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Alfred Ngaro reprimanded for being “naïve”

Written By: - Date published: 7:54 am, May 15th, 2017 - 52 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, censorship, community democracy, democracy under attack, national, Politics, same old national, spin, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,

Was Alfred Ngaro’s statement to the Auckland Regional Conference of the National Party evidence of naivety or evidence that National wants to suppress all opposition?

From the Herald:

Associate Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro has been reprimanded and apologised to Prime Minister Bill English for “naïve” comments which appeared to warn Labour candidate Willie Jackson of consequences if he attacked National on its housing policies.

Ngaro’s comments at National’s northern regional conference were reported by Newsroom, which said Ngaro appeared to suggest Willie Jackson could lose Government support for his organisation’s bid for a second charter school and Whanau Ora contracts should Jackson criticise National on the campaign trail.

“We are not happy about people taking with one hand and throwing with the other,” Ngaro reportedly said.

Newsroom reported he had issued a warning “not to play politics with us:” “If you get up on the campaign trail and start bagging us then all the things you are doing are off the table.

Jackson was the head of the Manukau Urban Maori Authority which runs a charter school in Mangere and has a Government contract to deliver the Whanau Ora social programme.

Naive? Is this the best they can come up with? He threatened everyone who criticises the Government with having the prospects of contracts with the Government being removed. This is third world banana republic stuff.

But this is the defence that National is running.

Finance Minister Steven Joyce said the comments were inappropriate and Ngaro had apologised to English, deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett and Joyce.

“He got a bit carried away. It’s not the way we operate. We work all the time with providers who have different political views. It’s important you do that and we certainly don’t look to take an approach where a provider would get penalised for their political views. It’s fine to disagree with people politically but to make any suggestion it might impact on your relationship with government, that’s where it’s overstepping the mark.”

He put Ngaro’s comments down to a rookie mistake and frustration with the way National’s policies were being portrayed.

“But he realises what he said was over stepping the mark. He’s very disappointed in himself.”

I’m sorry but it is the way that National operates.  If you need evidence then look here and here.  As an early example these women who criticised government benefit policy had their personal details released by Paula Bennett.  Or the Problem Gambling Foundation whose contracts were not renewed for apparently opposing Government policy?

And if you want more detailed information on what is happening then this report prepared on the democratic reality for New Zealand’s community and voluntary sector provides chilling reading. The report’s conclusion is captured in this paragraph:

While New Zealand’s community and voluntary sector organisations have in the past been a strong and necessary voice for the most marginalised of our society, since the 1980s their place in democratic conversations has come under challenge, almost to the point where for some groups the only option is to remain silent. Responses to our survey demonstrate that the community and voluntary sector in New Zealand is not simply silenced by disapproving governments, they have been constrained by the very mode of governance that has come to dominate in the early part of the 21st century. The silencing is achieved by disciplining the sector through state funded contracts which encompass strong managerial requirements for accountability, auditing, measuring, and evaluating outputs. The move from a welfare state to a neo-liberal contract state constrained the conditions that underpin a healthy relationship between the state and the community and voluntary sector. There is a lack of trust between these two sectors; reduced space for experimentation in programme delivery or innovation as new “social issues” arose; and, there was little in the way of a longer term vision for those areas of policy response in which the community and voluntary sector was seen to be responsible (outcomes needed to be achieved with one-off projects in short time frames). The result is a community and voluntary sector that almost continually must check itself to ensure that it does not “bite the hand that feeds it”.

And how naive do we expect our Cabinet Ministers to be?  Don’t they know about the Cabinet Manual and in particular clause 3.16(c) which requires Ministers to take care to ensure that their actions could not be construed as improper intervention in operational or contractual decisions that are the responsibility of the chief executive.  In more healthy democracies this type of event results in Ministers losing their warrant.

To my mind the most upsetting aspect was Ngaro’s threat to Radio New Zealand.  RNZ is a beacon of professional journalistic independence.  Without it the media coverage of this Government would be severely weakened.

Willie Jackson will be complaining to the Prime Minister.  As he should.  Government contracts should not be dependant on the docility of the organisation applying.

Ngaro is an interesting person.  He is part of National’s christian conservative brigade and clearly holds rather authoritarian views.  Views that are clearly out of place in a properly functioning democracy.

52 comments on “Alfred Ngaro reprimanded for being “naïve””

  1. rob 1

    Naivety or just a bully boy? smacks of that Collins and blubber boy attack double those that attack them. just more proof of how nasty and vile these rwnj are.

    • Johan 1.1

      “Naivety”, not really! This type of filth is all part of the National Party culture. Collins, the dirty politics coming out of the prime minister’s second office, Paula, and liar John Key all dropping and trying to pick-off individuals. This is typical behaviour of Tory ratbags.

      • In Vino 1.1.1

        Hypocritical too. Truly stupid people do not know that they are stupid. In the same way, I would suggest that truly naïve people do not know that they are naïve. An escape-word from a bunch of spinners. And he apologised to the wrong people… Total idiot, unlikely to go far in politics.
        Maybe Martyn Bradbury has an interesting point – why are Labour not calling for his resignation (Cunliffe’s resignation was called for over a far lesser and totally fictitious matter)? If Blinglish sacks him before Labour has even called for it, is that not a win for National?

  2. lprent 2

    I suspect that the naive part was stating National’s active policy in public. It was too honest for even hypocrites to swallow.

  3. Ad 3

    That distinction between “advocate” and “charitable” when an NGO seeks charitable status is also pretty mean in this country.

    I am particularly looking forward to the Supreme Court decision in the Ruataniwha Dam decision. Forest and Bird is an advocacy organisation that attracts pretty big donors and plenty of pro bono legal grunt. I like supporting them.

    If anyone is considering selling out of Auckland or semi-retiring, worth considering which NGO they could contribute to, to give our remaining nodes of opposition as strong a voice as possible.

  4. That was a great scoop by newsroom. What a dickhead Ngaro is.

    • Johan 4.1

      Darien, how could you say that about one of our minister? After all he is a man of the cloth and knows best;-))))))

  5. ianmac 5

    Wonder if Ngaro’s comments were deliberate. Make a threat, then withdraw it but leave the sense of the message just the same. By getting Ngaro to make the threat on behalf of the big names, that leaves them in the clear. No?

  6. Karen 6

    Toby Manhire on the The Spinoff has written a brilliant analysis of Ngaro” apology and what he is really saying.

    https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/14-05-2017/alfred-ngaros-heartfelt-apology-what-he-said-and-what-he-meant/

    • RedLogix 6.1

      Exactly. I’ve history with being willing to give people a second chance. We all fuck up; I’m an expert. But this simply does not cut mustard.

      When you look at the Ngaro’s presentation … ‘naive’ does not apply. He knew precisely what he was saying.

      • tc 6.1.1

        Exactly. Calculated threats delivered in an unambiguous manner by a national supercity based througher.

  7. The decrypter 7

    Round one to Jackson. Ngaro is dazed, walked into corner post, Fox is in his corner frantically fanning him with a Maori party towel .

    • mickysavage 7.1

      Heh

    • “Mr Jackson told Morning Report Mr Ngaro’s comments were “unprecedented” and “very disappointing”.

      “I’ve never heard of a minister threatening a community organisation like this.

      “It’s a direct threat and its a worry for me.

      “I’ve got over 100 people who work for me and we serve thousands in our community and we have contracts right across the state sector.”

      He said it was not just about him, it was about the rights of the community.”

      Bill English says he would “go back and check through the decisions Mr Ngaro had made to ensure they were not based on the political views of his opponents”.

      Ngaro has handed this to Jackson on a plate, given him a cudgel with which Jackson can gently beat him, wide-eyed and naively, to a pulp (politically).

  8. North 8

    Don’t believe a shred of this shit – ‘I was naive and wrong and I’ve apologised to the PM (and whichever minister)….’ Smacks of so many past apologies made to Key by his underlings. They’ve still got the message out there – ‘Quit bagging us or we’ll use our power against you….’ Scum they are.

  9. Rosemary McDonald 9

    The Grey/Sedgewick report “Fears, constraints and contracts” linked to in the post is an in depth report on the relationship between NGOs and respective governments.

    While National has taken bullying to a whole new level, under Labour the relationship between NGOs and their associated Ministries was less than perfect and it behooves Those Who Aspire to Lead Us to read the report entire, and take note.

    The enthusiastic embrace of neo liberalism by both Labour and National has ensured that the provision of taxpayer funded services and supports are almost totally dependent on NGOs….in fact…it lends a great deal of credibility for a government to be able to broadcast the fact that relationships have been formed with respected ‘charities’….exploiting the public’s existing trust of such organisations.

    To some of us over the past decade or so….it has become the measure of an organisation’s effectiveness as advocates if the organisation’s government funding is reduced or removed.

    Perhaps the Labour/Green alliance could have a wee(but urgent) think about this issue and come up with a policy toot sweet? 🙂

  10. james 10

    If you need evidence then look here and here.

    There are no hyperlinks in that sentence.

    • Whadda ya think about Ngaro’s threatening behaviour, James? Dirty politics? Unethical? Typical of right-wing politicians? Revealing of National Party thinking?

      • James 10.1.1

        I think the word I would use is disgusting. He should be held to account – an apology is not good enough.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1.1

          Guilty of telling the truth about existing policy.

          Guilty of letting the mask slip, of exposing the National Party for what it is.

          No wonder he regrets it.

        • The decrypter 10.1.1.2

          Spot on james,

        • Robert Guyton 10.1.1.3

          Well said, James. Little’s selection of Willie Jackson has turned out to be an excellent one, hasn’t it, given the opportunity that’s been presented to him now by Ngaro.

        • mac1 10.1.1.4

          Absolutely, James, and the Prime Minister on Radio NZ this morning had to have the interviewer, Guyon Espiner, point out the relevant Cabinet Manual section pertaining to conduct such as that shown by Ngaro- conduct that English said was ‘wrong’.

          I suspect John Key might have been more proactive, eckshully, on this type of conduct for a Minister.

          • keepcalmcarryon 10.1.1.4.1

            Nah Key would have been relaxed about it.
            Anyone got Ngaros number? Theres a restaurant in Hanmer he’d enjoy.

        • North 10.1.1.5

          Respect for your frankness James.

  11. It’s a Sicilian message
    by Andrew Geddis
    Alfred Ngaro appears to think the Government can stop its critics taking part in government programmes. That’s not just wrong from a political morality standpoint, it’s flat out illegal.”

    “Furthermore, I can’t help but wonder if Ngaro has actually all but guaranteed the Manukau Urban Māori Authority’s success in its future applications to participate in government programmes. Because if it does get turned down, there’s a good chance that it would head off to court to challenge that refusal on the basis that it was motivated by unlawful discrimination.”

    Read more @Pundit

    • Rosemary McDonald 11.1

      “Read more @Pundit” Here…http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/its-a-sicilian-message

      Classic Geddis!

      >>”So if the Government ever were to retaliate against some critical individual or group by refusing it access to a government programme, or blackballing it from future contracts, it would be acting not just wrongly but unlawfully too. Which rather saps the venom from Ngaro’s threat, because I think that there’s no way it could be carried out in the open way needed to send the necessary message.

      Furthermore, I can’t help but wonder if Ngaro has actually all but guaranteed the Manukau Urban Māori Authority’s success in its future applications to participate in government programmes. Because if it does get turned down, there’s a good chance that it would head off to court to challenge that refusal on the basis that it was motivated by unlawful discrimination. “<<

      Hoist by their own petard, no?

      • Jilly Bee 11.1.1

        Just read the Pundit blog by Andrew Geddis – nearly spat my coffee over my keyboard when I read this gem of a reply from Wayne Mapp – copy and paste with all the errors intact! ‘Anyway a rather sharp poltical lesson for Alfred, who is actually a decent person with a guenuie sense of social justice. Not surprising given his role as a Pastor in a relatively poor community.’ Really Wayne, really – I’ve read a few snippets about what a bullying person he was regarding an incident at Tamaki College (?), hardly the actions of a decent person with a genuine sense of social justice.

  12. Just heard English on rnznews – what a useless dick seriously the gnats must be cramping themselves over the tick from dipton.

    • tc 12.1

      They dont care after 3 terms of plunder. Bills there to provide a false sense of authority and control, as he has none over the preset course.

      He will get the last legislative changes rammed through and then park his butt by the band on the stern of their 3rd term ship as it sails towards the GE.

  13. Keith 13

    What a loathsome creep Alfred is but honestly, he is simply the real face of the National Party, one we rarely get to see with such honesty and without all the smoke and mirrors.

    He simply fronted these arseholes true agenda but got snapped in the process. It is without doubt that have been taking away and rewarding dependent on the agencies loyalty to National first and New Zealand a distant last, since they got in, in 2008!

  14. Keith 14

    “it’s not the way we operate”, so says Stephen Joyce. Never a truer word spoken.

    No its not Steve, you have other bover boys doing your dirty work like this so your slimy ministers can pretend their hands are clean. That’s the only difference.

    • tc 14.1

      Yes its an out and out ‘screw you’ and alfred made the mistake of not having somone else do the dirty work.

      probably because he enjoys this type of work himself.

  15. Bill 15

    Is Ngaro’s nonsense going to be the beginning and the end of this? Or used as ‘an in’ to expose the root problem of business priorities being imposed on and wrapped around social issues?

    The silencing is achieved by disciplining the sector through state funded contracts which encompass strong managerial requirements for accountability, auditing, measuring, and evaluating outputs. The move from a welfare state to a neo-liberal contract state constrained the conditions that underpin a healthy relationship between the state and the community and voluntary sector.

    I’m thinking that the use of “constrained” is a nice punch pull there 😉

    Yes, Ngaro was naive to overtly state what ‘everybody knows’.

    Bennet’s unconscionable reaction to Natasha Fuller and Jennifer Johnston is encouraged by the culture of that grows under the shift outlined in the linked “Fears, Constraints and Contracts” report.

    Severing funding for the Problem Gambling Foundation (and I’d pick there’s a fairly long list of others) is enabled by the same.

    Sadly, I’m picking that Ngaro will merely be a whipping boy for a few days and people will celebrate scoring a few hits against National, but that the focus won’t expand to encompass the insidious culture (liberalism) that informs his comments because…yup, that goes beyond just National.

    • Rosemary McDonald 15.1

      >>>”The silencing is achieved by disciplining the sector through state funded contracts…”<<>”When New Zealand’s oldest women’s rights organisation, the National Council of Women, lost their charitable status in 2010, their members fought back, eventually regaining it on appeal in 2013. However, their experience demonstrated the risk to charities in New Zealand who engage in activities that cause embarrassment to the Government and which could be defined as “political advocacy”.”<>>”Big charities are claiming income tax exemptions while small non-profits struggle to gain official charity status under the current rules, a new report says.

      The New Zealand Initiative’s latest report, titled Giving Charities a Helping Hand, calls for the Government to provide greater transparency in the charity sector, set clearer rules and processes, and remove the “unfair” tax advantages enjoyed by the for-profit arms of charity groups. “<<<<

      Total reliance on government funding and an agreement to have only 'official' DPOs (Disabled People's Organisations) collaborating with Ministries and Government has killed disability advocacy in New Zealand. Ditto for the umbrella organisation representing carers.

      The result being that for many of us there is simply no organisation we can approach for real support. We are on our own.

      Result for the Ministry and the Government.

      • Bill 15.1.1

        See, in a post about alleged naivety…shouldn’t a government and its departments be actively seeking out social orgs and finding ways (financial just being one tool in the box) to help them achieve their goals where those goals are deemed to be socially worthy?

        • Rosemary McDonald 15.1.1.1

          You’d have to properly define “social worth”.

          Apologies for how the comment at 15.1 came out…I’m having real issues with formatting at the moment. I’ve either been virussed, (new word, just made it up 🙂 ) or my geriatric lappy is in her death throes.

          • Bill 15.1.1.1.1

            Yup. That’d need defined or debated by society. But at the moment we’re operating under an imposed regime of market friendly measurable indicators that are – devoid of pretty much anything to do with humanity or society.

  16. Tricledrown 16

    Stephen Joyce making excuses for Ngaro when Joyce is the Dirtiest backroom bully doing exactly to any govt funded organization or govt funded research that puts National in a bad light.

    • The decrypter 16.1

      The finger prints of Joyce are all over this. Shows me he is in panic mode over the tactical appointment of Jackson. Maori seat losses spell real trouble for them.

  17. Red Blooded 17

    Wasn’t it Shane Reti threatening locals not to criticise National or they wouldn’t get their road sealed during the Northland By-election, wasn’t it Paula Bennett attacking people publicly who criticised their policy. Most certainly a pattern with this government. Bullies by nature.

  18. Sabine 18

    I will never forget Alfred Ngaro come in to my shop at the last election, demanding to speak to my husband!
    No hello, i am Alfred Ngaro blablablah, no only “is your husband available’.

    So i look at him like ….you are a weird man, and tell him i don’t have a husband. lol

    He was very confused asking me about Mr. XXX and says does he not work here? No, Mr. Ngaro, that man is not my husband, he is my boyfriend, this is my business and he does not work here.

    He literally turned on his heel and left. Mind having a Labour Candidate Rosette, next to the Internet Mana Candidate Rosette thingy on my wall did not help with his confusion.

    but yeah, that man needs to move into the 21st century. Not that i think he is able to, but he does come across as a very oldfashioned klutz.

  19. rhinocrates 19

    Ngaro, Smith, Coleman, Collins, Bennett, Bridges…

  20. Sacha 20

    Ngaro doubled down in a TV interview after delivering his speech and before Joyce got to him: http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/05/lloyd-burr-alfred-ngaro-s-threat-to-willie-jackson-was-worse-than-just-a-brain-fart.html

  21. JustMe 21

    In the early 80s and referring to a National MP in Muldoon’s government he(this National MP)said to my late father’s boss that because a certain company did not donate to the National government then they, this company, would not receive contracts. In other words veiled threats but a National MP.
    That National MP had a alcohol problem and said such a thing in one of his usual drunken states. But I do believe back then alot of the National MPs have alcohol problems as booze was available and free for them to consume in abundance.
    Here we are in election year 2017 and also very close to the next election.To date we have heard of Paula Bennett happily and without any ounce of remorse providing the names of beneficiaries who have criticised her and the National government to the NZ media. In fact Bennett boasted to anyone listening that she would happily do it again. Where was Bill English’s voice when Paula Bennett was making threats???!! Oh right…. his lack of condemnation at what she said shows he was(and quoting John Key’s pet words) comfortable with what she did. That shows a shallowness when it comes to Bill English.
    After almost 9 years in government the Alfred Ngaro’s of the NZ National Party have become arrogant. They will botch-up time and again and will resort to what they are famous at i.e blaming someone else for THEIR mistakes.
    How many times have we ever heard of National MP admit he or she makes mistakes? Answer: Hardly ever. It’s like they think they are so crash hot and making mistakes is something that happens to commoners(and the Opposition Parties)but never, ever to a National MP.

  22. Ngaro’s a thug.

    Any apology given to the same group and its culture that fostered that sort of thug mentality in the first place is no apology at all.

    If Ngaro truly was repentant he would apologize to the Salvation Army , John Campbell and Willie Jackson , – in private and in public. And THEN be checked against the interpretation of clause 3.16(c) in the Cabinet Manual .

    Then and then only will justice be seen to have been done.

    Until then , that ‘ apology ‘ is nothing more than a cheap hollow fob off of the New Zealand public.

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