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Accountability

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, August 2nd, 2009 - 48 comments
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According to the Herald Paula Bennett has said she will apologise if the complaint to the privacy commissioner is upheld.

I would have hoped that if a minister of the crown is found to have broken the law there would be a bit more accountability than an insincere “sorry”.

Especially if that unlawful action has exposed two citizens to the kind of public vitriol that has left one of them having to disconnect her phone.

So much for the accountability John Key talked about last election.

In the meantime someone should tell Bennett that an apology is something you predicate on actually being sorry, not on a having the law find against you.

Update: speaking of accountability does anyone else think it strange that in nearly 17 minutes of interview with Bennett on Q + A this morning Espiner didn’t ask a single question about breach of privacy? I can only guess it was a prearranged condition of Bennett talking. That’s not good enough for a fourth estate that is supposed to hold our politicians to account.

48 comments on “Accountability”

  1. ghostwhowalks 1

    Apology?
    Shell get a standing ovation at the National party conference

  2. Is Fuller going to say sorry for nor declaring that she had access to her ex partners credit card to pay off her two story rental property.

    Scrap that first question, is she going to be charged with fraud would be a better question to ask?

    • IrishBill 2.1

      I’ve not heard of this. You’re not just making shit up again are you Brett?

    • Zorr 2.2

      Noone is saying that someone who is guilty under law should go unpunished.

      The point here is that Paula Bennett has announced that she will apologise if she is found guilty by the Privacy commissioner. I have no idea about your personal history Brett but, where I was raised, it didn’t count as an apology if you were forced to give it. An apology is meant to be a sincere admission of potential wrongdoing and desire to atone for ones actions.

    • Swampy 2.3

      Credit card or any borrowings are not classified as income for benefit purposes.

  3. Doug 3

    It was very interesting to watch Mike Williams on Q&A this morning, he couldn’t find much wrong with Paula Bennett. In-fact he thought she would make a good Labour Party Minister.

  4. barry 4

    Apology is not worth much if it is forced by being found to have broken the rules.

  5. Ianmac 5

    “Now Paula dear. Whose been a naughty girl. Now you just say sorry to the nice ladies.”
    “Sow-wy nice ladies. It was a accident.”
    “There there Paula. That’s all fixed so we won’t ever mention it again. OK? Now how would you like a big fat ice-cream for being such a good girl?”
    “Yeth please.”

  6. felix 6

    I wonder what laws I would break if I knew that the penalty for breaking them was “making an apology”?

    • sweetd 6.1

      I wonder what laws you could break if all the police said was there was a Prima Facie case but if was not in the public interest to proceed?

      • felix 6.1.1

        Are you accusing me of something or is this just more of your usual unfocused waffle?

        • sweetd 6.1.1.1

          Felix, I have no idea who you even are, so how could I possibly accuse you of something? Lay off the dope, it is making you paranoid.

          No, this relates to the SOP of the last term of the last labour govt.

          • felix 6.1.1.1.1

            Then why are you directing the question to me?

            Oh and dope? That’s funny. Moron.

    • burt 6.2

      felix

      If all you had to do was make an apology… life must be good for MP’s eh.

      You know though, when we allow them to validate themselves because ‘others were doing it to’ then we kind of need to expect the weak self serving pricks to use the same defense again.

      Having supported it in your team you look like a hack when you protest about it in the other team. However I suspect you lack the ability to reflect on your own position in this abstract way.

  7. The fourth estate outdid itself this morning in its analysis of the issue. Kerrie Woodham, Paul Holmes and Rosemary McLeod all seemed to think that what happened is ok.

    McLeod started to discuss this issue, noted (it should have been acknowledged) that media tend to use human examples to personalise issues instead of analysing the issue itself, and then somehow committed to the line that as soon as a person is in the spotlight anything goes.

    This completely ignores the fact that we have a Privacy Act and expectations that everyone, including ministers, should abide by it.

    The only intelligent debate I have seen on this issue is in left wing blogs.

    Maybe I should save myself $5.60 per week and just stick to the good stuff?

    • Daveski 7.1

      Mickysavage

      … media tend to use human examples to personalise issues instead of analysing the issue itself.

      No, this has been a Labour party strategy which has seen Labour willingly use “civilians” – Burgess, Worth’s wahine etc.

      To then blame the media is not the intelligent debate we’re supposed to be getting here.

      • mickysavage 7.1.1

        And this is an example of obfuscation of the problem. Every time a legitimate issue is raised there is this reach for the history books (at least those written by Michael Basset) and with a shrill “but you did it too” the issue is written off because of real or apparent similar behaviour in the past by some Labour politicians.

        It really reminds me of the defence that my children used to offer me when I caught them out misbehaving “but he/she did it too” …

        • gobsmacked 7.1.1.1

          There’s a simple reason why the Celeb-Commentators don’t “get it”.

          They love publicity. It’s their meal ticket. They don’t have anything else to offer except their Z-list village fame. (As opposed to real achievers, who understand there’s a difference between success and the spotlight, who have brains instead of egos).

          The last people to understand citizens’ rights to privacy are media whores.

      • r0b 7.1.2

        No, this has been a Labour party strategy which has seen Labour willingly use “civilians’ Burgess, Worth’s wahine etc.

        Come on Daveski, you know better than that. Don’t keep pretending this is a “Labour” strategy. Gosh how is Aroha Ireland these days? There’s civilians, and then there’s children…

        • Ferdinand 7.1.2.1

          Aroha will be doing well as her mother has since been employed by Murray McCully in his electorate office (presumably at taxpayers expense).

          Coincidentally that’s also where Bennett got her start in politics.

        • Daveski 7.1.2.2

          Oh Mickey Mickey Mickey … what happened? You used to be so fine??

          You’re the one blaming the media from bringing individuals into the line of fire. I challenge you on a simple matter of fact and away you go on a tangent.

          As r0b knows, I agree that Bennett is or at least appears to be incompetent (sadly, not the only National Minister to be branded thus).

          The simple point of my comment was to respond to your view that “it’s the media’s fault”. You’re the one deflecting at present.

          NB The intelligent debate on the Standard is normally r0b (you owe me a beer one day at drinking fascistly :)). This is a political strategy adopted by both parties so don’t blame the media.

          • r0b 7.1.2.2.1

            you owe me a beer one day at drinking fascistly

            I think I’d enjoy that actually. (You know, if I could get in and out without being lynched!)

  8. Bill 8

    But isn’t Paula a victim? I mean she was just doing a job, right? And it was mean and despicable that she should have been put in the cross-hairs when she is just a ‘poor mom made good’ trying to do a job the best she can in difficult circumstances.

    Rather than be castigated should she not be held up as an exemplar for all aspiring single moms? Or would you rather bully the poor wee lass and by extension undermine the aspirations of all other DPB mums?

    Jennifer Johnston allegedly understands the detrimental consequences of baseless bullying and how she herself has been manipulated by the closet liberal DPB basher brigade to call into question the actions of ‘poor mom made good’ Paula. She has apologised accordingly.

    We should all do likewise and apologise to the rightful authority of Paula in the same way that Paula, as the expression of that rightful authority will surely and properly apologise to the higher authority of the law should it find she has transgressed it

    Dear posters, commentators and readers, with Sunday humble heads bowed, be inclusive from now on and embrace the spreading of the Palinesque in NZ politics.

  9. QoT 9

    Much as I hate to cite i>Tyra, this very much reminds me of an episode in which a pair of families swapped daughters (a conventionally pretty beauty queen and a geeky, glasses-wearing girl.) The mother of the beauty queen continually attacked the other girl for her size, and when called on it by Tyra, said, “Oh, well I’ll apologise for calling you “fat”, if that’ll make you feel better.”

    Much like that mother in the face of Tyra’s fantastically righteous indignation, I suspect Ms Bennett will just not get why her statement is not only problematic, but a total dick move.

  10. IrishBill:

    No it was a post by Fuller on the trademe message board before Bennett’s comment she even said and I quote “I know its wrong”

    I found this information over at scoop.co.nz

    They arent exactly a right wing site.

    • Relic 10.1

      BD
      Please provide a link, otherwise I call you as a bullshitter.

    • Armchair Critic 10.2

      The Trademe message boards are hardly a reliable source of information.
      No one has suggested Bennett was quoting from or referring to information she found on Trademe (otherwise we would have to ask what she was doing trawling the TM boards). She admitted she sourced the data from a WINZ database.
      Using personal information for purposes other than what is intended for when it is collected is illegal, unless the person it is collected from consents to its release. A post on something as unreliable as the TM boards hardly constitutes implied consent.
      The vicious response that resulted was entirely foreseeable, which makes the release of the information unministerial, even if it was legal (and it was not).

  11. RedLogix 11

    When will it occur to any of the sub-cretinous knuckledraggers that much of the so-called $750 pw being paid to Fuller is probably a Child Support Agreement being administered by WINZ?

    Her ex-partner is probably on a decent income, as evidenced by the nice home frequently commented on. Unless partner’s come to a private agreement (which I did many years ago), the non-custodial partner’s income is assessed… and a portion of this is paid via IRD and WINZ to the custodial parent.

    If you are on a decent income (say > $100kpa) this will easily amount to $600-800pw.

    In my case I paid a similar amount voluntarily, AND because the family home was left in our joint names for many years, I also paid the mortgage. I continued this for many years until my youngest child was 18. This sort of arrangement between ex-partners (and not all ex’s hate each other) is very common; after all this person is the mother of my children and it was in my interests to look after them as best I could manage.

    The one thing I pushed for very hard was to keep the arrangement voluntary because it allowed us both more flexibility, but even is a formal WINZ agreement is in place, it really should not preclude the father offering some extra help if he wishes to do so.

    A monumental amount of uninformed conclusion jumping has been going on here.

  12. Ianmac 12

    Redlogix: Surely you are not suggesting that Paula gave out the wrong DPB facts? Surely not. All those bashers can’t be wrong as a consequence -can they?

    • RedLogix 12.1

      I don’t know the details of these women’s financial affairs (nor do I want to), but it’s a reasonable guess.

      Moreover Labour’s Charles Chauvel heavily implied the same early on… but I think it’s likely he’s been told to back off the issue, given that the public have already been so thoroughly and irreversibly mis-led.

  13. relic:

    scoop.co.nz

  14. outofbed 14

    Fuck me Jesus
    did Bennett give Holmes a blowjob or something ?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10588083

    • RedLogix 14.1

      This affair has really flushed out the rats into the open, hasn’t it. I read that and remembered why I always thought Holmes a self-important little blowhard, whose moral compass only ever pointed to ‘what’s in it for me’.

    • andy 14.2

      I felt dirty after reading the Holmes word salad. Paul Holmes is struggling too get things right and fails to beat even a stopped clock in accuracy.

      oob in honor of your comment (Warning R18 content)

  15. SPC 15

    I wonder if Worth will be billing Bennett and English for the legal advice they now requiire.

  16. outofbed:

    Classy.

    Judging by the latest polling numbers, the majority of people support Bennett and not Fuller, and add in the fact that the protest against Bennett only had 12 people, I don’t think Fuller should continue to try and use the media.

  17. mike 17

    “Judging by the latest polling numbers”

    If phil goff keeps climbing he’ll be in double figures before 2010 – hell he’s over taken HC now is there any stopping him?

    http://curiablog.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/one-news-colmar-brunton-poll-july-2009/

    • You know the difference between the left and the right?

      The left believe in the logic of their analysis and that what they propose is best for the human race and the planet. And they are willing to argue about and justify what they believe in.

      The right do not give a f**k, all they want is power. If it does not dent their polling it is a good idea.

      Beware of Goff. He is not an Obama but he is up against Key and Key is, well, I am not sure. I do not think this is a good sign.

  18. outofbed 18

    Judging by the latest polling numbers, the majority of people support Bennett and not Fuller, and add in the fact that the protest against Bennett only had 12 people, I don’t think Fuller should continue to try and use the media.

    Yes I know it could be frustrating but we know what will happen ,the right will ppp everything insight or sell off anything not screwed down (aslong as they sell the screwdrivers first) t and after about five or six years when it all turns to crap Lab poll numbers will rise . and they will get in to try and fix up the mess the greedy bastards will leave the country in.
    It was funny in the UK all those years ago in the last years of the Thatcher regime
    You couldn’t find anybody who admitted voting for her.
    same will happen here we just have to be patient whilst whittling away.
    One just hope with these pendulum swings we gradually swing to the left over time
    Arguably that is happening or is more likely to happen if the right start the scorched earth policies that they would like too

  19. outofbed 19

    I have never taken a dollar from the taxpayer. It would not occur to me and it never occurred to me no matter how broke and down at heel I have been and believe me, I have been broke and I remember what being broke is like. In fact, I am proud to have been broke and it has been useful in my work over the years helping me understand the misery and frustrations of people in desperate situations. It has enhanced my compassion. Having no money ain’t flash.

    Well if you didn’t get financial help from the taxpayer where did he get it ?
    I mean being” broke and down at heel” and all
    Borrow it from friends (luckily he had someI suppose) or family foodbanks, soup kitchens?
    The fact that he is still alive attests to the fact that he got some help from somewhere
    No money = No food = getting really really thin =

    I think he wouldn’t know what down at heel meant if it came and bit him on the bum
    ..Twat

  20. RELIC:

    I did provide a link in my previous post.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz

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