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Grubby politics

Written By: - Date published: 9:32 am, April 10th, 2012 - 8 comments
Categories: national, same old national, scoundrels - Tags: , ,

The Nats are awash in the grubby side of political power. Take cronyism, for example. Political appointments to the boards of RNZ and TVNZ. Judith Collins cutting corners in the appointment of Nat Wayne Mapp to the Law Commission. Brownlee’s appointment of Jenny Shipley and other Nats to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Review Panel at triple the normal pay rate. McCulley’s no tender contract for ex Nat Mark Blumsky. Currently in the headlines, the “unusual” level of support given to Nat aligned Bronwyn Pullar in her various claims. The list goes on and on and on.

It’s not just the leftie bloggers that are saying so either. In a worrying development for the Nats, the stink has got so strong that even usually friendly journalists have been moved to comment. Fran O’Sullivan:

SkyCity centre deal smacks of cronyism

The National Government’s proposed sweetheart deal with casino operator SkyCity verges on being immoral and smacks of crony capitalism.

This is not the sort of message you will hear from the media celebrities who are the beneficiaries of SkyCity’s “Chairman’s Card” or are “Ambassadors” for the casino operator in return for perks said to be worth thousands of dollars each year.

They are far too comfortable to shed the spotlight on hard issues involving the casino operator.

But it’s a message that the public should send John Key’s Government loud and clear. …

In similarly grubby politics, John Armstrong warns about the ongoing politicisation of the public service:

Commission fiddles while its cred burns

…Such is the State Services Commission’s seeming indifference to the slow politicisation of the public service, it would be barely missed were it to be folded into some other body with a monitoring role such as the Treasury or the Prime Minister’s Department. As the public service’s guardian against undue influence from outsiders, the commission is more lapdog than watchdog. It rarely barks, let alone bites.

Its seeming reluctance to say or do anything to bolster public confidence in public service independence and neutrality in the face of increasing erosion of those ideals by politicians was underlined this week by the contrasting willingness of Auditor-General Lyn Provost to dive into the turbulent political waters surrounding the ACC. …

As amply demonstrated by Murray McCully’s interference in the botched restructuring of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, ministers are no longer coy about sheeting home the blame to officials when things go wrong in their department. …

The search for savings means departments are implicitly making political decisions as to what to cut and by how much. The public service’s most valuable asset – political neutrality – is consequently at grave risk of being devalued. …

Another case in point, the current messy internal power struggles.

None of this should come as a surprise. It’s all just a continuation of the methods and the mindset that Nicky Hager described so comprehensively in The Hollow Men. Key’s “new broom” act was a great sales job, but the reality is it’s business as usual for the Nats.

8 comments on “Grubby politics ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Sadly, as a result of neo-liberal evangelism and plain old National party cronyism we have to accept that large parts of the public service, particularly at the top CEO and immediately below level, is now thoroughly politicised and colonised by hard-right acolytes.

    The solution would be to accept this, and for parties to draw up a frank list of proposed political appointments for certain jobs in the civil service – head of the reserve bank, head of treasury, key CEO’s etc – that they would make upon assumption of power.

    • aerobubble 1.1

      Any idiot can quickly learn to self-congratulate themselves and boast about the merits of the issue. However it serious erodes NZ standing, when time and again, in countless examples, like how Clinton compared NZ to Fiji when the Nasty Nats pushed for a decision to have a high court case decision overturned. Only in a third world country would a government think of that.

      National are a bunch of useless naked freaks on neo-liberal steriods.

  2. insider 2

    A few more names for you to consider – Dianne YAtes, Jonathan Hunt, Polly Schaverien, Peter Harris, Mike Williams… I know it’s fun to put on the angry face, but tell me, what did the SSC ever do when Labour was in power to prevent political interference in say appointments of staff at MfE and MaF, or the Electricty Commission or WINZ. Or how about Sovereign yachts, Team NZ and a few other ‘inspired’ investments using other people’s money.

    The SSC has always been the lapdog of govt. It has a minister and does what is expected of it to manage the civil service in line with govt expectations. It was no different under Labour – indeed there are court cases that perhaps show it was a lot lot worse (maybe those haven’t hit the bench….yet). If you want the SSC to be independent, it needs to report to Parliament like the Ombudsman or PCE. But no party is likely to surrender that kind of control. So let’s not pretend anything is any different now.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1

      Are you astro- turfing ‘insider’.
      Reeling off political appointments made to boards, which are made by the Minister without any reference to SST proves what ?
      These jobs , by definition, are not part of the public service.

  3. Craig Glen Eden 3

    “So let’s not pretend anything is any different now.”

    Did any of those appointments do away with any democratic processes Insider?

    How about instigated illegal employment practices?

    Or how about Ministerial crony letter writing?

    What about loans to companies that ministers set up and use to own?

    No one is denying political appointments get made by all Governments thats not the issue though is it? Nice try to destract but you have failed miserably.

  4. bad12 4

    McCully must have been laughing uproariously up His sleeve when not long after He had appointed ex-Wellington Mayor and ex-National party list MP Mark Blumsky to the position of New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue He (McCully) then doled out an untendered contract to Blumsky for the purposes of ”exploring tourism opportunities ” on the island of Niue, this contract for an initial couple of hundred thousand had no more expectation upon its beneficiary than the above ”exploration” and we wondered at the time whether McCully and various others in their retirement would become the ”owners” of some tourist hotel complex on the island of Niue,

    At the time all this was occurring National in Government for the first time in 9 years were still deep within the so called ”honeymoon period” with very little attention being focused upon such ”dealings” from within the new Governments various little fiefdoms,(should we perhaps have described that as the new Governments various little thief-doms), Joe Public at the time obviously way to busy with His or Her tax calculator checking out how much they all would be ”getting” to worry about the goings on in McCully’s portfolio and who McCully was giving to and how much they were getting,

    In a moment of you watch this for proof that they are all asleep!!!, McCully had the story of the ”tourism exploration contract” who’s sole benefactor would on the surface seem to have been ex-National MP Blumsky,dropped in the lap of Wellingtons Dim-Post newspaper,and, in an action which goes some way to explaining the perjorative title many have bestowed upon the Dim-Post, that august publication asked No questions and buried the story on page 3,4,5, or somewhere where most people would be suffering eye fatigue by the time they stumbled upon it,

    Blumsky,the ex-shoe salesman bore in our opinion a remarkable resemblance to the Al Bundy of the same profession from the TV comedy ”married with children”, came unstuck in Wellington in the wee hours of one morning where while catering to a certain prediliction He received a moderate kicking only ”coming to” in the stairwell of His Wellington apartment,

    There was more to that little tale,(Winston would have described it as a sordid story of National Party sex and sleaze),than was or ever will be told and Blumsky, now an embarrassment was quickly shuffled to the bottom of the Party list and shown the door marked ”exit”,

    That this particular piece of cronyism has again surfaced with a bit more bite in the nether regions for National just goes to show the depth of feeling McCully and His attempts to gut employment from within His portfolio has raked up,

    In the usual Tory neo-capitalist world of flexibility,,efficiency and accountability McCully scored 3 zeroes as when the gutting of His portfolio blew up in both His and National,s faces McCully simply blamed the people He had put in place to wield the hatchet for Him…

    • Hami Shearlie 4.1

      McCully sure is an odious little toad!! Badluck Schleprock (a weird little moany, slithering character on the old Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm cartoon show) is someone I always associate with McCully! Why is that I wonder? Check him out on youtube – you’ll see the resemblance instantly!

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    These are just tip of the iceberg too. The National insiders who get on to the corporate/banking boards, get lucrative government consulting contracts etc. The NATs really know how to look after (whip into line) their own with a wide range of carrots and sticks.

    The Left can’t do anything like it.

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