Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Never mind the quality ...

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  • Dismal Soyanz,

    Some decent commentary from Anne Salmond.

    They must take urgent steps to clean up politics in New Zealand, and to restore democratic checks and balances to the political process. It must adversely affect the lives of politicians, and make them wonder what happened to their own ideals, and how they became complicit in such a dirty game.

    It would be nice if at every electorate candidate meeting this year, someone asks each candidate if they would promise not to engage in negative attack politics whether by proxy or not.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to simon g,

    Unfortunately, it's a mere symptom of Plunket selling out some time ago. When he was with Fair Go, he was more like Nicky Hager or Andrea Vance.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5414 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Dismal Soyanz,

    It would be nice if at every electorate candidate meeting this year, someone asks each candidate if they would promise not to engage in negative attack politics whether by proxy or not.

    Maybe, but I don’t think that’s enough, personally. If they were asked last election or the election before, then everyone would have promised that. Most probably would have been truthful, too, and anyone actually planning to use these types of tactics wouldn’t have been expecting to be found out.

    I’d rather know what candidates intend to do so this can’t happen to the same extent in the future, no matter who’s elected.

    I like the tone of Anne Salmond’s writing, though. An Inquiry or a Royal Commission? Sure, as long as it’s given power to actually investigate what needs investigating without political intervention, and as long as its findings are treated seriously instead of the government of the day just picking and choosing what it likes.

    Sometimes politicians define the terms of reference on these things so that they exclude whichever lines of inquiry might reflect badly on those politicians, even though that seems to be a significant part of the issue here. Even if National’s voted out, you can bet there will be MPs in other parties with a few things they’d prefer weren’t “discovered”.

    This is really a constitutional thing. Ministers and their staff, as a rule, need to have accountability that goes beyond the election cycle and is immune to political conflicts of interest. I get that they need a certain amount of freedom and privacy to do their job effectively, but only being accountable to others with political motives is a recipe for bad judgement and failure to follow the rules and expectations (wherever they even exist) to be encouraged or overlooked, instead of dealt with above board.

    Saying that it’s up the the public to vote them out isn’t enough. The public has so many conflicting issues to consider when choosing who to vote for, plus it’s dependent on a suitable alternative presenting itself as an opposition.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to izogi,

    I’d rather know what candidates intend to do so this can’t happen to the same extent in the future, no matter who’s elected.

    Yes, although from my observations, the more scope left for a complex answer results in wriggling and evasion.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

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