Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (toru)

By   /   September 4, 2017  /   10 Comments

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The leaking  of Winston Peter’s superannuation over-payment is well known. Also known is that Ministers Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley were briefed by Ministry of Social Development and State Services Commission, respectively, on Peters’ private details regarding the over-payment before it was leaked to the media and made public knowledge.

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Parliament’s Grassy knoll: who tried to character-assassinate Winston?

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The leaking  of Winston Peter’s superannuation over-payment is well known. Also known is that Ministers Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley were briefed by Ministry of Social Development and State Services Commission, respectively, on Peters’ private details regarding the over-payment before it was leaked to the media and made public knowledge.

Also briefed – though it is unclear why, as he was not a warranted Minister of the Crown – was political appointee, Chief of Staff, Wayne Eagleson.

Evidently the only person in the entire country not briefed was the Prime Minister, Bill “Double Dipper from Dipton” English.

Bennett, Tolley, and Judith Collins have all denied any involvement in the leak.

Paula Bennett was adamant;

“I don’t actually go around the back scuffling around doing leaks. I actually, if I’ve got something to say, I say it directly and up front and kind of bluntly. “

Which is true, in a Bizarro World kind of way. In 2009, when Bennett mis-used her Ministerial powers to reveal personal details of two solo mothers on the DPB, it was done in a very public manner.

However, Bennett never apologised publicly for the breaking of the two women’s privacy. And she stubbornly insisted she would do it again;

Asked if she would do the same thing again, Bennett said “it would depend on the circumstances”.

Perhaps Judith Collins, who disclosed a State servant’s name and personal information to a right-wing blogger, was involved in the leaking of Peters’ situation?

Prime Minister John Key has conceded it was “unwise” for Judith Collins to give Cameron Slater a public servant’s name, job title and phone number which was then used in an attack post on his Whale Oil blog.

However, John Key says no disciplinary action will be taken against the Justice Minister because the action pre-dated the final warning he gave Ms Collins over the Oravida scandal.

Mr Key says he still stands by the Justice Minister.

“I think the passing of private information, in terms of phone numbers, I think that’s unwise. It’s unwise of a Minister. Look in the end it’s one of those things,” Mr Key says.

Collins also refuse to accept she had done anything wrong – despite being forced to resign in 2014;

“I absolutely and strongly deny this and any suggestion of inappropriate behaviour. I am restrained in clearing my name while I am still a Minister inside Cabinet and I believe the right thing to do is to resign as a Minister so I am able to clear my name.

I have asked the Prime Minister for an Inquiry into these serious allegations so that my name can be cleared. I will, of course, cooperate with any Inquiry.”

Only Minister Tolley has not been accused of a direct privacy violation of any individual(s) – at the moment. However, MSD is know to leak like a sieve and it was MSD that briefed the Minister regarding Winston Peters.

One thing is for certain; some Ministers are not averse when it comes to leaking personal details of individuals who run foul of this government.

They have ‘form’.

Postscript

Recent revelations that blogger and activist, Martyn Bradbury, has had his private bank details scrutinised by Police shows how little National and its state agencies respect the privacy of individuals.

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Especially those who dare criticise the current regime.

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A face-palm moment for ACT candidate, Anneka Carlson

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Meet Anneka Carlson, ACT’s New Plymouth candidate and number seven on their Party List;

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Carlson is seventh on the list and would enter parliament if ACT gained 5 per cent of the party vote.

The 28-year-old never dreamt of being a politician but standing for ACT in her home town “just feels right.”

“It was meant to happen.”

Parliament needed people with life skills and her life experiences would help stand her in good stead if she is elected, she said.

The former West Auckland police officer owned her own business in New Plymouth, is a North Taranaki SPCA board member, and ran fitness programmes for cancer support groups.

She is also completing a business studies degree extra-murally at Massey University. 

“I’m fairly young, and I’m surprised to be high on the list because I’m a bit of political newbie, but I’ve already seen lot of things from working in the police.

All well and good – engaging young New Zealanders to enter politics should be encouraged. It should never be  the sole “happy hunting grounds” for Baby Boomers seeking to feather their own nests, at the expense of younger generations.

Unfortunately, there are times when youth counts against a candidate.  Such as when Ms Carlson lamented ACT’s lack of public support;

“It makes me wonder why people don’t know more about ACT in New Plymouth.”

It should be no surprise to anyone that Ms Carlson wonders why ACT is not supported more at the ballot box. It’s not because “people don’t know more about ACT“.

Quite the contrary – most New Zealanders middle-aged and over – are very clear about ACT and what it stands for. After all, we lived through ACT-style so-called “reforms” in the late 1980s and into the 1990s.

That is why ACT is not well supported except by a tiny minority of unreconstructed wealthy, privileged extremists. (Aka, the One Percent.)  At 28, Ms Carlson would be oblivious to all this.

But at least Ms Carlson understands how privileged she is as a middle-class pakeha from an economically well-supported background. As she herself admitted;

“I’ve come from a fairly privileged upbringing…”

At least Ms Carlson has a measure of self-awareness. Given time and experience she may understand how that privileged upbringing gives her a head start in life that is denied many others.

She may even experience that critical Road-To-Damascus revelation that ACT’s market-driven ideology has made matters much, much worse since 1984.

I suggest the next cuppa tea she has is not with David Seymour, but Jim Bolger.

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Another poll indicates coming change in government

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A recent Horizon Poll released on 1 September reconfirms the rise of Jacinda Ardern’s popularity with voters;

Jacinda Ardern has a 6% lead over Bill English as preferred Prime Minister among definite voters.

Among the 860 adult respondents who are both registered to vote and 100% likely to vote, Ardern leads English by 43% to 37%.

Among all of the 960 respondents to the August 11-15 Horizon Research poll Ardern leads 45% to 32%.

Winston Peters is preferred Prime Minister by 15% of all respondents and 14% of definite voters.

James Shaw, the Green Party leader, is preferred by 2%, and David Seymour of ACT and Te Ururoa Flavell of the Maori Party each by 1%.

Coincidentally, English’s current popularity at 37% is similar to Key’s Preferred Prime Minister ratings before he stepped down as Dear Leader Prime Minister.  By May last year, Key’s PPM rating had  fallen to 36.7% – continuing a steady downward trend.

Which means Ms Ardern is now more popular than John Key was, prior to his resignation.

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Another step back from globalisation

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Queensland’s Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, has announced a major step back from neo-liberalism’s prime enabler, globalism, by announcing that the State government would prioritise local businesses for contracts. The aim is to create more local jobs.

Ms Palaszczuk was unapologetic in renouncing globalisation;

“ Our new procurement strategy is unashamedly a ‘Buy Queensland’ one.  No longer will we be constrained by free trade agreements that have seen jobs go off-shore or interstate.

Wherever possible, one regional and one Queensland supplier will be invited to quote or tender for every procurement opportunity offered. Preference must be given to local subbies and manufacturers on significant infrastructure projects of $100 million or more.

This money comes from Queensland taxpayers, it is only right we spent it in a way that benefits Queensland businesses and workers as much as possible.”

According to the SBS report, Queensland spent  A$14 billion per annum  on supplies, services, plus A$4 billion  building and maintaining State infrastructure.

Ms Palaszczuk made a valid case for buying-local when she pointed out “this money comes from Queensland taxpayers, it is only right we spent it in a way that benefits Queensland businesses and workers“.

The prime role of a government in a Western-style democracy has always been (or should be!) to protect and enhance it’s citizens. Creating an environment where local jobs flourish  is part and parcel of that dictum.

Governments are not “in business” to create  jobs in other countries at the expense of their own workers.

ExportNZ’s Executive Director, Catherine Beard, was predictably hostile;

The ‘Buy Queensland’ promotion should be about encouraging Aussies to buy their local product, just like ‘Buy NZ Made’ encourages New Zealanders to buy Kiwi-made. It’s OK to encourage your people to buy local, but it’s not OK to mandate State Government weightings that amount to protectionism.

The protectionism in Queensland’s policy is completely contrary to Closer Economic Relations between New Zealand and Australia.

In plain english, Ms Beard is fine with “it’s OK to encourage your people to buy local,” but “it’s not OK to mandate State Government weightings that amount to protectionism” because it harmed the interests of her members.

Tough. It’s about time globalisation began to be rolled back instead of continually exporting jobs and entire businesses to off-shore jurisdictions where labour is cheaper and easily exploitable because of lax (or unenforced) labour laws.

We need fair trade, not so-called “free” trade. “Free” trade is not free when we, the tax-payers, have to foot the bill to pay for welfare, because workers became unemployed after their jobs were exported to China, Vietnam, Pakistan, Fiji, etc, or cheaper (and often shoddier) goods imported to unfairly compete with locally-made products.

Queensland’s Premier understands this. She wants jobs created for her own workers – not in some other country. Especially when those workers in other nations won’t be paying tax in Queensland.

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References

Radio NZ:  Timeline – Winston Peters’ superannuation overpayments saga

NZ Herald:  Beehive knew of Winston Peters’ super payments weeks ago

Mediaworks:  Paula Bennett says she doesn’t go ‘scuffling around doing leaks’

Fairfax media:  Bennett won’t rule out releasing beneficiary details

Mediaworks:  Collins ‘unwise’ to pass information to Slater

NZ Herald:  Statement from Judith Collins

Fairfax media:  Government backs down over collecting individuals’ data until security confirmed

Fairfax media:  Former promotional ‘hype girl’ keen to get more dancing to ACT’s tune

Fairfax media:  Tick party vote for ACT to bring quality candidates into parliament, leader says

Fairfax media:  The 9th floor – Jim Bolger says neoliberalism has failed NZ and it’s time to give unions the power back

Fairfax media:  Hamilton social service providers dispute PM’s ‘almost’ no homeless claim

Horizon Poll:  Ardern preferred Prime Minister with 6% lead

Mediaworks:  Newshub poll – Key’s popularity plummets to lowest level

SBS: Qld govt to prioritise local businesses

Scoop media:  Trade Ministers need firm hand over Queensland

Other Blogs

Martyn Bradbury:  My case against a secret NZ Police investigation that breached my privacy and my civil rights

Previous related blogposts

The slow dismantling of a Prime Minister – downward slide continues

Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (tahi)

Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (rua)

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10 Comments

  1. CLEANGREEN says:

    Another awesome thoughtful article from your stable Frank as usual.

    Yes National are the party of “dirty politics” and should now come clean and admit this finally before the election or they will lose for sure.

    There is an air around this election that most people now distrust national now so being honest would save their chances, bout I won’t wait for any change there.

    Winston should lodge a legal court case against national now so this whole mess can be closely scrutinised and the truth will come out that way as to the level of use national used all the public services and funding expressly for their own election chances (which is an illegal action)

    Winston should couple that claim with costs to him for another case of defamation and erosion of his human rights and privacy against his character also.

  2. John W says:

    Wide ranging but a solid perspective Frank. Thank you.

    The word “sociopathic” is definitely too soft for that set of predators.

  3. David Stone says:

    All well put in simple clear language re “globalisation” .”Protectionism” is a great idea.
    The advantages to multinationals of cheap labour is not simply that workers get by on less in cheap labour countries. Exchange rates are influenced by factors unrelated to the production of everyday goods that we all use: Mostly by speculation. The result being that if you exchange the wages of a Chinese worker in yuan with an “equivalent” (via a bank) with NZ dollars , no one would be able to survive on it in NZ at all. So it’s not simply that the Chinese worker survives on less than the NZ worker. The multinational company profits from a distorted/manipulated exchange rate more than from the difference in real wage rates. The taxpaying public picks up the balance in social welfare payments to local unemployed and insufficiently paid.
    People are getting sick of subsidising the 1%.
    D J S

    • Strypey says:

      True, David. Worse, companies can respond to underpaid workers organising to improve their wages and working conditions by simply moving on to the next Free Trade Zone. Eventually, once the persecution of the unemployed has allowed employers to drive down the wages and conditions of workers in countries like Aotearoa, they can bring production back and pay sweatshop level wages in countries that used to have better-paid, unionized workforces. It’s a race to the bottom that only transnational employers win.

  4. Michelle says:

    bill was interviewed by garner this morning news his face and body language said a lot especially when garner said to him your government has introduced 9 petrol taxes since 2008 and then you also raised gst despite saying you wouldn’t. garner said it was all about integrity but should have gone further and said do you have any(integrity). Every time he said something like this bill paused and you could see him thinking how can I bull shit my way out of this one. Then he changed the subject saying how well his government managed the economy. So based on this interview he should not talk about labour being the tax and spend party because if labour is to be called the tax and spend party he should be called the tax and bullshit party.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Yes MICHELE I saw that,

      Duncan Garner was solid on cornering the toad and English was very cagey as usual but had a shifty way about him now.

      By 10 am news he is spouting new junk be saying he sees the labour has now softened. English id now desperate and using smoke screens and dumping on any opposition party as the polls close in on him.

  5. Samwise says:

    A 28 year old not understanding why act policies are not popular with the public? Too bloody funny!!!

  6. savenz says:

    +100% jobs need to stay local and local taxes used to benefit local industries to provide local jobs.

    “ Our new procurement strategy is unashamedly a ‘Buy Queensland’ one. No longer will we be constrained by free trade agreements that have seen jobs go off-shore or interstate.

    Wherever possible, one regional and one Queensland supplier will be invited to quote or tender for every procurement opportunity offered. Preference must be given to local subbies and manufacturers on significant infrastructure projects of $100 million or more.

    This money comes from Queensland taxpayers, it is only right we spent it in a way that benefits Queensland businesses and workers as much as possible.”

  7. Michelle says:

    yeah Cleangreen he has very bad body language and he starts to stutter like he did last week in the first debate. His head plays up and you can actually see him contemplating his next porky. He cannot answer the questions he changes the subject and reverts back to his stable economy line, our surplus and him saving us all from the GFC. Nek minute garner lets him of. I think he is gonna forget his manners tonight and interject as much as he can trying to throw Jacinda of her train of thought. I hope she has a few one liners herself tonight cause his so called visit to the freezing workers was a staged one. He actually didn’t talk to the freezing workers he talked to management this was exposed by Campbell on the radio who went to Horotiu.

  8. mosa says:

    I loved the pie graph of rich people and the way they think like the current government and then there is that little thing called reality.

    Good post as usual Mr Mac