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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I’ve left it until the last minute to change my address with the election peeps so I’m waiting on my voting papers. Unpacking and sorting from this recent move has also meant I haven’t had much time to keep up with all the conflicting information about voting that’s out there, particularly on how to cast an informal vote. You can imagine my dismay then when I finally found some time to devote to it and saw scores of wild and conflicting ideas, mostly in the land of book face.
As this first flag referendum uses preferential voting, you are being asked to rank each flag in order of your preference from one to five, and the overall preferred flag after the votes have been counted will be the winner. That flag will then go head to head with the current New Zealand flag in a second referendum to decide if we change our flag or not.
If however large numbers of informal votes are cast instead in protest, then these votes could become the leverage politicians and other concerned New Zealanders need to challenge the government’s plans to spend more money on a second vote when these informal votes could already show it is unnecessary. If we already know what the likely outcome could be, it would then be very politically difficult for the government to justify such expenditure.
If you want to cast an informal vote, it helps to understand exactly what one is. An informal vote is not some special voting option, nor is it anything to be feared, all it is is a vote that does not indicate clearly the voter’s intentions. For example, a voter putting 1 in all the boxes because they thought they had to rank each flag individually out of five and they liked them all, rather than against each other out of five as the voting requires, would be classed as an informal vote because the voter did not indicate a ‘clear’ winner out of the five designs. Therefore putting an ‘x’ in each box is what will make your protest vote an ‘informal’ one because you have not indicated a clear winner.
However to ensure your vote serves its purpose as a ‘protest’ and not just classed as an informal vote done in error, you will need to write “Keep our current New Zealand flag” (or similar sentence) clearly, legibly and respectfully please on the ballot paper (no swearing, no whining – remember average joe blow citizens read these and they’re just going about their work like anyone else).
The ‘Keep our current New Zealand flag’ sentence is important, you must include it. If politicians were able to pressure a response from the government based on the sheer volumes of informals cast, it could trigger a selection of informal ballot papers being inspected. It is this sentence that will indicate to the reader that the voter deliberately chose not to pick a winner, ie it was intentional and not a mistake and the sentence has stated why.
So to recap, all you need to do to cast an informal vote in protest is to mark ‘x’ in each box and write “Keep our current New Zealand flag” on the ballot paper.
There has been suggestions that an informal vote has no bearing on the result of the first referendum and therefore is pointless, that a person should vote for the least liked flag instead. The thinking been that if that flag won then people would be more likely vote to retain our current flag in the next referendum than if another flag won. This seems like a solid idea as well but it is not something I have looked at in any depth as I prefer the protest option myself. Also to me, it is largely a moot point as the whole purpose of casting an informal vote is not to influence the outcome of the first referendum, rather as noted above, the job of informals is to provide leverage to stop a (possibly) unnecessary, and costly, second referendum from happening.
Whatever way you vote, informal/protest, for your least favoured, or for your favourite in the hope it takes out the incumbent at a future date, I wish you well. Some may not agree, but we do actually live in a democracy in New Zealand and that means any citizen eligible to vote is allowed to cast a vote (or not) in any general election, by-election or referendum as they see fit. That means you can vote for your preferred politician, or party or in this case flag design as you desire. Even if that is a desire to protest.
All the best.
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.
It looks like today’s questions were a coordinated effort by opposition parties to make the prime minister answer questions and not have him fob them off to someone else or deny he has any responsibility to answer it. I thought Duncan Garner was a political journalist once, so surely he would have known this? Or is this fobbing off questions a new thing, unique to Team Key?
When MPs ask Key if he “stands by all his statements” he has to answer questions that are put to him and not pass it on to one of his Ministers. If they simply asked him about a particular subject, he can blow it off and not answer it by saying he has no responsibility for that portfolio, thereby wasting a valuable question. The government does this so the prime minister is kept from having to answer tough questions and/or be associated with dodgy, useless, inept, corrupt, etc, government ministers and departments.
For example you could ask Key about the state of operations at a particular DHB, he could claim he has no ‘ministerial responsibility for that’ and pass the question to his Minister of Health to answer. Or he might have made the claim a health department is operating very well, but when it’s proven it isn’t, he can simply deny he has any knowledge or responsibility for it. Whereas asking him if he “stands by all this statements” (usually it is only in relation to a particular topic) but to make the point the opposition parties gave him no wiggle room today by asking if he stood by all his statements since becoming prime minister, means he has to answer, and truthfully, MPs including the PM can not to lie to or mislead parliament. It’s probably the worse thing a politician can do.
Passing off questions has been happening a lot with this government and it frustrates democracy. A country needs a strong opposition (regardless of your politics) to hold governments to account but if they are hindered in the very house where they are meant to get answers for the public, from the very ministers or a prime minister who serve us, then there’s not much an opposition can be, but inept – and that doesn’t do anyone any favours. I applaud what the parties did to day. More of the same please.
Resignation Watch: calls are growing for New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to resign after the ex currency trader is caught on CCTV playing an illegal game of Elevator Bingo in Beehive lift…more at six.
Calls are growing for New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to resign after footage surfaced of him participating in an illegal game of ‘Elevator Bingo’.
His party’s National government legalised elevator gambling in all government buildings last year at the request of casino operator Skycity who were seeking an outside of the box solution to cover a funding shortfall for their iconic #SkySore Convention Centre in Auckland. While elevator gambling was perfectly legal in all other government buildings, it still remains a criminal activity in the lifts of the nation’s Parliament and the footage has many questioning the Prime Minister’s judgement.
He had earlier rubbished Opposition claims his office was moving to legalise gambling in the Beehive’s lifts after it was revealed last minute amendments were made in secrecy to Skycity’s 200 year elevator gambling license last week, including provision for bingo balls to be installed in any lift at any Government Ministers’ request. When confronted by journalists this afternoon, the Prime Minister said he could not recall ever been in an elevator and he was “comfortable with that” but would consult with his Office stapler to be sure.
Last week the Prime Minister refused to be drawn on rumours of the secret amendments saying they were ‘operational matters’ but maintained if there were any balls, hypothetically the balls would be an eyesore only if cheaper smaller balls were installed, especially when all economic signs pointed to the Beehive needing bigger balls when gambling with a casino operator such as Skycity.
Anti-gambling opponents angered by the latest revelations say access to the Beehive would be lucrative for Skycity, especially if the Government approves the casino’s bid to legalise ‘Lave Va Tory Craps’ too.
Meanwhile the country’s Attonery General Chris Finlayson denied his elevator bingo hosting gig was a violation of his employment conditions, citing a recent change to Speaker’s ruling ‘Eggs Eleven’ which made it a requirement for Ministers of the Crown to moonlight as Beehivecity ‘Elevator Bingo’ hosts at least three nights a week.
Re-enactment only: Beehive CCTV
Speaker David Carter confirmed the rule change, saying he was having Parliament do what it could to assist the Government with it’s surplus, and to a lesser degree the struggling Prime Minister whose office was feeling the pinch after Parliament ruled Prime Ministers were to supply their own Prime Ministerial crayons for the entirety of their term; and with at least three potential Key Prime Ministers inhabiting the office at any given time the stationary expenses on the 9th floor were said to be skyrocketing.
As well as having Crown Ministers’ tithe their bingo commissions to the Prime Minister’s office, Parliament visitors were being asked to bring donations of non-toxic textures and PM friendly pastels with their next visit.
“We’ve all gotta do our bit,” the Speaker said, “if they could play bingo while they’re here, that would be great too.”
In other news – Minister of Finance Bill English has been cleared of any wrong doing in the elevator, with investigators concluding the state of the New Zealand economy was enough wrong doing for any man.
First use of #SkySore tag in print: @malosilima – Dave Armstrong’s ‘Odds stacked against SkyCity’ – bit.ly/SkySore
I wrote yesterday about how well documented it is that Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key worked with currency trader Andrew Krieger while they were both at Bankers Trust in the mid 1980s.
A week before the 2008 election, a 1991 statement Key gave to the then new established Serious Fraud Office surfaced. In it we learned Key had told investigators he could recall a date crucial to the investigation because it was the same date as his last day with Elders Merchant Finance – he was going to Auckland to take a position with Bankers Trust – this is supposedly the time when he started with Krieger. Except this timeframe is an impossibility. Krieger resigned from Bankers Trust some six months before the date in question.
Key has either lied to media when they were doing background bios on him in 2008 about working with Krieger, or, and more likely, Key conspired to lie to the Serious Fraud Office to assist his ex Elders colleague Paul Richards who was facing fraud charges.
Gavin Walker who was Key’s boss at Bankers Trust, talked at length with media in 2008 about the relationship Key had with Krieger, going so far as to say managing that relationship was more or less in Key’s job description. Walker is now Chair of the Board of Guardians of the New Zealand Super Fund. Did he lie to media about Key working with Krieger? Because lying and misleading is the implication if Key maintains his SFO statement is true and correct – as he did in the lead up to the 2008 General Election.
As for Richards, he soon followed Key to Bankers Trust and may or may not have been still working there when he was first interviewed by the SFO in November 1990. If he was, did he and Key conspire to the mislead the SFO investigators? Constructing an elaborate back story of a ‘farewell lunch’ that never took place? The date of this lunch conflicted with the recollections of Richard’s co-accused. Richards is now head of UBS Head of FX Distribution in the US. He is a regular finance and foreign exchange commentator on television and news in the US and is a current and past (2012) member of the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Federal Reserve.
For the record, the investigation all those years ago was into the failed high flying company Equiticorp. Over 55,000 shareholders were defrauded of over $400 million, of which the would be New Zealand PM was willing to lie to investigators to protect his friend and colleague who had helped commit $67 million of that fraud.
A week before the 2008 election Key was asked about his statement and assured Radio New Zealand listens he did not lie to the SFO, maintaining his statement was 100% true and correct and claimed any talk of the contrary was nothing but left wing smears, attack politics from desperate opponents.
Today opposition leader, Labour’s Andrew Little called Key a liar over the PM’s knowledge of ex-Northland MP Mike Sabin’s police investigation – add another lie to Key’s growing pile of untruths and obfuscations but I think Key’s 1991 SFO statement may be his longest standing and most damaging lie yet.
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?”
We are receiving unconfirmed reports popular TV3 host Duncan Garner is fighting for his life after a 50 ft Front Bum stormed the set of The Nation this morning and attacked the prolific tv host live on air.
We cross live now to our Man Dan on the scene.
“Man Dan are you there? Can you confirm a Front Bum has indeed attacked the panel?”
“You heard it right folks, Duncan Garner has been attacked by a 50ft Front Bum and is trapped on set along with regular “Having a Bear with Duncan” panel members Big Ted and Jemima.”
Duncan’s running mate for Most Prolific Presenter of the Year award Guyon “Dunkin my mate” Espiner said he was shocked, “as the other voice of the nation, I am shocked.”
Sargent Henry Wright of Auckland Police says that while the Police believe this to be an isolated incident they can not rule out that Front Bums are revolting and is advising all #canthemanban sympathises to remain in doors.
Economist Gareth Morgan say this is further proof Front Bums are nothing more than environmental terrorists, once again are showing what little regard they have for the native politicalhackohglorious in it’s natural habit. Morgan hopes to eradicate Front Bums from New Zealand by 2017.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has offered the use of an asylum should the New Zealand Government seek to contain an outbreak of Front Bums outside it’s borders.
IN BREAKING NEWS: NZ public to put forward remit seeking equal representation for Quality Reporting in journalism in nation’s media; press gallery say quota not fair, will oppose it.