikely that this flaw made a material difference to the outcome. However, we have spent some time discussing it because we regard it as symptomatic of the lack of attention to procedural risks, and therefore to the fairness and credibility of the process.”

10. “We are unable to comment on the value of any contribution the Government might make as part of any eventual agreement with SkyCity, because negotiations have not yet been concluded.”

Source: IBID


When National’s dirty dealings; dodgy Ministers; or somesuch other scandal is about to go thermonuclear, they will automatically deflect to one of three default positions;

  1. Blame previous Labour government
  2. Release story on ‘welfare abuse’
  3. Blame Global Financial Crisis or similar overseas event

And on-cue, 24 hours later, National’s spin-doctors have spun a deflection story,


Government cracking down on benefit fraud



As always, predictable.



= fs =

  1. 20 February 2013 at 4:57 pm

    “remove the need to inform a beneficiary they are being investigated for fraud” ???

    • 20 February 2013 at 8:39 pm

      Oh indeed, Robyn. Because as we all know;

      1. Beneficiaries are sub-humans who have no rights,

      2. Beneficiaries caused the Global Financial Crisis

      3. Beneficiaries are to blame for everything that’s gone wrong – including the collapse of financia.l companies. I wonder if the partners of financial company board directors will also be liable for any fraud committed?

      But mostly ‘cos the Nats are in deep shit.

  2. K
    21 February 2013 at 6:13 am

    Yea, the removal of the need to inform a beneficiary they are being investigated is a very insidious development that has been in the works for some months now.


    – your neighbors/employers/fellow gym members being questioned about you with regards to benefit fraud. They need not breach your privacy to do this, simply identifying themselves as an investigator for MSD will be titillating enough to start the behind your back gossip

    – your children being asked questions with regards to your sex life. Children are so easily led…

    – your neighbors/workmates/friends(?) being surreptitiously recruited to be unpaid spies for the ministry. The climate is being created via the media for this to occur. Not only will your “friends” be willing to do it for free, they would happily incur expenses they are unable to reimburse as the media continues to whip up a beneficiary feeding frenzy.

    – making statements to the MSD investigator is treated the same way as making a statement to the police except that you don’t have the right to silence, so depending upon your personality type and underlying level of anxiety you are already at a disadvantage regardless of whether or not you are guilty.

    To conclude this is more about turning our nation into a mini communist state rather than any real justice.

    Comments can easily be taken out of context, distorted, innocent sounding questions posed to lead witnesses…and politics is a game where if you are ignorant you lose by default. The public for the most part is ignorant of the serious ramifications of this law change with no real objections raised even from left wing bloggers.

    Make no mistake welfare is under serious attack from so many angles it now requires almost full time attention just to make people aware of the issues. The battle seems lost before it has begun.

  3. jerry ross
    21 February 2013 at 6:49 pm

    didn’t they remove the right to silence last year? in regard to the criminal justice system.

    • 21 February 2013 at 7:29 pm

      Jerry, as far as I can recall, they never went ahead with it. (Or it’s still at Select Committee stage? I’d have to research it, to make sure.)

      The only crimes that the right to silence has been removed, thus far, are those investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.

  4. uncle charley
    22 February 2013 at 12:47 am

    Whenever this gutless government is in trouble, they resort to blaming beneficiaries for welfare “abuse”. It shows you what kind of people they are when they harass unemployed and solomums instead of going after corporate crooks. But the I guess Key doesn’t want to upset his mates.

  5. DAVID H
    27 April 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Surely the public will get a bit suspicious if from now to the election everytime Labour release policy the Nats Hammer Beneficiaries, or Rubbish the opposition.

    • 27 April 2014 at 9:07 pm

      You’d think so, David. But no doubt the Nats’ strategists can think up variations on the Three Deflections I listed about. There are all sorts of ways they can generate headline-making press-releases!

  1. 22 February 2013 at 11:24 am
  2. 28 February 2013 at 12:51 am
  3. 9 March 2013 at 11:44 pm
  4. 14 May 2013 at 10:39 am
  5. 22 July 2013 at 10:20 am
  6. 26 July 2013 at 9:33 am
  7. 21 April 2014 at 8:01 am
  8. 9 May 2014 at 8:01 am
  9. 20 February 2015 at 8:02 am
  10. 22 April 2016 at 8:02 am
  11. 11 September 2016 at 8:02 am
  12. 6 March 2017 at 10:35 am
  13. 10 March 2017 at 8:01 am
  14. 6 January 2018 at 8:01 am
  15. 10 May 2021 at 8:01 am

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