Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The sphere of influence

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    That I believe followed in the wake of the Fitzgerald Inquiry into QLD police corruption and Sir Joh’s (mis)use of the local bobbies as his personal goon squad.

    We should of course be clear that anything that's happened under any government here is an order of magnitude shy of what happened in Queensland. We've been amateurs at corruption compared to our Australian brethren.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    We’ve been amateurs at corruption compared to our Australian brethren.

    Absolutely positively 100% pure truth that, and I didn’t mean to say otherwise. But damn, let’s find the political will to sweat the (relatively) small stuff before it gets that bad, because cultures of corruption don’t just spring up fully formed. And somehow, we managed to see the need for the IPCA without anything as dire as the Wood Commission.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    "...This government has a smooth, effective relationship with friendly media... ...the reach and precision of the current government’s system is remarkable..."

    The weird part is the crossover with Auckland celebrity culture.

    And here is the Online Editor at The NZ Woman’s Weekly chipping in with a puff piece in support of Collins in the NZ Herald, right down to the bizarre Putinesque photo of Collins firing a pistol.

    In these celebrity culture soaked times the strategy isn't particularly weird of you think about it. It is a variation of what I call the artificial scarcity of the velvet rope. National is branded as a nightclub where only the successful can party. The doorway to the club is roped off with a velvet rope, which bouncers - ever so aggressive to those who are not connected - will happily unhitch to allow preening insiders to queue jump. On the other side of the velvet rope and looking on is the (artifical) queue of aspirational punters, who don't realise that the simple act of having to queue means you'll never get in. Everyone in the queue wants to be on the other side side of the velvet rope, where with a bit of luck Rachel Glaucina might even report on your presence.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Glaucina

    That's an 'I' disease isn't it?

    ...and the Blue Velvet Rope
    is held with an Iron Hand
    Gloves, Labour's lost...

    } : - (

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Absolutely positively 100% pure truth that, and I didn’t mean to say otherwise. But damn, let’s find the political will to sweat the (relatively) small stuff before it gets that bad. Because cultures of corruption don’t just spring up fully formed.

    Fair enough. But you can't legislate for judgement, which is the core issue in Collins ' and Williamson's cases -- and for that matter, in Shane Jones' conduct around Bill Liu. It seems to me you don't want to rule out ministerial discretion or the ability of MPs to intervene to help constituents.

    Oravida's donations are properly declared -- although I really think there should have been more comeback on Key for telling Patrick Gower Stone Shi had bought two games of golf with him "for charity", when the charity was in fact the National Party. That was a straight-up lie and that's one thing that bugs me about all this. This morning's Herald editorial just takes it as a matter of fact that Collins has been dishonest with the public.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    Now Judith Collins has called the press liars, I hope the press has the guts to call her the same.

    Since Jul 2008 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    Judith Collins took an axe and gave herself forty whacks,
    When she saw what she had done she gave John Key forty one.
    Pansy Wong is long gone whilst Judith Collins carrys on.

    Key should be the one with the axe.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    as soon as there’s no political points to be scored it’s quietly back to the status quo.

    you must have missed the Greens' proposal last week of substantive reform.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Not really feeling Tracy Watkins' POV here:

    But Key has raised a question mark over her judgment, by suggesting she should take time out. He could be playing with fire.

    Ambitious to succeed Key one day, Collins has built a faction in Parliament. And recent days underscore the fact that, once wounded, she takes no prisoners.

    Collins has also aligned herself with dumped minister Maurice Williamson, who is struggling to accept he did anything wrong, after Key sacked him last week over the Donghua Liu affair.

    And Williamson has form as a caucus wrecking ball after he destabilised Bill English's leadership.

    Key is too powerful to worry about enemies in his caucus - but their numbers may be growing.

    Williamson has little sway and I think Collins is in no position to put pressure on Key and Joyce. But if they fancy a re-run of Citizens & Ratepayers, they're welcome to try.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    1) Strengthen the Register of Pecuniary Interests, including independent control and real penalties for playing fast and loose with the rules.

    2) Registration for lobbyists – all of them, whether the unions like it or not – and full public disclosure of their interactions with all politicians and civil servants.

    3) Stronger reporting/public disclosure of hospitality, and a whole less fucking cuteness around sitting in corporate boxes and pretending politics is never discussed.

    That all sounds like good government to me. I'd happily vote for a party that committed to doing all of that. But forgive me if I don't hold my breath.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The Herald has the story on NZ First MP Tracey Martin's letter to police, which seems to be distinguished by its utter lack of resemblance to the Williamson case.

    She probably shouldn't have written a letter as a school board of trustees chair on MP's letterhead, but apart from that I don't think this is a problem for Winston.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    What strikes me about all of this is that Collins and the rest of the National caucus management team behave as if nothing they have done should be viewed as wrong. For them this is all just good business … the way things get done in the “real world”.

    This particular National government is very clear that they believe NZ is a business and they are the management team. They do deals the way deals are done in business.

    But government is not a business, there is responsibility and restrictions on behaviour that go along with the power. And this particular group just don’t naturally accept those restrictions.

    For them the press is just a marketing department … no wonder they react with such shock when the press dare to actually do the job of being the public’s watchdog.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    Meanwhile, John Armstrong's POV is seemingly on another planet:

    Buoyed by the release of Ministry of Foreign Affairs documents which give some credence to Collins' version of events during her fateful trip to China last October, Key is punting on the Opposition attack running out of steam by the time Collins goes on leave. That is not a safe bet.

    Exactly how he squares that with the stated objective of Collin's promoting Oravida, I have no idea.

    I'm with Rob Salmond - it's a smoking gun. A public commenter on Morning Report suggested that perhaps Key is still shielding Collin's because he instructed her to help out a New Zealand company (who happens to be a major National Party donor). Given the sometimes breathtaking arrogance of this government, it does seem possible that their hubris has gotten the better of them this time.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    But government is not a business, there is responsibility and restrictions on behaviour that go along with the power.

    But the same applies in business too - these clowns are sadly just a reflection of our national incompetence at governance across all sectors.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    Exactly how he squares that with the stated objective of Collin’s promoting Oravida, I have no idea.

    As Brent Edwards noted on Checkpoint yesterday, believing the emails offer credence to Collins' account requires a very unusual reading of a couple of them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Danyl's latest post speculates about Collins' political persona.

    Only . . . we haven’t seen much of Crusher in the last two and a half years. We’ve seen a faltering MP who used to be Crusher attempting to live up to her own legend and damaging herself even further in the process. I don’t know what happened, but in her first term Collins was advised by a very clever, very cunning press secretary – one easily capable of devising the ‘Crusher’ nickname and the persona that grew up around it – who left Parliament after the last election and went to work in the banking industry.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    I wonder how much Collins has on Key. Given her recent rabid dog behavior, would Key be fearful of the wrath of Collin's utu, should he sack her?

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I kind of get the impression there's another hidden dynamic going on here, more of the ongoing war for succession within the Auckland party, John's probably trying to keep the lid on to preserve his legacy - meanwhile I bet one of her rabid lapdogs is working hard on dirt to spread on the other side

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Gordon Campbell reminds what Collins said in the House about her trip to Oravida HQ.

    It also means, as [Rob] Salmond adds, that Collins was misleading both the Prime Minister and Parliament when she told Parliament that:

    “I can only tell the Prime Minister what I know. I was being driven around and I was assured by the ambassador that we could pop into Oravida on the way to the airport, or else I could have gone to the airport and I could have sat in the lounge for an extra long time."

    Given the evidence Salmond posted yesterday, it’s hard to see any other term for her conduct than lying. And why would you do that if there was nothing wrong?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    1. Opposition MP <> Minister

    MPs are put there by their constituents to, amongst other things, investigate and advocate with public bodies on any issues they feel fit. The only thing they mustn't do is take a corrupt payment to do so. Ministers have authority over public bodies, and have to be clear about working within the agreed structures and not attempting to exert control through back channels.

    2. Police operations <> Police policy

    The course of individual cases is rightly an area where politicians are restricted in intervening. Anything else to do with the police, such as application of resources in a local area, is a matter of public policy and fully within an MPs job to enquire and criticise about - it's no different from an MP urging that a local library isn't closed

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    For them this is all just good business …
    the way things get done in the “real world”.

    Just like Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said:

    Eric Schmidt said £2.5 billion tax avoidance 'is called capitalism'

    ...and yes, I used Google to find that!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Judith is already trying out some lines for this arvo.

    Asked this morning if she regretted the visit, Collins said: "Do you know I really do. I think, unfortunately, it has caused a lot of stress for a lot of people, particularly for the prime minister and my colleagues."

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    More lines. PM says social media is to blame for Collins' conduct. Bullies, I tells you. Sob.

    Asked whether Ms Collins' often aggressive presence had led her into stoushes on Twitter that had contributed to her stress levels, Mr Key it had been "one of the big factors".

    "She's engaged with people who have been engaging with her and just spending too much time focused on that and actually not enough time on the other issues."

    "My view of that social media is there's a lot of trolls and bottom feeders on that. In the end they get in people's head. It's an anonymous sort of situation it's a form of cyber bullying, I don't engage in that."

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    > > They’ll still do it. They’ll just hide it better.

    > Well that’s the easy part to deal with , you make every dollar accountable

    The problem is with giving services in kind e.g. suppose a rich guy jets in from England and dumps money on a polling company so it can do polling in the week before the election for the benefit of one political party - the benefit is all for the political party but the money never directly goes through the party accounts. These types of things are hard to pick up.

    (But I agree that every kind of donation should be recorded and made publicly available.)

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    So Key's saying she has no self control and is spending too much of her time tweeting and not enough ministering?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

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