Incompetent or just undemocratic or both?

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, December 10th, 2008 - 26 comments
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No Right Turn points out in What’s in the urgency motion? exactly how much of shambles the NACT government is. At present they are busy ramming through legislation that has no titles, that hasn’t been drafted or presented to politicians to read, and they don’t even have an order paper. What exactly have this pack of clowns been doing in the last 4 weeks? Or is it a deliberate attempt to bypass the normal democratic institutions?

In The blitzkrieg then and now he points out that this kind of parliamentary behavior was last done by Douglas and Richardson. A lot of the legislation then was to put it mildly – crap. From the look of this shambles it appears that NACT hasn’t learnt.

NRT thinks that this a deliberate attempt to put through legislation while the main stream media and public are cooking under summer. IrishBill thinks in F**k democracy that they are doing the same.

I’m inclined to the view that this isn’t deliberate. To me, this looks like simple incompetence by politicians whose egos exceed their abilities. I’ve observed this in the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s with National and (with Douglas) Labour-led governments. They were useless at the process of running governments with the appropriate checks and balances. Trying to bypass the processes of government that are designed to give legislation a good look through to find flaws is fundementally a issue of ego from politicians trying to avoid criticism.

In either case it makes a mockery of the people who supported them because they perceived that the Labour-led government was undemocratic. Labour bills were on the order papers, were actually drafted with titles before being presented to parliament, and with a few exceptions passed through the normal processes of select committee.

It will be interesting over the coming days on the blogs to see which of the devout supporters of democracy from 2007 and 2008 stand by their principles. Otherwise we’d have to conclude that they are simple hypocrites, just like the NACT MP’s doing performances over the EFA, ETS, and other bills have now shown themselves to be.

26 comments on “Incompetent or just undemocratic or both?”

  1. IrishBill 1

    Yeah, I considered the ego motive too but given the highly-spun nature of National I figured their first consideration is PR.

    Then again I am reliably informed that the article by Tracy Watkins that tipped this whole thing into the spotlight came from a more ideologically than public relations minded source at a time there was serious debate within the Nat’s caucus about the political implications of shoving this through so it could just be they got internally outflanked and didn’t have time to spin it properly.

  2. lprent 2

    Whatever way it came about it is going to be interesting to see how DPF and co will spin it. It is almost a pity that Matt Hooten is not blogging at present. After the spin he was doing on the subject of anti-democratic urgency on the ETS, I’d be very interested in how he perceives this use of ‘urgency’.

    As for DPF, well it looks like he should keep the billboards coming 😈

  3. Jsut listening ot Parliament. Pete Hodgson is speaking about macro-economics, R&D, billions of dollars of spending and tax choices. English interrupts with ‘we cut that silly conference, we cut that silly conference’. Ah, yes, the confernce that would have been 0.0003% of annual government expenditure. Good to see they’ve got their eye on the big stuff.

    Now, if he can find about 5,000 more confernences a year to cancel National/ACT will get able to keep the low income tax cuts they are about to cancel.

  4. Mr Magoo 4

    As I said in another post in a previous story on the same subject…

    This is a cock waving, “we are great hairy hunters” move. Making their mark, lifting their leg…etc etc.

    It is a stupid move because, despite what some pundits are saying, it will NOT stifle discussion. One could argue the discussion will be more vigorous now because of the way it is being done.
    One must remember that National/ACT have the majority and can ram all this through regardless. No amount of pre-discussion by a stacked select committee is going to change this.

    If the policies are bad, the nature of their passing will come back to haunt them. For example, I imagine a recession/depression will create many opportunities for the 90 day law to create good copy for the newspapers. (Herald excluded of course…they will be running puff pieces on how emplyers are soooo happy with the law and get yet another quote from the EMA)

  5. This has nothing to do with democracy — tho mucho on incompetence.. I just had to share the pearl with you guys. Tripper kay was heard talking about “my old firm” when he was o/seas. You’d have to ask yourself why – (answer, he’s out of touch) – considering all the goings on stateside.. anyway..

    some buddies had gotten on to a spoof stock sell for chrissy prez etc.. one wrote Mike Lewis(who wrote Liars Poker a wee while back) and very recently set about heirarching the floppers and their flops along Wall Street.. his reply is included here:—

    Just pure genius, the way Michael Lewis described Merrill’s place in Wall Street’s pecking order in his recent expose on the financial fiasco. Picture the playground pickup game, with the big kids (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley) running the show…”Merrill Lynch was the little fat kid assigned the least pleasant roles, just happy to be a part of things.”

    And the stock they got – was what most fat american kids scoff in the form of a ‘big mac’ – MacDonalds.

    Yeah, you gottit, folks noticed and bought.. both macs and MacDonalds which explains their latest results uppage..

    And it sure says something of what americans are likely make of tripperkey..

  6. jagilby 6

    Ahahaha, I would have thought this was the last place I would see Michael Lewis endorsed and quoted. If you want to quote Michael Lewis then perhaps you should read these ‘pearlers’ first….

    Would you agree that “Democracy is due for an upgrade”???

    Is our society “really, really hostile to success. At the same time it’s shockingly indulgent of poor people.”????

    I suggest if this was written in New Zealand you lot would be at his door wanting to lynch (no pun intended) him the minute he put pen to paper… fine to quote Lewis when it suits though.

    By the way…. If Merrill Lynch “was the little fat kid assigned the least pleasant roles” doesn’t that make Cullen’s comments re: Key contributing to the Wall St collapse even more absurd than they first appeared? As an aside, his comments were already at the very extreme end of the most absurd things I’ve heard – that Michael Lewis comment just made me laugh even more about them.

  7. Cullen’s comments re: Key contributing to the Wall St collapse even more absurd than they first appeared?

    Yeah it would if Cullen had actually said that. But he was talking about Key as a product of the short-term gain culture that is prevalent on wall street. Quite a clear an unsubtle point I would have thought but then I’m not a desperate moronic rightie trying to misrepresent a situation…

    Oh and if you don’t get my unsubtle dig I was indicating that you are a desperate moronic rightie trying to misrepresent a situation… I’d hate for you to get the wrong idea about just how little I think of you…

  8. Jimbo 8

    Pushing the 90 days bill through under urgency is lunacy. Putting aside the issue of whether it’s good or bad, the policy is definitely not the sort of thing that is “urgently needed”. Stupid decision.

  9. burt 9


    And on a different day under a different bunch of self serving leaders here you are justifying the use of urgency because there was a shortage of time…. (Oh: You were also saying the HRC was wrong as well.)

    A change to what?

    So is it really as simple as defend Labour when they do it an slag off National when they do it – do you ever care what they actually do or are you only concerned with who is doing it.

    I’m pissed National are doing this under urgency. See it’s possible to disagree on principle rather than agree on partisan lines.

  10. lprent 10

    There is a significant difference. That bill went through the select committee where the HRC made submissions. If it went through under urgency (can’t remember), it would have done so on the third reading – not the first.

    This bill (although descended from the Mapp bill) has never been through any rigorous debate. Kate Wilkinson is talking about significant changes.

    Have a read of the points Tane made in

    Some questions for Kate

    Tell me the answers from the select committee where they would have been raised.

  11. I wouldn’t even bother with burt – he so far up the government’s arse even his shoes are stained blue…

  12. burt 12


    We dealt with that same defense in the same thread.

    A change to what?

    I’m not supporting the National party on this, I’m not a National party supporter. I guess Robinsod and the facts have always been strangers, what’s more Robinsod and recall of information told to him again and again seem like strangers as well. Roll them a bit thinner Robinsod.

  13. Oh no Burt you wee bunch of yellow-clad freaks are the government too now… Take some responsibility for your vote…

  14. Felix 14

    Hey burt, imagine what it would be like if anyone gave a shit about anything you think or say, ever.

  15. burt 15


    To be honest I think the best outcome that can occur from this point is for ACT to join the Maori party and not support urgency for the 90 day bill. This would be a blow to National supporters as they would see Key face his first coalition back down so early in his tenure as PM. However it would prove that unlike Labour-led govts the National-led govt is not just a prescriptive leader and a pack of poodles.

    Given Rodney’s usual passion for process and ethical approach I’m actually stunned ACT are supporting urgency in this case. I will voice my disquiet with ACT supporting this from a process and principle perspective. Furthermore I won’t accept that “It’s widely supported” as reason for the govt not being required to prove that via public consultation. If this bill is handled in the same way as the EFA or the ETS where amendments on mass are rammed through under urgency I’ll be voicing more than just disquiet.

    Robninsod. I’m not happy with urgency Sod, not under Labour or National. Sure if we are being invaded or there is a crisis and ‘enabling’ measures are being enacted then urgency is exactly what is required. I don’t recall you ever being bothered by it before (Under Labour), perhaps you could find a link where you expressed your disquiet and prove me wrong.

  16. Burty my boy – urgency has never been used like this by Labour – unless you’re talking about the 4th Labour government which was your Actoids in early drag…

    I’m not surprised by Act doing this at all – I’ve had a lot to do with Rodney over the years and although he’s a charming wee shit he’s also a dodgy conniving little piece of work. Don’t worry though mate – he’ll be getting his over the next three years as the evidence seeps out…

  17. burt 17


    Your previous views on use of urgency are IMHO well encapsulated in this comment you made.

    Spinbusting: NZF’s donations are Labour’s business

    Bryan – give the monkey a break. I’d suggest that Labour should indeed pass law (under urgency) to allow them to investigate NZ First’s accounts. They should then use that law to uncover the funding behind National’s “anonymous’ trusts and clear up the question of whether the Nats sold their ACC policy off to the insurance council.

  18. Ooh Burt – you can use google. Maybe I misunderestimated you…

    How does it feel to have won and then start losing so badly Burt?

  19. Graeme 19

    Have a read of the points Tane made in

    Some questions for Kate

    Tell me the answers from the select committee where they would have been raised.

    That’s not a complete answer, lprent.

    A 90-day bill has been to select committee. That committee has heard submissions and made recommendations. The bill is now different – as many bills back from select committee would be. No-one gets to submit on them, even if they are quite drastically changed.

    National had a couple of options. Wayne Mapp could have delayed the second reading debate of his bill until this Parliament, from which point they could be passing it now, making the changes (20 employee businesses etc.) in committee of the whole.

    We could have started with the second reading of that bill in this Parliament, and people couldn’t have complained about lack of public input, but because we had *two extra hours of debate* some time in the last year, it now short-cuts the process to avoid a select committee?

  20. lprent 20

    You’re arguing hypotheticals on what Mapp could have done but didn’t.

    These are two different bills. The Mapp bill was defeated. This is a new bill.

    The process of parliament is important as the business. Shortcutting is something that inevitably leads to further abuses – ask anyone that watched Muldoon.

    Who was the moron that came up with this particular quick fix?

  21. Graeme 21

    These are two different bills.

    And the Electoral Finance Bill that came out of select committee was a very different bill than the one that went into select committee. It didn’t mean we all got to submit again.

  22. Tim Ellis 22

    As was the ETS legislation dramatically different from what went into the select committee, with hundreds of amendments passed under urgency.

  23. lprent 23

    But Graeme – Mapps bill was defeated at the 2nd reading after select committee.

    This is a new bill. It should be handled as usual for a new bill. There are no peoples life and limb issues. There are no urgent fiscal issues (ie government can still pay its bills). So why is it urgent?

    Basically it is total autocracy by some idiot that hasn’t realised that government are servants of the people – not their rulers

  24. Graeme 24

    Obviously that’s a fair point. I guess I’m just trying to make the point that with this particular bill on this occasion, it’s not as bad as it might otherwise be (with something else). Normal process is being avoided, but the result won’t be as bad – ultimately, the same bill will almost certainly result as would have were National to open it up to public scrutiny again now.

    For 10 points: Who said, on 17 October 2006, “Of course, when bills are moved for introduction and passing under urgency, they are tabled subsequent to the motion being approved.”?

  25. Graeme – was it Oscar Wilde?

    He had some great quotes

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