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Beyond a joke

Written By: - Date published: 12:50 pm, March 9th, 2011 - 60 comments
Categories: disaster, Gerry Brownlee, john key, leadership - Tags:

Update: since I wrote this post last night, Key and Brownlee’s double act has continued, with Brownlee making up an excuse for Key’s comment that 10,000 houses will be bowled. Brownlee claimed the number came from an EQC aerial survey at about the same time as Key was admitting he pulled the numbers out of his arse and had no official advice to base them on.


Usually, when I write a post about National it’s too expose and ridicule their failings. But writing this post reminds me of writing posts criticising Labour or the Greens because I’m doing it in the sincere hope that they’ll pick up their act.

We have gone into this with the government we have, not the ones we might want, and we need them to perform. The people of Christchurch need and deserve better than they are getting and, for now, John Key and Gerry Brownlee are the men who must deliver.

Key and Brownlee are the two most powerful men in the country right. In their actions and in their words they hold the hopes of tens of thousands of people whose lives have been turned upside down and the future of a major city. That’s why this Laurel and Hardy impersonation has to stop.

It would be funny, if it weren’t so serious. The classic comedy duo doing and saying outrageous things, trying to wriggle their way out of it, blaming each other … and then doing it again. They even look like bloody Laurel and Hardy but they’re our Prime Minister and our de facto Dictator.

With great power comes great responsibility.

You cannot, must not, speak off the cuff about destroying the entire architectural heritage of a city.

You cannot, must not, declare you are seizing control of the operation to the exclusion of the local community’s leaders.

You cannot, must not, pronounce out of the blue without consultation or advice that whole suburbs will have to be bowled and quake-devastated families relocated to who knows where (oh and not have any plan on where they would be re-located). And you cannot then say these families are “really lucky” because there’s undeveloped land to relocate them to. Or pretend there was official advice when there wasn’t.

Random announcements that are taken back hours or days later only make life harder for the displaced and distressed families. They do nothing to instill confidence in the government. And we need confidence in our leadership right now.

Key and Brownlee need to sit down together and take a few deep breaths. They’re excited and nervous – this is their chance to really leave a legacy, to literally reshape a major city as they wish. And I believe they do genuinely want to do a good job. But they are not doing a remotely good job. They need to hit the restart button.

Key needs to stop trying to pander to the media by giving in to their clamour for numbers and definitive statements. When he doesn’t know something, there’s no harm in saying so.

Brownlee. Well, Brownlee needs to be replaced. He’s basically a big, stupid bully. Completely the wrong person to be overseeing the careful stitching together of shattered lives in a shattered city and thoughtful planning of its future.

And we need a road-map. Not all the details. But the major steps in the government’s plan: what is wrong, what will be done to fix it, how will it be funded, how it will create a better Christchurch. We mustn’t rebuild in a rushed, chaotic way. We need a deliberate plan, led by an apolitical commission of urban planners and developed with the local communities brought on board, that we can see and have faith in.

Is there such a plan? Because right now it looks like our leaders are just floundering from one prat-fall to the next.

This is not the leadership we need.

60 comments on “Beyond a joke ”

  1. billy fish 1

    The comparison to Laurel and Hardy is unfair
    Laurel and Hardy spent a lot of time working on thier scripts, rehearsing thier pratfals and honing up thier art to the genius standards they acehieved at thier very best.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Basically, what’s coming out of the Nats ATM re the earthquake is proof of their complete incompetence.

  3. prism 3

    If only they could give us something good to laugh about. But the actual Laurel and Hardy had some grotesque routines if I remember right. I think one involved pushing a light bulb in the others mouth and squeezing his mouth round it. A painful way to get a laugh and sadistic humour.

    Perhaps that would be a good Labour line, to be commenting on the NACT policies with a little laugh, a little positive chortle as if to say they should be recognised as trying but… Goff plus other new, media-capable MPs should then spell out their own better, viable policy and say that they are working out the cost, but will have got estimates so they can say it is affordable in our present circumstances.

    (I heard Tommy Tiernan the Irish comdian who is coming to nz auckland and wellington later this month. Let’s grab him for Prime Minister. He sounds bright, acute and sensitive thinker. Would top what we have now and sees our countries to have similarities. I think he might understand us better than we do.)

  4. Lanthanide 4

    You’re right, a roadmap is exactly what we need. There was a lot of criticism following the September earthquake that there was no apparent direction. They were (apparently) just about to unveil their plan and direction when the latest quake struck.

    Hopefully getting a new roadmap in place will be much quicker this time because of the previous work that was done, and due to the necessity of it.

    Edit: good-sized aftershock in the middle of writing that. Almost got under my desk.

  5. Peter 5

    Sadly, I believe you are correct. The underlying issue seems to be that Key, as National’s Brand, chases the sound-bites on all issues. That must make it very difficult for the man in charge:Brownlee.

    • bbfloyd 5.1

      Browlee,,,,,,,,in charge??. you’re making a joke, right?

      • Afewknowthetruth 5.1.1

        Try Goldman Sachs, Morgan Chase, Shell, BP etc. They are pulling the strings of the puppets currently in power in NZ. And, of course, the Rothschilds and Rockefellers etc are pullting thing strings of the transnational corporations.

        Politics is just a puppet show geared to transferring wealth upwards, and Key and Brownlie are putting on a great show while they pursue that agenda.

        It\’s all delusional nonsense, of couse, which is why one cannot take anything Key or Brownlie says seriously. (Nor any of the clowns in the other parties, of course).

        Pity the fools who think Key is for real.

  6. Tel 6

    Key and Brownlee are more like Star Wars: A new Hope… does this ring any bells “And I am C-3PO, human-cyborg relations. And this is my counterpart R2D2.”

    And they’re not the droids we’re looking for.

  7. ianmac 7

    It is good that some in the MSM are holding up Key and others to have to explain their words.
    Explaining is a loss.

    • BLiP 7.1

      Temporary aberration, I fear. All will be forgiven next week as we get photo-op after photo-op of King John The Clueless of Charmalot side by side with Prince William. And then there’s the wedding. Just what the nation needs, a chance to be comforted by our betters and then to boost our moral with a royal nuptial.

  8. Adrian 8

    John Carter has been very good I think, and I’m no Nat fan. He’s calm, says enough to be reassuring and doesn’t say anything he’s not pretty sure of. I see Key is facing overs from Warne in the charity cricket match, shit I’d pay good money to resurect Harold Larwood.

  9. graham 9

    The standard used to be a bit nuttie but as chris trotter said we torys like to know our enemys
    But this bile since the earthquake sickiens me
    you have no respect for our dead or our living here in canterbury
    no words can truley express my disgust for marty and others here that express a glee in the death and pain of others so you can score cheap fucking points in a stupid beltway game
    Get a fucking life

    • BLiP 9.1

      I’d be grateful if you could point one – yes, just one – example of where The Standard has expressed glee at the death and pain of others. kthnxbai.

    • Bright Red 9.2

      There is a legitimate political debate over the future of Christichurch and how it will be funded. It is legitimate to criticise the government when it makes stuff up, lies, and contradicts itself. All these posts are doing is calling for the government to do a better job for the people of Christchurch and the rest of us.

      You’re being disrespectful by hiding behind those dead people. And it’s just sad.

    • Colonial Viper 9.3

      I love how Righties spit their faux outrage at people while they are more than happy to cut benefits and have people kicked out of their low cost housing on any other day of the week.

      Hey are you looking forwards to bouncing Christchurch solo mums off the DPB and forcing them to find work in the CBD as per original National working group plans?

      graham you are a joke.

    • lprent 9.4

      We haven’t said much about the people of Christchurch except to express sympathy and to repeat what they have been saying in complaints or black humor. Some of us who live or have been there for family since the quake have written on what they observed.

      To me, you just seem like just another self-appointed member of the taste police who are so intent on protecting the inadequate members of this government that you’d prefer that they are never questioned on if they are doing a good job of the task of rebuilding Christchurch?

      I guess you just don’t care if the people of Christchurch are being helped effectively – you’d prefer to help Brownlee and Key instead.

    • Marty G 9.5

      Three options
      1 show when I’ve expressed glee at the death and pain of people in Christchurch.
      2 act like a man, admit you are wrong and apologise for slandering me so disgustingly on our blog
      3 fuck off forever and take a lifetime ban

      • lprent 9.5.1

        I’ll be really happy to enforce that last one. Normally I’d tolerate graham but this just pisses me off. It just sounds like him picking up one of those pissant lines from one of the idiot blogs and using it without bothering to go and look at what has been written here for himself (he has been quiet for some time).

        Most of us have family and friends in Christchurch. I’ve been hearing from them and I’d imagine that most of us have. Most of my contacts who are left in the city are getting to the point that they’re trying to figure out if it is going to be better to leave or stay. It is not a happy place there. Having a terminally narcissistic personality like Key mincing around with dumb statements upsetting them further does not help.

    • DJ 9.6

      Sorry mate as a resident and someone affected by the quake the standard’s on the money. Nobody’s being gleeful around here. The way Brownlee and Key have been acting is appalling. They shouldn’t be throwing around figures and upsetting people that are worried about losing their jobs and their homes. Yes we feel sad for the loss of life, but life is going on and people are worried about their livelihoods. If John Key wants to play with numbers he should go back to currency investment. Otherwise he should speak with straight words.

      • neleftie 9.6.1

        That DJ is exactly what we want and crave in a true leader – bold straight and decisive words and actions – NZ is in crisis – we need leadership not these monkeys.

    • neleftie 9.7

      I have so many anadotal stories of people not getting any state care or assistance from day one from the first sept earthqauke. if you look at some of the threads and posts this forum was used to link community welfare groups together and provide support whilst the the main CD event in the CBD was taking place.
      By defintion as social democratics we not only emphasis with each and every person in our nation but we truely care about there welfare and wellbeing in a trotal sence.
      Go sell another baby…you mindless sheep.

    • mike 9.8

      Graham you should understand that these bitter outbursts from the pinko’s are just a reaction to the hopless situation the left are facing post earthquake. They realise they are facing an even more humiliatating drubbing later in year due to the Giuliani effect, media saturation and eventual feel -good effect that follows these terrible events. Combine that with the mandate the Nats now have to make the neccessary tweaks to the old labour policies we are so burdened with… no wonder they are sounding so desperate. If there weren’t so many other worthy of it in this great city I would almost feel sorry for them.

      • lprent 9.8.1

        Bullshit. Has nothing to do with being ‘pinkos’. It has everything to do with Graham acting like a arsehole

        Graham was accusing us of :-

        marty and others here that express a glee in the death and pain of others

        Since he hasn’t fronted up, I’ll ban him. That was totally over the top. It is something that I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy.

        Graham can come back in 2013. You can have a years ban just because I’m pissed off about him and you happened to speak up at the wrong time. Neither of you are worth having around here

        Piss off, stay away and learn some respect for others. It is hard enough keeping a site running without this kind of pointless abuse. Next he or you will be saying that we eat babies.

      • Armchair Critic 9.8.2

        …the hopless situation the left are facing…
        Hopless? Do you mean there’s no beer?
        …Giuliani effect…
        That’ll be named after the Rudy Giuliani who was out of office a little over 100 days after 9/11?
        …eventual feel-good effect that follows…
        That will require that the government actually does something to create the feel-good effect.
        Combine that with the mandate the Nats now have…
        As opposed to the mandate they got in 2008? They don’t have a new mandate and can’t get a new one until late November.
        Though I’m tempted to refrain from personal abuse, fuck it, I won’t. You are an idiot. I’m sure there are answering machines that are less repetitious and show more original thought than you do.

      • bbfloyd 9.8.3

        mike…. how many times do you have to be told… that’s your arsehole,, not a filing cabinet for tomorrows news… or is it?

  10. gobsmacked 10

    Graham says: score cheap fucking points in a stupid beltway game

    Did you see/hear John Key’s performance in Parliament today? No?

    In the words of that “nuttie leftie” (?), Speaker Lockwood Smith:

    “The Prime Minister should not push his luck. He knows better than that. …

    I say to members that it is not a good look, at this time. The Prime Minister knew that that comment would lead to disorder. It was not wise.”

    Can you bear the Speaker daring to criticise the PM, or is that just Lockwood Smith scoring “cheap fucking points”?

  11. chris73 11

    I feel (as a Christchurch resident) that National and John Key are doing as well as can be expected

    Yes it would be nice to have a magic wand to wave around and make everything better but they don’t

    Sorting out the mess that is Christchurch is going to take time and patience, fortunately National is going to have at least three more years to deal with this

    With great power comes great responsibility. Also with no power (Labour) comes no responsibility to back up whatever claims they make

    • Kevin Welsh 11.1

      Just because you have low expectations of our elected leaders Chris, don’t expect everyone else to.

      • chris73 11.1.1

        Lesse global financial meltdown, SCF, Pike River, 1st Earthquake, 2nd Earthquake

        I’d say Nationals doing very well considering what its had to deal with since coming into power, no doubt you’ll say how much better Labour would do so I’ll say we’ll find out what the people of NZ think at the next election

        (Just thought I’d save you some time ;))

        • Eddie

          how are they doing very well?

        • gobsmacked

          And yet John Key finds time to … practise his batting. (No, I am not making that up. Wish I was).

          Chris, no reasonable person expects a “magic wand”. Just a clear focus.

          Key does have a clear focus … on appearances. That’s not leadership.

        • neoleftie

          havent done much really apart from mince around and have a bbq or two – oh and give tax cuts when we actaully needed the cash tax rake so the govt could spend to support the economy.
          We need massive long term infrastructure spending, Job creation even if the state has to implement it, long term retraining schemes, more apprentiships, increased R and D and investment by businesses ( bring back the UDC ), basically we need the 6 billion used on tax cuts to provide a stimulous to the economy and to stabalise a very weak private sector.
          The Tax cuts barely did anything – private spending extremely weak, private sector investment poor….

        • todd

          Being that Labour was in the process of increasing safety measures for mining before National came along and threw all those ideas out the window, I’d say the Natz aren’t doing that well at all chris73.

          What we need is a leader who can role up their sleeves and get stuck in with the best of them. A smile and wave for the camera doesn’t cut the mustard in situations like this.

    • bbfloyd 11.2

      chris… a good peice of mindless party political piffle. utterly meaningless except to a psychologist. do you ever have fantasies about being charlton heston in the “ten commandments”?

      • chris73 11.2.1

        I wish, Charlton Heston is possibly the greatest sci-fi actor ever, Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green and The Omega Man are all classics that still resonate even today

        To be fair Arnold could also claim to be the greatest: The Terminator series, Total Recall, The Running Man and Predator is not a bad resume at all

        But seriously (though I could talk about movies all day) when was the last time a NZ govt had to deal with what the current govt is dealing with?

        • The Voice of Reason


          Oh, and there was a war few years after that killed a lot of kiwis too.

          • chris73

            So its been 66 years…as I say National are doing well

            • Rosy

              “when was the last time a NZ govt had to deal with what the current govt is dealing with?”
              Try the 1970s oil shocks Increased oil prices, huge increases in borrowing and reduced access to the then EEC began the slide that the neo-libs reckoned they had the answers to. They didn’t work then, and they won’t work now.

              The policies they are following now will only exacerbate a slowing economy, inflation and unemployment – just as it did then. They’re creating another new generation of the people tossed aside and they know it.

              Chris73 – you were born in ’73? do some reading starting from then – the first oil shock. But the second in 1979 had more impact here, I think.

              • neoleftie

                cheaper to pay someone on the dole than a massive civil servant salary.
                Hopefully just hopefully the economy is too unstable for the tories to tinker with it

                • Rosy

                  “Hopefully just hopefully the economy is too unstable for the tories to tinker with it”
                  hehe – nah. It’s just what they need to bring in the wholesale changes they wanted, but had to hide to get elected.

                  • neoleftie

                    oh i agree the Toried have an agenda hidden by the smiley monKey but as far as i can see the only thing left to get some ready cash is a fire-sale of assets but without a mandate hmmmm Key vs English…it will take more than 6 month to sell off assets so thats why so so important to get rid of national.

              • chris73

                I agree economically it was probably very bad but when you factor in earthquakes and mine disasters it still doesn’t compare to today

                Man you lefties just dont want to give any credit at all do you

                • Rosy

                  Mt Erebus – 1979 was a reasonable hit on the national pschye don’t you think? Granted it didn’t involve the destruction of a city. But equally the what is happening economically now is not a result of the earthquake – that hasn’t even started to hit. What they’d like people to do is confuse the timeline. NActs policies to date have lead to recession, not the earthquake – recession first, earthquake second. Repeat until ingrained.

                  I’m judging their response as is happens. So far it’s been underwhelming.

                  • chris73

                    I think you give too much credit to the National govt causing the recession

                    • Rosy

                      No, not to causing it – that was the global financial crisis. They’ve extended it by doing the exact opposite of what history shows will pull us out of it.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I agree NAT didn’t cause the recession.

                      They are simply prolonging it.

                • Armchair Critic

                  There are a few similarities.
                  2011 vs. 1931
                  Incumbent National government (2011) vs. Reform/United government (1931). Reform/United became the National Party.
                  Stagnant economy.
                  Major earthquake causes significant damage in a large city in February, Christchurch in 2011 and Napier/Hastings in 1931.
                  General election due late in both years.
                  1931 to 1935 weren’t pretty years, and I’m hoping history doesn’t continue to repeat

  12. HC 12

    Dear old Gerry had a farm, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    On the farm he had a goat, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    The goat was taken to the butcher, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    The butcher turned it into mince, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    The mince was put into pastry, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    The pastry and mince then was baked, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    And then old Gerry had a hunger, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    He grabbed the baked pie in a haste, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    The pie went down his throat and more, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    It slid well down into his gut, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    The gut was filled again so much, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    That keeps the peace of mind of him, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    He does not care about thoughts or brain, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    Eater’s satisfaction is all that counts, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    Old Gerry loves his peace of mind, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    That shuts out much of intellect, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    Who cares what else is of concern, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    So he goes asleep and has a rest, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    The world moves on without his grasp, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    Hence Gerry lives in his own world, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    Jonkey is his best mate at all, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    The two are one in thought and mind, yee ha, yee ha, ho!
    One smiles the other makes up with weight, yee ha, yee ha ho!
    That does not worry us at all, we’ll give them the final heave ho!

  13. prism 13

    Marty has chosen a great shot of Laurel and Hardy, they fit the types of the real Key and Brownlee so well. If Key and Brownlee did work up a comedy patter and put it on at a benefit concert for Christchurch they would be doing something directly positive for the city.

    And if Labour can only pull off a win in the November elections Key and Brownlee will have a ready alternative career. Key could use his contacts with Warners to gain some traction in the entertainment market.

    • bbfloyd 13.1

      key could claim to be stan laurels bastard son by a chorus girl. that would give his stand up routine a kick start on the circuit…. he’s about the right age too…. his agent could make hay with that.

  14. JohnDee 14

    I’m offended and must protest that you should besmirch the reputations of Laural & Hardy like that.

  15. Deb 15

    I swear thestandard gets more like a revival meeting every day. The pious flock preaching fire and brimstone to each other, then first damning then banning the one voice in the wilderness. “no, since he hasn’t fronted up to explain himself, I’ll send him straight to hell”

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