Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Bridges swims in troubled waters

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  • Andrew Geddis,

    I’d rather both sides played by the actual rules. But I remember my game theory classes. If the other side is going to play dirty, then often it’s better to do the same right back than be a lily-white loser.

    Oh, Rob, Rob ... you charming naif.

    The way it works is that when National does it, then even pointing it out is simply crying wah, wah, wah and focusing on a classic beltway issue. However, should Labour do it in (say) five years time, it will be the worst action ever taken by any government ever and a sure sign that it plans to establish a one-party dictatorship.

    Do you know nothing of how this all works?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Sadly if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Cabinet Manual, from the past year or so of publicity, it’s that adherence to its rules happen to be about as optional as adherence to something like the Bill of Rights … which is apparently also very optional as soon as it’s deemed politically inconvenient.

    To me, whether things have changed or not, the last few years of government have demonstrated that we seriously need to consider options for more binding constraints on lawmakers and Ministers.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I can see the headlines now: "Bridges burns bridges over bridges"

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Martin,

    'However, should Labour do it in (say) five years time'

    Horse and cart.
    It's ALL about what Labour did a decade ago.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison,

    Bridges doesn’t understand Auckland , he doesn’t understand Northland, he doesn’t understand the neutrality laws of the state sector , he is a liability to the country.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Jack Harrison,

    'pont- iffy'-cation..
    Ergo, Bridges is a 'spanner' in the works?

    (I'm hoping to check out the Left Bank today...)

    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    The Don wud of fired his ass long ago. We all look bad.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    Damn! I *knew* I was missing something important here, and it was the Theory of Scandalous Relativity all along.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison,

    Politics isn't easy, we use our media to rank the talent. This guy stinks. National have two true players, Key and English, the rest are lite. Key is the Crosby Textered dream boy, Cameron isn't far behind now, it's about making politics look so dirty and evasive that it looks like a norm.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton,

    Don't get me wrong Rob, you're right and everything. And I attacked the government for this disgraceful bribe as soon as it was made and before the byelection ( see http://www.nbr.co.nz/opinion/bridges-disgrace-gives-win-peters ) ...

    But pretty much nobody cares.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    But pretty much nobody cares.

    Or if they do care, do they only care about corruption if they’re missing out on the gains?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Or do they only care about corruption if they’re missing out on it?

    I think people/voters might be more likely to care if they saw an alternative they preferred, and wanted reasons to help justify it. But lately the alternatives haven’t been putting up a very convincing show, so there’s more incentive for voters to look for excuses to write off this type of thing as unimportant. ("They're all corrupt anyway so what's the difference?", and so on.)

    Things like the Cabinet Manual and the Bill of Rights possibly need to be given more teeth and independent enforcement than they currently have. They’re important for short and long term integrity of government and lawmaking, but it’s demonstrably easy for any given Cabinet to ignore them, with a few political manoeuvrings, if it’s politically convenient to do so.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Pretty much nobody cares.

    I think that's pretty accurate, Simon Bridges has been established and accepted as a piss poor politician and peeps are still chortling about Winston winning Northland.

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    I fear Matthew's right, and that not many people care about not abusing public officials and so on.

    I wish they did care, and I'll use my internet voice to try and convince them to care.

    Also, I think it's important for the future to lay out exactly the kind of shenanigans this National government decided were worthily of complete and utter inaction.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    It matters to me. The moral damage done already will take quite some fixing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    .... nobody cares.

    Oh they do care,these nobodies. There are just different ways of expressing it.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Sacha,

    It matters to me, too, and I appreciate the work that's gone into your investigation, Rob, which is at the very least yet another record of how this government's working.

    I think after the last election I'm just resigned to a realisation that stuff like actual genuine integrity and honesty, or lack of it, doesn't affect elections on its own.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to izogi,

    I think after the last election I’m just resigned to a realisation that stuff like actual genuine integrity and honesty, or lack of it, doesn’t affect elections on its own.

    Unless of course, power, corruption and lies cause some kind of Chernobyl or Fukushima to happen, whether it's with nuclear reactors or financial institutions. The one good thing to come from the original Chernobyl was that it was far too big for the Kremlin to spin, and proved to be the knockout blow for the Soviet Union. For us, it may or may not be a housing bubble burst.

    And I suspect that a lot of people who do care have given up altogether, because they feel it's not making a difference. It's even more the case in countries where the dominant choices are either centre-Right (including social democrat parties that have had to go Blue to stay relevant) or hard Right, like in the States or Britain.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to izogi,

    To me, whether things have changed or not, the last few years of government have demonstrated that we seriously need to consider options for more binding constraints on lawmakers and Ministers.

    No. See, National would write binding constraints that said ministers weren't allowed to vote for tax or service increases, and Labour would come in and point out that the previous government of New Zealand cannot bind the current government of New Zealand in any way, shape, or form and re-write the cabinet manual to suit themselves.

    The only thing National's doing incorrectly is refusing to publicly state the rules it really operates under. One might suggest that's because they like winning elections, and lying about that just works better.

    One might even suggest their real operations manual requires that everyone lie to cover each others corrupt asses all the time. Like they do.

    The trick for making ministers behave is thus voting for the opposition. We were within about 1% of doing it last time, maybe get 'em next time.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Bee, in reply to Jack Harrison,

    which likely means he'll be at least Leader of the Nat Party one day...

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • Alistair McBride,

    Part of the meme going through some of this is that it happened during the previous Labour govt. I'm scratching my head to find anything near this systematic. The idea is being seeded that this is the norm of politics so if you get rid of us you will only get more of the same along the lines that izogi wrote "But lately the alternatives haven’t been putting up a very convincing show, so there’s more incentive for voters to look for excuses to write off this type of thing as unimportant. (“They’re all corrupt anyway so what’s the difference?”, and so on.)"
    The media have not helped by promoting this line of thinking instead of doing the sort of analysis, naming the issues clearly and pointing the finger when something clearly wrong as in this case, the conceptual land, the sheep files revelations and most of the dirty politics stuff during the election.

    Hamilton • Since Dec 2006 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Alistair McBride,

    Media are now completely driven by marketing to an audience for money rather than by any traditional news values. They would claim they are reflecting a general public mood that none of this character and integrity stuff matters anymore - and therefore they reinforce it.

    The meme has been deliberately pushed on advice of CrosbyTextor and other backroom operators - and has not been resisted by the equivalent people on the left. Strategic comms seems to have eluded Labour in particular for many years and i have no idea why they have done nothing to rectify that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sacha,

    The meme has been deliberately pushed on advice of CrosbyTextor and other backroom operators – and has not been resisted by the equivalent people on the left. Strategic comms seems to have eluded Labour in particular for many years and i have no idea why they have done nothing to rectify that.

    Maybe it’s a ‘nice guys finish last’ thing?

    Matt McCarten is the only name that comes to mind, but even then he’s not exactly a Lynton Crosby of the Left. If one even exists in the first place. And Godwinning aside, 'Red Ken' Livingstone had a point when be compared Crosby with Goebbels.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    not McCarten's role. Labour do have a political advisor and a comms advisor now, but seem to be deluded that they can stay quiet until a year before the election like in the old days.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

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