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15 Ethical “Fails” Under National!

Written By: - Date published: 12:01 pm, August 20th, 2012 - 37 comments
Categories: Ethics, national - Tags:

Reprinted with permission from Dave Kennedy (bsprout) at Local Bodies:

15 Ethical “Fails” Under National!

What is ethical behaviour?

Ethical behaviour is characterized by honesty, fairness and equity in interpersonal, professional and academic relationships and in research and scholarly activities. Ethical behaviour respects the dignity, diversity and rights of individuals and groups of people.

Ethical behavior is the standards that you hold for yourself of the attributes of honesty, responsibility, and how you treat others in all facets of your life. The same standards are applicable to whatever position you hold in commerce, in your community, and even behind your own doors where only you know what you do. Ethical behavior is applying these standards even when it is inconvenient to do so.

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_ethical_behaviour#ixzz23gEayLmo

I am continually astounded by the National Party Ministers who brazenly approach their responsibilities as if governing should only only involve the barest legal or fiscal considerations. Conflicts of interest are brushed aside, abuses of power are common and the recognition of human rights and human dignity are considered unnecessary extravagancies:

  1. How can Paula Bennett claim no abuse of power or breach of privacy in releasing the details of a beneficiary (and show no inkling of remorse)?
  2. Did Bill English ever believe that claiming $1000 a week for a housing allowance for living in his own home was ethical when the median wage is less than $550 a week?
  3. Does John Key really feel comfortable about advancing a bill that embeds travel perks and annuities of around $250,000 a year for past Prime Ministers?
  4. How could Nick Smith have ever believed that writing letters to ACC on behalf of a friend (and using his Ministerial letterhead) didn’t constitute a conflict of interest?
  5. How could Kate Wilkinson promote the erosion of worker rights when employers already have an unfair advantage in today’s employment climate?
  6. Why did Gerry Brownlee denigrate a friendly country to make a political point and why does he allow landlords to profit out of desperation?
  7. What caused Lockwood Smith’s difficulty in understanding why a deaf MP shouldn’t have to use her own funds to be able to fully engage with parliament?
  8. What allows Judith Collins to believe that it is reasonable for ACC case workers to be paid incentives for refusing services to clients?
  9. How can Hekia Parata stand by her policy of increasing class sizes to improve the quality of teaching when most of her colleagues send their children to private schools that actively promote the benefits of small classes?
  10. Why do John Key and Hekia Parata allow “ropey” National Standards data to be made publicly available so that flawed judgments can be made about school performance and also allow individual children to be identified in small schools?
  11. How does Steven Joyce sleep at night when he supported lending $43 million to his old company, “Media Works” despite receiving advice not to?
  12. What justifies Gerry Brownlee’s  request for more borrowing to extend the $12 billion already tagged for motorways that do not pass simple cost benefit analyses?
  13. How can John Key believe that honesty and ethical behaviour are not necessary for John Banks to continue as a Minister in his government?
  14. Why would Anne Tolley believe that gloatingly standing on the crushed car of a teenage offender are the dignified actions of a Minister?
  15. How can Murray McCully not take responsibility for the failure of the Rugby World Cup “Party Central” celebrations, that were his idea, or the MFAT debacle that he initiated.
Judging by the enormous ethical vacuum that exists within this government, some education in this area is desperately needed!

Feel free to add more examples, I got too depressed after listing 15.

37 comments on “15 Ethical “Fails” Under National!”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    “7. What caused Lockwood Smith’s difficulty in understanding why a deaf MP shouldn’t have to use her own funds to be able to fully engage with parliament?”

    This shows a blatant misunderstanding of the actual issue.

    Lockwood Smith fully agreed that Mojo shouldn’t have to pay for her needs out of the Green party budget. His position was simply that the rules in parliament, as they stood, prevented him from doing anything else. He was in the process of getting those rules changed to allow it be to covered by Parliamentary Services (and this is ultimately what did happen).

    The only criticism that can be made here is that he didn’t get onto this issue in the days after the 2011 election and left it to drag on for as many months as it did.

  2. mike 2

    Politicians being self-serving spin merchants is nothing new, but this government has taken it to a new level. They don’t even pretend to have ethics, leaving the impression that they consider them unaffordable luxuries.

    “I am continually astounded by the National Party Ministers who brazenly approach their responsibilities as if governing should only only involve the barest legal or fiscal considerations.”

    Exactly, it’s not “What is the right thing to do,” it’s “Can we get away with this legally.” (Corporate thinking.) Which leads one to wonder whether they have NZs best interests at heart, or whether they have some other agenda like, for example, robbing the poor and giving to the rich.

    What irks me is the free pass they get from the media on the ethics question. If it’s brought up it’s just as a tame, shoulder-shrugging afterthought.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Which leads one to wonder whether they have NZs best interests at heart,

      They don’t as can be seen by the fact that they’re making decisions that they know will make NZ worse off.

      or whether they have some other agenda like, for example, robbing the poor and giving to the rich.

      Their actions tell us that that is the only possible explanation as only the rich are becoming better off under this government. All the ‘risk’* that the rich took to get rich seems to have landed on those that didn’t take the risk.

      * Indications are that there was no risk for the rich, only the poor who have ended up paying to keep the rich rich.

      • mike 2.1.1

        No argument from me there DTB. As I’ve said before, sociopaths know they don’t need to fool everyone, just enough people to get what they want. The rest can say what they want, no one’s going to listen because cognitive dissonance won’t let them realize that they got taken in by a conman.

        My theory on the brazen lack of even the pretense of ethics is that sociopathy is infectious when leadership is sociopathic. The party celebrates and follows their saviour and leader John Key. The “let’s piss on the peasants and tell them it’s raining isn’t it hilarious” culture becomes the norm. Being an insider is oh so fun.

        Psychopaths are trying to reshape their world into one that fits their view of how things should be. That is their fundamental motivation. So as a leader, the first thing that happens is that you install a culture that is in your image. Then your actions are not questionable, they are simply the norm.

    • blue leopard 2.2

      @ mike

  3. Akldnut 3

    16. How can John Key dismiss a democratically elected MP (Richard Worth) without explaining the reason to Worths constituents, citing that its not in the public’s interest to know why!

    17. How can John Key rate a Basket Ball game higher than the ceremony of soldiers who gave their lives serving this country.

  4. Dr Terry 4

    The number of examples is legion. But as many as ever these might be, nearly half our voters support unethical behaviour and believe that we are “going in the right direction”. What does this say about our country? The very word “ëthical” will soon be dropped from the NZ dictionary as a meaningless term.

    • blue leopard 4.1

      @ Dr Terry


      ” nearly half our voters support unethical behaviour and believe that we are “going in the right direction”. What does this say about our country? ”

      The exact same question arose in my mind.

    • Tracey 4.2

      Agreed. The biggest issue is that this appears to ber acceptable to most NZers. Ethics start with individuals and the ethical standard of our fellow citizens, and ourselves should be of concern.

    • Colonial Viper 4.3

      The very word “ëthical” will soon be dropped from the NZ dictionary as a meaningless term.

      that’s what newspeak is all about. Get used to the future.

  5. Tracey 5

    Speaking of John Banks, the Herald gave him space today to show he either completely misunderstands the situation he found himself in or thinks we are all idiots.

  6. fender 6

    18. Is it ethical for John Key to attempt to give his mates at SkyCity a boost in profits longterm for adding a conference centre that will also need taxpayer welfare longterm, when this casino is already damaging many lives and making plenty of money for nothing?

    19. Is it ethical for Nact to allow Rape Crisis to downsize its services due to a lack of funding while allowing Corrections Dept. to waste money relocating a house for a rapist?

    • prism 6.1

      About 19. The rapist has to be treated with as much care as possible to try to keep others safe.
      He was sentenced, and has served his sentence, under a law that didn’t allow him to be kept locked up as he should be. So he can’t come under the preventative detention procedures.

      As for the Rape Crisis, is it Wellington that are calling for help or they will have to close? It’s so disgraceful that various governments increase the stresses of daily living with long-term unemployment because they dropped tariffs protecting our businesses more than necessary. When the pressures create instability in society the government doesn’t want to know about it.

      • fender 6.1.1

        My point relates to the expense of relocating a house and the further cost of making it habitable (not a small cost I imagine), while allowing Rape Crisis to go under-funded.

        • prism

          Yes I agree that priorities are wrong – money shouldn’t come out of Rape Crisis much-needed funding to, ironically, house a perpetrator. Preventative detention should have been introduced earlier. Another sad muck-up by governments decades past that they now compound by cutting money to victims of violence and their children.

  7. ropata 7

    Key is an expert a glibly making shit up

    * NZ Super sustainable at current levels
    * Cycleway will produce 4000 jobs
    * No increase in GST
    * Income tax cuts were fiscally neutral and “fair”
    * Changing the minimum wage will cost jobs
    * National has created 63,000 new jobs
    * National will create 170,000 new jobs

    And he has the gall to accuse Phil Goff of not knowing the numbers…

  8. Georgy 8

    What about the recent Hekia Parata action of of sending replies to letters she received to the letter writers employers???

    Teachers wrote to her about their opinions on class size as individuals. They did not write as an employee of a school. They did not identify any school. They used their own private address.

    YET – she sent her reply to each of the individuals Board of Trustees.

    Is this a blatant abuse of power and a blatant disregard of the Privacy Act or what ? ? ?

    • I totally agree Georgy, it was really manipulating and bullying behaviour, designed to make any teacher think twice about questioning government policy. National hates teachers with a vengeance!

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      YET – she sent her reply to each of the individuals Board of Trustees.

      Demonstrating to BoTs all around the country how untrustworthy and malicious she is as a Minister.

      Simply brilliant.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.3

      IMO, another National MP that should be in jail. Private details and dealings publicised and done in such a way as to effectively cause oppression by the government.

      • mike 8.3.1

        It’s just disgraceful. I moaned my way through the Bolger years, but never have I felt this appalled and embarrassed by my government. This is just low-rent, vindictive intimidation on a juvenille level. (Now what was I just reading about the emotional maturity levels of sociopaths…)

        Surely such abuse of power is illegal? Privacy Act? Any legal minds here?

        Or is it only unethical? Standard stuff for NAct then.

        • Tracey

          The Privacy Act one is clouded by the “settlement” factor. However the HRC is very clear he believes the Act was breached by Bennett. I see Ms Fuller has essentially said she hasn’t got the resources to fight so she agreed to “settle”. How proud Ms Bennett must feel.

          It is NOT ethical to infer/imply that you have evidence/research to support an accusation of beneficiaries being turned down jobs for drug use when you have none.

  9. Frankie and Benjy 9

    Many things to do with the teapot saga strike me as unethical. The one that I found funniest was a candidate not wanting to get elected
    Although John Banks should win the funniest prize except I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, knowing he is still in Parliament (helping run the country, into the ground).

  10. Tracey 10

    How classy of the Pm, using the smoke screen of extended coverage of the death of 3 soldiers to slip his “I reprimanded Bennett now that’s the end to it”, statement. Like a patronising father patting the children on the head and telling them to run along.

    • Carol 10.1

      This bit is telling though:


      Natasha Fuller, who complained to the Privacy Commissioner, wrote on her Facebook page that she did not have a grudge against Ms Bennett, whom she described as “a fantastic national welfare minister”.

      “I do not have any bad feelings towards Paula and understand that this is her job and it’s a tough job.”

      But she said she felt vindicated because the Privacy Commissioner and the director of human rights proceedings had taken her side.

      “I have had to settle as it was never going to be a fair fight and one I could never win. I’m proud that I have come so far and tried to stand up for my rights but I now have to put the health and safety of my family first.”

      And still Key supports Bennett’s role in the issue by saying:

      He did not want to relitigate the matter now it was resolved, but believed it was a politically motivated case with strong feelings on both sides. He said the parties were satisfied with the outcome.

      “I think that’s the end of the matter and I don’t think we’ll be seeing it again.”

      Weasel words, given Fuller has said it wasn’t a fair fight & the HRC took her side.

  11. Fortran 11

    Perhaps no votes in Ethics ?

  12. Kevyn 12

    How is it ethical to respond to the most expensive per capita natural diasaster in the history of the OECD by claiming that the disaster added $9bn to the deficit when that it just a quirk of the no surprises budget method, ie all the future costs are added in the current year, including EQC insurance payouts but the future revenues such as GST on the rebuild and EQC selling it’s $6bn of investments only get added in future years.

    How is it ethical to Red Zone thousands of families as a de-risking exercise just to make sure the re-insurers don’t walk and crash the housing market (see Hurrican Andrew, Northridge for similar insurance co behaviour in the past.

    How is it ethical to insist that the cost for repairing public facilities be shared equally between central and local government when civilised countries such as Aussie and America keep local governments share to less than 5%, ie more than $10,000 per ratepayer when no other disaster in the OECD has cost ratepayers/property owners more than $500 each.

  13. gnomic 13

    The National Party has always been and always will be (barring a most unlikely miracle) an ethical fail. What has ethics got to do with dying with the most toys, boat/bach/bimmer, and crushing the revolting working classes? And don’t forget to lock your windows, lest a Pacific Islander climb in. After all, it’s not only Maoris. Any further questions?

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