Protocol

Written By: - Date published: 6:44 am, May 6th, 2011 - 129 comments
Categories: brand key - Tags: , ,

So Judith Collins has broken protocol to reveal “serious threats” to John Key after we find out his use of DPS as a vanity prop has cost us $800k.

And yet when it comes to him spending our money to chopper to a golf club party the (informal) “protocol” of getting there before the Governor General is absolute?

And when Parliament wants to know if Key would have been late to a meeting if not his helicopter pilot offering to fly him to Auckland instead of Hamilton, which we later paid $2,000 for – well, that can’t be revealed because of, you guessed it ‘protocol’.

It looks to me like the Nats are happy to pick and choose which rules they stick to or make up. Especially when it comes to justifying pissing our money away.

Perhaps the serious threat they’re concerned about most is the threat to brand Key.

129 comments on “Protocol”

  1. IrishBill 1

    Of course you can imagine the threats that were sent to Helen Clark. Funny how they didn’t result in a DPS blow-out and they weren’t announced for PR purposes…

    • J Mex 1.1

      Of course you can imagine the threats that were sent to Helen Clark. Funny how they didn’t result in a DPS blow-out and they weren’t announced for PR purposes…

      But they were used as excuses to break the law speed to a rugby game…

      PM’s Office and police at odds over threat
      5:05 AM Thursday Jul 22, 2004

      The Prime Minister’s office yesterday cited police concern at a death threat to explain Helen Clark’s high-speed motorcade dash through Canterbury on Saturday.

      But senior police declined to pinpoint the threat as the reason behind the rapid journey from Waimate to Christchurch.

      As political heat came on the Prime Minister over the speed of her trip, one of her spokesmen suggested police were worried for her safety after the arrest of a former policeman earlier that day.

      But Assistant Commissioner Peter Marshall said the arrest had not been a factor in forming the motorcade

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=3579711

      • richard 1.1.1

        And didn’t she get caned for it. Weeks of relentless press and opposition scrutiny. All that is asked for is balance and a level playing field.

        • J Mex 1.1.1.1

          She got caned for the speeding, not for blaming the speeding on a possible threat, which was the first of a number of excuses.

          IB is saying that Helen Clark didn’t use threats for political gain. That is patently not true.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Funny how they didn’t result in a DPS blow-out…

      Figures show the squad has blown its budget every year since 2006, particularly in the three years after the police raids in the Ureweras in October 2007.

      Of course, Collins still managed to blame the blowout on Labour anyway.

      She also blamed $600,000 of the budget blow out on a new clause in the collective employment contract signed off under the previous Labour government.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    “The police advised me that there had been a serious threat that they had dealt with,” she said.

    Wasn’t you was it Irish? 🙂

    • lprent 2.1

      He took the DPS away on his holiday to the US? I am sure that they enjoyed that.

      Fortunately Helen never took the DPS away with her when she climbed mountains, went cross country skiing, or the other hectic activities she did for ‘relaxation’.

      There are threats all of the time. The police deal with them as they arise. But the DPS is there to protect the state from threats – not to inflate the ego of a pipsqueak promoted beyond his abilities.

      • todd 2.1.1

        I though it was rather hypocritical of John Key to say Hone Harawera was undertaking a by election to increase his profile just after he got back from smoozing with the royals.

        I also think it is rather convenient that John Key has threats made against him, which are then made public just as we hear about the $800,000 cost for John Key’s ego strokers. Ho probably has threats all the time, being that National are destroying many peoples lives.

        I personally find that the pure hypocrisy of the National Minister’s and a total lack of contrition when caught out is thoroughly disgusting. New Zealand is in a sad state of affairs.

        Key has made noises about not wanting to be PM. Good! Piss off you god damn crook!

        • Gus 2.1.1.1

          What a load of crap. Its like suggesting that the primary reason that Helen Clarks government purchased the LAV’s was because because they were the best suited option for population control vs military operations or the reason that she came down so hard on Bainimarama and the Fiji coup was that the NZDF were making similar murmurs about her government.

          At the end of the day John Key is the elected leader of NZ and rightfully as we are a member of the commonwealth attended the Royal wedding. Personally I think it is a sad day for NZ when the DPS service feel the need to provide our leader $800K of protection however it is the reality of the society we live in where LWNJ’s and other sad indviduals feel the need to threaten or harm our PM.

          • Drakula 2.1.1.1.1

            Gus; when you have a currency speculator running the country in firm favour of the trans-national corporations this results in the widening gap of rich and poor.
            Then you have our PM promise that there would be tax cuts for ‘middle NZ’ then we all have to pay a further 2.5% on GST a promise broken
            Then he sacks the councillors of E-can replaces them with commissioners answerable to his minister, thereby denying all Canterbury ratepayers the right to vote.
            Then digging out Hubbards business, favouratism?
            Then during a earthquake drafting draconian laws to consolidate the governments hold over the reigns of power, instead of using existing laws that could have dealt with the emergency.
            Then we have the stripping away of workers rights!!! 90 day law etc.etc.etc.

            Isn’t that enough to piss anyone off?

            I have to agree with Todd; In fact I am amazed that John Key is still alive, his guardian angel must be working overtime!!!!!

      • Rich 2.1.2

        Helen Clark is a pretty good skier. I doubt she’d have wanted some donut-munching cop panting along behind holding them up.

        • lprent 2.1.2.1

          The DPS people I saw looked pretty damn fit to me. They would probably learn a few more muscles, but would have coped.

          But Helen is a pretty private person, the holidays were about the only time that she and Peter got that much time together (when they each weren’t reading or writing something), and the holidays were often pretty hectic traipses over the world visiting their dispersed families. Carting DPS around would have been a pain and as far as the state was concerned, she always left the country in capable hands.

          PM’s are replaceable when a partial power transition has already taken place.

  3. The Voice of Reason 3

    Hmmm, just listened to Judith Collins lying through her teeth on Nat Rad, blaming the Police and the Labour Party for the overspending. She sounded completely unconvincing about the threats themselves, only being able to confirm one arrest in recent weeks, though you’d have to wonder why that hasn’t made the papers before now.

    She claims Key gets lots of threats, but I couldn’t imagine it would be anywhere near the number Helen Clark got during her time (and even now, I guess?). Still it might be fun speculating on who wants him dead. The names Worth, Wong and Garrett spring to mind. Mrs Key when he was publicly drooling over another woman? The Epsom Canary perhaps? Dipton? Power?

    • Kaplan 3.1

      A curious thing I heard at the end of that interview was Collins claiming that the police do not tell them about the threats. Which leads to the question if they don’t know about the threats how are they using that to justify the extra cost?
      Do the DPS authorise their own additional costs? Isn’t that little self serving?

      • J Mex 3.1.1

        Do the DPS authorise their own additional costs?

        Yes. The police do.

      • PeteG 3.1.2

        Not self-serving, it makes sense that the police would make the decisions on the level of protection they think is required, and the PM should not.

  4. joe bloggs 4

    You don’t need to go any further than the comments from the more extreme LWNJs on this site to appreciate that there are some very sick, twisted people around – little wonder the DPS is concerned.

    • Craig Glen Eden 4.1

      Joe bloggs psst don’t you know that Helen runs the DPS all the way from New York. Just like Brashes emails nothing is safe. Helen Rules the world haaaaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaa ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

      Back to reality joe bloggs, Keys a spender and he’s spending our money on bullshit!

    • Kaplan 4.2

      Heh. Joe if you posted that comment on Cameron Slaters blog (I use the term loosely) and changed the words ‘the more extreme LWNJs’ to ‘most people’. It would actually be true.

    • Armchair Critic 4.3

      Just as you don’t need to look any further than Kiwiblog to find the same phenomenon exists on the right.
      Political figures are subject to threats, irrespective of their political leanings. Comes with the job. As long as they are democratically elected and not well outside their mandate, there must be a process for identifying, assessing and managing the threats as they occur. Irrespective of political leanings.
      The question here is “Is John Key spending too much on the DPS?” Sure, LWNJs are scary, just as any variety of NJ can be. Doesn’t answer the question though.
      I said yesterday that someone has stuffed up here. There’s been a blowout on a budget of $800k and an explanation is needed. If it’s not John Key who is responsible for the budget for the DPS not being set and managed properly, it will be the responsible Minister.
      There are three things that don’t sit well with me on this issue:
      First, it’s the sense of entitlement. My Key tells us he’s entitled to go on holiday in Hawaii and that he needs DPS protection. Yet his Finance Minister is asking us to tighten our belts. And he’s not referring to the belts in our new BMWs with heated seats, either. Part of the belt tightening I’d like to see is less money spent on protection for the PM. The traditional National Party solution to such problems is to make the DPS more efficient. So let’s run with that I don’t care how they do it, as long as it is done.
      Second, there’s this “he’s the most popular PM ever” meme. Okay, sure he is, so how come if he’s so popular the budget for his personal protection has been blown out by so much, due to an increased level of threats?
      Finally, it’s the secrecy. What happened to open and accountable? There are details that can be provided, if the obfuscations are true, that would give enough confidence to people like me to support the an increased budget for the DPS. But all we get is “we don’t discuss security”, which is only a couple of steps away from “we don’t make mistakes”.

  5. felix 5

    Glad you’re back to posting on the reg Irish.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    Shonkey’s 3 mill$ plus Hawaiian bach (condo) at Ho’olei, Maui, and nearby Wailea Beach are in an area subject to land issue concerns from “native” Hawaiians about property developers ignoring their concerns on historic burial grounds. No Waitangi Tribunal in Hawaii so it must be incredibly frustrating for the locals.

    One could imagine the justifications leading to the DPS being required so our esteemed PM can holiday without interruption from the Hawaiian version of pesky “land protestors”, and having some nice time out by the sea along the way.

    Word of the day: duplicitous.

  7. ianmac 7

    I liked the observation that John Key needs several heavies to escort him around the corridors to the Chamber. Dangerous place Parliament! And of course the Security staff employed in the House are just ornamental toy boys (and girls?)
    Or the 4 policemen business class to get the endangered Key to the church (wedding) on time. Wonder if one was detailed to guard the greenstone suit?

    Wonder why Mr Key is not fronting this?

  8. DavidW 8

    Wow Tiger Mountain you struck the trifecta
    1. Economic jealousy
    2. The race card
    3. Green/environmental scare

    Nice going, Try for four next play

  9. g_man 9

    Possibly the DPS felt the sting of Helen’s tongue, after (a) a man who had robbed a dairy was able to hide out in the backyard of her home in Mount Eden, and (b) they failed to stop youths from tagging Helen’s house.

    And they have decided that maybe they should take security seriously.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Yes those paparazzi Key poses in front of all the time are a major risk

  10. gobsmacked 10

    There were certainly death threats to the previous Prime Minister, resulting in arrest and conviction. For example:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/inglewood/news/article.cfm?l_id=500548&objectid=10542263

    The difference is … Helen Clark never talked to the media about this, nor did she get any of her Ministers to do so.

    Protecting the Prime Minister is essential. Grandstanding about it is not.

  11. Lindsey 11

    None of our so called “journalists” have asked the obvious question as to whether the level or intensity of threats have increased in line with the budget blowout. There are always threats to PM’s, the question are there more or less to Key than there were to Clark?

  12. Anne 12

    the question are there more or less to Key than there were to Clark?

    And they started within minutes of the election result in 2008?

  13. tsmithfield 13

    There probably are a lot more threats against Key. That is because his high level of profile and popularity is likely provoking considerable envy and angst amongst extreme LWNJs, many or whom are probably nutty enough to have a crack at the PM.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Apparently you know more than anyone else here about specific threats to the PM. Do tell us more.

      Or are you just making shit up to justify the budget blow out, at a time when everyone else is supposed to tighten belts, except the PM and his escorted new BMWs.

    • lprent 13.2

      Based on the threats that Helen used to get (that I heard about), most were from those who were a bit fragile mentally.

      I guess that is who you’re classing as a LWNJ? It says interesting things about your worldview.

      • tsmithfield 13.2.1

        I did sa y extrrme LWNJ’s. So you are probably right. I am talking about those on the loony fringe. People at this end of the spectrum probably don’t have too much to lose, in contrast to extreme RWNJ’s who probably have considerable wealth to lose by attacking a PM.

        [lprent: :0 and I fixed your handle. ]

        • Colonial Viper 13.2.1.1

          Extreme RWNJ’s think that Key is a centrist loser who needs to be replaced ASAP so that the money making neo-liberal train put back on track.

          They’re the same ones who backed the takeover of ACT by RWNJ’s Brash and Banks.

    • joe90 13.3

      I’m sure TS that you’ll be able to link to a left site that posts gun porn, has gun sight logos on the masthead and calls for revolution to defend the rights of the people.

  14. Colonial Viper 14

    Key blowing out the budget to look tough and important.

    All part of the smile and wave photo op strategy.

    • PeteG 14.1

      I’m much more suspicious of the May diss-Key strategy.

      It doesn’t look like Labour are concerned about whether the level and cost of PM protection is appropriate, it looks like another attempt to piss on the PM.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        Actually it doesn’t look like you are concerned about whether the increased use of DPS agents leading to the budget blow out is appropriate.

        Especially at a time when all NZ’ers are being asked to sacrifice and being told that having lower wages is good for them.

        Good on Pete Hodgson for pointing out that our PM burns up twice as much as his salary on extra costs, looking tough in front of the cameras.

        • PeteG 14.1.1.1

          I have no idea if the level of protection is appropriate, and I doubt if you do either.

          This comes across as a continuation of an attempted strategy to smear rather than having any concerns about PM protection or costs. You are jumping on that bandwagon, and the band seems to be out of tune.

          • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.1.1

            The only one who doesn’t have a concern about cost blowouts is Key.

      • Armchair Critic 14.1.2

        Perhaps if the PM and government would do a little more than stonewalling and obfuscating we could have confidence that it was money well spent. By not being open and honest they leave themselves open to allegations that the extra spending is just an extravagence

  15. ianmac 15

    Key told Radio Sport today it was public knowledge that people had been arrested for threatening to kill him.
    “Collins revealed yesterday that a person had been arrested and charged in the past few weeks. ”
    Wonder which are true or are both true?

    • PeteG 15.1

      It could easily be both, it has happened before.

      3 June 2010

      In his evidence today Feary admitted making all the threats including one sent to the PM saying: “Its killing time.”

      • Colonial Viper 15.1.1

        More of the same, every PM gets threats to their life.

        Key knows that holidaying in Hawaii is dangerous so obviously needed a full detail there.

        God he loves living the VIP life.

  16. Peter Rabbit 16

    I look forward to the announcement that the next Labour PM will go without any DPS.

    • Lanthanide 16.1

      There’s nothing wrong with DPS. The only problem is when it is used unnecessarily.

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.1

        And using it unnecessarily has blown the DPS budget.

      • PeteG 16.1.2

        Do you think that the main opposition party in election year is not the most appropriate to be judging what is necessary?

        And that the police may have a more impartial and far better informed view?

        • Armchair Critic 16.1.2.1

          After nine years in government, yeah, I reckon they would have a good understanding of the requirements. Better than the police? Well, I look at it like this. The government is requiring cutbacks from most departments. Here is a department that has on opportunity to get an increase in an area. Should they let the opportunity pass?
          Given that the meme is that Key is the most popular PM ever, and his performance as preferred PM is frequently lauded, surely the threat level is lower and therefore the costs less?
          FTR I saw Phil Goff walking around Mt Albert completely unaccompanied on a number of occassions when he was a senior minister in the last Labour government. Yet John Key can’t walk to the dairy to get milk without a bodyguard. What’s up with that?

          • Colonial Viper 16.1.2.1.1

            Right Wingers are intrinsically scared that the peasant revolt which is fomenting might start unexpectedly and catch them unprepared, on the way to the shops or back from the gym.

            Seriously.

            • Gosman 16.1.2.1.1.1

              So what was Helen afraid of then to justify the half a million dollar overspend on her protection?

              • felix

                Psychos like you who hate lezzers.

                • Gosman

                  I have no problems with Lesbians. Some of my favourite moments involve lesbians 😉

                  • Lanthanide

                    Actual lesbians, or just women having sex with each other in front of a camera? They’re not the same thing, you know.

  17. Gosman 17

    Spectacular own goal by Labour on this one considering they overspent by half a million during theire last few years in Government.

    But obviously that was necessary to protect ‘Our Helen’ safe from all those ‘evil’ RWNJ.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      You made that up. If not, please tell us which budget year you are referring to and how much was actually spent.

  18. g_man 18

    I don’t know, but I’m guessing Gosman is referring to the 2007/2008 Financial Year:

    Total Budget: $3,288,634
    Actual Spend: $3,766,367
    Overspend: $477,733

    And the 2006/07 Financial Year:
    Total Budget: $2,915,680
    Actual Spend: $3,185,484
    Overspend: $269,804

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      Overspending while the economy was going good during Cullen’s 9 straight years of budget surpluses vs overspending on security in Hawaii for the PM using loans from China.

      • Gosman 18.1.1

        Classic spin job there CV!

        So it is okay to overspend when the economy is doing well but not when the economy is not.

        Why isn’t this line being pushed by the Labour Party then?

        • g_man 18.1.1.1

          (IE screwed up my previous reply 🙁 )

          Ah, I see. Having huffed and puffed that Gosman made it up …

          … and then finding out he didn’t …

          … you now take another track, that it’s okay to overspend as long as we (a) have the money, and (b) it’s for Labour, not those rich pricks.

          Thanks for clearing that up.

      • Gosman 18.1.2

        Funnily enough, if the Labour party truly believed in Keynesian economic theory, the Government should be tightening the belt in times of economic prosperity and spending up large in the face of a downturn. But then again the Labour party has never really worked out what economic theory they subscribed to.

    • Gosman 18.2

      Thanks g_man.

      Do you think I’ll get an apology from CV?

      Somehow I think not.

      • g_man 18.2.1

        Well to be fair to CV, you did get it wrong Gosman.

        You said they overspent by half a million …

        … when in fact it was $747,537 (so closer to three quarters of a million during those two years) …

        🙂

        • g_man 18.2.1.1

          But then, as IrishBill said in the original story,

          “It looks to me like Labour are happy to pick and choose which rules they stick to or make up. Especially when it comes to justifying pissing our money away.”

          .
          .
          .

          Bugger, no, wait a minute, I got that wrong didn’t I? It’s the Nats.

          • Gosman 18.2.1.1.1

            Terrible isn’t it how only National pisses money away while the sainted Labour party is so careful with taxpayers money when in Government.

    • Bunji 18.3

      Thanks for the stats g_man.

      So Labour in the year of the Urewera raids, when there was a supposed real terrorist threat and there was some serious vitriol against Helen, spent more than $1million less than John Key does now, when we’re constantly told everyone loves him. That makes it much better.

      • g_man 18.3.1

        What? The Urewera raids?

        According to everything I’ve read here on The Standard, that was the big nasty police picking on some poor Maori boys who were just playing around. So if you guys and gals believe that, why the need for security?

  19. GorjusGeorge 19

    What’s an NJ?

  20. GorjusGeorge 20

    Aha. Thank you.

  21. g_man 21

    Ah, I see. Having huffed and puffed that Gosman made it up …

    … and then finding out he didn’t …

    … you now take another track, that it’s okay to overspend as long as we (a) have the money, and (b) it’s for Labour, not those rich pricks.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

    • Gosman 21.1

      Hence why it is a spectacular own goal from Labour.

      Labour overspend = good, because we know what’s best for you.

      National overspend = bad, because they are rich pricks who eat babies.

      • Tiger Mountain 21.1.1

        Slow day at “Brashional” HQ today is it gozzie?

        • Gosman 21.1.1.1

          That’s the best you have TM?

          I’m rather disappointed to be honest.

          • felix 21.1.1.1.1

            Not surprised to hear that you’re disappointed to be honest, but I can’t for the life of me recall when you’ve ever been honest enough to be disappointed about.

    • ianmac 21.2

      Show your source G-man or I might doubt your honesty. Huh?

        • Gosman 21.2.1.1

          Good enough for you ianmac?

          • joe bloggs 21.2.1.1.1

            Looks kosher to me Gosman.

            Yet another one of these ad hominim arguments from the more fragile leftists – as long as it’s the left spending the money everything’s jolly fine and dandy.

            • Gosman 21.2.1.1.1.1

              Interesting that two separate leftists demanded to see evidence of the claim that Labour overspent by hundred’s thousands of dollars, as if they doubted Labour would do so. Now they are presented the evidence they have either gone strangely quiet, (ianmac), or are spinning it more wildly than a bunch of boy racers on a Friday night, (Colonial Viper).

              [lprent: That is a flame style argument (silence = implied agreement). A quick glance at the comments says that it is more likely that neither have read your comment yet as people aren’t on the same post(s) or even on the blog at the same time. You know that you aren’t allowed to use that style of argument here. Desist.

              Locate them and ask them directly and wait for an answer. Getting insistent doesn’t bother me. Trying to take implied agreement tends to get you a ban if repeated.]

              • Gosman

                Implied agreement about What lprent? I’m not suggesting they are thinking anything at all.

                There may be any number of reasons why ianmac hasn’t replied, as you have rightly pointed out. That doesn’t mean I can’t find it strange.

                Equally pointing out Colonial Viper’s attempts to spin Labour’s overspend is not taking his silence on being presented the evidence as an implication of anything at all.

                [lprent: Bullshit. As I said before just desist from that style of argument. I hate reading and cleaning up the frigging boring flamewars that result from that style of argument (and the very similar pwned/owned style). Rather then doing that I’ll remove whoever I think is using it and discussing it can be done in blessed silence. ]

          • Tiger Mountain 21.2.1.1.2

            Context is important here. ‘Labour dun it too’ doesn’t do the trick.
            Shonkey and the Donald are making decisions now in 2011, and they are making some appalling ones for many of us. It is indeed about wealth transfer from ‘the many to the few’.

            DPS minders are a widely accepted add on to our political system, but it does not mean it is great to drop millions per year on minders when employment is high and indicators are good, as was the case recently pre 08.

            It is even less great for this right wing government to spend up on guys with curly wires running down their necks when they are sacking public servants, attacking early childhood education–and I won’t repeat the rest of the lengthening list.

            • The Baron 21.2.1.1.2.1

              A ban for using a style of argument that you don’t care for, Lynn? Where’s that in the policy?

              • lprent

                The policy is a guideline now a frigging rulebook. However the relevant section is …

                Finally, the moderators may put you into moderation for what they consider is bad behaviour, while they get around to having a look at your patterns of behaviour. This is often used on people who just seem to be trying to start flamewars.

                There are a number of behaviors that lead to flamewars. The pwned/owned (and other variants) assertion is one. So is ‘silence means agreement’. So is reframing. Asserting statements of ‘fact’ without bothering to support it. Writing fire and forget one liner abuse comments. etc etc.

                All of them result in pointless discussions with virtually zero informational content for anyone reading them (including the moderators).

                I’ve seen them all over the last 30 years and what the likely fallouts are. I stomp on them as early as possible with warnings. If the warnings don’t work then I will do educational bans. If that doesn’t work then I’ll put in “grow up” bans or permanent ones.

                But in the end result this is our site and therefore it is our judgement that defines what constitutes unacceptable behavior. The current regime allows considerable dross in low value but entertaining comments, freedom to express opinion within limits, freedom to put in facts with support, a lot of agree to disagree debate, and results in some quite acceptable levels of interesting argument to the reader (me).

                It means that I and the other mods don’t get tired of scanning the comments and based on the rising numbers of readers, rising comments, and rising times reading each post – it evidentially works for almost everyone else as well. After all you keep coming back don’t you? 😈

                BTW: One of the reasons that the policy is loose is because I find that lawyering explicitly encoded rules is also a flame starter (that I will ban for).

              • burt

                The Baron

                Although I concur with your position on this I must acknowledge that lprent is entirely consistent with his rapid and stern punishment for style of comment. In a fast flowing debate I think it’s a tough call. The bottom line is that posting a solid rebuttal after a hasty ‘thought not’ comment is bloggers gold. (so they tell me)

                • lprent

                  It is. Amongst other reasons, because it allows a redirection of the debate from the topic under discussion to the question of the thought not comment. I don’t interfere with those. Just with how they are presented. I will interfere in things that take advantage of the circumstance of being realtime in a non-realtime medium.

                  It isn’t uncommon for people to disappear from here for hours, days or even weeks because of something happening in their real life. For instance as an extreme case we ‘lost’ commentators in Christchurch on and after Feb 22. Some didn’t reappear until late last month.

                  Like ianmac, kids and grandkids take priority – just like the skypes from my brother and his family in abu dhabi, or my bumptious grand nephew visiting, or my new niece from Lyn’s sister, or Lyn demanding my attention all do. Often work, volunteer and paid, often takes precedence.

                  You’ll note that most of the particular comment tactics I referred to above are also the ones that are also highly effective in forcing people to stay online if they want to counter them? Along with the flaming aspects that is why they are constrained.

                  • PeteG

                    Things like insinuations about goats are fair game?

                    Why was I put on moderation?

                    • lprent

                      I’m afraid so. For much the same reason that I generally don’t interfere much in the vicky32 / QoT discussions or some of the CV vs many others, or the often acriminous burt retrospective discussions etc. Or for that matter the earlier Gosman/ianmac/g-man/CV discussion here.

                      They all fit under the ‘robust discussion’ part of the policy. Provided they don’t teeter over into statements of fact that get challenged or get offensive enough that I or another moderator consider that they may cause a breakdown in order on the site, we usually won’t interfere. I will even join in if I can think of an amusing way to barb in.

                      And you have to watch out for Felix. He is pretty good at slowly shifting memes. Only one I ran across who was better was the rather unstable genius of robinsod. From memory, he was the person who started that whole goat issues thing, and it is still a category on posts.

                      I haven’t been moderating you. Remember that the auto moderator has a mind of it’s own.

                    • PeteG

                      I mostly ignore felix now, he usually doesn’t try to debate, he seems intent on trying to manoeuvre people into getting offside with moderation. I’m sure you know he’s using you.

                    • lprent []

                      There are quite a few that do. I get rather amused at watching how people get herded towards the bounds where I have to act. However I look at what people do. In moderation mode, I seldom look at how they got there.

                      The moderation system here is weighted towards mens actus rather than mens rea – I’m mostly uninterested in people’s frame of mind or provocation defenses. The rationale behind that is that the moderation system here is to protect the site from behaviors that might damage it rather than extracting justice, retribution or restoratation. In the worse case, a permanent ban merely means that someone winds up seeking a more compatible site, or coming back here at some point with a different identity and attitude. There are alternatives for the individuals.

                      Don’t worry, I think deeply about this community stuff. Usually I think about it before others realize that there is an issue which is the benefit of doing it or similar things for decades.

                    • PeteG

                      It’s handy to have confirmed that provocation is acceptable, it’s reaction that attracts action.

                    • lprent

                      That is the case. It looks like the supreme court came down the same way the other day.

                      There are a few provocations that we’d clamp down on for keeping the site effective. But they are the same ones that the human rights commission would get wound up about, that the police would charge as being offensive behavior on and thatbthey could now get a conviction on, or that constitute actual libel (as opposed to what many people seem to think that is libel). They are also the same ones that would lose the site readers and commentators wholesale if permitted.

        • ianmac 21.2.1.2

          Been listening to the Panel. It isn’t really important but I did look and it doesn’t look like a Parlimentary website at all. Must go call from UAE.

          • ianmac 21.2.1.2.1

            A break in my Skype. I get a message re Parlimentary stats which say something like “Virtual something allows no contact”. So Gosman I think that you are having a virtual imaginary play. You made those stats up. Still not convinced.

            • lprent 21.2.1.2.1.1

              ianmac: I read it before – site must be having problems.

              What it appears to be lacking is any context about where the data came from. I couldn’t find out how to drill down to the PDF

              • ianmac

                Not computer literate enough but it looks like a homemade table with ficticious data to me. Certainly not like an official data set.

                • g_man

                  To be honest, I also found it a bit lacking in “officialdom”, but it is on the Parliament website so presumably has some degree of legitimacy. Please note, ianmac, that it is indeed the official Parliamentary website (as far as my rudimenatry website skills can see).

                  I did also try to go to the top and drill down, but failed miserably 🙁

                  If anyone who is better at this than I can prove that it’s false, I’ll happily retract and apologise.

                  • g_man

                    Tell you what, if you prefer, here’s a link to a story in Stuff which also has the same figures:

                    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4968881/Key-defends-Diplomatic-Protection-Squad

                    Near the bottom: “In the 2006-07 financial year costs were $270,000 more than budgeted, followed by significant blowouts of $480,000 in 2007-08 and $540,000 in 2008-09.”

                    You’ll notice they tally exactly with what I quoted earlier.

                  • lprent

                    The parliamentary site is a bit messy. From the style, I’d suspect it is part of an answer to a parliamentary question.

                    • rosy

                      It would help to know what the budgets were over the last 5 years or so. I seem to have problems connecting to the parliamentary website at the moment – I’m guessing that’s the best place to get them from?

                    • lprent

                      Yep. The police don’t really have a working public information system for information mining (at least not the last time I looked).

                      Your best bet is the ministers office or reports/questions in parliament.

  22. richard 22

    Just as an aside, wouldn’t it be nice if our PM and MINISTER OF TOURISM could show solidarity for the struggling toursim industry by suffering through a New Zealand holiday for a change? Bit of a slap in the face when the Toursim Minister buggers off to Hawaii every year.
    And before you start nutting off that Clark had overseas holidays too, she had plenty of NZ holidays – often climbing or ski touring at Mount Cook.

  23. Lucas 23

    Doesn’t this sound like a fascist play book?

    We need to bring the army in to civilian life because of the serious threat of the reichstag fire…you need us to stand between you and the communists/al queda/muslim brotherhood/really bad thing that is worse than us…

  24. Lucas 24

    Release all the details about who it is Crusha G it’s what Paula Bennet would do ya pansy

  25. Alwyn 25

    I think we could have found a much more useful place for one or two of the DPS people.
    They should have been assigned to protect Annette King’s house.
    They wouldn’t have been needed to protect Annette but could have been very handy to protect the teenagers that Annette’s boarder brought home.

  26. randal 26

    nah I fink dey shoulda been used to pertect good kiws from you alwyn. all dose jokers to pertect a branch manager frum Noo York. hellzapoppin granmaw. what will dey fink of nex.

  27. Carol 27

    I thought it was par for the course that Pollies & celebs get quite a few death threats. They usually aren’t publicised because it’s considered it will encourage copycats.

    Key saying he gets more than usual is not credible – so has he been getting them constantly right from election night, when he’s holed up in parliament etc?

    But if key is getting some really out of the ordinary nasty death threats, he’s in good company:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/2815457/Death-threats-to-Sue-Bradford

    Last updated 09:22 30/08/2009
    Anti-smacking campaigner Sue Bradford has received chilling death threats and been warned she could be New Zealand’s “first political assassination”.

    Police are looking at stepping up her personal security after the vile warnings on Twitter. The Green MP said: “There has been a whole lot of stuff. Some of it is pretty nasty.”

    She told Sunday News: “I was on Twitter and someone sent a tweet saying, ‘Sue Bradford should be the first candidate for a political assassination’.

    “There is another email that was really ugly a few weeks ago that we referred to police.”

    http://www.persecution.org/2011/02/02/british-politician-recevies-death-threats-for-defending-asia-bibi/

    It’s usually the more controversial politicians that get such threats. What exactly has Key done to need such intense non-stop security over the last 3 years?

  28. Carol 28

    And Hodgson apprently released some more papers today that show that Key can’t stand being too far away from his bodyguards:

    http://www.labour.org.nz/news/labour-releases-further-dps-papers

    In another development Labour also released documents which show that he cottage next to Premier House has become a diplomatic protection squad base. Premier House is where the Prime Minister lives when in Wellington.

    “Premier cottage used to be used as a Ministerial house. The Hon Stephen Joyce used to live there. However Mr Joyce is being housed elsewhere, and Mr Key’s bodyguards have shifted in.

    “I don’t know whether this is an added expense for the DPS but I do know it means another Minister has to find a new home. The pattern is becoming clear; the DPS go on private overseas holidays; the DPS escort Mr Key to the actual chamber of the House; the DPS are reportedly involved in early morning boot-camp activities with the PM and now we know that they co-locate as well. Expensive.

  29. burt 29

    $800,000 for a vanity prop…. was it a little plastic card with a picture of his younger brother on one side and a list of lies on the other or was this a different vanity prop for $800,000 ?

  30. Toby Keith 30

    When you have people on the left calling Bin laden a freedom fighter, you have to wonder about their mindset, they may think nothing of taking out Prime Minister Key, if their was a legit threat they were right to beef up security. Im guessing the threats to Clark you talk about about is probably just that idiot from whaleoil, taking cheapshots at her husband

  31. Chris 31

    Really – I think Labor need to concentrate on bigger and better things. This criticism appears petty. I know I will be in a minority here with my comment. If labours plan of attack is ‘death by a thousand cuts’ just make sure not too many of them become self inflicted.

    • Carol 31.1

      Chris, take a look around. The Left and Labour is able to concentrate in more than one thing at once. There’s been loads about the policies the Labour party have been working on – more than National had revealed at this stage in the last election cycle…. and of course, NAct and/or their lackeys didn’t spend a lot of time smearing Clark and her government?

    • ianmac 31.2

      Chris be a bit more subtle:
      Labour did it too
      Look over there. There is a moustache on that MP.
      Someone thinks a Labour coup is imminent
      Key is going to release a policy about something soon.
      Hone…..

    • Colonial Viper 31.3

      This criticism appears petty.

      Apparently using Food Banks is a “lifestyle choice” according to the PM.

      That’s HIM being petty.

      Wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars while he blames the underclass for being losers.

      That’s HIM being petty.

    • Bob 31.4

      Come on Chris , you know that cringe and wave always takes 4 bodygourds with him , 1 for the missus and 3 more for the golfing quartet

  32. Chris 32

    ‘Carol’ I understand what you say. It just is this ‘strategy’ is not really working. Labour have failed to gain any real traction in 2 + years. It seems that when the left attack Teflon John his popularity either stays the same or climbs. It just preaches to the converted. Yes it is the oppositions job to ‘attack’ but having said that I think the average voter becomes somewhat cynical and tired of this tactic. Hopefully more key economic / social recovery and growth based strategies will come out post the budget.

  33. North 33

    I love this – John Key – the boy who never had an adolescence – havin’ one now with a bunch of tough guy cops in suits and earpieces, or Speedos – recall the celebrated “mince”. Hangin’ off his arse all the way. Poor Bronagh !

    What I don’t love is the barefaced dishonesty, the cynicism which pervades this Crosby Textor so-called government. Judith Collins on Close Up tonight: “Helen Clark still runs the Labour Party…..” when she was challenged about Key running around like some mobster with a bunch of made-men in tow. The picture reminds me very much of Bullshit Bishop Bullshit Tamaki in his shades with his thugs all in shades at Waitangi a few years ago.

    “Endora” Collins – for the oldies like me, remember US sitcom “Bewitched”. Lanky Darren, exasperated, good-guy advertising executive, constantly harrassed by the witch mother-in-law Endora. Collins is a dead ringer for said witch. Same sneering, sly smile.

    No, I jest. Endora, as not even half a lawyer, got herself to be president of the Auckland District Law Society before excellent self promotion took her to politics. “How in the hell ?” you intone. Well ask yourself mate. She certainly weren’t no lawyer.

    The rank, bullshitting cynicism is why me – Pakeha – 60+ – more qualified actually than Endora – joined the Mana Movement the other week. Say what you like about Hone Harawira. At least he’s pono (real, true). Fallible too as he admits. Not some fetid caricature of all the stuff we DON’T teach our kids.

    Politics in NZ has to change. Otherwise we continue to have Crosby Textor stuffed mongrels like Key, Brementia Dash, Endora Collins, Pittance Sharples, Toryana Torya and all the rest of them starting to believe their own bullshit and caning with lies and demonisation those who question them.

    And in truth – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the other God-Fearing fascist war criminals have zillions more blood of the innocents on their hands than Bin Laden ever did. That said I weep not for Bin Laden.

    • Jum 33.1

      North,
      Unfortunately, Key brought into Tamaki. Tamaki is ‘famous’ for two things; telling NZers that women leaders were a sign of the devil and when we had a male leader, God would come to New Zealand. Like I said, Key brought into the joke, and became the joker.

    • seeker 33.2

      North

      “Endora” Collins – for the oldies like me, remember US sitcom “Bewitched”. Lanky Darren, exasperated, good-guy advertising executive, constantly harrassed by the witch mother-in-law Endora. Collins is a dead ringer for said witch. Same sneering, sly smile. ”

      Spot on . That “same sneering, sly smile”- is exactly the same.
      Now and again I have tried to remember where in my life I have ‘seen’ Ms.Collins particular facial features before , and of course –Endora!!
      Fancy Endora’s same controlled, sneering ,sly, smile (and pencilled eyebrows) reappearing in 2011 in real life as/on Ms.Collins. Endora Collins it is.

      And I didn’t believe in witches….

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