- Date published:
9:27 am, May 16th, 2017 - 37 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, national, same old national - Tags: alfred ngaro, bullies, bully state, dirty politics, list, national, stifling dissent
Nat MP Alfred Ngaro is copping it in the media for threatening to withdraw funding from people critical of National. Steven Joyce tried to explain that “It’s not the way the government operates…”. Oh but it is. It always has been. National has a long history of attacking, intimidating, and trying to silence critical voices and facts.
Key set the tone in early 2008 with his attempt to get a Herald journalist sacked. This led to the unprecedented response of Herald journalists writing a letter of protest over Key’s political interference.
Soon after Bill English disgraced himself, lashing out at those covering the story of his double-dipping:
Radio New Zealand’s political editor reports that Mr English rang journalists from TVNZ and TV3 on Wednesday night and abused them about their coverage of the issue.
English shouldn’t get a cent
He needs to drop the bitter and nasty attacks on the media. His language in private is unbecoming and unprofessional. He’s on $276,000 and he has a job to do. Get on with it Bill, but do the right thing, and stop trying to muscle up behind the scenes – it’s getting you nowhere.
Bennett won’t rule out releasing beneficiary details
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is not ruling out revealing private details of beneficiaries in the future. It follows the Human Rights Commission telling Bennett that she breached the privacy of Natasha Fuller when she disclosed details of the solo mother’s benefit to media.
Gerry Brownlee is an embarrassment of bullying riches, attacking Geonet scientists, fire fighters and Civil Defence in Christchurch, Kaikoura quake victims, an annoying CEO, and folk he just doesn’t like the look of (did I miss anyone?). But let’s not forget Nick Smith:
Fish and Game accuse Nick Smith of bullying
Conservation Minister Nick Smith is considering legal action against claims he bullied Fish and Game into ending its campaign for clean rivers and lakes.
The Northland by election brought us this gem:
Dusty road group claim bullying
Whangarei dairy farmer Alex Wright said Whangarei National MP Shane Reti rang her last week and told her the Pipiwai advocacy group should keep quiet for the next two and a half weeks – or risk getting nothing. …
Nats: Roads in doubt if Winston wins
John Key is warning voters there is no “free lunch” in the Northland by-election, as National claims major roads and free-trade deals will be in doubt if Winston Peters wins. … “If the people of Northland want the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway extension, which is vital to open up Northland to our biggest market . . . if we want that, there’s only one choice, and that’s to vote for me,” Osborne said. If he lost the by-election there was a “real risk” the road might not go ahead.
Ex-govt lawyer’s ‘bury bad news’ claim
A former high-ranking Customs lawyer says he resigned from his job after allegedly being told to bury information that could embarrass the Government.
Curtis Gregorash said he was told by senior Customs executives to refuse Official Information Act and Privacy Act requests, which he believed was at the direction of former Customs Minister Maurice Williamson.
It comes at a time the Prime Minister’s office is under inquiry over the release of intelligence material through the OIA and accusations that former Justice Minister Judith Collins was manipulating OIA responses for political purposes.
That includes the Problem Gambling Foundation:
[Tau Henare:] but why should Govt pay a group to be critical of it? Pay them to help but don’t pay them to bag the hand that feeds them.
It includes those working on rape prevention:
Rape prevention group ‘told not to speak out’
The departing head of a rape prevention group says she was told its funding was at risk if she continued to speak out against Government policy.
Rape Prevention Education executive director Dr Kim McGregor said the comment came in a phone call from a public servant and she was shocked by it.
“I had a phonecall when I was at RPE and our funding was threatened because we were being advocates, we were speaking out against Government and that was quite shocking to me at the time.”
But Prime Minister John Key has hit back, saying the commission’s report is a poor piece of work that was submitted late, and it needed to do better if it was to continue to receive taxpayer funding.
And who could forget National’s finest hour?
Tea tape: Here come the police
Police are expected to descend on media organisations today in pursuit of material related to the “teapot tape”, while Prime Minister John Key digs his heels in and stands by allegedly defamatory statements about cameraman Bradley Ambrose.
Did I say finest hour? I forgot Dirty Politics. (And just in passing: High Court finds police raid on Nicky Hager was illegal.)
I could go on (and on and on an on). But enough wandering down memory lane. If you don’t want to believe a ranting leftie blogger, try reporter Dita De Boni – Government by intimidation, or have a read of 2013 New Zealander of The Year Dame Anne Salmond who wrote (in 2015):
Erosion of democratic rights
Over the past decade or so, politicians seeking to uphold their own power have abused democratic freedoms in New Zealand. Journalists including Jon Stephenson (for reporting on New Zealand’s involvement in Afghanistan), Andrea Vance (over a suspected leak of a report about the GCSB spy agency), and Nicky Hager (for exposing scurrilous relationships between senior politicians and muck-raking bloggers) have been intimidated and attacked.
While our leaders do not shoot people, they work with others to try to ruin the lives and careers of those who disagree with them. The means may be different, but the intent is the same. One way or another, their critics (however valid their points of view might be) must be silenced.
It is not just outspoken individuals who are at risk. Institutions that are the bulwarks of our democracy have been undermined.
Since the 1980s, the civil service, which is supposed to offer informed, impartial advice to politicians, has been brought under ministerial control, and instead of serving civil society now largely serves its political masters.
The freedom of the press has been compromised, for instance in the wake of the teapot tape scandal, when newspaper offices were raided in an effort to prevent the publication of those recordings, or when improper pressure is brought to bear on journalists and media outlets for partisan political purposes.
The independence of the judiciary and the rule of law have been eroded by the passage of a stream of acts that breach the Bill of Rights; by removing legal protections from citizens for economic or fiscal gain (protesters at sea, and family caregivers for the disabled, for instance); and by setting up politically appointed panels to bypass the Environment Court, for example.
Independent statutory bodies are brought to heel if they criticise the Government, by threatening or removing their funding, or by cancelling their powers (such as the current attempts to bring the work of the Human Rights Commission under ministerial control, and to cancel the positions of the Equal Opportunities Commissioner and the Race Relations Conciliator).
Radical extensions of the powers of the SIS and the GCSB to intrude into the private lives of citizens are justified by arguing a need to defend New Zealanders against terrorist attacks, although these powers have been abused for political gain. …
In short, National has always used its power to threaten, intimidate and silence people who get in its way. Ngaro is just the latest example. He wasn’t an aberration, he’s completely typical. But the reaction against Nat bullying has been stronger this time. Interesting.