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Post-truth post-ethics

Written By: - Date published: 8:15 am, November 3rd, 2016 - 90 comments
Categories: accountability, Ethics, national - Tags: , , , , ,

It is popular lately to observe that we are living in a world of “post-truth” politics. In so many cases (and Donald Trump is the obvious example) the truth of what is said by politicians just doesn’t seem to matter at all. Gut affiliation / existing prejudice is much more important.

Less remarked on, but obviously an aspect of the same phenomena, is that we are also living “post-ethics”. Ethical behaviour, ethical standards, they don’t matter either.

That NZ is dangerously far along the road of post-truth post-ethics has been obvious since the limited electoral impact of the revelations Dirty Politics. The popularity of Key / National is eroding slowly, but was not as disinfected as it should have been by the sunlight shone on that particularly sordid swamp. Key is now on record as being “morally flexible” and a believer in “a wide definition of ethics”.

We can point out that Key repeatedly promised higher standards of ethics and competence from his government. We can point out that the Cabinet Manual says that “Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards”. It doesn’t matter enough.

The McCully / Sheepgate thing is just the latest example. McCully misappropriated taxpayer money and lied to cabinet, but Key has “total confidence” in him without (as usual) reading the report.

Water on a stone perhaps, another gradual erosion of support, but in a world where truth or ethical standards mattered this government would have ended long ago.

90 comments on “Post-truth post-ethics ”

  1. Penny Bright 1

    In my opinion, it’s is simply not possible to expect ethical leadership from NZ Prime Minister John Key, an ex-Wall Street banker, who is still a shareholder in the Bank of America.0

    NZ Prime Minister John Key, is a shareholder in the Bank of America, which is one of the banks financing the Dakota Access pipeline.

    So – how is PM John Key not personally ‘conflicted’ in his position of not wanting NZ to be involved in opposing the Dakota Access pipeline, from which he could arguably personally profit?


    But Prime Minister John Key said he did not think the issue was a matter for New Zealand.

    “You know this is a big pipeline, I just don’t know the details, whether there is a way around this issue, it’s really an issue for the US, isn’t it, in this case.”

    Of course – the FACT that NZ Prime Minister John Key is a shareholder in the Bank of America – which is one of the banks funding the Dakota Access Pipeline, would have no bearing on his above-mentioned position?


    “…A new investigation has revealed that more than two dozen major banks and financial institutions are helping finance the Dakota Access pipeline.

    The investigation was published by the research outlet LittleSis.

    It details how Bank of America, HSBC, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions have, combined, extended a $3.75 billion credit line to Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of Dakota Access.

    The evidence of NZ Prime Minister John Key’s shareholding in the Bank of America:


    ” ….Rt Hon John Key (National, Helensville)
2 Other companies and business entities
    Little Nell – property investment (Aspen, Colorado)

    Bank of America – banking

    * 8  Debtors
JP & BI Key Family Trust – trust loan* Bank of America – short-term deposit

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-privatisation / anti-corruption Public Watchdog’.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Water on a stone perhaps, another gradual erosion of support, but in a world where truth or ethical standards mattered this government would have ended long ago.

    In a world where truth and ethics mattered this entire government would have been in jail within their first year.

    We need to make it so that that can actually happen.

    • Richard Rawshark 2.1


    • Puckish Rogue 2.2

      No, in years to come the general consensus of John Keys term in power (2008 – 2018 approx.) will be one of a successful government

      • tc 2.2.1

        If you define success as selling out (assets, laws, privacy, soverignty) and throttling areas such as health, education, environment, housing to name a few then yes national have been a raging success.

        However you are unlikely to be setting the success criteria, our kids and grandkids will and its unlikely to be positive.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.2

        Right now, UNICEF and other international agencies are telling a very different story.

      • Michelle 2.2.3

        actually Rogue key will go down in history as the PM that sold NZ down the toilet

        • Puckish Rogue

          Pretty sure that was said about Lange and Douglas first

          • Draco T Bastard

            Yes, and for the same reason that this government should have been in jail. They’ve sold out NZ which is, essentially, treason.

      • Stuart Munro 2.2.4


        A lazy, stupid, backward government that survived only through corruption, dirty tricks, and the Stasi-tactics of civil servants systematically betraying the country they are paid to defend.

        The wind blowing through the ruins will be Key’s monument.

        • Puckish Rogue

          I disagree, at the time when memories are fresh people dislike the current government as an example Muldoon were positively hated by a large majority of people, even mcphail and gadsby got into it big time

          Yet I’ve read more then a few positive comments on this site about the good Muldoon did for the country

          So I’m sure the same will happen for the Lange government, Clark government and yes even Keys government

          • Stuart Munro

            There is no turd so runny you wouldn’t put glitter on it.

            But you’ll have to swallow this one by yourself.

          • Psycho Milt

            Actually, Muldoon’s a good example. People today have forgotten how popular he was at the time, and how sycophantically he was treated by the media (even McPhail and Gadsby portrayed him as a perpetual winner, mopping the floor with feminists, unionists and Labour Party MPs). Among people who were around back then, very few are now willing to admit to having shared that view of him, let alone out themselves as enthusiastic members of “Rob’s mob.” Things will go similarly for Key.

            • Puckish Rogue

              Ok so I think you’ve got that wrong because at the end Muldoon was reviled if not out right hated

              Think big riding over peoples concerns, Springbok tour, “polish shipyard” etc etc

              These things made him deeply unpopular for many, many years but now people are looking back at his reign with a certain fondness

              • adam

                Relax Puckish, we get you support selfishness over goodness, and that you don’t, or can’t comprehended what is good.

            • Outdoor

              What planet were you on? Muldoon survived by treating the voters like mushrooms but was almost universally unpopular at his departure in my part of the country.

          • McFlock

            Muldoon was definitely polarising, but many of his economic policies were old-school conservative. His economic policies have more in common with stuff folks like DTB put up than with anything Key discusses, that’s why those policies are spoken fondly of here.

            Back when I knew some policy mandarins, they spoke of a world bank report that calculated NZ would have been better off economically if it had kept many of the policies of Muldoon rather than the denationalisation/free trade policies of Lab4 and later. He was an authoritarian jerk, but his policy of infrastructure investment was bang on.

            • Draco T Bastard

              His economic policies have more in common with stuff folks like DTB put up than with anything Key discusses, that’s why those policies are spoken fondly of here.

              Muldoon was Keynesian through and through.

              He was an authoritarian jerk, but his policy of infrastructure investment was bang on.

              Yep. The only real problem with Think Big was that it was funded with offshore borrowing rather than the government simply printing money.

              Both ways end up with huge amounts of printed money but only one way ends up with the private banks charging us interest to use our own resources.

      • Richard Rawshark 2.2.5

        Really? I don’t think so. But you are entitled to your opinion no doubt, for some they have been awesome. But those on the awesome side I hope will admit, it’s been a complete fucktard to others.

        • Puckish Rogue

          Sure, just like Muldoons, Langes and Clarks was as well but now people are starting to view them in a more positive light

          I think its human nature to look back and “forget” the negative and remember the positive

          For example its great for one parent (mom of course) to stay at home and look after the kids…just don’t ask about the use of “Mothers Little Helper” to help her get through the day

          • Robert Guyton

            Pucky subscribes to the “forget the negative” credo.

            Big surprise. The amount of “forgetting” he’s had to do over the past half-dozen years is substantial, to say the least. Already, he’s forgotten about the Saudi sheep scandal, and scandal it is. Key’s a great “forgetter” too. BOAFFT.

            • Puckish Rogue

              I do think people tend to look back at the past with rose coloured glasses and its not for the best

              The good old days for example when the sun was always shining (not in Dunedin it wasn’t), everyone drank free milk (forgetting the milk that had been left out in the sun for hours), domestic violence was unheard of (mind you the amount of women that walked into doors was a bit of a worry), maori knew their place and didn’t complain etc etc

              The good old days weren’t always good and tomorrow aint as bad as it seems

          • Stuart Munro

            Muldoon for all his vindictive autocracy was not a traitor, and actually gave a shit about New Zealand. His Think Big schemes were intended to grow the economy – not destroy it like the current government’s enthusiasm for property speculation and tax evasion. The MRP scheme was one of many designed to control cost of living inflation – something that went out the window in NZ with Rogergnomics.

            Equating the systematic looting of public assets by Key with Muldoon is a false equivalence. I guess ‘Labour did it too’ has been shown to have worn out in the polls.

            But we won’t wear this rubbish. The Key mafia must be held accountable for their failures and crimes. Prison for McCully. Prison for Ryall for blinding our people. Prison for Key for giving public money to Hillary Clinton. Prison for Joyce for the Mediaworks graft. Prison for Brownlee for CERA corruption.

            Countries ruled by kleptocracies NEVER prosper. It’s time to clean house.

            • Puckish Rogue

              But we won’t wear this rubbish. The Key mafia must be held accountable for their failures and crimes. Prison for McCully. Prison for Ryall for blinding our people. Prison for Key for giving public money to Hillary Clinton. Prison for Joyce for the Mediaworks graft. Prison for Brownlee for CERA corruption


              • Richard Rawshark

                In as much as you think people will latert adore him, I think it will come to pass that in his old age he spends it in jail for past crimes.., Just saying.. times change can go either way.

                All I can say is he’d better hope Hawai has no extradition treaty, oh they do, diddums.

                • Puckish Rogue


                  Do you really believe that at some point in time John Key will go on trail for…*insert any imagined crime here*…and will go to prison?

                  Wow…just wow

                  • Richard Rawshark

                    Oh yes I do, re-xamination of the dotcom extradition case alone should see to that mate. forked is our Key, then we can examine Hollywood union deals, SFC. Rio Tinto.. oh on and on you see PR.

                    I expect a freaking james webb telesciope to gazing right up his arse when he’s gone from that seat. 1 deleted file..death penalty..

                    Like Trump is gunning for Hillary, Labour should examine Key and make no excuses about it.

                    Unlike the UK where Blair gets ignored, I expect more form in NZ.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      Ok I’m going to quietly step away from this thread

                    • Chuck

                      “Labour should examine Key and make no excuses about it.”

                      Richard that is what Labour has been doing for the last 8 years! pinning all hope on finding that “smoking gun” to propel them back onto the Government bench’s.

                      Problem is there is no “smoking gun”.

                      BTW: The only person that will do any time will be Dotcom himself. I trust you are just trying to wind up PR?

                  • Richard Rawshark

                    *insert any imagined crime here*…

                    IDNK try, treason.

                    When you grant laws for a country against the people of your own country. pretty sure that’s a form of treason.

                    Sending information on a NZ citizen (dotcom) to the FBI, could be treason that’s why I think he’s got some serious integrity questions to answer if not treason what when you aid and abet another country PR?. To the detriment of your citizens..TPP?

  3. save nz 3

    Oh well I’m sure Key will be remembered like Blair, 1.0 of post truth politics…. only Key will be tax havens and asset stripping government assets for cronies… Blair is now war crimes and overseeing the decline of a nation and political party. Funny how so called popularity and public opinion can change over time. There is always a delay in most people’s perceptions.

    Blair’s ‘psychological dominance’ key in UK entering Iraq war, says Chilcot
    Author of devastating report on war tells MPs that cabinet did not dare to challenge PM in run-up to 2003 invasion


    Key is lying about not sending more troops

  4. Penny Bright 4

    New Zealand, in my opinion, desperately needs a genuinely Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-privatisation / anti-corruption Public Watchdog’.

  5. Michelle 5

    Agree with Penny but it wont happen under the current government

  6. Muttonbird 6

    Post-regulation = ambiguous rules meaning the ability for the powerful to proceed with their agenda regardless of the needs of the less powerful. When there is criticism they move to damage control while retaining the same ambiguity and contestability of law.

    You see it at many levels – “I’m just going to do this, and we’ll see what happens.”

  7. greywarshark 7

    So Puckish Rogue defines the majority of comments here. Until the RW are limited in their access this blog will have its energy dissipated by their deliberate fatuous lies, and the answerers to them responding at a junior level or just a burst of irritation rather than discussion to the heart of the topic. Maybe people don’t want to think hard, about hard topics. I notice only 8 comments on the climate change report from the Morgan Foundation.

    I think we need to keep sharper on things that matter, not just pop in here for today’s slanging match as a habit. Looking up deceive on Google there are so many interesting words to describe this habitual behaviour we all indulge in, quite funny but they indicate real situations: bamboozle, do, sting, gyp, diddle, fiddle, swizzle

    I thought on reading in this post –
    “Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards”. It doesn’t matter enough.
    Doesn’t it say that Ministers should not bring government itself into disrepute!! There are laws or rules anyway about not bringing your sports team into disrepute, government is rather more important. Perhaps it should go further and say “Ministers should not bring democratic participatory government into disrepute”.

    Instructive perhaps, is the fact that Google shows only one meaning for lie – about physical situation of something. No alternative meaning for falsehood. Perhaps it is not recognised as a reality any more.

    • Well described, greywarshark. It’s very easy for a “diversion agent” such as Puckish Rogue to direct a thread, as all trolls know, and very hard to bring it back to a more productive line, as every frustrated “trolled -out” commenter here knows. The same methods used by politicians in the House or before the cameras work because they require substantial, genuine responses, rather than flippant, inflammatory ones. It’s too, too easy to troll, as any one who has indulged in the behaviour will know. You also allude to the willingness of commenters to “wrestle that pig”, covering themselves with … mud as a result, and that too is hard to counter – sometimes we are our own worst enemies. It has been interesting to read about Key/National’s use of the “dead cat” as a method of avoiding accountability. Many readers here discussed the use of the technique and I think awareness of it improved our responses whenever it was employed. What to do about the destabilizing effects of Pucky, BM, James et al? They’ll screech about banning and how we are intolerant of “alternate views” but that’s bullsh*t. It’s not their point of view we find distasteful, it’s their intentions in commenting here at all.

      • Pasupial 7.1.1

        I usually just scroll past the trolls. If they’re not actively breaking the rules of the site, then all genuine commenters have to do is be more interesting in what they have to say. That is not too difficult.

        • Robert Guyton

          Yes, Parsupial, that’s a good approach. Trolls though, are adept at inflammation and “catching the eye”. It’s much easier to grab attention with a provocative blurt than it is with a reasoned comment, but nevertheless, you are correct in what you say. Being “more interesting” than the trolls is the challenge.

        • greywarshark

          For goodness sake Pasupial stop being so mild mannered. The blog is something good – why should others have the opportunity to flood it with their insincere crap. Why should people wanting to seriously discuss matters in a concerned and thoughtful and enquiring way have to go round these twisters? If NZs don’t stop being so easy peasy we won’t have a country left. This attitude has prevailed so long, getting mixed with PC snottiness, which Robert knows about, that when confronted with serious problems the brains just cut out – overheated.

          Favourite quote : Our brains are not capable of comprehending the infinite so, instead, we ignore it and eat cheese on toast. Jonathan Cainer.

          True, but we can learn new ways, build muscle, and try can’t we, if we have the guts and determination? If…………..

      • Puckish Rogue 7.1.2

        I think you’ll find, if you go back over my comments, that I’ve always of the view that its a privilege not a right so whoever runs the blog can ban whoever they like because its their blog

    • Here we go, textbook trolling:

      Puckish Rogue 2.2
      3 November 2016 at 9:05 am
      “No, in years to come the general consensus of John Keys term in power (2008 – 2018 approx.) will be one of a successful government”

      It has everything; arrogant claim of knowledge of future events, a dismissive, “no” for the commenter prior, inflammatory jibe (2008 – 2018…) and choice of words that will irritate readers to whom this Left wing blog might seem a natural place to visit.
      Puckish Rogue, a troll? Without doubt.

      • Puckish Rogue 7.2.1

        No you are wrong in your assertion 🙂

        Its my sincere belief that National will be returned to power but that John Key won’t see out the whole term

        The whole point of what I’ve been saying is that people will look back at John Keys government and will say it was a successful government so there was really no other way I could have put it

        • Robert Guyton

          It may be your “sincere belief”, Pucky, but you are repeating it ad nauseum on a blog that sincerely hopes otherwise and that’s what trolling looks and sounds like, you Key-adorer, you. We don’t want to hear your “sincere belief” over and over here, at least, I don’t. Perhaps for the sake of our pleasure, you might like to put a sock in it, keep your own counsel, hold your tongue when you are tempted, as you so often are, to tell us that you are certain National will win the election and that Key is gorgeous. We don’t agree and we are tired of your sycophantic bleating – at least I am. And do have a splendid day, Pucky, doing whatever it is you half do.

          • Puckish Rogue

            You don’t agree and that’s cool but if I see something I disagree with I’m going to say so and why

            If you don’t like it then that’s on you, I don’t expect anyone to change what they post because I don’t like it (I can ask but I know it won’t happen)

            “Perhaps for the sake of our pleasure, you might like to put a sock in it, keep your own counsel, hold your tongue when you are tempted, as you so often are, to tell us that you are certain National will win the election and that Key is gorgeous. ”

            No, I will not do that and, quite frankly I’m surprised and a little disappointed that you would even suggest that.

            When I change my views on something (and it does happen) its because the viewpoints offered up to me are compelling enough to make me reconsider what I think I know

            • Robert Guyton

              I’m not asking you to stop commenting here, Pucky (you sensitive fellow, you), I’m asking you to stop with the “National will win, period” nonsense. I’m not interested in hearing you trumpet that myth. So, despite your passive/aggressive “poor me” response, I urge you to de-troll your comments and enjoy the interactions more.

              • Puckish Rogue

                Yay National will lose, yeah Labour/Greens will win yay!

                • Pucky said:

                  ““No, in years to come the general consensus of John Keys term in power (2008 – 2018 approx.) will be one of a successful government”

                  Then Pucky said:

                  “But people like you, people who say deliberately inflammatory statements designed to elicit a response, you’re the real troll”

                  Ya gotta larf!

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    “No, in years to come the general consensus of John Keys term in power (2008 – 2018 approx.) will be one of a successful government”

                    IMHO that it whats going to happen, I’m not saying anything I don’t believe and I’m not saying to get a reaction which means its not trolling and I backed up why I think that is whats going to happen

                  • Leftie

                    Well said Robert Guyton +1 on all of your comments.

                  • Leftie

                    Agree with your comments Robert, +1

            • Stuart Munro

              There’s nothing sincere about you PR – you are rotten to the core.

              If you were sincere you would be off spouting your inane far-right trash to your peers on kiwiblog.

              You are here to troll, to bully, to divert and to abuse.

              Your mind is not open, it is bought and paid for. Why lie? We all know what you are and why you are here.

              • Puckish Rogue

                Why lie?

                – I’m one of the most honest and open (sometimes too open for my own good) people you’re ever likely to meet on-line

                If I say it on here then you know its what I think and that I’m not saying it for any other reason then its what I believe

                But people like you, people who say deliberately inflammatory statements designed to elicit a response, you’re the real troll and the worse thing is you justify your own buls**t because you disagree with the other person (therefore he/she must be a troll)

                Take a good, hard, long look in the mirror before you accuse anyone else of being a troll

                [I don’t have time to read through this to see what you are all on about, but you lot aren’t about to escalate the name calling are you? – weka]

                • Puckish Rogue

                  No ma’am

                  • George Hendry

                    greetings,’ Puckish Rogue’ 🙂

                    I read that you’re one of the most honest and open, etc…

                    The choice of a pseudonym can be telling.

                    What did you intend when you chose yours?

                    • In Vino

                      Thanks to Robert Guyton and Greywarshark for an interesting dialogue – and no thanks to Pockish Rouge for his transparent disingenuity. Going into denial does not excuse you from what you have been accurately accused of. Pure Trolling.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.3

      Doesn’t it say that Ministers should not bring government itself into disrepute!!

      It could do. In fact, it can say anything it wants and then the government of the day can go and ignore it completely.

      The Cabinet Manual is the write up of all the centuries of tradition that underlies the Westminster Parliament that we imported wholesale and then the traditions that we’ve built up since.

      What it isn’t is a legal document requiring the government to act in those ways.

      So the government can act unethically and we have no recourse to hold them to account because it’s not illegal.

      • Local Government suffers the same problem. Tons of wriggle room for the unscrupulous.

        • Michael

          Haven’t you just been re-elected to your Council, Mr Guyton?

          • Robert Guyton

            I have, Michael, thanks, and I’ve seen examples of what Draco describes. Not at all pretty and not to be admired.

            • Leftie

              Congratulations on your re election Robert Guyton!

              • Thanks, Leftie – the fun has already begun – my fellow councillors “over-looked” the ex-Deputy Speaker of the House, Eric Roy, for several chairmanships – the 10 000 Invercargill voters who voted for Eric are somewhat mystified. The conservative “old guard” of the council is having the spotlight put on it as a result. I voted for Eric, as every good Green should 🙂

                • weka

                  What happened with your kōrero Māori?

                  • Hi weka – it went well, thanks. I was really pleased to have the opportunity to use the Maori version and doubly pleased to be hongied appreciatively by kaumatua afterwards. I hope that next time, all 12 of us will recite in te reo Maori and that the use of that official language becomes a regular feature of our ordinary meetings. I’m going to create a precedent for that in a way that’s encouraging to the others, rather than overly challenging, by using kupu and korerorero “lightly but often” and with good humour 🙂

    • Incognito 7.4

      I think we need to keep sharper on things that matter, not just pop in here for today’s slanging match as a habit.


  8. Robert Boesnach 8

    I wish I could remember the moment, but John Key did say he wasn’t concerned with ethics, just the letter of the law!

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      And that would be the right-wing in its entirety.

    • Leftie 8.2

      “I wish I could remember the moment, but John Key did say he wasn’t concerned with ethics, just the letter of the law!”

      That he is inclined to breach and bend at will, and if it doesn’t suit, he just changes it. Key has got form when it comes to making what was illegal, legal.

    • Incognito 8.3

      Key’s hidden sub-text is, of course, that the “letter of the law” is as black & white as letters (in black font, of course) on a piece of white paper, which is absolutely not the case. National’s standard is “pretty legal”, whatever that means.

  9. Macro 9

    When John Key in 2008 established the “Ministry of Truth” aka Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet* (which now receives more funding than National Radio and has doubled its number of “spin doctors”, whilst over the same period, the number of full time journalists in the country has halved) reality went out the window and the majority of NZers now live on Planet Key.
    For there to be an ethical judgement, the truth of the matter must be clear and understood, that situation is now beyond the reach of most ordinary citizens in this country who obtain their perception of reality from a daily dose of NZ’s TV “news”, provided mainly from the MoT. It is not surprising that ethics is now consigned to the dustbin of history.

    *I know that the DoPMC has “always” been there – it is just that since 2008 – John Key has taken its role to new “heights” (or more correctly depths.) as evidenced by the fact that of all public departments it has never been subject to budgetary restrain or capping of personnel, and its funding has now increased to absurd levels.
    Note that it was also involved in the 2014 electoral scam.

    • ropata 9.1

      +1 Very interesting and worthy of a detailed post IMHO. I had no idea that FJK had a personal govt department to play with, paid for by the generosity of our tax dollars. This huge level of funding is a very bad look

      • Macro 9.1.1

        The excellent Frank Macskasy has already done detailed and insightful research on this, and I am only repeating what he has already written.
        This is a little of a Post by Frank:

        Gutting by slow starvation?

        Funding for Radio NZ is channelled through New Zealand on Air – a body described on Wikipedia, as “…an independent New Zealand broadcast funding agency” and “autonomous crown entity separate from central Government and governed by a Board of six appointed by the Minister of Broadcasting. NZ on Air is responsible for the funding of public-good broadcasting content across television, radio and new media platforms“.

        The funding figure of $31.816 million is an easy one to remember – it has remained unchanged since 2009-10, when National assumed the reins of government. The figure has been maintained until next year.Using the Reserve Bank inflation calculator, Radio NZ’s funding should have risen to $35.26 million. In effect, by not keeping pace with inflation, Radio NZ’s funding has been cut by around 10%.

        By contrast, Budget data showing increases to the Prime Minister’s Department makes for sobering reading.

        Michael Cullen’s last budget, 2008/09, allocated $25,470,000 to Vote Prime Minister and Cabinet.
        In the same 2008/2009 Budget, Radio NZ was allocated $31,718,000 through NZ on Air, an increase of $2,644,000 (approx 8%) from the previous year.
        In National’s first Budget, 2009/10, Vote Prime Minister and Cabinet was allocated $33,021,000 – an increase of $7,551,000 – or just under 25%!
        In the same 2009/2010 Budget, Radio NZ’s allocation went up by $98,000 to $31,816,000 – not even a 1% increase.
        For the first time, the Prime Minister’s Departmental budget exceeded that of Radio NZ. Furthermore;

        Since 2009/10, Radio NZ’s allocation has stayed the same; $31,816,000.
        By contrast, the amounts allocated to the Prime Minister’s Department has increased, and in the 2015/16 Budget was allocated $49,298,000 – an increase of $24,476,000 since 2008 and a near-doubling of John Key’s department and Cabinet expenditure since Michael Cullen’s last budget, seven years ago.

        In the 2015/16 Budget, Radio NZ was allocated $31,816,000 – a nil increase.
        Framed another way, a news media organisation – dedicated to informing the public about government activities – has had no increase in resourcing since John Key’s administration came to power in late 2008.

        By contrast, the Prime Minister’s Department – dedicated to promoting the power of the Government and more specifically, pursuing National’s political agenda – has had a doubling of taxpayer funding.

        my bold

        • greywarshark

          Thank you Macro and Frank Macskasy for those figures. It is heart breaking to think that the government is paid so much money to ensure they get good information and can function well, and we get the stinking tripe of policies and services that we do. Who can save the beehive from the parasitic mites there?

        • Leftie

          Wow, thank you Macro and Frank, this is the kind of eye opener stuff that all NZers should be reading about.

    • ropata 9.2

      Despite Blinglish’s belt tightening of social services and stripping public assets, there are some pet departments allowed to run amok. Transit/LTNZ (the road builders) are funded in the many billions for very questionable projects like the Onehunga motorway, the Northwestern motorway (Lincoln rd bridge was a huge budget blowout), and a crazy Auckland harbour tunnel for cars only…

      As someone said earlier, this sham government is a vehicle for vested interests, working in the interests of a few

  10. Michael 10

    That’s what happens when a bean counter gets paid to deliver judgment on moral issues – they give the perpetrator a clean sheet. As Labour well knows, accountants are incapable of assessing moral issues and that’s why they deified them during their time in Government. IMHO, Labour’s laissez faire approach to the public good has just bitten it in its collective arse.

  11. Thinkerr 11

    Well, Anthony, I certainly dont want to disagree with the points you made, but for the gist of what your article is about, I dont think all the blame can be put to Key, McCully & whomever is involved in whichever conspiracy is of the moment.

    The sad fact is that our parliamentary system is designed to deal with such behaviour and, at the longest, each 3 years we, the voting public, can call an end to governments we decide are behaving in ways we dont like. One could argue in an unwelcome government being reelected once, particularly when things like the GFC shake our economic stability and are a good excuse to say “give us another go”, but for the third and maybe fourth term, its harder to say that voters didn’t consciously choose the government they got – particularly when there were books like Hager’s to fill in the blanks for the naive.

    It might be a coincidence, but I blame neoliberalism for twisting our kiwi culture from one where we were a small country punching above its weight in the world because (generally) we all worked together and, as the saying goes, all of us was greater than the total of each of us. Neoliberalism taught us new mantras – There Is No Alternative, and Greed Is Good. So, when voting time comes around, it isn’t the government that reelects itself, but the voting public that declares its complacency with, for example, people sleeping in cars, just as long as it isnt us, and all of the kind of things you allude to in your article. Conversely, the government that wants to house those people will have to do it with money that I’m being told could be mine with a tax break. When I have to choose the next government, neoliberalism tells me I should vote on the basis of whats in it for me, not what I can do to help my neighbour.

    When Brexit was voted on, I found it interesting that most people under, say, 40 have no understanding of anything other than neoliberalism. I think the left has its work cut out in that regard, because it doesnt just have to present alternative policies, it has to convince at least one generation that they are achievable and better than the only system those people know and understand.

  12. greywarshark 12

    Unfortunately sending a troll to Coventry seems to be beyond gabby NZs. The psychology of negative reaction must get embedded in a growing personality, ie a child getting attention for behaviour that angers or annoys but is repeated because of the attention received.

    Isn’t that a perfect description for the regular trollers. People who come here often know their names. Is it too hard to just respond with a hmmmm. That would still feed their need for affirmation but it would be rather static and boring.

    Or you could just not reply at all. There isn’t an Eleventh Commandment that says that the truly pure will get into Heaven if they kindly treat trolls, and spend half an evening explaining the finer points of leftish beliefs and the meaning of community and collective behaviour?

    • I pledge to lay down my troll-swatter, as of this moment. I enjoy trying to corner and skewer them but it leaves a sour taste in my mouth and tries the patience of others here. This gabby New Zealander’s only gonna talk with his people from now on 🙂

      • greywarshark 12.1.1

        @Robert G
        I have just caught up with this. I am ashamed to say I have been coming to this
        blog for so long and only just found what replies does. About troll-swotting
        – it would serve a good purpose if you could put them out of action. But encouraging them just gets their blood lust up and they come in for more, and attract swarms more.

        Which reminds me I have heard of locusts likely to become a problem here with climate change. Do you know about their swarming response and how can we combat it, and don’t say don’t plant monoculturally! Because we are still going to have to crop, presumably grain again on Canterbury Plains when milk powder
        loses its dream run, or transport is agin it or the hooves drop off the cows or whatever. So any knowledge on locusts?

  13. Marcus Morris 13

    It is interesting to note that, in all the reassessments of R.D. Muldoon in this thread, no one has thought to mention National Superannuation. In 1975 Muldoon, illegally, demolished Labour’s superb scheme after having barn stormed the electorate with the most costly and audacious super scheme the country had known. In his most elucidating book “All Honourable Men” former cabinet minister Hugh Templeton spends several pages pointing out that National Party strategists knew that while the scheme was certainly an election winner it was not sustainable. Over forty years on superannuation is still a political football. Michael Cullen made it a priority to re-establish an equitable system and so at least we have Kiwi Saver, although has been subjected to political interference, and Cullen also had the foresight to establish the Super Fund. This shower of a government will prefer to use any budget surpluses to give tax breaks to the wealthy rather than use it to bolster the SF. I remember the Muldoon years only too well and I find little to rejoice about them.

    • weka 13.1

      How did Labour’s pre-Muldoon scheme work for people who weren’t in employment? (was it a savings scheme?).

      Muldoon also introduced legislation that overrode the High Court decision to not grant consents for the Clyde Dam. Pretty significant erosion of democracy there, but I guess Key’s National have made it into an art form, and why the fuck are we not more outraged?

      When the National government of Robert Muldoon ignored local concerns and a legal decision against the granting of water rights, and passed the Clutha Development (Clyde Dam) Empowering Act in 1982, protesters made their feelings known by padlocking the doors of the Court of Appeal in Wellington and the High Court in Christchurch. They also stuck a notice on the door of each court that read ‘This Court is now obsolete, irrelevant, and just a nuisance. Accordingly it is CLOSED until such time as people no longer expect the law to protect their rights’. This was ‘signed’ by Muldoon and Social Credit leader Bruce Beetham, who had supported the legislation. It was one case where people clearly felt that the government had acted as if it was above the law. Partly in response to this discontent, the next Labour government, elected in 1984, passed the Environment Act 1986. This established the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, with powers to investigate any state decisions that might adversely affect the environment.


  14. gnomic 14

    Dulmoon was a traitor to this country just on the basis of his actions after the election of the Labour government. He was also a nasty bastard and his leadership of the National Party is to their everlasting shame. What a bunch of cowards and poltroons. No change there then. Now we have the smirking weasel whose hero was Mudloon. Little wonder.

    Am I correct in saying that Muldoon is still the only example of a ruler in NZ who knighted himself?

    No, wait, I see I am wrong. The other example was the great Keith Holyoake.

  15. Marcus Morris 15

    Soon after the election of the first Key government economist Brian Gaynor wrote a very good article in the Herald about the awful consequences of Muldoon’s scheme and here is the link.


    Muldoon’s scheme was breathtakingly generous . It started almost immediately and entitlement began at age sixty. It was universal so that Muldoon himself could have been receiving it even though he would have been on his PM salary for the next nine years (I am not sure that he was sixty at the time). It was the only time my father voted National. He did the sums. He turned sixty several months before the election but continued to work until he was sixty five. It was a no brainer for him. Five years of extra unearned income before his own Government Super “kicked in”.

    Dad’s story could be repeated thousands of time.

    Muldoon’s legacy is awful but read Brian Gaynor’s article for a full analysis of the cost.

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