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Flip-flops, it’s a matter of trust

Written By: - Date published: 6:12 am, July 31st, 2008 - 56 comments
Categories: flip-flop, john key, national, slippery - Tags:

I believe there are three core criteria on which a politician or party needs to be judged: (in no particular order) – policy, competency, trustworthiness – Do they have a good plan, are they capable of implementing such a plan, can we trust them to carry out the plan if we vote for them.

National’s flip-flops strike at trust. They’re not simply a matter of Key et al looking like damn fools for vowing to oppose things like Working for Families ‘with every bone in their bodies’ then turning around and saying they’ll keep them. They’re a sign that you can’t trust National to hold true to the policy promises it makes. If they can flip over and over again, there is absolutely no guarantee that they won’t flop back into their old attitudes if they win power.

John Key voted against Kiwisaver 40 times in the last two years, now he says he supports it. Six months into a Key Prime Ministership, do you know whether he will be for Kiwisaver or against it? How about the anti-nuclear policy, or SOE sales, or Working for Families. Do you know whether Key will stick to his current policy or flip back to his old one? No-one knows, probably not even Key himself. Will you support a candidate for Prime Minister who you can’t trust to stick to his promises?

56 comments on “Flip-flops, it’s a matter of trust ”

  1. monkey boy 1

    Yes trust is so important isn’t it. How about trusting politicians not to ‘flip-flop’ when there is the lure of money on the table, especially when it comes from ‘foreign billionaire’ Owen Glenn? Imagine being life-long advocate of non-smoking, but then so depserate for cash to bail out your party after an illegal overspend, that you have to share a bed with this:

    “….among those on the receiving end of Glenn’s philanthropic largesse (recipients include not only the Labour Party, but the University of Auckland and the marine research centre at Leigh), but it is Vanguard Logistics’ boast that it is now the exclusive customs clearing and handling agent for British American Tobacco, responsible for importing and exporting hundreds of container-loads of cigarettes especially to vulnerable communities like the Pacific Islands – that sits most uneasily for some. After all, the Prime Minister is no stranger to fraud herself, but the sight of New Zealand’s leading anti-smoking politician accepting money from those involved in shipping cigarettes is anathema to the group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH):

    “It’s frustrating!’ complains ASH director Becky Freeman. “First we find out the government pension funds are invested with British American Tobacco, and now we find out this! It’s blood money, and they should have nothing to do with companies that associate with the tobacco industry.

    “I would hope now that it’s been pointed out that they will no longer accept donations from this particular source.’

    Now that’s what I call a ‘flip-flop’.

  2. Felix 2

    I’m not entirely comfortable with the govt having anything to do with tobacco companies either.

    Shipping companies, meh – I see your point but it’s fairly borderline. To be consistent you’d need to oppose alcohol being transported on Kiwirail for one example. It gets really messy if you want to carry on down this path of reasoning.

    As for flip-flops and trustworthiness it speaks volumes that the current govt has been “sharing a bed” with these companies yet the anti-smoking law was passed and remains intact. No flip-flop there.

    The cause for concern would be if after accepting money from a tobacco transporter the govts anti-smoking policy were to change. It hasn’t and it wont. It’s a matter of principle.

    Thanks for highlighting that.

  3. infused 3

    Hopefully he cans it in the end, but whatever.

  4. Felix 4

    infused are you saying you approve of Key campaigning on supporting certain policies, then ditching them if elected?

    Sorry if I’ve misread you, perhaps you could clarify what you meant?

  5. lprent 5

    So far John Keys political record shows that he has the backbone of an annelid worm. I think I described him last year as being a classic used car salesman. I still haven’t changed my mind, in fact I think I was understating how much he is willing to compromise to ‘close the sale’.

    It is no wonder that we keep hearing the rumors of dissension in the Nat’s ranks, and they keep getting leaks. After getting a couple of brown nose articles in the Herald, I still have absolutely no idea why he is in politics and what he wants to achieve there. Checkbox on the CV?

    I’m afraid I don’t trust anyone who keeps telling people what they want to hear. I always look for the knife that is being slid in the back at the same time. This guy just makes me feel like I’ve been too close to something slimy, and I want to wash the hands.

  6. infused 6

    No Felix. I think it’s a matter of so many people have signed up it needs to be looked at a lot more before/if it gets canned. I still don’t think it was a good idea.

    I, and many other New Zealanders can save for myself thanks. The only reason it has people joined up is they are sucked in to the govt tax credit.

  7. Higherstandard 7

    Used car salesman eh …….. sadly the NZ public still probably view NZ politicians as less trustworthy than used car salesman however and after the behaviour in the house over the last few days of certain members it’s very difficult to disagree with them.

  8. Daveo 8

    Nice threadjack monkeyboy. So your response to your hero John Key’s lack of principles is that a guy who openly declared his donation to Labour owns a company that has shipped cigarettes as part of its business? You’re beyond a joke.

    Here’s one for you – Labour receives donations from the Engineers Union, which in turn accepts membership fees from tobacco workers, coal miners and military ship builders.

    Does that mean Labour’s in the pay of big tobacco, big coal and the military-industrial complex? Actually I think the Greens got a donation from the engineers last time around too – are they also in the pay of these nefarious forces?

  9. lprent 9

    Lee: Good diversion BTW.

    Pop in a quotation with no links. Put it in with no context – what exactly does Vanguard have to do with smoking or the NZLP? Make an assertion without any real backing, and try to hijack the thread onto a different topic.

    After I dug around, it appears that what you’re talking about has a multi-stage rather tenuous linkage.

    1. Vanguard Logistics has a contract with BAT – amongst all of their other customers.

    2. BAT’s main product is tobacco.

    3. Owen Glenn owns a chunk of Vanguard via his holdings in another company.

    4. Owen Glenn has donated money to the NZLP (note not the government)

    5. This government which includes Labour has been putting measures in to reduce smoking.

    This leads to your argument. Therefore the PM is being a hypocrite because the paty of which she is a member has accepted a donation from a businessman, who has an minor interest in helping ship tobacco products.

    Tell me Lee, have you joined the vast global conspiracy theory networks yet?

  10. lprent 10

    Daveo made my point while I was writing – just more succinctly.

  11. Felix 11

    infused are you talking about Kiwisaver?

    I understand that you don’t approve of it. Fair enough, but National say they’re keeping it. What makes you think they’ll look at ditching it?

  12. BeShakey 12

    Back to the topic – not sure this fits under trustworthiness (sp?) but a politician can never outline in the campaign everything they would do in every possible situation that could come up. But part of the purpose of the campaign and investigation that goes around it is to find out what the person actually stands for, so we’d have a reasonable idea of the types of things they’d do.
    Given that Key keeps flip-flopping, it makes it pretty much impossible to come up with any idea of how he would react to unforseen situations. Or is that the point?

  13. Matthew Pilott 13

    BeShakey – a cynic would suggest that doing so during the campaign makes it ‘no big deal’ if Key were to win and then re-flip-flop on all these policies as ‘unforseen circumstances’ dictate.

  14. Rob 14

    As the Sun sets on this Labour led Government I am reminded of the Pink Floyd Classic Another Brick in the Wall. Here’s my version

    We don’t need your Social Engineering
    We don’t need your thought Control
    No dark planning or socialism in our classrooms
    Helen Heather leave our kids alone
    Hey Heather leave our kids alone
    All in all it will cause Labour to fall
    We don’t need your countless cover ups
    We don’t need your thought control
    No dark sarcasm in our government
    Hey Helen Leave our people alone
    All in all it will cause Labour to fall
    We don’t need your lite bulbs
    We don’t need your though control
    No green plans for our homes
    Hey David leave our homes alone
    All in all its will cause Labour to fall
    We don’t need no envy Politics
    No dark comments for people who are successful
    We don’t need your thought control
    Hey Michael leave our people alone
    All in all it will cause Labour to fall
    We don’t need our crims parole
    No bad people roaming free
    We don’t need your thought control
    Hey Annette leave our people alone
    All in All will cause Labour to fall

    Hope you enjoyed this modification of a classic im sure you all did

  15. Tane 15

    Pink Floyd as social conservative anthem. Who would have thought?

  16. monkey-boy 16

    lprent, the thing is, it is relatively easy to do a bit of scurrying around on the net, and then dig up a bit of ‘damning’ info on most politicians (unless it is Winston Peters, it appears) then post ‘shock-horror revalations about them.
    Now, if I may, I will regale you with my own angst about this situation.
    The examination of policy is one thing, and the realistic appraisal of how policy is to be applied is another, and the trustworthiness of our politicians is another – all which demand proper scrutiny.
    What I find fascinaitng is the ways that some of of our politicans get the going over with a fine tooth-comb, but others get a free pass. We are all guilty of it.
    But that does not make it right to continue. It also insults the readers’ intelligence so I think it is interesting to attempt to balance one side’s ‘shock-horror’ revelations with an alternative reading, or a case I find similar.
    Look, for example at the way policy was manipulated by Helen Clark over the ‘anti-smacking’ legislation. Befoe the election she went on record saying she had no plans to impelemnt such a law, but afterwards, ‘flip-flopped’ by doing a deal with the Greens to introduce it as a PMB.
    I have seen Labour here described as the ‘Red Tories’, and National as ‘Labour-lite’ – perhaps this is a consequence of MMP. Good, I say.
    However, it appears that the temptation to fight the election as if it is a FFP one is still very tempting, hence the ‘attack-Key/Crosby/Textor back-drop.
    Another issue I find risible is the serious lack of ethical back-bone most of our parties exhibit. If I deign to provide recorded examples from the Labour Party Govt you will immediately bring up your defences, so I won’t even insult your intelligence by repeating them, but the same applies to the ‘right’ does it not?
    Finally, I would be tempted to vote for the Green Party, for example, as an example of ‘ethical’ politics, except I see them as just an extension of the Labour Party, and willing accomplice it its shady goings-on. So there it is. In short, I am an undecided voter who can see merits in various aspects of the political debate, but am a bit too long in the tooth to be taken in by the ‘faux-outrage’ that often appears to pass for political debate as we have seen it during this election (which hasn’t even been called yet).
    So as much as you might feel the need to ‘take me down a peg or two’ (as an imagined ‘enemy’ of the left) with your well-reasoned and beautifully constructed rebuttals, what I see are one-eyed and self-defeating delusions.
    So stick that in your pipe and smoke it,



  17. Isn’t Ruth Richardson also a Pink Floyd fan?

    Rob – instead of highlighting memes, why don’t you actually provide examples, and if you find some, suggest how National would/should solve them?

    Or is “mild breach of copyright” – as per your idol – as far as you intend to go?

  18. Anita 18

    Beshakey wrote:

    a politician can never outline in the campaign everything they would do in every possible situation that could come up. But part of the purpose of the campaign and investigation that goes around it is to find out what the person actually stands for, so we’d have a reasonable idea of the types of things they’d do.

    Also to give us a chance to work out how they make decisions. They can’t answer every possible situation during the campaign, but they can give us a feel for how they would work out the answer when it happens.

    This, IMHO, is the real problem with National not releasing proper policy documents – we have no idea how they come up with things. Is it carefully thought through and weighed up? Is it the product of 2-4 key political strategists? Is is focus grouped? Is it the product of ideology without critical analysis?

    We just can’t tell.

    I was geekily excited by the idea of a 34 page National party policy development document – it meant both a chance to see them think, and some proof that they do think. Sadly there is no such document.

    Given that Key keeps flip-flopping, it makes it pretty much impossible to come up with any idea of how he would react to unforseen situations. Or is that the point?

    My current analysis would be:

    1) High public discussion issues – say whatever he thinks the public want to hear. This may lead to centrist policies.

    2) Economic/fiscal non-public issues – free-market, neo-liberal gut reaction. Probably little analysis, but it’s where his heart is. This may lead to hard right economic policies.

    3) Social/personal issues – go three steps more socially conservative than his natural inclination. May lead to really socially conservative policies.

    But that’s based on his track record of actions so far – not on any policy development by the Nats.

  19. Anita 19

    Policy Parrot,

    Rob – instead of highlighting memes, why don’t you actually provide examples, and if you find some, suggest how National would/should solve them?

    I think he’s stopped giving concrete examples because whenever he’s done that before the examples didn’t stand up to fact checking. I kinda like the new ambiguous Rob.

  20. RedLogix 20

    Look, for example at the way policy was manipulated by Helen Clark over the ‘anti-smacking’ legislation. Befoe the election she went on record saying she had no plans to impelemnt such a law, but afterwards, ‘flip-flopped’ by doing a deal with the Greens to introduce it as a PMB.

    We have been over this ground a million times and I cannot be arsed doing it all again.

    The repeal of S59 was not ‘anti-smacking’ legislation, anymore than the fact that the majority of ordinary people who opposed the repeal could fairly be described as ‘pro child abuse’.

    The simple fact is that the repeal of S59 simply put the law around assualt on a child on the same legal footing as assault on an adult. As that long standing law stands you cannot go around ‘smacking’ adults, yet not for one instant would you dream of describing it with that term.

    In brief, you are repeating a mindless lie. And threadjacking.

  21. Anita 21

    To follow on from RL’s response to monkey-boy and risk condoning threadjacking…

    monkey-boy wrote:

    Befoe the election [Helen Clark] went on record saying she had no plans to impelemnt such a law, but afterwards, ‘flip-flopped’ by doing a deal with the Greens to introduce it as a PMB.

    Bradford put the Bill in the massively oversubscribed ballot, and it was drawn by luck.

    Are you saying Clark has the ability to influence the laws of chance?

  22. NX 22

    there is absolutely no guarantee that they won’t flop back into their old attitudes if they win power.

    Here’s hoping.

    Centre right voters are comfortable with WfF it’s just the delivery mechanism that needs changing to reduce tax churn.

    As Farrar pointed out; to develop an alternative delivery mechanism for the complex WfF is difficult while in opposition. So it makes sense to keep WfF until they have government departments at their disposal to come up with something better.

  23. Well, there you have it folks, National stalwarts like NX expect and hope that National will break its election promises – say what you must to get elected, do whatever the hell you want afterward.

  24. monkey-boy 24

    The post is about trust and flip-flops. I have posted about trust. That is the post. Why do you refer to any aspect of what I write as ‘threadjacking’?
    The actual threadjacking is you who don’t appear able to take what I’ve cited on face value, or need to characterise perfectly reasonable positions as somehow subversive to your viewpoints.
    so here goes. Redlogix and Anita.
    Both of you are endorsing the point I made. Clark said she wouldn’t endorse a review of the said law, so, by chance, when it came up as a PMB did she support it? Was it a conscience vote?
    Here is what you want to hear, I guess:
    “Yes John Key is a weak-willed flip-flopping millionaire-charlatan who is out to screw the country. I so agree that we would be better off with the alternative, which is proven to be beyond reproach.’
    But that isn’t debate, that’s just an echo-chamber. enjoy.

  25. Nedyah Hsan 25

    I asked Bill English in the elevator this morning:

    “So if National win, how long before you become Prime Minister”

    He looked pretty smug, and didn’t bother denying the implied intent.

    There’s an endgame there, and Bills “Looks of Derision” towards Shonky when he’s making stupid statements like “asking questions and demanding answers” in the house only serve to fuel the speculation Shonky is the face for the election, and then gone afterwards.

  26. monkey-boy 26

    Nedyah you may as well have asked him if she still beats his wife while you were at it, and if he’s not ‘looked smug’ or did not reply it could have been taken as proof that Bill English is a wifebeater?

  27. gobsmacked 27

    Matthew Pilott nailed it earlier in the thread.

    Just as “attacking the media” is “Winston being Winston”, and so the level of outrage can’t be sustained and diminishes over time, similarly John Key has made inconsistency and somersaults his hallmark, and nobody is shocked any more. In fact, people now expect Key to reverse his postions on policies even before he has done so. So his words matter less and less. We know he’ll say something different later.

    He’s a politician for our time, really. Yesterday’s belief is soooo not important. Now is all.

    Unfortunately for National and their supporters, being in government is completely different. Then it is no longer about words, but actions. They don’t disappear into the ether, like his breakfast blather, but instead have consequences, which do matter, and do last. You can have as many policy positions as you like: but in government, you can only put ONE of them into law.

    Which means a lot of people are going to be very unhappy very soon after the election, whatever he does.

    In short, he’s screwed.

  28. Quoth the Raven 28

    Using Pink Floyd Rob you’re a crack up. I’m sure Money is Key’s favourite song, though he probably doesn’t get the satire. How about Pink Floyd’s The Powers that Be:
    The powers that be
    They like a tough game
    No rules
    Some you win, some you lose
    Competition’s good for you
    They’re dying to be free
    They’re the powers that be
    They like a bomb proof cadillac
    Air conditioned, gold taps
    Back seat gun rack, platinum hub caps
    They pick horses for courses
    They’re the market forces
    Nice car Jack
    They like order, make-up, lime light power
    game shows, rodeos, star wars, TV
    They’re the powers that be
    If you see them come
    You better run – run
    You better run on home

  29. Matthew Pilott 29

    Monkey-boy, referring to your earlier post to lprent at 9:35.

    I sum it up as: I think all politicians are equally as bad (or equally as untrustworthy, to keep with topic), and therefore think anyone who supports any politician over another is one-eyed.

    What you’ve created is an illogical syllogism; a circular argument. I’m right because I’m right, and if you disagree you’re wrong because I’m right. “All politicians are bad so if you support one you’re bad because I think they’re all bad”. Because they are not all perfect, they are equally as bad in your eyes.

    That’s a simplistic and self-defeating proposition. What can you achieve with that apart from instilling a cynical belief that politics will achieve nothing, and no-one is worth supporting, and all supporters are wrong?

    It also negates the possibility of meaningful debate – you basically say that anyone supporting Labour or the current Government is one-eyed by default, and by supporting them they are a hypocrite, therefore their argument is worthless (conveniently helping you ignore any substance of the argument – attacking the messenger in a fashion).

    Most, if not all, Labour supporters (and supporters of every other party) are well aware of the various foibles, errors and inconsistencies of their Party, but choose to support it in the belief that it is the best party for New Zealand. You are saying they’re all wrong, they’re all bad and there’s no way you can support one, because to support one you must be a hypocrite.

    To err is human – so to support a political party must be divine?

    So in this case, you’re saying because you think Helen Clark has changed her mind on a matter, it doesn’t matter that Key is changing his mind on every matter. Scale and context don’t seem to mean anything to you.

    Now that’s fair enough if you’re treating everything as a matter of principle. Rapidly becomes unworkable in the real world, though. If you discovered Clark said she wasn’t going to have toast for breakfast, and then later had toast, apparently that’s as bad as Key sledging WfF for a couple of years, before saying “we’re in”. Self-defeating.

  30. lprent 30


    Look, for example at the way policy was manipulated by Helen Clark over the ‘anti-smacking’ legislation. Befoe the election she went on record saying she had no plans to impelemnt such a law, but afterwards, ‘flip-flopped’ by doing a deal with the Greens to introduce it as a PMB.

    Incorrect. As was pointed out above by Anita, it was dropped in by the greens as a private members bill. It got randomly selected.

    There was however a passed remit from the party that supported changing s59 from a number of years back.

    Labour MP’s are required to follow passed remits from the party. But they do get discretion about when they’d put them into action. This meant that the Labour MP’s didn’t have to put a bill in on section 59. They did have to support one if it came up in the house. Which they did.

    In short your argument is fallacious. The NZLP MP’s acted completely honourably and in trust to their members. They followed the rules laid down by their members like me. Does that explain why labour supported the bill?

    A complete lack of honour is what said of the opponents of the changes to s59. The rather disturbing extremism and chicken-little attitudes from the nutter fringe opposing the bill convinced me that there were people who needed to have this defence removed from their potential grasp. I also couldn’t believe the amount of outright lying by opponents.

    I started by opposing the bill and ended defending it.

  31. Rob 31

    I see Michael Cullen welcomed Tama Iti with a Hongi !!

    Hello didnt he lambast Key for doing the same Flip Flop or not!!

  32. Matthew Pilott 32

    When did this happen Rob, where’s the link?

    And wasn’t it Hide or Peters lambasting Key, holding up a blown-up photo and talking about the Nats ‘get tough’ policies?

  33. Swampy 33

    The issue of promises is hugely overblown and over politicised in itself.

    Norm Kirk held his promises even if it meant the economy was going into a tailspin, for example. The oil shock hit NZ in the middle of the 3LG’s term, but they didn’t change course to deal with the obvious realities, making things worse.

    The opposition will always shoot down some politician who “breaks their promise” yet makes no allowance for the possibility that said politician might find things to be different and have to change policy to fit the new circumstances.

    Both of David Lange and Jim Bolger claimed that information concealed from them by predecessors lead to an unavoidable reality that demanded policy changes.

  34. Rob 34


    See Hongy picture in papers today with Michael Cullen and Tane Iti

    Also Barry Soper mentioned on the radio yesterday how ironical it was that Michael Cullen in replies to question time in the house standing in for the Prime Minister said he would never Hongi Tame Iti.

    So Flip Flop yes definitely!!

  35. Matthew Pilott 35

    Rob, saw that this morning. Isn’t Cullen an amazing man? Imagine realising what you’re going to have to do to help smooth out relations between the government/crown and the Tuhoe people, and doing so even when it comes at a personal cost (of knowing whiny people are going to call you up on it). At least this wasn’t a cheesy photo-op, but an event with some meaning.

    P.S. Hongy? My god. At least you got it right the first time.

  36. Rob 36

    Mathew sorry re the spelling

    Yes when you are so far down in the polls and the Maori vote is leaving you in the droves you will sell your soul to try and get some votes back!!

    Just like Michael Cullen has the ultimate Flip Flop

  37. gobsmacked 37

    Rob, why aren’t you “Jamie” any more?

    That “Jamie” made some revealing comments on Maori and other minorities. More like National Front than National.

    Have you done a flip-flop?

  38. Matthew Pilott 38

    Rob, if you think negotiations between the government and the Tuhoe people are something to be scoffed at, or if you think it’s more important to score petty political points, then no one can stop you.

    Certainly helps colour opinion, though!

    Labour, well Cullen in particular, has done very well in Treaty negitiations and some amazing ground has been made over the last few years. Sorry Rob but you’ve the political nous of a gnat if you think it’s because Labour are down in the polls – how long do you think the Treelord negotiations took?

    Ultimate flip-flop? You’re a joke.

  39. Ben R 39

    Matt P

    “When did this happen Rob, where’s the link?”

    It wasn’t Cullen it was Mallard:

    “Labour had criticised National leader John Key for a hongi with Iti during Waitangi Day celebrations, with Trevor Mallard telling Parliament: “I cannot believe any responsible politician in New Zealand will endorse Tame Iti in the way John Key did at Waitangi.”


  40. Matthew Pilott 40

    Yup saw that Ben R. refer post Aug 1 at 10:35…

  41. Rob 41

    Well Mathew if Cullen such a good treaty negotiations minister, and knew that he had this Treaty settlement coming up. Why would he make such a provocative statement in the house just to get at John Key!!

    Now that is plain dumb then renege on it a few months later and do a complete Flip Flop. Beautiful picture of him and Tame wonder if Mallard will hold it up in Parliament to show a man of substance who is always true to his word.

    Labours record has been extremely poor on settlements to date and have only got a move on because of the pressure applied by both National and the Maori party.

  42. Anita 42


    Labours record has been extremely poor on settlements to date and have only got a move on because of the pressure applied by both National and the Maori party.


  43. Anita 43


    I finally got around to checking your accusations about Cullen and the hongi comment (“Barry Soper said so on the radio yesterday” is not exactly a reference. Once more you come up well short.

    The only things I could find in Hansard was:

    Hon Bill English: Can the Prime Minister promise the House that tonight at the opening of the Auckland business school she will sit with Owen Glenn and allow herself to be photographed with him?

    Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: Yes, but I can assure him she will not be hongi-ing Tame Iti at the same time.


    The start of this debate summed up what has happened and it sums up this election year. The Prime Minister gave a speech of substance and content. Mr Key opened with a one-liner and then, exhausted by his pre-prepared, second-hand wit, forgot to say anything else for the next 20 minutes. On the one hand we had the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, a leader of international stature; on the other hand we had Mr Key, whose proudest moment of 2008 so far is to hongi with Tame Iti.

    So not at all what you said – not lambasting, not saying Clark would never hongi Tame Iti.

    If you had said that Cullen had a couple of stupid cracks at Key by mentioning the hongi I would’ve totally agreed.

    Any chance you could

    a) Admit your constant inaccuracy?

    b) Start fact checking and/or stop deliberately lieing.

  44. Matthew Pilott 44

    Rob, I don’t imagine many foresaw yesterday’s events happening exactly as they did.

    Key’s one-off brazen suck-up was in the close aftermath of the Urewera raids, and seemed incongruous for the leader of a party that is supposedly tough on crime (the $50 rape, murder and pillage fee really put paid to that though!).

    Cullen’s greeting with Iti was part of a formal ceremony to begin Treaty negotiations with Tuhoe. It wasn’t a blatant media play, in the wake of such controversial action as the ‘Terror raids’.

    Your comparison of the two events, and subsequent statements about Labour’s track record, merely shows your lack of knowledge in the area. Do yourself a favour and keep your peace, donkey, ’till you have wit to share.

    Anita – “B” is clearly too much to ask for, as Rob has shown time and time again. He’s like those ‘whack-a-mole’ games at a carnival – as soon as one dumb statement blurts out and is batted away, another pops up. Shame there’s no prize at the end, this feels more of a chore. Wonder if Rob’s gettin’ some educatin’ though. Doubtful.

    “A” goes without saying!

    [lprent: Yeah I get the impression that Rob is too stupid or self opinionated to realise how stupid he sounds. He does seriously needs to educate himself about … well everything I’ve heard him on so far. Gets to the almost a troll all of time – reminds me of the ‘sod in a way. ]

  45. gobsmacked 45

    Rob (i.e. Jamie)

    Please don’t pretend you care about Treaty Settlements.

    Your previous comments about Maori might come back to embarrass you. Quit while you’re behind.

  46. Rob 46


    I am Rob I am not Jamie that may have been a past boyfriend of yours. I write on the Stuff blog as does Eddie , Jon , Jamie and many others who would like to see Labour go. I have never hidden from my Name I am Rob short for Robert who are you?. National / Maori coalition more than likely.


    Thank you for dredging that out I am not sure you went back far enough. Paid researches like yourself should be able to find it I’m sure.

    Mathew you cant turn a bad picture into a positive spin I’m sorry will Mallard hold up the picture of Cullen and Tame Hongi like he did with Key. Its still another Flip Flop or slip up call it what you like. I’m sure Crosby Textor are circulating the pictures as we speak.
    Would make a good Tui advert Michael Cullen I would never Hongi Tame Iti yea right!!!

  47. Matthew Pilott 47

    Rob, entering into formal treaty settlement negotiations with tuhoe is a pretty amazing thing. Many probably never thought they’d see it in their lifetime. Only a one-eyed partisan hack would call that a ‘bad picture’, and they’d probably be considered an embarrassment by supporters of the party they support.

    Those supporters would be right.

  48. Rob 48


    I agree with you treaty settlement is a good thing especially when one understands the history of Tuhoe not debating that at all. Although on any treaty settlement I still have concerns that they will never be enough and in the future you will see the Children of various tribes going to court to try and get more money. I don’t believe these grievance’s will ever be settled by money it runs deeper than that. Iunderstand the what ever Governemnt is in has to be seen to be doing something whether it will ever be enough will be played out in the future.

  49. Ben R 49

    “Labours record has been extremely poor on settlements to date and have only got a move on because of the pressure applied by both National and the Maori party.”

    I think there was an article in the SST(?) last year about the respective performance of National in the 90’s with Doug Graham as Treaty Minister & Margaret Wilson then Mark Burton for Labour. The gist was that National had more senior people involved (ie. Bolger) and Graham seemed good at doing deals.

    Now Labour have brought in Cullen & he seems to have gotten things moving.

  50. gobsmacked 50

    I am Rob I am not Jamie that may have been a past boyfriend of yours.

    Yes, the homophobia is another Jamie = Rob giveaway.

  51. Anita 51



    Thank you for dredging that out I am not sure you went back far enough.

    I did a search on Hansard back to the beginning of the year, and given that Key and Iti’s hongi was in February this year.

    But, in case you actually want to make the effort yourself, the Hansard search I used is publicly available.

    Paid researches like yourself should be able to find it I’m sure.

    I suspect you think you just insulted me, but I feel complemented.

    As it happens I don’t work as a researcher (wouldn’t it be lovely though *sigh*). I just have an over developed sense of curiosity, a memory, and a brain, and I place a strong value on accuracy.

  52. Matthew Pilott 52

    Rob, that is a valid concern. A recent example was that a prior deal (Sealord) could be expanded upon as the Treelord deal had a greater financial settlement – that caught my eye anyway, though I’m not sure of the reasoning behind it. The only solution is to ensure that any settlement isn’t forced, is seen as fair by all parties, and is properly drafted to ensure it is final, if that is the intent.

    Another aspect is the use of settlement money – ensuring that it is used for the benefit of the tribe in question, now and in the future. This has not been managed too well on occasion, and I believe that part of the settlement should ensure that money will be used in this fashion.

    That’s a difficult thing to do, insisting that a settlement be used in a certain fashion; if it’s not done properly, those who do not benefit, when they should have, will have cause to complain (although their complaint should be with the tribe, not the crown!)

  53. Ben R 53

    Is flip-flop a recent political term? The first time I heard of it was when the Republicans were trying to paint John Kerry as a ‘flip-flopper’. Can someone please confirm origins..

  54. Anita 54

    Ben R,

    I think there was an article in the SST(?) last year about the respective performance of National in the 90’s with Doug Graham as Treaty Minister & Margaret Wilson then Mark Burton for Labour. The gist was that National had more senior people involved (ie. Bolger) and Graham seemed good at doing deals.

    A quick search and I think you’re talking about the SST article in June this year titled Full and final settlements still a way off which started:

    CYNICS WILL note that the government’s flurry of big treaty settlements occurs close to an election. After years of desultory progress, Labour suddenly announces a series of genuinely impressive deals. Part of the reason, no doubt, is that Michael Cullen took over as treaty negotiations minister. His predecessors – Margaret Wilson and Mark Burton – had neither his political skills nor his clout in cabinet. But if Labour had been serious about settlements, it would have given the job to Cullen years ago. The very cynical will see all this as a late grab to recoup the Maori seats.

    Interestingly if you have a look at the list of treaty settlements Labour has actually signed more than National did. That’s a bit bogus because National’s early ones were really negotiated by Labour, and vice versa.

    The interesting gap, imho, is 2006-2007.

  55. Anita 55

    Ben R,

    Is flip-flop a recent political term? The first time I heard of it was when the Republicans were trying to paint John Kerry as a ‘flip-flopper’. Can someone please confirm origins..

    I can’t confirm origins, but it’s been in use in NZ politics for a long time 🙂

    1996 election campaign has just about everyone accusing just about everyone else of flip flops. For example, about the Kaimanawa horse call “Announcing the flip-flop on Monday, Prime Minister Jim Bolger acknowledged it was a response to public concern about the cull.”

  56. Pascal's bookie 56

    Anita. Thanks. Like Ben I’d thought it was a straight import from the Kerry thing.

    Seems like they’re running with ‘presumptuous’ for Obama. Which is flash talk for ‘uppity’ I guess.

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