Authoritarian Key

Written By: - Date published: 8:03 am, June 22nd, 2010 - 28 comments
Categories: democracy under attack - Tags: , ,

Despite all of the whinging about “Helengrad” we used to hear from the right their glorious leader and his party seem intent on taking a more authoritarian approach to government than we’ve seen since, well, since the last National government.

Just yesterday we saw this approach rear its head in John Key apologising to the Chinese for our freedom of speech (I particularly like the fact he insisted Norman had “charged” the vice-president despite video evidence to the contrary).

Today Derek Cheng is reporting Key’s government is on another witchhunt. This time over the leaked PEDA information.

As with Bennett’s breach of solo mother Natasha Fuller’s privacy or the many victims of National’s well-oiled smear machine the message is clear – speak out against Key’s government and they will do what they can to make life hard for you.

Bully state indeed.

28 comments on “Authoritarian Key”

  1. And then there’s the Police pressuring kids for their DNA. This is why you don’t just give large powers to agents of the State.

  2. illuminatedtiger 2

    Bully State, Daddy State, we’re getting pretty close to a Fascist State when we can no longer enjoy freedoms such as freedom of speech without facing persecution.

    • A post with me in it 2.1

      We are not quite at people disappearing in middle of the night.

      well…only politically. 🙂

      I do like how they frame the leaking of corrupt and disgusting activity happening away from the public eye and subject to OIA as something terrible that needs to be stamped out.

      Open government. As in open for business…

    • WOOF 2.2

      He can’t muzzle us!

    • Clarke 2.3

      I don’t think those “Fascist State” comparisons are very fair …. fascist states could at least make the trains run on time, something that seems well beyond the capability of Key and Joyce.

  3. just saying 3

    The rise of the glorious fatherland. It always did go hand in hand with the politics of hate.

    • Bill 3.1

      And sport…which is a really tenuous avenue to ask “Was that really a very brief…almost subliminal, edit/cut of John Key jumping up and down in an all-whites top celebrating the Italian draw on TVNZ news?”

      • Bill 3.1.1

        Okay, I’d missed the sound bite op when it was shown on TV. So much for the ‘politics and sport don’t mix’ mantra. It’s one thing to show a politician or whoever as a spectator enjoying a spectacle. Quite another to do what TVNZ did.

        Question. If sporting bodies are allowing themselves to be used as political promotional vehicles, does it mean that it is now absolutely on the table to demand that sportspeople operate within a framework of political/moral conscience?

        Or will we simply see a degenerative process that will see sport being used, as one in an array of of techniques, for stirring up nationalistic hatreds and prejudices?

  4. vto 4


    Don’t forget the removal of the right to vote.

    What is it with anyone when they get into power in NZ? I’ll tell you what it is – it is too much power. NZ’s system is one of the most unbalanced in the western world. Way way too much power rests with Parliament. No check or balance.

    They all do it. They all get drunk with power. Clark, Cullen, English especially, Key, Hide too, the list goes on. Muldoon…

    Give the power back to the people!

    • It was even worse under First Past the Post – which would be why National are so dead keen on bringing it back. Elected Dictatorship in an effectively One Party State.

    • vto,

      This is where you get it wrong. They will never give us back our power. Through the ages it is us who have to take it.

      That won’t happen as long as our youngsters think that blinging their car is the most important issue apart from looking like Paris Hilton and thinking that the best thing since Vogelbread is another 14 year old drummer/singer with a fancy haircut.

      This won’t happen as long as the average Joe thinks that being engaged in politics means ranting at the bar after his 25th beer or the staying at home wife calls her girlfriends to bitch about that couple that looked odd at the supermarket.

      I love the old Jefferson quote: If the people are afraid of their government there is Tyranny but if the government is afraid of its people there is Freedom.

      I say lets bring back the Guillotine.

      This of course being a figure of speech rather then a real life proposition. Seeing as whatever free speech is left it has to PC and we would not want to upset the powers that be now would we and one is called a terrorist rather too quickly these days.

      Captche: contract. Yep, the one which is broken.

  5. Croc 5

    There is video footage from multiple angles. There is no way Norman’s actions can be described as a charge. It’s a loaded word being used to justify Key’s piss weak response.

    • It struck me as very odd that the NZ Police believed there was not enough evidence to detain the Chinese state goons.

      There is video footage from numerous angles, several journalists present who at the time said they feared for Norman’s safety (Barry Soper was quoted on RNZ saying so), and umpteen DPS and security.

      ‘Not enough evidence’? Bullshit.

      Not enough guts from the NZ Police to resist being leaned on by their political masters.

    • Pete 5.2

      And it’s being parroted in Richard Long’s BS cloumn in the Dom-Post today…

  6. Olwyn 6

    Don’t forget also the handing-over of boxes of receipts to the press, which to me is comparable to the release of the solo mothers’ details, though the hype suggested something comparable to the wine box incident. As Garth George puts it (and it’s not often I feel moved to quote him)

    “Surely their credit card spending should be between them and Ministerial Services, whose task it is to oversee such spending and to deal with any breaches.

    In most cases the illegitimate spending was promptly (or belatedly) reimbursed, and if any arbitration were required it should have been referred to the Speaker for a ruling – and that’s where these matters should have rested.”

    • Olwyn – “boxes of receipts” were handed to the media because the Parliamentary Press Gallery journos requested them under the OIA. Wouldn’t it be more of an issue had the receipts not been released?

      • Olwyn 6.1.1

        However, given that the money had been paid back by and large, and given that it fell within the rules, and given also the convention outlined by George, there may be a breach of privacy issue involved. If the rules are too lax, then change them. If someone has shouted himself a holiday home in Spain, follow it up. But the detailed account of lollies, flowers and movies (all reimbursed) has the same nasty flavour as the release of the beneficiary details.

        • Pascal's bookie

          I can’t see any privacy issue to be honest. Paid back or not, beat up or not, the spending was through a crown bank account not a personal one.

        • Lanthanide

          Given that the rules explicitly say there is to be no personal spending on ministerial credit cards (despite how impractical this is in the real world, and how M.S. didn’t seem overly concerned about the practice), I don’t think ministers should have been under any impression that the spending was purely private and confidential. The same cannot be said for money given to beneficiaries.

  7. salsy 7

    I think one of the major issues here is being overlooked (I raised this on open mike a few nights ago). China are here for a number of reasons, but as Frans OSullivan points out – One of the primary reasons for this vist is the deal signed between China’s largest bank and the ANZ, to pave the way to purchase NZ dairy farms. Key witnessed this agreement. Russel being knocked over in the process is highly symbolic, but not the entire story. The left should really throw some oil on their own spin machine..

  8. just saying 8

    Yeah, this is something that Labour could push real hard along with the asset sales and the mining – and the way all these sort of issues fit together and paint a compelling picture.

    Problem is, to do so, they really need to detach themselves from that former entity – the Labour Government.

    They need to have one of those “amicable” divorces you hear people talking about.

  9. ianmac 9

    Release the credit card documents in the name of Transparency!
    Don’t release the documents on PEDA lack of negotiation in the name of ummmm security?

  10. RedLogix 10

    The left, and Labour in particular is going to have to loose the delusion that it is still in govt. They are not, and with the right wing PR/media machine permanently set against them, might never reach Treasury Benches again, at least not in any configuration we might currently recognise.

    The fact is that the left has always had to fight for all it’s real victories. And Labour is going to have to stop pretending that it’s still part of the establishment. They are not, and never will be. They are tolerated as a bit of window-dressing needed to prop up the liberal democratic illusion.

    For instance the whole credit card thing has blown up badly in Labour’s face. NACT’s media pundit machine will hang it round Labour’s neck for at least another electoral cycle. By letting the media set the framing and agenda, Goff has made a bad mistake. Seeing his weak response they can now repeat the same tactic whenever the timing suits them.

    The only way to deal with authoritarian bully-boy proto-facists is to take the fight back to them. Get onto the front foot and into their faces. Never give an inch unless you have a larger strategic goal in clear view.

  11. Tombstone 11

    I agree 100% with an earlier post in that they have far too much power and that they have become unbelievably arrogant as a result of that imbalance of power. Democracy is all but dead in NZ and we should be extremely concerned about it – we’re at a cross roads now and the question is, what are we going to do about it? Power to the few or power to the people? I know what I prefer and it aint the few.

  12. just saying 12

    …..might never reach the Treasury benches again, at least not in any configuration we might currently recognise.
    -God I hope not – a left victory campaigning on same-old same-old, or, as is more likely, further right than before but-not as-right-as-national, could, in the long run, be more disastrous than another National term.

    There must be some way to penetrate the group-think mentality that has taken over at least the front two benches of the Labour Party. Because NZ seems to be embarking on the biggest lurch to the right since the 80s set us on our current neoliberal track, and there’s got to be some serious, credible opposition to it.

    • RedLogix 12.1

      As much as I respect some of them as capable Ministers (and it pays not to forget that a good govt needs people who know how to competently run a Ministry…something the current motley crew badly lack); you are right.

      Apart from Cunliffe, it’s almost as if the rest of Labour’s front benches are a little embarrassed by socialism these days.

    • vto 12.2

      “Because NZ seems to be embarking on the biggest lurch to the right since the 80s ”

      The government is certainly doing this, however NZ is not the govt. NZ itself I would suggest has drfited left. This govt does not have the mandate for the position it is occupying.

      It has abused its man date. (which may explain the look on Hides face sometimes).

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