Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Saudi sheep: Misappropriating taxpayers' money

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  • BenWilson, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    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 :(

    Sure. It takes time to change that perception. They have to see this kind of thing over and over and over. Of course some people will never change their minds, too. But they're not even really worth worrying about. To them, it really wouldn't matter if he said he committed cold-blooded murder, so long as it was delivered in tones that implied they were still safe in his hands.

    I’m not so convinced that 40% are that gullible

    Ditto. I know a few in the 40% who are swing voters, and when their gut lurches enough, or the stink gets too bad, they do change their minds. I think it even seems to be how they change their minds on politics, for the most part - voting out rather than voting in.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to BenWilson,

    I think it even seems to be how they change their minds on politics, for the most part – voting out rather than voting in.

    So to a large extent the old mantra "oppositions don't win, governments lose" still stands? In this case, good oppositions still need to regularly set traps for unwary governments.

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

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Link for that MFAT page is;

    http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Trade-and-Economic-Relations/2-Trade-Relationships-and-Agreements/Gulf-Cooperation-Council/

    Thanks, Matthew for the clarification. They really are a bunch of rotten eggs.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Attachment

    Tremain... of course.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1388 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to simon g,

    Drop Kick!

    1) When did the Rugby World Cup draw take place?
    2) When did you discover where Britain is?

    McCully is juggling too many balls - he should stand down
    ... as Rugby World Cup Minister he should have been 'across' this coverage time as it affects the proletariat issue from the outset - surely he wasn't just Minister for Rugby to win the cup, what about the defence of it?

    ...and Captain Smile and Wave gets to make it all go away and vilify the Greens into the bargain (along with his smarmy Red Dwarf Act sidekick)
    when his Minister should have factored it into his overview of the RWC and all that that entails.

    Muppets.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    ..and Captain Smile and Wave gets to make it all go away and vilify the Greens into the bargain (along with his smarmy Red Dwarf Act sidekick)
    when his Minister should have factored it into his overview of the RWC and all that that entails.

    Yes didn't that work out psychologically well for the fuckwits. Red Dwarf indeed. "H"

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to izogi,

    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

    Well said!

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to simon g,

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

    Tom Scott obliges.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Today's Parliamentary Question #5:

    Hon DAVID PARKER to the Minister of Foreign Affairs: When the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated on 19 April 2012 that they were "finding an appropriate mechanism to meet Al Khalaf's concern for 'compensation' (possibly through the joint venture)", did 'compensation' mean compensation or have some other meaning like "not compensation"?

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Tom Scott obliges.

    I'm old enough to remember when Tom Scott was still funny.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1388 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Alfie,

    I'm old enough to remember when Tom Scott was still funny.

    To be fair he still hits it occasionally, but he pretty much lost me back when he got sucked into crusading for a particularly goofy form of moral panic over marijuana.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to simon g,

    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?

    3) Who is the sponsor of the Grubby World Cup?.

    Heineken, A major shareholder in Dominion Breweries.
    Corruption? what corruption?

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Attachment

    and more

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Attachment

    and even more

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Roger Lacey, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    (along with his smarmy Red Dwarf Act sidekick)

    Looks like Rimmer, sounds like Rimmer. I think you've sussed him out.

    Whatakataka Bay Surf Club… • Since Apr 2008 • 148 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Toby Manhire -- it's not a bribe, it's a non-compensatory facilitisational disbursement.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1388 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Alfie,

    it’s not a bribe,

    No its a crime against language.
    If trying to manipulate words to control perceptions isnt a crime, it should be!
    P-P-P-P-P-Propaganda.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Lynn Lander,

    Time to re-frame the debate I think. Forget transparency in government, its not gonna happen (and in a very few cases shouldn't happen). It IS time for politicians to be pressured for honest answers. Politicians (no need to name them all) are avoiding accountability by either being 'not available' for interview, or being let off the hook by journalists too slow-witted to know when they are being scammed. Let's try a 'Tell us the truth' campaign. Simple question: "Is that the truth John?" No excusing "to the best of my knowledge" stuff. Just a simples question: "Is that the truth?"

    Auckland • Since Dec 2014 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Lynn Lander,

    But we’ve seen time and again how that plays out "At the end of the day…". I think Matthew Hooton was spot on last week in his analysis of exactly who holds the cards and needs to step up and play them effectively (and the likely repercussions of not doing so):

    "An opposition leader will never be given a set of facts as favourable to the opposition as this set of facts. And if the opposition can not make use of this to force Murray McCully’s resignation, that says something very worrying about our democracy, because our democracy is essentially a offensive realist system where the Government and the opposition are meant to be afraid of one another and this Government is really not afraid of this opposition because it doesn’t take it seriously.

    And you know there’s also some National Party cheerleaders such as say Mike Hosking – who without bothering to read the documents will say “there’s nothing to see here” – and I put John Roughan in that same category, he can’t possibly have read the documents before he wrote that column but the basic facts demand McCully’s sacking by the Prime Minister.

    What you have is what was a bribe – a so-called facilitation payment to a billionaire businessman from a repressive regime in an attempt to get him to stop raising this issue of live sheep exports and allow a free trade agreement to go ahead. To make this possible a story was invented about a 30 million dollar legal risk, that the cabinet was told existed when it did not. There is evidence in these papers that something very close to fraud occurred when the Beehive told the Saudi businessman what to write in the invoices, so the invoices were fake, and they were written in a way on the advice of the Beehive that they would get past the people who had to pay them within the bureaucracy so they were talked about as the purchase of intellectual property. This is completely untrue, this is not what it was at all and of course we know that because the whole agri-hub thing was a complete farce as well and there has been no purchase of intellectual property.

    So when you’ve got a clear bribe to a billionaire businessman from a repressive regime over a free trade deal where you’ve got fake invoices being prepared on the instruction of the Beehive – and that should attract the attention – I’d have thought – of the Serious Fraud Office – you’ve got the treasury saying they’re against it, you’ve got the auditor general being compromised; if Andrew Little cannot force the resignation of McCully under these circumstances, cannot get the media, and I exclude Radio New Zealand and the National Business Review and some in the media, other, including the Herald, to take this issue seriously – then John Key can cruise to a forth term”

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    And you know there’s also some National Party cheerleaders such as say Mike Hosking – who without bothering to read the documents will say “there’s nothing to see here” – and I put John Roughan in that same category, he can’t possibly have read the documents before he wrote that column but the basic facts demand McCully’s sacking by the Prime Minister.

    And when a journalist can finally admit that there are National Party cheerleaders in the Media and then we have very few if any prepared to expose the governments fraud and lies and a Speaker who appears biased, how much chance does any opposition member have for truth to come out? Carter is implicit in this Saudi deal and he is in charge of the narrative in the House. How can the facts demand McCully's sacking when The PM just says no and noone can do anything about it. Do we just hope the Speaker will have an epiphany and demand the govt answer the questions?Do we just expect the opposition must do better, I know David Parker is trying to do what is right. Do we hope the fourth Estate ,backed by it's corporation will suddenly see the light and question the veracity of the bullshit spilling out of their favourite "go to" bullshit artist?Do we just hope the public can see through the smokescreen and vote them out? There are many so blind.....

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    While I don’t dispute the precariousness of the position our democracy has found itself in Sofie, I do expect the opposition to do better, that is their job. Effectively participating in a debate, as our MPs do every time house is sitting doesn’t simply require turning up. It doesn’t simply require sitting down for an hour to scrawl a couple of year 13 level questions in between international sporting fixtures and beer festivals, it requires full and undivided focus, it requires a thorough understanding of the obstacles and it requires a concise, coherent, unified plan of attack.

    If David Lange had turned up for his Oxford debate with the amount of preparation new Labour has put in to this effort we’d be swimming in uranium, but of course he didn’t. He found the most effective way to frame the issue so that there was no recourse for doubt or dispute.

    Recently Russell expressed his dismay at the “gotcha” politics, and I share that, but that’s ‘the game’, and I don’t use that word lightly, I’ve no doubt that’s the way many in the Government see it, and that’s the way it needs to be approached in order to succeed. It is a game, and Labour are losing, and blaming their opponents gets us nowhere. I’ve met community constables more adept at extracting the truth than recent Labour. They’ve had months, literally months to plan a course of action on this, and in the meantime they’ve spent a good portion of this time sowing the seeds of racial discontent, flip-flopping on zero hours contracts, getting in behind bar licensing amendments, and a lot more of asking the wrong questions and getting the answers we we all expect.

    Language and the framing of it is everything in that game, (see Kirk Serpes) and the beauty of it is that a speaker need not necessarily be the writer. Any aficionado of courtroom dramas is familiar with the trope whereby one or other barrister walks a witness into divulging that which they’d otherwise prefer not to, yes it’s fiction but we’re not talking about impossibilities here, these are opportunities that have presented themselves and it’s largely a case of anticipating those jumps in order to get those chinese checkers home via the most direct route.

    When I listen to question time, for the most part I grimace, so often the answer the opposition wants is in their question, the responses are so obvious I can often anticipate the answer before any response has been given, and I just change the channel and wonder what they expected. We know the predator is a slimy eel, yet each opposition member seems to be working alone and for the immediate gratification of hearing a member of the Government lie, rather than forcing them to reveal.

    So much of this comes down to language use, think of any leader and their name is invariably associated with a string of quotes, whether or not they wrote them is by the by, all history remembers is that those words came out of their mouths or pens and that oftentimes those words and their sequencing were so profoundly resonant as to be the glue cementing those leaders’ places in history, if not the adhesive that defines history as our species understands it.

    There are sympathetic reporters, there’s Andrea Vance, there’s Toby Manhire, I’m sure there are others outside the paywall with an open enough mind, but until Labour or the Greens or even NZF stake claim to the language on this issue and show real linguistic leadership, these, journalists, these masters of language, are left to freely fill in the gaps. On that note, put on a hat of objectivity and try jumping into Toby Manhire’s piece from a point of ignorance. To the uninitiated it’s referential hogwash. While the converted lap it up; a concerted attempt to persuade anyone outside that bubble of anything it is not. He is a writer of prodigious talent just spinning a yarn, because he can, because he can’t be expected to do the opposition’s job for them, because he’s not the opposition.

    Certainly there are incredible obstacles barring Labour’s progress, but the underlying sentiment I got from Hooton’s (who you know I’ve never shown much sympathy for in the past) piece is that if Labour can’t muster the wherewithal to take a set here then they won’t and clearly don’t deserve or have the capacity to win the match and lead the country.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to chris,

    When I listen to question time, for the most part I grimace, so often the answer the opposition wants is in their question

    Yes ,agreement there but bear in mind all primary questions are on notice and have to be accepted by..., Speakers office. Once again pushing shit uphill before question time begins. That is probably why we hear, 'Does the minister stand by all their statements?" That seems to be the one question the Speaker allows. It makes for good exercise in restraint in our household and I'm not sure what are the time frame of submitting questions is but to be given documents 20 minutes before sitting often wont allow any questioning when, we, the public would like, unless once again the speaker sees fit to allow debate. I really don't think it's as easy as we think. If it was fair I'd concede the opposition could try harder but when it seems so one sided across the board, i'll still say they are ambushed.I know there are some journalists who write worthwhile analysis but the likes of them are not also on TV every night as well. The balance is tipped . In my opinion which being on the outside isn't worth much, I still wont throw stones at the peeps (all of them) who are trying to be an opposition to this National Corporatocracy.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    A number of excellent points there Sofie especially:

    I really don’t think it’s as easy as we think.

    And I honestly do respect your restraint in terms of not throwing stones at the opposition, given they’re all we’ve got. However I’m not convinced that working so diligently within the parameters (the box) provided – as Labour have been doing – is reaping much of a harvest. There are avenues and then there are avenues. There are ways and means of getting one’s story on the tele beyond simply playing the game on National’s terms. Winston Peters knows how to make front page headlines and how to garner support from within the media in a manner that makes people sit up and take notice. He and his party have shown they’re prepared to bite the short term bullet in order to make the news at 6, in order to advance longer term discussion. Right or wrong he succeeds in getting his view point into the public sphere time and time again because he knows how to frame a narrative and how to get it the requisite attention. If there’s anyone in that room with the experience and dare I say impudence to get the desired result here it is Winston Peters, and it’s time that the opposition, all of the opposition, deferred to his leadership on this issue in order to collaborate in the most cohesive and effective manner possible. Difficult Times Call For Innovative Measures.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to chris,

    However I’m not convinced that working so diligently within the parameters (the box) provided – as Labour have been doing – is reaping much of a harvest

    And there is the nub of it. If they try to compete on National's level, it is dirty dishonest politics. I frankly find that deplorable. The Greens hold their composure (oh how they do ) the only Greens that get up in anyones face seem to have disappeared. Winston is classed as the evil incarnate by many but yes is a good shitstirrer because let's face it, we are in a pile of shit.Remember also the man's skills come with time in the job, a lot of time. Labour, well now it just seems everything is Labour's fault, even Audrey Young thinks so because john Key said . The "gotcha" quality of what is being accepted for news in this country is appalling and I'm really disappointed that any new student will be taught this. I do like a suggestion up some thread earlier that simple words like "Is that the truth John? when he obfuscates and downright lies may just be quite powerful because he can always be called on his bullshit in the future from anyone. Trouble is, we need the media doing it. I also think the power of people and their keyboards gives joe public the ear of any mp. One may not get a response always although one should, but the message gets sent. Don't expect them all to read Public Address,just expect them to read your email if you write one. It is their duty. I also think it's our duty to be involved and really, interactive emails with an mp can be quite encouraging. email is our friend :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

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