Three strikes and Minister Brownlee should be out

By   /   May 5, 2017  /   16 Comments

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In twelve days Gerry Brownlee has shown why he should never have been appointed Foreign Minister.

In twelve days Gerry Brownlee has shown why he should never have been appointed Foreign Minister.

It all started on 23 April, the day before Bill English announced Gerry Brownlee’s appointment. Mr Brownlee attacked North Korea’s leaders as having “evil intent”, echoing George W. Bush’s declaration in 2002 that North Korea was part of an “axis of evil” with Iraq and Iran. The following year, true to his rhetoric, Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, with disastrous consequences. If we truly want a negotiated settlement to the Korean standoff then describing the North Korean regime as “evil” doesn’t help. “Evil” isn’t a political term and should never be part of a diplomat’s lexican.

Yesterday Brownlee put his foot in it again, on another hot issue. Pulling the rug from under his predecessor Murray McCully (not to mention Prime Minister English) Brownlee described as “premature” last December’s Security Council resolution on Israel/Palestine (which New Zealand co-sponsored). Brownlee argued, nonsensically, the resolution was premature because the “parties” (read Israel) had yet “to accept what’s in it.” Brownlee had it back to front. Surely, if Israel had already agreed to stop building new settlements on the West Bank there wouldn’t be the need for reference to it in a Security Council resolution.

Brownlee’s third bungle was to announce, before he left for Australia to meet Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, that he didn’t believe he could get her government to grant an exemption for New Zealanders from the announced tertiary education fee rise for foreigners. Having conceded defeat before he started, Brownlee predictably got nowhere in his discussions with Bishop. In fact, he doesn’t even seem to have tried to shift the Australians, later describing the tet a tet as “quite easy”. In a press conference afterwards he even helped Bishop justify the anti-Kiwi measure.

“Sometimes in our two countries we forget that we are separate governments and that we do have responsibilities to our separate populations,” said Brownlee.

That’s three strikes against Gerry Brownlee in twelve days. He should now get out.

I never thought I would look back at Murray McCully’s time as Foreign Minister with any fondness. But the way Gerry Brownlee is going I’m tempted to say, “Come back Murray!”

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16 Comments

  1. bert says:

    “That’s three strikes against Gerry Brownlee in twelve days. He should now get out.”

    But why should he Keith, there’s still so much food to eat!

  2. garibaldi says:

    Well said Keith. Brownlee is a buffoon. I don’t want Murray back though!

  3. Kieran says:

    You might want to edit “tet a tet” to read “tête-à-tête”.

  4. Mike in Auckland says:

    It all depends, I think Bill English appointed Brownlee for two reasons, firstly because he is the only one in their cabinet with a bit of “foreign affairs” exposure and experience, as former Minister for Defence, secondly because he is a very loyal US America aficionado.

    He is doing as he was told, to tow the line, to follow the new US American administration’s harsher line of foreign and defence policy, and to actually do a bit more, to please Trump and his buddies in office.

    As Trump has already sent some clear signals, where the journey will go for the coming 4 or so years, Brownlee is obediently following suit, and verbally signalling subservient loyalty to the White House and Pentagon.

    Israel is the US’ most cherished Middle Eastern ally, and North Korea is one of the most hatred countries, for its government, so Brownlee is doing what English is happy with, and what Trump in the US is happy to hear.

    And as the larger “ANZAC” brother across the ditch is also very loyal to the US, in foreign relations strategies and defence, it is simply “normal” for Brownlee to bend over backwards to Canberra and the present government there. With all propaganda the people of NZ Inc get told most the time, without Australia we would really be somewhat “screwed” economically and also for defence, to be honest.

    NZ Inc is the little relative across the Tasman for Turnbull, not more or less, and little brother better does what big brother says, or else.

    Welcome to Realpolitik 101.

    Human rights, international law and fairness are matters that come second or even much further behind this.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Something I said on The Standard in regards to Brownlee’s stint in Aussie and his cowering , cringing stance :
      ……………………………………………

      Problem being that Australians are , numerically here in NZ , just a small percentage , – so Canberra would have weighed that up and sacrificed those small numbers for political expediency.

      But do you want to know how to REALLY fuck the Australians off ?

      Kick out their banking interests here and put a surcharge on every Australian company here as well…. as in a taxation.

      We could even specifically target Australian businesses. Hell , – we are a sovereign nation , – we can do whatever the hell we please .

      The hell with them.

      That’ll get their arrogant arses whinging and crying pretty smartly , – and you’d soon see a reversal of using KIWI’s as their political footballs ,… the useless manipulative shits.

      • agree the american political influence is slowly eroding the anzac influence that was fortified through the sacrifices that our two countries made in order for turnbull & english to be in the positions they hold & so if this relationship is to be maintained we should be able to make a stand of our own against tyranny & oppression for freedom of expression

  5. Ion Dowman says:

    As if Murray ‘Millenium’ McCully wasn’t bad enough we now have Gerry ‘Brownnose to the US’ Brownlee as Foreign Minister. Sheesh. So much for New Zealand’s independent point of view, ‘honest brokerage’ or even sovereignty.

  6. Pat O'Dea says:

    Jerry Brownlee seems to be in a competition to prove himself to be more obnoxiously Right Wing and politically ignorant than even Donald Trump.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/377473-trump-netanyanu-news-conference/

  7. WILD KATIPO says:

    Let the Aussies come here and have all the reciprocal benefits they want.

    Just kick the Australian owned banks out and put a heavy tax on Australian company’s in New Zealand.

    That would do more than 100,000 neo liberal Gerry Brownlee’s could do in 100 years in 5 minutes flat in changing the attitude of Australian populism and their bigoted approach to using KIWI’s as political footballs to win votes.

    Call the arrogant fuckers bluff.

    That’d sort the parasites out quick smart.

    • Patrick says:

      Sounds good but don’t those Aussie banks hold hundreds of thousands of mortgages over NZ properties and finance tens of thousands of businesses?
      How’s kicking them out going to work?
      Just asking.

  8. Wensleydale says:

    Look at the big picture, people. The longer he’s there, waddling about, cocking things up in spectacular fashion, the worse it makes National look, and the less likely people will be to vote for them come the election.

    Keep it up, Gerry mate. You’re doing a sterling job of shooting your party in the foot.

  9. Jack Ramaka says:

    That’s a good idea ban the Australian Banks from operating here and set up our own Banks, after all if they are Government Guaranteed they can just start lending money. Dumbest thing this country ever did was selling the BNZ, so much for privatisation the Government really f%^&ed that one up ref# The Winebox Enquiry ?

  10. Andrew says:

    My view is the Gerry was correct on all three counts:

    1. The North Korean leader is an unstable murdering thug with a nuclear weapon. If you don’t think that’s evil you need to get a new pair of glasses!

    2. The UN resolution supported by Murray McCully was a error of massive proportions. Most likely McCully was tricked by an anti-semitic outgoing US president.

    3. The removal of funding for tertiary education for Kiwis in Aussie was inevitable. That country is in an economic mess and the NZ citizen issue is a political football. Gerry did the right thing – by stating that he was going to renegotiate that issue.

    • Mike in Auckland says:

      1. Maybe you are right, some will agree;
      2. It was the first time NZ acted in true spirit with the majority of its population to hold Israel to account, it was NOT an error, Murray got it right at times, this one was RiGHT;
      3. Yes, you are right, the kiwis that lament it are sentimental idiots, they have not learned yet that ANZAC means NADA these days, is BS past remembrance and should be CUT right now, so NZ becomes INDEPENDENT from Aussie arrogance rule and influence, and makes its own deals with various countries, not dependent on Canberra’s strong muscle and dictatorship.

  11. peterlepaysan says:

    Ministry of FA is often where governments park awkward members who might create trouble close to home.

    I recall B English referring to McCully as a a “toxic dwarf (maybe gnome) disrupting internal nat party politics.

    W Peters got parked out there by a Labour govt.

    Better overseas than anywhere near nz parliament.

    Will Gerry test overseas border controls at airports the same way he did at Christchurch? Doubt that, some of those overseas border patrol people are keen to use their firearms, especially on easy targets.

    Would love to see the reception Gerry gets if he had to visit Finland.
    The Finns have a good sense of humour and are well educated and are used to dealing with arrogant bullies, like Russia and Nazi Germany

    • Our Finnish cuzzies also have free tertiary education – including for foreign students! (On top of which, the creator of the Moomintroll Family was Tove Jansson, a Finn!)