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Snouts in the trough

Written By: - Date published: 3:57 pm, November 16th, 2008 - 68 comments
Categories: act - Tags:

No Right Turn blogs on the National/ACT coalition agreement. Of particular interest is the clause he’s pulled out that shows ACT will be funded by the taxpayer for consultants and research:

To enable ACT to make a substantive contribution to the government’s programme, it will have adequate access to funding, in a bulk form or for specific projects, to enable it to commission contract research or other consultancy assistance. The terms of such funding will be a matter for the Leadership Council to decide.

Nanny state anyone?

68 comments on “Snouts in the trough”

  1. Scalia 1

    Oh please like the left don’t roll around and have orgies in the trough.

  2. Anita 2

    It’s slightly weird that only ACT and National will make up the Leadership Council, where do the Māori Party and Dunne fit in?

  3. IrishBill 3

    Scalia, I think you’ve missed the point I was making which is by taking state funding ACT is engaging in hypocrisy. It appears Rodney might be the new bauble boy.

  4. Are we to take it that The Standard has a problem with Nanny State?

    It might pay though to understand what the term means.

    Nanny state is the term used to refer to paternalism, when the government makes decisions and interferes with the life and liberty of law abiding citizens on the grounds that such citizens cannot make the right choices for themselves.

    Contracting out research is standard government practice and is not nanny statism.

    Anita the announcement of the terms of the deal with the Maori Party and United Future will be made shortly.

    [government contracting out research for political parties is not normal practice. I thought the Right wanted less government action in other groups’ business. But like Irish says, its snouts at the trough time. SP]

  5. the sprout 5

    I wouldn’t mind if the money was for genuine research that would be received in good faith by its commissioners to help inform their decisions, but it’ll go instead toward PR-oriented ‘think tanks’ to provide plausible defences of dubious policies.

  6. Jono 6

    Owen McShane’s firing up the coal-fired barbie already, Sprout!

  7. Tigger 7

    I’m smelling high paying consultancy jobs for ACT friends and supporters…

    It does seem ironic that Rodney will be slashing this type of work by government departments then turning around and doing it himself.

    IrishBill – I’m now going to call Rodney Bauble Boy every time I see him. I’ve already dubbed Key The Prime Tosser. The Prime Tosser and Bauble Boy – the new scourge of the Left!

  8. Anita 8


    The detail of the Māori Party agreement has been released. As far as I can see there is no mention of the Leadership Council.

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    ACT did lot’s of research on Winnie the dingbatt, not sure who paid for that.

    Their policy all looks like slogans.

    ergo it looks like Hide is going to be the minister of mouthing off. Very positive and aspirational.

  10. Both National and ACT have violently opposed any moves towards public funding of political parties. Now ACT is going to get that as part of its coalition agreement. Whichever way you look at it, it’s grossly hypocritical.

  11. TimeWarp 11

    Rodney IS the new bauble boy.

    I used to admire ACT for their principles. Not necessarily like them, but admire them. They stood for strong fiscal and monetary discipline, although they took good general principles and pushed them to extreme illogical conclusions with almost religious fervour.

    The problem that they had was an apparent void of social conscience at the same time. They talked of the benefits of economic policy to all New Zealanders. But with Rogernomics, and with their philosophical approach subsequently, it didn’t matter how much social pain their ‘medicine’ caused. The irony of their current anti-crime stance is that a sure way to create crime in the longer term is create that sort of pain in the short term that we saw with both Rogernomics and Ruthenasia.

    When you have strong principles that you follow blindly, combined with an almost sociopathical lack of conscience, the results in the extreme are the likes of what Pol Pot executed in Cambodia.

    So you might guess I have never been an ACT fan – but I have at least in the past believed they were highly principled.

    Now it appears they have sold out their economic principles. Key has a mindless approach to the finances, as most evidenced in the “Think Big” broadand infrastructure policy. Hide himself has said “Key is often to the left of Clark”. Given I don’t believe he was talking about social policy, it is fiscal and economic differences he is referring to. But it doesn’t appear to worry him that Key is looser with our dollars despite years of attacking Cullen as profligate.

    At the same time there’s no compelling evidence they have developed any sort of social conscience. So they have at least abandoned – if not sold out – of economic principle, but still lack any social fibre and policy.

    They are the ultimate hollow men – standing for nothing except the world’s two most banal, cliched slogans of “three strikes and you’re out” and “Emissions Trading Scam”.

  12. gobsmacked 12

    Well, what a surprise – the five-headed monster is already biting itself:

    National in its agreement with ACT has agreed for a cabinet committee to go through budgets to see if money was being well spent.

    It was also setting up task forces to look wider government spending to see if it was effective.

    Mrs Turia showed this could be one area of tension between the two parties, when she indicated she would not take kindly to her spending responsibilities being examined by a taskforce.

    “I can’t imagine anybody from the private sector to come into an office and go through the budget line by line to be able to tell us what we should or should not be doing,” Mrs Turia said.

    She said her party was very close to its constituents and had given undertakings about how it would operate.

    “That doesn’t include political parties who may think they know better than us.”

    So the happy harmony lasted about as long as a Black Caps innings.

  13. bill brown 13

    Well the MP was basically bribed by the Nats to come into the tent:

    “smile agreeably and we won’t take away your seats”

  14. Alan 14

    Now that Rheinfeld Rodney has his feet under the table he will very quickly fall victim to the same hubris Winston did – over-bearing pride (pomposity). Mind you he still has to attempt to release his master – Nosferatu Roger to spread economic malaise throughout the State.

  15. MikeG 15

    We now have FIVE ministers outside cabinet – ACT x 2, Maori x 2, UF x 1 – that seems a rather large proportion of Ministers who won’t come under the collective-Cabinet responsibility.
    Edit: sorry, this was really intended for the previous thread.

  16. John BT 16

    For Members of Parliament to get state funding certainly does sound rather shifty to me.
    Is there any way we could stop it?
    Perhaps we could have another election.

  17. Ianmac 17

    Madeleine: I don’t care what it is called. Nanny State? Paternalism, Private Enterprise? The fact that a Political Party can be provided with the tax-payers money to carry out a policy is plain wrong. How about paying the CTU to find ways of promoting higher member-ship numbers?

  18. MikeG: all support party Ministers outside Cabinet are covered by cabinet colective responsibility in relation to their portfolio areas. Which is all they need.

  19. gobsmacked 19

    Mike G said: “We now have FIVE ministers outside cabinet – ACT x 2, Maori x 2, UF x 1”

    And they’re covering twelve different portfolios.

    I love the idea that Heather Roy (Education) and Pita Sharples (Education) will be expressing the same view on the government’s education policy.

  20. bill brown 20

    Heather gets decile 6-10, Sharples gets 1-5

  21. the sprout 21

    “So the happy harmony lasted about as long as a Black Caps innings”

    True. At least the Clark-led coalitions made a decent show of getting along with each other, right up to election time.

    The public will weary very quickly of internal squabbling. Let’s see what sort of a statesman Mr Key really is.

  22. gobsmacked 22

    applause for Bill Brown!

  23. gingercrush 23

    “True. At least the Clark-led coalitions made a decent show of getting along with each other, right up to election time.”

    Oh yes Alliance were easy-going leading up to the 2002 election.

    Hmm how strange but I actually agree with Irishbill and the left on this one. Though I’m not sure Nanny state was the best use of term.

    As to the internal squabbling. We’ll see. Seems to be a matter of a difference of opinion. And just curious but where did you get that from Gobsmacked?

  24. MikeG 24

    Bill Brown – lol, lol, lol !!

  25. John BT 25

    Is Bill Brown being racist per chance?

  26. gobsmacked 26

    Gingercrush – from Stuff.co.nz or NBR online. Links often get caught in moderation, so I generally avoid them.

    Anyway, back to the burgeoning bureaucracy: the agreement with Peter Dunne is now out, and the Families Commission stays.

    Plus, we get a Big Game Hunting Council (Gerry Brownlee?). No, I am not making this up.

    (details on Stuff website)

    [lprent: Have a read of How do I put links in the comments cleanly. That will usually avoid the spam trap]

  27. Sorry to be off topic here but I can’t link to the “first cut” post I get a lot of garbage.

    [lprent: Interesting. It looks like I’ve found the source of the KB garbage problem. No – not the posted content, the occasional flurry of binary it sends. Looks like it is the accelerator cache…]

  28. TimeWarp 28

    “Plus, we get a Big Game Hunting Council (Gerry Brownlee?).”

    Oh great, looks like we get our own Dick Cheney…

  29. Quoth the Raven 29

    Except Dick Cheney was in better health.

  30. RedLogix 30

    Plus, we get a Big Game Hunting Council

    The first objective of these guys will be to stop the use of 1080, so that deer numbers return to easy hunting levels.

    Of course all the desirable alternatives to 1080 are more expensive, and with the razor gang no doubt having a good old slash at DOC, and Hide hacking at the Regional Councils, there will be no money for them either.

    So a decade of hard won progress getting possum numbers down and native bird numbers up, could well be put at risk.

    Another area that will likely see a dramatic reversal of policy will be the High Country Accord and High Country Tenure Review. The Labour govt made valuable progress in this area; in all likelihood much of it will be lost in a burnoff lit by Fed Farmers.

  31. gingercrush 31

    I support the Big Game Hunting Council. My own father is a hunter. But at the same time I too hope its not just an excuse to do away with 1080. I’m surprised at the reaction in regards to the hunting council.

    Is it anti-hunting sentiments, fear over exactly what the council will look at or a bit of both?

  32. bill brown 32

    gcrush, you support anything that Nactional do. You don’t even have to bother telling us, we’ll just take it as read.

  33. randal 33

    welll whipty doo for dad
    go and hunt me up a feed woman
    can yad o that or you just fulla shit
    , (specially for hs)

  34. Oops, I meant the first test.

  35. gingercrush 35

    Sheesh and you accuse the right of trolling. And actually I don’t agree with everything National does. And unlike you lot, when Labour was in power I did agree with some things.

  36. bill brown 36

    g – crush – is – a – machine

    a nactional agreeing and explaining machine!

    I think I preferred bad Rob – at least his love for JK was sincere if unrequited

  37. TimeWarp 37

    Don’t give GC too much of a hard time. I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of what he says, but at least he contributes in a reasonably constructive, conversational manner rather than just throwing lines out.

  38. bobo 38

    hopefully Rodney Hide getting the redtape portfolio will shut him up a bit, thats one of the positive things to come out of labour losing the election..

  39. TimeWarp 39

    I’m just amazed at the flow of interaction on this site – in particular the random pot-shots fired by the likes of John BT.

    I expected some response to my post above – the reference to Pol Pot while demonstrably valid was intentionally provactive, but the overall comments I put some thought into constructing what I hoped was some well-articulated and challenging thoughts.

    I thought some ACT supporters might engage in some response.

    But… each time I post some analysis of this sort, it’s by-passed. Seems the John BT’s of the world just want to indulge in slanging matches, sloganeering and “we one, you lost, eat it” chest-beating.

    [lprent: Yeah eventually they do it enough that I notice, classify as trolls, and moderate or ban. To me a troll doesn’t participate, or they start doing something stupid like self-allocating points to themselves, or… Well they usually find out and have to get themselves another identity. So far this one is being less stupid that the normal run. But they do tend to avoid talking about anything of any significance. Sometimes they have even been known to drop out of the idiot KB mode and actually contribute.]

  40. randal 40

    they are c/t programmed machines
    trained to ignore anything except theline that has been fed into them
    they have very small algorithms

  41. bobo 41

    Timewarp – I disagree that Act are a highly principled party , their policies contradict themselves with a market will solve everything dribble 30 point plan sounding like a weight loss infomercial. Rodney after the 05 election went AWOL on an ego bender dancing with the stars jamboree, if any average Joe blogs working in mainstream NZ asked for a 3 month paid leave, the boss would say yeah and don’t come back. What still astounds me was that in a poll he came up as one of the most trustworthy politicians , no wonder most of the Bluechips, Equity corp cowboys of the world do so well here, taking hard earned money of Kiwi’s is like taking candy of a baby..

  42. sweeetdisorder 42


    you still here? I thought you had been banned as a result of producing a sum total of nothing to any debate,.

    [lprent: Ummm pot and kettle]

  43. Scalia 43

    IrishBill if that’s hypocrisy then so is ACT standing for parliament. An MP’s salary is state funde, yet you still see even the Libertarianz standing for office.

    ACT stands for less government. Like all political machines they have to be pragmatic, they have to engage in the system to change it. It doesn’t mean they like it, it doesn’t make them hypocrites.

  44. John BT 44

    A Big Game Hunting Council sounds a bit silly to me but I am sure that nice Mr Key Knows what he is doing.
    One thing I do know a bit about is possums and 1080. The lefties on this site think I know diddly about politics so possums it is.
    In the late 1970s that nasty Mr Muldoon increased the withholding tax rate for possum skins from 7.5% to 25%. The drop in the number of possum hunters was even more dramatic. It is possible, in my opinion, that some of these people could have been avoiding their tax obligations. Bastards.
    At the same time the govt, lead by the afore mentioned nasty Mr Muldoon, started spending a lot of money on 1080.
    However, the effectiveness of this left a lot to be desired. (Personal experience).
    I doubt if things have changed.
    I do know that 1080 kills a lot of animals and birds that are not part of the plan.
    I also know that 1080 does not kill as many possums as claimed and we are the only country in the world still using it.
    It would also be nice if we had more bambis to shoot, so maybe Mr Key does know what he is doing.

  45. Macro 45

    I think I’ll just wave the rellies good bye, pack up and head off to Aussie.

  46. TimeWarp 46

    Bobo – I said they used to be principled. Parliament over the years has gone to their heads, and recently an opportunity in cabinet more so.

    The thing that really surprises me is Roger – who it appeared had maintained his principles, and therefore distanced himself from dancing Rodney – selling out for a backbench position.

  47. John BT 47

    Timewarp, you are right (so to speak) about me indulging myself in chest beating. Sorry, but I just cant help myself. Even my wife says that if I must play on the computer I should do something more constructive. She suggested porn. God, I love that woman.
    It is just that after so much of Aunty Helen we finally feel free. Or something.
    Sorry, but I dont know what provactive means and ,no you are not well articulated but you might be challenged.
    How do you do those little smiley faces?

    [lprent: look in the FAQ for how to do smilies and all of those other blogging tricks]

    [lprent: Also look at Policy. I just added you to moderation as a probably troll after looking at your comments today. Write a few comments that make you look as if you’re not a troll and we’ll let you out. Of course you can complain (see Ban in the policy)]

  48. RedLogix 48

    However, the effectiveness of this left a lot to be desired. (Personal experience).
    I doubt if things have changed.
    I do know that 1080 kills a lot of animals and birds that are not part of the plan.
    I also know that 1080 does not kill as many possums as claimed and we are the only country in the world still using it.

    Well yes we are the only country in the world cheap enough to be using it. (And we are the only country in the world with a pest possum problem.) There are alternatives, but they cost more and no-one has put their hand up to fund that. (Mainly because a portion of the funding comes from farmers to pay for TB eradication.)

    As for the rest. Well a friend of mine who has 30 years of actual in the field experience is round for dinner as I write. He’s just looked at what your comments about 1080 and snorted with derision.

    The general experience with 1080 is that it does have an unintended by-kill, (especially if the field operators are not competent), but that is now a well proven fact that these losses are more than made up for by reduced predation.

    No-one really likes 1080, not even the guys who use it. But it is the only thing they are funded to use. The real question is this. It’s cheap and easy to rant on about how much you don’t like 1080; but what is your alternative?

    Abandoning eradication altogether would be a huge and costly blunder.

    Trapping is and only ever was part of the answer, even old trappers acknowledge that. (And not a lot of aspirational young folk really want to do it these days.)

    Or spending more on the alternatives to 1080? And if the farmers won’t accept the higher cost, does the taxpayer get to foot the whole of the extra bill?

  49. TimeWarp 49

    Sorry John BT, but it’s not a good look for you to mention porn and beating within the same comments.

  50. Pascal's bookie 50

    Off Topic:

    One sunny day in 2009 an old man approached the White House from across Pennsylvania Avenue, where he’d been sitting on a park bench. He spoke to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said, ‘I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.’

    The Marine looked at the man and said, ‘Sir, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here.’

    The old man said, ‘Okay’ and walked away.

    The following day, the same man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, ‘I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.’

    The Marine again told the man, ‘Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here.’

    The man thanked him and, again, just walked away.

    The third day, the same man approached the White House and spoke to the very same U. S. Marine, saying ‘I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.’

    The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, ‘Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Bush. I’ve told you already that Mr. Bush is no longer the president and no longer resides here. Don’t you understand?’

    The old man looked at the Marine and said,

    ‘Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it.’

    The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, ‘Sir, See you tomorrow Sir.’

  51. Dave 51

    hahahaha @ timewarp nice one lol

    great to have a bit of levity

  52. Quoth the Raven 52

    JohnBT – You say it would be nice if there were more bambis to shoot while talking about the ineffectiveness of 1080 in erradicating possums. I see a contradiction.

  53. randal 53

    I see a dick cheny style event in the making

  54. Ianmac 54

    Pascal” Bookie: funny! 🙂

  55. Ag 55

    “Nanny state is the term used to refer to paternalism, when the government makes decisions and interferes with the life and liberty of law abiding citizens on the grounds that such citizens cannot make the right choices for themselves.”

    It’s been how many hundred years since Leviathan was published, and some people still don’t get it.


  56. Janet 56

    John Key described Steven Joyce on Nat Radio as a ‘high quality individual’. So who would he consider a low quality individual – Rodney?

  57. Anita 57


    The rest of his caucus?

  58. Tigger 58

    In their rush to kiss the hem of Key’s robes the media are lauding how quickly he’s brought together these deals.

    But as others have pointed out the deals are loud on sentiment and quiet on policy. Total recipie for disaster – clearly the devil is in the detail here and once the details start bubbling to the surface it will make for a rocky government. Instead of creating stability, Key is creating chaos. Thanks John, we SO need chaotic government at the moment… Key has rushed this through so he can go meet other leaders and giggle about how he is the Prime Minister – in doing so he’s created a series of problems that will see him out of the top job within two years.

  59. Camryn 59

    The quote given doesn’t say where the funding comes from. You’ve all assumed state. You’re probably right, but it is an assumption.

    It seems likely to me that it’s a slice of the share that would normally go to any “government” and the article makes it clear that ACT will be getting a share as it is a multi-party government.

    Also, the quote clearly does not say that ACT is on any ‘Leadership Council”. It only says what it will do, not who is on it. Could be 100% National for all we know. More likely it is 1-2 leaders from each of the parties that National is cooperating with. The fact that it’s only mentioned in the Act agreement does not given any indication of its composition.

  60. Janet 60

    My bet is that John will go to Peru and realise what great mana Helen had in such international fora, and how disappointed they all are that she was replaced by such a lightweight. I hope he is quizzed on the ETS and he will squirm as he tries to justify NZ’s great leap backwards on climate policy.

    And then having Murray McCully as foreign minister will be the final insult to our international reputation. (At least Winston knew how to charm Condolezza and others of importance, and Helen kept him in check).

    As Linley Boniface describes Key in today’s Dominion – and she’s no leftie – is ‘all smile, no substance’.

  61. Ianmac wrote:
    “The fact that a Political Party can be provided with the tax-payers money to carry out a policy is plain wrong.”

    Um, that’s what people elect them to do; to make their policy promises become reality via the taxpayers purse. I am a libertarian and I get that. What are you, an anarchist?

  62. Shonkey 62

    As Boniface worries in her column today, perhaps we really have elected Forrest Gump.

  63. Thanks Iprent,

    For fixing the bug and the updated smily page. 😀

  64. Ianmac 64

    Shonkey: Thanks for the Boniface link. She says what I think.
    The first part of the 21 Century will in due course be seen as the “Golden Years.”

  65. TimeWarp 65

    “The quote given doesn’t say where the funding comes from. You’ve all assumed state.”

    Where else is it from – Owen Glenn or the Vela brothers?

  66. Janet 66

    Shonkey – that is not really fair to Forrest Gump who was a well-meaning Asperger-like character with a kind heart and no malicious or devious intent at all.

    Although he was often a victim of devious people.

  67. Sjonkey,

    I think that to call leaders who apparently do not have their voters interest at heart and seem to be doing every contrary to what would be thee right thing to do, incompetent is actually really unwise.

    The Bush administration is extremely successful. It is just that to them success is not what most people would think of as successful. First of all they don’t give a toss about the average American. They don’t have the interest of the average American at heart.
    They want to rule because they need the power to enrich themselves and to get what they want. Most senators and governing Senators are bought and paid for by the military industrial complex and they have made masses of money and wealth in the last eight years. They control everything and actually work towards the collapse of the US. By outsourcing all the US jobs to cheaper countries the earned more money than ever and the US is maxed out with an out of control debt and within months we will see blood on the streets.

    In the last recession 7 million people died of starvation in the US alone.

    John Key is a very smart man with an extremely smart team of PR and strategy advisors. If we get chaos in this country than that is because they want it to be so.

    Chaos is a great tool for the Shock capitalist to get what they want. More state control, more fear in the streets and people looking for leaders to help them out.

    It’s the classic formula for shutting down a free society.

  68. Jasper 68

    Shonkey – We?

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