This is a brutally honest piece by Karl du Fresne, first published in the Nelson Mail and Manawatu Standard, then on his blog. Please go read the whole piece, well worth it, but some extracts below:
Stop bullshitting us, prime minister
… Over the past few weeks, we have observed a National government that seems determined to live up to every stereotype about third terms. It has been arrogant, smug and incompetent. Worse than that, it appears to have undergone an integrity by-pass.
With very little warning, the government proposed radical changes to security laws and allowed practically no time for people to make submissions. It displayed utter contempt for the normal democratic process.
Now let’s look at the charge of incompetence. Consider the following.
■ Murderer and paedophile Phillip Smith, a man known to be clever and manipulative as well as evil, escaped to South America because of staggering naivety on the part of the Corrections Department;
■ The State Services Commission presided over an embarrassing sexual harassment fiasco in which it was seen as supporting the senior public servant whose behaviour was the subject of the complaint;
■ As already mentioned, the former head of the SIS allowed himself to be used in an underhand smear campaign aimed at discrediting a senior Labour politician.
In each case, incompetence and bad judgment on a grand scale. But did we see any of the responsible cabinet ministers, or even department heads, volunteering to fall on their swords?
Finally, there’s the issue of Key and his relationship with Cameron Slater, which brings us to the subject of integrity.
I now seriously wonder whether the prime minister has any, given his pathetic dissembling over whether he’d been in touch with Slater. That came on top of his preposterous claim recently that when he spoke to Slater, it wasn’t in his capacity as prime minister.
For heaven’s sake, give us a break. This is altogether too cute and too cocky. … what’s inexcusable is that he plays us for mugs by bullshitting us.
At the very least, he should show us a bit more respect.
Once again, well worth reading the whole thing. If only more opinion pieces were as honest and direct.