A matter of trust

Written By: - Date published: 11:56 am, October 15th, 2008 - 42 comments
Categories: election 2008, john key, slippery - Tags:

The Youtube debate was a bit of a let down to me because TV1 chose to play the least penetrating questions, allowing the leaders to pretty much stick to their stock answers. The only question that really broke through the pre-prepared stuff was Shane Taurima’s query about whether it is true that, as Pita Sharples is claiming, Key has privately told him National will abandon its policy to abolish the Maori seats. Key tried to evade and avoided outright denying it. Instead, he said ‘well, there’s no formal agreement’ etc. If he couldn’t outright deny a private promise to Sharples there is only one logical conclusion: that private promise has been made. Which means that National is running on a false platform regarding the Maori seats. Key needs to be questioned about this further. It’s not just a policy issue, it’s a matter of integrity and trust. The voting public has a right know National’s real policy.

On a related note, I get annoyed when I hear people like Therse Arseneau pompously say that events like the Springbok Tour might matter to people who were there at the time but not to those of us who are younger. Contrary to what a bunch of middle-aged people say, my experience is that the Springbok Tour does matter to people of my generation. We studied it at high school alongside the history of apartheid in South Africa. We grew up hearing of it as Kiwis standing up for justice. Along with the women’s vote and the nuclear ban, we see this as part of a proud tradition of New Zealand leading the world, standing up for what’s right (even if that’s not the reality, it is the myth). The protests are iconic to us and we have always been told the story from the side of the protesters. For me, and I would think many others of my age, when I see Clark stand proud with the actions of the protesters she is standing with that proud tradition, whereas Key’s vacillating pro-tour position seems to be attacking part of the New Zealand national story. Basically, Clark seems patrotic, while Key (as in other areas) seems to be talking New Zealand down. And again, it’s not just the issue of where he stood on the Tour, it’s that he tried to avoid telling us. Again, it comes down to trust.

42 comments on “A matter of trust”

  1. higherstandard 1

    No SP you get annoyed when anyone takes a view that you tend to disagree with.

    Of course Helen is patriotic just as JK is, for bloggers of the left or right to suggest that either of them don’t have a deep patriotism for NZ is absurd and speaks more about the individual bloggers prejudices towards Helen or JK.

  2. Dom 2

    It’s a plainly stupid remark to make – by that logic nothing that happened before you were alive matters which is absurd. As you point out, the Tour reframed our entire political thinking, as did banning nuclear ships did the same. So did the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior. The Queen St riots. These were nation building events – they affected how we think about each other and the world. For a man who is keen to tell us how politically savvy he is, this seems an oddly impotent thing to say.

    HS – Key keeps talking about wanting a brighter future for New Zild – where is this foreign sounding place?

  3. deemac 3

    I want to take issue with Steve’s advice to vote Labour/Green. Using the party vote for the Greens in order to move Labour to the left only works as a strategy if you are sure there will be a Labour-led government. That is clearly not the case; the only way to ensure a Labour-led government that the Greens can influence is to give two ticks to Labour. Anything else is self-indulgence. I have already spoken to too many woolly headed liberals who are going to vote Green because they are seen as “nice”. I expect the clear thinkers who read the Standard to get real. If there’s a Nat govt it will make bugger all difference how many MPs the Greens have.

  4. burt 4

    The protests are iconic to us and we have always been told the story from the side of the protesters.

    Not trying to undermine the significance of that time, however along with the protestors there were stories from;

    The rugby playes
    The police
    A few people dressed as clowns who got a beating

    I wouldn’t take any one story as being the complete and accurate version without weighing the other stories as well. .

  5. Ianmac 5

    The importance of the stories on Sharples and the Springboks is not so much of what is the true answer or not, so much as what does this tell you about the honesty/credibilty of John. Soper got caned by many on other Blogs, for bringing it up. If you look past the planned patter heard on the debate, I think that those two topics eclipse the rest.

  6. Joanna 6

    While I think issues like the Springbok tour are still very important (and still relevant), I have to say, as someone who was not quite born when the tour happened, the question in last nights debate seemed out of place, and a lot less pressing than other topics.

    I would have rather seen that time used to ask both leaders whether their earlier promises (ie: not to sell assets etc) still stand in light of the new finanical situation the world see’s itself in.

    Finally, given that John Key had supported the tour (which he seemed to, eventually, reluctantly admit), if he says now, with 27 years worth of hindsight he wouldn’t support something similar, then I have no problem with that.

  7. Daveski 7

    From the Granny:

    Labour is designing a potentially large spending plan to stimulate the economy – but will not say before the election how much it might spend or how much it might add to Government debt.

    Trust us, we know what we are doing? Sledgehammer is some how appropriate.

    Trust us to flip flop – lending to fund infrastructure?

    It would also be dangerous to use any single issue to define people. On that basis, SP and I would be bros in arms (have the badges, own war stories to bore you with).

    Frankly, I thought Key’s answer was a bit weak and he could have played his cards a little better. Even at Auckland Uni at the time, there was a motivated anti-tour group, a motivated pro-tour group, and the biggest group of all were those who didn’t care and didn’t get involved.

  8. higherstandard 8

    Dom

    Indeed the accent is a bit strong at times as is Helen’s. Perhaps it was a plot by C/T to make him more appealing to the mythical “average Nzer”

    At least neither of them appear to have developed Jim Bolger’s habit of mimicking accents which at times was excruciating to watch/listen to.

  9. burt 9

    Joanna

    Almost all of my mates at high school supported the tour at that time – they played rugby… I’m picking very few of them would support it today with the benefit of maturity and hindsight.

    It’s just one more mole-hill that supporters of the Labour party choose to make a mountain out of.

  10. Rose 10

    SP.
    as a undecided voter could you please explain the December “mini budget” and why the incumbent government wont release what will be in it and what it intends to do just before the election,……….sounds like a secret agenda to me? If the government Knows the state of the books and the mini budget is for the good of NZ why not release it before nov 8th so the public can democratically judge it?

    Remember this ones about TRUST!!

  11. ak 11

    …it’s not just the issue of where he stood on the Tour, it’s that he tried to avoid telling us.

    Mmmm….”mildly pro-tour” now eh? And yet last year he clearly stated that he “couldn’t remember” where he stood on the Tour.

    Sorry Steve, but on the balance of probability, someone who admits having wanted to be PM since he was 13, having spirited political arguments with his mother and idolising Muldoon, wasn’t “avoiding” – he was lying through his teeth.

    And when he “couldn’t remember” whether Crosby-Textor was advising him (despite regular meetings, and having hired them one week after taking the leadership)?

    And when asked if anyone from the National Party had met Lord Ashcroft? “I think so” – despite having met him himself?

    TransRail shares?

    Pita Sharples “wrong” re Maori seats assurance?

    Shhhhh……hear that? That’s a litany.

  12. Nick 12

    It’s quite clear why Soper raised it in my view. There is talk about a tape in existence from *that* cocktail function that might show Key to talk disparagingly of Maori and PI’s. Who knows if it exists. But if there is someone out there who remembers Key supporting the tour then by linkage it could be implied he is ‘racist’ (that would mean that tour supporters also supported apartheid which is absurd, but is an argument). With the Maori Party possibly holding the BOP these types of things could be critical and I think this is where this is heading IMHO.

    Sad, I know.

  13. Bill 13

    Given that Therese Arseneau is not a Kiwi, I reckon you might want to cut her some slack on that one Steve.

    To non-Kiwis, the tour and other historical markers important to Kiwis can seem a bit fetishist to outsiders.

    No big deal. The same happens in other countries when outsiders are commenting. They sometimes miss the cultural significance/ impact of events.

    On the debate coverage, I found the adverts in between segments more informative than the so-called analysis of the debate (which I’d missed) and the TV was on mute at those times.

    Having watched a wee bit on youtube, it struck me that nobody had told these jokers ( they were both ridiculous after their own fashion) that they were now not in parliament; that they should conduct themselves in a grown up way and not expect a ‘speaker’ to shout “Order!” to end their ‘schoolyard bickering’ attitude.

    I was just left wondering, yet again, why we so much as give politicians the time of day. Doesn’t say much for us that we are willing to have them run affairs on our behalf.

  14. Joanna 14

    Burt,
    I think that was the point I was trying to make, people are allowed to learn from experience.
    Don’t get me wrong, I think John Key has handled this very poorly by refusing, on multiple occasions, to give this issue a straight answer so it could be done with. I think this is a general pattern he seems to adopt on many issues (hence the “slippery” tag) and it makes me highly uncomfortable.

    However, with time so limited in these debates, and a total lack of depth on any topic, it was my feeling that crucial time was wasted with this question. It could have been given a modern framework (Zimbabwae, for example), but totally isolated, it was a waste of time.

  15. burt 15

    Bill

    Correct, Therese Arseneau would not understand that to us (NZ people) the tour was more important than any other protest ever in any country at any time because Helen Clark supported the protestors.

    [lprent: Cool you’ve gravatared..]

  16. Rose. Cullen detailed what will be in it yesterday. Basically, bringing forward some spending on infrastructure (rail, public transport, schools) to help stimulate the economy. Slowing some other, less important things down to allow reassigning existing government spending to areas that are now of higher priority. They’re not going to be putting any major unannounced policies in there. They’ve guaranteed the tax cuts, which are already written into the law.

    When economic events change sharply responsible governments change their plans.

    I can’t help but notice that National hasn’t changed it’s plans for the economy at all – still tax cuts for the rich, minor tinkering with the RMA to lessen community power, removing work rights, and the legendary cap on public servants (which includes police and corrections and which other National policies have invalidated because they would require more staff)

  17. milo 17

    Trust? I agree with Daveski, you can trust Labour to flip-flop.

    Flip-flop on showers
    Flip-flop on building compliance costs
    Flip-flop on borrowing
    Flip-flop on infrastructure spending
    Flip-flop on tax cuts
    Flip-flop on the Electoral Finance Act
    Flip-flop on trust funding
    Flip-flop on smacking
    Flip-flop on Philip Field

    What else will they flip-flop on?

    And what about this secret mini-budget? Talk about a secret agenda. Why can’t Labour be upfront about what they plan to do? Is it because it would lose them votes?

  18. bobo 18

    Therse Arseneau irritates me she comes on as the moral authority and offers guidance to viewers on what to think with her think tank surveys. There is no logic in most things political. Did the media fabricate the showergate or is closeup and Campbell live just a PR agency for the dam plumbers association trying to flog high end shower nozzles that need more water than the amazon river…

    I see the latest idea of bringing back 40% of the super to NZ as a pre-emptive move to use it to fund the telecom 700 million broadband spend so Kiwis can improve productivity by downloading illegal movies and porn at high speed, yay. Since when was the internet actually proven to increase productivity in regards to most people’s jobs, add up all those trademe browsing hours of Aucklanders every morning before the boss gets in , you would have enough downtime for a few weeks extra holiday each year.

  19. Ari 19

    HS- I’m sure John Key views himself as patriotic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that his idea of patriotism gels with our idea. I can’t see how anyone can claim to like New Zealand and our values and still have been pro-tour. That’s like the KKK calling themselves “patriots”. It might be true to them, but a lot of us would disagree very strongly. (Not that I want to equate being pro-tour with being a member of the KKK- they’re very different positions) I’m also very suspicious that he thinks New Zealand is a great place with how much he talks down everything that’s happened since Labour took power. I suspect that’s political expediency, but that still pisses me off.

    Milo- coming up with a better solution isn’t the same as flip-flopping. I’m also not sure what you’re referring to with some of those examples.

  20. Ianmac 20

    Milo: You baffle me! I can’t see one thing on your list that even suggests lack of trust. “Are ya havin a larf?”

  21. insider 21

    Ari given that the country was fairly split on the tour issue (or did you not notice the hundreds of thousands of unpatriotic NZers in the stands at games?), I’d say that comment gets the ‘arrogant f-wit of the day’ award.

  22. Daveski 22

    Ari

    Again I think it’s revisionist to see the anti-tour movement as being representative of “our” values.

    As with all opposition groups, the anti-tour movement brought together a wide range who were opposed to the tour but would have differed on many other issues.

    For some, the issue was about racism – including in NZ, – while for others this was about South Africa.

    Funnily enough, those who supported the tour at the time saw themselves as the true patriots and the view at the time was that those who opposed the tour were the traitors. This was particularly so in the provinces. As I’ve noted, hindsight is great and the version of the truth has accordingly been adjusted.

    It was a strange question and a strange answer (clearly not rehearsed so CT will have to offer a discount).

  23. Milo, flip-flop—I am sure you recognise this unkiwi language when you see it. So why use it?

  24. higherstandard 24

    Ari

    That is amongst the most fatuous things I have ever read, although perhaps I have misunderstood what you’re trying to say.

    Are you suggesting that the NZ Rugby Union and all the members of the All Blacks and their support staff at the time of the tour were and are not patriotic NZers.

    If so, and as some of them are family friends, I can assure you that you are way off the mark.

    Trying to smear JK as somehow like the KKK and not as a patriotic NZer is also pretty low and not what I’ve come to expect from your comments.

  25. Felix 25

    Ari of course there were “patriotic” kiwis who were pro-tour – about half of the country actually. And of course they were wrong, which many of them recognise now.

    The problem for Key is he should have said “I supported the tour at the time, I was wrong and now I know better”. He didn’t say that because he was being slippery and he squirmed and ummed and aahhed and missed his chance to look honest about it.

    But seriously let’s not go down the “who’s a bigger patriot” road.

    It really means nothing as it’s largely subjective and no-one running for political office is ever going to admit to being unpatriotic.

    It might as well be “who cares more about puppies”.

  26. insider 26

    Ari

    Also, using your standard, if you are suspicious of JK on his dislike of Labour policies how does HC’s regular references to failed policies of the 90s make you feel? Does that piss you off as well? What about the fact most of the failed policies haven’t been reversed?

  27. randal 27

    all the problems facing the new zealand economy were addressed in the world bank report of 1968. nothing has changed since then. the only firm to rise above it has been f&p with their particular brand of specialised niche manufacturing. As a self proclaimed economics expert Keys did not address any economic fundamentals but kept talking about the things he is going to cut so as to extract profit for his friends but pretending that he had some interest in their expansion. what a fibber.

  28. insider 28

    Randal

    This would be the niche manufacturing that they are sending to Thailand would it? Or would it be the niche manufacturing of the kind such as Sovereign Yachts do?

  29. randal 29

    no it woulod be anything made exclusively in new zealand and commanding a premium in world markets or do you suggest we make things that cant compete on price or quality. speak up!

  30. randal 30

    or do you think we should just have a capital market in every town taking money off suckers?

  31. insider 31

    I thought we were going to ride the knowledge wave and write off farming as a revenue stream?

    I actually agree with you on NZ having a future on niche manufacturing, particularly as manufacturing globalises. But you said F&P were the only exemplar of such and yet they are going offshore. I suspect we will have more opportunities in niches that are intimitely linked to our core areas of advantage – agriculture and silviculture. I think there are some interesting laminate companies around, we should be experts in manufacturing equipment for the dairy and sheep industries, as well as other related knowledge industries. Maybe boats as well. We won’t have scale in most others.

  32. Roflcopter 32

    “Ari of course there were “patriotic’ kiwis who were pro-tour – about half of the country actually. And of course they were wrong, which many of them recognise now.”

    Ya kidding right? We all went to watch a game of rugby…. that’s all… didn’t give a shit about the politics either side of the debate where sport was involved…. and still don’t.

  33. Felix 33

    Who ever said “write off farming as a revenue stream”?

    Roflcopter I was talking about regular ordinary kiwis, not about inbreds like yourself. Ask Ross Meurant what he thinks about the tour.

  34. lprent 34

    insider:

    Farming will always be around. But it keeps getting smarter and more efficient, ie fulfilling the requirements for a knowledge based economy. However we also have considerable natural advantages to actually farming here. So I think it will persist. That has been the case ever since I looked at it as a possible career in the late 70’s. The biggest hassle with it is the capital costs of getting into a farm.

    Dumb manufacturing isn’t actually a knowledge wave, we don’t really have that many natural advantages and a huge disadvantage in distances to markets. Designing things to be manufactured and how to market them is what we want to keep here. Where I work at present, we design both the hardware and software here. Some of the manufacturing takes place here especially while prototyping or doing small batches. But large batches are usually made offshore. Most of the value is in the IP, and the products are sold everywhere in a vertical market.

    My previous job was pure IP. We did not physically ship anything anywhere. We charged people for a login to our servers. Again sold throughout the world into a narrow vertical market.

    The knowledge economy is already here and has been for a while. I haven’t worked in anything else for about 15 years. But it isn’t large companies, it is in a lot of smaller companies supplying the world in vertical markets.

    Of course, like farmers, we spin off benefits to all around us from the overseas income we make as people provide us goods and services.

  35. lprent 35

    hs et al:
    I’m more concerned about keeping the morons from the Nay’s from doing things like deregulating building inspections as they did in the 90’s. At present most of my earnings are being sucked up with fixing the results of some national party wanker’s ideas about reducing the civil services. ie a Leaky building.

    They did that to ‘reduce red tape’. A phrase that I’m sure I heard Key say last night in relation to housing. Like every good tory, if you fuck it up once, then that just means you should try to fuck it up harder next time.

    Spent quite a while last night scrabbling around for documents from 10 years ago to provide to a lawyer. All because some fuckwit tory boy with a set of bland phrases and no common sense believed their own rhetoric and changed a perfectly sensible law to require stringent quality tests on product designed to last 60+ years.

    Key looks like one of those clueless tory morons. More concerned with sounding good rather than doing good.

  36. gobsmacked 36

    Update on the Sharples story, from NBR:

    “Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples maintains John Key told him Maori seats would not be abolished if National went into government with the Maori Party, despite Key’s denials on a TVNZ leaders debate last night.

    Mr Key was asked yesterday whether he had told Mr Sharples privately he would drop National’s policy of abolishing the seats sometime after 2014 as the price of Maori party support, and said Mr Sharples was “wrong.”

    However Mr Sharples will claim tonight on an Alt TV minor parties debate: “I was not wrong.”

    Mr Sharples said he had explained his bottom lines to Mr Key, who had agreed with them.”

  37. Roflcopter 37

    Felix, that’s a great comment coming from someone from a gene pool so shallow even the kiddies can’t paddle.

    You make the assumption that anyone who wasn’t anti-tour must have been pro-tour by default. My interest was a game of rugby at Lancaster Park, just like a good proportion of the so-called anti-tour protestors who didn’t give a toss about the political reasons for the protest, but were just out to cause trouble for the police.

  38. rave 38

    Bobo

    You are right. Key has just said that the 40% super fund invested in NZ would fund PPPs.
    So here we have the Merrill Lynch faker setting our super up for socialism for the rich downunder. Of course he has the management skills.
    This is Rogernomics asset grab mark 2 with a vengeance.

  39. higherstandard 39

    Lynn have you had a bad day ?

    That was an uncharacteristically bizarre and bigoted rant at 4.37, have you been channelling SP ?

    To blame leaky buildings on some “fuckwit tory boy” is what I’d expect from him.

    It’s worthwhile noting that if builders had used sensible time proven designs and treated timber we’d have far less of a problem with leaky homes/buildings, nothing wrong with good old brick and tile or weather board.

    I’d suggest a swim at the beach to chill out – I’ve just come back in from a dip at Takapuna…… feels like Summer is on the way at last.

  40. bobo 40

    Getting ThinkBig flashbacks anyone? Will Labour start using this reference for national using Pension fund to pay for Telecom broadband, poor old telecom only made 500mil net profit this year why do they need any gov money ? Also I heard on news that the pension money should be used to back NZ enterprise all well and good but very risky, it should be invested in moderate risk not high risk and spread over different markets.

  41. Felix 41

    Roflcopter:
    “My interest was a game of rugby at Lancaster Park”

    Actually, my dim witted little friend, that does make you pro-tour.

    That’s what “pro-tour” means.

  42. Paul Robeson 42

    SP. +1

    The Springbok tour is a bit like our anti-Chinese immigration policies, the failure to recognise the treaty as legally valid, our administration of Samoa or any bit of the historical record that implicates us.

    Sir Edmund Hillary is not a man that matters only to old people. We must own our travesties, next to our triumphs.

    The government’s racist policies meant that John Walker’s gold medal was not won against his African rival. The African nations boycotted the Olympics because of our sporting contacts with South Africa.

    It is, of course, particularly partisan. None of those who complain at length about the current election law, will complain about the innordinate power given to the rural marginal seats in the election that followed the tour. They are not likely to complain either about the two election wins by a party that got a minority of the vote.

    It suits the National party to have this important moment in our history down played. It reminds us why MMP is such an important change in our voting system, and it questions the legitimacy of one of their longest serving Prime Ministers. Can you imagine a current politician getting away with giving the fingers to a protesting crowd?

    It is also a quiet but proud achievement of the Kirk Labour government. They, along with initiating our policy of officially protesting nuclear testing in the Pacific, refused to allow a tour on the advice of the police commisioner that public safety could not be guaranteed.

    The tour protest movement is something to be proud about as a New Zealander.

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