Oh look – even Peter Dunne is getting disgusted with Key’s arrogance:
Dunne sends ‘time-bomb warning’ to Key
Government support partner Peter Dunne has sent a “time bomb warning” to Prime Minister John Key, saying his “cut through” approach over the SkyCity convention centre and Hobbit law changes risks becoming “a major problem”.
In a blog this week, the United Future Leader wrote that the Government’s approach to business where it liked to “cut through quickly and resolve issues before they get too bogged down in red tape” was welcome “after years of stultification and wariness under successive previous governments”.
Dunne, being Dunne, has to suck up. Curse those previous governments for following the rules!
But the SkyCity convention centre deal and the deal done with Warner Bros over the Hobbit films showed “there is a danger that the cut through which has been one of the government’s hallmarks will become a major problem for it”.
Mr Dunne said that while the recent Auditor-General’s report on the SkyCity deal found no impropriety in the process followed by the Government, “it did play very fast and loose at times”. Similarly, with the Hobbit movies, “the Government’s enthusiasm for the movies being made here did get in the way of the facts from time to time as deals were struck to ensure the right outcome”.
“There is a time-bomb warning to the Government here,” said Mr Dunne.
In terms of appropriate government that bomb has already exploded. But it hasn’t significantly dented the Nats’ popularity yet…
“Support for the cut through approach will wither if it is seen to be a standard proxy for bending the rules or doing special deals to achieve the desired outcome. While the Government is not immediately vulnerable on this issue, the clock has started ticking. And it is worth remembering the adage, the ends do not justify the means.”
So what Dunne is saying is that Key’s tactics are acceptable, even “welcome”, as long as they remain popular, but he’s worried that they will become unpopular (i.e. cost them all their nice cosy arrangement at the next election). For Dunne, popularity is the final arbiter of what is acceptable. He’s wrong, and any cursory examination of history will find plenty of examples of popular governments doing terrible things.
Wrong is wrong, and even Dunne recognises that Key’s arrogant disregard for due process is wrong. He just needs to find the honesty to say so clearly, without equivocation. Popularity doesn’t make it OK.