Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: "Evil called: Can you make a meeting at 11?"

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    But we in NZ do not do Rovian (and this includes National) because there's just not enough controversy in this country.

    Point taken, David, but the Rove-style of politics also includes refining the old saw that if you get the big lie out there, and have it repeated often enough, and loudly enough, the truth doesn't matter. As long as it's stuck with your target demographic. And American political campaigning has refined that to a near-surgical pitch.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    And American political campaigning has refined that to a near-surgical pitch.

    Oh we don't dare disagree here, but you are very quick to equate NZ politics to the shit-storm that is US elections.

    I don't think the two are comparable. For one, they elect a solitary head of state, we elect parties - now some argue that we've become very leader-centric of late, so much so that I actually did this as a partial-thesis at Uni and found that leadership contributes (roughly) 10% to a voter's decision (I know I know lies, damn lies and statistics).

    Secondly, they screen attack ads, we're just too damn toothless to do that - and the NZ public wouldn't stand for it.

    And thirdly, noone here gives a shit if John Key doesn't sing the national anthem or wear a goddamn southern cross pin on his lappelle.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 216 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Andrew, You might be right, but that's a pretty big assumption; I don't think it's correct. I'd be interested to know the proportion. I had a look aroung the HNZ website, but couldn't find anything.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I'm right about the 61000 households - that's in their annual report. They have 68000 let tenancies in all. 91% of them pay income related rents. (as at March 2007 I guess) All those numbers will have crept up in the interim.

    There IS an average of 3 people per household, I'm pulling the one child out of thin air though.

    I have no idea how many beneficiaries there are in total though, it could still be a very small proportion.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Agreed.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    And your point, Sofie? I actually think it was wise of Key to go away and be very sure that anything he said on the subject was absolutely clear and factually accurate, don't you?

    Sorry Craig, wasn't ignoring you (chemo is time consuming):-) Yes I agree ,it was wise, of course it was. I just know that I would want to defend myself if accused of insider trading. I would be straight out the door getting some proof .Or maybe he wasn't sure because he __is __capable of insider trading.What a missed opportunity on his behalf.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5725 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Sorry Craig, wasn't ignoring you

    Didn't think you were - not that you're on my clock anyway. And I hope chemo is going as well as that long wet weekend in Suck City ever does.

    I just know that I would want to defend myself if accused of insider trading.

    So would I, but in these circumstances I think Key took the right call -- sometimes the knee-jerk response comes back to bite you in the arse. Certainly seems to have been the case for the PM.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Hope this isn't a completely unacceptable place to post this.

    National attacked the Government yesterday over increased road-user charges and a law passed last night allowing regional fuel taxes to fund large capital projects - but won't say it would undo them.

    "How on earth can you justify putting more costs on to the poor old motorists, already suffering from very high petrol prices, and on the trucking industry," said National transport spokesman Maurice Williamson.

    National finance spokesman Bill English said last night his party had not yet decided whether to revoke the tax if it leads the next Government.

    Oh, you guys...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1549 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    That was because on June 18, 2003, while National's associate transport spokesman, he criticised the Government's competing bid with Toll to buy back the rail tracks without declaring his shareholding.

    But her attack backfired when Mr Key told Parliament the trust had sold the shares before he made those comments and that Helen Clark had misled the House.

    A spokesman for Mr Key said yesterday the shares were sold on June 9, 2003, and June 12, 2003. The spokesman also said the shares had been sold to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest and to the best of his knowledge Mr Key had not made any comments about the company while a shareholder.

    But Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen last night pointed to questions Mr Key asked in Parliament on April 9, 2003, while he still owned the shares.

    Ah Craig, you weren't being a little...Rovian...yesterday, were you?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1612 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Ah Craig, you weren't being a little...Rovian...yesterday, were you?

    Well, Don, if Cullen seriously believes that Key has mislead the House the the breech of privilege complaint is being drafted as we speak.

    I'm also sure that every Labour MP's financial records (including family trusts) are being scoured to make sure nobody has ever held any interest in any company with an even tangential relationship to their portfolio responsibilities. Don't think Labour really wants a repeat of this back-firing smear:

    Labour MPs frequently make snide digs at John Key's Parnell house and its location outside his Helensville electorate.

    Last week, they used it in Parliament as part of an all-out attack on the National leader.

    But Mr Key is by no means alone in living outside the boundaries of the constituency he represents. Of the 62 electorate MPs in Parliament, 12 are registered to vote in other electorates.

    Including David Cunliffe and Phil Goff, FWIW.

    And while Pete Hodgson and various proxies where claiming that Key had made false declarations to the Electoral Enrolment Centre and the Companies Office, they sure seemed to STFU when asked when complaints were going to be laid with the appropriate authorities.

    Wonder who's really Rove-lite politics of sin-nuendo, scare, smear and damn the truth? Because I'm not seeing any evidence to back up Clark's insinuation that Key was "talking up" the share price of a company to line his own pockets. Then again, if you're already convinced that Key is the tame bitch of evil corporate special interests and/or Cullen is a desperate and hypocritical class warrior, all the confirmation bias you can eat.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    But Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen last night pointed to questions Mr Key asked in Parliament on April 9, 2003, while he still owned the shares.

    The transcript of question 8 on that day does make for interesting reading:

    8. Tranz Rail—Rail Network
    [Volume:607;Page:4969]
    8. PETER BROWN (Deputy Leader—NZ First) to the Minister of Finance: Noting that Tranz Rail’s share price has dived, which could lead to it being bought and sold piecemeal, is he contemplating ensuring the rail network survives as one entity; if not, why not?
    Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN (Minister of Finance) : The Government’s interest is in rail contributing to its overall land transport strategy. Unified ownership of the present assets is not essential to that objective.
    Peter Brown: Does that answer mean the Minister would be quite happy if part of the rail was sold off here and part sold off there, and that it ended up in multiple ownership?
    Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: Yes.
    John Key: What instructions has the Minister issued to Treasury regarding the many secret meetings it has held in recent months with Tranz Rail’s management, and can he confirm the reasons that all proposals to spend the $30 million allocated to Transfund in the alternatives to roading schemehave indeed been stonewalled by him to ensure Cabinet had the resources to buy back the tracks, once Treasury reports back to him in a month?
    Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: On the latter part, no. On the former part, in fact very few meetings were held with Tranz Rail in recent months.
    Peter Brown: Is the Minister aware there are planned meetings between senior Ministers and union officials in the near future to discuss some of the concerns about Tranz Rail being sold piecemeal; if so, what reassurances will the Ministers give to those union officials?
    Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: No, I am not aware, as a relatively senior Minister, that these meetings are to be held. But I point out to the member that there is absolutely no reason, for example, that one company should not own the freight operation and another company own the urban passenger operation.
    Jeanette Fitzsimons: Given the widespread support for a strong national rail network, why has the Government not sought to purchase Tranz Rail from institutional shareholders, and, if necessary, obtaining an exemption from the Takeovers Code, as it legally can, in order to avoid driving up the share price?
    Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: As I said in a speech at the weekend, it can be no part of the Government’s objective to prop up the asset values of any private company, particularly one that is the beneficiary of a self-privatisation deal.

    The interesting bit is Cullen indicating that they would be comfortable with the railways being in multiple ownership. The govt line on National and privatisation does look a little hypocritical in light of statements like that.

    The question from John Key looks like pretty weak grounds to claim a conflict of interest if govt is after a genuine gotcha.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    BTW, Don, nice Dowdification of the story you were quoting from. Because they go on to quote the (supplementary) question Cullen cited:

    The question to Dr Cullen had been: "What instructions has the minister issued to Treasury regarding the many secret meetings they have held in recent months with TranzRail's management, and can he confirm the reasons that all proposals to spend the $30 million allocated to Transfund in the alternatives to roading scheme have indeed been stonewalled by him to ensure Cabinet had the resources to buy back the tracks, once Treasury reports back to him in a month?"

    Cullen's response in full from Hansard:

    Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: On the latter part, no. On the former part, in fact very few meetings were held with Tranz Rail in recent months.

    I've got to say that if this is Key's idea of puffing a share price, he's really not very good at it. But I don't think I'd blame any Minister for thinking opposition spokespeople who insist on asking impertinent and irritating questions are evil.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Oh well, let's carry on playing the quote game...from the same article.

    "If I am a shareholder of TranzRail and I want to get up in this House and start talking about that company, then my shareholding is relevant," he [Key] had said.

    The point is Craig, your hysteria yesterday about "facts" or lack thereof, comparing people to Rove and accusing me of teenage debate seems to lack credibility in today's cold light.

    And you are still at it today. Good grief.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1612 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And need I add, Don, that I take it very seriously if any Member of Parliament -- even the ones belonging to the party I happen to support -- stand up in the chamber and wilfully mislead the House. Politicians have what Teddy Roosevelt accurately called the "bully pulpit" of public office -- resources, access to the media, and a near-unqualified immunity to defamation law when speaking in the House, that the rest of us don't share. There's a quid pro quo for that.

    If John Key stood up in the House yesterday and told a porkie pie he should face the Privileges Committee and wear the consequences. Just like everyone else.

    But like AS, I'm not really convinced that Cullen's 'smoking gun' isn't firing blanks. But the nice thing about Wishart-ism (since the R-word really seems to upset some folks) is that a smear doesn't have to be true. It just has to linger like a really bad fart.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The point is Craig, your hysteria yesterday about "facts" or lack thereof, comparing people to Rove and accusing me of teenage debate seems to lack credibility in today's cold light.

    And you are still at it today. Good grief.

    Gee, Don, can I see your 'hysterical' and raise you a 'paranoid'? Wnile we're playing at parlour psychoanalysis, and all.

    In today's cold light, I'm still to be convinced that Cullen has actually made a solid argument instead of trying to dog-whistle that Key is in the pocket of corporate special interests, a liar and all around 'rich prick' Why don't you try and change my mind.

    And I'm so 'hysterical" I've said that if Key has demonstrably mislead the House, a complaint should be laid with the privileges committee and whatever the outcome is he wears it. Or do we now convict people of massive ethical failures on the basis of a press release?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    If John Key stood up in the House yesterday and told a porkie pie he should face the Privileges Committee and wear the consequences. Just like everyone else.

    I'd be in favour of parliamentary privilege, if the privileges committee didn't give me the strong impression of a really big wet bus ticket.

    I can't bring to mind any time where it's actually done more than say 'naughty naughty', and we've had a couple of times when politicians have had a bit of the old smackaroo in the corridors of power.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'd be in favour of parliamentary privilege, if the privileges committee didn't give me the strong impression of a really big wet bus ticket.

    Can't say I disagree with you there, but it's a damn sight more representative of the House, and a little more deliberative, than Michael Cullen's office.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Kyle:

    I've just had the point made to me (without permission to cross-post the e-mail here sadly) that when Parliament still has the power to imprison for an indeterminate people who've been found guilty of "contempt of the House" (which isn't as well-defined in standing orders as one might like) we should be glad that the wet bus ticket is the preferred weapon of choice. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I've just had the point made to me (without permission to cross-post the e-mail here sadly) that when Parliament still has the power to imprison for an indeterminate people who've been found guilty of "contempt of the House" (which isn't as well-defined in standing orders as one might like) we should be glad that the wet bus ticket is the preferred weapon of choice. :)

    Meh. Having a big stick in your pocket is silly if you never take it out. Eventually people will figure out that you never take it out, and happily take on the bit of straw you wave at them in reality.

    The only point of the privileges committee seems to be so that the other side can stand up and wave paper and say "we're laying a complaint with the privileges committee". If it doesn't have any effect on public perception, then the reality of it isn't going to scare anyone.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

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