It’s not easy being a political journalist today.
The relentless demand for copy and clicks is exhausting and in splintered news rooms with few mentors, a lot of what passes as political journalism gets lost as junk commentary that accentuates the pointless while eliminating the serious.
I really feel that way with a lot of the Winston coverage of his legal case against those he suspects of leaking his superannuation overpayment just before the election.
Put aside the juicy new details, counter claims and glib court antics, what is actually at stake here is bloody serious.
Winston had personal private details from the State leaked to politically damage him in the run up to the 2017 election.
The purpose was to paint Winston out as a hypocrite and deal him a political body blow.
This information was sourced within the State and was weaponised by sycophantic Wellington bureaucrats who breathlessly informed their political masters of information that would wound a political opponent at a crucial moment.
That is what this legal case is about, not Winston’s ego, not his private living arrangements, not his rudeness to some front line staff member, not who knew what when – this case is far more important than those distractions.
It cuts to the heart of our democracy.
The Public Service crow that they are not politicised, but that’s just bullshit! Of course they are politicised! They have been since the 30 year neoliberal cultural, economic and political revolution occurred and after 9 years of National Party appointments they are total right wing acolytes.
To pretend they aren’t political is to pretend that the Pope isn’t Catholic.
Not only is the public service grotesquely right wing, they cave into any nonsense National demand, so what point is there in their so called neutrality?
State Housing stood shoulder to shoulder with National over their appalling state house meth hysteria.
WINZ didn’t stop the draconian welfare reforms.
Oranga Tamariki’s racist uplift programme was developed and designed by the neoliberal public service using big data fantasies.
The Public Service is woefully political and their draconian neoliberal service entrenched philosophically, what we saw here with the leaking of Winston’s Super overpayment was that Public Service becoming overtly political, the exact same way the SIS became overtly political when they conspired with the PMs Office to smear Phil Goff in the lead up to the 2011 election.
Nu Zilinders are a famously laid back volk, and we don’t get into a fuss about silly things like separation of Executive powers, obscene abuses of power or coups. Our infamous casualness is however less a relaxed and cheeky attitude to life and more a half-arsedness made malignant by a low horizon imagination.
Winston’s case matters and if there is any hope for this Government implementing transformative change in a possible second term, then a vast purge of the Public Service needs to be the first issue of their 100 day plan in 2020.