The Herald are using the ‘c’ word again to describe Nat actions around business interests and the risks to the vulnerable:
Nats accused of health agency cronyism
National is being accused of cronyism after three people closely affiliated with the party were appointed to the board of a new agency for promoting health programmes. The seven-person board of the Health Promotion Agency, announced on Friday, includes former National MP Katherine Rich and two National Party campaign leaders. …
Alcohol watchdogs have previously criticised Mrs Rich’s placement on the agency’s establishment board, saying she was the most outspoken defender of the alcohol industry and its right to sell booze cheaply and at all hours. …
National Addiction Centre director Doug Sellman said: “There is no conflict of interest if you ignore the relationship between health and the commercialisation of addictive products such as alcohol and recreational food”.
Putting the CEO of the leading lobbying agency and industry promotional group for companies promoting sales of sugar, fat and alcohol on the Board of the public health agency supposed to prevent harm to young NZers already suffering obesity and binge drinking you would think would be an outrageous achievement. Something lobbyists on K Street in Washington might achieve if Dick Cheney was running the show. But, it seems, no: they have done it here. And the PM, as he would, has gone out his way to defend it: albeit transparently poorly.
People who understand it are angry. It should become the latest outrage and backdown. It certainly removes any doubts I had about how far these guys might utterly sell out.
One stumble after another, and you’d wonder if they couldn’t see the pattern that’s emerging and try to stop it. But they don’t seem to be able to help themselves.
The recipe, which we should now expect to run out in multiple sectors, is this: an area where Big money and the public interest are potentially at odds. Power prices and private ownership of utilities. The TPPA. Housing developments and more urban sprawl beside holiday highways.
Actually, not just the public interest: the vulnerable. The young. The people public interest agencies are supposed to protect. Skycity pokies. Obesity. Alcohol abuse. Funding teachers in schools. People who haven’t got jobs, or are in their fifties and on ACC, and wont get jobs in the current context, but who still need to be culled from welfare rolls. People crowding and sleeping in the lounge because they cant afford to heat their homes…
An area where the Nats have personal connections, like Katherine Rich, conservative family organisations promoting ‘evidence free’ childhood programs, or Bob Browne and real estate developers (do some research!).. yep, maybe. But not necessarily.
Put these elements together in a room with a convivial Nat party host, let the powerful interests sort out who gets what resources, who gets on what boards, who makes the rules, and a certain kind of fusion happens: whether, it seems, you are trying to do it, trying to avoid it, or not.
The outcome, lots of enraged but apparently powerless people, plenty of helpless victims in the headlights, and few fat cats with cream on their whiskers.
As the Nick Smith affair shows, when one of the Tory’s own gets damaged along the way, special deals are available there too. Lord help the other poor and needy.