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The Standard

O’Sullivan gets it right & wrong

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, March 27th, 2011 - 65 comments
Categories: john key - Tags: , , ,

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.

65 comments on “O’Sullivan gets it right & wrong”

  1. RobC 1

    In the second Herald link, towards the bottom of the article:

    “Goff said he was sure King would have told him as soon as she learned of a problem.
    He said he believed she found out after Hughes was charged.”

    a) Goff said Hughes was charged?
    b) the journo is fkn incompetent

    I’ll go with b)

  2. felix 2

    “Former Labour Darren Hughes “

    FFS Herald, you’d think even the laziest proofreading in the world (i.e. yours) would pick up a glaring error three words in.

  3. QoT 3

    An MP’s sexual orientation and sexual conduct – as long as it is within the law and not politically repugnant – is their own business.

    Of course it is. But as soon as this story was revealed as involving a male complainant, I could’ve told you that this would become the focus of the story – why an MP in a supposedly gay-friendly party wouldn’t be open about it. Especially with a dearth of ~salacious~ materials on the actual allegations.

    • Marty G 3.1

      yeah, it was pretty obvious that the homosexual element would be played up. that doesn’t mean it’s incumbent on mps to be public about their sexuality.

      • QoT 3.1.1

        Did I say anything differently?

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          Yes, you did:

          why an MP in a supposedly gay-friendly party wouldn’t be open about it.

          • Carol 3.1.1.1.1

            It looks to me like an indication of the amount of stigma there still is around being anything but totally heterosexual. The line that “I’m not gay” is a familiar old one to those of us who have been around gay communities for decades. It’s usually, “I’m not gay, I just have sex with men now and then.” “I’m not gay, I just happen to fall in love with a woman.” etc.

            The label “gay” can also create particular problems for the various kinds of bisexual people. I also think that a politician aiming for the highest political jobs might feel it would count against them to not be clearly heterosexual. Also, struggling to deny your own sexuality, whatever it might be, can have a negative impact on a persona’s job performance, one way or another.

        • Marty G 3.1.1.2

          well, your comment repeated what I had said in the post as if I hadn’t said it and it was some clever insight so I felt free to repeat it again:

          MG: 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

          QoT: as this story was revealed as involving a male complainant, I could’ve told you that this would become the focus of the story

          MG: yeah, it was pretty obvious that the homosexual element would be played up

          • Swampy 3.1.1.2.1

            Sure, it is not illegal to make a political judgement on the grounds of that.

            The passage of the relevant legislation in 1986 was a huge controversy and you can’t pretend otherwise or try to sweep it under the carpet.

  4. higherstandard 4

    Agree completely Marty I don’t see how an MPs sexual preferences should influence how good they are at doing the job they’re elected to.

    It’s right up there with the colour of their skin and which football team they back – how the fuck that impacts on whether you’re a good MP or not is beyond me.

    • apples are yum 4.1

      which begs the question…no, RAISES the question… why so much fuss over Brash’s extra marital affair?

      Can’t wait to hear the moral gymnastics required to justify that. Fuck who you like as long as you’re gay, bi or whatever – promiscuity encouraged – all part of the lifestyle. But if you’re hetro, my god, don’t cheat on your wife or you’re not fit to rule. Plenty of points to catch Brash on, rooting isn’t one of them. Can we all agree that sex/orientation isn’t related to political performance, once and for all?

      • felix 4.1.1

        Because Brash & National were claiming to represent traditional family values™ but not living by them.

        If Hughes and Labour were running a “don’t-drink-and-gay” campaign they’d be in the same boat. But they weren’t, so they ain’t.

        It’s the hypocrisy is all. I agree the infidelity itself shouldn’t be of interest anyone not involved.

        • Swampy 4.1.1.1

          No, National made no such claim or attempt to define what these values were at the time.

          The simple answer which every MP knows is that they take a moral high ground and pass laws on the basis of their own agenda and party ideology. They then present these as a done deal to the public. Frequently the voters know that the party is what drives these policies and not the views of the public.

          So when a moral high ground (on any policy at all, not just traditional morals) is taken and then an MP is found to have acted questionably, maybe immorally, then the outcome is understandable.

          The question of is Hughes gay is important to a segment of the electorate who want to question how much influence the Rainbow wing has in Labour.

          • felix 4.1.1.1.1

            “No, National made no such claim or attempt to define what these values were at the time.”

            Of course they didn’t attempt to define them – that’s the whole point, they’re an abstraction. But they sure went digging for votes in the holier-than-thou right-wing churches, didn’t they Swampy? Or have you forgotten already?

            Christ man, their entire time in opposition was spent yelling three things over and over:
            1. Tax cuts
            2. Bloody mowrees, and
            3. Look, a LESBIAN!

            Short memories you lot.

            “The question of is Hughes gay is important to a segment of the electorate who want to question how much influence the Rainbow wing has in Labour.”

            Correct, it’s important to homophobes.

            • Mac1 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Absolutely right, felix. Rem acu tetigisti. Right up the their most feared orifice.

        • apples are yum 4.1.1.2

          There’s hypocrisy and there are lies. Some people think the two are interchangeable, but they aren’t. Others, like Hughes and Goff are assuming that people aren’t smart enough to tell the difference and are pointlesly jumping on their own swords and making apologies for being hypocritical when it simply isn’t necessary. Hypocrisy is nothing. Measure for lies and ineffectuality.

          If someone says don’t be leechrous and gay, and then is; or says look after your family, and doesn’t look after their own – who cares? Hypocrisy doesn’t change policy. Extrapolating hypocrisy onto the scale that measures the likely veracity of future decision making is like saying because the stewardess is skanky, the plane will crash. There is no link between her bedroom eyes and the pilot’s seat. Is there a link between the ability to form and implement education policy and, say, an over-eager bedroom attitude? No. Measure politicians on what they do with policy. Hughes made an error when he resigned (if he resigned over police investigation) and Goff made a bigger one in accepting it (if he accepted it for appearance sake). Labour need someone like “the angriest man in Scotland” right now to tell them to stop assuming the population are idiots and in the process, stop destroying their party and chances of election.

          Now if a politician says something like: we will not support any changes to S59, we believe parents right to choose; we will not raise GST; we will not sell any SOEs first term; benefits will not be reduced; the fireservice will not be re-structured; energy resources will not be opened up for foreign ownership; and then they do, they are liars. Their trustworthiness is shot to pieces by their ablilty to contravene their policy and an inability to carry out policy. They have failed to deliver. Extrapolate that. Promote that. Build election strategies on work done.

          We have elections every 3 years. There isn’t a single lie made by pollies in the past 15 years that was so important it could not be corrected. Those liars could have been voted out at any time. They should have resigned. Hughes should not have resigned. Neither should Goff be talking about his hypocrisy. All we need to know from Hughes is what Labour would be doing in education should they gain a majority. What we need to know from Goff is a general direction for his party.

          Enough with the false self-sacrificial immolating melodrama.

          • felix 4.1.1.2.1

            I agree with most of that, but the way we vote for policy is via voting for people, and most people seem to think that character is an important factor in that decision. The perception that hypocrisy is an undesirable character trait in a representative is a fairly strong one.

      • I always wondered why Brash was always smilling .Well of course he was shaging himself to death The fact that it was not his wife made no difference to the Nats, they waited a while then gave him a job with an inflated salary. If they win the next election what’s the bet that Worth will get a nice lucrative job?

      • Marty G 4.1.3

        you may not remember that core to Brash’s political identity was conservative family values. I remember him saying that Clark had made a mockery of the institution of marriage with “her indifference to the institution of marriage” – at the same time as he was cheating on the second wide (the one that proved he wasn’t racist), whom, in turn, he had cheated on the first wife with.

        It was what Brash thought was going to be the exposure of that hypocrisy, not to mention the shady exclusive brethren dealings, in The Hollow Men that caused him to resign as leader

        • Sean 4.1.3.1

          I certainly recall Dr Brash directly questioned Helen Clark’s marriage in the media.

          Dr Brash set a standard in the matter he did not personally meet, and then went quiet when Helen Clark pointed out she was still married to the person she took her vows to in the twenty something years previously – unlike Brash.

  5. handle 5

    “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.”

    Yet you dredge up your worn argument: “they actually don’t appear to have a plan”. Of course they do. You wonder why people aren’t seeing it clearly? Stop saying it doesn’t exist.

    • Marty G 5.1

      well, they don’t have a plan to address the actual problems in the sense that we would recognise one

      a) what’s the problem?

      b) how are we going to solve it?

      c) lets start to solve it step by step

      that they have an ideological agenda and they’ll opportunistically pursue it is beyond doubt.

      • handle 5.1.1

        They don’t have a plan to solve the problem as you see it. That does not mean there’s no plan.

        Following your a,b,c formulation, the ‘problem’ might be that wealthy and powerful people and corporates are not wealthy and powerful enough. We are seeing the ‘solutions’ to that delivered, step by step.

        It’s not “opportunistic”. Who is helped by you claiming there is no plan?

        • Luva 5.1.1.1

          I agree. There has always been a confused opposition to John.

          Half the time he is an evil right wing planning to unleash a hard right agenda on the unsuspecting electorate.

          The next day he is smile and wave do nothing PM with no plan

          Can he be both?

          • Marty G 5.1.1.1.1

            he is the smile and wave face for a hard right agenda that has no plan for the real problems facing the country.

  6. Everyone in labour should have been on guard against National’s Dirty Tricks Brigade. They should have been aware that with an unpopular budget about to be announced that they would be on the lookout for something as juicy as this. This is history repeating itself again and again.
    The Nationl Party have always been the masters of sleaze , but under Muldoon it florished. Two excellent Labour members were ruined by Muldoon O’Brian and Moyle. Weve seen the same happen in the last couple of years. What is galling is that Tories commit white collar crime and get away with it ,some even gey knighted ,

    • Sanctuary 6.1

      “…Everyone in labour should have been on guard against National’s Dirty Tricks Brigade…”

      I am sorry, but you don’t have to be a Machiavelli to work out National would leak the Hughes story without any need for a dirty tricks brigade. Let’s reprise the timeline. This incident occured two and a bit weeks ago, when the media was wall to wall with the Japanese Tsunami. Anyone in the Labour party other that a complete drongo should have recognised that the tragedy in Japan was a perfect moment to stand Hughes down and release the story.

      Meanwhile, on the othe side of the hill you can be sure that National would have been aware of the story within days as well. The National party would have realised that they should not leak the story to the media until the Japanese coverage had dropped off and the media was hungry for the next story for the media cycle. Right on cue, the story was leaked with timing to cause the maximum damage to Labour.

      You hardly need a shadowy squad of Crosby-Textor goons working from a secret HQ in the cone of an active volcano on an uncharted island to help you work this media strategy out. Common sense and a bit of a proactive killer instinct is all you need.

      To me, Goff’s possum-like passivity when he is an experienced politician who must of known the Nats were carefully lining him in their sights is completely inexplicable. This inept passivity strikes a blow at the very heart of the main raison d’etre for his claim to the right to lead Labour – his political experience.

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    As an ’empthay PM’ Key rates about 1 or 2 on a 1-10 scale.

    I notice unlike the well known gregarious Bob Hawke or Bill Clinton, Key doesnt generally hug those who he goes out of his way to meet after a tradgedy.

    Even John Howard could manage it fairly often.

    Could it be the empathy thing is all faked?. That he is a fairly private person, much like Helen Clark but instead hes decided to wrap himself into the empathy flag and flog it for all its worth, as there is nothing else there?

    • logie97 7.1

      The Prime Minister’s views on culinary delights…

      Can’t wait to hear the questions from Petra and Corin tomorrow morning…
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/4814199/Celebrity-chef-Heston-feasts-in-Hawkes-Bay
      … Guests paid $7000 for the dinner – though three nights’ accommodation was included – and more than half had flown in from Australia, joining Prime Minister John Key and wife Bronagh, an ardent foodie…”

      I wonder what the dinner table conversations were? Earthquakesh? Tshunarmish, Newculear Power?

      (And Fran, while you’re at it, next time you’re chatting with him can you advise John that “is” is singular? Listen in tomorrow and you will hear him say several times, “There’s lots of …” – just a small point I know but when it comes to being the leader of a country, you would expect him to be in command of his language. You know, shtandids and all that…)

  8. Swampy 8

    Politicians are expected to uphold the law they make and be beyond reproach, therefore they are judged by a higher standard, Thats the way its always been and shall remain unless you want the kind of circus that Berlesconi had in Italy and the laughing stock he has made that country on the world stage.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      and be beyond reproach…

      Sorry mate if you want real people involved in politics and not perfectly photoshopped figureheads, your position is not realistic.

      As for Italian politics – no use comparing us with them, in terms of Italian politicians and sex escapades they are totally in a league of their own.

  9. gnomic 9

    Er, dictionary police here. For ‘Key’s personal deposition’, may we read ‘Key’s personal disposition’? Then it would make sense :-)

  10. deemac 10

    The idea that Hughes once making a drunken pass at someone who said No is news shows the level of journalism right now. Of course no journalist has ever done that…

  11. Carol 11

    So, it looks like TV3, other news media, lefties like McCarten, and loads of right wing bloggers have now totally written Goff off for the coming election. How does this compare with the way the MSM and some others wrote off Len Brown after some fundraising Do in Manukau (I’ve already forgotten the details), and a head splapping incident?

  12. simon 12

    I could care less about Hughes sexual preferences. He is the focus of [deleted]. This lack of sobriety and attendant clouded judgement ended his political career and greatly setback his political cause.

    [lprent: That goes beyond anything that has been reported. I’m going to put you on an open-ended moderation because you have repeatably made an allegation that is unsupported and relates directly to a police investigation. Quite simply your judgement appears to be flawed. ]

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      He is the focus of a non-consensual sex allegation because of alcohol.

      Alcohol was associated with the evening but how do you know that the allegation arose because of alcohol?

      • Lanthanide 12.1.1

        It’s not even clear that it was “non-consensual sex”. We simply don’t know. The naked man reported to be in the area at the time is likely the complainant, but not necessarily.

      • simon 12.1.2

        This is not the first reported instance of Hughes making unwanted advances whilst under the influence. It is the most serious however.

        By the very fact of the complaint, [deleted]. It was serious enough to justify a warrant for a police search and seizure.

        [lprent: ditto ]

        • weizguy 12.1.2.1

          “By the very fact of the complaint, [deleted] took place.”
          Ah, no. You’re saying it’s not possible to consent to something and regret it later? A complaint only proves that there was a complaint. Nothing more.

          “It was serious enough to justify a warrant for a police search and seizure.”
          Again, was it? I’ve asked this on a number of occasions: Where have the media reported that there was a search “warrant”. Standard procedure would be to collect evidence at the scene. you don’t need a warrant if the accused complies.

        • felix 12.1.2.2

          Can a mod have a look at simon’s comment 12.1.2? It’s borderline at best.

          [lprent: Agreed. It was outside of any reported and in particular assumes a lot about the complaint.
          I was otherwise engaged last night. ]

          • simon 12.1.2.2.1

            ‘Former Labour MP Darren Hughes has been the subject of allegations about another late-night incident after a boozy evening out. The Herald on Sunday has learned of claims about Hughes and a worker from a party leader’s office who were in a group drinking at a 2009 Christmas party. The staffer is understood to have been asked by Hughes to carry on drinking, and was then the subject of a sexual approach. The young man objected and left. The party leader quizzed the young man to see if he wanted to make a formal complaint. He declined, saying the incident was a misguided “pass”.’ NZ Herald / 27 March 2011

            The latest complaint involves [deleted]. Whether the complaint is upheld will be decided by the evidence.

            The police conducted a search and items were collected. (I concede a warrant was not necessary if Hughes agreed to it).

            [lprent: ditto]

            • simon 12.1.2.2.1.1

              ‘Police took items from the house after executing a search warrant.’ NBR 23 March 2011

              • SPC

                Someone did try and explain on another blog – that police might have just gone to the house where the “naked man’s” clothes were and retrieved them but there were protocols to follow when MP’s/or their houses were involved. I cannot vouch for that, any more than I can the veracity of a media report. Just saying.

            • felix 12.1.2.2.1.2

              simon.

              When you describe the events currently under investigation as being [deleted] you are speculating. No such details have been released.

              You may think your speculation is, by logic, necessarily correct (it’s not btw) but speculation it is, nonetheless.

        • simon 12.1.2.3

          The law takes its course and police confirm further allegations.

          ‘Late yesterday the 18-year-old complainant won a court order preventing publication of his name. High Court Justice Robert Dobson issued the order, saying revealing his name would be a breach of privacy. Dobson said from now on, the man’s name would be shown on court documents only as “A”. “His identity is not a matter on which the public’s interest in knowing can claim urgency.” Dobson said A’s complaint to police was made in circumstances where his name and identifying details would not be reported in the media, and he was told he would have automatic name suppression if charges were laid. Dobson noted if charges were not laid, the order would have to be reviewed.’
          Dominion Post / 29 March

          ‘Some media received copies yesterday of a complaint sent to police making allegations about Hughes. It included contact details of three people and urged the police to contact them. But one of the men named in the letter vehemently denied that anything untoward happened. “It’s just untrue. It’s just rubbish,” he said. A second refused to comment. The writer claimed to be concerned “at the potential ramifications for my employment of sharing this information with you” as the reason for anonymity. Detective Inspector Mike Johnson of Wellington confirmed the letter had been received and police “will look into it in due course”.
          Dominion Post / 29 March

          • Colonial Viper 12.1.2.3.1

            Yeah now this is starting to look politically motivated – i.e. trying to keep an ongoing media attention on Darren Hughes.

            Part of your job description I suppose.

          • simon 12.1.2.3.2

            ‘[10] I accordingly make orders as follows:

            (a) prohibiting the defendants (or anyone else with notice of this order) from publishing A’s name or particulars likely to lead to the identification of A as the person who has laid a complaint of sexual assault against the former Member of Parliament, Darren Hughes’

            Court Order
            High Court Justice Robert Dobson
            28 March 2011

            [deleted]

            [lprent: The second quote appears to me to be speculating on the nature of the complaint against Darren Hughes. You’ve done this before and been warned about it. Banned for 4 weeks. ]

  13. Adele 13

    Teenaa koe, Carol

    I am not sure that the two are comparable situations. Len Brown won not because he overcame a perceived weakness in his public persona, he won because his constituency (South Auckland) reacted strongly against the ugliness of Banks.

    Vindication of Goff as leader will only happen when Labour wins the election under his leadership. Personally, I think Goff’s public persona is so lifeless and dreary that a corpse could run against him and win – attracting the sympathy vote. at least.

    • Carol 13.1

      Len Brown won not because he overcame a perceived weakness in his public persona, he won because his constituency (South Auckland) reacted strongly against the ugliness of Banks.

      Brown was portrayed by the media as having weaknesses, which many agreed with. It was not just his constituents found Banks “ugly”. He was also strongly supported out here in west Auckland and by many in Auckland central. This was not because they found Banks “ugly”, but because, whatever Brown’s shortcomings, many of us feared what would happen to Auckland if subjected to Banks implementing Hide’s 7 NAct’s policies.

      The only political comments I hear from people I come into contact with around Auckland (including at work), arfe ones strongly critical of the current government’s & Key’s economic policies.

      The MSM underestimated the level of rejection of the right wing policies in Auckland during the council election campaigns, and focused on the individual leaders & their personalities rather than their policies. Are they doing the same again at a national level?

      • PeteG 13.1.1

        The MSM ….. focused on the individual leaders & their personalities rather than their policies. Are they doing the same again at a national level?

        Most likely, because that’s what they tend to do. It makes for easy packaging of infotainment – and let’s face it, it seems to be what a lot of viewers want, look at how they seem to clamour for all the “celebrity” crap.

        • Carol 13.1.1.1

          Chicken…. egg. I noticed when the royal couple (don’t remember their names) announced their engagement, that the main NZ news sites ran polls on public interest in it. Most who responded were not interested, and that’s from online sites where the right wing voters trend to respond most to such polls. Yet since then, the MSM have continued to foreground the royal couple. Suggests that they see it in their interests, for some reason, to continue to promote such celebrity stories, and thus, presumably, to raise the level of public interest in it.

  14. SPC 14

    Yeah well, there are a lot of stories here.

    How much can a media report when a case is under investigation – eye witness reports not known to the police, rumours about the accused etc?

    Did National leak this to create a story about Goff’s leadership and his chief whip numbers man to create diasarray in the lead up to a difficult budget (remember Muldoon held an election in 84 rather then do that year’s budget)?

    Are the srandards expected of a Minister, chief whip, spokesperson on education (is some sort of moral reputation required for this particular ministerial job or even opposition spokesperson) or MP different?

    Is the sexuality of an MP a private matter?

    As for a government with no plan and a government with a secret agenda.

    How about they have no plan for good government and no plan to get us out of a recession/create jobs? They only have an agenda that they they realise would reduce their support if they declared it. So by building up a sense of crisis – exacerbated by their lack of a plan to resolve it – suggest that the elements of their agenda might by ways of dealing with the crisis. But as this agenda was developed before we had any recession or earthquake to deal with, that’s not true.

  15. Carol 15

    Meanwhile, even though it has looked like there will be no leadership challenge going by reports over the last couple of days, Stuff/Tracy Watkins is doing her best to keep the leadership challenge story alive:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4815736/Labour-leader-Phil-Goffs-fate-may-hinge-on-the-polls

    His lack of remorse on TVNZ’s Q+A yesterday, when he was defensive and at times clearly angry about questions over the affair, has also ruffled feathers.

    I haven’t seen the qu & a segment, but judging by descriptions of it, Holmes’ questions were extremely aggressive and would have put any interviewee in a defensive position.

    It may well be that other reports got it wrong & there will be a challenge to Goff, but it’s not looking like it at the moment. Where is the balance in Watkins’ article?

    And why doesn’t the MSM put Key on the block for some of his shaky leadership on economic issues?

    Instead Stuff are foregrounding an item (which I have no desire to look at and link to – it’s on Stuff’s mainpage this morning), in which Key apparently “shows his funny side”.

    Is it too much to hope for a significant, widespread protest some day against the poor leadership for democratic debate shown by our mainstream news in covering political, economic and social issues?

    • handle 15.1

      Goff’s appearance on Q&A was notable because he didn’t get defensive. Instead he calmly, firmly – and successfully – challenged Holmes’ bluster and bullying. Great media handling, though he doesn’t answer much. See for yourself: http://tvnz.co.nz/q-and-a-news/q-paul-holmes-interviews-phil-goff-13-10-video-4088270

      The panel discussion afterwards pinged him for running lines: http://tvnz.co.nz/q-and-a-news/q-panel-discussion-phil-goff-interview-05-26-video-4088288

      • Carol 15.1.1

        I saw Goff on qu & a on TVNZ7 this arvo…. please don’t anyone recommend I watch Holmes ever again – he’s unbearable to watch – a bully & not a serious political journo.

        I tend to have the same opinion of Goff as the panel on qu & a – he’s not a great leader, but I have thought of him as reasonable & solid leader of Labour at the moment. I have thought his political judgment was OK but not that astute, for instance with how he dealt with Chris Carter. I waver between thinking Goff’s still the safest pair of hands, and thinking that he should go now – let someone else take a re-invigorated run at the election…. Shane Jones maybe? He has a rough working class appeal probably & may be able to talk usefully with Maori factions – or Robertson for leader of Labour. Parker doesn’t inspire me, but then, I still plan to vote Green Party.

        I don’t have a strong opinion on it though, and am more interested in the policies. So I’ll just wait to see how it plays out.

  16. randal 16

    So Phil Goff acted like a man instead of the groveellling wimps that Q&A usually have on.
    Phil Goff is an honourable man and he tried to do his best for someone that didnt deserve it and he gets pilloried by gluon spinless and paul the pipsqueak holmes.
    they think government is just another round of rubber chicken legs at the beehive and who kisses their ass in the street after they saw them on teevee last night.
    Its more than that and secondly holmes and co wouldnt know a real issue if it bit them on the bum.
    they are personally advantaged after the tax cuts and in reality they represent the type of privilege that wont give anything up and eventually signs its own death warrant.

  17. Samuel Hill 17

    if somebody can’t be open about their sexual preference then they can just piss off. people have a right to know something as simple as that.

  18. Samuel Hill 18

    If somebody can’t be open about their sexual preferences then they can just piss off. People have a right to know something as simple as that about somebody who they are paying to represent them in parliament.

    I’m sick of all this babyish nonsense in this country. Its no wonder our MPs on both sides of the house are filling everytone with so much fear for our future.

    • Marty G 18.1

      why is it your business which gender someone prefers to screw?

    • Lanthanide 18.2

      I assume by this measure you expect all MPs in parliament to publicly declare that they’re heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or any other other -sexuals too, right?

      I mean, you’re not expecting just the gay ones to come out and say it, so you know to avoid them?

      How do you know they’re telling the truth, anyway? What if someone, who is married, comes out and says they’re bisexual? What if they say they’re heterosexual and actually lying?

      What does any of this gain you?

    • felix 18.3

      Exactly Lanth. What does it gain you, Samuel? I bet you reckon you can pick a homo out of a line-up anyway, right?

      If we must pry into MPs’ private lives I’d rather know what’s on their iPods.

      • Samuel Hill 18.3.1

        Well firstly, if they lie about their sexual prefernce – they’re a liar.

        Secondly, I don’t see the problem. If we are supposed to be open and accepting of homosexuality in this country, then why shouldn’t they be able to tell us? It would be like somebody lying about how many children they have, wouldn’t it? WHY are people NOT open about their sexuality? Are they confused, are they afraid of potential repercussions? I don’t understand. Maybe it is easier for me because I am straight? I have no problem with anyone having a different sexuality, but I think if they can’t be honest about it then what else are they going to be hiding from us? I don’t think it sets a very good precedent for people who might be finding it hard to ‘come out’. If even people in the highest public positions are having to be cloak and dagger about their preferences.

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