- Date published:
7:00 am, May 30th, 2019 - 179 comments
Categories: accountability, democracy under attack, Dirty Politics, Ethics, leadership, paula bennett, Politics, same old national, Simon Bridges, spin, uncategorized - Tags: Budget 2019
Somehow, and we may never know exactly how, some information landed in the hands the Leader of the Opposition. It may be that the infamous leaker in the National Caucus leaked in for a change and put it on the desk of his esteemed Leader, next to the untouched report of the top-secret internal review into the culture of the National Party – where is that report, by the way? It appears that this information was going to be released anyway a few days later by the Government. Today, in fact, on Budget Day. What to do? What should a man do?
opportunist pragmatist – he learned it from arch-pragmatist – he could not resist the temptation.
All his lawyer instincts told him to resist it, to not use it for political gain or personal advantage. He may even have obtained legal advice from other lawyers in his caucus. They too would have counselled against using the information. Although some may have encouraged him, saying it was ‘pretty legal’; the ghosts of the past never leave the Party. Yeah, nah. I don’t believe this for a second but it sounded too good to delete it 😉
Instead, it is more likely the Leader consulted with his Deputy-Leader. She is well versed in the handling of personal information for political advantage. After a few eye rolls and facial contortions the Deputy-Leader may have whispered her verdict like the Oracle of Delphi: “let’s do this, sweetie”.
And in yet another (!) blatant attempt to embarrass the Government, the Leader of the Opposition released and drip-fed handpicked snippets of information to the media that were ripped from their context to spin the most negative narrative for the Government possible. When questioned, he replied that it is his job as Leader of the Opposition to
engage in a smear campaign hold the Government to account. Any attempts to muzzle him would be wholly undemocratic. Take that. I recognise a man with deep moral convictions when I see him.
This quickly deteriorated in the Leader of the Opposition and the Minister of Finance calling each other a “liar” and a “desperate man”, respectively. Another hit job, another gotcha moment. Mission accomplished pointless personal abuse diverting attention away from the Government’s Wellbeing Budget. I have seen this kind or puerile behaviour before, somewhere …
The Leader of the Opposition thinks he is onto a win, and he might well be, but the people of Aotearoa-New Zealand are the big losers here. We see arguably the most important day of the year for the Government and thus for the public being hijacked and overshadowed by slanderous accusation and wild speculation, a Government in apparent disarray, and overall chaos that turns off most people from showing any interest in politics whatsoever. What is worse, the turmoil most likely will cause people to distrust politicians even more than before.
A sad day for democracy in New Zealand and thank you again, National. No wonder they do not have friends in Parliament.