Dulce et Decorum est

Written By: - Date published: 2:19 pm, December 12th, 2008 - 35 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags:

Imagine: you are a new MP. Tens of thousands of your fellow New Zealanders have shown a great faith in you; they have shown that they want you to be one of their select representatives in the most powerful body in the land – our sovereign Parliament. You now have great power, privilege and responsibility, all the more so if you are also a minister.

It is understandable and appropriate, then, that in your first speech as an MP you show pride tempered by a great deal of humility; that you show you understand the gravity of the trust that has been placed in you, that you are there to serve the people of New Zealand, and do so at their pleasure. And so it is with most MPs’ maiden speeches. Steven Joyce, our new Transport Minister, chose a somewhat different approach.

He started, yes started, his first speech as an MP and as a minister by attacking an ordinary New Zealander who had dared to question him. See it seems a letter to the editor of the Dompost was published which ran something along the lines of ‘who is this Steven Joyce? How come he is now a minister when no-one has heard of him and he hasn’t done any interviews?’. Incredibly, Joyce thought is was fitting and proper to use his maiden speech to name the writer of this letter and attack them for asking what are surely fair questions.

It seems that Joyce doesn’t feel he needs to answer we hoi polloi. He used his position of privilege in an attempt to humiliate an ordinary New Zealander, one of the people he is meant to be representing. He’s a god-damned minister, how dare someone question him?

It was an outrageous and pathetic display from someone who appears to be a prideful and petty man. I challenge him to apologise to the letter writer. Unfortunately, I doubt we will see that happen. Joyce’s behaviour is merely an echo of the manner in which National/ACT has governed to date, the same arrogant manner in which it seems determined to continue.

35 comments on “Dulce et Decorum est”

  1. Scribe 1

    The letter writer chose to enter into public discussion. Joyce has no need to apologise.

    And I — and I’m sure others — would appreciate it if you didn’t blaspheme in your posts.

    He used his position of privilege in an attempt to humiliate an ordinary New Zealander

    Madeleine Setchell anyone? And she didn’t thrust herself into the public domain like this guy did.

  2. 8 & 4 2

    Is that the Joyce who has been talking himself up as a future PM??? Not a good start.

  3. Don’t tell me what to write on my blog, scribe.

    Scribe, you know Joyce’s behaviour was completely inappropriate. The writer simply wrote a letter to the editor, should this be enough to incur the wrath of a minister of the Crown? He singled out and named a private individual (who had not previously been cited by any member) to attack him, which is something i struggle to recall happening at all in the House, and in a speech that is meant to be graceful and dignified. disgraceful.

  4. BeShakey 4

    Surely a large part of the issue here is that, regardless of the fact it was a maiden speech, he attacked a member of the public for criticising him, and that attack occurred under parliamentary priviledge. If it set a precedent it would be extremely dangerous and would risk the public losing confidence in politicians having parliamentary priviledge (which I think is important for their jobs). However, I suspect that he will be receiving a telling off from Brownlee/English/Key.

    Still, stuffing up the basics is not a good look for someone who Key thought was experienced enough to go straight to the front bench and take an important portfolio.

  5. Felix 5

    For christ’s sake Scribe, enough of your faux piety.

    Gosh darn it. Blimey. Jiminy Cricket.

  6. Billy 6


    What was your view of Trevor Mallard’s attack on Erin Leigh?

  7. gingercrush 7

    Oh please I listened to Joyce’s speech it was great. It was a speech that spoke of humility. It was a speech that spoke of pride and most importantly, it was a speech that spoke of success. Something the left seems to despise. Its quite apparent in all the opposition to the 90 day bill, to the Tax Bill and the educaion standards. I’m sure there’ll be something on the 3-strike policy opposing it. Nothing new in that. Because you’re from the left. You speak about knowing the vulnerable, the children and real people. Rubbish.

    Most of you have little concern really with what the people in South Auckland are doing. You make it obviously clear you have no respect for provincial people. You are Urban dwellers so removed from the plights and lives of real New Zealanders that you live in an unreal liberal dream that simply doesn’t exist. Its quite sad really. You say you care about the South Aucklands, the Aranuis etc etc. You say you care about the vulnerable etc. But I don’t see it. That I find appalling.

  8. Stephen 8

    gingercrush, way to threadjack – what on earth does that have to do with the original post?

  9. Stephen 9

    You are Urban dwellers so removed from the plights and lives of real New Zealanders

    Channeling Sarah Palin?

  10. Sarah 10

    I happened to listen to Joyce’s speech — and it was quite humble to say the least.

    You need to realise that you do not represent the majority of New Zealanders with comments of this sort. Instead you merely display your arrogance and partisan-nature by attacking people on the right for actions that you would forgive if they were people on the left.

    I fully understand that this blog was set up to be a partisan pro-left blog — and I do not question your right to be so, but nevertheless I question the integrity and credibility of this blog when it can post such slanted posts such as the one above. It is time for this blog to lose it’s delusions of self-importance, lose it’s inability to differ from party lines, and reclaim it’s throne as the top left-blog on the net. At the moment that honour is going to No Right Turn.


  11. Will 11

    hey ginga- I mean johnkeycrush..

    Luckily at this blog at least, I can see issues affecting ordinary New Zealanders are discussed daily in depth and analysis here, something you wont find at your beloved kiwibog or whaleasshole, which lack credibility being right wing nact apologists. Bit like you really, so why waste your time here? Or is it because those right wing bogs are soo fucking boring?

    yep thought so

  12. Scribe 12


    I didn’t tell you what to write. I made a request. Glad you took it seriously.

    Scribe, you know Joyce’s behaviour was completely inappropriate.

    Don’t tell me what I know and what I don’t know, Steve. If he named someone who had written him a private letter, that would have been completely inappropriate.


    You’re right, Erin Leigh was the name I was after.

    (Though the Madeleine Setchell affair was a disgrace too).

  13. Quoth the Raven 13

    You are Urban dwellers so removed from the plights and lives of real New Zealanders…

    I thought you lived in Christchurch? Second biggest city in New Zealand not urban? I myself live just out of Christchurch it’s pretty rural round here (I can see sheep from my window). So stop being a generalising, sterotyping idiot.

  14. Tim Ellis 14

    It didn’t seem nasty to me. Greenbrook-Held attacked Joyce in a local newspaper claiming Joyce had never given an interview before becoming a Minister. Joyce corrected him, hoping to fill in the gaps.

    A quick google-search reveals that Mr Greenbrook-Held is a prominent and senior Labour Party activist. Hardly an innocent bystander. It wouldn’t surprise me if G-H is quite chuffed to get mentioned in Joyce’s maiden speech.

    [lprent: just a comment rather than note (because I’m in a hurry) – so being a labour member makes it OK? Good to see you apply such variable standards]

  15. student_still 15

    Ah, just a question? Why can’t I read any comments on the ‘risk’ thread after I posted my own earlier today??

    [lprent: If it is what I think it it, then I’m working on it. There is some kind of caching problem at the client side. There is a post about it earlier this week. Unfortunately I’m moderately busy between work, waves in PNG, and an up-coming story due on sunday *sigh* ]

  16. Tim. I know you know I know that you’re National research unit but you shouldn’t show it off so obviously. Thousnads of people help Labour campaigns, so what?

    student_still. sorry, I don’t know, seems everyone ishaving caching issues but Lynn reckons its not at the servers’ end

  17. Billy 17

    It’s driving me mad that caching thing. Lynn!

    [lprent: Working on it. I even gave up going for a beer tonight to slave over a hot computer (with its many fans) to see what I can do]

  18. George Darroch 18

    “Steve, What was your view of Trevor Mallard’s attack on Erin Leigh?”

    In my opinion, Trevor Mallard is a disgrace to Parliament, a thug and a bully.

    Steve Pierson, do you have solid evidence?

    You’re smearing Tim Ellis in the same way as you personally have bitched and complained about literally hundreds of times on this blog, and banned many others from doing so for, so I certainly hope so.

    That Jeremy is a Labour Party activist is hardly a secret. He’s proud of the fact.

    It doesn’t make him a deserving target of thin skinned politicians, but nor does it make the people who point that he’s not neutral into dreaded party researchers. (unless of course they are.)

  19. Tim Ellis 19

    Very weak SP. I know it’s late on a Friday but you know you can do better than that.

  20. gingercrush 20

    I do live in Christchurch now QtR. For 18 years I was a Southland boy.

  21. Felix 21

    Oh grow up Tim, it’s obvious to anyone with more than half a brain and always has been. Don’t make yourself look sillier by making a big deal about it.

  22. Alexandra 22

    It was a petty tantrum from steven joyce and demonstrates a massive ego and lack of maturity. He’ll need to learn to handle public scrutiny and comment without throwing his toys out of the cot.

  23. Steve – the fact that Tim is a national party researcher is his own business. Oh and mine… You should leave the outing of these people to me rather than sully yourself with all that sort of thing…

  24. Tim Ellis 24

    Robinsod you still owe me ten bucks I shouted you for lunch last week.

  25. Property is theft.

  26. Kerry 26

    This Joyce man THING is Poo!

  27. QoT 27

    Well I guess he begin as he means to continue, at least – puffed up on his own ego and lacking in tact or diplomacy.

  28. Murray 28

    I wrote a letter to the editor of the Nelson Mail criticising Helen Clark. If Labour had got a fourth term I was going to leave the country. Tax audit was probably just around the corner.

  29. Jeremy Greenbrook-Held 29

    Have just seen Mr Joyce’s speech on Youtube – it’s pretty average.

    To be honest, I was slightly stoked to get mentioned in the House by a National MP – I certainly wrote home about that. However, not everyone is a political junkie and wouldn’t be so pleased to be publicly named. National talks about the EFA limiting freedom of speech – well, if you name everyone who writes a critical letter to the editor under Parliamentary Privilege there’s going to be a significant chilling of public opinion.

    Also, why use your Maiden Speech to have a go at someone who’s obviously rubbed you up the wrong way? Just bizarre. And, he doesn’t actually address the points I make.

    I didn’t write the letter with the intention of getting under Mr Joyce’s skin (although the fact that he responded would suggest that there’s an element of truth to my claims) – my point was to highlight the fact that he had sailed in under the radar, and that the media were giving Bennett (a second term MP) more attention than him (a first term MP). In fact, if you read the letter, you’ll see that it’s more critical of the media than him (although there are some barbs aimed at the National Party).

    The letter in question is here:

    • lprent 29.1

      That was just a normal letter to the editor. What on earth could Joyce have found to talk about in that, especially in a maiden speech ?

  30. Swampy 30

    If anyone gets involved in political argy-bargy in letter writing columns that is their problem. The letter to the editor columns are shamelessly milked by the papers since they always seem to carry the most outrageous effrontery and character assassination.

  31. Swampy 31

    I assume you are one of those who would call Steven Joyce one of the “Hollow Men”. The book of that title is a Left Wing campaign political against the National Party. The attempts to give it some sort of mainstream credibility can’t disguise the fact that it relied to a large extent on single sources of material, a setup that does not meet any respected standards of credulity.

    Now for the rest of us who are completely bored with left wing conspiracy theories, hopefully Joyce and all the other cabinet ministers can get on with their jobs.

  32. Pascal's bookie 32

    “…it relied to a large extent on single sources of material”

    Single sources otherwise known as “the horses’ mouth(s)”

  33. Felix 33

    Swampy you clown. Get back in the shallow end.

    Why just the other day I called Swampy a “deluded little fuck”.

    I definitely said it but you must remember I’m just a “single source of material” and I “don’t meet any standards of credulity”.

    I definitely said it though.

  34. Tigger 34

    lprent – that’s my thought – Joyce is going to be under scrutiny 24/7 now and it seems he doesn’t have a natural ability to shake off criticism. If one tiny letter to the editor (which raised a great point about the list MP issue on the whole) caused him to go into attack during his maiden speech then god forbid someone actually really does a number on this guy.

    Which they will. There are some interesting skeletons in Joyce’s closet which we haven’t heard about yet (I used to work in the media industry and have had people share some intriguing stories about Joyce over the years…ultimately hearsay of course, but one in particular could be pretty mucky for Joyce if it can be backed up with facts).

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