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NRT on Brownlee’s lies and cronyism

Written By: - Date published: 6:13 pm, August 6th, 2011 - 55 comments
Categories: accountability, Gerry Brownlee, making shit up - Tags: , ,

Remember the fuss when Brownlee appointed Jenny Shipley and other cronies to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Review Panel at triple the normal pay rate?  Brownlee tried to justify it by saying that “it will not be possible to secure their services under the current fees range”.  Well, that was a lie, Brownlee never even asked them.  I/S at No Right Turn has the scoop – go read it there.

55 comments on “NRT on Brownlee’s lies and cronyism”

  1. Brownlee tried to justify it by saying that “it will not be possible to secure their services under the current fees range”. Well, that was a lie

    It wasn’t just a lie; it was a lie told to his fellow Minister Tony Ryall and to Cabinet when seeking approval for the higher than usual payments. Which puts it in a rather different (and far more serious) class of political sins.

    • Agreed IS.  This is not even close.  Not being able to obtain their services implies so heavily that Brownlee spoke to them.  But his letter confirms he had no discussions with the panel members.

      Obviously he is lying. 

  2. Phaedrus 2

    Of course Brownlie lied. This is par for the course for this government, from the top down. While all govts lie (or in Oliver North’s unforgettable phrase, are ‘economical with the truth’) this lot have taken it to a new level. Joyce has admitted as much in Parliament question time last year.
    They are getting away with it because the media prefer to focus on how ‘hot’ Key is viewed by NZ female voters. I also have my concerns about the degree of latitude the Speaker allows cabinet ministers to have, in order to dodge the hard questions. Yes, I know he asked the Minister of Finance to leave, but that was for a procedural reason, not because of any other impropriety.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Brownlee was merely trying to score a few extra dollars for his personal friends and long time mates of the National Party IMO.

    Any other Government Minister would do the same, I reckon. And why not, its a tough world out there, I don’t have any problem with rich and influential people helping themselves and helping each another out.

    Isn’t this what it is about? Collectivism and socialism? I thought a post on The Standard would have recognised this more than most anywhere else.

    Plus we have to remember that with the cost of living going up, inflation, and petrol the way it is, $1000/day is not the princely sum it once was. Really barely enough to cover expenses.

    And given the star quality of Shipely et al, they would have been cheap at twice the price.

    Come on NZ, recognise when you are getting fair value for money eh?

    • Anne 3.1

      Since CV has responded so eloquently on their behalf, is it possible we will enjoy RWNJ troll-free comments on this post? Is it possible? 😉

      • Joe Bloggs 3.1.1

        Nup, anything’s possible these days! 😀

        tell me where Brownlee categorically states that he discussed levels of remuneration with the proposed Review Panel members.

        All he appears to have done is used his judgement rather than presenting a compelling case – and that’s not a lie – poor judgement perhaps, but not a lie.

        • bbfloyd

          blo joe…. now that’s classic naivete,, don’t you have the wit to recognise duplicity when you see it? or is accepting the reality of brownlee’s dishonesty and incompetence out of your depth?

          • Blue

            Oh the irony, the darlings of the left and Goff, accusing someone else of lying, hilarious. Maybe Gerry “didn’t read the papers” or briefly “flicked” past the issue or wasn’t shown the ‘detail’, but surely a lie is a long bow to draw, isn’t it? Funny stuff. So tell me – clearly Goff lied about he briefing papers, why didn’t you tear into him? Ah I know because he’s a bumbling fool, oblivious of the daily damage he inflicts upon his cause.

            • felix

              Clearly lied how?

              If you’re talking about the redacted papers, they don’t show what you think they do. If you like I’ll go through them line by line with you.

              We’ll start wherever you say and try to figure out exactly what can be known for certain from each and every word of what we’ve been allowed to see of the docs.

              Quote me the most damning thing you can see in the redacted documents and we’ll get underway.

  4. jackal 4

    On the back of one of the worst recessions New Zealand has ever seen no less. Not only is this a blatant abuse of the guidelines by Gerry Brownlee, he has lied to achieve what is essentially a con. It’s not as if Jenny Shipley actually needs the overinflated remuneration package awarded by fellow crony Gerry Brownlee. This is outright greed and such abuse of power is unacceptable! Time for Gerry Brownlee to resign.

    • Bill 4.1

      Correct me if I’m wrong. But doesn’t CERA mean that he is protected and unaccountable and must only make up an excuse connected with the recovery to have the right to do as he likes?

      • jackal 4.1.1

        Brownlee has already used the excuse that they would not work for less, which as it turns out was a complete lie. I would be interested to see any legislation that allows a “representative” to lie?

  5. RedLogix 5

    There’s a bit of a trap in this one. While $1000/day sounds like a lot to most wage and salary earners… and it does to me…. at the same time it’s not so very far removed from the total internal charge out rate for most professional or senior technical people these days. There is a huge difference between my own take-home pay, and my total internal cost to the organisation I work for.

    Certainly if you contract a professional engineer you’d be paying much the same… or more.

    I’m not defending Brownlee lying to cover his capacious butt here, but I’d be cautious around waxing too lyrical on the amount involved.

    • Gina 5.1

      As I recall Jenny Shipley failed School cert. She’s not really anything like an engineer or any other type of educated professional who has earned a right to charge reasonable fees. With the leaky homes disaster on her watch her inability to gain the most basic educational qualifications says it all about her capabities and her right to claim big fees.

      • Mac1 5.1.1

        Gina, Shipley trained as a primary school teacher and taught for some five years. I don’t hold a candle for Shipley as a politician but facts are important. I know she was a teacher because her National Party used to accuse the Labour Party of being run by teachers and I always appreciated that irony. I sometimes wonder what she would have thought of National Standards.

        • Vicky32

          Gina, Shipley trained as a primary school teacher and taught for some five years

          Wasn’t she a kindy teacher? Or so I always thought… I remember the SST years ago, having a biographical article about her (can’t remember if it was before or after her ‘reign’), in which the reporter quoted (an anonymous) colleague of hers, as saying she was known as not all that bright…

    • Lanthanide 5.2

      My ex was contracted out at $150/hr or $1000/day.

      • davidc 5.2.1

        $1000 a day is about what a decent plumber makes.
        Its really fu*k all.

        A reasonable lawyer, planner, engineer closer to $2K. If those profesionals live in the big smokes of Auck/Wellywood you can double that. Or more.

        • Tigger

          It ain’t about the rate, it’s the lie.

        • Puddleglum

          Slight difference – when you employe a plumber, lawyer or professional engineer, you are actually employing a firm (with all its associated overheads) or sole trader (with their own commercial operating expenses to cover).

          As far as I’m aware the $1000 per day is going to individual persons for their labour (even if that labour is ‘skilled’). Gerry could just as easily have hired me (if he had only thought about it a bit more :)) and, I can tell you, it would have been pure personal income with nothing special to ‘cover’ by way of expenses (I imagine they get travel expenses, lunches, etc. provided anyway). I’d also like to know how long these ‘days’ are meant to be.

          On the more substantive point, If Brownlee stated that it would not be possible to have the services of these persons at the normal rate without having consulted them he, in effect, was acting as their employment and remuneration advocate. As a crown Minister, I don’t think that’s part of his role.

          Further, if he is in the habit of making off the cuff judgments based on absolutely no evidence or knowledge it surely must be time for the Prime Minister to reconsider his role in Cabinet? Even the term ‘judgment’ is inappropriate here, as that term indicates that some evidence is being assessed, yet Brownlee had no direct evidence concerning the very issue he claims that he was making a judgment about – i.e., whether or not these specific individuals’ services could be gained for the usual rate.

          Then again, I might be being unfair. Perhaps his ‘judgments’ are based on psychic intuitions?

          Edit: And, given the reaction of the Chair, it seems his intuitions may well have failed him in this case. Brownlee obviously got his agreement without either of them raising the question of remuneration – as laudable as it is remarkable.

          • davidc

            But even the most basic of contractors overheads cover sick pay (10 days), ACC (4%) and holidays (20 days) and then there is a phone, internet, a computer,a office, insurances etc etc so at $1000 a day assuming they have a contract for even 85%of the year (which is unlikley) would get them about what a one man band plumber gets that charges $70 a hour and some margin on material.

        • bbfloyd

          “$1000 a day is what a decent plumber makes” … what a load of utter bullshit! which fairyland are you inhabiting?

          and don’t waste my time justifying your exaggerations, i deal with tradesmen and i know what they are making… and it’s nothing like that.

          • KJT

            Charge-out $55 to 85 an hour.

            Lets see.

            Actual chargeable time per day.
            4 to 8 hours.
            Average about 5.

            Vehicle running costs.
            50 to 100+ km per day.

            Tools. At least $300 a month.
            Cellphone. $600 a month would not be unusual.
            Vehicle standing costs.
            Sick time.
            Assistant/Gofer. His/hers holiday pay, sick time and other non work time.

            Building I had to charge $45/hour to make $18 on smaller jobs.

            Of course much better earnings on a big job as less down time.

            Plumbers have more down time and time going from job to job than builders.

            $1200 a week is more like it.

            Though a good plumber with his own firm can do well. As they should.

            • davidc

              “$1200 a week is more like it.”

              Yip that is what a pretty average plumber gets working on wages. Maybe a little lite but around there. $28/hr/44 hr week.

              Of course a decent tradesman in a higher end trade makes a lot more than that on wages. Someone that only charges out 5 hours a day isnt capable of organising a pissup in a brewery. Maybe they should get out of bed a bit earlier huh?

              Tools $3600 a year? are you thowing them away after each use? shit I still have gear that I brought in the first month of my time.

              • KJT


                Don’t you sharpen them. buy new blades, refill, service, replacements occasionally?

                Labourers/assistants who are careless with tools they do not own.
                Plumbers who pinch your good chisels and cut copper pipe with them.
                Tools which just walk, on big jobs.

                Don’t you have to travel between jobs, spend time quoting, doing accounts, chasing non-paying customers, doing warranty repairs on defective materials?

                When you think about the training and skill required it is a wonder tradesmen charge so little.

                When you see partly qualified assessors in Christchurch getting $700/day, failed politicians on $2000/day, with all their overheads and accommodation paid.
                Lawyers with less real skill and overheads on $200 for 15 minutes.

                I suspect you have never worked as a tradesman. Or not for very long if all your tools are still pristine!

          • davidc

            “i deal with tradesmen and i know what they are making… ”

            You may deal with tradesmen…but obviously not very good ones..

            • KJT

              Like most people who have never been in business you are confusing charge out rates with income.

              It is possible to make a good income in trades, but very few are anywhere near $2000/day.

              • davidc

                Well I owned my own company for 16 years .. I think I know the difference.

                “It is possible to make a good income in trades, but very few are anywhere near $2000/day.”

                I agree… but as I said… $1000 a day isnt that hard with a combination of charge out rate and margin.

                • felix

                  So what?

                  The point of your argument was to make it sound like $1000 a day was a fairly normal amount of money to earn. In fact fuck all, you said.

                  Which is plainly bullshit. Most people in NZ will never earn anything like that sort of daily rate in their lives.

                  Comparing it to the turnover of a small business isn’t exactly helping your case either btw.

                  • joe90

                    I agree… but as I said… $1000 a day isnt that hard with a combination of charge out rate and margin

                    $1000 a day is outright theft in my neck of the woods.where $45 +gst an hour is the going rate for a tradesman plumber.

                    The closest to $1000 a day would be an architectural draftsman at $120 +gst an hour.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    RWNJs think that the top 1% is the whole country anyway. Who else even counts?

                • bbfloyd

                  zap! there you go… you’ve just proved yourself a numynumb… charge out rates for ccontracting firms are generally 70%-100% above what the tradesman gets.. does that make sense? or do you need me to type slower?

                  how many plumbers do you know who aren’t employing their own workforce are making even close to 1k? do you see the subtle(?) distinction? good or not.. i personally know, and have worked with many good, and not so good plumbers(my bro in law has his own firm, with established customers) and NONE of them make more than half of 1k on a good day. to make more than 2k a week you have to be working on the top end jobs, and be doing long hours to boot…

                  you are seriously out of your depth….

                  • Colonial Viper

                    but…he says he owned his own company for 16 years…he can’t be wrong – can he? 🙂

                • KJT

                  I was building myself for 14. And I think you are bullshitting.

                  The only times I got over $600 a day was working 13 hours a day on a top end mansion on Waiheke and another job making a $150k wooden kitchen.

            • bbfloyd

              davey boy… you know shit… and the fact that you resort to assumption to justify your drivel only enhances the depth of your desperation to make excuses for liers and incompetents… give it up.

              • davidc

                Well before you start typing slowly maybe you should try actually reading the thread…

                Or not, as you wish, you could just keep spouting drivel.

                Enjoy your day.

                • Tigger

                  It’s. The. Lie.

                  Rates are bs. I charge more than that a day. Don’t let the righties distract from the issue.

                  Liar, liar Brownlee is a liar.

                  • davidc

                    “Official papers made public last month showed Mr Brownlee sought “exceptional” fees for the panel, above the usual range of $360-$655 a day for a chairman and $270-$415 for members.”

                    He suggested a rate of $1400 for the panel chairman, retired High Court judge Sir John Hansen, and $1000 for the other members, which State Services Minister Tony Ryall approved.

                    From Stuff just now.

                    I understand a High Court Judge has a salary above $350K/pa That is over $1500 per day of work, clear of expenses. Why would anyone expect them to work for $655 a day?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Why would anyone expect them to work for $655 a day?

                      Why would anyone expect ANY worker to work for $104 a day?

                      But National does.

                      Whatever you said above doesn’t changed the fact that Brownlee lied to the public.

                    • McFlock

                      Because they’re retired and might actually do such work for free. We won’t know, because Jerry never asked him. And Ryall approved it because Jerry said the guy was a mercenary and would only do it for twice the SSC rates.

                    • felix

                      Seems you’ve missed the lie.

                      It’s in the words “will not be possible”.

  6. ak 6

    Nah bullcrap. No wiggle room here. “It will not be possible…” doesn’t mean “I don’t think they’d do it for that – it means “I know they won’t do it for that. Which means I’ve asked them.

    It’s as crystal clear and inequivocal as one can get. He’d asked alright – or how in the hell would he know. Which means the latter utterings are LIES. Big, fat, woodwork teacher, pensioner-bashing-while-someone-else-holds-him, Lies.

    Massively bigger, and more blatant, than the alleged (and exonerated) Winnie “NO” lie.

    Massively bigger than sitting in the back of a speeding car or signing a painting for charity. Or trying to stop big money from buying elections.

    Will we see a red front page, Lenin/Brownlee comparisons, a Brownlee media “gang rape” a la Winnie 05?

    Heh heh. As we all knew yesterday, the msm will ignore it.

    They own the crucial politically apathetic middle, brothers and sisters, because they own their sole source of opinion.

    Give ’em something they can’t ignore, or await the next generation.

  7. randal 7

    hey thats the kiwi way dude. all they need now is for jermey wells to do a doco on gerry’s toilet habits and pusha few boundaries. oops. gotta watchout for the moral highground police.

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    Bloody hell these NATs have no idea of “public service”. Looks like we tax payers serve them.

  9. Money for a Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Review Panel, but not for the families who need legal support for the CTV inquiry.

    • Pascal's bookie 9.1

      Are they mates of Brownlee’s, being employed to oversee his work? Shut up then.

      • Treetop 9.1.1

        I am not prepared to shut up when lives have been taken and the cause has not been established. To me the priority is establishing why the CTV building collasped after a 6.3 after shock.

  10. davidc 10

    Colonial Viper @ 6.51 pm $104 per day is wayyy overpaid. Your Mate KJT here only manages to pay himself $90 a day as a trade trained buider!

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Your Mate KJT here only manages to pay himself $90 a day as a trade trained buider!

      Meh that’s just the same rate as a lot of dairy farmers 🙂

    • KJT 10.2


      C – for reading comprehension.

      $600/day earnings, not chargout.

      No wonder why you are no longer in business.

      Mind you, research shows that right wingers are thicker!

      • davidc 10.2.1

        I am no longer in busness because I retired when I was 39.
        Why work? its not as tho I need more money.

  11. I am not prepared to shut up when lives have been taken and the cause has not been established. To me the priority is establishing why the CTV building collasped after a 6.3 after shock.

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