Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Saudi sheep: Misappropriating taxpayers' money

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  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    He sure does. Great to hear a journo doing her job and not accepting the guy's constant lies and evasions.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond,

    That interview was astonishing. We know that this expenditure was so unusual that it required the MFAT CEO to visit the Auditor-General to try and explain what on earth was going on. Yet Key wants us to believe that same expenditure was simultaneously so normal that it's OK to not even talk with Treasury about it.

    We're now at a level where he's lying right to our faces, knowing full well that everyone who bothers to check in the most cursory way will see through the lie.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The Prime Minister's weird, mendacious Morning Report interview.

    He holds the rest of us in contempt.

    While listening to that interview this morning with Key endlessly repeating lies which have already been disproved, I pictured the man looking greyer and more tired than usual.

    History will no doubt remember his government as one of the most corrupt in NZ's history. And Key really doesn't give a damn.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1388 posts Report Reply

  • Wildo, in reply to Alfie,

    Hey!! No new flag for you!!

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It's just a little depressing that so much of accountability seems contingent on Opposition parties coming up with the perfect gotcha. Surely there's more to it than the game ...

    This... and it is so so so very depressing, everyone wants the gotcha and associated cheap laughs at someone else expense meanwhile the country remains on some sort of weird auto pilot

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 538 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The Prime Minister’s weird, mendacious Morning Report interview.

    He holds the rest of us in contempt.

    Each time Susie had the blowtorch on him, he kept shifting the blame on to “the previous government”.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    The PM is extraordinarily good at sticking to his talking points, and evading and misdirecting without quite lying. We know that: there are journalists who try to call him on it now, which is great. But the opposition largely remain captive to the narrative the govt choses.
    And on the framing side: it seems we’ve largely swallowed without gagging the ACT party framing of government expenditure as ‘taxpayers’ money.’ It’s hard to fight tactical battles when you’ve already ceded your home ground.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    And on the framing side: it seems we’ve largely swallowed without gagging the ACT party framing of government expenditure as ‘taxpayers’ money.’

    Though no-one's raiding ACT on Campus's meagre legacy of attempted wit by calling Key the "Prime Moneywaster".

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    The PM is extraordinarily good at sticking to his talking points, and evading and misdirecting without quite lying. We know that: there are journalists who try to call him on it now, which is great.

    Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

    But the opposition largely remain captive to the narrative the govt choses.

    But we don't have to be so captive. Bringing the Opposition into the discussion at all, when they've been out of power for 7 years, and had nothing to do with McCully's dirty little deal, is so desperate that Key sounded like a broken record player trying it on over, and over, and over.

    Susie did a good job there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Yes, but was he wearing an Australian shirt?

    Parliament? What's that?

    (*above questions based on actual media coverage of same ...)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1324 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to BenWilson,

    Key sounded like a broken record player trying it on over, and over, and over.

    I'm not sure - I fear to a lot of people he sounded like someone patient but wearied at the tedious journalist who wouldn't let him explain things fully and frankly :(

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Wildo, in reply to Rob Stowell,



    There is no truth, there is only opinion.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    I'm not sure - I fear to a lot of people he sounded like someone patient but wearied at the tedious journalist who wouldn't let him explain things fully and frankly :(

    And that's one of Key's main tricks. Because there will always be 40% of the population who believe what he says, no matter how odious or obvious the lies.

    Hey look over there... there's a flag!

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1388 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    In this case, it can't have been the Clark regime's fault.

    It is true it banned live-sheep exports in 2003, as did the Howard government. But, in 2006, Trade Minister Goff launched FTA talks with the GCC, which Saudi largely controls. Trade Minister Groser completed these talks in 2009. By definition, this means NZ had excellent relations with Saudi/GCC from 2006 and 2009. It was what happened after the deal was completed that caused the problem - which was NZ going back on private assurances to re-start the live-sheep trade. (See http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Trade-and-Economic-Relations/2-Trade-Relationships-and-Agreements/Gulf-Cooperation-Council/index.php)

    Personally, I think the government should have allowed the trade to restart with much stricter animal welfare rules (which is something I talked to Hmood and his people about in 2010). That is what Australia did. And, ironically, it also seems as if we have in fact restarted the trade informally, as the recent Mexico shipment proves (and even the Saudi air shipment).

    But, if the government didn't want to do this because of domestic political considerations or even genuine animal welfare concerns, it shouldn't have made private promises to the contrary to the Saudis. And it should have negotiated a formal Agriculture Cooperation agreement with the Saudi govt, with taxpayers' dollars attached, as an annex to the FTA. This would have meant the Saudis couldn't have double-crossed us. They only get the cooperation and cash when the FTA is signed.

    Instead, for reasons related to McCully's personality, the govt went down a path that - totally unnecessarily - involved deception, the misleading of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, Treasury and the Auditor-General and even fraudulent invoices. And, now, because of his fear of McCully (Shipley's experience is instructive) the PM is so far in he is continuing to lie about it all.

    Disgraceful in every respect.

    PS. It is good to see Rob is better at analysing MFAT documents that real estate data and Chinese-sounding surnames.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I am unhappy with the governments negotiations in the TPP. What is the going rate on the government purchasing my ill-defined intellectual property?

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Alfie,

    Hey look over there… there’s a flag!

    And let's be honest about it - from a pure design perspective, not one of those 40 shortlisted come even close to the design excellence of

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tino_rangatiratanga#/media/File:Tino_Rangatiratanga_Maori_sovereignty_movement_flag.svg

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to David Hood,

    I am unhappy with the governments negotiations in the TPP. What is the going rate on the government purchasing my ill-defined intellectual property?

    I have similar concerns with the Ottawa Convention on Landmines (see http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Foreign-Relations/1-Global-Issues/Disarmament/0--Conventional-arms/0-land-mine-convention.php)

    This means I have no hope of helping a friendly local landmines company sell its products to the New Zealand Army.

    I want $4 million.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The answer to this from #nzqt today will be interestingly creative (if the Speaker lets it get that far):

    Hon DAVID PARKER to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement today that Hon Murray McCully was saying "he didn't want the lawyers brought in to be talking about compensation because the deal was never about compensation and he didn't want lawyers going in there saying that", given that Cabinet noted the "settlement for the long running dispute" was part of the purpose of the $4 million payment to a Saudi investor; if so, why?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Alfie,

    there will always be 40% of the population who believe what he says, no matter how odious or obvious the lies.

    I’m not so convinced that 40% are that gullible or even care that much, the choice they’re presented with at this stage is someone who sounds effortlessly natural:

    Key said bars could apply for permission within the existing law, but it was expensive and bureaucratic.

    When told by reporters that the Green Party would block the Bill, Key said “I thought they probably would”.

    “It’s just par for the course, isn’t it.”

    The Greens were “always opposed to anything that’s sort of vaguely good fun”.

    Or someone who sounds unconvincingly try hard and possibly a liability to himself and others:

    Andrew Little said he personally supported it.

    “There’s hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who enjoy a tipple, usually when watching sporting games and they do so responsibly,” Little said.

    “This is a tournament that happens once every four years and it’s totally in keeping with social intercourse that they have a drink.”

    Little said if he was in a pub at 5am and the All Blacks were winning he wouldn’t say no to a drink.

    “If we’re losing I’d probably have two beers at 5am."

    When the average punter is probably somewhere here (comments):

    scarymonsters 22 hours ago

    "To all the people trying to make the link between watching the RWC in a pub and getting smashed, it’s about just being able to watch the game in a social atmosphere. I have Sky, but for the big sport events I like to go out with my mates at watch it with other people. I’ve had plenty of breakfasts at The Fox watching the Champion’s League final. I wasn’t drinking at 8am, just enjoying the atmosphere amongst friends."

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/71006311/government-help-needed-to-keep-pubs-open-for-rugby-world-cup

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    When there are columns in the NBR business paper like this where Stephen Franks calls a bribe an actual bribe. (Friday August 7, 2015)

    Was our Saudi sheep farm wasted money whatever happened?

    and others

    OPINION: McCully sacking critical to Key’s integrity

    – behind paywall. Matthew Hooton WEEKEND REVIEW Thursday August 6, 2015 (30 comments)

    McCully told to front up with legal advice on Saudi deal

    behind paywall
    Chris Hutching Wednesday August 5, 2015 (3 comments)

    You have to think the tide is turning against McCully and Key.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 366 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    It says much about (delete where applicable) Key's populist skill / opposition's failings / media's uselessness ... that the "rugby and beer" story is now about the Greens, rather than asking 2 really obvious questions of the government:

    1) When did the Rugby World Cup draw take place?

    2) When did you discover where Britain is?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1324 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to chris,

    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.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to simon g,

    the "rugby and beer" story is now about the Greens

    that was inevitable. bad political management on their part.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Sacha,

    bad political management

    Really?
    So the really screwed up attitudes of people has to be danced around?
    Thank fuck I dont like rugby..

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Scott,

    Meh. Not sure what the bother is.
    All sounds pretty legal

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2008 • 88 posts Report Reply

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