Fran O’Sullivan makes some pertinent remarks about John Key’s recent performance. The fact is, he wanted to be the Party PM, head clown presiding over good times, but times aren’t good and his heart just isn’t in tackling the hard issues. However, while saying these issues matter more than the Hughes affair, O’Sullivan makes one big mistake.
“there has been precious little public attention given to the fact that Finance Minister Bill English is now preparing to unveil the country’s worst Budget deficit and the trade-offs that will involve”
Does anyone think it’s a coincidence that National leaked this story just as it was trying to explain why massive spending cuts are necessary but reversing the tax cuts for the rich aren’t, and a day before the new foreshore and seabed law passed?
“Or the critical issue of whether the Prime Minister has become so blindsided by the string of national disasters that has befallen New Zealand in the past year that he refuses to take on board the International Monetary Fund’s recommendations to broaden the Government’s revenue-raising mechanisms through property taxes when if he took the public into his confidence they would probably make the necessary sacrifices to ensure the country comes through a tough period.
I think Key has been displaying all the signs of a politician in deep shock. His media management has been a bit off-key. He needlessly strung out the decision to shift the Rugby World Cup away from Christchurch after the February 22 earthquake because he wanted to let people down gently.
Christchurch citizens might have been more impressed if the Government had instead kept all its focus on getting the city’s lifelines in place before winter.
But who can blame him?”
The people of Christchurch, for starters. It’s not just that Key and the high-handed Gerry Brownlee are keeping information from the people of Christchurch, it’s that they actually don’t appear to have a plan. The closest we’ve seen to any semblance of a plan in recent days is Phil Heatley’s brainfart about building more state houses as PPPs, as if getting private investors in to supply cash and then paying their profits is cheaper than borrowing the money at sovereign rates.
“The Prime Minister’s own dreams for his Government have been severely circumscribed by first the impact of the global financial crisis on New Zealand, then the collapse of South Canterbury Finance, the two Canterbury earthquakes and the Pike River disaster.”
This last year has truly been an annus horribilus.”
Yeah, but government is about making the big decisions, not just riding the wave of good times, smiling and waving as you go.
“At Len Brown’s soiree to launch the process for “Auckland Unleashed” – the mayor’s spatial plan for the Auckland super city – Key did not fire. His address was not inspiring. People found him flat.”
In other words, he looked like he couldn’t be arsed.
There’s nothing in National’s ideological toolkit or Key’s personal deposition to really deal with these problems. All they will do, instead, is use ‘crisis’ as an opportunity to advance their pre-existing agenda of public service cuts, privatisation, and backhanders to the rich.
So, pretty on the money from Fran there, but then there’s this:
“There’s an undercurrent to this saga which is rather disturbing.
If Hughes is a secret gay – as some of his colleagues contend – surely the wiser caucus heads in the Labour caucus could have persuaded him by now to be frank about his sexual preference. He is close to the Rainbow coalition.
Homosexuality has, after all, been legal in New Zealand since Hughes was a 7-year-old.”
No. An MP’s sexual orientation and sexual conduct – as long as it is within the law and not politically repugnant – is their own business. Anyone in political circles (and I would have thought that included O’Sullivan) knows about Hughes’ orientation, as they do those of other MPs who choose not to publicly acknowledge them, which is why today’s ‘revelations‘ in the Herald are such a yawn – ‘person 1 asks person 2 for sex, person 2 says no’, wow.
No doubt, the fact that the police complaint involves a male and Hughes is not openly gay (indeed, does not consider himself gay) has added to the salaciousness of the story but that’s exactly the kind of politics that O’Sullivan wants us to rise above. But if MPs want to keep their sexual preferences nominally secret that’s their business. The idea that we could be drawn into a round of outing these MPs fills me with disgust.