Picking John Key will not return to parliament after the Christmas break citing ongoing family reasons, triggering an earlier than expected general election next year.
If what John Key says is true, he might not have much left in the tank, but politically he has left the National Party with plenty in theirs – for now. They will need to use it wisely or they could face running out of steam in the next twelve months and find that capital is not there when they need it most. Better to kick Key to the curb now when he can bow out with relatively not much fuss after Christmas, giving the new prime minister a a fair suck of the election sav’.
A costly by-election can be avoided if a general election is held within 6 months of a minister resigning, and the writ (the notice of the election date) receives 75% support of the parliament. That could mean an election could be held in the first half of 2017.
If there really is a Santa in the House, they’d bring me this for Christmas.
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.
Screwing the scrum: the government is screwing people and democracy by underfunding watchdogs and public service.
When I heard Nicky Hagar speak last year, he said the ‘takeaway’ from ‘Dirty Politics’ was not the salacious scandal but the slow erosion of democracy behind it. He asked we seek to create a society where our public service and our public servants, and scientists, and eductors and our health workers were not just free to speak-out against governments but supported to. Transperency in government should know no party colours.
Another Serious Fraud Office investigation worth mentioning: John Key did you lie to the Serious Fraud Office
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.
My submission supporting this petition:
The argument for the two-step referendum process was that voters needed to see which flag design the current flag would be up against before knowing if they would want to change to it or not. Except people already know whether or not they are going to vote to change the flag. Therefore two-step process is a waste time, money, debate and resources.
Then today parliament made even more of a farce of an already flawed process by effectively rejecting the final four designs when they voted to include Aaron Dustin’s Red Peak in the first of referendums. This action is akin to bringing back a wildcard in a badly run talent contest, except this one is a bizarre parliamentary version of New Zealand’s Flags’ Got Talent and it’s crap, and it’s costing taxpayers $26 million dollars.
The only honest course of action going forward is for the government to hold just one referendum which sees the current flag going head-to-head with the five alternatives.
One referendum, one vote, one flag, one time.
Is this for real? Mike Hosking equates jobs, such as his, a talking head with a soldier’s deployment in Iraq? Please tell me this man is joking? Unbelievable. Is this the ‘get some guts’ that Key talks about? Getting guts to sit on in front of a tv camera, or a nation and tell OTHER people to go to war?
“Is doing your job now seen as above and beyond?
Who else gets to opt out of doing their actual job?”
– Seven Sharp‘s Mike Hosking questions how NZ
military personnel can opt out of deployment to Iraq.
This Twitter tweet from right-wing political commentator Matthew Hooton caught my eye yesterday. Not because the Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key may be found out in another lie, rather it caught my eye because I’ve had similar “They can’t both be right” moments of clarity about our dear leader.
The most serious one involves a statement he gave to the Serious Fraud Office in May 1991 which surfaced in the lead up to the 2008 general election, and the reports of him working with the infamous currency trader Andrew Krieger.
In both the New Zealand Herald and the Sunday Star Times in 2008, and as recently as last year in John Roughan’s book ‘John Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister’, we were told Key worked with the infamous Krieger when they were both traders at Bankers Trust – Key in the Auckland branch and Krieger with the parent branch in New York. Key himself said he will never forget their first phone call, saying Krieger asked him about New Zealand’s GDP and its monetary supply.
Key’s boss at the time Gavin Walker has said it was basically Key’s job description to manage the relationship with Krieger, giving Key names of top clients on his first day with the firm, one of which was the New Yorker. Key’s relationship with Krieger and other traders at Bankers Trust in New York were credited with turning the New Zealand branch into the number one forex trading room in the country.
It is this well documented working relationship between the two that rips some serious holes in Key’s (and that of ex-colleague, Paul Richard’s) 1990s statements to the SFO – namely the date of a ‘lunch’, the reason for it, and indeed, if there ever was one. Richards was facing fraud charges for his part in a series of fictitious foreign exchange transactions between high flying New Zealand company Equiticorp and Australia’s Elders IXL, the trades came to be known as the ‘H-Fee’ transactions.
In November 1990 Richards told the SFO investigators he could remember a ‘lunch’ on 31 August 1988 as it was his friend and colleague (John) Key’s farewell – Key was leaving Wellington based Elders Merchant Finance for a position with Bankers Trust in Auckland. The date for the lunch was in contention as it differed by some days from the recollections of Richard’s co-accused.
In May 1991 it was Key’s turn. He corroborated Richards’s evidence and assured investigators he too could recall the lunch they had had and events during it, telling the SFO he had resigned from Elders on 24 June 1988 and was immediately put on gardening leave. The lunch with Richards was on his last day, 31 August 1988, and he was leaving for Auckland immediately to start work with Bankers Trust.
However Krieger had resigned from Bankers Trust on 23 February 1988, some six months before Key and Richard’s alleged ‘farewell’ lunch. Is Key’s well documented working relationship with Krieger merely a fabrication? Although it would be pretty hard at this stage for even the most accomplished of spin doctors to claim Key did not work with him, though I’m sure some will try.
So I once again find myself asking – because, as Hooton so succinctly put it – “they both can’t be right”….
“John Key did you (conspire to) lie to the Serious Fraud Office?”
INSIDE PCNZ MUPPETS: Attorney General Pepe Finlayson on imitation in party politics and the rise of Topper Bridges and Jami-Lee Pepe