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Fletcher GCSB Change manager – and QLD

Written By: - Date published: 10:38 am, April 5th, 2013 - 84 comments
Categories: accountability, australian politics, corruption, john key, Spying - Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday, Iain Rennie as reported by Brent Edwards on RNZ responded to criticisms of Ian Fletcher’s appointment as head of the GCSB. 

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.  Later on Campbell Live Rennie did a very good job in damping down criticism of Key’s intervention in the appointment.  Rennie shifted the focus from Key to himself, in keeping with his brief to be non-political.

Campbell started by quoting from the SSC website about Rennie’s role.

The current office of State Services Commissioner descends directly from that of the Public Service Commission. The Public Service Commission was established in 1912 to employ all public servants, so protecting the Public Service from political interference and enabling the preservation of the political neutrality of the Public Service.

Campbell then said that Rennie thought Key’s role in the appointment process didn’t amount to political interference.

Rennie showed himself to be very adept at avoiding political statements.  For instance, Campbell asked about whether Fletcher’s background in intellectual property made him a good person to be dealing with intellectual property issues re-Dotcom and TPP. Rennie replied that was not in his (Rennie’s) mind when he was considering Fletcher for the GCSB job. Rennie claimed Fletcher was the ideal person to manage the required changes to GCSB. But, that doesn’t mean the intellectual property issue wasn’t forefront in Key’s mind.

I previously made similar connections in relation to Fletcher’s jobs in intellectual property in the UK, in my post: The CV of a Spy Boss.

Last night, on TV3 News, with Key now shown to have been economical with the truth about his intervention in Ian Fletcher’s appointment, resorting to his usual defense – attack Labour.  And further to this, an unnamed government minister extended the defensive attack to Ferguson, claiming an upcoming report will show the GCSB was in a poor state under his watch.

So, this provides the rationale for employing Fletcher to “professionalise” and improve the functioning of the GCSB.  Key and Rennie have referred to Fletcher’s stint as head of Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.

Yet, Fletcher’s term in this job was not without criticism, which cause a certain amount of controversy in the Queensland MSM.  Fletcher’s management of his department was called into question over the health and safety of horses.  In an article in the Courier Mail of 4 November 2011, referred to a  report by Ombudsman Phil Clarke, which had been released the previous day.  This report was quite damning of Fletcher’s department:

The report savaged the Government for systemic failures, including dated laws, poor training and inadequate communication with vets and horse owners….

The report focused on the handling of six Hendra incidents between 2006 and 2009, in which 18 horses died or were destroyed. Two vets died and one vet nurse contracted the virus but lived. The report did not consider later outbreaks.

Fletcher, using the MO of the best defense is attack, was highly critical of the Ombudsman’s report:

THE bureaucrat charged with tackling Hendra virus complained Queensland’s Ombudsman botched a report into the Government’s response to a series of outbreaks.

Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation boss Ian Fletcher said the report by Ombudsman Phil Clarke, released yesterday, had inaccuracies and outdated information, quoted officers out of context and misconstrued evidence.

Mr Fletcher admitted there were “lessons to be learnt” but said his department could not be too rigid because it had to adapt to fast-moving and highly variable outbreaks.

Fletcher came under criticism on an another issue, which also was reported in the MSM.  It involved leases to trade headquarters in Los Angeles and Latin America, resulting in unnecessary costs to taxpayers. It shows that Fletcher was criticised for giving inaccurate information to a Queensland government estimates hearing.  According to the Courier Mail of 19 July 2011:

THE Bligh Government was already considering shifting Queensland’s trade headquarters to Latin America when it signed a 10-year lease on a plush Los Angeles office.

Internal emails obtained by The Courier-Mail contradict the Government’s claims that the LA lease was signed before the move was contemplated.

Senior bureaucrat Ian Fletcher told an estimates hearing last week that the move to Latin America was considered only after the lease was finalised in December 2009.

But the email trail shows then LA-based trade commissioner Peter Beattie warned in August 2009 against signing the lease as the move to Latin America was being contemplated.

But bureaucrats pushed for the lease to be signed, arguing the savings generated from the new deal could be used to help pay for Premier Anna Bligh’s “completely unfunded” Latin America trade trip.

 Taxpayers now remain lumbered with the lease costs on the vacated LA office – 9000km from the new trade headquarters in Santiago, Chile.
However, the Government yesterday maintained Mr Fletcher’s comments to the hearing were accurate.
There’s a more detailed record of the case in this pdf file.
Professor Ross Fitzgerald, on his blog, is critical of Fletcher’s role in the case:
Now the Campbell Newman government is accusing the [corruption fighting] watchdog of wrongly injecting itself into the political arena and has announced an independent review of the [Crime and Misconduct Commission] CMC. A nasty case involving the former Bligh government may just prove that Newman is right and justify changes to the law. In 2010 and 2011 The Courier-Mail’s political reporter, Steven Wardill, published a series of stories from leaks within the Queensland government’s export arm, Trade and Investment Queensland. The leaked stories were an embarrassment to Anna Bligh and her state Labor government and in particular to Ian Fletcher, then director-general of the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, and his deputy, Mark Birmingham. Both men were responsible for the supervision of Trade and Investment Queensland.
So this is the person who Key and Rennie decided is the best person to professionalise and “change manage” the GCSB?  Maybe they were impressed by his management of potentially damaging accusations?

[update

Apologies to Instauration who yesterday evening posted some links related to this issue, including one I used to the same article above, under my post on The CV of a Spy Boss. Sorry I didn’t see it earlier.

Instauration wrote (on the issue of the Queensland government buying cheap imported t-shirts to promote a “buy local” campaign, resulting in Fletcher being hauled over the coals by state Development Minister Andrew Fraser):

Oh dear

Mr Fletchers judgment has been questioned in April 2011;

“I considered this to be misleading, and would serve only to compound the gross error of judgment.”

84 comments on “Fletcher GCSB Change manager – and QLD”

  1. r0b 1

    Great research Karol. With so much attention on the case right now, you’re the first to report this angle.

  2. ianmac 2

    Yes Karol. Great stuff.

  3. chris73 3

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Former-GCSB-head-Sir-Bruce-Ferguson-speaks-out/tabid/367/articleID/292879/Default.aspx

    Sounds like sour grapes, maybe he reapplied for the job and was told he wasn’t up to it

    • karol 3.1

      chris, do you have anything to say about Fletcher’s suitability for the job? Diversions aren’t an argument.

      • chris73 3.1.1

        Not really a diversion because he agreed to b e interviewed and its common knowledge hes Labours man

        Maybe National want to clean out the spy service, get shot of “the old boys” network, theres been a few cock ups of late so maybe this is a way to clean out the house

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          If you’d read what Karol wrote you’d see that Fletcher’s appointment was most likely due to “the old boys” network. It certainly wasn’t for his competency.

          • chris73 3.1.1.1.1

            Maybe Key bought him in to clean up the old boys military network…or more likely clean out Labours appointments

          • Tigger 3.1.1.1.2

            Maybe a unicorn fell from the sky into a sea of chocolate and mind controlled Key into appointing his man. Stop the diversion, c73.

            Great stuff Karol. Cronyism tends to put inappropriate people in sensitive positions. This tends to end badly. Reports at the GCSB are that it’s in disarray. Expects leaks soon, whistleblower and staff exiting en masse to follow.

            • chris73 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Oh please, this is what happens when governments are in power they appoint the people they think will do the job they way they want it done or are you going to suggest Labour never appointed their own people to positions…

              • Draco T Bastard

                No, I’m going to suggest we need a better system. One that doesn’t allow ministers to, even indirectly, appoint the people doing the job so as to prevent the cronyism.

              • framu

                while youve got a point – dont you think that they should be a bit more capable of making it look like the correct process was followed?

                this is amateur hour stuff from the nats. “hey guys – watch me blatantly mess with things then make up conflicting stories when challenged on verifiable facts”

                • chris73

                  I’d agree and go along with draco, we need a better systems but what system could be put in place that isn’t open to coercion or cronyism?

                  Does the chief of defence force automatically become the head of the GCSB but then the promotion to chief of defence force becomes open to messing about…

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Just need the PM to stop shoulder tapping rookies for top jobs.

                    • Bob

                      I don’t think he was a rookie
                      He was Key’s fall guy when they went to school and this is pay back

              • Huginn

                Apart from all the lying and the lack of transparency and the breach of trust . . . I’m not that worried about the PM shoulder tapping someone he thinks might be good for a particular job.

                But if he’s going to do that, he has to show that he will fire his buddy when that buddy screws up.

                Fletcher found out that the GCSB was outside the law with Dotcom soon after he started in February.

                However . . .

                ‘Mr Key ordered the inquiry after being told on September 17 by the GCSB that it had been unlawfully monitoring Mr Dotcom’s communications.’

                So lets look forward from this – and ask Key when he is going to ask Fletcher to resign for running a cover-up

                Source:
                http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10836884

        • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1.2

          “common knowledge hes Labours man”

          is it?

          Links referencing same plz or kindly to be withdrawing the slur.

          • Anne 3.1.1.2.1

            … its common knowledge hes Labours man.

            Ferguson was the best man for the job. He was recommended for the position by the (then) States Services Commissioner. Helen Clark accepted the recommendation. She didn’t interfere in the process. She didn’t try to gerrymander the process. She had faith in the integrity of the commissioner and faith in the integrity of their recommended candidates. I actually recall her saying as much during a TV interview around the time of the appointments. It included the present Director of the SIS, Warren Tucker.

            You may not understand Chris 73, but this is how you go about such appointments to ensure fairness and impartiality. To suggest as Key and his sidekick Ian Rennie (who is busy trying to safeguard the likelihood of another term as S.S. Commissioner) are suggesting that the GCSB is in serious disarray is an excuse and a diversion. Sure there are problems… caused by political interference I think you will find. What’s more, their claims are a contradiction in terms. On the one hand they’re saying the GCSB is in disarray due to supposed poor, past management, but on the other hand Rennie claims the staff are right behind Fletcher and morale is high.

            Morale is hardly high if the bureau is in the disarray being claimed!

            • chris73 3.1.1.2.1.1

              I was referring to his promotion to chief of defence force when he was promoted above the heads of the Navy and the Army.

              He was never air vice marshall (top dog in the air force) yet he was promoted above the heads of the army and the navy so somethings a bit fishy there

              • Anne

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Ferguson

                It’s normal practice for the the three arms of the Defence Force to each take a turn in the role of Chief of the Defence Force. There may have been the odd exception to this rule, but that’s the way it normally goes.

                somethings a bit fishy there

                You’re the one whose fishy!

                • chris73

                  Its nothing to co with whos turn it is, its do with the fact three men held higher ranks than Ferguson and were passed over but if you’re going to go on whos turn it is you’ll note the previous chief was from the air force…

                  The head of the army, navy and air force were all passed over so the no. 2 of the air force could leap frog those and become chief of defence force and that makes it very fishy indeed

                  • McFlock

                    Well, it would if the prime minister had thrown out the shortlist with the names of the three superior officers and then the PM (not the SSC) personally phoned the chap who had been a personal friend for years with connections going back to school.

                    Basically your allegation is that the public service is biased and consistently shortlists Labour’s preferred applicants for senior posts without prompting, meaning Key has to look to personal networks for apolitical applicants. Which is stupid to the point of being self-contradictory.

                    • chris73

                      So you dont think that there was nothing fishy about Ferguson being promoted to the top rank in the nz military ahead of three other guys who were higher ranking (including his boss at the air force) and in higher positions of importance

                    • McFlock

                      I have no idea whether that was the correct decision or not.
                      But unless Clark personally suggested fletcher apply for the job after rejecting everyone on the shortlist supplied by the public service, it seems the correct process was followed.

                      So you seem to be arguing that Key was taking on the appearance of corruption in order to balance the concealed corruption inherent in the normal HR process. And your basis for this is that your wikipedia-based impression of the CVs of those you feel would be competing applicants leads you to conclude that the best applicant for the job was not chosen.

                      But here’s the thing: you can’t polish a particular turd, so you sling shit at everyone in the vicinity. You could just admit the truth: Key, once again, seems to have forgotten that he is a prime minister and not a feudal king.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      that doesn’t really justify saying “common knowledge hes Labours man” though Chris. That’s a whole ‘nother implication.

                  • GregJ

                    @Chris 73 – Complete bollocks. You clearly have no idea of what was going on at the time of the appointment of Ferguson in late 2001.

                    Of the three Service Chiefs at the time Major General Maurice Dodson (Chief of the General Staff) (who had also already had his appointment extended one year) and AVM Don Hamilton (Chief of Air Staff) were due to retire in February 2002. The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear-Admiral Peter McHaffie was due to retire at the beginning of 2003 (although subsequently his appointment was extended in late 2002 by one year).

                    There was a new procedure adopted for appointment of the Chief of the Defence Force that year – the new appointment was to be on the recommendation of the State Services Commissioner & was to be for four years (i.e. going on into 2006). Under the old system where the outgoing CDF recommended their successor it is possibley that McHaffie may have been appointed but certainly not Dodson who had already been extended as CGS and had been involved in a minor controversy earlier in 2001 over shredding of documents and not Hamilton either who was due to retire. There was approximately 16 officers at the time who were senior enough to be considered as CDF. The other possible front runner was Major-General Martyn Dunne who had commanded NZ forces in Timor and in June 2001 was appointed to the new role of Commander, Joint Forces New Zealand but clearly it was seen as important to leave him in it to establish that new role.

                    If anyone inside the military establishment was seen as being “Labour’s man” it was Dodson not Ferguson. Most speculation at the time was that Ferguson got the job partially to placate the RNZAF who had just had their strike role taken off them.

                    So nothing “fishy” about his appointment – he was one of the 3 most likely at that time (and if you discount McHaffie one of the 2 most likely). The only thing unusual was the change in selection process and the fact that he hadn’t been a service chief already but then it is just as likely that that would have been the case for anyone else appointed.

                • GregJ

                  Hi Anne,

                  I know most people believe it is rotated (including many in the Services) but that is simply not the case. Since the post of Chief of Defence Forces was established in 1963 (as Chief of Defence Staff) it has been:

                  1963–1966 Rear-Admiral Sir Peter Phipps
                  1966–1974 Lieutenant-General Sir Leonard Thornton
                  1974–1976 Lieutenant-General Sir Richard Webb
                  1976–1980 Air Marshal Sir Richard Bolt
                  1980–1983 Vice-Admiral Sir Neil Anderson
                  1983–1986 Air Marshal Sir Ewan Jamieson
                  1986–1987 Air Marshal David Crooks
                  1987–1991 Lieutenant-General Sir John Mace

                  Chief of Defence Force

                  1991–1995 Vice-Admiral Sir Somerford Teagle (first, from 29 March 1991)
                  1995–1999 Lieutenant-General Anthony Birks
                  1999–2001 Air Marshal Carey Adamson
                  2001–2006 Air Marshal Sir Bruce Ferguson
                  2006–2011 Lieutenant-General Sir Jerry Mateparae
                  2011–present Lieutenant-General Rhys Jones

                  It was certainly the original intention that the NZ Chief of Defence Staff was meant to follow the UK model (established in 1959) which did follow a strict service rotation policy (although that policy has been less adhered to since the 1980’s). However it hasn’t really ever been the case in NZ that rotation has happened.

              • dumrse

                Perhaps the fishy bit is… The three service chiefs, by coincidence, weren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer at that time. Aside from that, what did he do wrong during his time as CDF. Remember, the military lost the privilege of promoting their own, the SSC took that task.

            • Bob 3.1.1.2.1.2

              Will Rennie want his job if Grant Robertson is looking down his face as DPM?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2

      Reapplied ?
      What planet are you on. Hes had the job why would we want it back . His full time career is over

      How do explain once Fletcher is in the job- the awesome bureaucrat he is- they bring in an outside person to sort out their administrative issues
      .
      Sounds like someone who isnt up to it

      • chris73 3.2.1

        “How do explain once Fletcher is in the job- the awesome bureaucrat he is- they bring in an outside person to sort out their administrative issues”

        Never a bad idea to bring in outside help to clean a major mess of an organisation

        • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2.1.1

          So you are saying that Fletcher needed outside help, despite being an outsider because he was out of his depth ?
          After all the Cabinet secretary is not experienced in spycraft but knows the bureaucracy inside out- hang on wasnt that Fletchers skill set?

          Oh dear, only in the job six months and not up to it, but we cant say that as he was specially selected by the Recruiter in Chief

          • chris73 3.2.1.1.1

            So you are saying that Fletcher needed outside help, despite being an outsider because he was out of his depth ?

            – No

            After all the Cabinet secretary is not experienced in spycraft but knows the bureaucracy inside out- hang on wasnt that Fletchers skill set?

            – Nobody knows everything, Graham Henry brought in specialists to help the all blacks, Warren Buffet goes out of his way to talk to experts in their fields, only a coward or a fool pretends they don’t need help from time to time

            Oh dear, only in the job six months and not up to it, but we cant say that as he was specially selected by the Recruiter in Chief

            – The Recruiter in Chief appears to be happy with his performance so on that basis he must be up to it

            • Huginn 3.2.1.1.1.1

              That’s right, chris73, six months into the job and not up to it.

              Starts in February and almost immediately finds out that the GSCB has acted outside of the law in a place that is drawing global attention. Instead of sorting it out and drawing a line under it, i.e. Bureaucratic Management:101, Fletcher ran a ham fisted cover-up and worst of all, kept Key in the dark until September 17th.

              Key can hire his friends, but he’s got to fire them when they screw up.

    • North 3.3

      Chris73, your comment re Ferguson – “Sounds like sour grapes to me, maybe he reapplied for the job and was told he wasn’t up to it”.

      Clearly you’ll stoop to any risible speculation to distract from concern that jokey stuff about Key’s “forgetfulness” is trending towards seriously voiced questions in the MSM about Key’s credibility. If you’re not satisfied as to that have a look at Bryce Edwards’ compilation in the Herald this morning of various writers’ efforts on the very point.

      I might just as risibly speculate that Rennie is personally concerned to protect Key because he is near the end of his contract and is in discussion about where he Rennie fits in the scheme of things in the future. Safe pair of hands etc etc.

      What are the likes of you gonna do if the credibility question – in other words “Oh, he ‘s just a bullshitter” – get’s locked in ? Tell me that won’t happen and why (with no resort to idolatry or “popularity” please).

      Interesting to note on RNZ yesterday afternoon that while John Armstrong analysed the whole business as essentially beltway stuff he did volunteer that Key’s carry on is “corrosive” and that it will cause concern in the National Party heirarchy.

      • chris73 3.3.1

        “Clearly you’ll stoop to any risible speculation”

        Clearly you haven’t read most of the posts on the standard, its mostly speculation or haven’t you been paying attention

        Thats what makes this such a fun and interesting blog, you want hard facts go to redalert (just kidding) this site is mostly speculation and opinion and its all the better for it

        • North 3.3.1.1

          There’s a clear distinction between one’s opinion which might quite reasonbly have a mildly speculative edge, and patently wild speculation which is then invoked as a foundation reality in the debate.

          You engage the latter in your attempt to minimise and discredit Ferguson’s interesting and very significant input.

  4. Treetop 4

    How closely was Key watching Fletcher’s career?

    Key probably rang Fletcher up about the GCSB job when he knew that Fletcher was being publicly criticised as this would sway Fletcher.

    Courier Mail of 19 July 2011. Fletcher criticised

    21 July list was scrapped.
    26 July Fletcher interviewed.

  5. CnrJoe 5

    Anyone know what Ian Fletchers brother – John Keys mate – does for a crust?

    • Treetop 5.1

      I somehow think that Fletcher’s brother is no longer a mate of Key’s. Fletcher is probably weighing up whether or not he should resign from the GCSB because Key may ruin Fletcher’s career for good. At this point Fletcher has a bit of leeway as the public know that either Fletcher told Key in February 2012 about the illegal spying or he with held this. Either way this shows loyality to your boss by protecting him. If Key keeps Fletcher there it looks as though he owes Fletcher a favour or he is worried that Fletcher will SQUEAL.

      • freedom 5.1.1

        In my world the word friend still means a lot, probably everything.

        Fletcher and Key are still people and I do assume still have human emotions. So when Key said in plain english that Fletcher “is not a friend” it would have a reaction one way or another.

        If however he is and has been a friend to Key over the years, then the public denial must sting a bit. If Fletcher swallows treatment like that from his friends it exposes some pretty heinous character defects which certainly makes me question his suitability for a job where trust and integrity and leadership are crucial

    • karol 5.2

      I found it hard to find anything on Alistair. I was actually looking to see who he is, and what his job is, when failing to find anything, I switched to Ian. I was hoping to find something on Alistair through Ian, but came across this Queensland stuff – all sitting there well above the surface.

      So I think Alistair isn’t that high profile.

    • Pete 5.3

      I couldn’t find him on LinkedIn (there were 15 results, none seemed likely) nor on a director search on the New Zealand Companies Office. The dates seem to be about right for him to be on the winning team in University Challenge for Canterbury in 1981. Here he is in the 1981 semifinal. He studied history and geography.

      • karol 5.3.1

        Yes, that Uni Challenge one on Wikip was about the only thing I came up with as well. I didn’t follow it up to get the video: Peter Sinclair…. and, oh, the hair cuts.

        • Pete 5.3.2.1

          I don’t think it is. There’s a picture of him in this report from Curtin University (he’s an adjunct professor). That Alistair Fletcher has a cleft chin, which the one in the University Challenge footage doesn’t have. Also his first degree is listed as a BSc(Hons). I searched the Canterbury University library for any dissertations done by Fletcher, there were no results.

    • toad 5.4

      The only Alistair Fletcher on the electoral roll is unemployed and Maori so I suspect the one who is Key’s mate lives overseas.

      • DavidW 5.4.1

        Classmate please Toad, pay attention. It has never been suggested (except by Grant Robertson who is rapidly making a joke of himself) that either Fletcher was John key’s “mate” or even a friend. But keep on spreading BS, the more you repeat it, the more people will believe it to be true.

        • Treetop 5.4.1.1

          It is a fact that Fletcher has had breakfast with Key while Key has been PM and that Key had Fletcher’s number.

          I wonder what phone records/emails would reveal?

        • Blue 5.4.1.2

          Actually, Key himself said Alistair Fletcher was his friend, during one of the media standups. He denied that Ian Fletcher was his friend, then said ‘I was friends with his brother’. Back to the dunce’s chair for you.

          • Treetop 5.4.1.2.1

            I am aware that Key has stated he is friends with Alistar Fletcher and not Ian Fletcher.

            The one person Ian would confide in would be his brother Alistar as family usually look out for one another and are loyal to one another.

        • freedom 5.4.1.3

          David W
          John Key: ” I am friends with his brother” from one of the press huddles, sorry i cannot be bothered searching a bunch of videos for a two second admission that you choose to forget.

          It has also been widely reported and admitted that the older Fletcher and Key were mates, at least at school.

          maybe you should try repeating the facts awhile yourself, it might help you to remember them.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    Sounds like he reached his level of incompetence a long, long time ago. Was wondering why he wasn’t still working for a rather higher paying job in London. Reading that I’d say that he’s been managed out of his previous positions.

    Maybe they were impressed by his management of potentially damaging accusations?

    Yeah, which probably means that there’s further cover-up going on.

  7. yeshe 7

    Wonderful research, thanks Karol. What salary does head of GCSB receive — do we know ?

  8. Tim 8

    I probably shouldn’t even make a comment on here, if ONLY because NONE of the above SHOULD surprise anyone. ALLLLLLLL of it is symptomatic of the corporatization of a Public Service – and there’s even a foreskin of the State Service Commission (a rennie) who’ll attempt to legitimize the happenings in anything that goes down. (Under his ‘watch’ [HE – i.e the ALMIGHTY Rennie] is quite obviously now wedded to the notion that Public Service really means an ‘economically viable State service’ where the State is representative of is Public, and all is only viable under the validity of a dollar, as opposed to the ‘will’ of a PEOPLE. IT’s a bit reminiscent of a Ralston who once (in all his egotistically inspired cleverness) used to refer to TVNZ as “state TV” right up until it would provide him with an earn.

    Perhaps that’s the problem in a nutshell though. Our State has never been a representation of its Public since the corporatists gained momentum in the 1980’s. There’s this idea that NZ (or elsewhere) is a company – or a corporation – as in “NZ Inc.”

    Our ‘Public Service’ is a State-owned entaproise (or a set of Entaproises) where the definition of State and its relationship to a ‘Public’ that it purportedly represents has been, entirely corrupted.

    It’s become a system where middle and upper MENidgeMUNT seek ways to justify their position – often based on the spin of commercial realty [NOT reality], such that those ‘under’ – deluding theirselves that public good is at stake, toil away IN SPITE of their hoighly paid “CEO’s” rather than BECAUSE of them. (@ Karol – you could do an in-depth of those that have risen to power in MOST ceo-type PS positions, and I’ll put my house on it that the common denominator in their success would be their ability to bullshit – whether or not their aided and abbetted by a cast of
    Those of us as old as I could remember all that shit about Ministry of Works labourers leaning on shovels and being on the pig’s back.
    Fushinsy in Fectivness, rrrrrreeeee-strukcha,……. ALLLLLL the kaka that pillocks like Douglas, Fay, Ritchwite – the fucking load of them successfully conned us (well them anyway) that market forces applied to gubbamint admunstration was going to see us all through to a Utopia.

    It really just makes me heave.
    I Heave because there is a Proim Munsta – whose lying comes to him as naturally as it does as his need to have a shit. Btw…. as those running a record of his lois exibited elsewhere on this site have noted – he shits in copious quantities.
    I Heave because sweat FA ever seems to get learned from a 1/4 century of BS:
    – Trickle down never did
    – Dawn Raids are now back in favour (now there’s a story in itself, but rest assured there’s a band of Immigration officials backed up by Tazer weilding Polis cancelling visas and deporting people because the promises made to them in the privatised education environment that didn’t get delivered, have become an embarassment. Far easier to deport potential complainants and get them out of the picture than it is to hold those that promised the world to account.
    – The effect of ‘influence’ exerted over an NZBC is now just handled in a different way. IF the regime is allowed to continue – don’t hold your breathe as to the long term prospects for RNZ.

    – ……
    – ……

    It really is a shame we don’t have an opposition. We have a couple of entities trying to do their best – but the supposedly dominant entity (a Labour Party) is now UTTERLY munted.

    The silly thing is though that we’ll all be expected to feel outrage and sympathy when any and all of these fuckwits (whether the current ruling regime, OR their supposed opponents) receive their just deserts from a ‘PUBLIC’ that eventually wakes from it’s slumber and mesmorisation of 730 Sharps, Garners, Moras, Oifones, Wade-Browns that didn’t, ……… gets really really pissed off.

    • @ Tim,
      I agree with your sentiments

      “…and I’ll put my house on it that the common denominator in their success would be their ability to bullshit.” ~Tim

      This is what the real issue, for me is, in all the variety of incompetent events that have been occurring on a regular basis since this GovernMunt has come to power.

      The impression I’m getting with the vast array of privacy breaches, bankruptcies, job losses and now down right corruption, is that it is not going down as “wrong’ or “incompetent” because of Key (&co)’s ability to slither out of these issues through lying. I agree Tim, bullshitting is apparently the ability most revered in big business/high powered jobs. This is a real eye opener for me.

      “..and there’s even a foreskin of the State Service Commission (a rennie) who’ll attempt to legitimize the happenings in anything that goes down”

      I very much don’t appreciate Mr Rennie (Or Mr Robertson) coming out on TV and stating that the problem was that he should have made the phonecall, not the PM & then this would have avoided the appearance of political interference/cronyism.

      Actually Mr Rennie, you are telling the public what to believe here and this answer does not suffice.

      It is simply a clear attempt at fudging the issue and calming any “hysteria” out there. It doesn’t answer why it occurred that Mr Key’s mate was the only one to get an interview. And doesn’t answer any questions re competence or suitability of skills of the one who got the job. Whether Mr Rennie, Key or even Mr David Shearer made the call, there remains many questionable aspects to this event that need to be answered.

      “Rennie shifted the focus from Key to himself, in keeping with his brief to be non-political.”~ Karol

      What Mr Rennie has done is a very political move. Defending incompetent and corrupt behaviour of a current PM is a very political act.

      nb (Unsure if my request for deletion of the response at 9 is going to be deleted or not, if repetition occurs, I made an error.)

      [karol: blue leopard, I deleted your #9 comment, as requested – it did look like a repetition of your comment here]

  9. Kea 9

    From what I saw briefly on TV, Fletcher’s body language does not show a happy man.

  10. ianmac 10

    Dr Brian Edwards on the Panel totally agreed with Michelle Boag that the whole fuss about Mr Key was absolutely ridiculous. Should never have happened. He thinks that the behaviour of John Campbell in his interview with Mr Rennie was a disgrace. There was no story here and John Key should get tough and tell ’em like it is. It is totally understandable for a very busy PM to forget things. After all both Michelle and Brian forget things so why shouldn’t the PM?

    I think that the issue was really about how Mr Key handled or mis-handled the situation.

    Brian Edwards has been captured by the Dark Side!

    • Rhinocrates 10.1

      Edwards? He’s a privileged old man; a suburban liberal who’s more concerned with manners than justice.

      Russell Brown’s headed the same way. Public Address is passing from critical through solipsistic on the way to reactionary.

    • Plan B 10.2

      Hi
      I heard the Brian Edwards comments on National Radio the afternoon. At first I was kind of taken in a bit. Not really,I thought he was totally wrong, but rather I was sort of taken in in the sense that that he was spinning a valid argument. A moments thought had me thinking otherwise. I would really like to hear other thoughts on the Edwards comments because of the spin he adopted.
      My thoughts on his spin, detailed by ianmac above is that he is wrong because the governance of New Zealand operates with some legislation, some regulation and a whole lot of conventions. Conventions in New Zealand really matter because we don’t have much other the other two and no real constitution.

      Convention says that while the PM appoints the three jobs indicated really he doesn’t, we all know he doesn’t and he knows he doesn’t. If he appointed, his wife or brother, mother or cousin, (which according to Brian Edwards he could go ahead and do and tell us all to get lost) he would get slaughtered because he would have broken with convention. Our convention on these sorts of matters is that there is a whole process that is followed to make sure that the PM does not appoint his cat, or a mate from school who might need a job or anything other than the best person for the job that can be found who will take the job. John Key knows all about this that is the most likely reason for him forgetting stuff.

      My problem is that Brian Edwards should have engaged his brain on this matter rather than repeat the nonsense spin that Michelle Boag was spouting, she had a good reason to say what she did, what was Brain Edwards excuse.

      • geoff 10.2.1

        These old sad fucks like Brian Edwards and Bill Ralston, they’ve all spent so many years on the good paddocks, getting pickled on expensive plonk and sniffing each others farts while they bore everyone to death by reliving their glory days in the back of the Listener or on RNZ. They’ve now lived for so long in very comfortable bubbles that they’ve completely lost perspective with with how the country has changed. They are the clueless, but they’ve got mouthpieces and they chime in with the reptiles that still run the show, those who are running around desperately trying to resuscitate the corpse that is the laissez faire NZ economy.

    • freedom 10.3

      Dr Brian Edwards has been lost a long time, he thinks all public libraries should be privatised ffs :(

  11. Rhinocrates 11

    I guess that the Indricotherium in the room is the fact that Robertson has been tasked with this and not Mumblefuck. Finally, it seems, the ABC Club can no longer deny the fact that he’s hopelessly compromised. Hopefully they’ll move from “compromised” to “liability” and ditch him.

    I’m no fan of Robertson, but at least he’s been competent in his handling of this.

    I rather liked seeing that Bryce Edwards thought initially that the accusations were “lame”, but this seems to be running as a classic scandal, with all the “it’s not the lie, but the denial that gets you”.

    Finally, finally Labour could be on form. Possibly.

    Swallows, summer and all that…

    • Rhinocrates 11.1

      I rather liked

      EDIT – I mean, I rather liked seeing the slow growth from “lame” to “the story that won’t go away”.

      • Galeandra 11.1.1

        Yeah Robertson’s coup worked a treat, didnit? An he’s rilly really sure there’s a corkus there fut to lead in ’14, isne? Just goddo mallow the excent a but.

  12. Lloyd 12

    Has Fletcher had a Cup of Tea with John Key?

  13. xtasy 13

    “Rennie showed himself to be very adept at avoiding political statements. For instance, Campbell asked about whether Fletcher’s background in intellectual property made him a good person to be dealing with intellectual property issues re-Dotcom and TPP. Rennie replied that was not in his (Rennie’s) mind when he was considering Fletcher for the GCSB job. Rennie claimed Fletcher was the ideal person to manage the required changes to GCSB. But, that doesn’t mean the intellectual property issue wasn’t forefront in Key’s mind.”

    Karol, we know Rennie’s job is on the line anyway, especially if he dares criticising the government and Key. All this talk about independence in the public service is a bit of a have on. Honestly, also did Labour favour their heads and spokespeople, now do National and Key, very unashamedly, and you just need to go through the whole list of re-appointments and so forth, for commisisoners, CEOs and the likes. What NZ lacks is more controls, like a second house to keep Parliament as the Commons more under check.

    We have none of that, all we have is some Governor General, who always does what his ministers tell him, we have an overworked, over stressed and under resourced Ombudsman, we have various Commissioners to just off-load cases so they do not go to court and cost the taxpayer money, we have a tighter legal aid scheme now, where most, even when well justified, do NOT get a shit chance to have a lawyer to be represented and to get justice, we have a system more akin to a modern day, soft style DICTATORSHIP.

    I do NOT like it, I am angry, and I wish at times I never came back to little back stop post colonial “developing story”, but hey, you still have a chance to wake up enough minds and souls to stir something up and change things (back) to a more just and decent system. But then “find” the minds and heads, where brainwashing and commercialisation and envy and division are RAMPANT. I am NOT kidding, I see and hear it every day here in megalopolis Auckland, that Len Brown wants to “grow” into a close to 3 million city. Whoa, get off my back thanks!

    • dumrse 13.1

      Well there’s an invite that can’t be left unanswered….
      “and I wish at times I never came back…”
      So, if NZ politics are so bad as to make you “angry” why don’t you just head straight back to wherever it was!

      • xtasy 13.1.1

        dumrse:

        “So, if NZ politics are so bad as to make you “angry” why don’t you just head straight back to wherever it was!”

        Before I go, I feel I have a duty to make sure, that people with a mindset resembling twisted thinking – like some of what I have detected in certain comments from you, get the message about what the truth in their own country is.

        Do not shoot the messenger, start sorting out the crap that goes on in NZ.

        And if you cannot be bothered, then perhaps face the music from critics who raise what is rotten here.

        But sad thing is, some have the ostriches “head in the sand” attitude, see no evil, hear no evil, know no evil, show no responsibility.

    • Wairua 13.2

      Xtasy, t’was ever thus. Have you talked to Tangata Whenua recently ?

      It is just that the worm has turned and that many people in the Antipodes (yep that’s us)
      are living their lives as if nothing has changed in the last few years.

      Your cognitive model may be akin to that of a Rhodesian settler, but our reality is approaching
      that of the the Phillipines (or Hawai’i ?)

      It should be no surprise that the economic elite, accurately described as as an oligarchy (see Aristotle) has given us the choice between an accountant who ran a boom-time currency trading floor and emulates Muldoon, and a former international public servant named after an indispensible trade in the early days of our colony

      http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_is_Waltzing_Matilda_so_important

      who helped privatise Iraq and advocated mercenaries

      http://www.fafo.no/pub/rapp/531/531.pdf
      http://www.operationspaix.net/DATA/DOCUMENT/5217~v~The_Impact_of_Private_Security_Companies_on_Somalias_Governance_Networks.pdf
      http://thestandard.org.nz/the-cv-of-a-spy-boss/

      and is understandably finding it difficult to adjust as leader of the Labour party.

      In the meantime the amount of private sector debt linked to property speculation exposes us to
      the same fate as Cyprus. It seems we are in for interesting times, whoever is in power.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_you_live_in_interesting_times

      We need good government, irrespective of party or personality.

  14. Johnny 14

    here’s the contempt of parliament paperwork

    http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Documents/TableOffice/TabledPapers/2011/5311T4802.pdf

    lucky he didn’t tell the NZ parliament Dotcom was the only case of illegal spying (just the media) now that it appears there might be 85 plus cases

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    The Mondayisation of Anzac Day provides New Zealanders with an opportunity to spend more time with their families and their communities, Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark says. “This is the first time legislation I introduced, to have Anzac and… ...
    6 days ago
  • More angst and anguish for red zone locals
    Local residents will be bitterly disappointed by the Government’s cherry picking of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding compensation for red zoned property owners, Labour Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson and Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “Home owners have taken all… ...
    7 days ago
  • Australia shows why we need a sovereign wealth fund now
    Australia has not managed its great mining boom well, says HSBC’s chief economist for Australia and New Zealand, Paul Bloxham. When times are good, governments need to save for the bad times that will inevitably follow, and this can be… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    7 days ago
  • Pure Water- pure rip off
    New Zealanders’ rights to fresh water must be protected before commercial allocations are given, but the Government is allowing resources to be taken, says Kelvin Davis MP for Te Tai Tokerau.  “The Government needs to resolve the issue of water… ...
    7 days ago
  • Cabinet paper reveals weak case for Iraq deployment
    A heavily redacted copy of a Cabinet paper on New Zealand’s military deployment to Iraq reveals how weak the case is for military involvement in that conflict, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  The paper warns that given the failure… ...
    7 days ago
  • Malaysia’s booty is Kiwis’ lost homeownership dream
    It’s unsurprising the Auckland property market is so overheated when Malaysians are being told they can live large on Kiwi’s hard-earned rent money, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “A Malaysian property website lists nearly 4000 New Zealand houses and… ...
    7 days ago
  • Ministry’s food safety resources slashed to the bone
    The Ministry for Primary Industries’ failure to monitor toxic and illegal chemicals in red meat is a dereliction of duty, Labour’s Primary Industries and Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI compliance officer Gary Orr today admitted National’s much-vaunted super… ...
    7 days ago
  • Ministry must protect organic food industry
    The Ministry for Primary Industries must take urgent action to protect New Zealand’s $150 million organic food and beverage industry by establishing a certification regime, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Despite working with Organics Aotearoa on the issue… ...
    1 week ago
  • Tony Abbott, indigenous rights, and refugees
    This week, Tony Abbott has visited Aotearoa New Zealand, bringing with him his racist policies against indigenous Australians and his appalling record on refugee detention camps. Abbott has launched a policy “to close” remote aboriginal communities, which is about as… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • PM’s housing outburst bizarre
    Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has described the Prime Minister’s latest comments on the Auckland housing crisis as bizarre. “John Key is deep in denial. He must be one of the only people left who are not concerned about the risk… ...
    1 week ago
  • Deflation: Another economic headache linked to housing crisis
    National’s housing crisis is causing even further damage with the second consecutive quarter of deflation a genuine concern the Reserve Bank can do little about, as it focusses on Auckland house prices, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Pot calling the kettle black over fossil fuel subsidies.
    Over the weekend alongside nine other countries the New Zealand Government has endorsed a statement that supports eliminating inefficient subsidies on fossil fuels. Fossil fuel subsidies are a big driver of increasing emissions. Good on the Government for working internationally… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • At last – a common sense plan for Christchurch
    The Common Sense Plan for Christchurch released by The People’s Choice today is a welcome relief from the shallow debate about rates rises versus asset sales, Labour’s Christchurch MPs say. "Local residents – who have spent weeks trawling through the… ...
    1 week ago
  • National must lead by example on climate change
    The National Government must meet its own climate change obligations before it preaches to the rest of the world, Labour's Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. "Calls today by Climate Change Minister Tim Groser for an end to fossil fuel… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Biosecurity rethink a long time
    The Government has opened New Zealand’s borders to biosecurity risks and its rethinking of bag screening at airports is an admission of failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. Nathan Guy today announced a review of biosecurity systems in… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Chinese rail workers must be paid minimum wage
    KiwiRail must immediately stop further Chinese engineers from working here until they can guarantee they are being paid the New Zealand minimum wage, Labour’s MP for Hutt South Trevor Mallard says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today released… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales
    The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    2 weeks ago
  • No more sweet talk on obesity
    The Government should be looking at broader measures to combat obesity rather than re-hashing pre-announced initiatives, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “While it is encouraging to see the Government finally waking from its slumber and restoring a focus on… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government two-faced on zero-hour contracts
    The Government should look to ban zero-hour contracts in its own back yard before getting too high and mighty about other employers using them, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Information collated by Labour shows at least three district health… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Scrutiny of battlefield deaths should continue
    As New Zealand troops head to Iraq under a shroud of secrecy, the Government is pushing ahead with legislation to remove independent scrutiny of incidents where Kiwi soldiers are killed in hostile action overseas, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Damp-free homes a right for tenants
    Labour is urging tenants to use a little known rule which gives them the right to live in damp-free rental homes. Otago University researchers have today highlighted the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 as a way tenants can force landlords to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must take action on speculators
    The Government must take action on property speculators who are damaging the housing market and shutting families and young people out of the home ownership dream, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “There are a number of options the Government could… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Milk price halves: A $7b economic black hole
    Global milk prices have halved since the peak last year, creating an economic black hole of almost $7 billion that will suck in regions reliant on dairy, crucial industries and the Government’s books, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kitchen plan set to swallow up health boards’ funds
    The financial impacts of implementing a proposal to outsource hospital food, forced on them by a crown-owned company which is now facing an auditor-general’s inquiry, are being felt by district health boards across the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank scathing of Government
    The Reserve Bank’s most scathing critique to date of National’s inability to handle the housing crisis shows the Bank is sick of having to pick up the pieces, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “John Key continues to deny there is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for McDonald’s to upsize work hours
    Labour is calling on McDonald’s to have more respect for their workers and offer them more guaranteed work hours. McDonald’s is proposing to guarantee its workers 80 per cent of their rostered hours, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Brownlee misses the boat on asbestos
    Gerry Brownlee has once again missed an opportunity to improve the lives of Cantabrians post-earthquakes, Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson says. A new report from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser,… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must come clean on troop deployment and protections
    New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer prevention calls gain momentum
    Research showing bowel cancer treatment sucks up more public health dollars than other cancers once again highlights the need for a national screening programme, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A study by Otago University, which found colon cancer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Burger King shows zero-hour contracts not needed
    The abandonment of zero-hour contracts by Burger King is further evidence good employers do not need to use them, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. "Congratulations to the Unite Union and Burger King for settling an employment agreement… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis deserve more than reheats
    The Government looks set to rely on regurgitated announcements for this year’s Budget if today’s speech is anything to go by, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “National has been building up to this Budget for seven long years, promising a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Landlords not cashing in on insulation schemes
    The fact so few landlords have taken up the generous taxpayer subsidy for retrofitting shows it is time to legislate minimum standards, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “Many landlords aren’t using Government insulation schemes because they don’t want… ...
    2 weeks ago

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