Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Briefing, blaming, backing down

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  • DeepRed, in reply to merc,

    If Tony Fitzgerald could free Queensland from the shackles of Sir Joh where others couldn’t, he could just do wonders here.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4162 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to DeepRed,

    I was kind of hoping for us not to have to rely on a Magic Man solution. Besides you may have noticed the re-jigging of our judiciary, going back some years now.
    I think any Govt. that is even flirting with the TPPA hasn't really given due thought to implications that impede progress or laws anyway.
    Blood smelled, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10812900
    Is it me or is this editorial highly ambiguous?

    There is no question that Mr Key was acting in the public interest when he directed his officials to stop work on a tortuous exercise with the Auckland Council and wait for a proposal from SkyCity.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10812839
    Like I thought the exercise with Auckland Council was how we are all supposed to do it, you know, legally, or at least with due process?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to merc,

    Magic Man solution

    Fitzgerald's not the only example. The NSW Wood Commission into police corruption was arguably as significant. I'm kind of hoping that we find a better home-grown option than eventually begging for Australian statehood as a way out of the hole our banana republican overlords & useful idiot ladies seem bent on plunging us into. Because really, the latter is starting to look pretty good.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3386 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    We select for people who can shout down hecklers in public meetings and who can appeal to the lowest common denominator.

    At risk of sounding like a politicians' apologist, characterisations like this and others made in this thread, in my experience seriously understate the abilities of many (but obviously not all) of our politicans. Through a family connection, I have known one current Labour MP personally for a few years now, and could not imagine a better qualified or more able person for the job. Several of his colleagues that I have met leave a similar impression.

    I just don't know if the 'they are all hopeless' narrative is all that productive. It certainly doesn't do much to promote political engagement, which, IMHO, is one of the more serious issues in contemporary politics.

    (PS, more, and more, I feel a need to clarify that I'm not the John Armstrong from the Herald..)

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 126 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to John Armstrong,

    I just don’t know if the ‘they are all hopeless’ narrative is all that productive. It certainly doesn’t do much to promote political engagement, which, IMHO, is one of the more serious issues in contemporary politics.

    I very much agree. The easy vilification of people who stand for office is corrosive. We need people to stand for office in a democracy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18726 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    There's an order of magnitude difference between NZ and Aussie political corruption.

    NZ corruption would be having written the answers on one's arm in a school test.
    Aussie corruption would be having one's political opponents murdered and buried in the concrete of a new motorway.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4424 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to merc,

    I think any Govt. that is even flirting with the TPPA hasn’t really given due thought to implications that impede progress or laws anyway.

    Who needs marauding soldiers when there's the TPPA in its current form?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4162 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong, in reply to Russell Brown,

    We need people to stand for office in a democracy.

    Yes, and we need them to vote too. That would happen more if people understood that some politicians actually justified the effort.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 126 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    There's an order of magnitude difference between NZ and Aussie political corruption.

    Oh sure - and there's an even greater OOM diff between Tasmanian and Melbournian corruption. You make it sound like the difference between Underworld and Outrageous Fortune.

    The concentration of wealth in a tiny proportion of the population has increased at a far greater rate in NZ over the past decade than it has in Australia. Just because it's a Government sanctioned process doesn't mean it's not corruption.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3386 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to merc,

    one would have thought there are other checks and balances in place

    like the Auditor General?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    I very much doubt that the the EQC would be taking such a lenient approach to the perception of employee conflict of interest if they were subject to oversight by this kind of state agency. Or that Fletchers would be happily profiteering at every step of the post-quake "recovery" without pertinent questions being asked. The opportunity for corruption in an environment such as NSW just may be greater, but the very real penalties certainly are. And the enforcement industry is very proactive, as most civil servants who must deal with the onerous demands for an auditable paper trail will confirm.

    The myth that NZers are a bunch of guileless little kiwis, short & stout, is looking pretty shabby, especially in the wake of our biggest ever natural disaster.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3386 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye, in reply to John Armstrong,

    I just don't know if the 'they are all hopeless' narrative is all that productive. It certainly doesn't do much to promote political engagement, which, IMHO, is one of the more serious issues in contemporary politics.

    What really bugs me is the assumption that "career politicians" are a bad thing. I think there's a lot to be said for the skillset of someone that has a lot of experience in student / union / community representation. Ditto the opposite - businessmen may be good at running businesses, but a Prime Minister really needs a completely different mindset (and mission statement) than a CEO.

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Sacha,

    ...like the Auditor General?

    Yes, but they don't appear to respect that office, and rarely does it censure seem to carry much weight.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Sacha,

    ike the Auditor General?

    And the Ombudsman's Office, if it wasn't so (deliberately?) overworked and understaffed.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4162 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to merc,

    they don't appear to respect that office

    (The Herald's) John Armstrong agrees with you.

    That office is the independent parliamentary watchdog of how public money is spent. It thinks very carefully before making an investigation. The sight of politicians treating the office as little more than a nuisance is disturbing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Sacha,

    This is the main problem, we can have as many overseers as we like, if the Govt. don't respect the office, nothing is going to change. A cynic could argue that between the police and the Govt. there is not much room for any change.
    Not knocking the politicians, just the way the system is weighted.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to John Armstrong,

    I just don’t know if the ‘they are all hopeless’ narrative is all that productive.

    Fair cop. But I was responding to the desire that political discussions were as nuanced and considered as they are here. I certainly accept there are some talented and dedicated politicians however what we see of them suggests those that end up in the public eye are less able at such discussions and more skilled in other (less admirable) areas.

    That may be because they succeed in politics more or it may also be that those types (stereotypes?) make for better sound bites in the media.

    I still believe that the method of selection doesn't necessarily select the best people for the job.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3269 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I still believe that the method of selection doesn't necessarily select the best people for the job.

    The system should allow for guiding them in that job transparently. No amount of help can allow for those who want to bribe.
    Bribe, the word actually used in the NZ Herald comments section with regard to the casino tender bid's special status - interesting that.
    The Greens use the system to great effect, Labour not so much, and is it just me or is Shearer noticeably absent from discourse, with the Greens pulling most of the weight?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to merc,

    I guess the idea with our system is that Government will be held to account by political opposition parties and movements, media, and ultimately voters. I'm actually heartened that it seems to be working properly in the last few weeks.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I still believe that the method of selection doesn't necessarily select the best people for the job

    I agree but I don't know what would work well. Any overseas examples?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Judge dread...

    Or that Fletchers would be happily profiteering at every step of the post-quake “recovery” without pertinent questions being asked.

    Hmmm, John Judge is a director of Fletchers isn't he?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4705 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Sacha,

    but I don’t know what would work well

    That is a problem. Democracy is a terrible system just better than the other options. Same for peer review, which sucks but is better than anything else that has been tried.

    Seriously, I don't think the problem is entirely with the democracy part. I think that the problems stem from the lack of interest by the public. If the public don't want to be informed voters then the system falls down and appears to devolve into a marketing exercise as seen in the US or the last election here.

    It's easy to blame the media but it's hardly their fault if any in depth discussion results in people changing channel. Most people simply aren't interested in the details and the media and politicians both respond to that disinterest.

    A book I read once stated there are two things every citizen must do, 1) vote, and 2) do jury duty. The logic being those are the two places where individual citizens can influence society directly. But most folks don't want to do either.

    So how do you engender genuine interest by the public in choosing the best people to spend their taxes?

    Perhaps if such interest had been shown last year folks might have realised that this govt intended all along to reduce teacher numbers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3269 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Sacha,

    The system I am describing relies when the real crafty crunch comes down on much more than you describe. I am talking about upholding our constitution by really toothy watch dobermans with real teeth.
    The system as it stands works, sort of, but when you have things happen that this Govt. have enabled - the list is long, well I 'd like to think they got some consequences.
    Dinner with casino guys I mean sheesh, casinos don't even make money here, not one, always needing to be bailed out, and if auckland casino actually paid it's full share, it would fail.
    Need I go on about the social ramifications, just not what a PM should be considering really. He will get off this faux pas too. Opposition have done a good job yeah, but there will be no consequences for JK, like the police tea party love, all bad juju seen through, Banks is staying. As for corruption, well, who audits the auditors?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Coming to our census...

    Two things every citizen must do,
    1) vote, and 2) do jury duty.

    I think we should make voting mandatory and non voting fineable as in Australia, it doesn't seem to create any major problems (though I don't know how many people get fined - but it could be a nice little earner).

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4705 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    I really don't see voting as the problem, but there you are. I am totally against compulsory voting as I am against compulsory working.
    The right not to work is a powerful one. The right not to vote as well. Registration by all means compulsory, voting no.
    A non-vote to me is a vote against the system. As for jury duty, it is dangerous, poorly paid and abused by the selection process, more for another day maybe.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

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