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Banana republic

Written By: - Date published: 11:41 am, May 24th, 2013 - 78 comments
Categories: accountability, corruption, john key, national - Tags:

People are starting to notice that the Nats are taking us into banana republic territory:

Official reports open up NZ to ‘banana republic’ allegations

Several official reports out this week raise questions about the integrity of public life in New Zealand. The latest is the report on the raids in the Ureweras and elsewhere in 2007, which has resulted in embarrassment for a number of people and institutions.  …

The other major report ‘out’ this week was that by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, who has officially ‘cleared’ the GCSB of acting unlawfully. The most interesting commentary on this comes from Matthew Hooton who says the report should be thrown in the bin, and that it’s findings are an ‘outrageous piece of spin from a judicial officer’ – see: Labour, Greens right on GCSB report. In contrast, Hooton gives praise to the Independent Police Conduct Authority for it’s Urewera report.  …

A theme of suppressed reports is emerging at the moment, which has led the Waikato Times to declare that ‘The Government is fast exposing a distasteful authoritarian streak, by keeping official reports and advice under wraps – hiding them from the country’s elected representatives in Parliament’ – see Reports kept under wraps. On The Standard there is an intelligent discussion of whether we still have the rule of law in New Zealand – see Michael Valley’s The rule of law.

Much of this relates to Andrew Geddis’ recently publicised concerns about the Government’s abrogation of the Constitution, which he’s reprised in a number of newspaper columns – see: We owe it to ourselves to be outraged. Also voicing outrage is the Herald with Disability bill demonstrates contempt for due process, Brian Rudman with Law protecting Government, not disabled, and Gordon Campbell with On the government’s trampling on the rights of family carers.

On Pundit Tim Watkin asks:

More bad process – is this the new National normal?

A week of poor process continues for the government as it side-steps consultation with its decision to approve mining on the Denniston Plateau

The government’s legislative agenda has been appallingly flippant in the past week or so and I’m delighted Pundit bloggers have taken such a stand. Many of us have been concerned about this government’s approach to process this year. I blogged in February,March and April about the Prime Minister’s focus on outcomes over process and I’ve long opined that the everyman casualness that he built his political career on will one day be his undoing.

That’s not what we’re seeing this week; it will take some poor process in a realm that directly effects middle New Zealand to really wound him. But this week’s urgencies and unwillingness to listen to the people is part of a damaging narrative. New Zealanders don’t like being taken for granted.

Even Nat fan John Armstrong has been uneasy lately:

Naked self-interest rules

Naked self-interest rules, pure and simple.

Well may the Government try to blame a lack of consensus amongst Parliament’s component parties as reason for not implementing the recommendations of the Electoral Commission-conducted review of MMP.

That rationale is just a little too convenient, however. When it comes to consensus, National is the one which refused to budge in its opposition to arguably the commission’s most important and most controversial finding – that the anomalous, outdated one-seat threshold under which minor party list candidates can coat-tail into Parliament on the back of a MP winning an electorate seat should be abolished.

National has refused to budge because retention of the one-seat threshold gives it greater chance of getting enough backing by way of minor party seats sufficient to give it a majority in the next Parliament.

Such a stance is totally indefensible. But it is also completely understandable.

And so on…

The day our Govt stifled the judiciary

The Government last Friday rode roughshod over New Zealand’s constitution, writes Prof Andrew Geddis.

Given our constitution’s unwritten and often opaque nature, it is easy to take it for granted. That fact makes it all the more important to take notice when one of the fundamental pillars of that constitutional arrangement starts getting chipped away.

The National Government did just that last Friday, in the guise of a law stripping people of their right to go to court to challenge the legality of its actions.

… and so on, an abominable display of arrogance and self-interst that in fact goes all the way back to their first months in office.

John Key, the Nats, and those that spin for them, are turning NZ into a banana republic before our eyes – but none of them care as long as they perceive themselves to be “winning”.

78 comments on “Banana republic”

  1. I looked up banana republic because I thought I knew what it meant but wasn’t really sure

    In economics, a banana republic is a country operated as a commercial enterprise for private profit, effected by a collusion between the State and favoured monopolies, in which the profit derived from the private exploitation of public lands is private property, while the debts incurred thereby are a public responsibility. Such an imbalanced economy remains limited by the uneven economic development of town and country, and tends to cause the national currency to become devalued paper-money, rendering the country ineligible for international development-credit.[5] Such government by thieves is a kleptocracy; such a kleptocratic government is manipulated by foreign (corporate) interests, and functions mostly as ceremonial government that is unaccountable to its nation. The national legislature is, in effect, for sale, influential government employees illegitimately exploit their posts for personal gain (by embezzlement, fraud, bribery, etc.), and the resulting government budget deficit is repaid by the country’s working people who earn wages rather than making profits.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_republic

    ummm we aren’t turning into one – we bloody are one already!!! Go through the description and apart from the currency thingy where is the difference?

    • Tom Gould 1.1

      And the public service is still clean, despite the Tories’ best efforts to demonise it and recruit their mates into top jobs. Oh, and the cops forgetting they swore and oath to uphold the law.

      • muzza 1.1.1

        *Uphold, The Law*

        Which is exactly what, I really need to know, as I stare out of my window..

        Probably won’t get an answer for that one, eh!

        • Te Reo Putake 1.1.1.1

          Probably, not. *It’s* *hard* *to* *answer* *the* *poorly* *written* *questions* *you* *put* *at* *the* *best* *of* *times*.

        • xtasy 1.1.1.2

          Yeah, “uphold the law”, which under the English and wider common and statute law bodies – now established under post colonial British rule, is one, and which can be interpreted in many ways, that appears to be depending on the wallet that pays the expert lawyers to get the “interpretation” suitably and conveniantly “right” for them then!

          No basic law, no easy, clearly understood guidelines, like in most countries other than such mentioned above, and it is a challenge, but also a goldmine, for the “experts” that know how to navigate and use the law, to meet theirs and their master’s interests.

      • Tim 1.1.2

        Aye Tom. That’s a very interesting comment in light of Nathan Guy’s best efforts to blame minions for the latest fiasco on Chinese wharfs – I noticed somewhere that (either a Gubbamint Munsta, or PS CEO) has inferred that certain jobs were on the line. On the line because the dear old Munsta that never inhaled was embarrassed by obvious incompetence, or perhaps simple under-resourcing of departmental staff – SOMEWHERE in the chain.
        When you think about it – WHY the need for a name change in the first place – other than a need for a Munsta of the Crown to look like he was actually doing something
        As I’ve said elsewhere on (I think) this site, the P.S. operate IN SPITE of their ‘leadership’ (their Snr Mgmnt, Ministers, and so on), rather than BECAUSE of them. They do so because of goodwill, and an understanding of their roles as Public Servants – rather than those that apparently ‘lead’ them, but who generally have forgotten what the Public Service is about and who think that they’re operating some sort of fiefdom. (Unfortunately, that INCLUDES law enforcement agencies)
        So…. (as is the trendy prefix), we get to cops that forgot they’ve sworn an oath. That’s very true.
        It’s nowhere NEAR as bad though as the outsourcing of law enforcement to private agencies where swearing oaths would be seen as uttering some sort of obscenity. It hasn’t gone un-noticed that some of the outsource – ees, employed in companies (such as Chubb – but whoever) have VERY suspect backgrounds – some even including armed robbery, and burglary in places like Bond Street (as Wellington City Council “CEO”‘s past will have known of when appointing their ‘Head of Security’).
        [Let’s be clear – that was at the height of a market rules/neo-lib inspired/user pays agenda] – but what’s scary is that there are those that want to push for that sort of regime’s return, and at central gubbamint level, that sort of regime is alrady in play.

        Outsourcing (apparently cheaper – though studies have shown that it can’t POSSIBLY be), is merely a way for elected politicians to abrogate their responsibility.

        Never mind though aye! all good! no worries. That nice man John Key and his band of dedicated Munsta’s are going to keep us all safe. Nafe the man! …. he’ll see the Kapiti Coast right.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      +1

      National: Governing for themselves and their rich mates.

    • SpaceMonkey 1.3

      Agreed, we have been for some time… but the currency thingy is more a reflection of the other currencies quantiatively easing into infinity.

      When it’s suits the traders and there’s money to be made, our currency will be taken down… just like in 1987, when the NZ dollar earning Bankers Trust some $300 million in profits and just about collapsing the NZ economy in the process.

    • Rosie 1.4

      Bloody hell. That wiki description sums up the running of our country does it not?

    • mikesh 1.5

      We don’t produce bananas!

    • xtasy 1.6

      Yep, Marty, and you are one of the few that have noticed. NZ has been a true banana style republic (not needing to mean a “republic” as such) for a damned long time, while so many were asleep feeding on the distracting daily drivel fed to them.

  2. McFlock 2

    This is beginning to sound Muldoon-ish, even if his motives were different.

  3. vto 3

    .
    people only take so much before taking to the streets.

    witness london yesterday.

    ……….

    which leads to the question…

    who benefits from civil unrest?

    and if you follow the money, where does it lead?

  4. ghostrider888 4

    been a fruit salad for some time; The Chinese have a preference for lychees; “floral, sweet smell, fragrant flavour and a delicate whitish pulp.”

    On a related vein;
    Mike Dixon-McIver ACC advocate declares war on the bread-and-butter pudding that is ACC.
    (JUDGE MIKE BEHRENS, Q.C. FOR SUPREME COURT JUSTICE!) hard-pressed to find a Betterman.

    • tc 5.1

      RIP George Carlin, one of my fav pieces from a man who never waivered in his beliefs with the IQ to go head to head with anyone.

      Checkout some of the stuff Bill maher did with him where he goes at the tea party and religious zealots.

  5. burt 7

    We became a banana republic when our last PM decided being PM was more important than being accountable under the law and used parliament to kill a court case against her – denigrating the Auditor General for being so treasonous as to suggest her party broke the law.

    • ghostrider888 7.1

      bit of a one-track record.

      • muzza 7.1.1

        The point, I believe Burt’s trying to make, is that it matters little whose *team* is in control, and there is ample evidence to suggest that position, is the correct one to take!

        Is that what you’re trying to say Burt?

        • felix 7.1.1.1

          No, he’s trying to say it’s all Labour’s fault. It’s all he ever says.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.2

      …but but but Lllaaaaabbbbboooouuuurrrrrrr, whine whinge smear justify.

    • georgecom 7.3

      Burt. Think you are getting mixed up. It was the leader of the opposition party at the time who did a deal for $1 worth of secret advertising for some policies, and then tried to hide it from the voters. That guy got found out & didn’t get into Govt.

  6. Saarbo 8

    National are atrocious and seem to be allowed to get away with anything because of a hopeless MSM and and equally hopeless leader of the Labour Party.

    Greens are doing their bit but they dont have a lot of pulling power when it comes to attracting exposure in the media.

    A very sad state affairs for New Zealand.

    • People can be suckers, it is pretty sad that 40%+ of voters believe whatever National/MSM tell them. Fortunately people are starting to view John Key and National as boring and out of ideas, usually that’s what helps win elections.

    • gobsmacked 8.2

      National are atrocious and seem to be allowed to get away with anything because of a hopeless MSM and and equally hopeless leader of the Labour Party.

      Somebody please correct this if wrong (pref with a link) but … so far I have not seen or heard a single word of criticism from David Shearer on this topic. The OP has a long and growing list of cogent critics taking National to task, from across the spectrum. The Labour leader is not one of them.

      To save wasted time and energy, please note … I am not asking “Has Shearer talked about other stuff?” (yes) or “Have other Labour people spoken up?” (yes). Nor am I interested in agreeing for the one thousandth time that David Shearer is not as bad as John Key.

      So … What has the leader of the opposition said this week about our country becoming a banana republic? Genuine answers welcome.

      • Jackal 8.2.1

        Bit of a silly question really gobsmacked… I don’t recall any Prime Minister or leader of the opposition ever talking about New Zealand being a banana republic. So what makes you think David Shearer should have mentioned it in the last week?

        Perhaps you mean Shearer hasn’t been vocal enough concerning the events that have led people to comment about New Zealand becoming a banana republic? In that case you are both right and wrong.

        It’s true that Shearer hasn’t spoken out publicly about the IPCA’s finding that the police acted illegally. However he has spoken out this week about the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security clearing the GCSB of illegal spying:

        Labour leader David Shearer is calling for Mr Neazor’s report to be made public and for an independent inquiry into the GCSB.

        Mr Shearer told Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report programme there is a conflict of interest when the Inspector-General both oversees and reviews the agency.

        There’s no doubt that the last Labour government did some pretty stupid things that undermined the publics confidence in the government, but they come nowhere near the socially detrimental policy direction of the current government.

        The question really is whether a Labour led government will continue with a similar negative legislative direction? In my opinion, as long as they’re in coalition with the Greens, that’s very unlikely. In fact it’s more likely that a Labour/Greens coalition government will restore some of the laws National has been trampling all over.

        You might not have noticed that the Greens, who will likely hold the balance of power after the next election, are all about social responsibility and transparency? They’re what I would call the complete antithesis of National’s corporate agenda.

        Obviously David Shearer is far more aligned with the left and has been outspoken on numerous occasions about the right wing’s detrimental policies that are turning (or have turned) New Zealand into a banana republic. Granted, his comments are very measured… But personally I think that’s a good personality trait to have in a diplomat and future Prime Minister of New Zealand.

  7. BM 9

    I fairly happy with the way National is running the country.
    Certainly won’t be rioting in the streets.

    • Jackal 9.1

      Is that the new right wing measure of success or failure… Rioting in the streets?

      • kiwicommie 9.1.1

        Austerity causes rioting on the streets, a decade more of rising inequality and poverty, and riots will occur frequently in New Zealand.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1

          4 straight nights of rioting in Stockholm. Ostensibly one of the richest cities in Europe. This is what high youth unemployment does to even a “wealthy” nation.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.2

          If it goes on for another decade, and I really don’t expect anything different with Labour in power, then there’s going to be more than rioting.

          • kiwicommie 9.1.1.2.1

            I think the main difference is there will be less emphasis on more austerity budgets, and the like, and hopefully a reversal of National’s welfare and student loan reforms.

  8. Lefty 10

    We live in a country where democracy is so distorted a bankster can be elected as Prime Minister immediately following an international financial crisis caused by people just like him.

    When he is elected again it is surely a sign that the entire political class is so contaminated by their interconnection with the business, financial and the media elite that voters see very little between them.

    With a third election victory for the bankster very likely indeed it is time we admitted we live in a banana republic where the government administers the nation for the benefit of a favoured few.

    This situation did not come about overnight. Both National and Labour led governments have been doing this for quite some time.

    Since the 1980s each government has simply built on the rotten legacy left by its predecessor.

    The differences that exist are more about governance style than substance and there is no sign any of the main parties intend changing their masters anytime soon.

    In this great free market society democracy is another commodity and you can choose any political brand you like as long as it is the same as the other brands.

    And if you don’t like the big brands on offer, or support an outlier organisation, then the big brands have a compliant media and some handy legislaton to deal with you.

    • BM 10.1

      Face it pal, it’s you who’s the odd one out.
      Why should everything have to change to accommodate you.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        You’re not only deluded, you’re making excuses for a shitty self serving circle of rich mates, which suggests both stupidity and a lack of survival instinct.

        • BM 10.1.1.1

          LOL, What would you know about survival instinct, fark you wouldn’t last 5 mins if the shit hit the fan, the only way you’d survive is if you put on some hot pants and tricked yourself to prison dudes that like a bit of arse action.

          • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1.1

            Put your junk away mate, your fantasy life isn’t my interest.

            • BM 10.1.1.1.1.1

              It’s the only way you’d survive.
              No wonder you keep going on about the collapse of civilization, if it ever happened you’d be fucked.

              Me on the other hand , no worries.

              • McFlock

                Behold the Superman! A cross between Conan the Barbarian, Richard Nixon and Bernie Madoff, living in end-of-days bliss with Sarah Palin.

                • BM

                  Not quite, I’d be that dude with the awesome skull collection hanging on the front fence.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Human civilisation isn’t collapsing, it’s depleting, and will do so steadily over the next 200-300 years.

                    As for your survival chances – lol.

                  • McFlock

                    And yet if you start the collection early, suddenly you’re the weirdo…

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I believe the term of the moment is “terrorist”

                    • BM

                      I know,I know.
                      Hurry up civilization and collapse.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Read the latest installment of the Archdruid report – it explains the dual mindsets between brightness and optimism, and apocalypse.

              • prism

                BM You’re an example of someone who slipped in under the fence of civilisation. You don”t want to pay for your entry ticket you free loader.

      • North 10.1.2

        BM. You SPECTACULARLY miss the entire point you egg.

        You don’t even see what a dick you make of yourself.

    • johnm 10.2

      Hi Lefty
      You’re 100% right the whole edifice stinks to high heaven with Yankey on the top of the shit pile.

  9. Anne 11

    You mean awful and lawful.

  10. xtasy 12

    Anthony, are you for real, or are you just slow?

    This is nothing bloody new, we have been there at least since National’s first term in government!

    Banana republic style government is in full force and flourishing in Aotearoa NZ day in and day out. I have repeated it incessantly, that NZ has become a country and system nothing much short of what a smart, modern dictatorship looks like.

    Welcome to the rest of us, many of whom have seen this coming and have actually experienced it even first hand!

    I can tell you stories, but in order to not disclose my privacy too much, I will refrain from mentioning details. But just have a close look also at the welfare bill passed in March! There is ample stuff in there that sends real strong shivers down many beneficiaries’ spines, if they have one.

    NZ is in a shocking state, especially when it comes to the large share of the public that take no interest, or that do not get it, even if they do take an interest. I listened in on Duncan Garner on his hyped up crap show, called “Radio Live Drive” this afternoon. Journalism is just about self stilism, self aggrandisement, boasting, ridicuuling, being biased and serving as a loud mouthpiece, to have the employer run yet more adverstisements. No substance in that guy. Is he a journalist, or an entertainer of the lowest character, I ask?

    NO information, no education, no substance, no balance, no independence, that is the 4th estate in NZ, it is a sick joke. If the many people living here were not so indifferent or even idiotic as they are, they would notice, but they do not care.

    Nobody in numbers wants to be informed here, they all just want to consume, have fun and take life for a great joke, right?

    There is no other explanation for the state of affairs. So this country sinks, dumbs down, sells itself under the people’s arse holes, and there is no future for any person, who wants to plan and stay.

    Hand this land over to Mainland China to do something better with it, the locals have lost the plot long ago, I am afraid. It is only the minority of you Standardistas and a few others still trying to raise issues, the rest have left us all behind, they do not give a damn. That is stuff that makes dictatorships work, and NZ is the easiest country to rule, it is like running a chicken yard in the sticks.

    See BLiP’s take on this government, which was an excellent display:

    Nats’ environmental record

    • Paul 12.1

      So you reckon we should just give up?

      • xtasy 12.1.1

        Paul – not al tall, I challenge you to take a stand, to shake your relatives, one by one, to shout at your work mates, to stand up and also try to convince, to talk, to debate, to scream if need be, to reveal the truth, to perhaps shake some out of the daylight slumber and intoxication, enforced and encouraged also by one John Key, the ever smiling toxic assassin and dream seller.

        We have now, what the US sell their migrants, the “New Zealand dream”, and that is what they sell to all those migrants out there. Yet in Auckland, centre of most migration, we have a council going to build up (some with sense and justification), but much of it to only accommodate herds of new migrants who escape their lots, to only end up locked into new dependency and servitude here.

        I already see ghettoisation, I see many migrants live only in apartments and whatever, never seeing the country, as they do not feel they relate, belong, or can even afford to leave Auckland City to find out what is around it. That is what they will create and invite. And there is nothing suggesting more economical and affordable solutions, cheaper rents, cheaper services, better transport and so forth, it is all day dreamt stuff by some lofty plan drafters, who want to sell us the great Auckland Unitary Plan.

        I am not a conservative or rightist, but this plan is shit, utter shit, and it should be opposed solidly and robustly, all over Auckland, that is if Aucklanders understand that in most of the urban area they will face up to 6 levels of buildings, no matter what.

        A two to three million city, mostly made up of property buyers escaping other croweded places, not connected to, nor committed to NZ, that is madness.

        No, this is all crap, and it must be fought, fought, fought, take a damned stand, please!

    • kiwicommie 12.2

      Many New Zealanders have already left (600,000+ in fact), most of which are disgusted at the status quo, lack of opportunity, and lack of jobs and respect just like I am. If you walk on some streets in New Zealand you will find that many New Zealanders like to put down poor people i.e. ‘get a job’, looking down on the homeless, and WINZ treats the unemployed like they are parasites wasting their time. It is really disgusting but what can we do unless it is election day, until 2014 NZ’ers are stuck with bigoted neo-liberal attitudes.

      • Colonial Viper 12.2.1

        ~600,000 is the Australia only figure I believe.

        • kiwicommie 12.2.1.1

          Yep, you’re right. Just looked on wikipedia for 2010 (supposedly):

          Regions with significant populations
          New Zealand New Zealand
          4,370,000
          Australia 566,815 2 8 [2]
          United Kingdom 58,286 1 6 [3]
          United States 22,872 1 5 [3]
          Canada 9,475 1 6 [3]
          Netherlands 4,260 1 6 [3]
          United Arab Emirates 4,000 7 [4]
          Japan 3,146 2 3 [3]
          Ireland 2,195 1 6 [3]
          Hong Kong >2,000 [5]
          Germany 1,643 2 6
          Norway 929 2 6 [3]
          France 890 1 4 [3]
          Sweden 687 1 6 [3]
          Denmark 382 1 6 [3]
          Thailand 300 2 5 [3]
          Spain 275 1 6 [3]
          Italy 234 2 6 [3]
          Austria 156 1 6 [3]
          Finland 88 1 6 [3]

  11. Chooky 13

    Reply to Xtasy

    Chook yards are not easy to run in the sticks…there are all sorts of rats and ferrets lurking around, waiting in the bushes and hiding in the trees…..and chooks know a rat and a ferret when they see one!……just as NZers know a Banana Republic when they see one…There is a lot of unease and murmurings in the Wild Woods….and on the perches.

    If only Labour could get its yah yahs together and provide market focus/branding with a dynamic , young ,intelligent leader to combat Key head to head….Cunliff !…..The Labour Party should get an advertising agency to advise them on their opposition leadership….at the moment it just ain’t working, as you know, and just about everybody in New Zealand knows it !

    • xtasy 13.1

      chooky – point appreciated, murmorings should turn into action, that is my expectation, even if it is isolated and in small groups here and there, that will send messages already. The greater picture can grow from that. As for Labour, we know the problem, at least part of it. I have not let up sending the message, and I will continue to do so. One thing is to start blocking these Shearer emails that they send out to members and others. That may send a signal, when they get all those failure messages, no thanks!

    • Hami Shearlie 13.2

      There’s nothing like a wise old Chook!!!! Totally agree about the Labour Party. So very unappealing with Shearer as Leader – boring, hesitant and totally uninspiring! Cunliffe is the exact opposite to Shearer. Cunliffe would shred Key limb from limb, yet the ABC gang would rather be in perpetual opposition than have Cunliffe as Leader. He might actually make them work really hard, and be, and sound “committed”!!

    • Murray Olsen 13.3

      They probably already have an advertising agency advising them on leadership. I think that’s at least part of the problem. They should take more notice of the membership.
      But chooks, yeah. My brother was just telling me how foxes ate all his in NSW. I laughed (he’s a Tory), but then I remembered the weasels and rats we were constantly at war with.

  12. prism 14

    I thought that the graphic for this thread is very good, very clever. There are some great headline images on this site. Who does them I wonder.

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  • Arms Legislation Bill: Second Reading
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