Written By: - Date published: 10:17 pm, May 26th, 2013 - 68 comments
Categories: accountability, democracy under attack, families, greens, human rights, john key, labour, same old national, slippery, spin - Tags:
Once again the MSM reports John Key’s assessment of his party’s place on the political spectrum without any critique. This time Adam Bennett in the NZ Herald quotes John Key as saying:
“Normally elections are fought between the centre left and the centre right. That is not what’s going to take place next year. David Shearer has cut his cloth and it is wrapped around Russel Norman.
“But that now becomes an election between the centre right and the far left.”
He cited the Green Party’s policy proposal to increase the money supply and the two parties’ plan to regulate wholesale power prices as examples of their shared “far left” policies.
If those are far left policies, how far right are John Key’s asset sales, or the passing of a law to remove the democratic rights of the carers of disabled family members to challenge their payments. Here’s what Andrew Geddis posted on the Pundit blog about Key’s government’s latest abuse of urgency in his post, I think National just broke our constitution:
By passing this law, Parliament is telling the judicial branch that it is not allowed to look at a Government policy (not, note, an Act of Parliament) in order to decide whether it is in breach of another piece of legislation enacted by Parliament (the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990). In other words, the judiciary’s primary function – to declare the meaning of law and its application in particular cases – has been nullified. Furthermore, the judiciary’s role as protector of individual citizens in terms of ensuring that they are being treated in accordance with the laws of the land has been removed. While the stakes may be small in the immediate case, this is about as big a deal as it gets in terms of our constitution.
Pundit is pretty centre left. It’s not a blog that gets branded “far left”. And yet, also recently on the Pundit, Anne Salmond began a post:
Increasingly, our Government is behaving like a playground bully. If Ministers will not restrain themselves from abuses of power, others need to stand up and speak out
Then, after mentioning the above case of the disabled carers, she goes on to outline some other abuses of democracy by John Key’s government:
Add to this the way in which the Government has stated in advance that it will ignore any outcome of a referendum on asset sales; its dismissal of the referendum in which more than a million New Zealanders supported a review of MMP; and the Sky City deal that tries to bind future New Zealand governments for the next 35 years, and it’s obvious that democratic processes in this country are in trouble.
As Claire Browning points out on Pundit, there seems to be no internal restraint within the Government against such abuses of democratic principle. On the contrary, there was the unedifying spectacle in the House recently of the Attorney-General, no less, mounting a highly personal attack on those who had criticised another legislative debacle.
This was the clause in the Crown Minerals Act (also rammed through without due process) that threatens New Zealanders who protest at sea against deep sea mining with imprisonment or very heavy fines. It has been criticised by barrister Catriona McLennanin the Dominion Post as a major blow to human rights.
And from Tim Watkin recently, also on Pundit:
A week of poor process continues for the government as it side-steps consultation with its decision to approve mining on the Denniston Plateau …
But this week’s urgencies and unwillingness to listen to the people is part of a damaging narrative. New Zealanders don’t like being taken for granted.
To the examples laid out in this week’s other posts, you can add today’s Denniston Plateau mining decision. …
From early concerns about its use of urgency, through the SkyCity deal and various brain fades, and on to the Ian Fletcher phone call and handling of the GCSB, the disregard for good process have been there in flashes.
But what we’ve seen this week raises the concern that this disregard has become the new normal for National; that no-one in Cabinet seems willing to question how it’s doing its business.
The blatant undermining of democratic process is becoming “business as usual” for John Key’s government. It’s increasing dictatorial behaviour is not something I would associate with a “centre right” government. It is far further to the right of the political spectrum.
When are the MSM going to call John Key on his bullshit line about his government being “centre right”, and the Greens being “far left”? The Greens follow democratic process as part of their underlying values. John Key thumbs his nose at democratic process.
When is the New Zealand Herald going to challenge the Key government with banner headlines that say: