Arrogant and out of touch

Written By: - Date published: 6:25 pm, December 10th, 2008 - 55 comments
Categories: articles, national/act government, workers' rights - Tags: , , , ,

The Manawatu Standard has a good op-ed piece today on how National has squandered its honeymoon with its arrogant and out-of-touch behaviour on the fire at will bill.

The National party rose to power on the back of, among other things, scathing accusations that a supremely arrogant Labour party had “lost touch” with the people.

The criticisms were well-founded, or at least voters thought they were, and John Key rode a wave of disaffection to power.

How startlingly it is, then, for this new humble, inclusive government to decide to pass into law a 90-day probation period for new workers before Christmas, avoiding public hearings that would allow public discussion and debate.

Too true. Read the rest of the article here.

55 comments on “Arrogant and out of touch”

  1. Oh yes – and there are plenty more ironic surprises in store including the transformation of Rodney Hide into the new Winston…

  2. No matter how many posts the standard does about it, or no matter how many times you guys call it “THE FIRE AT WILL BILL”

    The general public is not angry with this bill, they support it, and no one apart from the posters at the standard are calling it “the fire at will bill”

  3. Quoth the Raven 3

    Brett if you don’t have to give a reason how is it not a “fire at will bill’?
    Please explain fully.

  4. BD: It just takes a while… After all we have up to 3 years to keep repeating it… Because of how it has been pushed through, there will also be exceptional interest in the abuses that it generates – and it will. There are a small but significant group of idiot employers.

    I’d have to say that it was exceptionally stupid for the Nat’s to ram a bill like this through and hope that it would all be forgotten, like say 1990. They obviously don’t read the blogs enough.

    Interesting how many posts are scheduled on this at present. It looks like every poster has gotten pissed off about some aspect of this sitting or another.

  5. Aw poor wee brett – I see you’ve adopted the stick-fingers-in-ears-and-scream-I-can’t-hear-you approach. My advice? Suck it up wee man and hope your employer doesn’t sack you. I would. In an instant… your blue team are showing what a bunch of shits they are and people are paying attention…

    You should take a leaf out of apologist Farrar’s book and just STFU until this passes…

    Problem is, like Lynn, I don’t think it’s gonna…

    Honeymoon? Over.

  6. George Darroch 6

    Audrey Young has stinging criticism for the Government’s decision to ditch democracy and ram these bills through without scrutiny. And for misleading everyone about Kiwisaver.

  7. RedLogix 7

    Comparisons drawn with US politics often risky, but given that our political milieu in some ways echoes trends from that nation with a 5-10 year delay; they are not always pointless. Therefore I cannot but help recall how the GOP spent much of the late 90’s and tens of millions impeaching Bill Clinton because he lied over a blowjob; while subsequently their own GW Bush lied his way into an illegal, immoral war of aggression that resulted in 100,000’s of deaths and frittered away trillions of dollars, with very little in the way of effective political challenge. (OK 5 or so years later the GOP is roundly defeated and Bush is the most despised man on the planet, but he still leaves office unstained by any legal consequences for his actions.)

    Similarly I note that National spent much of the last decade making brazen noises over “Labour’s out of touch arrogance” and raking up emotional smokescreens like Paintergate and Speedergate out of trivial events…. yet literally within days of gaining power they are committing far grosser abuses of power and arrogance themselves… abuses that really will hurt many, many people.

    It is always the way, those who make the most bellicose accusations are with time often revealed to be flagrantly guilty of far more egregious behaviour themselves.

  8. Sodrobin 8

    [deleted]
    [lprent: bye dad]

  9. bobo 9

    Audrey Young didn’t seem too interested in investigating Nationals Kiwisaver changes before the election and claiming today that it was fudged in misleading policy statements is a bit of a cop out on her part.

  10. Janet 10

    I am one of those who will be affected by the tax increase for those earning under $20,000. So will many people I know who are in part time work. I can’t believe it is going up from 12 % to 21%. Nice Mr Key never said that before the election.

  11. will 11

    The sight of that dwarf rodney the 3% man strutting about in winston’s pinstripe suit like he won the election is too much.

    Ha the only way the polls can go now is down. By winter.

    and what about that money they whisked out from under the families commission? Bet THAT goes to rodney the 3% man for his ‘extra’ parliamentary staff, and the ACT website Whaleoil…

  12. spot 12

    worth a read (if in fact it hasn’t already been posted)…

    http://national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=10866

    ….leaving aside preferences on the policy angle – this debate has already had too much focus on the “means”, and not enough on the “ends”….

    ….let it run its course and have the debate…

  13. gobsmacked 13

    National (and the Maori Party) getting a thorough going-over in the House tonight. Seems like they can’t even sort out their own bills.

  14. spot 14

    …oh, and does anyone have any sort of empirical data to back up any of what this legislation (supposedly) enables, or helps ameliorate ?

    I can take s guess at where they’re trying to go with it, but not yet convinced of the cause/effect bit…if at all.

  15. the sprout 15

    Yes National sure have hit the ground running in the race to stupid.

    The arrogance frame – the Number One PR killer for a New Zealand audience – is settling in very nicely indeed. Once it’s hardened it won’t shift either.

    Anyone noticed how many media interviews lately have started or ended with “We asked the National Minister for [you name it] to appear but they declined to be interviewed”? Good way to very quickly piss off both the public and the media in one fell swoop. Do National not understand that while the Crosby|Textor tactic of “keep your mouth shut no matter what” just doesn’t work when you’re in Government?

    Then again considering the breathtaking depths of incompetence this National government has already exhibited in the House, maybe it’s the lesser of two evils for them.

  16. bobo 16

    Anyone else pick up on one news item tonight about downsizing the Army to just a SAS role? I got the impression that in order to attract more recruits they had to sex up the Army and get involved in more warzones ? Maybe attract some spotty Halo gamers to sign up…

  17. Billy 17

    The arrogance tag will not stick. Key looks much more like a big-arsed black lab. And that arse is waggling all over the place and he’s panting with excitement.

    And no-one is buying this 90 day probation thing as the end of the world. ’cause it won’t be.

  18. the sprout 18

    Like those you ape, you miss the point entirely Billy.

  19. Billy 19

    Oh, Sprout. Enlighten me. What is the point? Truthfully, I am beginning to wonder.

  20. sweeetdisorder 20

    Sprout

    “Anyone noticed how many media interviews lately have started or ended with “We asked the National Minister…”

    no, how many? numbers please.

    IP

    “BD: It just takes a while After all we have up to 3 years to keep repeating it ”

    It will be forgotten in 3 months. after christmas, holidays, more tax cuts coming this won’t be remembered. Why do you think it is first up?

    If this is so bad, why is it that every other oecd country but us and denmark have a form of this bill?

  21. the sprout 21

    The point dearest Billy, is that even if Key is, as you say “like a big-arsed black lab”, he and his Cabinet look a lot more interested in playing ministers than actually connecting with the public. So far there has been a consistent contempt for journalists who dare to do anything more than fawn upon them, and a palpable sense of “we don’t have to care what the public think now”.

    Before long there will be fewer and fewer fawners, and more and more voters turned against Key – then National will try to change their image, but then it’ll be too late.

    But that’s fine, it suits me down to the ground. Long may they persist as they are.

    sd: gee I don’t have an empirical analysis at my finger-tips, guess that makes your refutation rock-solid. Perhaps you might like to look at media other than just Talkback or the Herald and you might start to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

    But that’s fine too, long may they persist as they are. About 35 months should do it.

  22. gobsmacked 22

    Sweet/Sprout

    One example springs to mind immediately: tonight and last night (or Mon?) on Checkpoint.

    Audio on Radio NZ website will confirm, for any doubters.

  23. Mike 23

    The last thing we’d want to do is be like Denmark with their fancy employment rights and world-leading happiness.

  24. I hear the human rights commission is not happy with this shoddy piece of legislation and National’s tactics to avoid any public debate. John Key and National hate democracy.

  25. RedLogix 25

    I’m going to indulge in taking my post above to the next step. I concluded:

    It is always the way, those who make the most bellicose accusations are with time often revealed to be flagrantly guilty of far more egregious behaviour themselves.

    Here is why. The steady diet of Crosby Textor inspired, cynically false attacks that the NACTs have been immersed in for the last three electoral cycles have been built entirely on distortions, deceits and outright lies. This was not a minor superficial association, or some transient indulgences in Oppositional exuberance; attack and destroy has been the Nats/ACT’s principle occupation and prime mode of operation for years. As has been observed over and over in left wing blogs, there has been almost nothing of real policy substance to what the right has been saying for years; it was almost all emotive distractions, distortions, and disinformation.

    The problem with lies, is not just that they are misleading, damaging and insulting to those who hear them, it is that they also damage the person who tells them. This is because in order to lie successfully you have to be able to convince yourself to believe the lie at a sufficiently deep level, that your conscience is coaxed into submission. (The rational mind knows it is cynical bollocks, but a person’s character is founded elsewhere.)

    But after years of suppressing their consciences’, these Nats/ACT leaders are now critically unable to evaluate themselves honestly. They remain masters at looking like they are being truthful, and in the short-term that will deceive others as well…but inevitably the massive disconnect between their words and their actions will be apparent to all.

  26. gobsmacked 26

    So what’s your point, Mike? Have you checked out Denmark’s tax rates? They are Exhibit A for social democracy, and utterly demolish the Right’s TINA propaganda.

  27. Jasper 27

    And on top:

    National in April 2009 will not only be increasing low paid workers taxes, but WFF will also be decreased by 50% for families earning under $75,000.

    It was all there in the policy outline – MSM didn’t read any of it obviously.

    The funnest part is: It’s no longer on Nationals site. My cache isn’t bringing it up either.
    I for one, picked up the change, notified the MSM, and was told – yeah right.

    How the tide changes.

  28. George Darroch 28

    Mike, if we got unemployment benefits that paid around 80% of the previous wage for over a year, and state-supported wage supplements for low-skill jobs, then yeah, I’d consider losing my work rights a fair trade off.

  29. Sodrobin 30

    [deleted]
    [lprent bye dad]

  30. Oh you are so a performance art project dad – I saw you’re name-checking gumby in a recent post. You seem to be tiring nowadays though…

  31. Pascal's bookie 32

    “A dad a day keeps the fembots at bay.”

    Thus retaining your precious bodily fluids.

  32. Sodrobin 33

    [deleted]
    [lprent bye dad]

  33. “Fluid Druid” – Fuckin gold!

  34. Pascal's bookie 35

    lolz

  35. Paul Robeson 36

    They are going to do the bloody standardised testing too!

    FFS!

    where’s the standard post on this? Rushing through a massive reactionary change to a bloody good education system- exam worry for 6 year olds!- with out the input of the education sector.

    I thought Labour did a poor job on this during the election campaign, and Helen Clark failed to rebut it in her tv debate.

    and now they sneak it through under urgency. disgraceful. and it gets covered up by all the lather-well founded mind- over work rights.

  36. RedLogix 37

    Seeing Dad here makes me anticipate with an unkind pleasure his reaction to when this NACT govt gets round to passing law, as they have indicated, to empower Police with the ability hand out “on the spot” non-judicial protection orders in the course of domestic incidents.

    Should be interesting to see how that works out in terms of “freedom from Helengrad’s dykeocracy”.

  37. Matt 38

    I think both Labour and the Nats ram things through under urgency when they probably shouldn’t. Wether its employment law or civil unions. And both appear to only notice when the other side does it.

  38. Paul Robeson 39

    Harm principle Matt!!!

    who does civil unions harm? nobody actually, unless you believe you have the right to suspend the principle to force your religious views on others, and you find it distasteful.

    Right to fire at will, a crucial part of our economy? Many people could get hurt.

    Plus, though less a relevant argument now, but if you are a good candidate you are even more likely to go to a big firm where you are granted your work rights. In a small firm you may have a personal disagreement, or an unfortunate night out on the turps with the boss and that is your job canned.

    So good candidates with a choice between a small firm and a big one, will be even more likely to choose the big one.

    can’t see how this is supposed to be the tonic for an ailing economy. It’s just worker bashing. It is taking more power away from our least empowered. It’s another day at the office with National.

  39. lprent 40

    Matt: The problem here is doing it through all stages of the bill and skipping select committee for what is a new bill.

    Fine if it is immediate life & limb, or the government about to go illegal and being unable to pay people. But for a normal policy bill – that is just arrogant and outright stupid. The likelihood of the act being a dud escalates immensely.

  40. gobsmacked 41

    “I think both Labour and the Nats ram things through under urgency when they probably shouldn’t. Wether its employment law or civil unions.”

    Please do your homework instead of making things up.

    Civil unions: conscience vote. Full scrutiny. Have you forgotten the protests to Parliament? The weeks, months of public debate?

    If you don’t have a basic grasp of the facts, please don’t waste everyone’s time pulling fantasy from thin air.

  41. lprent 42

    damn – been a bit distracted. deDad’ing had to wait.

    Finally found an article
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUKSYD292118._CH_.2420

    Huge waves hit PNG.

    Lyn just rang on the sat phone from the takuu island. She was ringing for a herald news desk number. Well she is safe and so is the crew. Bet they got some great footage. Lots of damage though.

    I should put this in the act denies climate change post

  42. John Dalley 43

    Notice the Maori Party looking a bit tounge Tied on TV tonight. About to find out what a huge mistake they have made going into Govt with Natiopnal.
    Michael Cullen had it right in Parliment today in already predicting the downfall of the MP.

  43. Carol 44

    A bit off the topic of this thread. But I see that already 30 NZ local councils, including Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington & Hamilton, have signed up for Earth Hour next March:

    http://www.3news.co.nz/News/NationalNews/NZ-leads-the-way-in-Earth-Hour-2009/tabid/423/articleID/83727/cat/64/Default.aspx

    This would be a good time to have massive collective silent vigils around the country to demonstrate against the government stalling on climate change measures.

    The claim of the local coumcils will be that NZ is the first country to switch off the lights for Earth Hour, supposedly leading the way for the world on this. Good time to show up the NACT government’s idiocy on the issue.

  44. Kerry 45

    I wonder what the cabinat get up to when in the cabinat room….perhaps John gets out a slinky and they play for a wee while. I can see Gerry heading to he deserts counter……

    Gone by lunchtime??? Please god yes!

  45. Chris Truscott 46

    anybody seen Peter?

  46. Bill 47

    Carol

    “This would be a good time to have massive collective silent vigils around the country to demonstrate against the government stalling on climate change measures.”

    Maybe. But here’s the thing. A demo/ campaign against the government’s climate change policy will attract x number of people.

    Then another demo/ campaign, starting from scratch will be needed on the issue of work rights. And then another on education policy. And then another and another and another on all manner of policies/decisions.

    Far better to mobilise everything in one go…no specific ‘headline banner’…and keep it rolling. The ‘many people, many voices’ concept.

    The cohesion would be the broad sense of dissatisfaction and everything would not have to be built up from scratch each time something came around. Constant dialogue, continual broadening and building.

    Otherwise, protest or resistance to the government policies will experience a large measure of disarray and bewilderment before collapsing if, as I suspect, this government follows the previously successful tactic of the 80’s and rolls out unpopular measures so thick and fast that by the time people get a handle on what is going to be done and begin to re-organise some form of protest, it’s already a ‘done deal’.

    At the moment there is education, work rights and climate change. (More will follow). Pull everything together now and build, rather than organising around these issues as though they were distinct and separate.

  47. Draco T Bastard 48

    can’t see how this is supposed to be the tonic for an ailing economy.

    It’s not and isn’t designed to be but it is good at propping up failing monopolies.

    Gone by lunchtime??? Please god yes!

    I’ve been thinking recently on what it would take to get a general strike going…

    At the moment there is education, work rights and climate change. (More will follow). Pull everything together now and build, rather than organising around these issues as though they were distinct and separate.

    Yep, start the momentum now and then let everything that the NACT/MP do wrong become another nail in the coffin.

  48. Robinsod:

    Why would my employer sack me??

    Just for the heck of it???

    To have a laugh?

    Please get real.

  49. Earth day is coming up, I remember last earth day in christchurch, the traffic was amazing, there were thousands of people in their big ass cars driving to the event and then they took their big asses to McDonalds, then they took their big ass cars again to the recycle plant, that by the way does more harm to the environment than good.

    All in all, it Earth day was a great day to screw the earth.

  50. bobo 51

    BrettDale :- maybe for spending too much time on blog sites during work hours?

  51. Matt 52

    Yes Paul I have heard of the harm principle, I read On Liberty many years ago I also have read the critiques of it. And for the record I don?t agree with it for reasons I have spelt out on my blog. [Btw Mill was clear that if a person consented ( by say signing an employment contract) to the harm or risk of harm it did not violate the principle)]

    But to the main point, essentially your response is to my query is that you have substantive philosophical disagreements to the content of this Bill ( based on Mill?s harm principle) but did not to the civil unions bill ( because of your views on religion and public life) its ok to rush the latter through under urgency not the latter. Thanks for making it clear. It?s when the legislation embodies ?liberal? ideals you agree with that it can be pushed through under urgency, when it does not it should not. Things like full public debate and scrutiny is only applicable to legislation lefty liberals disagree with.

  52. Irascible 53

    It is interesting to note that Pansy Wong informed the Principal & staff of Howick College after the school’s senior prize giving that the National Standards Testing was gone before lunchtime as it was unnecessary and, as the Principal said to the parents, unnecessary and proven unsuccessful where similar testing had been introduced.
    Now she’s a cabinet minister.
    Obviously still telling people what they want to hear at one point then carrying on with the real agenda… typical of the traditional National Party arrogance and legislation by dictat that we became familiar with under Muldoon, Bolger & Shipley.

  53. Felix 55

    The Herald grows a pair – pity they had to wait until after the election to give the nats even the most cursory scrutiny…

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