The fines that Sam Lotu-Iiga has talked about aren’t fines, they’re just not paying them their performance bonuses. Bonuses which make up 10% of the contract. The other 90% is, contractually, untouchable.
It's really hard to believe a contract would have been written to protect the other 90% for Serco if Serco's been outright lying in the reports it was required to provide, though Serco lobbyists probably had a large hand in writing that contract.
Nevertheless given its repeated experiences overseas it's hard to imaging that Serco every anticipated the bonuses as being anything except, well, bonuses if it were able to swindle the government for long enough to keep them.
Does anyone happen to know if there were any other significant bids for running prisons at the time when the government was looking to start privatising their management and operations?
Tuned into Story for the first time last night
I properly watched a clip for the first time on Tuesday, which turned out to be the chap who was refused entry to Rockpool because of his non-gang face tattoos. (Episode link, it’s part 2.)
All they seemed to do was interview the guy about his tattoos, interview the bar manager who pointed at her sign and said (paraphrased) “I like tattoos but I’m allowed to judge him and can refuse who I like”, then went to another bar manager in Auckland who seemed to disagree with keeping people out based on any facial tattoos, then very briefly stated that the HRC has said it was okay to discriminate, before light oooh aah style chit-chat between the two hosts.
Is it all this airy-fairy? For a human rights story, some actual depth and analysis would have been nice. Instead they just presented what a bunch of people said, not consulting an independent lawyer to explain things, not questioning the HRC about its statement, not investigating the claims elsewhere that he’d offered to cover up the tattoos with makeup and still been refused. I hope it’s not symptomatic of everything they’re planning to produce in future.
When did anyone think Hosking was a journalist?
I think many people don’t, and some people don’t really care enough to think about it.
For me, the fact that he’s not a journalist is a symptom of the greater problem, which is that his singular opinion on everything has effectively replaced what used to be journalism. Now there’s much less of that journalism and analysis being channelled in front of people, and much more of Mike Hosking saying "I’m fine with all of this. Nothing to see here."
This aside, he also gets paid mega-bucks by his employers for spreading his opinion and I doubt he’s as innocent as he’d have people believe, so I have little sympathy for his taking some of the blame for the situation, even if it’s bigger than he is.
Ultimately, I think the answer to your question about why it’s so embedded is because it’s easy. The 2 dimensional options you mention just open the multidimensional floodgates.
True, but it seems as if we’re still stuck in a metaphor of political parties somehow living in a dimensional space. That leads to further beliefs that parties are somehow “near” each other, because that’s a spatial concept, and should weld themselves together in alliances for governing against those opposition parties which are further away. The metaphor controls how we perceive and accept that government must work, it’s how arrangements are made and how deals are struck and eventually how alliances fall apart. It controls the thinking about how majorities rule over minorities, because majorities are larger, which is another spatial concept.
As I said I don’t know if there’s a viable alternative or what it might be, or if the spatial way of thinking about politics is even especially bad, but it does seem to me that this whole spatial language has a compelling effect on how politics works and what we expect and accept. Or maybe it just works that way because it has to for other reasons, and the spatial thing is a very close match for a metaphor.
I’d humbly suggest that McCully’s bribe, that dodgy ‘invoice’ and the other backroom antics surrounding this affair have already tarnished our country’s previously enviable reputation for honesty and transparency.
Suzanne Snively of Transparency International was on Morning Report yesterday morning saying exactly this, as I understood it.
Does it tarnish reputation to actually have dirty dealers held accountable? I don’t think so – I think it does the opposite.
Same here. I’ll happily acknowledge that it’s not always possible to keep corrupt people from power all the time, but to me it’s what’s done when it’s discovered which makes the difference.
The political right have a fairly consistent ecosystem of language to articulate their worldview on these concepts.
I’ve often wondered if the entire “politics is a spectrum” (or similar) metaphor, with left versus right, is even appropriate in New Zealand’s modern MMP environment. It made some vague sense in FPP where the only way to dislodge a government was to vote for the only other option. That’s not always true any more, yet it continues to be a metaphor with which political media, bloggers, the general public and parties themselves constantly refer to things.
It fosters the thinking that political views must be spaced along a one-dimensional line. eg. Green is popularly labelled “left” of Labour whereas National is “right” of Labour, so someone can’t possibly support Green policy and National policy yet dislike Labour policy… or if they did then there must be something wrong with either that person or at least one of the parties. For similar reasons, the Greens were mocked from all sides when suggesting they might be able to cooperate with National without Labour.
I’m not sure what the appropriate alternative is, though, either because it’s a metaphor that’s so deeply embedded in politics-speak throughout, or simply because there is no reasonable alternative metaphor. The only alternatives I’ve really seen are variants of the Nolan chart or Political compass, but not much beyond that.
If other news organisations follow in Scoop's footsteps with this then they will need to provide the kind of news which businesses and government agencies need to do their work. I.E. the kind of news which we used to have before things started to turn so badly wrong.
Thanks. Do you think there would be enough businesses and government agencies which are small and needy enough that they'd want to outsource their independent journalistic analysis in this way, and subsidise the same independent analsis going to the populace?
I'm guessing the larger ones could simply employ their own in-house staff to analyse and learn whatever they might want to know, just as it's now common to employ large communications teams to stand in front of real staff who might say an "undesirable" thing, or anything at all. And if there aren't enough potential customers, then it might make some sense for those same businesses and government agencies with the resources to instead throw money at (or offer to subscribe to in large amounts) whichever media agencies do the most to further their own causes or agendas.
I hope this model works well for Scoop, in any case.
In contrast, when you read something in a news article written by a journalist there’s a transformation process involved. Facts and assertions are interpreted, supplemented, checked, and sometimes critiqued. This is also useful, but in a different way.
I hope Scoop’s new model succeeds because it seems useful and I appreciate it, but from my layperson’s perspective I think this (quoted) is the most important problem where modern journalism is concerned: I want good analysis because I simply don’t have the time, resources or expertise to always do it myself, but there’s very little of it.
Often the difference between a press release on Scoop and an article on Stuff will be that Stuff’s inserted their own journo’s name at the top, removed the source attribution, re-ordered the words in the final paragraph, and hit the Publish button. Where good analysis exists in NZ’s media landscape, it’s often ignored or ridiculed and devalued by people who instead easily seek out interpretations which reinforce their own predetermined views or agendas, instead of challenging them. Especially when powerful people are involved, this simply makes it harder for the media organisations and individuals with an intent of robust and reliable analysis to continue to survive against those which have an agenda, or which simply want to attract funding.
I’m not so convinced that 40% are that gullible or even care that much
Neither. I know more than a few in that 40% who are disgusted by politicians generally, but they go ahead and vote for what they see as their policy preferences because it's all they expect no matter who's voted in, and they can't visualise anything better ever being realistic.
I don't mind that not everyone agrees on policy, but I really dislike the recent polarisation which somehow merges together policy preferences and acceptance of corruption and unaccountable governance. When there's a perception of so much being at stake, the latter gets treated as the price of getting the policy voters want. Anything resembling corruption or a lack of accountability will be ignored or written off with minimal reasoning from the apologists.
We're meant to have rules and enforcement in place so that governments are transparently held accountable, but for whatever reason it's not working, definitely not at Cabinet level and maybe other places. There really needs to be a cross-partisan approach to cleaning it up. People who've voted for a presiding government still need to assertively demand real accountability from the politicians they support, instead of submissively accepting what comes with it. Maybe it needs another generational change if it can happen at all, but until that happens, we're screwed.
Meanwhile driving on SH1 today, the main hourly political headlines for whichever random radio station we had on were that David Seymour had scored some kind of victory for people to be allowed to watch rugby and the Greens are party poopers, and that Prime Minister John Key lost a bet and now has to wear a Wallaby shirt at a rugby game, for which he'll definitely be supporting the All Blacks and by the way he sent Richie McCaw a text message.
As long as the comments match the code. I've seen plenty of code where that's not the case. :)