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National Ltd™ – Rotten To The Core From Top To Bottom

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 am, June 26th, 2017 - 25 comments
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On 15 September 2009, Labour MP Pete Hodgson asked the Prime Minister: “Does he believe that in all matters his Minister of Finance [Bill English] has followed that part of the Cabinet Manual that reads: “… Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards?”

The question was asked after Bill English had reorganised his personal affairs so as to be entitled, he claimed, to receive about $1000 a week to pay the rent for a house which was owned, via a trust, by his wife. The rort was predicated on the tissue-thin premise that, although Bill English and his family had lived and worked in Wellington for more than ten years, his primary residence was in Dipton. During the years he and his family lived and worked in Wellington prior to him becoming a minister, English had received, in total, an estimated $300,000-plus for his alleged out-of-town housing costs. Then, shortly after the 2008 election, the legal tweaks were done and the paperwork submitted for the much more valuable “Ministerial” housing allowance. The matter hit the headlines when ministers’ expenses were published and public interest was piqued by the blatant hypocrisy exposed. Publicly, Bill English had been softening up the country for a period of stringent economic austerity while, privately, he’d set about obtaining as much public funds as he could lay his tiny grubby hands on. In addition to the $1000 per week housing allowance, he also managed to wangle an extra $20 a week on top of the maximum allowed for house cleaning on the basis that his $1.2 million home was so large. And all while he was collecting a $10,400 a fortnight salary.

Because only politicians make the rules about politicians’ expenses, there’s no suggestion that English acted unlawfully. And because “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” is the fundamental basis of National Ltd™ ethics, English was, amongst his peers, indeed upholding their highest ethical standards. Where English came a cropper, though, is in the clause that Cabinet Ministers must “be seen” to be upholding the highest ethical standards. Most New Zealander could see immediately English was not upholding even a semblance of actual ethical standards. He wasn’t even trying. In short, the situation English found himself in was “not a good look”.  And so, like all good National Ltd™ MPs who find themselves in a tight spot, he lied repeatedly hoping things would get better while attempting to bully into silence those making things difficult for him.

That didn’t work out too well. The fundamental lie at the base of his troubles was no longer sustainable for the simple reason that it was so obviously a lie.  Also, English never had sufficient support from National Ltd™’s main shareholders. Within that milieu, English was considered to have committed the unforgivable sin of having been caught, which is more serious than any actual crime. The public was mightily pissed off about the situation, that was reflected in polls which, in turn, pissed off John Key. Eventually, the Auditor General whipped up a quick report which ostensibly gave Parliament and The Speaker a sharp poke in the eye about the sloppy state of the rules concerning allowances and expenses. Hidden in the report, though, was an indication that English may not actually have been fully entitled to the Ministerial housing allowance after all. Surprise surprise. Despite his oft repeated and plaintiff refrains to the contrary, English was found by the OAG to have had an interest in the trust from which his wife’s house was rented. In the end, English had to give some of the money back and, finally, admit that he didn’t live in Dipton.

The housing allowance kerfuffle left English a tad battered and bruised but entirely unrepentant. As a man imbued with National Ltd™ ethics, it was obvious to him that he had done nothing wrong. The only concern he publicly articulated, using it as the reason why he gave some of the money back, was that there was a “perception” he had attempted a fiddle. Of course, the opposite was true. English was attempting a fiddle and it was him who was attempting to create a perception that there only ever was a “perception”, nothing real. So obdurate was he in his righteousness, he was quoted as saying . . .

At all times my decisions have been driven by my desire to keep my family together and provide them with as much stability as possible. It’s now clear that the system has struggled to deal with my circumstances

. . . get that? Risible bullshit in the first sentence and then being caught double-dipping is not his fault, blame “the system”. No “sorry” or “I have learned my lesson” or “I’ll be careful going forward”. Just attempting to manufacture by deceit an “its all about family” and “I’m the victim here” perception.

“I’m not sorry at all. Problem?”

Just as his double-dipping scandal was dying down leaving English all alone to lick his wounds, a beacon of hope miraculously appeared. Seemingly out of nowhere, TVNZ popped up with the idea to produce a documentary series on its TVNZ 7 channel all about demystifying the economy. What a piece of luck. A chance to re-engineer his public perception by selling his neoliberal agenda to the nation! And, even better, the segment designed for him will be called “Plain English”. How neat is that?

Well, not neat at all. Its deeply flawed and highly unethical.

The byzantine ins and outs of this slice of crazy from TVNZ is a whole other spectacular display of English’s underlying contempt for Parliament and the public. Lies were stacked upon lies, public funds were misused and wasted while the audience was left spell bound by the magical morphing of a public-owned broadcaster into the marketing department for neoliberal ideology. And English just loved it. He was the star. Over the course of a couple of weeks, his happy smiley face spouted a 30-second promo on TVNZ channels 65 times. Complete with enthusiastic platitudes calling for all New Zealanders to pitch in and help him bring deliverance from the financial crash, the promo amounted to a publicly funded advertising campaign just for him.  A month later, TVNZ admited the whole pantomime was a serious misjudgment on its part but, by then, the rehabilitation of the “Bill – Blokey But Beneficent and Brainy” brand was well underway.

And so ended Bill English’s first year as Finance Minister. Since then, he’s largely kept his head below the parapet but the lies and unethical behaviour never stopped. He was caught out lying publicly after signing the supah sekrit executive order used to try and keep the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom under wraps. Most of his lies now are the half-truths and magik-thinking sprinkled liberally throughout the policy underpinning the economy. The national accounts and annual budgets are largely works of fiction serving more to promote himself and National Ltd™ than to inform New Zealanders. Billions of dollars are missing from everyone’s retirement savings, more billions which would have come in were it not for privatisation have been lost from the public purse,  the social investment scam is reducing humans to commodities, the right to privacy has been killed in order to feed corporations profitable data, public housing has been rebranded “social housing” and thrown over to under-resourced communities to provide for themselves, education has been reduced from the status of a human right to a business opportunity, same with health, our primary industries are committing slow-motion suicide as they poison the environment which sustains them, the government agencies designed to protect us from all manner of threats barely function, the rest of the public service is a playground for largely idle but “ideologically sound” consultants, the rich have got richer, the poor have got poorer, and there is no budget surplus, just the fabricated “perception” that it exists. And we have this state of affairs because John Key and now English along with the rest of the National Ltd™ crew have been lying to us every day for the past nine years.

So why is it that the MSM is telling us English’s latest fit of lies is somehow out of character or something of a surprise? Heather du Plessis-Allan writing in the New Zealand Fox News Herald tells us . . .

“English came into the job of Prime Minister seven months ago looking squeaky clean. Even hardcore lefties warmed to him a little. He seemed progressive. He believed in policies to help the most disadvantaged. He alone spoke out against the Dirty Politics behaviour when everyone else ducked and ran during that crisis.”.

. . . bullshit. English has never looked squeaky clean, he’s always been dodgy and thuggish. No hardcore leftie I know thinks otherwise and we all know full well what English is really up to. It ain’t progressive, its oppressive. He had nothing to say about John Key’s direct, hands-on involvement with Dirty Politics and never made a statement to the police about it. His total contribution amounted to muttering  “pooh-pooh take it away”.  Hardly meritorious.

Audrey Young, also in the New Zealand Fox News Herald and someone who should know better would like her readers to think . . .

“But English’s fall from grace is much higher because over many years he has earned himself a reputation as the conscience of the party. It was mainly through his devotion to the social policy issues but the flow-on effect has been that he has been regarded as a man of substance and principle. Voters have been weighing up whether to give the once-failed leader a second chance. But now Ethical Bill looks a whole lot less ethical.”

. . . Ethical Bill, ORLY? FFS. The idea that English has “fallen from grace” carries the implicit assumption that he was in a state of grace to begin with. He never was. His “devotion to social policy issues” is nothing of the sort. Its more of a blind devotion to the imaginary Invisible Hand which will cradle us all if only we leave The Market to do its job. You know, like, there are so many homeless New Zealanders only because of an accumulated present time imbalance in the supply and demand dynamic actioned to self correct when market variables deliver stakeholder incentives. Yadda yadda yadda. The sort of principles espoused by English are that poor and hungry children scamper off to school without raincoats in winter because their parents made bad choices. But, hey, as the governors of society, we can deliver those vulnerable kids to The Market as an additional vector for the transfer of wealth from the state to the corporations. Wottaguy.

That’s just two easy-to-gather examples. Yet, this meme that the principled man of substance, Bill English, has only recently and only by a coincidental connection to Southland become embroiled in Barclay issue is all over the place. And its a lie. So far, “Ethical Bill” has lied by omission every day for year since Barclay told him he had recorded a staff member. He lied when he said he couldn’t recall who told him there had been a recording. He lied to Parliament and to New Zealand when he said he had reported the matter to the police. He lied by omission to the police by deliberately not mentioning Barclay’s offer to play the recorded conversations. He lied when he said no one realised Barclay had committed a crime. More lies will be exposed as we go on. The Board of National Ltd™ is now being exposed.

Heather du Plessis-Allan is correct in her contention that the rot in National Ltd™ goes right to the top. The rot has become its defining feature. It can be observed every where, from the bully-boy grunt MPs like Shane Reti, cabinet member oiks like Simon Bridges, up past senior thugs like Gerry Brownlee, through English, up to Peter Goodfellow, and out into the public membership. Among that latter group are individuals happy to express more concern about having to select another candidate for Southland than for the well-being and delivery of justice to an emotionally brutalised servant of their party who dared speak truth to power.

It doesn’t matter which National Ltd™ Minister is asked the question posed by Pete Hodgson about upholding the highest ethical standards because the answer will always be “yes” and it will always be a lie. That’s because National Ltd™ really is rotten to the core. The only sure fix is to dismantle the whole thing, burn all its structures, and salt the earth upon which they stood.

 

 

 

25 comments on “National Ltd™ – Rotten To The Core From Top To Bottom ”

  1. Sabine 1

    bravo

    claps hands

    bravo

    the day this guy disappears to retire into a convent for massive repentance and seeking of forgiveness for greed, false testimony, taking from the poor to give to the rich and such will be a good day indeed.

  2. Keith 2

    Did the filthy rich Peter Goodfellow become the Prez because he felt an overwhelming need to give back to the community?

    Or did the filthy rich Peter Goodfellow become the Prez because he and many other excessively wealthy men like him concluded the National Party was the perfect vehicle to further enhance their wealth?

    His – I couldn’t give a flying shit about Toddy – when all and sundry salt of the earth Nats in English’s old seat were truly worried about where this arsehole was leading them, seems to be indicative of the latter.

  3. Cinny 3

    Excellent and informative post.

    Keith, having worked for excessively rich men in our fishing industry, I strongly agree with these words of yours..

    Or did the filthy rich Peter Goodfellow become the Prez because he and many other excessively wealthy men like him concluded the National Party was the perfect vehicle to further enhance their wealth?

  4. Ad 4

    This scale of ethics “gotcha” is not going to change the vote one bit.’
    Sure won’t change anything in Southland.

    This party – and this government – have made one notable political mistake in an entire term. That’s better than any leftie government since Nordmeyer.

    Even if the Police really do charge the hapless MP for Southland, there will be a new candidate, so it doesn’t stick to the Nats much.

    Who know maybe it will shave off a percentage point or two.

    Otherwise this whole episode is only notable to politicos and the media.

    • greywarshark 4.1

      Thanks Ad – we need to bring things into perspective and view it dispassionately after giving it some passionate comment about principles, fair behaviour and practice.
      Onwards with the fight out of the bog, it can just drag us down if we don’t be cool and careful.

    • Andre 4.2

      Couple of counterpoints: Bill’s been doing a lot of looking like a shifty billshitter on national tv over this. For a part of the electorate, confidence in the person matters a lot more than policies, so if the solid, honest facade cracks it will put off those people.

      Second, the heart of the deBarclay is a shit boss doing shitty things to an employee, then the shit boss getting backed up by his bosses in hanging out the employee and the whole load of crap swept under the rug. That’s a pretty relatable experience for most people, and it doesn’t make for happy memories.

      So it’s qualitatively different on a personal level that most kinds of political misconduct.

      • Ad 4.2.1

        Bill English is doing a far worse job of handling this than John Key.
        And I agree with you on the confidence point.

        He is a qualitatively weaker political manager – but it’s not in the Theresa May scale.

        • Andre 4.2.1.1

          “but it’s not in the Theresa May scale.”

          Yet.

          May was looking pretty solid until the campaign started in earnest. Fingers crossed for a bigger meltdown than May’s.

  5. Bearded Git 5

    Brilliant post-thank you BLIP.

    Now how, in the next 3 months, do we get this across to the people who have been fooled by the TVNZ propaganda?

  6. Kevin 6

    +1 Blip.

    Love your work.

  7. patricia bremner 7

    Oh come on Ad. If they charge the candidate from Southland, then they have to look at John Bill Peter and Glenda, in my imo.
    4% would bring this unholy web down.
    Dirty Politics has become Filthy Politics.
    Most people look at how Bill treated someone who worked for him for 17 years!!
    Did he support her?
    Did he Hell!!
    He followed the money? Phillip Morris? We suspect “influence” by big money.
    After all, enough is not what it’s about!!
    More is better, and blow the truth.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      If they charge the candidate from Southland, then they have to look at John Bill Peter and Glenda, in my imo.

      That shouldn’t be an if but a when.

  8. greywarshark 8

    Excerpts that struck me from Blip’s thorough forensic survey of Bill Engligh. A run-through and summation of our indignant response to the way that NZ has and is till being rorted, rogered and raped. My strong adjectives come after watching NZ politicians at play for 30 years, the sort of people who use the term ‘game players’ for real life activity.

    Publicly, Bill English had been softening up the country for a period of stringent economic austerity while, privately, he’d set about obtaining as much public funds as he could lay his tiny grubby hands on. …

    Where English came a cropper, though, is in the clause that Cabinet Ministers must “be seen” to be upholding the highest ethical standards. Most New Zealander could see immediately English was not upholding even a semblance of actual ethical standards. He wasn’t even trying….

    … English never had sufficient support from National Ltd™’s main shareholders. Within that milieu, English was considered to have committed the unforgivable sin of having been caught, which is more serious than any actual crime….

    Eventually, the Auditor General whipped up a quick report which ostensibly gave Parliament and The Speaker a sharp poke in the eye about the sloppy state of the rules concerning allowances and expenses. Hidden in the report, though, was an indication that English may not actually have been fully entitled to the Ministerial housing allowance after all. …

    English was found by the OAG to have had an interest in the trust from which his wife’s house was rented. In the end, English had to give some of the money back and, finally, admit that he didn’t live in Dipton…..

    The housing allowance kerfuffle left English a tad battered and bruised but entirely unrepentant. As a man imbued with National Ltd™ ethics, it was obvious to him that he had done nothing wrong…. Of course, the opposite was true. English was attempting a fiddle and it was him who was attempting to create a perception that there only ever was a “perception”, nothing real….

    … Seemingly out of nowhere, TVNZ popped up with the idea to produce a documentary series on its TVNZ 7 channel all about demystifying the economy. What a piece of luck. A chance to re-engineer his public perception by selling his neoliberal agenda to the nation!…

    And English just loved it. He was the star. Over the course of a couple of weeks, his happy smiley face spouted a 30-second promo on TVNZ channels 65 times. Complete with enthusiastic platitudes calling for all New Zealanders to pitch in and help him bring deliverance from the financial crash, the promo amounted to a publicly funded advertising campaign just for him…

    Most of his lies now are the half-truths and magik-thinking sprinkled liberally throughout the policy underpinning the economy. The national accounts and annual budgets are largely works of fiction serving more to promote himself and National Ltd™ than to inform New Zealanders.

    Billions of dollars are missing from everyone’s retirement savings,
    more billions which would have come in were it not for privatisation have been lost from the public purse,
    the social investment scam is reducing humans to commodities,
    the right to privacy has been killed in order to feed corporations profitable data, public housing has been rebranded “social housing” and thrown over to under-resourced communities to provide for themselves,
    education has been reduced from the status of a human right to a business opportunity,
    same with health,
    our primary industries are committing slow-motion suicide as they poison the environment which sustains them,
    the government agencies designed to protect us from all manner of threats barely function,
    the rest of the public service is a playground for largely idle but “ideologically sound” consultants,
    the rich have got richer, the poor have got poorer, and
    there is no budget surplus, just the fabricated “perception” that it exists….

    More lies will be exposed as we go on. The Board of National Ltd™ is now being exposed…. That’s because National Ltd™ really is rotten to the core. The only sure fix is to dismantle the whole thing, burn all its structures, and salt the earth upon which they stood.

    That seems a relevant suggestion.
    Understanding what game playing in politics is, and that it is going on is helpful for the bemused voter and citizen.

    Psychological attitudes and knowing how to ‘play’ with citizens minds is a useful tool for politicians and their connections.
    (Psychologist Oliver James identifies the dark triadic personality traits (psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism) to be of central significance in understanding office politics. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workplace_politics)

    Definition of game playing is here from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/literature-and-arts/performing-arts/film-and-television/rules-game
    (“Rules of the game” are, therefore, essentially normative and procedural. The concept is rarely used to refer to formal or written rules—statutes, constitutions, court decisions, and the like—but usually refers to informal or unwritten rules, attitudes, and expectations.)

  9. Anne 9

    Thank-you BLIP for returning to TS and giving us the benefit of one of your marvellously erudite analysis. You have been sorely missed.

  10. dukeofurl 10

    Add to the deceit by Bill English is the deception over his pretending to be a “Southland farmer’ when all along he was a Wellington treasury bureaucrat. [ A falsehood that was repeated by TVNZ on their news Sunday night of the conference]

    For goodness sake, he grew up on a farm ( as did Helen Clark) but he left to go to boarding school in Wellinton and from there to Otago and Victoria, where his majors were medieval english and economics. Not even a degree in anything related to farming as of course he had no intention of having the farming life.

    With something like 11 or 12 brothers and sisters and a modest sheep farm in Dipton that really meant it was going to support only one sibling. That was Hamish, a brother who did stay on the farm and eventually took over ( as one of his sons has taken it on now and the change over to dairying)

    • Tamati Tautuhi 10.1

      The guy hasn’t really had any real world experience apart from the closet at the Reserve Bank and the Beehive to be honest ?

    • Stuart Munro 10.2

      Above all an ineffectual treasury bureaucrat – the kind of non-performing wonk that triggers rumours of inbreeding.

      Take away his migrants and his faked or ungathered stats and what’s left really is worse than anyone off the street could do.

  11. mosa 11

    Blip thank you for your analysis and it presents a very clear picture of the MSM and its claim that English was somehow ” whiter than white ” and a ” straight down the middle ” type of guy to start with a total fabrication.

    But that is how he is being ” marketed ” to the population at large since this ” attack on his credibility ” began with even ex Labour people ( if they were ever Labour in the first place ) saying how ” how honest he was ” says a lot.

    They are just as complicit as the whole corrupt system that keeps the National party in office.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 11.1

      Bill and John are proteges of the Rothschilds and the face of Globalisation and the New World Order.

      Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson had/have close ties with the Monte Perelin Society and John Key is closely aligned with the Bilderberg Group of which Peter Thiel is a member.

      New Zealand since the 1980’s has been directed and controlled from outside of New Zealand, once we lost control of our Banks and key strategic financial assets we have been under the influence of offshore bankers and lenders like the IMF.

      Our economic direction is built around immigration, finance and property, new world economic thinking. We are following directives from our Offshore Bankers and the IMF.

      Gone are the days of economic export productivity, manufacturing and full employment supporting a healthy caring community, today’s society is focused on speculative housing markets, high finance, high immigration and offshore manufacturing in the sweatshops of Asia.

  12. Ross 12

    Some people have short memories when it suits them, hence HDPA’s comments.

    Even now the Herald are telling us that “Many will be as surprised as Barclay probably was to discover it is illegal to make hidden recordings of conversations in your own office unless you are a party to the conversation.”

    The Herald apparently never covered the Teapot scandal.

    If Barclay had told the truth from the get-go, he might still have a political career. It was the cover-up which sealed his fate and it should seal English’s too.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11882231

  13. Korero Pono 13

    Excellent piece of writing. It is a nice change to see the Natz getting the honest exposure they deserve.

  14. Neil 14

    #nzheraldwherebalancedjournalismgoestodie
    #nzheraldholdingtheoppositiontoaccountsince2008
    #Billshut

  15. Gaey Morris. 15

    You mention MPshane Reti as being a bully boy. I would love to know why? Any examples?

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