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Bully State

Written By: - Date published: 3:23 pm, July 29th, 2009 - 42 comments
Categories: act, prisons - Tags: , , ,

NZPA reports:

An MP from government confidence and supply party ACT today told prison officers who spoke out against private prisons that they had hurt their future job prospects.

David Garrett’s remark came hot on the heals of accusations yesterday that the Government attempted to intimidate and silence people. Those claims were sparked by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett releasing benefit details of two women who criticised a government decision to cut a training allowance…

After Bart Birch, Uaea Leavasa and Satish Prasad criticised how Auckland Central Remand Prison was run under private contractor GEO Ltd between 2000 and 2005, Mr Garrett weighed in.

“You say that you don’t want to go back to working in this environment — to the private. You’d be aware that given your submission here, you wouldn’t get offered a job anyway, would you?”

Disgraceful. National’s Shane Adern was wise to distance his party from the comments, but it’s just another example of this government’s culture of bullying towards those who dare to criticise them in public.

[Hat tip: Toad in the comments.]

42 comments on “Bully State ”

  1. Lew 1

    This is a strong narrative line which now (thanks to Crusher Collins, Bruiser Bennett, Power on Elias, Hide on the Supercity, Lee on South Aucklanders, Garrett on practically everything) will begin to make sense in the public mind.

    My only reservation is that it is a carbon copy of the ‘nanny state’ narrative and that means there’s a risk of becoming stale.


  2. Tim Ellis 2

    Eddie, by your reasoning are you now accepting Labour’s responsibility for all the high crimes and misdemeanours of New Zealand First?

    • Lew 2.1

      No, Tim, nowhere has Eddie blamed National.

      Comparing apples with apples would be to sheet back some of NZF’s actions to the government, not to the party. I think you’ll agree that’s what a lot of people did in 2008.

      It would help to understand the distinction between a party and a government if you hope to sound credible, rather than just running reflexive attack lines against Labour.


    • ak 2.2

      “They did it too” again Tim? (burt in a suit…..only more boring)

    • snoozer 2.3

      You’re hyper-sensitive about any criticism of National, aren’t you Tim? So much so that you actually see it when it’s not there.

  3. Ari 3

    Hey guys, we believe in opening up submissions to everyone so we can bully you all with your submissions later! Oh, and we don’t care what you’re actually saying.

  4. Punishing someone for evidence given at a select committee is a contempt of Parliament. Why is Garrett advocating that? Or is this another thing he could get away with in Tonga?

    • Rex Widerstrom 5.1

      That thought immediately occurred to me too, Dean (and I/S).

      Surely there’s some opposition MP with sufficient time on his or her hands to lodge a complaint with the Speaker?!

      Why is it that the most spirited attacks (as opposed to whining) on this bullying are coming from the blogophere and even a handful of media commentators, yet not from the emasculated opposition? (cf Dalziell’s “defence” of Elias).

      Almost makes me wish I was back in the bear pit…

  5. I’ve always been an advocate for civics education in schools, maybe it should start with the government though.

  6. Ron 7

    John Key: Join the conversation..unless you’re Sian Elias, a government employee expecting a job with your privatised department, a recipient of a benefit, anybody who thinks government should look at actual evidence before making decisions…….

  7. gingercrush 8

    Wrong. Labour was the bully state. Grow up Eddie you need to have a hard look at the nine years New Zealanders had to suffer. We watched as your grand leader referred to West Coasters as in-bred (or was that feral in-breds?), we watched as your grand leader referred to people as haters and wreckers. But of course on the haters and wreckers part, it was all National’s fault. We watched as Trevor Mallard stood up in the house and used Parliamentary Privilege to smear people. We watched Helen always accusing others of smearing when she herself did it. We watched the Labour party bully the public service. We watched as Helen Clark infered that John Key shouted his wife down in a debate. We saw a leader who smeared a constituent that to her for help.

    We saw Labour defend the stealing of thousands of dollars so they could be re-elected. We then watched them pass legislation to cover up for those mistakes. We witnessed Labour acting shamefully over Winston Peters. Of course you lot still defend the guy. Not to mention under your watch we saw a girl get deported who had been raped and we of course know that one of your ministers released details to the media about it. Of course you lot can’t remember that. No doubt you’ll claim but she resigned.Yeah she did resign but it wasn’t for the releasing of details it was lying about releasing them. Of course being Labour by the next election she was re-hired. Same for Mallard forget that he assaulted someone,just re-allocate his portfolios.

    Sure this is, “well they did it first”but the idea that New Zealand is somehow now a bully state is bullshit when National inherited a “Bully State”

    • Derek 8.1

      “Years and years ago Labour, which you support, did stuff like this too!”

      Waah waah fucking waah. That’s not an argument, that’s an admission that even if what you say is accurate then that somehow excuses National. You know, the party that was going to bring new standards of behaviour to government and has now been found to have broken the law in its attempts to smear and bully its citizens who dare to raise questions about their policies.

      If you had any integrity you’d quit supporting these authoritarian creeps and admit that they’ve seriously crossed the line. Running interference for them just makes you look like a shill.

    • JustRight 8.2

      Priceless, and oh so true! Forget about bullying for a minute people. Why the hell did one of those women get a $10K grant to start a cleaning business! THAT is the scandal

      • Maynard J 8.2.1

        D.Vice came from the same sort of grant, IIRC. How many people do they employ now?

        If it stops someone needing a benefit, and the benefit is over $30k a year, is it not potentially a good use of money? 1/3 of one year’s benefit, to get off it for life, and in some cases, get other people off benefits.

        (I was about to find the site D.Vice to link it, but realised I had better not. Anyone care to guess why 😉 ?)

        • JustRight

          Maynard J – yes there is logic. But think about how much you can start a cleaning business for! Further if taxpayers are going to front with $10K then it should be a loan if certain conditions are not met.

          I am not a beneficiary basher – I don’t have a particular isse with $46K or whatever these women get a year. But I am livid about taxpayers fronting up cash at no risk to the recipient to start a business which costs $200 to start up!

          • Maynard J

            I could start a cleaning business with four and a half billion dollars, but I would have trouble selling my business case to WINZ 🙂

            $200 will get you no transport, a dodgy second-hand vaccuum cleaner, some supplies and a 3cm ad twice a week in the local rag for a month. In other words, a recipe to fail.

            It depends on the type of business, and her proposal had to have been approved by (according to WINZ) an independent assessment. There is a fixed grant and a weekly subsidy to support the business as it starts up.

            It is a lot of money. I hope that there is adequate oversight to ensure that it is a good use – that the benefits (successes) outweight the costs (including failures).

      • BLiP 8.2.2

        $10K is sweet fuck all to start up a business – it wouldn’t cover the cost of a vehicle, business phone, advertising, staff, clothing, stationery, and equipment. Such nit-picking is indicative of the small minds that cannot understand the issues in this situation and are envious at what they see as someone else getting something they don’t have the nouse to organise for themselves.

        Where are the complaints about the most recently announced $30 million corporate welfare benefit handed out yesterday when construction started on the biotechnology sector’s “incubator” in Auckland. This latest folly is being built with my money and is based on a promise from business to contribute $10 million when the job is completed. Yes, a “promise” – ha bloody ha.

        But, of course, the incubator corporate welfare is too difficult an item to understand – far easier to give a beneficiary a good kicking than take on the real thieves.

        Meanwhile, Bully Bennett breaks the law to hang out two beneficiaries for public humiliation at the hands of the small minded and closes down child protection offices in small rural centres.

        Thanks National Inc. Love these new standards you promised.

    • Maynard J 8.3

      Inherited it? Inherited?

      How ******* weak, Gingercrush.

      Even if we take what you say to be factual, relevant and equivalent (I would dispute a whole lot of that as a litany of what you did not like, most of which has no bearing upon “bullying”, let alone similarities with a minister acting like the proverbial 900lb gorilla against two private citizens), saying that National ‘Inhereted it’? You see no flaw in that?

      You blame Labour for all these actions, so surely when National came in the slate was wiped clean. If National is a ‘Bully State’ then they have cultivated a new one – a particularly nasty one at that (the media have had to go back to Muldoon to find an equivalent, tell you anything?) in well under a year. Are you proud?

      Think before you rant.

    • r0b 8.4

      What does this list of part truths, part lies, random accusations and whining attempts at rationalisation have to do with anything ginger? Shall I deconstruct, or write the same sort of list for National?

      Labour aren’t the government, National is, and this is about what a National minister has done, and an emerging pattern of government bullying. Do you have any thoughts on the actual issues?

      • felix 8.4.1

        Do you have any thoughts on the actual issues?

        I suspect he thinks it would be nice not to talk about them.

        At least he hasn’t called anyone a bitch yet though. Not here, anyway.

  8. tsmithfield 9

    Felix, I notice you didn’t bother to respond to me when I gave you the link to the interview with Jenifer Johnston, one of the women at the centre of this furore.

    Well, here is a link to a three News article on this topic:


    Here is a quote from the article:

    “She said she’s not angry with me, and that actually she felt that the information was pretty much readily available and that she didn’t feel that it was a privacy issue,” says Ms Bennett. “She’s invited me around for coffee next time I’m in Invercargill – I’ve said I’ll take the coffee.”

    In fact, Ms Johnston told 3 News she was the one who apologised – she agrees her details were neither private nor confidential.”

    See. Its what I was saying on the previous thread. Even one of the women believe that the information is publicly available and easy to get. I heard Larry Williams talking about the issue. According to him the other woman had put out loads of detailed information about herself and her circumstances in various public forums, so I doubt it would be difficult to work out her entitlements from what she has said.

    Not only that, the woman in Hamilton had enough spare change to pay for $400 hair extensions as per a Fair Go article a while ago. Great to see where my tax money is going.

    This is nothing to do with breaching privacy. These people have put their information out there from which computations can be made. If they don’t like the heat then they shouldn’t be getting into the fire.

    • BLiP 9.1

      Poor woman – she must be terrified – imagine being so badly beaten by Bully Bennett that you are prepared to defend the attacker and retract comments made earlier before you realised the state was prepared to break the law.

    • felix 9.2

      Felix, I notice you didn’t bother to respond to me when I gave you the link to the interview with Jenifer Johnston, one of the women at the centre of this furore.

      Wow, maybe I don’t spend my time following you around the internet waiting for you to tell me where to go next.

      As for the rest of your “thoughts”, why are you still trying to pretend the issue is about these particular women?

      So what if one person doesn’t mind their details being released to the media? Does that make it ok for the govt to release anyone’s personal info?

      Of course not.

      You’re slow, but you’re not that slow. Give me something to work with ffs.

    • Craig Glen Eden 9.3

      Riiiiiiiiight Larry Williams theirs a balanced Journo. Their is no excuses for Bennett’s actions shes a bully, she has tried to intimidate and has been successful with one of the woman no surprise really. But oh she has got that sinking feeling and you can see it in her eyes.

  9. sausage fingers 10

    Did NZPA really say “hot on the heals“. For fuck’s sake. Did they mean “hot on the making healthy”. What the fuck does that even mean?

    Fucking NCEA.

    Can we put the illiterate fucker who wrote this on a benefit and then release the details of how much we are paying him?

  10. sausage fingers 11

    Oh, Craig Glen Eden.

    theirs a balanced Journo? And Their is no excuses….

    You go on a benefit too.

  11. CrosbyTextor 12

    Note to Media Operatives

    The official position is:

    while it is regretable that some have misconstrued Ms Bennett’s motives and descended to personal attacks, it is to the greater good we are having this wider debate about welfare and it is important that we all have as much information as possible to bring to the debate.

    Further instructions will be forwarded to indiviual operatives and available on a need-to-know basis until otherwise informed.

  12. Tim Ellis 13

    It seems to me there’s a bit of a narrative here, of Labour doing a concerted effort to pull down Ms Bennett and Mr Loto-Iiga. It seems to me Labour is very sensitive still about losing those seats. I pick Nikki Kaye will be in the firing line next, because she dared to win a seat that labour believed it had a mortgage on.

    • Maynard J 13.1

      It seems to me there’s a bit of a narrative here, in your mind. I can assre you if any other minister acted as appallingly as Bennett they would get the same treatment.

  13. burt 14


    I think you are right about that. Opposition is not resting well with the party that became so arrogant over 9 years of stealing elections that it thought it was the natural party of govt.

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