Bread and circuses. Hold the bread.

Written By: - Date published: 10:20 am, September 1st, 2015 - 16 comments
Categories: accountability, Media - Tags: , , ,

Excellent opinion piece by Peter Lyons yesterday:

Peter Lyons: Nothing but spin coming from our Government

Hey John, I’m still waiting for our great National cycle trail.

When our exchange rate was high, Mr English described this as a vote of confidence by the rest of the world in the soundness of our government’s financial management. When the kiwi dollar almost gained parity with the Aussie some pundits, including the noted economist Mike Hoskings, highlighted this as evidence we were overtaking our neighbours in economic prosperity.

Now the kiwi is dropping against other currencies. This is apparently the long-awaited rebalancing. It is allowing exporters who struggled with the high exchange rate to finally prosper. Mr English recently pointed out in a Q and A program that a lower exchange rate will be a big help to exporters.

Children from poor families are suffering life threatening diseases due to poorly insulated sub standard rental accommodation. Many are going to school hungry. Their parent can do something about it if they are fortunate enough to make the evening news. Mr Key has initiated a costly national debate about a new flag for ourselves.

The Pike River disaster killed 29 miners. The Prime Minister and his ministers lent their unwavering support to the bereaved families and community. The disaster was a tragic ugly reminder of what can result when profit takes precedence over people. There were universal calls for tougher health and safety measures in our work places. The recent health and safety legislation from this government has been a watered down, poorly constructed fiasco. The government has successfully ensured hasty legislation to allow pubs to keep serving booze in the early morning hours during the rugby World Cup.

The cost of living for essentials such as electricity, accommodation, rates and insurance continues to outpace wage growth. Max seems to have grown into a fine young man and thoroughly enjoyed his recent stint in Hawaii.

We are living in an age of spin. The Roman leaders gave their people bread and circuses. Sadly we no longer get the bread.

Read the full piece in The Herald for many more examples. Then catch up with Duncan Garner’s piece last week:

Duncan Garner: National gets a case of the dreaded third-termitis

John Key warned his Cabinet crew not to become arrogant and pick up that dreaded disease third-termitis. Unfortunately, the vaccination hasn’t worked. Some of his crew look a bit green in the gills and have been caught asleep at the wheel in their plush Beehive offices. The Government’s workplace health and safety reforms are an old-fashioned cock-up. …

Fair enough as far as it goes, but Garner has missed the main point. Given that John Key has conspicuously failed to follow his own advice, it’s impossible for him to plausibly hold his ministers to account.

16 comments on “Bread and circuses. Hold the bread.”

  1. JanM 1

    Of course Garner’s missed the main point – he’s not very bright, I’m afraid, which is, of course, why he’s doing so well – easily manipulable

  2. les 2

    Garner is a Fox News cadet.

  3. save NZ 3

    Is Peter Lyons the only commentator worth reading now in Grandpa Herald?

  4. esoteric pineapples 4

    Duncan Garner always misses the main point because he is a conservative and if he saw it, he would have to change his way of thinking quite significantly. As a result, his analysis of issues will always be shallow.

  5. Chooky 5

    +100 …good post…all Jonkey Nact has to hope for is hoisting a new flag….but even that is flagging

    ( jonkey says a new flag will bring us more prosperity…?! ….why?…how? this a corporate brand takeover of New Zealand’s heritage in the old flag….Treaty of Waitangi partnership, legal founding contract of NZ?….and history and cultural identity?)

    I would like to know how much each of his stooges on the steering Flag committee is getting for their services ( hope not in the millions)

    …and I would like a business profile of each of them…so we can see who jonkey’s friends are… and what other services they have done for him

    ….eg what other business committees have they been on for jonkey and this government …have they served alongside Goldman Sachs representatives for example?….have they had anything to do with dodgy enterprises?…and what involvement have they had in private enterprise ?…on boards?… and how successful have they been?…have they been involved in shonkey dealings that have cost New Zealanders money?

    …are they culturally sound?….do they have integrity?

    ….would you trust them to count your vote for keeping the old New Zealand flag?…and all the cultural and historical integrity and identity it has for New Zealanders

    • GregJ 5.1

      I would like to know how much each of his stooges on the steering Flag committee is getting for their services ( hope not in the millions)

      Paid according to the Cabinet Fees Framework so Panel members receive $640 per day and the Chair receives $850 per day. (I have no idea of how many days they have spent working on it though)

      The estimated cost of the process was $25.7m over two years. Most of the budget was for two postal referendums ($17.3m) and public consultation ($6.7m). That leaves about $1.7m floating around somewhere. The Design Institute may have picked some of the cash up as they did a video and were “consulted” about flag design.

      • Anne 5.1.1

        I worked out their take home pay will be around $150,000 each – assuming week-ends don’t count. Not a bad little gig for a bunch of design neanderthals.

  6. Mike the Savage One 6

    Peter Lyons is writing so kindly, like a gentleman, I feel. He is far too kind towards the PM and this government. It is actually much, much worse, but of course, speaking it out does not get any attention, as “the masses” out there are constantly inundated with spin and glorious commercial advertising, telling them what is “important”.

    Government has for most been reduced to 0800 numbers to call, if any “service” may be sought or needed, and then people end up in waiting queues while endless music fills their ears. So those losing jobs and needing support from WINZ or Housing NZ soon enough resign to the fact that they are considered as an unwanted “burden” and rather find other ways to address their needs. Websites are there, but registration is needed, privacy may be compromised, and you will never see or hear a person face to face, nothing very “human” to experience.

    The media is now more “foxy” (Fox News style) than ever, most in private investor hands, there to generate income by selling advertising and spreading that “information”, rather than actually research and present “news” of substance, or other quality programs (what is that, “quality”?). The news are dominated by crime, sport and weather, or at other times by weather, crime and sports, little else. Yes, there is “news” about who said or did what as a party leader or MP, but discussion is not about politics and plans for the future, it is about who is “in” or “out” of public sentiment and favour.

    Ratings are presented, ratings drive the programs, ratings determine what interest we pay for credit for housing or consumer products, or that we can “earn” through bank deposits.

    Jobs are a commodity like anything else, and being without one makes you inferior, every person who has been there will know it.

    So yes, people get endless spin, about flag designs, which sports hero favours which one, about pub opening hours being extended to “listen to the public”. People want cheap petrol, broadband and grocery items, and DIC products, and lots of entertainment, consumerism and commodity driven thinking dominate the minds of most. Then there is competitiveness, it is evident in “fight clubs” in our prisons, managed “well” by contracted “providers”, who also “assist” the mentally ill into work.

    If only they had got one Mr Tully a job that paid him a living wage, we may today not have had a remembrance day of sorts, not a good one, while he now waits endlessly to get “justice”. I wonder why the wait is so long? Is there so much to sweep under the carpet, so it will not “disturb” others, once the trial is conducted?

  7. Tory 7

    I prefer Phil Quinns column today 🙂

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