Mr English: Where are National’s secret coalition negotiation papers?

By   /   December 3, 2017  /   46 Comments

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Bill English has been kicking up a shit-storm, demanding that Labour release what they have been describing as a “secret coalition agreement” between Labour and NZ First.

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Bill English has been kicking up a shit-storm, demanding that Labour release what they have been describing as a “secret coalition agreement” between Labour and NZ First.

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English complained;

“This is a government that said it would be more transparent and more open. The document is clearly there somewhere, it must be important because it’s 38 pages and it’s come out of the agreement – people deserve to see it.

It sounds like there might be quite a lot more in this other piece of paper. If it’s at the core of how the Government’s going to run, it’s in the public interest.”

English defended his insistence that the coalition notes be made public by comparing the Coalition with his own previous administration “transparency”;

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“By any international standard the last government was open and transparent, and this government, as with many other things, has expressed these high-minded intentions and then fails to follow through.”

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Which is a patently dishonest claim considering that the last nine years of National governance has been one of secrecy; obstructing OIA requests; increased state surveillance; and misleading the public.

Former Dear Leader, “Sir” John Key was brazenly open only in one respect of the OIA. He openly conceded that his administration regularly and willfully delayed releasing OIA requested information for purely political purposes;

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“Sometimes we wait the 20 days because, in the end, Government might take the view that’s in our best interest to do that.”

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To which  Chief Ombudsman, Dame Beverley Wakem, responded by reminding Key and his cronies colleagues they were were not permitted to flout the OIA legislation by deliberately delaying up to the  twenty-day deadline;

“It’s pretty clear. It couldn’t be much clearer than that… As soon as you have made a decision as to whether you’re going to respond to the request or how you’re going to respond to it, you ought to convey that.”

During it’s nine years in office, National has widened the powers of the GCSB to permit it to spy on all New Zealanders; mis-used GCSB surveillance to secure leadership of the World Trade Organisation; spied on our Pacific neighbours; and unlawfully harassed National’s critics such as Nicky Hager and Martyn Bradbury.

But when challenged on whether the GCSB was conducting mass surveillance on New Zealanders, Key simply point-blank refused to comment.

Who can forget National’s obstruction and prevarication – including contradictory statements – over the SAS-led attack on two villages in the Tirgiran Valley in 2010 which caused fifteen injuries and the tragic deaths of six innocent Afghan civilians, including a young child;

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Lest we forget: Fatima, aged 3

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Just recently, it was revealed that an OIA request by Radio NZ, for details regarding the business case for a proposed new multi-million dollar Auckland City rail-line, was met with deliberate stone-walling from then-Minister, Simon Bridge’s “office“;

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has been caught trying to block an official information request for details about a proposed new $50 million Auckland railway line.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters tabled an email trail in Parliament yesterday showing that Mr Bridges’ office repeatedly urged KiwiRail last week not to release a business case on Auckland’s proposed third main railway track.

Initially, his officials opposed the document being released, saying it was part of an unsuccessful budget bid, but were told by KiwiRail on Thursday that the law was clear it should be released.

After consulting its legal team, KiwiRail told Mr Bridge’s office it would struggle to justify not releasing it.

But on Friday Mr Bridges’ office again urged KiwiRail not to release the business plan.

This time it used a scatter-gun approach – arguing the report was only a draft, was on a misleading template and that its proposed release was making them “extremely uncomfortable”.

Writer Harriet Gale…

[…]

… said KiwiRail made it clear the business case did not need to be kept secret and that the minister’s behaviour was worrying.

Chief Ombudsman, Peter Boshier, was obviously frustrated and disturbed by National’s attempt to suppress the Kiwirail Report and their continual flouting of the OIA;

“It’s so important that we get this Act flowing better than it has been and it hasn’t necessarily flowed that well.

And that’s why I’ve used this as an opportunity to exhort the Prime Minister to help me and support me in getting the roles crystal clear.

We are coming down increasingly heavier where we see instances where the Act is not being compiled with – and in some cases, where it’s been flouted.

I think there’s an understanding that we mean business.”

Hardly the hallmarks of an “open and transparent” government when a Minister’s “office” is prepared to conspire to break the law by circumventing the Official Information Act. Also not helped when the ombudsman’s office has to write a scathing letter to the Prime Minister demanding they obey the law.

As if to underscore National’s mania for secrecy, in 2011/12, New Zealand’s ranking in media freedom by Reporters Without Borders fell from eighth place  in 2010, to  thirteenth, in the world.

The Herald’s senior reporter, Matthew Backhouse, wrote at the time;

The report did not say what was behind the fall – but it comes after a year in which newsrooms were searched by police, the New Zealand Herald was temporarily banned from the parliamentary press gallery and a proposed new law sought to give police greater powers to enter newsrooms.

Another story by Fairfax media’s Susan Edmunds, in May this year, also reported on New Zealand’s fall in World Press Freedom Index, citing Government secrecy;

The report said journalists were struggling with the Official Information Act, which gives government agencies long periods of time to respond to requests. Sometimes journalists were asked to pay for information.

“In August 2016, the government revealed a grim future for whistleblowers, announcing a bill that would criminalise leaking government information to the media and would dramatically increase the surveillance powers of the intelligence services. Journalists, bloggers, and civil society representatives would be among the potential targets of the proposed law, which could be adopted in 2017.”

Catherine Strong, from Massey University’s School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, said;

“Our lower standing is due to the growing list of government agencies trying to hide information by thwarting the Official Information Act, and these agencies are ruining our reputation.”

What is even more grimly ironic is that having been thrown out of office, National persists in refusing to disclose information to the public.

Remember that National Party leader, Bill English, recently demanded;

“This is a government that said it would be more transparent and more open. The document is clearly there somewhere, it must be important because it’s 38 pages and it’s come out of the agreement – people deserve to see it.

It sounds like there might be quite a lot more in this other piece of paper. If it’s at the core of how the Government’s going to run, it’s in the public interest.”

Following coalition negotiations,  and Peters’s subsequent  announcement on 19 October that NZ First would coalesce with Labour and the Greens, Radio NZ’s Susie Ferguson spoke with National’s Bill English on Morning Report.

On at least two occassions, Ms Ferguson asked Bill English if he would be releasing the text of coalitions negotiations with NZ First. English first replied;

@1:57

“Well again, I’m not going to be discussing that. It was part of the negotiations and New Zealand First actually required, rightly, confidentiality about those negotiations.”

When pressed, English was adamant that there would be no public disclosure;

@2:28

“I’m honour bound to stick with the confidentiality agreement. As are the other parties.”

Note English’s reference to “the other parties“.

That would be Labour. No one else was in the room  with Peters and NZ First. So when it suited English, he was more than willing to point to “the other parties” to validate his refusal to release National’s own coalition discussion papers.

A month later, on 28 November, TVNZ’s talented Jack Tame interviewed Bill English on Breakfast TV. After English repeated his demands that Labour publish all coalition documents, Tame pointed out  the apparent hypocrisy of demanding Labour make public their coalition papers whilst English refused to disclose National’s;

@1:13

TAME: “So are you prepared to release what your coalition negotiations with NZ First if the government does the same?”

ENGLISH: “Well, look, I don’t know if it’s a record of negotiations. We conducted ours under a confidentiality agreement. That was very clear right at the start.

So according to English, National operated under a “confidentiality agreement“.  He failed to explain how that differed from Labour’s confidentiality agreement with NZ First. As English insisted on 19 October, Labour was “honour bound to stick with the[ir] confidentiality agreement.”

Tame put the story on Twitter;

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Kudos to Jack Tame for being the only journalist (to my knowledge) to recognise and point out English’s double standard on this issue.

English’s refusal to come clean with the New Zealand public whilst demanding “transparency and openess” from Labour is a stark reminder of National’s toxic track record of paranoia, secrecy, and do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do arrogance. Every time English or one of his National Party parliamentary colleagues opens their mouths, we are reminded of their own hypocrisy.

They are political charlatans not to be trusted.

For the first time in our political history, it has become the role of the Government to hold the Opposition to account.

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And now…

Introducing the first (but not the last!) Paula Bennett Award for Hypocrisy. Named for the National party politician who used the Training Incentive Allowance to gain a free, tax-payer funded university education when she was a young mother on the domestic purposes benefit. Later, in 2009, as Minister for Social Welfare, one of her first actions was to  scrap that Allowance, thereby denying other solo-parents the same opportunity for advancing their lives.

The first Award goes to Bill English, for saying one thing and doing another. Congratulations, Mr English!

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Acknowledgement

My thanks to a Radio NZ producer for locating specific audio that provided much-needed information for the completion of this story. I am indebted for the significant time and effort it took to assist me on this project.

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References

TVNZ News:  ‘It’s in the public interest’ – Bill English calls for release of coalition document

Radio NZ:  New govt has ‘no follow through’ – National

NZ Herald: John Key, mass surveillance and what really happened when Edward Snowden accused him of spying

Radio NZ:  Spy agencies come under scrutiny

Fairfax media: Killed girl’s parents demand NZ Government inquiry

Radio NZ:  Transport Minister tries to block official information request

Radio NZ:  Ombudsman urges ministers to follow OIA rules

NZ Herald:  NZ slips out of top 10 for freedom in the media

Fairfax media:  Press freedoms stifled by cynical use of Official Information Act – Report

Fairfax media: Labour finally retakes power after Winston Peters gives Jacinda Ardern his support

Radio NZ: Bill English faces first caucus since defeat (alt. link)

Twitter: Jame Tame – 28 November

NZ Herald: Bennett rejects ‘hypocrite’ claims

Additional

NZ Herald: OIA tension raises questions over minister’s request for information

Other Blogs

The Standard:  Key and Mass Surveillance – Was this the reason for the Golriz distraction?

TDB:  Now we know Key lied about mass surveillance – let’s remind everyone what our msm said at the time

Previous related blogposts

Once upon a time there was a solo-mum

“Fool me once”

Judith Collins owes an explanation to voters

National whines about Cullen’s appointment – they should know about cronyism

National’s $11.7 billion hole is right where they left it

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46 Comments

  1. XRAY says:

    This is definitely a beltway issue. But how does our good Christian man of God, Bill English, sleep at night with all the lying and the hypocrisy. Maybe that is why religion is so in decline, with people just like him pissing all over its principals.

    It’s not that the Nats care about transparency because as you pointed out, National was the most opaque government we have ever had. Just think about setting NZ up as a tax haven. On track with full PM input until the bloody Panama papers ruined everything. The defusion, the secrecy, lying and the cheating on that subject was legendary.

    Nope, its all about getting back into power and on a daily basis, howling outrage at the moon about two flys crawling up a wall to undermine Labour.

    However, if Labour is smart, then they should throw Mr English’s heartfelt concerns back in his face. Ensure that the legislation not only is watertight for transparency, but they carry imprisonment penalties for those who flout it, like the previous government.

    Then move on to donations. ALL political donors and fundraisers must be published with a who’s who attendance list. All lobbyists or friends of the party who visit politicians, anywhere, must be published, openly, not hidden somewhere. Might be a whole lot easier to make sense of how certain wealthy people got contracts from the Nats.

    Of course, the very last thing National want is transparency because they only survived as long as they did by hiding the truth and doing their dirty work in the dark!

    But everyone gets what they want and National want this bad. Lets reward them!

  2. mary_a says:

    Thanks Frank. Another excellent informative post.

    For some distorted reason, Natz give the distinct impression they are sacrosanct! Beyond scrutiny themselves, while demanding government coalition negotiation details be released!

    Natz hypocritical, corrupt, vindictive, twisted scumbags through and through. Time to get over the BS and start working for the benefit of NZ.

  3. CLEANGREEN says:

    Yes XRAY; & Frank; This IS a beltway issue for other Journalists to ponder;

    XRAY says;

    “Kudos to Jack Tame for being the only journalist (to my knowledge) to recognise and point out English’s double standard on this issue.”

    (Bill English has been demanding that Labour release what they have been describing as a “secret coalition agreement” between Labour and NZ First.)

    Frank says;

    “the last nine years of National governance has been one of secrecy; obstructing OIA requests; increased state surveillance; and misleading the public.”

    The last Government over the last nine years received 237 emails of requests for information from our HB/Gisborne regions community NGO concerns.

    We received in return a total of just four replies for that information.

    So we are in full agreement with Frank on this request for information about English/Key’s agreements post elections for the last three they made, or we call National ‘hypocrits fair & square.’

    • mpledger says:

      Do them through the FYI website. Then anyone can see what you want and how you are being obstructed.

  4. bert says:

    Okay lets go back several years, now release the tape between Key and Banks and their negotiations Bullshit Bill. Let’s go back and release the 450 texts you sent in the Bullshit Barclay debacle, Bullshit Bill?

    If you earnt a dollar for every time you were hypocritical or lied Bullshit Bill, you’d be a billionaire.

    A true christian you are not.

    • mary_a says:

      Right on there Bert.

      Hopefully someone from the coalition government will throw that lot up in Natz face. If nothing else, it will give them something to chew over. Might even shut the dark side up altogether about the issue.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Yes Bert & Frank; National = liars all.

      Let’s not forget that last week a secret rail report came to light proving trail is very very viable, as it saved Government $1.5 Billion last year alone. so what did Bullshit Bill and lying Judith Collins say when asked why they kept this important rail study from the public for 18 months???

      Bill said “I knew nothing about the report, and Collins said “it is not the responsibility of the government to release the report!!!!!!!!!!@#$&*()_t

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/99257012/rail-has-saved-new-zealand-15b-a-year-study-shows

      • bert says:

        Yes CleanGreen, they were clearly unfit for office, reminds me of Hogans Hero’s…”I know nothing”

  5. Patrick says:

    Frank, don’t you think it’s time to move forward?

    Whatever was in the National Coalition agreement is irrelevant. As you point out they have been” thrown out of office” so the only relevant docuent is that of Labour, NZ First and Greens.
    Winston wanted it tabled and in the interests of transparency it probably should.
    Saying English should table his as well is tit for tat schoolyard stuff.

    Have no idea why you gave the Reporters Without Borders figures as proof of Nationals “Mania for secrecy.”
    Could only find 5 of the Clark years where NZ averaged 14th.
    Since 2009 our ranking has averaged 8, with the best being 5 last year.
    Not a bad effort considering that means 172 countries ranked below us.
    These figures do not prove the case you were trying to make, but the exact opposite.
    But that is not decrying the Clark years either, as her average was good too – better than 166 other countries.

    The King is dead, long live the King!
    The focus should now be on the new government to do the things National wouldn’t.
    Push to have GCSB surveillance stopped.
    Push harder to get an enquiry into the Tireran Valley incident as Ron Mark appears to have no stomach for it either.
    Get the Auckland rail figures on the table.
    Make sure there is no leglislation re whistle blowers etc being penalised.
    Don’t know where you stand on Waka Jumping. Seems Winston wants it but why can’t an MP change their mind and their party if they want to?

    Frank, I doubt you had much influence with the last lot but that’s not the case with the new coalition.
    Rather than rehash the past, why not use that influence to push for the things you think need doing.

    • Frank, don’t you think it’s time to move forward?

      Why does it have to be one or the other, Patrick? Some of us can multi-task. Beside which, I’m sure you’re aware of the old maxim that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it?

      I have zero intention of letting people forget the past.

      • Patrick says:

        Frank,
        there you go again, don’t address the issues raised, easier to play the man not the ball!

        Your quote is relevant but so is this:
        ” There is a reason your windshield is bigger than your revision mirror………….. where you are headed is much more important than what you have left behind.

        You seem to be so consumed with anger that you distort facts – as in the “nationals mania for secrecy “dropping us in the index when in fact they rose compared to the Clark administration.
        Why are you so blinkered? Like I said I’m not rubbishing Clark as the score under her, as we would expect, was also in the top 10% but why do you think it right to manipulate the figures?
        That’s not remembering the past – it’s changing it!

        I’m pleased that you too can multi task so why not prove it and research a piece looking forward.

        Over the last months this blog had reminded us again and again about the last governments shortcomings……200,000 people currently living in cars, medical waiting lists, children going to school hungry, low spending on mental health, benefits so low that they must lie to feed their babies, lies, and terrible MP’s etc etc.

        This is a legacy of the last government but these issues seem to be right off the radar as they are no longer mentioned.
        Does that mean that they have all been fixed in the last weeks? Of course not.

        I’m not suggesting that you should use the same language about the Coalition as you do with anything right of center, but you could, perhaps be somewhat critical of things when they too will inevitably drop the ball on certain issues.
        They deserve every chance to prove themselves but they too need to be held to account and I have to say they don’t show any sign of a u turn on the way the finances are run.
        Chris Trotter has picked up on it but he shouldn’t be the only one.

        No need to forget the past but surely it’s time to help the new broom meet their campaign promises and ensure they don’t sweep any of them under the carpet.

        • You seem to be so consumed with anger that you distort facts

          All facts are backed up with citations. I refer you to the 2012 Herald story regarding New Zealand’s drop in Press Freedom Index;

          In its annual press freedom index, advocacy group Reporters Without Borders ranked New Zealand 13th in the world for media freedom last year – down five places from eighth in 2010.

          ref: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10781445

          In turn, feel free to post your citations.

          • Patrick says:

            Go to Reporters without borders or Wikipedia which shows NZ rankings on a year on year basis.
            You chose to highlight 2010 when we were 13th.
            Over the next 7 years we were:
            2011 8
            12 13
            13 8
            14 9
            15 6
            16 5
            17 13

            By choosing only one year your figure was selective Frank and didn’t show the real picture.
            As noted Nationals average was better than Labours, whose worst year was 19th.
            But who is splitting hairs on such small differences when our record under both parties was so good?
            You are Frank.

            It’s wrong to do that.

        • Oh and by the way, Patrick, it’s a tad difficult to ensure the Coalition will “meet their campaign promises and ensure they don’t sweep any of them under the carpet ” – when they have been in office for just over a month.

          I know you’re chomping at the bit to see them fail, but ease up there, tiger.

          Come back to me in six months-to-a-year.

          • Patrick says:

            Don’t be ridiculous Frank – I don’t share your one eyed prejudices – even though I am from Canterbury!
            I am proud to be a multi generational Kiwi and spend around half my time on these shores.

            I want NZ to move forward so I have never wanted any government, of whatever hue, to fail.
            As I have already stated although National was tired I voted for them this time as I thought Jacinda too young and felt she needed another 3 years to mature.
            So far she has done pretty well and as our PM I want her to succeed and be respected on the world stage and make us all feel proud of her and our country.
            Why wouldn’t I want that Frank?

            Frank, why quote me out of context I obviously wasn’t talking about sweeping promises under the carpet NOW. I meant in the future and you know that but it suits your purposes to deliberately misunderstand.

            Stop playing the man and start playing the ball.

            • Samwise says:

              Patrick, you’re full of it. Firstly you fail to back up your claims with relevant citations, then you backtrack on demanding Frank scrutinise the coalition’s track record when you know damn well they’ve only been in government for a little over a month. You’re trolling and wasting everyone’s time.

              Frank – damn good reporting from you as usual!

              • Patrick says:

                Hi Samwise.
                How about looking a couple of posts above.
                I gave the rankings from 2011 to 2017, the lowest being 13th and the best 5th.
                Check it out.
                You will note Frank has been quiet today. Guess he checked it and realised the stuff he quoted was a snapshot the year we came 13th. probably similar things were said when we came in 19th during the Clark government.
                The point you seem to be missing that unlike Frank, I am dishing neither party as both did well.
                My point about the new broom was that it’s time to look forward – not back.

                • Patrick, I assume you’re actually interested in this issue and not just trolling because of some need to prove something. In which case, I refer you to this interview this morning on Radio NZ’s “Nine to Noon” programme: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018624046/how-open-and-transparent-is-the-new-government

                  It may prove illuminating for you.

                  • Patrick says:

                    Don’t have the time or the energy Frank.
                    Did it prove your figures were correct and the one’s I got from Reporters without borders were wrong?

                    • Samwise says:

                      You don’t have the time or energy, Patrick? In other words you’re here trolling, right?

                      I’ve heard that RNZ broadcast and it’s well worth considering. JudgBolshier as a wealth of insight and your dismissal of him speaks volumes about your disdain for the real issues here.

                      Maybe you should just piss off back to whale oil. They’re missing their mascot.

                    • Priss says:

                      You “Don’t have the time or the energy”. You can’t be botherred learning how to cut and paste urls.

                      But you expect others to jump through hoops for you, Patrick?

                      You are the epitomy of a Nat supporter with a bloated sense of entitlement.

                      Personally, I think Frank’s given you more attention than you deserve.

          • patricia bremner says:

            Yes Frank, personally I am pleased with the government’s progress in a short time frame.

            I like many, await signals of betterment of the position of beneficiaries, especially single sickness or disabled folk.

            The previous government’s failure to protect the privacy for political reasons of these vulnerable groups was obvious. (though Winston’s information release has the power to bite)

            So there is no comparison in terms of respect and care. Transparency was a weakness according to National.

  6. Michelle says:

    People like Patrick need to wake up personally Patrick you make me feel sick you and your ilk are so selfish and need to think what is best for our country not yourself. As time progresses we are seeing million dollar holes everywhere these must be the ones Joyce was referring to. And they are all from mismanagement, hidden agendas, lies, greed and incompetency. All the gnats bullshit is starting to surface its doesn’t take long before shit floats and all this from a party that claimed to be fiscally responsible. Now we hear calls for transparency what an utter joke coming from a bunch of hypocrites. Who has to clean up all the tories shit?

    • Patrick says:

      Why do I make you sick?
      Is it because I don’t hate any of the parties?
      Nowhere do I say anything about what is good for me personally, except if you think me wanting this government and Jucinda to succeed is all about me and not for the good of the country.
      Is it selfish to want the PM and our country to go forward? If so …guilty as charged.
      What is gone is gone. If what the last lot is as bad as you say it will all come out, but surely the important thing now is to look forward.
      Frank seems to be getting mired in the past when he should be looking ahead at the positives of the coalition.

      • Frank seems to be getting mired in the past when he should be looking ahead at the positives of the coalition.

        Now you’re contradicting yourself, Patrick. Previously you demanded that “it’s time to help the new broom meet their campaign promises and ensure they don’t sweep any of them under the carpet”. Which is it?

        You’re either being willfully provocative, or ignorant. Perhaps both, judging by your desire to be “right” on this issue.

        Much of what you’ve posted here as your comments seem to be ego-driven BS, as if you’re trying to prove something.

        You have too much time on your hands.

        PS: Still waiting for your citations/links. Can’t provide them? Then don’t waste my time.

        • Patrick says:

          Frank,
          I don’t give citations because I’m a part timer and haven’t a clue how to do it – and don’t want to learn.
          Rather than give a citation link ( even if I could) I gave 2 different places to find the full details.
          I told you to check with reporters without site and wiki
          If you are too lazy to check that’s your problem as you made the accusations.
          You don’t want to as the facts don’t fit with yours.
          You are saying how bad the figures were under National as negativity is your bag.
          I was merely pointing out that your figures didn’t fit with the facts.
          Unlike you, I was not in a competition over who was best or worst – Labour or National.
          All I did was show that your figures did not show the story you were trying to prove and praised BOTH parties for a great record.
          Whats wrong with that?

          I have too much time on my hands!!

          Well obviously not as much as you as you must wite 500 words to each one of mine.

          Lighten up Frank and look at some positive stuff in the present tense.
          The words I write

          • I don’t give citations because I’m a part timer and haven’t a clue how to do it

            This is a video tutorial on how to Copy & Paste a URL in the address bar at the top of your browser page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egEPPxiTt4k

            There are others on Youtube you can also look at.

            • Patrick says:

              Thank you Frank but no thanks – have better things to do with my time – off to mow daughters lawns which gives me the exercise I need.

              You do research for your articles so you would find it pretty easy to verify the figures I quoted.
              Lets end this now as it’s a storm in a teacup anyway and it’s another beautiful day here. Far too beautiful to spoil it with negativity.

            • Samwise says:

              Dunno why you’re being so considerate to him, Frank. You must be aware he’s trolling you? He seems fixated on you because his spamming is all over all your blogs.

              • Patrick says:

                Samwise, I had to look up trolling as I had heard the term but didn’t know what it meant.
                Indeed Frank and I seem to have our differences – and I do take him to task on occasions and he calls me names on occasions, but so what.
                If you read this thread it is not what you call trolling.
                Frank Took a snapshot on one year only obviously without researching over the other years.
                NZ usually rates pretty high on things like that so I looked up Wiki and they had all the results showing NZ’s rating way back into the Clark era.
                I’m not saying he did that on purpose as I don’t believe he’s a devious person but the conclusion he came to was the exact opposite of the stats. I printed them out on this thread but they didn’t come out clearly.
                Just so you can’t accuse me of being a Troll, trolly roll, I will repeat the whole lot.
                Press Freedom ratings- New Zealand
                2003 17
                2004 9
                2005 12
                2006 19
                2007 15
                2008 7
                2009 13
                2010 8
                2011/12 13
                2013 8
                2014 9
                2015 6
                2016 5
                2017 13
                As there are 180 countries involved you can see we have a very good record over two administrations.
                I don’t see anything wrong with pointing out that Franks conclusions were incorrect and I have been well and truly caned for doing so. The bruises will probably be there for weeks.
                Hope the position is clear now.
                It’s of no great import which is why I would like it to stop but if stats are to be quoted to prove a point they should not be taken in isolation.

                • Patrick, you are so obsessed with trying to catch me out that you obviously haven’t read my blogpost carefully.

                  To re-cap, I stated;

                  As if to underscore National’s mania for secrecy, in 2011/12, New Zealand’s ranking in media freedom by Reporters Without Borders fell from eighth place in 2010, to thirteenth, in the world.

                  The Herald’s senior reporter, Matthew Backhouse, wrote at the time;

                  The report did not say what was behind the fall – but it comes after a year in which newsrooms were searched by police, the New Zealand Herald was temporarily banned from the parliamentary press gallery and a proposed new law sought to give police greater powers to enter newsrooms.

                  [ref: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10781445 ]

                  Nowhere did I compare Labour and National’s track record, either implicity or otherwise.

                  You have read something into my words which simply does not exist. Indeed, your uncited information backs up what I wrote.

                  You are jousting at your own creations of straw-people.

                  • Patrick says:

                    Frankie,
                    we have to stop meeting like this.
                    I don’t believe I said you compared the two.
                    But you were bagging National, were you not?
                    My thrust has always been that your stats did not show the real story and I made the point ad infanitum that I was not bagging Labour as you were National as I thought both did so well.
                    Frank, I don’t expect you to admit that my analysis was right as that would imply you were wrong and I know you can’t do that.
                    No problem, as you are in good company with so many people can’t admit that.

                    If you want me to admit that my figures are wrong and yours are right I’m happy to go along with that as this is getting so stupid.

                    So here is my confession
                    ” I am obsessed with trying to catch you out.
                    Your figures are 100% right and mine are 100% wrong.
                    For that I unreservedly apologise, and promise to wear both sackcloth and ashes for 3 days. or longer if you require.”
                    OK. Let this be the end!

                    • Priss says:

                      Patrick, your postings are entertaining. Unfortunately, they also show you to be barking mad.

                      For one thing, you’ve leapt to a conclusion not supported by the main text of Franks article and then gone on to criticise him for what is essentially your own personal attribution to what he wrote.

                      Here’s a clear example of you shifting goalposts to suit your own narrative;

                      “I don’t believe I said you compared the two.
                      But you were bagging National, were you not?”

                      Like I said, amusing. But barking mad as well.

                      You do yourself no favours.

                    • ALH84001 says:

                      “I don’t believe I said you compared the two.” – Patrick, December 5, 2017, 8:36pm

                      Perhaps you need to re-read your posts, Patrick. Comparing National with Labour is exactly what you’ve been doing. Why else have you been posting figures ranging from 2003 to 2017??

                      The facts are clear that National has been secretive and has subverted press freedom at everuy opportunity.

                      What else would you call police raids on the Herald and RNZ offices? Or police raids on Nicky Hager’s home?

                      Or the increase in surveillance powers for the GCSB and SIS?

                      If you haven’t been paying attention then it’s no wonder you’re focusing on irrelevancies.

                    • Samwise says:

                      Patrick, you say you don’t believe you were comparing National with Labour?? Is that why you’ve been comparing National with Labour by posting stats from 2003 to 2017?

                      You must think we’re stupid.

                      Go take your meds, you’re obviously losing the plot

                  • Sally's Husbabnd says:

                    Well said, Frank. Your analysis of National’s actions in Opposition are spot-on. English reminds us of his inaction and ineptitude when they were in government.

                    As for Patrick, i don’t get the point you’re making. You’re all over the place. You even contradict yourself in several places. Really, I think you’re struggling with what has been written here.

      • bert says:

        And I find it rather hypocritical to be calling Jacinda Ardern, “Jucinda” given your penchant for “playing the man”. Decency and respect would make your comments more plausible Patrick. The issue for me is based on how can Labour fulfill many of it’s pre- election promises when they are now finding financial holes from the previous National government. Yes we can concentrate on the new government attempting to keep it’s promises, but they were clearly based on National’s supposed fiscal management. Everything has changed now that the true nature of how National “cooked the books” has come to light.

        • Patrick says:

          Don’t be pathetic.
          I’m a crap typist…OK.
          I fully admit my mistake and apologise to you, the PM and anyone else who was incensed.

          Come on. The 1984 Labour govt opened the books and showed where the finances stood.

          If it’s the same now, same as then everyone will know the extent of Nat financial mismanagement.

          Been out of the loop a bit and didn’t realise that their financial mismanagement is now in the public domain.

          Don’t worry. If the cupboard is bare the public will understand why promises ( based on expected funds being available) can’t be kept.

          • bert says:

            Grow up Patrick. The “A” on the typewriter is a very long way away from the “U” But your apology is accepted. The 1984 Labour party of the past pales into comparison of the just deceased corrupt National party and yes Patrick, they were corrupt.

  7. mary_a says:

    Ombudsman called to investigate, after receiving complaint (from ???), re releasing Labour/NZF coalition negotiation agreement details!

    How far is this vindictiveness going to be allowed to go? This nonsense is intentionally stalling governance, preventing building a better and progressive NZ!

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11952737

  8. Andrea says:

    To Patrick
    If you would ask Guyon Espiner to stop his nagging and curtain twitching on the subject then we could all enjoy a good morning. He’s like a nagging brat in the supermarket – and that’s being polite.

    The agreement has been released. And that’s all the nit-pickers need to know – including Bill English and his.

    The sooner the Opposition learns the difference between wilful obstruction and being an effective Opposition the better for all of us.

    Perhaps we could see National’s pledge on serving the country instead of their political ambitions?

    • Patrick says:

      I’ve been out of the loop and didna realise it had been released.
      Good.
      I don’t listen to Guyan as have better things to do.
      Yes, I too hope the opposition wil be effective and not destructive.
      Play the ball, not the man

  9. HoriPork says:

    Oscar Wilde made the observation that a trait of human nature is to accuse others of their own worst faults