Doofus of the week Easter 2018 edition

Written By: - Date published: 12:24 pm, April 1st, 2018 - 55 comments
Categories: health - Tags:

For those with challenged constitutions I would urge taking precautions before reading this. Because the amount of nausea inducement is high.

The latest winner of the Doofus of the week award is given to Fairfax reporter for writing an article with a level of hagiography that even surpasses that displayed in John Roughan’s biography of John Key. Pravda would be proud of the level of obsequiousness displayed.

The subject of her writing was former Minister Jonathan Coleman. Her piece reads more like a second rate PR puff piece than a serious piece of journalism.

Kirk has some form. In 2016 she published an attack piece on cancer sufferers who had been lobbying Coleman for the funding of a caner drug which showed promise in treating the cancer they were suffering from. Kirk basically said they were being offered financial inducements to front a PR campaign by the drug company which owned the patent to the drug.

The article had a real Dirty Politics feel about it. The article also smeared Andrew Little and implied there was something untoward in his having dinner with Drug company executives. Unnamed sources clearly from within the Government leaking information to denigrate the credibility of people brave enough to go public as well as Labour. Stuff had to write a retraction of some of the allegations made against the cancer sufferers, essentially withdrawing the claim that they had been paid by the Drug Company to front the campaign.

Te Reo Putake eviscorates the article in this post. His conclusion was strong:

Kirk and her employer may have decided to attack Labour as a diversion from the more obvious hypocrisy of the National Party. In opposition, National bellowed long and hard about the need for Pharmac to fund Herceptin. In Government, they’re happy to watch women die.

Shame on you, Stacey Kirk. Shame on you, Fairfax.

We deserve a free, fearless media, with stories anchored to the verifiable truth.

What we’ve got is Stuff all

On to her latest article. Get ready with the barf bags.

It starts badly with the headline, “Jonathan Coleman, quiet achiever” and goes downhill from there.

Here are some of the more nauseous inducing passages:

The vitriol on social media has never really fazed Jonathan Coleman.

He understood it, he methodically sifted through that which was political and that which was genuine, and never lost sleep over the former.

Cigar in the face blowing Coleman never impressed me as someone who was the sensitive pragmatic sort.

“Coleman’s a this, that and the other, and a killer and all this sort of crap. I mean, you know seriously, reasonable people don’t think that,” says the former health minister of the more rabid sect of the Twitter commentariat.

Stacks of “thank you” emails to him from members of the public, following his shock resignation announcement, provides a weighty counter.

It is not clear if the emails are thanking him for his service or thanking him for going at last. And I guess he does not regard the chorus of people complaining about the underfunding and run down of the health system as being “reasonable”.

Up until six months before the election, Coleman says health was reasonably uncontroversial.

Not on planet reality. And hiding the bad news such as the $14 billion deficit in health infrastructure funding is as controversial and as expensive an action by any Minister I have ever witnessed.

He might be speaking politically; there have always been fires to dampen within health. Major financial blunders by Health Ministry officials, vocal campaigns for brand-name drugs, DHB deficits and staffing woes – the controversies never end.

No mention of the $14 billion infrastructure deficit. And it is interesting that the financial blunders are always someone else’s fault. So much for the idea that the Minister is ultimately responsible.

“But Labour eventually just turned all guns on it. And they campaigned hard on funding and of course they couldn’t make a dent in the economy. In health you can always find cases to illustrate the point that you’re trying to make.

The election result would suggest otherwise.

“When you’re dealing with people in desperate situations and, frankly, without the power to help them without fundamentally changing the model to favour some individuals over others. That is really difficult. You’re in charge of a big system – $17 billion, that’s bigger than the dairy industry. Ultimately, in the health system you are looking to deliver the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

“Over time, the test of that is in the big statistics.”

Here is one big statistic. $16 billion in unmet infrastructure costs. The symptoms are sewerage seeping out of hospital walls. And another. A $2.3 billion annual deficit when the ageing population and population growth are taken into account.

“But if we were going bad in health, I tell you what, we wouldn’t have polled 46 per cent on election night.”

Funny I thought the final result was the important one.

A chronic case of over-achieving, that can’t be done without a steely-cold focus.

I am feeling queazy …

He also worried about how people would feel about his leaving the electorate so soon. Costing the country $11 million in by election costs because you decide to go shortly after you have been elected should cause worry,

“I was concerned how people would view that I was leaving Parliament, I was concerned how people would feel in my electorate.”

But he says the overwhelming response has been positive.

I feel positive he is going too. I am not sure this is a good thing for him.

There is no mention of the controversies, (did I mention the $14 billion infrastructure deficit), the failure to allow for population growth, the appearance of third world diseases of poverty in pockets of New Zealand. Just this superficial, uncritical, once over treatment of one of National’s more contentions Ministers. And it is not as if she has been told about the multitude of problems the Health Ministry is facing.

Stacey Kirk for your obsequious, servile, ingratiating, sycophantic, and fawning treatment of one of the country’s most important issues you are doofus of the week.

55 comments on “Doofus of the week Easter 2018 edition”

  1. Sacha 1

    The vitriol on social media has never really fazed Jonathan Coleman. He understood it, he methodically sifted through that which was political and that which was genuine, and never lost sleep over the former.

    Pffft. The smug little snowflake blocked me very quickly without us ever interacting.

    obsequious, servile, ingratiating, sycophantic, and fawning

    Can the Nats please employ Ms Kirk and make an honest PR hack out of her.

  2. Ken 2

    Coleman has gone, and that’s what matters.

    • Adrian Thornton 2.1

      @Ken” Coleman has gone, and that’s what matters.” No it is not what matters, that MF gets to walk away scott free, he needs to answer for his despicable and reckless actions when in charge of this countries heath system…this man is directly responsible for the premature deaths of fellows citizens.

      • Barfly 2.1.1

        That is BAU for the National Party.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        +111

        We need a law that holds politicians responsible for harm that they cause so that they can’t walk away from it scott-free.

        • Such a law would likely be selectively enforced on only left-wing politicians, though. =/

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.1.1

            1.) If the charges are correct then it shouldn’t matter if the MP is right-wing or left-wing. Malicious attempts to abuse the law should have their own penalties.
            2.) The Left are going to have to stop fearing bringing down the hammer when it’s needed.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.2.2

          Then all the “ayes” are equally responsible. Any fool can put forward stupid destructive corrupt polices. A majority of MPs still has to agree with them.

          That being so, the likelihood of enacting such consequences is vanishingly small.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.2.1

            Then all the “ayes” are equally responsible.

            For a policy passed in parliament – yes.

            But not so for a minister who is responsible for their department and doesn’t have to pass everything that they do through parliament.

            That being so, the likelihood of enacting such consequences is vanishingly small.

            True.

  3. Hooch 3

    You should add her article on stuff today as well for a back to back doofus.

    Somethings up with the stuff moderation as well. Every comment I’ve tried to post critical of national doesn’t get through.

    • JustMe 3.1

      I noticed that too with Stuff Hooch. Even when I put a ‘like’ on a comment in the comments section for some reason there is a problem.

      More than a year ago Staff asked me to write up articles for them. I said I would get back to them but never did.

      In Stacey Kirks’ article I do wonder as to how much the NZ National Party paid her to make her write such a ridiculous article???!!!!

      • Ed 3.1.1

        Wouldn’t it be interesting to see who she texts….

        • dukeofurl 3.1.1.1

          “Wouldn’t it be interesting to see who she texts….”

          Theres a 9 month gap in Stacey Kirk s publicly available Linkedin profile, from when she left a sales role at Thales, French Defence and technology company in Wellington and she started a 1 year journalism course the next year . That was 2009, a time national was new in government. Just the sort of gig a politics graduate would like- working for for a political party in parliament or ‘research’

      • Graeme 3.1.2

        The comments part of the site was probably overloaded. Everyone climbing in giving the piece, and Coleman, shit. Getting absolutely hammered in the comments.

        • Wensleydale 3.1.2.1

          People will absorb only so much reeking horseshit before they call time on the embarrassing charade and broadside those involved. Stacey Kirk doesn’t do journalism. She does damage control and historical revisionism. It’s like me claiming to be a scientist if all I did was wear a lab coat and front advertisements for shampoo.

    • Chris 3.2

      Comments challenging the “opinion” never get through, either. So much for free speech and so much for democracy. Add to this the ridiculous practice of giving reporters the opportunity to express their “opinions” in the first place is pretty telling. How many hack reporters would give that opportunity up? “Wow, I’ve finally made it!” There’s a bunch of them. Kirk’s one. Hamish Rutherford’s pretty dire. Many others. Pathetic.

  4. Ed 4

    Two brilliant dissections of the media micky.
    The best solution for when they fail to put the spotlight on important issues is to put the spotlight on them.
    Investigate the media.

  5. Ed 5

    Kirk has form.
    Winston Peters has no time for her.

    We “Perhaps you should begin your next article by explaining that. That you got it all wrong. Please don’t ask me to explain your gross misrepresentation of the political situation in this country for the last two years.”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/98117407/stacey-kirk-what-its-like-to-be-on-the-receiving-end-of-a-winston-peters-tonguelashing

  6. Ed 6

    More of Kirk’s stellar work.
    As Frank Mckasay puts it

    “Kirk’s piece could easily have emanated from the Ninth Floor of the Beehive – not the Dominion Post Building in downtown Wellington..”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/97367387/stacey-kirk-honour-above-the-environment-greens-hold-a-deck-of-aces-theyre-refusing-to-play

    Kirk’s piece could easily have emanated from the Ninth Floor of the Beehive – not the Dominion Post Building in downtown Wellington.

    • dukeofurl 6.1

      Yes this final paragraph shows her ‘transference’ to speaking for Bill English

      ” National is serious when it says it would be happy to talk to the Greens. But it’s also serious when it says it knows it has to make big environmental moves regardless.”

  7. alwyn 7

    There was pretty good competition in the DomPost yesterday. I couldn’t decide which was the worst display of hagiography between the one you list or the one in their little magazine.
    On balance I decided it really was the one by Ms Hooton.
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/well-good/inspire-me/102696690/48-hours-with-jacinda-warm-earnest-accessible–is-our-pm-too-good-to-be-true
    Anyone proposing to read it should be warned.
    “For those with challenged constitutions I would urge taking precautions before reading this. Because the amount of nausea inducement is high.”

    • Babayaga 7.1

      Sickening. Should come with a public health warning. And yet the media are so biased against her you know!

    • patricia bremner 7.2

      One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

    • dukeofurl 7.3

      Thats the Lifestyle section alwyn.

      Its their version of the Womens weekly. Didnt the title give you a clue -At Home with ….

      No comparison with the political section.
      Funnily no mention of Colemans disastrous ‘reforms’ when he was Defence minister.
      He was doing much the same with health, background cuts so as to no scare the horses

  8. Another police shooting .what ever happened to the issue \of tazers that were issue to police to reduce shooting to kill?

    • Patricia 8.1

      Why can’t the police aim for the legs ? No risk then of the alleged machete attacker chasing anyone. In this instance maybe not enough time to get out a tazer.

  9. JustMe 9

    Stacey Kirk is a perfect example of one who is identified as being “The Mouthpiece of the New Zealand National Party”, How much did the NZ National Party pay her to write up the latest feeble article?
    Quite often I look at articles written by so-called professional journalists exuding all the so-called perfection that is the NZ National Party and its MPs then I wonder who has told them to say such drivel?

    For example MIke Hosking regularly writes up articles in the other “Mouthpiece of the NZ National Party” aka the tabloid NZ Herald. His rantings and ravings sound very much like something that John Key would say(or write).

    John Key, whilst he was prime minister of New Zealand, would often appear on the telly eg on the AM show or Breakfast. Key would have an answer for every question or item but I am sure ‘his having an answer’ reflected his arrogance.

    MIke Hosking suffers from the same disease as John Key i.e he(Hosking)knows everything and has an answer for everything.

    And so looking at Stacey Kirk, Mike Hosking and all the other sycophantic, and fawning ‘journos’ of the pro-National Party League I can now figure out why their voices were not heard condemning National when they(National)were in government.

    And so their lack of a voice condemning National reeks alot like the state-run and controlled media of Nazi Germany of the past.

    • “How much did the NZ National Party pay her to write up the latest feeble article?”

      That’s a serious claim against a journalist. Can you substantiate that Kirk was paid by National, or in any way induced by them to write the article?

      I should point out that I didn’t like Coleman as Minister of Health, and I think that electorate MPs shouldn’t jump early in a term and force a by-election.

      • JanM 9.1.1

        You call that journalism???

      • dukeofurl 9.1.2

        Yes she wouldnt be paid by National.

        But it doesnt make any effort to be a ‘review’ of his time, its full of his facts and figures, which just happened to make it into the story, including this

        “But that tends to belie the quiet idealism and/or thoughtfulness that also comes with anyone who takes the time to keep a daily personal diary. ”

        really ? Those werent Colemans own words either!

        Previous articles , like when the Greens wouldnt consider National for a coalition.

        “. National is serious when it says it would be happy to talk to the Greens.But it’s also serious when it says it knows it has to make big environmental moves regardless.”
        Was that Bill English talking up his chances, NO. Its was Stacey Kirk talking up her dream of national back in government.

        The question has to be , has Stacey Kirk worked for national in 2009 when it was new in government, her bio has a blank for most of that year.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 9.1.3

        It read ad if written by a PR firm, or may have significant chunks ripped straight from something sent to here.

        The level of bias is what’s relevant. The suggestion of payment may be more of an expression of bias than necessarily based in fact.

    • Chris 9.2

      The strategy is give unthinking malleable fame-seeking empty vessel reporters the opportunity to have their “opinions” published which makes them feel like celebrities and once they’ve had a taste of that little else is needed because they’re totally hooked so keep spitting out the same mindless shit time and time again. Easy-peasy.

  10. Anne 10

    When I first looked at that picture of Ms Kirk I thought the glittery thing behind her right ear was a bow. Oh yeah I thought. That sums her up nicely. All tinsel, no substance.

    It’s not a bow (or maybe it is) but the sentiment is still appropriate.

    • fender 10.1

      And I thought it was weird to have a picture of Ms Kirk’s thirteen year old daughter. Guess if it’s really the writer it explains the immaturity.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 10.2

      She’s all ribbon, no pony tail.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    And I guess he does not regard the chorus of people complaining about the underfunding and run down of the health system as being “reasonable”.

    That’s all political and not ‘genuine’.

    So much for the idea that the Minister is ultimately responsible.

    He’s National where it’s always someone else’s fault. The party for personal responsibility never takes any.

    But he says the overwhelming response has been positive.

    I assume that it’s that way after he’s he methodically sifted through that which was political and that which was genuine, and never lost sleep over the former.

  12. Keepcalmcarryon 12

    well he certainly came across a methodical sifter

  13. Andrea 13

    Did anyone mention the growing deficit of general practitioners? Or the amazing and verifiable fact that a helluva lot of Kiwis cajn’t access the ‘medical system’ either in or out of hours?

    This health system only covers some citizens. Many are excluded due to cost, unavailability, distance to travel, or being told ‘there’s nothing we can (afford) do for you. Go home and wait for the cardboard coffin. If we can find one, we’ll send a respite nurse every week or so,’

    And the ‘quiet achiever’ is pleased with his performance… His new employer is probably doomed, however.

  14. red-blooded 14

    If Coleman was still our Health Minister, we still wouldn’t have a site or final commitment on our new hospital here in Dunedin, and he’s be using a PPP so that a private company would build and own the building, profiting from leasing it to the DHB.

    Other DHBs would still be under pressure to hide problems and report “surpluses” and those that didn’t would have commissioners sent in (as we had, here in the South).

    He will be remembered as a dreadful Health Minister. This is lazy journalism from Stacy Kirk. There’s no balancing view, just the unalloyed smugness of JC himself. Ugh!

    • We still don’t have a site or final commitment on a new hospital in Dunedin. The latest from ODT:

      A site for the Dunedin Hospital rebuild has been recommended and is being considered by Cabinet, and a public announcement on the decision is likely to be made next month.

      https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/site-proposed-new-dunedin-hospital

      While securing a site or sites is important that hasn’t been decided (or if it has not publicly announced).

      And importantly, there is no indication of timeframe. National kept delaying things, it’s yet to be seen what Labour will do. This sort of talk (last Tuesday) is a concern:

      Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the health sector’s finances are worse than she expected.

      She is working on her first Budget, and told host Duncan Garner money for the health sector was going to be tight.

      “We already knew that there was a major crisis going on in health because the DHBs told us that,” she says.

      “We know they have deficits. I have to say it’s worse than I thought, because coming in there was no suggestion that they were quite so underfunded, particularly around capital.

      “What I didn’t anticipate was how serious the issues would be in other portfolios as well, including areas like education.”

      http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/health/2018/03/health-sector-finances-worse-than-i-thought-jacinda-ardern.html

      I hope we do get a positive announcement but I wouldn’t bank on it.

      • red-blooded 14.1.1

        The budget for the rebuild has already been approved. It was part of the election package. I’m quietly confident.

    • dukeofurl 14.2

      national/Coleman promised a ‘business case’ for a New Hospital in Dunedin before the election 3 years ago. They didnt get that either. ( But of course what they wanted was a PPP with fewer beds to make ‘business sense, but the sacked board wouldnt have it)

  15. mary_a 15

    Very poor standard of journalism from Kirk and Stuff!

    Pity no journalist or media network enforces the fact former electorate MP Jonathan Coleman walked away only six months after a general election, costing the country a heap of money for a by-election in Northcote! In Coleman’s case, the arrogant prick is treating it as a joke!

    In such a situation (other than circumstances beyond the member’s control), IMO there needs to be a law which forces an electorate MP to come up with at least half of the cost of a by-election, if he/she fails to complete the first term of office after a general election. That as well as forfeiting any entitlements post resignation, such as life time perks etc.

    The next Natz MP who I think will walk will be the other useless article, Gerry Brownlee. Like Coleman, another extremely arrogant NON achiever in Parliament!

  16. McFlock 16

    That thing about Coleman not thinking he’s a killer really sums up that he has no idea what he was actually doing.

    Every government minister is a killer. In all governments. Pretty much every minister sooner or later makes a decision that will involve people dying as a result (however indirect that might be) no matter what choice is made. Health, Defense, Transport, and Social Welfare are all as direct as it gets.

    Politics isn’t a fucking game. It’s not just a job. It has real consequences for real people, and some of those people will die. Some of the time the minister’s job is to choose the least number of deaths in a complex environment. It’s about as real as the Trolley Problem gets.

  17. Muttonbird 17

    I wonder if there’s a closed circuit going on with some journalists who haven’t done much to hide their political affiliations.

    That is, Kirk and a few others might be struggling to get access to government people because they are rightly wary of her anti-Labour agenda. This means the only stories she can get now are those from within her extensive National Party contacts, like the one on Coleman.

    She still has to file stories to get paid so she’s left with only one source of information. This becomes self-fulfilling as she daren’t upset the only people who will now speak with her!

  18. Wayne 18

    You mention a $14 billion structural deficit, which may or may not be true. If it is there is literally a zero chance that will be fixed by the current government, not with their current fiscal plans.
    $14 billion (asumming it is capital) requires an additional $1.4 billion per year. And that is not counting additional staff, inflated pay demands, new medicines etc.
    So all very well to criticise Dr Coleman, but the hard fact is that Labour will do no better.
    You could spend 50 % more on health (the US actually does) and still not solve all the problems. Admittedly the US system invents most of the world’s drugs, and has gold plated hospitals, but an awful lot of people miss out.
    In NZ we might get less than in the US but at least we all get it. I have recently been a patient in North Shore Hospital ICU. They (doctors and nurses) were fantastic. Hard to see how they could be better.
    Our system is a lot better than many people think.

    • mickysavage 18.1

      Thanks Wayne

      You mention a $14 billion structural deficit, which may or may not be true. If it is there is literally a zero chance that will be fixed by the current government, not with their current fiscal plans.

      Agreed. The last Government should have told us about this problem. Rather than saying everything was hunky dory and they were doing really well.

      $14 billion (asumming it is capital) requires an additional $1.4 billion per year. And that is not counting additional staff, inflated pay demands, new medicines etc.
      So all very well to criticise Dr Coleman, but the hard fact is that Labour will do no better.

      More like $800 million a year but what do I know.

      You could spend 50 % more on health (the US actually does) and still not solve all the problems. Admittedly the US system invents most of the world’s drugs, and has gold plated hospitals, but an awful lot of people miss out.

      Yep the US spends too much on lawyers. They should have a more socialised health system. It is cheaper.

      In NZ we might get less than in the US but at least we all get it. I have recently been a patient in North Shore Hospital ICU. They (doctors and nurses) were fantastic. Hard to see how they could be better.
      Our system is a lot better than many people think.

      Agreed the system is great. But it is going backward. We need to make sure this does not get worse.

    • Incognito 18.2

      What do you mean by “true”? Do you mean accurate, correct, or something else?

      You probably know that a $14 billion structural deficit at this stage is likely to be an (conservative) estimate only.

      The issue is that it was hidden from plain sight, like an iceberg, and at least some (…) issues were known to the previous Government but swept under the carpet.

      I read somewhere that the current Government had a 10-year budget for Health and it has already stated that it would take more than one term to fix all the issues (that we know of).

      NZ healthcare is o.k. But not as good as it should be and not as good as you might think it is. For example: https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/350693/australia-ahead-of-nz-in-cancer-survival-rates

      If you were a patient in ICU you would have received the best available care. The workforce (doctors, nurses, admin) are highly professional and dedicated people. This doesn’t mean that the system is not under tremendous pressure! And should I mention waiting lists?

      I agree that it is not as simple as throwing more money at it; the money should be used wisely. But if shit seeps through walls and mold grows inside walls that needs to be fixed pronto, don’t you think?

    • Sacha 18.3

      I’m glad to hear you got good care, Wayne. The frontline people in our health system are wonderful. They deserve better from all those who manage and govern and shape the system.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 18.4

      The US system is a bureaucratic cluster fuck. Our system is not ok just because it compares well to theirs.

  19. Descendant Of Sssmith 19

    Yeah well a friend of ours suicidal daughter got told to go watch a DVD by the local mental health team last year when she rung them worried about herself – she took an overdose instead but is fortunately still alive thanks to her flatmates coming home.

    Mental health is definitely not in good shape.

  20. Delia 20

    Writes for the Sunday Star Times, am I right, love to hear more reviews of her future articles on here, thank you.

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