Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, September 16th, 2008 - 17 comments
Categories: national, spin, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

When the EPMU released its investigation notes on Shawn Tan it was obvious that some right-wing bloggers would seize on the fact that Tan had been employed on a probationary agreement and stupidly claim that, therefore, the union was hypocritical for opposing National’s fire at will policy (which creates a 90 day no-rights period for new employees when they will have no right to take personal grievance actions if they are sacked unfairly). What was surprising was that National’s Kate Wilkinson picked up the line. The union responded by pointing out that the existing law on probationary periods is very different from the fire at will law National wants to introduce. Indeed, one of the arguments the union movement used when it first defeated the 90 day bill was that the current probationary period laws are sufficient to allow the flexibility employer groups claimed they needed.

Incredibly, Wilkinson has continued making ever more vitriolic attacks on the EPMU even after the difference between the current probationary laws, which the union movement supports, and the fire at will law, which the unions oppose, has been clearly explained to her. There are only two options: either Kate Wilkinson is dangerously incompetent on employment law considering she wants to be Minister of Labour and radically reform those laws, or she knows the current law perfectly well but she thinks she can make a dishonest attack and get away with it.

I think it’s the latter. The law is pretty simple; any fool can understand it, especially after both the EPMU and the Council of Trade Unions explained it clearly to her in three different press releases. So, Wilkinson knows her attack is dishonest but she thinks there will be no consequences for trying to deceive the New Zealand public.

That conforms with a pattern of National behaviour. Key ran a variety of contradictory and out-right false excuses for his “we would love to see wages drop” quote. He repeatedly accused Labour of being behind the secret agenda tapes, even claiming he had a name for the taper (which he refused to divulge), and then publicly admitted he was just making it up. No-one believes his rubbish was really raided but National ran that lie confident that they would not suffer the consequences. Lockwood Smith believes that every time he lies about migration numbers and offers no solution to this ‘crisis’ he will not be held to account. Wilkinson is just conforming to National’s standard procedure, making dishonest attacks and smears, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be called out (Labour, on the other hand, has to be worried about blow-back from pranks by former youth activists).

So expect more of this from Wilkinson and the rest of National because it works. But remember that every time National gets away with making a fundamentally dishonest attack that it relies on the ignorance or the apathy of the public to succeed. And think about what it says when National can behave with such chutzpah knowing they’ll get away with it every time.

17 comments on “Chutzpah”

  1. insider 1

    Reminds me of that time you said John Key bought his seat. Or Michael Cullen’s claim that Key is unfit because the business he used to work for is now going through hard times (while ignoring the recession sized mote in his own eye)

  2. Daveo 2

    But you agree she’s dangerously incompetent or lying for deliberate effect.

  3. randal 3

    bye bye merril lynch…bye bye john keys!

  4. randal 4

    whoops…thats hubris, not chutzpah

  5. monkey-boy 5

    “Wilkinson is just conforming to National’s standard procedure, making dishonest attacks and smears, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be called out (Labour, on the other hand, has to be worried about blow-back from pranks by former youth activists).”

    Is that new eau de cologne, SP? It’s vaguely familiar… It smells a bit like, Why yes! It is! It’s the unmistakable scent of ‘Burning Martyr’!…

    By the way, did you hear about that internet prank that directed people to The Standard if they put ‘Labour-financed lackeys’ into the google search engine?

    Such pranks eh? Still as many pointed out here over the ‘clueless’ thing, you really have to have a sense of humour and ‘lighten up’ about such things….

    Don’t you?

  6. Felix 6

    Your search – Labour-financed lackeys – did not match any documents.


    * Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
    * Try different keywords.
    * Try more general keywords.
    * Try fewer keywords.

    I don’t get it.

  7. Matthew Pilott 7

    Does anyone understand monkey-boy these days? I can read the words, but not the sentences. ‘Burning martyr’? Where on earth did that come from?

    Has anyone over here complained about a prank that sends people here if you type ‘Labour financed lackeys’? If not, why are you implying that that is the case, MB? Either I’m misunderstanding what you wrote, or you’re trying to imply something that is patently false. Even the premise appears to be false, I tried it, and it went to a page from The Listener.

  8. I think mb means ‘Labour-funded lackeys’

    funny thing is, the google-bomb no longer works because the stuff article that mentions it has the top ranking on google.

    even the prankers are incompetent

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    MP, I’m not sure, but I think his thinking is something like:

    If someone set up a google bomb on the Standard, I inmagine folk here would complain, therefore they have complained, which allows me to use my epic sarcasm sk1llz to w1n!one.

  10. Tim Ellis 10

    MP, I thought Monkey-Boy’s eau de cologne line was pretty funny, even if not much of the conversation here seems to have much to do with the main thrust of SP’s post.

    I did laugh at the original google-bomb, and chided Tane for saying that all right-wingers were overly sensitive about it. I then pointed out that googling labour blog would post to a thread about the Standard, which subsequently got deleted. I then protested about the deletion, objected that what I said was a smear, and that Tane was being just as over-sensitive about that than he was accusing right-wingers of being, about Rochelle’s original google-bomb. I didn’t get an apology from Tane, but he appeared to accept that I was not attempting to smear the folks at the Standard.

  11. monkey-boy 11

    You guy are a hoot.
    The ‘burning martyr’ crack was directed at the rather self pitying tone about some prank resulting in ‘blow-back’ for Labour -reingofrcing the ongoing implication (yawn) that ‘the media’ is biased against Labour (again).
    I just wanted to also infer that in sharp contrast, when a ‘prank’ is played on Labour, suddenly the ‘sense of humour’ that is cited as missing in ‘righties’ suddenly deserts the new victim.
    So I was asking for confirmation that the best way to deal with all such pranks is to have a ‘sense of humour’.
    But I guess you had to be there.
    Of course the delicious by-product of that would be to cause widespread indignation in some posters at the mere suggestion that The Standard is funded by Labour.
    But it was too detailed for you all and merely resulted in lots of search-enginng and subsequent confusion. For which I apologise. Especially to you Matthew, becaue you appear to have more intelligence than the others.

  12. randal 12

    matthew pilott…they buy that stuff from right wing think tanks and its just very cunningly disguised spam.

  13. graeme30 13


  14. Matthew Pilott 14

    Thanks, MB. It was a genuine question – you put such a different spin on your comments I was wondering if anyone else found them as confusing – implying that something had happened, when you were making it up all along. Just happened a few times.

    Harldy a self-pitying tone, by the way, though I guess you read it all differently.

    Tim, of course no one wants to talk about the actual post – you’d have to admit that either National (or at least wilkonson) are incompetant, or liars.

  15. monkey-boy 15

    no I think that my observation about the ‘bias’ is essential to the post – it suggests that the reason that National (or in this case Wilkinson) can succeed in their deception because the if the media is not asleep at the wheel, it must be complicit in the deception – which is all a bit VRWC for my tastes. So that is why I suggested the idea is ‘self-pitying’, and introduced a comparative case-study if you like, involving responses to ‘pranks’ as an illustration of this mind-set, given that SP brought it up first. In his post.
    You can have a discussion along the lines of ‘Yeah National and Wilkinson are all low-down durdy sneaky liars/incompetents.” Or you can explore the idea of right-wing media bias, or you can challenge the EPMU on its alleged double standards, or even, you can bemoan the ignorance and stupidity of teh public, – it all comes across as self-pity though. Bravely expressed self-pity, but defeatest in its entirety.
    PS ‘chutzpah’ is usually employed as a term to suggest your endorsment of the perpetrator, ‘Meshuggah’ might have been a better term for what SP has suggested.

  16. insider 16

    The media aren’t complicit just lazy/underresourced. As a result much news is just claim/counter claim ping pong. Get two opposing views and that’s balance. It doesn’t have to address up front whether there is an actual basis of any claim.

    In this world the consumer is always the underdog up against greedy and misleading corporates/traders and so has instant credibility. They are never stupid or decepetive or looking for a free lunch.

  17. monkey-boy 17

    Yes, insider. if I’m following you correctly, I agree. WHich is why the EFA has so many ramifications when you consider how much air-time and media space is being paid for by the tax-payer for ‘public information’ during the election year. Then look, for another example at how the Green Party has freely adopted many of the signs and signifiers of corporate globalism for their latest billboards. Would you say that collectively Labour and the Greens are trying to manipulate their target audience in a similarly cynical manner?
    I would.

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