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#Sheepgate and the war of metaphor

Written By: - Date published: 7:57 am, August 12th, 2015 - 96 comments
Categories: farming, john key, national, same old national, slippery - Tags: ,

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 15:  New Zealand Prime Minister John Key speaks during the Auckland Chamber of Commerce Business Vitality lunch at Pulman Hotel on March 15, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand. Business leaders joined Prime Minister John Key to hear his views on business and the economy for 2012.  (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)

Jonathan Freeland in the Guardian recently offered an opinion on why Labour lost the UK election earlier this year.  He said this:

Long before Labour lost the election, it lost the war of metaphor. The origins of the defeat go back at least to the long summer of 2010, when the Conservatives returned to power and promptly took control of the national conversation. Instantly they unleashed a series of simple metaphors to explain what had just happened, and the roles they and the Labour party had played in the story. The simplest and most important, repeated for years to come, was: “We’re clearing up the mess we inherited.”

Sound familiar?  How many times have you heard the phrase “decade of deficits” which blamed Labour for the worst excesses that the merchant banking class inflicted on the world’s financial system?  It worked for a while but we really are hitting peak cynicism and even the media is now realising what is happening.

Andrea Vance described a local example of this phenomenon in this way:

Transparency in real life and political transparency are two very different things.  National is adept in proliferating information that displaces the facts or obfuscates.  The truth often comes out in the wash – as it did with the official papers on the Saudi deal – but by then it is too late.

It doesn’t matter that many of National’s claims about the Saudi deal are disproved by the documents, because the Government’s version has taken root and most people have moved on.

Yesterday we had an example of this occurring in Parliament where John Key kept saying that Phil Goff was responsible and that “it all started with Labour”.  This is a change to “it is all Labour’s fault” and reflects the shifting nature of National’s defence.

Because let’s be clear here.  If this was all Labour’s fault the detail would have been trumpeted to the high heavens as soon as the “problem” had been solved.

Instead of this the deal was hidden.  It was never intended to see the light of day.  McCully’s desire is clearly shown by his statement that he did “not want any (financial) contributions to be treated as compensation as this would involve a plethora of lawyers and bureaucrats”.  Official oversight was the last thing he wanted.  And instead of signing an agreement he says was to resolve a legal dispute he signed this agreement which did not address the resolution of any legal issues.  How negligent is that?  He makes a payment of our money to allegedly solve the threat of legal action but leaves open the prospect of legal action.

National’s response has changed.  It is now no longer all Labour’s fault, National has moved on to Labour started it and National inherited a problem.

In the very broadest sense I guess the problem started with Labour in that the decision to suspend the export of live sheep clearly started a diplomatic issue although it did not give rise to a valid claim for compensation.  But the death of many sheep in the process of being exported had to be addressed.

One document released yesterday by Labour clearly shows that the Saudi sheep farmer’s frustration was caused primarily by National’s actions, not Labour’s.  It is the speech notes for a speech given by the Saudi sheep farmer in the presence of McCully on April 21, 2010.

Clearly he was disturbed by the decision of the fifth Labour Government to stop the live export of sheep.  But he said this:

Last August, the New Zealand Minister of Agriculture [David Carter] stated on the Government television channel in New Zealand (TVNZ1) that “As a Minister I don’t like this trade to come back, and it will not come back”. Furthermore the CEO of the Ministry of Agriculture in New Zealand has confirmed to us many times that the statement of the Minister put an end to any deliberation or discussion of this subject.

Since your honourable government has put an end to this subject through the honourable Minister of Agriculture, so why do you proceed with discussions with the Saudi Government? Is this the way to begin a free trade agreement with the Saudi Government?

Is that clear enough?  The blockage to the trade deal was caused by [David] Carter publicly ruling out the resumption of trade at the same time that behind the scenes discussions to resume free trade were occurring.  No wonder the Saudi sheep farmer was so upset.  But it was with National, not Labour.  And no wonder National Ministers thought the behaviour was duplicitous.

The speech notes are incendiary.  It makes you wonder what is said in the letter from the Saudi Sheep farmer the text of which National has refused to release.

John Key was interviewed on Raido New Zealand this morning.  He said that lawyers were not brought in because the payment was never about compensation.  If not then it is hard to understand how it could be Labour’s fault or why the payment needed to be paid at all unless it was a bribe.  And he should be asked to explain McCully’s statement to Parliament that the Government should be praised for “resolving the issue for one-third of [the potential claim for $30 million]”.

Key was at his metaphorical best.  He continuously robotically trotted out the line that the Government inherited a significant issue from the previous Labour Government.  He said this six times in slightly different forms.

He was dancing on a pinhead.  A legal problem was allegedly solved by a payment that was not compensation.  I call bullsh$t on that.

Murray McCully’s statements to Parliament on May 27 cannot be reconciled with the reality.  And Key’s insistence of high standards from his Ministers seems to be nothing more than a metaphorical utterance devoid of any substance.

Update:  The audio from Suzy Ferguson’s interview with John Key is here.  Well done Suzy for insisting on asking Key the relevant questions and refusing to be diverted.

96 comments on “#Sheepgate and the war of metaphor ”

  1. Pat 1

    it was comedy, you could almost hear the audience laughing…Susie Ferguson was excellent.

    • hoom 1.1

      Yah Key came across completely ridiculous.
      Sticking to his ‘Labours fault’ line even after she interrupted him & stated flatly ‘nobody in your office was able to point out where it was Labours fault is shown’
      And the rest of it is clear bullshit/his normal ‘at the end of the day’ ‘your opinion’ ‘their opinion’ ‘I’m comfortable’

      Interview here
      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/201766120/pm-says-proper-processes-were-followed-in-the-saudi-deal

      • Clemgeopin 1.1.1

        Green’s James Shaw replies to that interview here (Duration : 5’44” : Starts after a few seconds of Key’s quotes)

        [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20150812-0816-green_party_isnt_buying_govts_explanation_of_saudi_deal-048.mp3" /]

        • Capn Insano 1.1.1.1

          Cheers for putting that audio clip in there, very interesting comments there by James.

          • Clemgeopin 1.1.1.1.1

            You are welcome and my pleasure. James Shaw did very well.

            • AmaKiwi 1.1.1.1.1.1

              “James Shaw did very well.”

              I beg to differ. 80% of any message is HOW it is said, NOT what is said.

              Suzy Ferguson nailed Key’s balls to the wall because of her uncompromising style.

              Key’s trick is to use so many qualifiers his answers are verbally meaningless. His casual, unconcerned, disinterested mood is the non-verbal message the public accepts. “Drive on. Nothing to see. No disaster here.”

              Suzy Ferguson gave Key a solid dose of “Cut the crap.”

              Shaw, Little, and the rest of the opposition, give us more of “Cut the crap.”

      • ianmac 1.1.2

        Susie did well against a ridiculous load of bullshit. He was of course not speaking to Susie or you or me. He was speaking to his supporters.

        • AmaKiwi 1.1.2.1

          And the message to his supporters was, “This issue is complex so trust me, it was all OK.”

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Yep, she certainly showed up the BS that Key kept trying to peddle.

    • Ffloyd 1.3

      I have to say we were nearly rolling around on the kitchen floor in hysterics. Like ‘are you SERIOUS?’ The sad thing is he would have gone away thinking he had come out on top. I’m just about getting to the stage where I feel a little bit sorry for him. Not much but just a little. A little man out of his intellectual depth.

  2. adam 2

    So let me ask the social democrats on this site again – what is your Rubicon?

    This is a government committed to lying, cheating and getting into bed with those opposed to democracy. This deal is, anti-democratic. The operation national put into place to deal with it is, anti-democratic. Ironic, that the deal is with a state which is, deeply anti-democratic.

    Lying, and bad deals which dominate a national government committed to power, is nothing new – read a history book. What makes this government different, is the complete and dedicated use of dirty tricks to hold that power. Coupled with a utter lack of morality.

    • ropata 2.1

      They have an awesome PR machine and FJK is legendary at pulling the wool

      • adam 2.1.1

        Civilised society would call that propaganda, with a masterful propagandist.

        • Jones 2.1.1.1

          Aye, it’s propaganda, courtesy of Crosby Textor. Most Governments indulge in it to some extent but this National Government has taken it to another level. It’s cynical, patronising and contemptuous towards the people of NZ. It’s behaviour more akin to despots and tyrants.

          For me the Rubicon was crossed the moment John Key became leader of the National Party. Knowing his real background, I had, to quote numerous Star Wars characters, “a bad feeling about this”.

  3. Clemgeopin 3

    Yesterday Labour published documents obtained under the Official Information Act.

    It is now clear:

    * Mr Al Khalaf had been disaffected for over six years. He had never issued any proceeding against the New Zealand Government. It seems clear he had no legal cause of action.

    * There is no evidence in any of the papers released that the Minister or MFAT had any legal advice from their own department or Crown Law to the contrary.

    * Mr Al Khalaf was influential in Saudi Arabia, linked to the Saudi Minister of Agriculture, and frustrating progress on the Gulf Cooperation Council Free Trade Agreement.

    * Mr McCully wanted to advance the trade agreement by obtaining the cooperation of Mr Al Khalaf.

    * The papers released this week record that McCully said “he would not want any (financial) contributions to be treated as compensation as this would involve a plethora of lawyers and bureaucrats”.

    * Mr McCully deliberately misrepresented the payments made to the Al Khalaf group.

    * The contract dated 19 February 2013 was drafted so as to pretend the $4 million cash payment was for good value for services and intellectual property. It was not.

    * Mr McCully did not obtain Cabinet approval for the $4 million payment, despite Treasury advice that he should have. Cabinet was only asked to note the payment.

    * Mr McCully then hid the $4 million payment from New Zealanders for over two years.

    * The true nature of the $6 million demonstration farm was also misrepresented. In reality this was primarily to buy the co-operation of the Al Khalaf group, not to demonstrate New Zealand technology.

    * The same is true of the $1.5 million spent on flying sheep.

    Read lots more here under the heading, ‘The Saudi Sheep Files’
    by David Parker on August 11, 2015

    http://campaign.labour.org.nz/saudi_sheep

  4. ropata 4

    National: the party of back room deals for their big business mates, and nothing for the ordinary kiwi (except bullshit flag campaigns)

    • tc 4.1

      Dunno the sheeple are now reaping the benefits of over 2 terms of smashing the public service, health, education, social welfare etc combined with flogged off state assets and outsourced services to such fun loving folk like serco.

      Ahhh the blighted future.

  5. Stephen 5

    Maybe the left’s metaphor about this govt should be, “By crooks, for crooks”

  6. Disabled Liberation Aotearoa NZ DLANZ 6

    Thank you Mickey as I watched this myself yesterday. You are quite right, this is about the integrity of the Highest Court in the land and should not be dismissed. Citizens give their trust in a Sovereign and in turn the Sovereign is expected to show integrity….a rule of thumb from Disabled’s ground-level theory.

    Quite frankly John Key is not the first Prime Minister to color in a story, to avoid a truth, But his reign including Environmental Catastrophes, Asset Sales to Starving Kids have been smeared by terms like ‘Operational ,Matters and Commercial Sensitivity’ to drag the chain, so profits can gain…to use a poem.

    DLANZ believe the Governor General should not take any more advice from this Cabinet before signing on any upcoming legislation as the integrity is flawed.

    Regards and keep smiling

    Doug Hay
    Cordinator DLANZ

  7. wyndham 7

    The NZ Labour Party desperately needs a revamp of whomsoever those people are that frame Parliamentary questions. I suspect that Hooton may be proved correct in saying that if the Labour Party can’t unseat McCully on the Saudi issue then they will be ‘inept’. The questions asked of the PM by Little yesterday came nowhere near probing deeper into the matter; in fact the final supplementary gave Key all he needed to verbally demolish Little (to much applause from the right). It seems to me that the questions are phrased in smart -alec terms to score cheap points rather than to penetrate the bullshit. Instead of the questioner attacking the answer to the last question, he merely goes on to the next prepared question on his printed sheet and the point is lost. Pathetic.
    Why don’t they realise that they are up against one one the best BS’ers that NZ has seen for a very long time ?

    • mickysavage 7.1

      There is no chance of Key sacking McCully. He is too deeply involved. I am not sure why we should think that words are going to work. Key’s daily use of them shows he has no interest in what they mean.

      • freedom 7.1.1

        mislead
        mɪsˈliːd/
        verb: cause (someone) to have a wrong idea or impression.

        I know it’s trite, but….The PM is right, McCully did not mislead Cabinet.
        Cabinet knew exactly what was going on.

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1

          The misleading applies to Parliament not cabinet and the people of NZ and, I believe, is actually a crime.

          • freedom 7.1.1.1.1

            “misleading” applies to all of the above Draco and that McCully is still employed by this Government is mind numbing. You should know me well enough by now to realise there was a thirty foot tall flashing neon SARC tag accommodating my previous comment 🙂

      • wyndham 7.1.2

        So the opposition is forced to the last resort of going to the Auditor-general. That can take months and by the time a result is released everybody has moved on.
        This doesn’t spell democracy to me; maybe I’m naive but I remember a time when my country wasn’t led by a bunch of wheeler-dealer wide boys. Led by a schoolyard liar.

    • Anne 7.2

      My concern is not the questions being asked, but by their responses to John Key’s answers. Take for example yesterday at question time. Once again Key zeroed in on Phil Goff as the person responsible for the mess. No sign of Phil Goff. Is he in the debating chamber? Is he even in Wellington? Where is he? Why does he not respond? Almost everyday Key is lying to the House, lying to the media, lying to the country yet Labour doesn’t have the nous to come out and say so. It should be up there in big neon signs:

      “The Prime minister is a liar”. He is lying to you all the time. He’s a liar,liar,liar… ”

      In other words, play Key’s game in reverse. Say it often enough and people will come to recognise it is true because in this case it IS true.

      • wyndham 7.2.1

        Yes, agree with your points Anne. But isn’t it maddening ?!
        The Labour Party have been gifted so many issues of late but there seems to be no drive, no spirit and most of all, no coherence. My observations of question time puts James Shaw streets ahead when it comes to asking searching questions. A better PR team ?

        • Karen 7.2.1.1

          I don’t know what has gone wrong with Labour. Ever since a week or two before the budget they have not been performing very well in the house and outside the house they aren’t much better.

          For a while after Little became leader they were doing well ;there seemed to be a lot of energy and they seemed more united than I’d seen them since Helen left.
          They still are managing the united front, but there is no energy, no spark with few exceptions.

          Phil Twyford was doing really well until the Asian name debacle (and I am not trying to raise this issue again) but has been very quiet since. David Parker is doing okay on the sheepgate story, but in the house there really is nobody working out what Key is likely to say in response to the questioning and going in for the kill. Why not say he is lying and get kicked out for non-parliamentary language? At least this would make the news.

        • Jones 7.2.1.2

          The Parliamentary system is built on an expectation of representatives being honourable. Could it be that John Key’s outrageous and brazen lying and deceit keep catching the opposition out?

          It’s hard to nail a story when the “facts” keep changing. Like frogs being boiled, is it possible those who have been there too long can’t tell the difference now between fact and fiction? Or are they just still “honourable” towards John Key because them’s the rules? When John Key deserves nothing of the sort because he is nothing of the sort.

          Is it possible, James Shaw and others new representatives, like Marama Fox, being new to the fold haven’t been fully indoctrinated yet and may still be able to call it properly? Are they the ones to take John Key down?

          Nah… just idle postulation… more wishful than anything else… it’s way bigger than that.

          • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1.2.1

            Or are they just still “honourable” towards John Key because them’s the rules?

            IMO< it's because them’s the rules. It’s ridiculous but in parliament you’re not allowed to call out another MP for lying even when they are. It looks like National are using this against NZ and the opposition. National are excellent rules players.

            • gsays 7.2.1.2.1.1

              hi draco, are there rules for calling someone slippery? bribe minister?

              surely if there is a war of the metaphor, the ptb provide a rich source of material.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I believe it’s something like: Cannot call a member of the House into disrepute. So, yeah, even calling them slippery could be brought up by the rules/tradition*.

                * A lot of things done in parliament is done because of tradition and not because of rules. A lot of times when National does something unexpected and immoral in the House it’s because they’ve decided to trounce tradition but they haven’t actually broken any rules.

                • Pat

                  members may not be able tocall other MPs liar in the house,(where a corrupt Speaker rules) however does that extend to outside the house ? I would suggest not…and it certainly dosnt extend to the media, provided of course they have the defence of truth.

      • Tracey 7.2.2

        And Shaw has the idea… use shonkey to describe everything so the name sits. Not the PM is shonkey but…

        his reply, the policy, the mess , the issue…

      • ianmac 7.2.3

        Anne. During Question Time there is no way that the Opposition can respond to allegations like those levelled at Goff. Can only ask questions and not make rebuttal statements especially with this Speaker defending the Government.
        Maybe in todays’s General Debate but by then the House is nearly empty.

        • Anne 7.2.3.1

          Yes ianmac, I realise they are limited inside the debating chamber, but they can call him “a liar” (nothing less) when being interviewed outside the chamber, in meeting halls… anywhere.

          “the prime minister is being dishonest when he says blah, blah , blah” doesn’t cut the mustard. The term to make people sit up and take notice is… liar.

          It shouldn’t be this way of course. But we have a nation of political zombies and the obvious has to to be pointed out to them time and again.

          • RedLogix 7.2.3.1.1

            Well maybe it’s because whenever Labour do attack – the machine trots out the ‘Labour being negative and nasty’ metaphor.

            • Anne 7.2.3.1.1.1

              Hi Redlogix.

              I assailed a Labour MP around 10 years ago about it (won’t say who it was) and was given a sniffy PC response along the lines… we don’t do ‘mongrel’ in the Labour Party. I wasn’t suggesting for a moment they should turn mongrel… just show a bit more nous and aggression when responding to National’s claims. It was a good example of how some Labour MPs regarded themselves as superior to us ordinary members and weren’t prepared to listen to us.

              It depends on how it’s done. Little’s bold “cut the crap John Key” was a prime example how it should be done. We haven’t seen anything close to that since.

              • RedLogix

                I don’t know.

                Immediately in the days after that cut the crap line, we saw them trot out the ‘Angry Andy’ metaphor. They were on to it instantly.

                The job of the Opposition is to hold Govt to account, and that means attacking and doing mongrel. But this National govt very cleverly neuters that role by sneering it as negative and nasty. And a compliant media machine repeats the meme on high rotation.

                Which is a sneer on the very way our democracy is supposed to work.

                • Anne

                  Yes, you’re right but I still think they have to persevere with a much more aggressive response to the C/T created memes. I had the impression the Angry Andy metaphor didn’t have quite the same resonance as it would have had say… 12 months ago. I suspect Waitakere man and woman are not quite so gullible as they used to be. I sure hope I’m right.

                • mickysavage

                  I think the attack depends on how people are feeling about things. If their land value is increasing and they have a job and people feel pretty confident then they will tolerate a lot.

                  National has had the benefit of coming in when things were really bad and ruling when things improved. And two major earthquakes and the Christchurch rebuild has kept things humming. So people are willing to tolerate Wellington games.

                  The downturn is hitting National hard. Having a joker as your leader is fine when things are good but people are going to hate him if things are bad.

                  I just realised the UK conservative line was that they inherited an economic problem. National is using a variant of this, that they inherited a governance problem.

                  • RedLogix

                    You may well be perfectly right ms – but does the left have to rely on economic downturns in order to be electable?

                    I know that isn’t what you meant to say – but it is one logical interpretation.

                    • mickysavage

                      Cheers RL I am saying that in times of economic upturns it is really hard to remove a Government and Key has been lucky in that his time in power has been during a time of upturn. Helen Clark also had this benefit although in 2008 things looked grim and she suffered the consequence although not as bad as it could be.

                      Economic downturns are a natural consequence of right wing rule. They cannot help but give favours to their mates and tax cuts to the wealthy even though it makes no sense.

                    • AmaKiwi

                      RedLogix

                      “Does the left have to rely on economic downturns in order to be electable?”

                      Sort of.

                      200 years of data demonstrates that in a strongly positive social mood even the worst incumbents get re-elected. When the shit hits the fan, even the most competent leaders get tossed out. Helen didn’t stand a chance in 2008 because of the GFC. Key might get the boot in a sideways market (now). But National will absolutely, positively get trashed if it gets seriously worse. These authors were statistically thorough.

                      Interested? Contact the Socionomics Institute and ask for a downloadable copy of:

                      “Social Mood, Stock Market Performance, and U.S. Presidential Elections” by Prechter, Goel, Parker, and Lambert (Socionomics Institute, copyright 2012)

      • Rob 7.2.4

        Absolutely agree, he even lies about his lies
        Labour should call his lies lies so they create doubt to all his followers
        When he falls he will go quickly and the carnage left will be for us all to wear.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.2.5

        +1

        Labour need to stop being nice and start pointing out the truth – that National and Key are lying. And they need to do that every time they have proof that Key and National are lying.

        Stop the pussy-footing around FFS.

        • sirpat 7.2.5.1

          exactly….+100000……………labour needs to get a healthy dose of mongrel dealing with these bastards…..all they are achieving is to look like pussy footing dicks

      • Ffloyd 7.2.6

        How can they get anywhere when they are shut down so comprehensively by the speaker at every turn. Under key everything is just a farce.

    • Chch_chiquita 7.3

      But even if specific questions are asked he never answers, does he? He is giving ‘an answer’ that has nothing to do with the question and the speaker allows it. The only way I see for them to demonstrate the pathetic nature of the process at its current state is for the opposition to repeat the question again and again until they are asked to leave and then they should all rise and go out.

  8. Tracey 8

    She pushed him hard on his “Labour got us into it”but eventually she let him do it. I am waiting for the day when one says

    “well PM if you are not going to address the question, or provide evidence for your assertion labour caused this problem, I am afraid we will have to leave it there.”

    • tc 8.1

      Not gunna happen, RNZ is an extension of the nat PR machine.

      One semi decent interview that failed to nail him over his non answers in amongst the many many patsy soapboxes provided to govt ministers, spin merchants like Hooten etc.

      We all know what should happen but under griffin at RNZ it’s not.

    • Jones 8.2

      The moment that happens, he won’t go on National Radio again.

      I recall Kim Hill grilling John Key when she stood in for a few weeks on Morning Report (can’t find a link… sorry). It was a lesson for all the pretender presenters on how to interview. John Key packed a sad… didn’t come back to National Radio for months…

    • ianmac 8.3

      Tracey @ 8.”We will have to leave it there.”
      This would suit Key well. I don’t think he wants to be on Morning Report but prefers his frequent commercial Radio stints knowing that no hard questions will be asked. He regards Radio National as Left Wingish and that listeners will be Left Voters.
      Soon they will move to close National Radio following the Fijian example.

      • Tracey 8.3.1

        I don’t think it would ianmac. he uses media to spin his message (as do most politicians) . IF he was told three times (as Fergusen did) to front with facts to back is assertion about Labour and then did not. 3 times. So she said let’s leave it there if you are not prepared to answer our questions or provide proof of your assertions… the less than die hard supporters would begin to question…

        Instead she let him bully her to say what he wanted, which was to spread lies (yes it is a lie unless and until he can front with evidence of his assertion) and avoid responsibility for a very shonkey deal.

        IF he cannot spread his lies or is made to look like he can’t back his statements, those other than BM types will question…

  9. aerobubble 9

    Profit driven hurts everyone http://www.slate.com/content/slate/articles/health_and_science/tillamook/2015/07/dairy_done_right_landscape.html

    The GFC changed the global economy as its due to peak oil and climate pollution requiring more nuance than the simplistic era of cheapening high density fuels.

    National have mess up, how can you tell? It started justifying itself by that benchmark.
    National and Key wont be kicked out until Labour can show National completely
    Misread the global economy, stimulating housing through immigratin changes, destroying diversity of the economy by supporting higher dollar cheap exports of dairy, failing to rework the tax system given the new reality of debt instead bailing out over exposed kiwis and watching while they doubled down again on more unproductive hosing speculation.

    • Jones 9.1

      The global economy will have to collapse then. Finance is a confidence game so confidence in system needs to be lost.

      The problem is the central banks and other “lenders of last resort” can keep spinning this out for awhile yet. Right now, there is a general looting going on for anything of tangible value and the bankers will keep doubling down until someone balks.

      It’s a casino mentally and probably why John Key gets on so well with them chaps at Sky City… they understand each others game.

      • aerobubble 9.1.1

        Money is a act of faith. Take the push to war tv serious, navy boats, ground troops in arabic areas, the neolibs want us to goto war for their benefit. Its classic, elites find faith in some artifical totem and when it stops delivering their ends means our kids fight their wars to keep their world view. Profit at any cost is killing our planet, our species and it starts by crushing our collective culture with lies.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.2

      Is this supposed to be in OM?

  10. Olwyn 10

    People will start taking Key’s obfuscations seriously when they come to see what he is doing as harmful rather than helpful. To show this you need a context – otherwise challenges come across as niggling over details without really taking up the gauntlet. Brian Gould places the sheep saga within the context of NZ leaving itself dangerously at the mercy of much larger economies – Labour MP’s would do well to take note.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11495479

    On China and Fonterra: Low dairy prices will force the sale of a number of farms to foreign owners… Nor is it just the ownership of the physical product that has passed into foreign and often Chinese hands. The decision to allow non-farmer ownership of “units” (or, in other words, shares) in Fonterra has meant that we must now face the prospect of a significant part of the income stream from our most important industry to pass into private and often foreign hands.

    On the TPP: We have, it seems, spent months making concessions in the hope that the US will at some point deign to offer a deal on dairy produce, with little evidence that such an outcome is at all likely. In instances like these, we over-estimate our ability to hold our own against the interests of much more powerful economies and over-state the degree of trust we can repose in them as economic partners.

    On the Saudi deal: We appear to have traded away our corruption-free record and reputation for the sake of a payback that didn’t materialise. “Naivety” doesn’t really cover it, does it.

    • aerobubble 10.1

      Five dollars, up from three. Never saw it coming, sixty six percent jump in medication costs. Preloaded concession? Unpalatable policies fousted on us out of the blue due to backroom tpp talks.

  11. joe90 11

    BM, Gos, Puck, Biscuit……

    • mickysavage 11.1

      BM and Gos are over at the Free Beer for all post. Even they realise that there is no defence to #sheepgate …

      • CnrJoe 11.1.1

        Yo – delete this – but you write
        “Last August, the New Zealand Minister of Agriculture [David Carter] stated on the Government television channel in New Zealand (TVNZ1) that “As a Minister I don’t like this trade to come back, and it will not come back”. Furthermore the CEO of the Ministry of Agriculture in New Zealand has confirmed to us many times that the statement of the Minister put an end to any deliberation or discussion of this subject.

        Since your honourable government has put an end to this subject through the honourable Minister of Agriculture, so why do you proceed with discussions with the Saudi Government? Is this the way to begin a free trade agreement with the Saudi Government?

        Is that clear enough? The blockage to the trade deal was caused by John Carter publicly ruling……”

        I’m seeing two different Carters here s’all

        [Ta fixed – MS]

        • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 11.1.1.1

          I do realise there is no defence to sheepgate*. This (and the Skycity convention centre) is what happens when the government thinks it should control parts of the economy it has no business being involved in.

          Which is why, when you hear a politician complaining that the government is doing nothing to diversify our economy, you should kick him or her in the genitals.

          *There is also no defence to calling it sheepgate. I long for a scandal involving an actual gate, so it can be called gategate.

          • RedLogix 11.1.1.1.1

            Negotiating Free Trade Deals (as does animal welfare for that matter) still falls into the provenance of government. Or are you arguing that even that should be privatised?

            • aerobubble 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Its not free trade, its the creation of trading blocks that lower some trade barriers. Free trade zones are just trading blocks, just as nations were, but these new tading blocks have none of the safe guards of democracies, rather are geared solely to serve the lordly world class.

          • freedom 11.1.1.1.2

            “the government thinks it should control parts of the economy it has no business being involved in.”

            The Government has no business in regulating the treatment of animals in commercial enterprises ? ?? ???

            ok, in the next presentation of How Gormless Sees The World –Water – why it isn’t needed
            Tshirts available in the foyer.

          • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.1.3

            And the RWNJ comes out with the BS.

            This (and the Skycity convention centre) is what happens when the government thinks it should control parts of the economy it has no business being involved in.

            This isn’t about the government looking to control the economy but this government acting unethically in making immoral deals.

            Which is why, when you hear a politician complaining that the government is doing nothing to diversify our economy, you should kick him or her in the genitals.

            This may come as a surprise but it’s actually the governments job to define the market through regulation. Define it well and diversification will follow. Throw the definition out through ‘free-trade’ deals and what you get is decreasing diversity and over dependence upon commodities – exactly as has happened to NZ.

            • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 11.1.1.1.3.1

              Fuck, you’re hard to please. I said there’s no defending it. I don’t like it. I don’t want them doing anything.

  12. Tautoko Mangō Mata 12

    I agree with Felix Geiringer’s tweet:”NZ is in the midst of a constitutional crises. Our democratic systems assume an honest Cabinet that takes responsibility for its actions.”

  13. NZJester 13

    Nationals biggest lie they started the moment they got into power was they inherited a financial mess from Labour. Labour governments are the ones who keep getting the real financial messes from their previous National governments who love to borrow and it has always been Labour governments that have paid off their debts.
    They actually inherited a country with a good tax and SOE money stream and the previously high National government borrowed overseas government debt virtually gone.
    The first thing they did was to mess that all up by cutting the taxes to the rich and borrowing money again to be able to do it. Then latter on they for some fast cash to fund more bad financial practices they meddled with another important cash flow Labour left them by partly selling off the assets that have been making us money.
    They took a nicely balanced budget and pushed it into the red not for the benefit of the NZ people but only for the benefit of their financial backers.
    They claim it was Labour’s fault for not having a surplus they could use.
    Surpluses are something profit driven business need to make their owners money, a good not for profit entity such as New Zealand runs best on a balanced budget!
    If you are running a county with a lot of surplus cash being banked you are ripping the people of that country off.

    • mickysavage 13.1

      You did not read the post did you. Notice the UK conservative line is identical to the NZ line. And you are parroting it. And if Labour did not bank the surplus and pay off debt we would be in Greece like territory right now.

  14. Incognito 14

    Please don’t get me wrong, but I was looking forward to reading more on the use of metaphors and linguistics in political discourse.

    The cognitive linguist Professor George Lakoff has written many interesting things about this and this Wikipedia section is worth a read.

    For example:

    ”Lakoff further argues that one of the reasons liberals have had difficulty since the 1980s is that they have not been as aware of their own guiding metaphors, and have too often accepted conservative terminology framed in a way to promote the strict father metaphor.” [this obviously refers to US politics]

    and:

    ”Among his activities with the Institute, which concentrates in part on helping liberal candidates and politicians with re-framing political metaphors …” [the Rockridge Institute]

    I really enjoyed reading his Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things – What Categories Reveal About the Mind but it was hard going!

    The use, abuse (and misuse!) of language is a topic close to my heart and only yesterday I wrote a rather convoluted comment about this.

    I agree with Anne @ 7.2.3.1.1.1 that “Little’s bold “cut the crap John Key” was a prime example how it should be done. We haven’t seen anything close to that since.”

    • RedLogix 14.1

      A topic close to mine as well.

      I’d write more on it if I felt better informed. I did read Lakoff a while back and started on a long video – but far too often they examples they use feel either foreign or a little too naff to be powerful.

      Yet reading the media it’s everywhere; but slippery to grasp.

      • Incognito 14.1.1

        It should be close to everyone’s heart; after all, language not only is important for communication with others but it also underlies how we think (‘internal communication’) and thus how we feel and behave!

        Please allow me to indulge in a couple of quotes from Philip K. Dick:

        ”The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them.”

        ”There exists, for everyone, a sentence – a series of words – that has the power to destroy you. Another sentence exists, another series of words, that could heal you. If you’re lucky you will get the second, but you can be certain of getting the first.”

  15. Smilin 15

    Isnt the argument really about animal rights in the very short sighted agreement to engage in an obviously bad trade practice which was bound to be seen for what it is graft by NZ to secure monetary gain by kissin the butts of the Saudis because its the casualties of the animals that matters and in the end the whole idea of live sheep trade is about as silly as scientific program to make sheep eat sand and become food.

  16. Finbar 16

    Why is not Labour climbing into getting rid of mc Cully.Some past shonky dealing on their behalf holding them back.mcCully should be gone and a bye election taking place.

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