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Spending cuts I’d like to see – No 1

Written By: - Date published: 8:57 pm, April 17th, 2011 - 33 comments
Categories: budget 2011, tax - Tags:

This Herald story about spin doctor Brad Tattersfield was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the Ministerial offices of the Prime Minister, Judith Collins, Paula Bennett, and the Chief Executive of the Department of Labour to “minimise scandal” is one example of the sort of back-room spending of public money I’d like to see cut.

Heaven knows what scandals lurk in the Ministerial offices, and the Brash enquiry was a scandal in itself, but our taxes shouldn’t be spent on spin while people struggle to pay their bills and the country has to pay for natural disasters and financial bailouts.

33 comments on “Spending cuts I’d like to see – No 1 ”

  1. Nick C 1

    Lets see how many people in the labour caucus have spent a large part of their professional careers as paid spin doctors:

    Grant Robertson
    Chris Hipkins
    Ruth Dyson
    Kris Fa’afoi
    Clare Curran
    Iain Lees-Galloway
    Darren Hughes (until recently)

    • Bright Red 1.1

      they were Labour party staffers or, in Curran’s case, a public servant (actually, I’m not sure about Dyson and Lees-Galloway, weren’t they union officials? And Hughes was an electorate agent?). Sometimes they would be involved in damage control, of course, but it wasn’t the purpose of their jobs.
      What is extraordinary is that Tattersfield is being hired in specially on a case by case to try to kill scandals. And he’s being paid an incredible amount for the work.
      Are you happy that hundreds of thousands of our taxes are being spent on this?

      • Nick C 1.1.1

        Following his term as student president, Lees-Galloway worked for the New Zealand Nurses Organisation as an organiser and subsequently publicity coordinator (emphasis added). Not entirely clear what this means, quite possibly a euthemism for spin doctoring.


        Dyson joined the Labour Party in Westport in 1979, and worked as a campaign organiser for Labour MP Kerry Burke in the 1981 and 1984 elections. In 1985, she moved to Wellington, where she worked with Labour MP Fran Wilde on the Homosexual Law Reform Bill. She worked for Wilde’s re-election campaign in the 1987 elections, and later held a number of senior offices in the Labour Party, including that of president.

        Unless you are of the opinion that politicians should never hire anyone to spin anything I dont see how you can rush to judgement on this. Maybe the hiring of this guy for spesific jobs saves them money they would otherwise have to spend hiring full time staff? I don’t know that, it is however possible. 

        • Bright Red

          mate. they’re hiring in a specialist scandal manager and paying him hundreds of thousands. So what if Less-Galloway was an organiser and publicity coordinator? It’s hardly the same thing.
          Maybe you need to send Tattersfield a few bucks to get some help with your spin.

          • Nick C

            Yes and they may well be doing this for the same reason that many companies prefer to hire out law firms on a case by case basis to do their litigation, even though those law firms charge out at an hourly rate many times higher than what you would have to pay your own in house lawyer. Law firms can access specialist knowledge and if you need them infrequently enough may turn out to be cheaper than having someone full time.

  2. Irascible 2

    To “minimise scandal” is enough to indicate that the Key led government is scandal ridden and has a policy to hide, disguise and spin their way out of the corruption even if it costs the NZ taxpayer hundred thousands of dollars in order to give this govt the chance to asset strip the country. It stinks and no spin from people like Nick C can sweeten the stench.

  3. Jim Nald 3

    Can someone add up how much taxpayers’ money has been spent per year on average on this spin maestro?
    Might it be more efficient and save more money for taxpayers if he is employed full-time on the taxpayers’ books, operating through a minister’s office?
    Come to think of it, what are our ministers doing then?
    Hey, this guy is so good at getting on top of scandals, disasters and bad news – taxpayers might as well have him on as a member of cabinet.
    Oh, are we chopping the bureaucratic backroom and putting taxpayers money into this fabulous frontline chap?

  4. Anthony 4

    At least National hire competent spin doctors, it’s something Labour really need to do…

    • todd 4.1

      They buy off the Media pretty effectively as well. I would prefer that Labour didn’t start playing by Nationals rules, the country doesn’t have enough money…

  5. todd 5

    I would just like to point out that Shonkey gets $45 K more than Gillard each year. How about we close that gap up a bit eh!

  6. PeteG 6

    MP expenses have been put under the spotlight. The same exposure should be given to media/PR/communications costs for all parties. I’d be happy to see significant spending cuts on those budgets.
    Bill English should let us know what he’s proposing there.

  7. Craig Glen Eden 7

    Yup because spin doctors help close the wage gap with Australia, get unemployment down and improve the average Kiwis lot!
    Nationals Brighter future Pure Spin.

  8. Anthony 8

    Competent spin doctors mean you can actually sell smart ideas like energy efficient lighting to the electorate, instead of getting booted out.

    • Campbell Larsen 8.1

      If we need ‘spin doctors’ to ‘sell us’ something as obviously beneficial as energy efficient lighting then we really are in trouble.
      A couple of other ‘obvious’ points:
      It was the Nats spin doctors who labeled efficient lighting as the nanny state in action.
      ‘Selling’ is a poor descriptor in relation to policy, policy is not a product or service – unless you are referring to the influence of lobby groups and big business on government – in which case one could accurately say that our democracy has already been sold to the highest bidder.

  9. He got paid HOW MUCH???!  We’re in the wrong job!

    • Jim Nald 9.1

      Can someone OIA how much he has been paid since Nov 2008?
      And also OIA what jobs exactly did he do and for which Parliamentarian.
      The payment would have been many times over what would have been paid to a full-time Ministerial employee who could have been co-opted to do the range of jobs.
      The arrangements for him do not sound like value for money for taxpayers. Needs more looking into.

  10. randal 10

    it was not the efficient ligh bulbs that got National elected it was the highpower non-stop squawking from mediaworks and the sniveling wannabees on TVNZ.
    Its funny how JOhn Key wants to give money to media works so they can do it all over again at the next election. i.e. work the plebs up into a frenzy about nothing. 
    this is the age of infantilism and National have got it down pat.

    • PeteG 10.1

      What got National elected was them assuring the electorate they wouldn’t do anything drastic in their first term, and the voters had had enough of Labour. Realistically Labour were overdue for being rested.

      If in 1999 Helen Clark was offered 6 years in charge she would have been pretty pleased, and if offered 9 years she would have thought she had won Lotto. She missed out on the 12 year powerball.

      • Vicky32 10.1.1

        What got National elected was them assuring the electorate they wouldn’t do anything drastic in their first term,

        Well, they’ve already broken that promise, haven’t they?
        I remember everyone at my office, when asked why they’d vote for NACT, saying zombie-like “Time for a change!” (High-rising terminal). I would have asked why, but they wouldn’t have been able to tell me…I had an office then. Key was hardly in power 5 minutes before the company collapsed. Good skills Shonkey!

        • Bob Stanforth

          So, a company fails within “5 minutes” because of a new PM.  Is it possible you can be THAT stupid and not be milked every morning at 5AM?

          • lprent

            First 100 days of using urgency to destroy things – so really stupid things got legislated. Many of them affected businesses. Is that so surprising?

            • Bob Stanforth

              Hmmm, got figures to prove the impact Lynn, or is that mere hopeful projection and hyperbole?  No really, Im keen to know.

              • lprent

                I have no idea what the business that Vicky was involved in.

                What I was pointing out was that neither did you. So I pointed out that there was a self proclaimed legislative storm In the first 100 days of this NAct government of ill considered legislation being passed under urgency and often without any consideration by select committees. Some of those legislative changes will have affected some businesses – few legislative changes do not affect some business. The problem is that neither of us know if Vicky’s company was one of them.

                Now I could be generous and say that this obvious implication hadn’t penetrated the organ you think with – probably because you were sitting on it at the time and it was over heating. I would suggest that you should comment standing up and wear looser underwear to prevent such idiotic overheated comments as

                Or I could just say that I don’t like superlious inflated wankers who jerk off into comment with some kind of tasteless and unrelated joke. It merely attracts my comment to help with their deflation.

                • Bob Stanforth

                  Given your status here, its nice that you set the standard, so to speak, or rather, the bar so high.  Nice to see that instead of reasoned debate you will support utterly unsubstantiated flailing about as fact, but demand source when the argument doesn’t support your ethos.  But then thats the ‘way’ isnt it – must be nice to maintain that moral high-ground and then be able to descend from it as and when required.
                  Kind of ruins the attempt to take the intellectual lead when you do so, but then thats OK isnt it?  Contempt.  Merry Christmas 🙂

                  • lprent

                    That was the point I was making – you idiot.

                    Your comment above to Vicky was completely unwarranted, but did fall inside the moderating guidelines. So you didn’t get moderated.

                    But I gave you back a comment couched in exactly the same style as your comment. Show me where your comment to Vicky had any ‘reasoned debate’. It was a simple personal attack by a gutless wonder wanting to make a bad joke. It looks to me like you’re good at giving this kind of shit out, but incapable of taking it. I wonder why that doesn’t surprise me.

                    And try to find a single place where I have attempted to take the ‘high ground’ through any of my comments. But when I am commenting I like getting down low and dirty when I feel it is required and sometimes when it isn’t. I’m well known for being outright nasty to people who are being dickheads mostly because I have seen too many of them on the net over the decades and I like educating them. I’m one of the nastier commentators around here when I choose to be so (while staying within my own moderating rules because otherwise a moderator will (and have) moderate me).

                    I just offer my unvarnished robust opinion on people and events. In your case and with your comment to Vicky, my opinion isn’t flattering.

                    • Bob Stanforth

                      You flatter yourself hugely if you think your opinion of me matters even slightly.  On the scale of matters, you dont feature.  But thanks for offering it up, Im sure you took comfort.  And ignore my derisive snort as you ban me.  Please. 🙂

      • McFlock 10.1.2

        National were elected in 2008 by promising not to act like National. The colmar brunton polls were the same in feb/apr 2008 as they are now but they dropped to 44% and needed friends to get into parliament.
        A 2011 outright majority is doubtful. So they need to keep the “perkbluster” in Epsom and hope the Maori Party will cut a deal as well. Or the Greens. Or Winston. And hope that being in government stops them dropping more than 10 points.
        MMP isn’t just about your own polls, it’s about who you can work with. And overhangs, of course, but they hurt my head at this time of night.

  11. randal 11

    and I still say if Labour had its own network of micropulse stations then they would cream national every time.WAKEUP.

  12. M 12

    I’m obviously in the wrong line of work – up to $150 per hour to obfuscate?

    The mendacious beggar should change his last name to Mattressback.

  13. Drakula 13

    Well it seems to me that National is very despirate when it has to hire a witchdoctor to hide it’s scandals.

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