A very important contribution from Andrea Vance this weekend on the brutal censorship now hanging over this Government…
From the moment she took office in 2017, Jacinda Ardern promised her government would be the most open and transparent New Zealand has seen.
In her first formal speech to Parliament she pledged: “This government will foster a more open and democratic society. It will strengthen transparency around official information.”
Since then the numbers of faceless communications specialists have skyrocketed. The Government’s iron grip on the control of information has tightened.
And it is now harder than ever to get information.
This year, I have made more complaints to the Ombudsman than in any previous year. So far, every one has been upheld.
… Vance makes excellent point after excellent point detailing the lack of oversight and censorship the Wellington Bureaucrats weld now with the terrifying regularity.
Vance is one of the most important political journalists we have, her views should carry immense weight.
Watching Wellington Coms people on Twitter justify their refusal to give Andrea Vance information has been quite a journey!
While she is right to point out the discrepancy between transparency rhetoric and transparency practice, I think dumping it all at Jacinda’s feet misses the 3 true influencers of this censorship.
WELLINGTON BUREAUCRATIC ELITE:
When Key was in power, the Bureaucracy didn’t give two shits if the media discovered them abusing prisoners, state house tenants, beneficiaries, Maori or the poor because John Key didn’t give a fuck about them either. With Jacinda’s kindness however, she does give a shit about those abuses of power and so in a perverse way, the Bureaucracy works overtime to hide any of those examples from the media knowing the PMs Office will soon be on the phone demanding answers. The lengths the NZ neoliberal Bureaucracy will go to avoid accountability are unmeasurable. They censor everything so that Jacinda doesn’t find out about it, not the other way around.
DUMB LABOUR TRIBALISM:
Dumb Labour Tribalism does come into this. Some Labour MPs are so hell bent to defend Jacinda they act like dick heads. The embarrassing shambles the Health Select Committee descended into because Labour MPs were attempting to deny the Opposition any chance to ask questions was insulting and outrageous!
The other factor is brutal pragmatism. The politicians know public health has been so horrifically underfunded that a mass vaccination roll out will cause a cascade of failures – keeping the public in the dark about those failures is now seen as important to keep public good will on side in the middle of what is still a pandemic.
This third influence is the most insidious while the need for Bureaucrats to hide things from Jacinda is the most widespread reason.
Blaming Jacinda as Vance has done is easy, defining who is actually doing the censorship is more difficult and requires a view from outside the parliamentary beltway where the state and the government are seen as two separate entities.
This is less about Government hiding its intentions and more about Bureaucrats hiding their intentions from the Government.
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