In her Herald on Sunday column this week Heather Du Plessis-Allan suggested some silly people came along to last Thursday’s anti-Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) protests and ruined everything, and now the country will never want to talk about free trade ever again – because, well – bad protesters. I imagine a ‘good protester’ to Du Plessis-Allan is someone who quietly marches waving an inoffensive placard, in an inoffensive way, accompanied by an inoffensive chant, asking to have an inoffensive conversation, with some inoffensive people – someone, who even Mike Hosking’s so-called “regular New Zealanders” could give their inoffensive nod of approval too.
Guess what guys, the revolution was never meant to be inoffensive, nor something easily slotted in between a pedicure and picking the kids up at three. Protesting, by its nature, is an inconvenience. If it doesn’t make the viewer uncomfortable it is not doing its job. Also protesting, or the right to protest, is a democratic right in our country – we literally go to war in other countries to afford their peoples the same rights. Let that sink in for a minute. While the boys and girls of our Fourth Estate reduce serious issues to ‘silly protesters’ and ‘traffic inconveniences’ – we send men and women to potentially die in foreign lands to give or to restore to a foreign citizen, their right to protest and inconvenience their governments. The very same rights it would seem that some people here would rather we didn’t have.
I don’t want to watch, or read, or hear another talking head whine about protesting “riff-raff” and “rent-a-crowd”. I want to watch, read, and hear them instead discuss the issues being protested, for, or against. Let’s not forget some media personalities are paid very well to do this, so why are they still struggling with the fundamentals of our democracy and getting away with it? Let alone being paid for that struggle? If Hosking for example can’t figure it out, please someone dear god explain it to him, and please let that someone not be Toni Street. Every time we allow important conversations to be derailed by lowest common denominator sound bites churned out to even lower common denominator audiences, we do New Zealand a disservice. We do our kids a disservice.
Not just content with sticking the knife into ‘bad protesters’ for giving protesting a bad image and turning people off talking about the TPPA, Du Plessis-Allan claims their actions single-handedly sent “ordinary people” – which I can only assume is Du Plessis-Allan ‘speak’ for Hosking’s “regular New Zealanders” – into the moderate and welcoming arms of the TPPA proponents. Really? Do we have evidence of this? Or is this something Du Plessis-Allan made up because she had a 500 word limit to fulfil? If so-called “ordinary” New Zealanders don’t understand the TPPA as she alleges and a bunch of protesters can scare them off, then that’s not the fault of the protester, that’s her fault, she is the journalist after all.
What has she done the past eight years to elucidate the masses? She derides and ridicules protesters for their ignorance in the face of a knowledge vacuum, but lets her so-called “ordinary people” and Hosking’s “real New Zealanders” off the hook, despite their own very obvious ignorance due to the same information void. The TPPA came out of the last decade when the United States wished to join the four country Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP) – so it has literally been a thing since January 2008. Why are we so ignorant to this agreement eight years on? Why are people fearful of not just it but many of its clauses? Can our broadcasters really say they’ve done their very best to give people not just credible, but also the factual information they would need to have to take a well-rounded position on it? I don’t think so.
It seems a major goal in the TPPA debate for some time now has being to avoid pushing for answers on contentious provisions in the agreement from the negotiating Executive, and instead drill non-negotiating opposition parties on their stance. Demanding to know if they are anti-free trade for example, because they, inexplicably it seems to some media, dare to question parts of the agreement while supporting others. For some, it’s like the media are fighting the fire in the letterbox while behind them the house burns. No wonder people are scared and effectively screaming at their screens, and now screaming into our screens, at the journalistic equivalent of the horror movie victim not heeding our warnings to ‘look behind’ them. If people for, against and everything between, are still ignorant of this agreement this late in the game, some feeling anxious, desperate and fearful, then someone’s not doing their job – or someone else is doing their job too a little too well.
On Radio New Zealand last week, ex Labour Party politician and Speaker of the House, Margaret Wilson, now Professor of Law and Public Policy at University of Waikato said this of the protesters and their perceived ignorance,
“Why they’re bothering is that somehow or another people feel they have to express to their government their feelings about both [the] process [of the TPPA], and [the] content in many ways as well, because they haven’t had any other opportunity to do so. In New Zealand’s constitutional arrangement, [protest] is the way in which the people, the only way really, substantially, [that people can] communicate directly [with the Executive].”
Du Plessis-Allan though bless her, hopes middle New Zealand will stay strong in the face of inconvenient protests and inner city traffic jams, and no matter how tedious, carry on the apparently newly started, but nevertheless important TPPA conversation. It’s almost like Du Plessis-Allan has only just realised the importance of it, let alone known that some of us have being desperately screaming out for us to have this conversation for some time. See what I did there Heather?
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” – John F. Kennedy
Like it or not dear reader, the thousands of protesters who turned up last Thursday, and the many people who wish they could have, are not the people who need their actions questioned right now.
Viva la revolution.
The Standard has a posted an updated listing today of John Key’s lies. There’s a lot of them.
One lie that doesn’t often make these lists is what I believe to be the biggest lie of all: his 1991 statement to the Equiticorp inquiry.
In July 1990 New Zealand’s newly formed Serious Fraud Office were charged with investigating the shambles that was Equiticorp and it’s now infamous founder Alan Hawkins. Unraveling a ledger entry called ‘H-Fee’ ultimately saw Australia’s SFO equivalent, the now defunct National Crime Authority, assist with the Equiticorp investigation. While the SFO pursued Hawkins over Equiticorp, the NCA went after Australian based Elders IXL and it’s founder John Elliot over the ‘H-Fee’ entries. It was alleged that $67 million (NZ$76) in fraudulent foreign exchange transactions were made in two payments to Equiticorp to pay back Hawkins for his assistance in Elliot’s 1986 takeover battle for steelmaking giant BHP.
Two years early on 26 August 1988, setting in motion the second (A$27 million) of the ‘H-Fee’ payments, Elders IXL executive Ken Jarrett had met with Elders Merchant Finance manager Peter Camm and head of foreign exchange, Paul Richards in Wellington. The transaction was completed on 7 September 1988.
One week before been elected Prime Minister of New Zealand in November 2008, Key was asked about the truthfulness of this statement. He said it was 100% truthful, 100% correct and anything else was “a smear campaign by a desperate left”.
Is it a smear if an accusation is true?
When the NCA brought charges against Elliot and other Elders IXL executives, Peter Camm and Paul Richards were also facing fraud charges. In May 1991, now working at Bankers Trust, Key was asked to corroborate a part of Richards statement, namely a lunch he claimed that two had on 31 August 1988.
Richards was alleging it was the 31st and not the 26th that he and Camm had met with Jarrett that August. The trader was adamant of the date and told investigators he could recall the “lunch” and it’s “date”, as it was a “farewell” for “John Key” who was leaving the firm to go to Bankers Trust. Key agreed with Richards recollection of events and made a statement to the investigation reflecting that.
Except Key worked with New York based currency raider Andrew Krieger while they were both at Bankers Trust. This relationship has been confirmed by Key’s then boss, Gavin Walker. Walker has said of the relationship, that it was more or less in Key’s job description to look after Krieger, saying on Key’s first day with Bankers Trust he gave Key a list of their top clients, of which Krieger was one of them. Key himself has said he will never forget his first call with Krieger, where he asked Key about New Zealand’s GDP and it’s monetary supply.
For Key to have worked with Krieger, of which there is no doubt, then he would have had to have left Elders Merchant Finance in August 1987, and not 1988 as told to investigators, as Krieger resigned from Bankers Trust in February 1988. By June 1988 he had retired from the currency markets altogether, not returning to them until 1990. Readers may also recall Key told a reporter in 2007 he had indeed left Elders Merchant Finance in 1987 but called that a mistake when his 1991 Equiticorp statement surfaced a year later.
If Key wishes the New Zealand public to believe he was telling the truth to them in 2008 when as a wanna be prime minister, he assured them his 1991 Equiticorp statement was 100% true and correct, then he needs to explain to us how he, in late 1988, supposedly began working so closely with a world infamous currency trader who was no longer working in the currency markets. He also needs to explain how Walker, now Chair of the Board of Guardians of the New Zealand Superfund, could have his recollection so wrong as well.
What authorities need to know is, knowingly misleading a Serious Fraud Office investigation carries a maximum fine of $15,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment. Not too mention the possibly criminal issue of Key and Richards conspiring to mislead an investigation.
While some might question whether or not Key lying in his youth has any bearing on the man today, the facts are some 55,000 Equiticorp shareholders were defrauded of over $400 million dollars.
If Key was willing to lie to protect those involved in facilitating some of that fraud, does he continue to lie today to protect himself?
In his book ‘Dirty Collars’ ex SFO head Charles Sturt says this of the vast powers bestowed on his department,
“while a person may be compelled to answer questions, these answers may only be used in evidence if the accused subsequently gives evidence inconsistent with their previous statements”
John Key, did you lie to the Serious Fraud Office?
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Which of these currency traders turned politicians lied to a 1990’s joint Oz & NZ investigation into corporate fraud?
Which of these currency traders turned politicians lied to a 1990’s joint Australia & New Zealand investigation into corporate fraud?
More info in the links below:
I do not care that there is currently no legislation that could stop a second flag referendum, it’s an entirely moot and lazy point – up until last week there was no legislation for a fifth flag option either. It is disappointing the reporter who wrote this piece for Radio New Zealand Megan Whelan does not include that information. Fact is legislation can be modified on the fly and under urgency and constantly is, to pretend legislation is somehow static and unchanging is bad form and lends no integrity to the report.
The whole reasoning for informal votes is the hope that sheer volumes of numbers would be enough to put pressure on the government and wider community for support to stop what would by then clearly be a pointless second referendum. People still have power. Am sick of journalists and media organisations hiding their balls and telling us we don’t.
I for one will be making an informal vote first time around.
Some good stuff in here, well worth sharing.
There just isn’t enough money to make mainstream journalism good… But who needs good when you’ve got Hey Martha!
For years now the comment sections of our nation’s online newspapers, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds have been packed with commentators declaring the ‘Campbell Live’ show and it’s watchers were ‘everything that was wrong with the country’ – somewhat ironically these same authors would then declare it was the show that needed to ‘lighten up’.
I was pondering this disconnect today when reading the Taranaki Daily News’ comments section, specifically the one attached to Rachel Stewart’s brilliant piece ‘Why you should care about John Campbell’s demise’. In it she champions the need for journalists with empathy, who can insert themselves ‘into the fight’ as John Campbell often would. In recent years not only were the CL team in the fight, they’d built themselves a boxing ring, and when the strong and powerful refused to step in, they’d take the fight on the road – literally – broadcasting viewer stories from their now infamous CL ‘caravan of complaint’.
As a viewer you’d feel every punch as these often brutal stories unfolded, yet you couldn’t help but feel you were part of something good, something bigger than yourself, and for not much in return but a few minutes of your day. People were telling their stories, having their bad experiences validated, their complex situations analysed and understood, and best of all there was often remedy and lives improved.
Tell me again why this is so wrong for our country?