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A sheep in wolves’ clothing

Written By: - Date published: 11:33 pm, March 22nd, 2009 - 16 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark when senior journalists like Fran O’Sullivan feel that they have to provide public relations advice to National’s errant  Ministers. It isn’t as though there aren’t enough PR people already in the Beehive to reinforce whatever John Key said about “phone-throwers or “temper tantrums”  at Cabinet last Monday.

Nick Smith has also received a personal dressing-down from Stephen Joyce about what Fran variously calls his “stand-over tactics”, “bizarre rush of blood to the head” and “breaking every governance rule in the book”.

Many people will know that’s normal for Nick. And now we know Nick has been warned, it’s what we are not warned about that’s important.

Fran goes on to say:

“The warning is apposite. There is a fine line between leveraging the impact of the recession on the financial health of the government’s own assets to create what in”management speak’ is often referred to as a “burning deck” to force radical change, and downright chicanery.”

Now for the chicanery:

“Take the financial stimulus. When talking to the Asian Wall St Journal’s  Mary Bissel, Key paints a picture which makes him the odd man out among international leaders. He is intent on major reform, cutting taxes, removing red tape and so forth.

But internally, he sells the message that his government is presiding over a fiscal stimulus which is the sixth-largest in the world”

So to the PR advice:

Most Kiwis are tuned into what’s happening on the international stage and will accept the rationale Key trotted out for Bissel, if he runs a similar line at his own conferences with domestic reporters.”

Most Kiwis don’t have clue what’s coming at us. As for domestic reporters, the business pages have for some time now been far  more informative than the political ones. But there is no excuse for a senior journalist like Fran who does both.

Oh for a Jon Stewart Down Under!

16 comments on “A sheep in wolves’ clothing ”

  1. lprent 1

    Saw that as well. Extraordinary, and she is right. Something has fallen apart in the Key government.

    The problem is that being a government is about running a country for the future. Unfortunately this government thinks it is all looking like they are in control of the country. Consequently so they are fluffing around changing things with no overall cohesion.

    Feels like that ministers have all been given activity based performance targets. So they are all rushing around to increase activity in a reflexive right wing fashion (ie vaguely wingnut) with no real goals in mind apart from that it cannot cost real money in the short-term. It is all dead chicken reflexes, and if they had a plan, it seems to have dissipated under the looming black budget..

    To date the only one who seems to be doing their job is Findlayson.

  2. Key’s announcement this morning that workers will be able to sell their 4th week’s holiday this morning is a classic example of this. The 9 day working fortnight is meant to share the work around so that more workers can keep their jobs. This latest announcement runs totally counter to this because workers will be urged to work longer and the work will NOT be shared around and more workers will lose their jobs.

    You really do the the feeling that the 9 day fortnight was a PR exercise for the masses and the holiday buy back a PR exercise for National’s friends. And both will work against each other.

    Rod Oram this morning was dismissive of the prospects of the 9 day fortnight working. Workers will not want to give up wages, employers will not want to pay more and the training schemes are not there.

    We seem to have precious little left in terms of Government activity. A string of projects started by the previous Government and a cycleway? And continued blundering (or is that sabotage?) in areas such as Auckland’s rail projects that will delay the upgrade at a time when the environmental outlook demands firm decisive action.

    Makes you feel all nostalgic about Helen.

  3. Tom Semmens 3

    Nothing is wrong with the Key government – what we are seeing is our very own mini-me Dubya. John Key is an ineffectual right wing “compassionate conservative” who is happy to just be prime minister. His primary role is to distract the media and hoodwink us all while the real movers and shakers get on with cashing their political cheques with National.

    The vacuum of his non-leadership is being filled with an enormous *BOOM!!!* by right wing lobby groups coalescing around individual ministers and/or cabinet cliques and, just like Dubya’s disasterous eight years, economic policy will increasingly be written by and for a rapacious kleptocracy as we revert to capitalism N.Z. style. Oh and what goes for economic policy will go for social policy to, as the extremist cultural warriors of Family Fist and The Vicious Sentencing Trust will be given a free hand to re-write our laws to try and turn the social clock back fifty years.

  4. ak 4

    The tories have never had any “plan” other than winning elections at all costs. They proved this in 05 by shamelessly plumbing the gutter with Orewa One and offering the unprecedented vote-buying “tax cuts” – then brazenly purloining Labour policy in 08.

    Since then they’ve merely “ticked off” the pathetic and patchy 100-day bullet points and continued the shallow PR blitz via the jobs molehill and random, disjointed sops to the base.

    The real elephant in the room that they are desperate to divert attention from is not the coming depression: it’s the fact that their now-never-mentioned seminal market ideology is directly, irrefutable, and demonstrably responsible for the misery ahead.

    And that their shiny 50-million-dollar Nice Man is one of the greedy wide-boys intimately involved and responsible. Never mind the AIG thieves: how about our own smiling fatcat?

  5. Tim Ellis 5

    Interesting post John A. You wrote:

    Nick Smith has also received a personal dressing-down from Stephen Joyce about what Fran variously calls his “stand-over tactics'[…]

    Do you have a reference for the claim that this conversation took place, John A?

  6. rave 6

    The expectation that Key ‘stimulate’ the NZ economy by boosting wages, is unreasonable. NZ is a tiny dependent appendix to the US and other economies. The big banks and corporates that are being ‘stimulated’ in the US, UK, EU and Australia, own NZ’s key resources. So its logical that Johnboy should stimulate them by milking what wealth is left in NZ, which means that NZ goes down the same drain as any other neo-colony whose politicians are just the franchisees of monopoly finance capital.

    The only way out for workers is to make the country ungovernable, get rid of National, and put in place a government capable of taking back all those privatised assets, doing a full accounting of public subsidies to the private sector and take a controlling share in all the key sectors in the mother of all public private partnerships where the public has the controlling interest.

    captcha: nice picture of Chrysler going down the drain

  7. Tim Ellis 7

    Rave wrote:

    The only way out for workers is to make the country ungovernable, get rid of National, and put in place a government capable of taking back all those privatised assets, doing a full accounting of public subsidies to the private sector and take a controlling share in all the key sectors in the mother of all public private partnerships where the public has the controlling interest.

    So what you’re talking about is a c*mmunist coup that usurps the democratic decision of just a few months ago.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      It wouldn’t be a coup but a democratic revolution brought about by the dictatorial aspects of the supposedly democratic decision of a few months ago.

    • Snail 7.2

      TE,
      the democratic decision of just a few months ago.

      might you concede deceived democratic decision..>

  8. rave 8

    Judge Tim:
    I thought I was being restrained your honour.

    Felix:
    captcha: Lowry chrysler’s
    you have to use your imagination

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