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Fallout

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, August 6th, 2008 - 46 comments
Categories: slippery - Tags:

National’s attempt to contain the meltdown from Bill English’s secret agenda comments at the National conference and on TV1 collapsed when it emerged Lockwood Smith was also talking about a secret agenda at the conference. Now, the fallout is raining down on them. So, National has moved to stage four of the Crosby/Textor technique for covering ‘accidental honesty’ – attack the source while ‘feigning anger’, as Brash was advised to do over the Exclusive Brethren.

The Nats seem to have no evidence as to who did the recording but that hasn’t stopped an apperantly furious Key from blaming Labour. Labour denies all knowledge and frankly they wouldn’t have the balls to do something like this. In desperation, Key also suggested that the tape is somehow doctored, which is ludicrous, seeing as English has already confessed to his comments and anyone can listen to the audio here and here.

Don’t forget that this is just an attempt by National to distract from the actual issue, the secret agenda that senior Nats were discussing with delegates behind closed doors.

To recap: English says they will sort out Working for Families and are consciously choosing try to shut it down as a campaign issue, ie not seeking a mandate for changes they intend to make. He says Kiwibank would be sold eventually. He says the “punters”have been taken in by “that nice Mr Key’ like country bumpkins taken in by a con-man. He says Key didn’t understand basic maths in Working for Families. Lockwood confirms that there are policies National intends to put in place that it will not make official policy now, for fear of “scaring the horses”.

That’s a secret agenda. And don’t think for a moment that two senior Nats just happened to be caught on tape the only time they said these things – this is clearly an agenda that senior Nats regularly reassure their members is in the pipeline, despite Key’s moderate facade.

I can understand if Key genuinely is furious, he is seeing his chance to put PM on his CV melt before his eyes, but he shouldn’t be looking to blame the person who caught his senior MPs telling the truth. National would not be in this position if they had just been honest with the public. They have no-one to blame but themselves.

46 comments on “Fallout”

  1. Terrible timing for the Nats too. Gets in the way of the campaign to eliminate Peters.

  2. Scribe 2

    Steve,

    Did Labour announce they’d be passing the Prostitution Reform and Civil Union legislation before the preceding elections? (Genuine question; was overseas at the time.)

    And I hope National does sort out Working for Families because it is not delivering assistance to the people who MOST need it, as some experts in this area, eg Child Poverty Action Group, have pointed out. It’s distinctly possible that some analysis of the package will need to be done before National knows that steps to take.

  3. Matthew Pilott 3

    Scribe, WfF is fine. If you want benefits increased, say so, and then vote against National!

    Can’t recall specifics, though, about those two socially progressive pieces of legislation, but the key is Labour campaigned on a socially progressive manifesto; those law changes took no one by surprise.

    National are campaigning one a broad centrist bullet-point list, and sound like there’s some heavy lurches to the right planned behind our backs – that’s not what people would be voting for. Do you agree there’s a difference?

  4. Felix 4

    Scribe: Do you think the Nats intend to sort out wff to give more money to poorer families? (Genuine question – I wasn’t here yesterday when you were born)

    jp:
    “Gets in the way of the campaign to eliminate Peters.”

    How conveeeeenient for Mr Peters. Didn’t he say last thursday he would “deal with” the Nats this week? Hmmmmm….

  5. r0b 5

    Scribe: Did Labour campaign on the passage of the Prostitution Reform Act and the Civil Union Act

    Same question on another thread so here’s my same answer.

    I don’t recall. But for the sake of argument assume that they didn’t. Your point would be that Labour did something they didn’t campaign on, har har gotcha it’s just the same.

    But it isn’t the same at all. The PRA and CUA were not major election issues that Labour made very clear statements on, and then when on to do the opposite.

    Here’s what we are looking at with National. Very clear statements (sadly lies) about preserving Labour’s KiwiBank, Working for Families etc. But speaking to the faithful their people are caught telling the truth. The real agenda is privatisation and the gutting of social services. Same old Nats.

  6. Scribe 6

    Felix,

    Do you think the Nats intend to sort out wff to give more money to poorer families?

    Well, John Key has wondered aloud why families making more than $100k need assistance of this kind, suggesting he thinks that wealthy families are the ones that don’t need it.

    (Genuine question – I wasn’t here yesterday when you were born)

    Ouch, my side.

  7. Scribe 7

    rOb,

    Thanks for answering twice — or at least posting it twice. I feared my question might be ignored on the other looooooooong thread.

    The PRA and CUA were not major election issues that Labour made very clear statements on, and then when on to do the opposite.

    They were issues that certainly didn’t have overwhelming support, so ones that a party wouldn’t want to openly discuss before an election at the risk of losing votes. That was the comparison I was trying to draw.

  8. r0b 8

    They were issues that certainly didn’t have overwhelming support

    Maybe not where you come from Scribe. Oddly enough they had overwhelming support amongst the people most affected though.

  9. Scribe 9

    Maybe not where you come from Scribe. Oddly enough they had overwhelming support amongst the people most affected though.

    That’s an interesting criterion, rOb.

    So if rich people wanted a top tax rate of 25%, and National supported it, then making that law would be OK because, wait for it, it “had overwhelming support amongst the people most affected”.

  10. Draco TB 10

    What you should be looking for, Scribe, isn’t overwhelming support but overwhelming opposition which there wasn’t for either the PRA or the CUA but which there would be for Nationals mass privatisation.

  11. r0b 11

    That’s an interesting criterion, rOb.

    Not a criterion at all, just an observation. The criterion is does legislation get support in parliament, which it did.

    So if rich people wanted a top tax rate of 25%, and National supported it, then making that law would be OK because

    Making it law would be OK if it had support in Parliament – that’s how our representative democracy works. They could certainly do that, and live with the consequences, which is exactly what Labour did.

    wait for it, it “had overwhelming support amongst the people most affected’.

    I imagine that it would have such support, but that’s not a criterion, just an observation.

    Are you done with the thread jack? Do you have an opinion on National lying to the public, and intending to run their hidden agenda when in power?

  12. Felix 12

    Well, John Key has wondered aloud why families making more than $100k need assistance of this kind, suggesting he thinks that wealthy families are the ones that don’t need it.

    Yes, he thought he could fix that – now he (and English) says he can’t – and yet English says they’re still going to “sort it out”.

    So the question is what do they intend to “sort out”? Going by their own statements it can’t possibly be what you suggest – they’ve both admitted they can’t do anything about that.

    Do you think they’ll be rearranging wff to give poorer families more money?

  13. Sue 13

    <>

    For the record, Prostitution Law Reform was a Private Member’s Bill, not a Government one and was – if I remember correctly – a conscience vote.

  14. r0b 14

    Thanks Sue. I was out of the country at the time and don’t recall.

  15. Scribe 15

    MP,

    WfF is fine.

    It’s helped, no doubt. But those who need assistance the most are missing out: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10520418

    rOb,

    Making it law would be OK if it had support in Parliament – that’s how our representative democracy works. They could certainly do that, and live with the consequences, which is exactly what Labour did.

    So if National did sell Kiwibank, and did so with the support of Parliament, that would be OK with you?

    And not sure how this discussion is a threadjack.

  16. Matthew Pilott 16

    Cheers Sue – I keep forgetting about them, the wild card…

    I’m furious at Key for blaming Labour with no evidence whatsoever (I say no evidence with the only evidence that if there was evidence Key ‘knew’ it was Labour he would be releasing it. Got that?) when there are a fair few people and groups who would like to see him and his carefully stage-managed campaign go down the drain.

    I don’t recall Clark saying Key’s “Luke, I am your Lesbian Father” young tories were behind the Williams recording on nationwide tv.

    He is a prick. (so Cullen was half right)

  17. Scribe 17

    Sue,

    For the record, Prostitution Law Reform was a Private Member’s Bill, not a Government one and was – if I remember correctly – a conscience vote.

    Thanks for that information.

    So would a private member’s bill to sell Kiwibank, and a conscience vote that supported that bill, mean selling it was OK?

  18. Matthew Pilott 18

    Scribe,

    That article shows that it’s not reaching everyone because some people are on benefits, people don’t work enough to get a specific credit, and losing a job means losing a big part of the benefit – so the solution would be to apply WfF benefits to those on a benefit. I agree WfF isn’t ‘fine’ (bit of a mis-speak, maybe I should say it’s not perfect) but I sure don’t see National’s policy – spoken or otherwise – likely to help.

    Labour’s tax cuts will assist these people a fair bit, but more can always be done – I guess they have to balance a good social system with a disincentive from working though. So much to take into account it boggles the mind.

    edit – selling an asset can hardly be put down to a conscience vote, scribe, that’s not what they are for!

  19. Lew 19

    Scribe: “So would a private member’s bill to sell Kiwibank, and a conscience vote that supported that bill, mean selling it was OK?”

    Notwithstanding that such a bill wouldn’t be a conscience issue, it would mean that responsibility for its passage couldn’t legitimately be laid upon the government of the day. That’s the issue – not whether it’s right or wrong by some unspecified metric.

    L

  20. r0b 20

    So if National did sell Kiwibank, and did so with the support of Parliament, that would be OK with you?

    It would be fine as a process of law. And National could live with the consequences.

    You’re confusing two issues here. The criterion for making laws is a legal / procedural one. Whether those laws are “right” or “wrong” is about public opinion, public reactions, “consequences”.

    Labour might have suffered some consequences from the passage of the PRA etc on their watch, but they weren’t large, in the public’s eyes such legislation was either OK or they didn’t care (strong disapprovers must have been small in number). National could pass the kind of tax law that you describe which would be fine as a legal / procedural process. The public would let them know whether they thought the law was right or wrong though, there would be consequences.

    In short, what is law is up to parliament, and what is OK is up to the public to decide.

    So now Scribe, I’ve been answering your questions, how about you answer mine: Do you have an opinion on National lying to the public, and intending to run their hidden agenda when in power?

  21. Scribe 21

    MP/Lew,

    I’m aware that it wouldn’t be a conscience vote, but thanks for the political education 😉

    it would mean that responsibility for it couldn’t legitimately be laid upon the government of the day.

    I think that if a government MP introduces a private member’s bill that passes then the government can be held responsible for the bill’s passage (except in very rare circumstances).

    captcha: $100,000,000 Cyrus — must be Miley (sp?), not Billy Ray

  22. Scribe 22

    rOb,

    So now Scribe, I’ve been answering your questions, how about you answer mine: Do you have an opinion on National lying to the public, and intending to run their hidden agenda when in power?

    Some of the “lies” that have been outlined on The Standard are not lies, in my opinion. For example, English suggesting National might eventually sell Kiwibank doesn’t, from what I’ve read, contradict National policy.

    And as far as what Lockwood said, I think it’s the sort of thing Labour MPs would have thought and maybe said in 1999, and National before that in 1990, and Labour in 1984, but this was caught on tape.

    I hate people, regardless of their political affiliation, lying to the public, but the sad fact is many — or most — politicians are willing to lie to get ahead, to varying degrees.

  23. r0b 23

    I hate people, regardless of their political affiliation, lying to the public

    Agreed so far.

    but the sad fact is many — or most — politicians are willing to lie to get ahead, to varying degrees.

    It’s a popular stereotype, and a popular accusation, because circumstances change and it isn’t always possible to do what one hoped to do. But I don’t think its actually the case that most politicians consciously lie. I think only some of them do.

    Sadly, I think the Crosby / Textor tactics do amount to lying to the public, and I think that is what the current National leadership have brought in to. And I think they’ve been caught here on these tapes with their truth (that they don’t want us to know) hanging out.

    And I think New Zealand deserves better.

  24. Scribe 24

    rOb,

    Well, at least we finally agreed on something.

    But I don’t think its actually the case that most politicians consciously lie. I think only some of them do.

    And we found out I’m more sceptical than you. And if it’s only “some” politicians, as you suggest, I think they’re spread fairly evenly across the political spectrum.

  25. randal 25

    they lie when they have to. otherwise the peasants kick up too much of a stink about everything and think they are in control. Its the broad intentions that are important and we elect our politicians and give them licence and that is right. so in that way it is like business in that you build up relationships with people you can trust and at the moment that aint the nats.

  26. Matthew Pilott 26

    Scribe, you underestimate the power of country music! heh

    If a pvt Mbr bill passes you can put the responsibility at the feet of those who supported it, agreed. What you can’t do is say that they should have campaigned on it in the first place, or that it could be considered lying by omission.

    Such a bill comes up and the government surely has a duty to enact it if in the country’s best interests. I’d consider it neglect if it happened any other way.

  27. Scribe 27

    What you can’t do is say that they should have campaigned on it in the first place, or that it could be considered lying by omission.

    I think prostitution and civil unions were essentially Labour policies for which front men were selected to enter the legislation as private member’s bills.

    I suspect National, if elected, might have similar private member’s bills put in the ballot, so I’ll expect an equally ambivalent response from you and others if that happens.

  28. Lew 28

    Scribe: “I think prostitution and civil unions were essentially Labour policies for which front men were selected to enter the legislation as private member’s bills.”

    That’s a bit conspiratorial, but nevertheless, it’s irrelevant: they were both conscience votes. There’s a degree of correlation between party and conscience votes, but unless you presume collusion among caucuses to ensure it passes or doesn’t, this is a dead argument. Government MPs voted against both of these bills. Opposition MPs voted for them. They passed nonetheless. The most you can say about it is the extent to which a parliament (and moreso a proportionally-elected parliament) reflects the underlying values and opinions of society in its conscience votes, and that ain’t a very big statement.

    Other acts – the S59 repeal is one – are less clear, being not a full conscience vote.

    “I suspect National, if elected, might have similar private member’s bills put in the ballot, so I’ll expect an equally ambivalent response from you and others if that happens.”

    Ah, hypotheticals. What would, to your mind, be `similar private member’s bills’ – anything that you personally think `looks like’ National policy, but for some inexplicable reason isn’t on the order paper as such?

    Notwithstanding these objections over definition, if a private member’s bill introduced under a National government by a National or allied MP were put to a conscience vote and passed, I would consider it a reflection of the underlying opinions and values of NZ society as a whole, even if it looked to some cynical onlooker as National party policy in drag.

    L

  29. lprent 29

    Scribe: There are a *lot* of private members bills from all sides of the house. I have no idea of the numbers but I seem to remember that it is usually in the order of scores, and only a few are selected each year.

    I’ve heard of private members bills that have been sitting in the pool from the time a MP started in the house to when they left a decade or so later. The bill often gets passed to other MP’s.

    Anyway the probability of a private members bill coming up is pretty low.

    They are also bills that parliamentary party isn’t willing to put into its legislative program. Typically they are low priority, often not supported by party remits (in the case of the NZLP) and often go to a conscience vote because they are usually contraversaial even in te party of the MP.

    Frankly I think you are trying to find a rationale where there isn’t one. Unless you think that the random ballot isn’t? In which case I urge you to check what the speaker of the house can do for disrespect to parliament before you say that.

  30. pinetree 30

    “….Sadly, I think the Crosby / Textor tactics do amount to lying to the public, and I think that is what the current National leadership have brought in to….”

    r0b…I’m not across all of what “The Standard” defines as C/T tactics (but I can hazard a guess)…

    …to be clear, it’d be yours, and that of your peers here, contention that these are ‘tactics’ used solely by the National Party…?

    Given the quality of the postings here (and they are good, granted) I can’t believe that to be the case, you guys seem far too grizzled and battle scarred to be seriously trotting that line….

    In itself this consistent ‘faux horror’ line around C/T is straight from the ‘C/T playbook’…

    …either that or I’m missing a monumental injoke somewhere….(not unusual I might add)…

    ….either way, I’d suggest Helen get herself a decent glazier before this election is all done and dusted…

    I enjoy the site guys, like I said, good quality stuff….not always my cup of tea, but then that’s why I like reading it…

    [lprent: So you should know that “The Standard” is a program running on a webserver. As a machine it doesn’t have an opinion. Since we don’t have an editorial policy your statement doesn’t make sense. Have a look at the About because we don’t all have the same opinions and I don’t allow things to be ascribed to “The Standard” that don’t exist.
    Public service announcement is now over.]

  31. r0b 31

    to be clear, it’d be yours, and that of your peers here, contention that these are ‘tactics’ used solely by the National Party ?

    I can only speak for myself. I believe that most parties use something like C/T tactics on occasion, but only one, National, has elevated it to way of life. Only one, National, actually employs C/T (and refuses to admit it). Only one, National, arguably lost the last election because of C/T tactics. Only one, National, might just lose the next election because of C/T tactics.

    National are just slow learners I guess…

  32. pinetree 32

    Lprent – point well made and understood….not my intent to do anything other than relfect what I felt was a ‘theme’…

    …r0b – know where your coming from, but I’ve no reference other than experience….

    Obviously I’d prefer this sort of debate framed outside the brand of C/T, but hey, C/T themselves would obviously have it no other way, bogeymen and agendas being THE valuable commodity in any election I guess…

    …anyhow, he who lives, dies, swords and all that stuff….so no complaints from me when we start getting slapped around as a result…we’ll see what the damage is soon enough…

    …can’t fault the PM for making hay on it, gilt edged political opportunity that be returned in kind if the shoe were on the other foot…

  33. Lew 33

    Pinetree: You are curiously fair-minded. But the thing all the ethicists are arguing and asking is: should a party really emulate those they claim to oppose? Should a party not, in response to abhorrent tactics, disavow them and strike out on their own, dare I say, positive and ambitious path?

    L

  34. Razorlight 34

    Lets assume National are lieing and there are two agendas. Not that I believe there is

    I think it is more believable that they are lieing to the hard right individual that hits them up over a cocktail.

    Do they want to get elected and stay in government for a decade. Yes. So they will do what the electorate is asking for.

    But when a right wing supporter hits them up over a cocktail at the conference demanding they throw out all those Labour initiatives, the obvious way to avoid confrontation with that supporter is to smile and nod. Say what he wants to hear. He is voting for them regardless so let him go away happy even though the Party has no intention of doing that.

    If there are two agendas, why is it automatically assumed that the hard right agenda is the one the party will take?

  35. RedLogix 35

    Razor,

    Brilliant defense. It almost works. Except that now you have National lying to it’s own supporters. Which is not quite as bad I guess.

    Still as a line goes… hell I would be proud of it.

  36. Razorlight 36

    RedLogix

    Thanks for the compliment, but as I said I don’t believe they are lieing to begin with.

    But doesn’t what I said make sence to you. Smile and nod to the hard righty knowing that if you are to be elected and stay elected you have to dismiss those hard right ideals of some of your supporters.

    Wont tell him that but it is a political neccessity as every politician knows.

  37. pinetree 37

    Lew

    “…You are curiously fair-minded” – I’ll take that as a positive, I’ve been called worse…

    To be honest, I consider myself no more than a dabbler in matters politics, so presume the depth of my supposed insight to be broadly ‘puddle’…

    ….lot of passionately held views on this site, me, I’m not so black and white on some of this stuff…

    ….and staw-polling it with my mates, most of them are the same…they like a bit of policy and party political pick and mix….aside from myself who has always been largely right (and just how far right varied through age, employer and experience, I’ve mellowed)….I see a lot of people these days who find it hard to really find any one ‘home’ politically….

    To your point….did you mention ethics and politics in the same para….? sheesh, yellow card…..

  38. r0b 38

    Lets assume National are lieing and there are two agendas … I think it is more believable that they are lieing to the hard right individual that hits them up over a cocktail.

    Nice try! Can you sell me that pretty bridge while you’re at it?

    What was it Key called WfF again – communism by stealth? Kiwibank, interest free student loans, many other policies, all ruthlessly attacked and vilified. Why? Because Nats hate them.

    Then phase two – swallowing dead rats. We’ll keep WfF (choke). We’ll not privatise state assets (retch). Down goes another dead rat. It’s called swallowing dead rats because that’s about how much National enjoys publicly signing up for policies that the public loves and it hates.

    Make no mistake. The Nats hated these policies and at first they spoke their minds publicly. They lost those arguments and the public forced them to swallow the rats. But the Nats still hate them and still speak their minds – not to the public anymore, only to their inner circle. And now the taped evidence confirms for all what anyone with any political brain knew anyway – the real agenda is still alive and well. The Nats are just lying to the public to make themselves electable.

  39. Razorlight 39

    rOb I completley agree. Many inside national hate them.

    But they have swallowed the rat as you say. They are keeping the policies. They still hate it (as Cullen hates tax cuts) but have done it because the electorate wants it.

    Those hard righties will be the ones dissapointed when Kiwibank isn’t sold by National. Not the centre voters as nothing will change.

  40. r0b 40

    They are keeping the policies.

    RL – don’t take offence – are you young?

    The Nats aren’t “keeping the policies” because they aren’t in government. We get to find out if they keep the policies ONLY if they actually get elected.

    NZ has quite a shameful history of politicians saying one thing while in opposition and then doing the opposite when in government. That is why the incoming Clark government of 1999 was so brilliantly refreshing. They set out their policies clearly before the election, and then they delivered. The kept their word. Sadly – it is very rare.

    So if you are supporting the nats becuase you believe them, because you think they have had a genuine change of heart, I’m sorry, because you are going to be bitterly disappointed. Go study some history. It matters little what (most) politicians say while in opposition.

  41. Razorlight 41

    No rOb.

    I support National because I am sick to death of this government. I do not believe in any ideology so do not fit in the right or left. I am sick of the arrogance of Labour and am seeing a countery really struggling at the moment. Why on earth shuld we give them another chance.

    I believe National will be a pragmatic government dealing with challenges as they arise. Pragmatism is the reason why they have adopted some of the policies that they earlier opposed. If they fail, as this government is failing, then they will not survive more than one term. Hence the reason they will not make overly unpopular decsions based on hard right ideology.

  42. r0b 42

    I’ll take that as a “yes” to my original question.

    I do not believe in any ideology so do not fit in the right or left.

    You may not think you believe in ideology, but you have opinions. Arrange them into things you believe in and things you don’t, and I think you’ll find yourself somewhere on the known political spectrum

    I am sick of the arrogance of Labour

    I am sick of the arrogance of National.

    and am seeing a countery really struggling at the moment.

    If you are as free of ideology as you think you are then you should be able to read the numbers. Take a look at the statistics. Under Labour – wages up, employment up, economy growing faster, beneficiary numbers down, crime down, poverty down and so on and so on – all of it covered here by authors on The Standard. The country is struggling a bit right now because of extraordinary international circumstances, but all the numbers tell you that Labour is better at running the country than National. Once again, if you are as free of ideology as you think you are, read the numbers, the numbers do not lie.

    Why on earth shuld we give them another chance.

    Because they are better managers of the economy, and better at supporting the average New Zealander. Because National are lying to you.

    If they fail, as this government is failing, then they will not survive more than one term. Hence the reason they will not make overly unpopular decsions based on hard right ideology.

    Your faith is touching. Once again, please, study some history.

  43. Razorlight 43

    “Your faith is touching. Once again, please, study some history.”

    That left wing arrogance is shown there in your statement. You are basically telling me I am naieve and if I do some study I will see the light and the light is Labour. What arrogant rubbish.

    It is this attitude more than the state of the nation that will lose Labour this election. The economy is bad yet the attitude of some on the left which is that those opposed to Labour are greedy or stupid is the real reason people are angry.

    National has the same objective. Just a different means to that end.

  44. r0b 44

    It is this attitude more than the state of the nation that will lose Labour this election.

    You think an invitation to learn from history is an attitude that is more important to the people of NZ than people’s livelihoods and living standards? What arrogant rubbish! How blinkered in your own narrow perceptions and concerns you have become!

    Sigh. See what a silly game that is RL? So learn from history or be doomed to repeat it. Whatever, it’s you that the Nats are going to disappoint, not me.

    Ok – and since it’s Thursday: And don’t for a second think I am comfortable with this revelation. It is not a good look for National. It’s just I believe it will not be making headlines in two days time. Correct me if I am wrong on Thursday.

    I predict that in the morning you will find that you were wrong.

  45. Razorlight 45

    I can admit I am wrong. something the left struggles with.

    It wasn’t an invitation to learn history. It was you telling me I think the way I do because I do not know my history. Basically saying if i did I would then see the wisdom in voting this mob back in. That is what I see every day is those who disagree simply don’t know. You cant see that we believe in reaching Nirvana down a different road, the objective is still the same though.

    I know my history. So do not assume because I disagree with you I don’t.

  46. Razorlight 46

    Sorry its late

    That last one didnt make sense. I think you get it though. Dismissing opponents as ignorant and naieve is arrogant.

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