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Taxpayers Union Press Release on Eleanor Catton

Written By: - Date published: 4:48 pm, January 28th, 2015 - 277 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags: , ,

When I first read this I thought it was a sublime piece of satire by Imperator Fish or by the Civilian because it was just so silly but Imperator Fish had already attacked the subject here and the Civilian here.  But then I rechecked and it was a fair dinkum press release sent out by our least favourite union.  So that you can marvel at the extent of its stupidity I will repeat it in full.  Original is from here.

The Taxpayers’ Union is questioning Man Booker prize winner Eleanor Catton’s comments regarding the Government’s support of the arts given the substantial support she has personally received from taxpayers.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“Some might question why Ms Catton would have a go at New Zealand when it’s Kiwi taxpayers who have largely funded her education and career. For example, Ms Catton’s most notable work, The Luminaries, was completed while being on a six-month residency funded by Creative New Zealand.”

“If Ms Catton isn’t thankful for the substantial support by the New Zealand Government while she wrote The Luminaries, maybe she could use some of the substantial royalties to pay the money back.”

Perhaps Mr Williams should pay back every dime spent on his education given his hostile objection to the waste of taxpayer money.  Given the stupidity of his comments and his opposition to anything collective it seems that taxpayer’s money has indeed been wasted on his education.

And with every utterance by every right wing idiot about Eleanor Catton’s comment that New Zealand is dominated by “neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, shallow and money hungry politicians who do not care about culture” the truth of what she said is reinforced.  And don’t get me started on Sean Plunkett …

Kia kaha Eleanor.

277 comments on “Taxpayers Union Press Release on Eleanor Catton ”

  1. Paul 1

    I was reading article by Chris Hedges about the film American Sniper and how the reaction shows the ugly underbelly of US culture.
    When I got to this paragraph , I couldn’t fail but to see comparisons to sections of NZ society..especially in light of the Eleanor Catton story.

    ‘There is no shortage of simpletons whose minds are warped by this belief system. We elected one of them, George W. Bush, as president. They populate the armed forces and the Christian right. They watch Fox News and believe it. They have little understanding or curiosity about the world outside their insular communities. They are proud of their ignorance and anti-intellectualism. They prefer drinking beer and watching football to reading a book. And when they get into power—they already control the Congress, the corporate world, most of the media and the war machine—their binary vision of good and evil and their myopic self-adulation cause severe trouble for their country. “American Sniper,” like the big-budget feature films pumped out in Germany during the Nazi era to exalt deformed values of militarism, racial self-glorification and state violence, is a piece of propaganda, a tawdry commercial for the crimes of empire. That it made a record-breaking $105.3 million over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday long weekend is a symptom of the United States’ dark malaise.’


    • emergency mike 1.1

      Boy I sure hope there’s a star-spangled banner or two!

      Looking forward to the sequels, “American Interrogator” and “American Drone Operator”.

      • Lloyd 1.1.1

        Surely the other side of the story, such as “Muslim Bomber” would produce a spine-tingling counter-point to the American Sniper film.

        • David

          It is such an offensive movie title. There was a Sniper movie ages ago with Tom Berenger, but that was bloody fiction! Hurt Locker, now that is a movie that portrays that particular war in a much better light, if there can be such a thing.

      • Tracey 1.1.2

        american water boarder?

      • tricledrown 1.1.3

        Brought to you by 5 eyes
        American spy
        American poodle starring narcissist John Key selfie obsessed psycho!
        American apologist
        American colonialist.
        All produced by 20th Century fox.
        Another Murdocracy propaganda production.

  2. Stuart Munro 2

    It’s unbelievable how arrogant New Zealand’s neo-liberal scum have become. We have a PM who steals public assets to enrich himself and then imagines he has the standing to criticise an artist who has made it on her own merits. I suppose the French aristos imagined themselves similarly tall until the guillotine cut them down to size.

    • “We have a PM who steals public assets to enrich himself”

      What on earth are you talking about?

      • OHFFS 2.1.1

        “Standing by your man”, while noble, Mr Hooton, is nevertheless misguided.

        Your blind trust in John Key, as is evidenced by your selective memory, is quaintly homoerotic.

        Clearly you are confused about the past, so allow me to remind you of the degree to which you are reliant on blind trust, rather than 20/20 hindsight:

        The “key words” which appear to have escaped your (very selective) memory are:


        Followed very quickly, and not coincidentally, by “Blind” and “Trust”, which, ironically, both describe the only qualities required to support the Prime Sinister.

      • Skinny 2.1.2

        Now let me think back?

        Oh yes that’s right Tranzrail shares Hooton. Of course using his ‘blind trust’ Lord knows what other public assets Key has helped himself to. I’m picking in his blind trust are our power utility shares. Of course being ‘blind’ slippery John has no idea whatsoever. Pull the other leg, it’s akin to the TPU actually being a reputable Union.

      • Stuart Munro 2.1.3

        Tranzrail among other things

    • Grantoc 2.2

      What ‘public assets’ has the PM stolen?

  3. Tom Jackson 3

    NZ is pretty dumb. If we’re not careful, we’ll overtake Australia in the world dumb stakes.

  4. emergency mike 4

    Hilarious how the Taxpayers Union found themselves a ‘taxpayer’ angle to this. Same dirty politics MO as usual, play the woman not the ball.

    Interesting that someone in the dirty politics chain felt the next to go there all. They could have just ignored it. This crew is quite sensitive to attacks on their image that get any airtime. The phrase ‘hitting a nerve’ comes to mind.

    • Tracey 4.1

      do they ask all blacks like zac guilford to pay back money spent on them when they drink and get chucked out of teams?

      • alwyn 4.1.1

        They might not ask for any previous payments back but they certainly don’t give them any more. Guildford had his contract with the NZRU terminated with immediate effect.
        Would you approve of any further payments to, or recognition of, Catton being scrapped with immediate effect?

        • Colonial Rawshark

          What team rules did Catton break, alwyn?

          Apart from failing to be sycophantic, that is.

          • felix

            She broke the rules of Team Key.

            • weka

              One of which is you’re only entitled to state money if you agree with the government, or at least don’t dissent in public. Paula Bennett set the benchmark on that one.

          • alwyn

            I neither know, nor care whether Catton is a member of any team.
            I was simply explaining to Tracey that the answer to her question is that the NZRU certainly do punish players who misbehave. She seems to have a view that they can do anything they like.

            Personally, as an old resident of Hawkes Bay I was very sorry that Guildford has his drinking problems. He was a very good player when he stayed sober.

            Incidentally, and apropos of nothing in particular, has anyone actually finished Catton’s book? I was given a copy for Christmas in 2013. I read about 300 pages and then gave up on the attempt. Does it get any better or does the whole thing consist of a work that needed a good editor to prune out the verbiage?

            • Tracey

              but no one asked zac to pay back money alwyn, the first or second time he transgressed. yes i read it. the man booker people finished it. so did the new zealand book judges who gave it first prize. the verbeage you refer to is English. well thought out and crafted.

              finally, as an employed academic she has a statutory obligation to be a critic and conscience of nz society. a legal obligation no less

              the more you write the more you make her point for her.

              • The lost sheep

                ” as an employed academic she has a statutory obligation to be a critic and conscience of nz society. a legal obligation no less”

                The Education Act S161 (2) (a) guarantees the freedom to question and test etc, but that is something less than a statutory / legal obligation to do so.

                • Tracey

                  go and read the whole thing…

                  in order to be a university you have to etc etc…

                  nonetheless suggesting she pay back her grants or stop working at a taxpayer funded university or other tertiary rather flies in the face of the freedom.

                  • The lost sheep

                    “go and read the whole thing”

                    I have Tracy, and I was unable to locate any “statutory or legal obligation” for an employed academic to be a critic and conscience of NZ society.

                    Can you identify it for me please?

                    • The lost sheep

                      Still looking Tracy?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Section 162 has the clause you are looking for:

                      …accept a role as critic and conscience of society…

                    • Tracey


                      sheeple and alwyn seem to be reading other blogs and then replying here.

                    • Tracey

                      silly goose sheeple, i posted the answer before you even asked me.

                      Taxpayers Union Press Release on Eleanor Catton

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The right wing echo chamber is crying out for original material?
                      Perish the thought.

                      Edit: just read Tracey’s last.

                      Hey Sheep! Reading is a skill. 😈

                    • Tracey



                    • McFlock

                      prepare for more pinhead dancing on pin heads…

                      A primer on academic freedom is here. I’m sure TLS will assure us that they’ve read all 30 pages before they make some more stupid comments.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Thanks McFlock. Bookmark.

                    • The lost sheep

                      162 purely refers to the ‘characteristic’ of the University Institution.

                      There is nothing at all in there that confers any ‘statutory or legal obligation’ on any individual academic as Tracey claimed.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      On Earth, where words* have ‘meaning’, it’s a requirement of their** establishment.

                      *Such as those ‘words’ used in Acts of ‘Parliament’. Baby steps.


                      PS: Do I have to spell this out for you, Sheep? Acts of Parliament are ‘laws’, which ‘must be obeyed’. Can an authoritarian follower really be so confused about this? Ba-aa!

                    • The lost sheep

                      So you understand the meaning of the *words* ‘Statutory obligation’ then OAB?

                      If you assert that individual academics are bound by such an obligation, can you outline the ‘statute’ that covers how the individual must fulfill those obligations, and what legal sanctions apply if they fail to do so?

                      Maybe you could explain why the vast majority of employed academics appear to be blatantly failing to carry out this ‘statutory obligation’?

                      Could you could outline some of the principles established by the body of case law around individual cases of failure to follow this obligation?

                      Or you could just admit that Tracey was wrong to state that
                      ” as an employed academic she has a statutory obligation to be a critic and conscience of nz society. a legal obligation no less”

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      What a lovely shiny farcical observation you have made: that individuals are not universities.

                      Can you explain how universities are supposed to ‘encourage’ their critical and conscientious employees to ‘act’?

                      This obligation requires them to seek out critical and conscientious people to employ, no?

                      Or is that a baby step too far?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      THe lost sheep: I’m not amazed idiots like you continue to degrade our education, civilisation and culture.

                    • Tracey

                      t he education act is a statute. that satisfied the use of the word statutory.

                      s162 s establishes that an entity is not legally a university unless it agree to be critic and conscience of society. that is an obligation imposed in return for being accorded university status.

                      statutory plus obligation equals statutory obligation.

                      a statute is a law.

                      that no one has taken a university to court for failing to discharge its statutory obligation is not proof that no such obligation exists. ( i havent checked if anyone has). as for how many academics have to criticise or be the conscience to satisfy the obligation enabling a university to retain its status, i dont know. but that is a different issue

                      pin meet sheeple. he likes to dance.

                      ps. if it lacks the characteristic of being critic and conscience it does not meet the criteria to be a university.

                      every statute doesnt set out all tge ways to satisfy every clause… thats why so much work grew from the rma for planners and lawyers.

                    • McFlock

                      lost again, huh?

                      You read s162? Did you read s161? Because apparently you read the whole thing. S161 randomly deals with academic freedom.

                      Why oh why would that be? You could have read the document I linked to earlier, but then you’d know the answer. Let’s make it easier for you:

                      The University values its obligation and role as a critic and conscience of society1 and supports and encourages academic staff and students to responsibly practise the tenets of academic freedom of expression as central to the proper conduct of teaching, administration, research and scholarship. Implicit within this role is the freedom of academic staff and students to critique ideas both within and beyond the University itself.

                      It is acknowledged that the exercise of academic freedom of expression is core to the role and function of the University. As with all rights and obligations, academic freedom carries with it certain responsibilities, expectations and accountabilities, and is exercised within a relationship of trust and confidence.

                      That’s from the university of canterbury.

                      Academic staff are the only staff with the protection to be able to enable a university to fulfil its statutory obligations.

                      Now, your argument seems to be that just because an individual academic is legally empowered to speak their mind freely doesn’t mean that they are legally obliged to.

                      Actually, they are. If they do not say a particular something, then they were not minded to say it. If they are minded to say something, they must – otherwise see the first bit. What academic freedom tries to assure is that nothing bad will happen to an academic should the academic say something.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Sheep needs to think very hard indeed about this.

                      The only substantive thing that separates the social democracies from the rest – our ‘advantage’ – is peer review.

                      Authoritarian followers please note: I am using peer review as a ‘metaphor’ and literally.

                      PS: All the academics are holding their weapons wrong. Subtle cartoonist.

                    • McFlock

                      To put it another way:

                      I am free to go where I want.
                      If I want to go somewhere, I go there.
                      If I am not there, I did not want to go there.
                      Without a restriction on where I want to go, I cannot help but be where I wish to be.

                    • The lost sheep

                      “that no one has taken a university to court for failing to discharge its statutory obligation is not proof that no such obligation exists. ( i havent checked if anyone has). as for how many academics have to criticise or be the conscience to satisfy the obligation enabling a university to retain its status, i dont know. but that is a different issue.

                      No, that is exactly the issue Tracy.
                      Because if there was a statutory obligation for any particular individual, or groupings of individuals, to be ‘bound by law’ to follow any specific level of obligation…..it would be set out in law, and we could clearly specify what that obligation was.

                      But there is no such obligation under law for any individual academic, contrary to your statement, and that is why no sanction exists in law, and no one has ever been held to account for it.

                      You can all go on turning yourselves inside out trying to avoid this fact as much as you like….
                      But all you are proving is your pathological incapacity to ever concede a single point you make could be wrong.

                      Please refer to the George Orwell quote I posted below. You are demonstrating it perfectly.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Dancer, meet pinhead.

                      PS: I don’t think anyone who’s waded this far should go away empty handed – so here’s some music.

                    • The lost sheep

                      I know you appreciate stories about my Socialist Dad OAB, so you’ll love this one.

                      He told me that you can you can deduce one very important factor from the level of abuse an adversary uses in a debate.

                      “The confidence they have in their own argument is inversely proportional to the amount of abuse they employ to defend it.”

                      Think he said he’d got that from Trotsky, but I’ve never been able to nail the quote.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Well sure, Sheep, and you still have to tackle their argument, because guess what, no matter how abusive they are, it’ll be coming back.

                      Use the ice-pick, young Trotsky – explain how you think it is that critical, conscientious citizens align with your confirmation bias rather than mine.

                      PS: I suppose this warrants more music. This one’s about heroes and lies.

                    • McFlock

                      Because if there was a statutory obligation for any particular individual, or groupings of individuals, to be ‘bound by law’ to follow any specific level of obligation

                      Is a university not a group of individuals, then?

                    • Tracey

                      i havent abused you. i have disagreed with you. you are no more inclined to concede you might be wrong than I am. I have given you my statutory interpretation to justify my use of the words statutory obligation. You disagree. Good o, but that doesn’t mean you are right or I am wrong but rather we offer opposing viewpoints.

                      A university that is not pursuing its role as critic and conscience is, according to the education act, not a university. The words plainly express that.

                      Are you also saying that every time someone contravenes an Act but no one sues them they could never have had a statutory obligation because no one sued them?

                      In any event you have not convinced me that

                      “But there is no such obligation under law for any individual academic, contrary to your statement, and that is why no sanction exists in law, and no one has ever been held to account for it.”

                      Can you show me where the education act specifies that a university can exist without any people working within its structures, and if it does not allow for that, would the people making up a university, in your mind, include academics?

                      Finally how do you envisage a building being a critic or conscience of society, and what would possess our legislators to expect that of brick and mortar?

                      [lprent: You certainly didn’t ‘abuse’ the sheep, just gave the unshorn fluffball a mild education as far as I can see. I had a look after reading this comment. Clearly someone who is too probably too sensitive for debate here. Imagine how abused they will feel when they hit my style of arguing when I am not moderating. Shivering after being shorn? ]

                    • The lost sheep

                      As LPrent says, you didn’t abuse me, and having formed the impression you are a caring and compassionate individual, I would be shocked if you did. On that basis I understand that you may think you have over-stepped the mark by referring to me as a ‘silly goose’.
                      I forgive you for that and hold no grudge.

                      But, nice though you are, I have to insist that your original claim was that Eleanor Catton, as an individual employed academic, had a ‘statutory obligation’ to be a ‘critic and conscience of NZ society’.
                      That is the point I disputed, and so I am not going to answer your questions relating to the completely shifted ground that by ‘Eleanor Catton’, and ‘She’, you actually meant ‘a University’.

                      So I’ll state it again dead straight, and ask you to answer me just as straight…

                      Individual academics have no obligations under NZ law to engage in any specific political activity, including being a ‘critic and a conscience’.
                      There is no definition or explanation of such an obligation for individual Academics (or any other citizens) in NZ law.
                      As a logical consequence of the above, there are no sanctions available for failure of individual academics to follow non existent legal obligations.
                      Therefore, and by definition, there is no ‘statutory or legal obligation’ for Eleanor Catton or any other employed individual Academic to ‘be bound by the law’ to think or say anything political at all.

                      Which of those statements are wrong in fact?

                      Think it through…a bit of satire might make the unworkable and nonsensical nature of the concept obvious?

                      ” Following a lead from an undercover SIS source, a Professor of Invertebrate Biology at the University of Otago has been charged with the criminal offence of ‘consistent failure to publicly condemn the policies of Government’ during his 50 year Academic tenure.

                      The seriousness of this charge is reflected in the potential sentence of up to 3 years in jail, or life time supervision under the Political Expression Rehabilitation program.

                      The prosecution outlined a utterly callous disregard for wider social issues displayed by the Professor, as evidenced by his shocking statement that ‘he had only ever really been interested in sub-tidal Mollusks’.

                      His defense is believed to hinge on the Professors claim that at several lunchtimes during the ’90’s he ventured to colleagues that The Labour Government was allocating insufficient funding to West Coast Giant Snail populations, and he once got somewhere near the front of a march in solidarity with a small copse of threatened trees in suburban Dunedin.

                      The presiding Judge warned that this case was “a potentially heinous breach of the legal requirement for academics to express their freedom of thought and speech by making compulsory public statements of a political nature.”

                      He further cautioned of the precedence set in the case of the ‘Adam Smith Five’ who were recently sent to academic exile in Dargaville for failing to be active enough in contacting the Mainstream Media with their criticisms of the Marxist Policies of the current Mana / Greens coalition.

                      Inside sources at the University have suggested that the recent operation that uncovered the Professors lack of activity may also have exposed a systemic abuse of compulsory political freedom of expression throughout Otago Academia, and speculation is mounting that the 30% quota of faculty having a MSM presence may have been seriously breached.

                      You get the point…..

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Mansplainin’ ad nauseam.

                      Is charity wasted on wingnuts? Discuss.

                    • McFlock

                      This is obviously a very difficult concept for you to handle.
                      Let’s try another tack:

                      1: universities need to include in their role “critic and conscience of society” in order to maintain their university status.

                      2: they satisfy this requirement through their academic staff.

                      3: academic freedom is a core function of academic staff, as opposed to general staff such as non-academic researchers or tutors

                      4: academic freedom is not limited to “political” statements, it includes things like water quality or correcting legislators about the value of pi

                      5: an academic staff member who does not speak their mind is like a ship captain who does not command the ship – even if their inaction does not count as a shoddy effort at the act of command or speech itself, it is failing to fulfill the requirements of their role and they should lose their jobs for incompetence

                      6: to recap, it is their role because it is the only mechanism by which the university can fulfil its statutory obligations, without which it would get demoted to a polytech or something. So the university includes it in its employment agreements to fulfil the legislative requirement.

                    • Tracey


                      Thank you. I cannot see, and TLS has failed to convince me, that a building can have the onus to be a critic and conscience of society. It seems to me in the absence of a set of buildings constituting a university under the education act, being able to discharge that duty under the Act, they must do so through people. Eleanor Catton (although employed by a technical institute not a university (TLS may have been on very strong ground had he/she used this as his/her point of contention with my statement) therefore has a duty to be a critic and conscience of society.

              • alwyn

                You mean that the NZRU, who paid Guildford, didn’t ask him to return any money that he had been paid prior to his transgressions. Other people, possibly including yourself, seem to think that they should have done so. That is of course not the business of anyone except the Rugby Union, is it?
                Any money that Catton received from the taxpayer would have been paid by the Government, as the taxpayer’s representative. I notice that the Government has not stated that she should be asked to do any such thing as return money she may have received. The people who are complaining are not the Government are they. They are just a few individuals who don’t like her views very much. John Key himself, the main person she is attacking has been very restrained hasn’t he? Really the furthest he went was to say he was disappointed.
                You will presumably allow people such as the Taxpayer’s Union and Sean Plunkett the same right of free speech as you will allow Ms Catton.
                The views Plunkett expresses may not be to your taste, and they certainly aren’t to mine, but he must be allowed to express them if we are to live in a free society.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Radio Lifeless is entitled to allow any old hateful bigotry to go out under its name, too, although that’s not exactly “free” speech is it, being paid for ‘n’ all.

                • felix

                  alwyn, you are comparing a sportsperson’s “transgression” with something Catton did.

                  What is it?

                  What is Catton’s “transgression”?

                  • Tracey

                    I made the analogy in an attempt to show the difference that is made in NZ between a rugby or cricket player breaking a law and no one demands they pay anything back, and they have received substantial help from taxpayers and ratepayers along the way and these personal attacks on Catton, International and National Book prize winner, by Plunkett, some on the blogosphere and Key’s ridicule by association with The Greens.

                    He then used his position of ignorance about how sport and sportspeople in NZ are funded to try and avoid the analogy I was making.

                  • alwyn

                    I’m not making any such comparison actually.
                    You will note that I have not made any request that she should return any money, assuming there ever has been any, received by her from the taxpayer. That is a claim from the Tax-payer’s Union (if that is what they call themselves).
                    It was Tracey that brought Zac Guildford into the debate. She is the one you should be questioning about what Zac’s various misdemeanours have to do with Catton.
                    You will note that the worst thing I have said about Catton is that her book goes on and on and on and on, to such an extent that I got totally bored after 300 pages and have never got back to it.
                    That is of course more the responsibility of her editor than herself.
                    Catton is, like everybody else, entitled to exercise her right to free speech. So is anyone else, including dicks like Plunkett with his “clever” use of a word that most people would assume was whore.

                    ps Tracey posted while I was typing this, and I didn’t see it until after I posted. Please note that Guildford wasn’t asked to repay anything by his employer. Neither was Catton. The only people bringing repayment up are those who were not involved. Catton’s involvement with the Green campaign is actually relevant and it is a fair comment by the attacked person, John Key, to mention it.
                    It would be just as relevant to note that Pete George is (or was) connected to another party when he posts a comment.

                    • felix

                      Sure you are. You also made a comparison between Catton and a sportsperson’s “misbehaving”.

                      Care to say what Catton’s “misbehaving” consists of?

                • Tracey

                  Perhaps educate yourself on the structure and funding of sport in NZ, including how Guilford’s career started and who funded it from when he first pulled on some boots through to when the NZRU began paying him… In order to get paid by the NZRU he received the benefit of taxpayer and ratepayer funding to get there, including funding for NZRU development youth. Then he broke a law or two. The taxpayer’s union didn’t demand he pay back the money that he had relied upon directly and indirectly to help him to get to professional level.

                  He won Gold with a Commonwealth Games sevens team in 2010. You might want to look up how that is funded, and by whom.

                  SNZ funds rugby, including grassroots, Council’s pay for and maintain the grounds they play on. He would have been involved in fundraisers, taking taxpayer money.

                  I worte “no one” asked him to pay any money back alwyn, you can make that a demand by me on the government to demand money back if it suits you, even when it is patently not. Same argument goes for Jesse Ryder, no calls for him to pay anything back and again he didnt get to be a professional player without using taxpayer and ratepayer funds.

                  I have not said anywhere (please find it and quote it to me if I did) that they shouldn’t oppose her opinion? I have said using positions of power to ridicule (which is what Key’s associating her with The Greens to belittle her was) and Plunkett’s (having a radio slot is a position of power and influence) name calling amounted to, undermines free speech in that it DETERS others from expressing a view contrary to the government of the day for fear of personal attacks.

                  • alwyn

                    Please, please Tracey.
                    Associating someone with the Greens belittles them?
                    Surely you don’t mean to say that?
                    “(which is what Key’s associating her with The Greens to belittle her was)”.
                    Plunkett is what I believe is called a “shock Jock”, isn’t he? As such he, like Willie Jackson and John Tamihere, keep their employment by being contentious. At least I think they do. I haven’t heard Plunkett on the radio since he left Morning Report, and I’ve never listened to Jackson or Tamihere at all.
                    As for you comments about people like Guildford only getting where they are because of what the tax/rate payer did I think you have no idea how hard professional sports people work. 99% of their success is their own doing.
                    As far as talking about people being deterred form expressing their opinions because they may be responded to. It is no doubt true but I don’t see any real way around it except by sticking to the anonymity of a blog. I’ve been accused of various misdemeanours in this blog but I don’t really care as I (hope) my identity is reasonably masked and anyway I don’t have to rely on anyone employing me now. Catton was treated pretty kindly by Key in actuality.

                    • Tracey

                      I will leave it to those more eloquent than I to explain my position.



                      Again, I did not say he only got to be an ALL Black because of taxpayer funding. Where are you getting all this misinformation from? It isnot my posts. I am asserting that he got as much, if not more taxpayer and ratepayer support as Catton BUT NO ONE IN THE MEDIA OR THE PM sought to belittle him or demand he pay back the money he had received along the way.

                      and then again you write

                      “because they may be responded to.”

                      Didnt say that, said if they are ridiculed, belittled or insulted.

                      So, your attempt to debate with me so far on my view versus yours has involved you addressing at least 3 things you attribute to me but I never said.

                      Enjoy the articles, they say it far better than me, obviously.

                • freedom

                  “John Key himself, the main person she is attacking has been very restrained hasn’t he?”

                  Considering John Key is not mentioned at any time in any of her comments in the interview that is being reported on, I am compelled to ask, what are you on about?

                  He is not mentioned as a person or an MP or even as the PM. He is not specifically mentioned in any way. Even in the video of the press interviews after the session, his name is nowhere. Do you have a secret transcript of the Festival’s Early Triumphs session, at which Catton was speaking? One where his name is used or where he is referenced ?

                  The only conclusion is you did not even even read the items being debated and are merely commenting on what others have said was said.

                  Read the interview, watch the video, go find John Key’s name, or his position being referred to, anything that separates him from the very broad label of “politicians” that was used.

                  Perhaps the real reason for the bruhaha is the session was young women talking about women and was mediated by the group UN Women ? Makes as much sense as most of the sensationalist crap I have seen thrown around on this story

                  Here is what the festival itself had to say about her presentation.
                  “Catton confessed that her decision to set The Luminaries during the Gold Rush in New Zealand was partly because she had started writing it in 2008 during the global financial crisis, and the issues around money and greed were in her subconscious mind.

                  This was a brave and engrossing talk by two exceptional young women, and was a fitting beginning to the UN Women series at this year’s ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival.”

                  What I do know is if the phrase “neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians ” has you assuming someone is talking about our Prime Minister John Key, then Eleanor Catton cannot be held responsible for that!

                • framu

                  “John Key himself, the main person she is attacking has been very restrained hasn’t he? Really the furthest he went was to say he was disappointed.”

                  bullshit mate

                  he engaged in his usual schoolyard innuendo, dog whistling and character assasination – on a comment that didnt even mention him specifically

                  true to form key didnt address the comment but made a sneering put down of the messenger as his first port of call.

                  That speaks volumes about him

          • Naki man

            “What team rules did Catton break, alwyn?”

            How about treason
            ungrateful [Deleted – we have standards even if you and Plunkett do not – MS], that about sums it up.

            • mickysavage

              Question for you naki man. What is your definition of treason?

              • Anne

                I can answer that one for you.

                Anyone who doesn’t believe everything John Key says.

                He doesn’t own a dictionary cos he doesn’t believe in dictionaries cos they get made by those nasty, brainy commie types.

              • Ooh! Ooh! I know this one from time spent on Kiwiblog threads – it’s hostility to a National-led government. There’d be enough people to be shot for “treason” to constitute a scheduling problem if these guys had their way.

              • Naki man

                Betrayal of your country, perhaps that was a bad choice of word since she is not a kiwi. Taking tax payers money and then sticking the knife in from another country is gutless. Dirty politics from the greens

                • Paul

                  Do you believe in free speech?
                  There are countries that share your opinions. Maybe you could go there.

                • mickysavage

                  So criticising the government’s direction is the same as sticking the knife in? You must think that I am a homicidal mass murderer.

                • lprent

                  Oh piss off you complete jerk.

                  To allow people to have the opportunity to state what their opinions are is exactly why I volunteered into the army.

                  Having gutless stupid gits like you slagging off people because they speak their mind is exactly why I would like to kick bigoted arseholes like you and Sean Plunket out of my country.

                  You are a stupid dickhead..

                  • sir pat

                    “Having gutless stupid gits like you slagging off people because they speak their mind is exactly why I would like to kick bigoted arseholes like you and Sean Plunket out of my country.”
                    um…..free speech…..its for everyone right????……or are you just playing at the bully again????

                    “You are a stupid dickhead..”…….guess it takes one to know one but then again vitriol seem to be your forte…..my turn next is it?

                    • lprent

                      Perhaps it’d help if you pulled your head out of your faecal inspection and thought about the topic of the post.

                      You understand irony? Or does that whistle over your head as well?

                  • Macro

                    And I served 15 years in the RNZN for the same reason

                • Rodel

                  Naki man, Plunkett , Williams and ilk.
                  Many of us received an education through help from the NZ taxpayer and our own hard work.

                  How dare you suggest that we should not speak our minds about the government or anyone whose views we regard as wrong.

                  What do you want? a bunch of servile sycophants grateful to their feudal masters?

                  “Hey if you ever got help from the government or took advantage of our taxpayer funded education system … you must shut up forever.” (Shades of Fox News commentators)

                  It bothers me that there exists such simpletons with such outmoded values and attitudes, to our New Zealand culture and society.

                  Such attitudes are a betrayal of what we stand for in this country,

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Taking tax payers money and then sticking the knife in from another country is gutless.

                  But you’re OK when John Key does it.

            • Paul

              Your answer unwittingly supports much of what she said.

            • Jones

              If anyone is treasonous it is John Key and his economic assault on NZ… which goes all the way back to John Key’s association with Andrew Krieger’s attack on the NZ dollar in 1987.

        • Tracey

          he didnt get terminated the first time…

  5. Blue 5

    I find the right’s outrage over what Catton said completely mystifying. Her comments were not controversial at all, just a statement of fact.

    Our government is indeed neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, shallow and money-hungry. Any right winger worthy of the name would not seek to shrink from any of this – it’s their raison d’etre.

    Of more interest than Catton speaking out about her beliefs is why NZ’s right are running scared from standing up for theirs.

    • Tracey 5.1

      her comments were a statement of opinion not really fact… but apparently an opinion that isnt theirs is intolerable

      • Pete George 5.1.1

        No, just an opinion that can be countered with other opinions. Free speech works both ways.

        Politicians shouldn’t be banned from responding to criticism should they?

        • fender

          So apart from the attacks that constituted these “opinions”, what “other opinions” countered her argument exactly?

          • Pete George

            I’ve seen many counter her view of New Zealand politics and politicians.

            And also her views on not winning the local prize:

            Catton’s claim dismays judge

            New Zealand Book Award judge Dick Frizzell is dismayed by author Eleanor Catton’s assertion she did not take the top prize last year because she is a tall poppy.

            In an interview with media in India, the 2013 Man Booker Prize winner for her novelThe Luminaries said she did not get New Zealand’s top award because there was an attitude that she had already won big overseas.

            “There was this kind of thing that now you’ve won this prize from overseas, we’re not going to celebrate it here, we’re going to give the award to somebody else,” Catton said.

            She did win the Best Fiction award but Jill Trevelyan’s story of Peter McLeavey won the Book of the Year.

            Artist Frizzell said it was “absolutely not” a case of bringing Catton down to size and the judges were “buggered if we did or we didn’t” give the top award to Catton.

            “The Booker doesn’t have categories. The Booker is fiction, that’s it, and here we were up against illustrated non-fiction and biographies and what have you.

            “We did have a lot more to consider and there were some fabulous books in that line-up, I have to say.”


            There’s more in the audio in the link.

            • fender

              So no actual countering of her political argument then, just “dismay” from someone who’s imagining a perceived injustice.

              • Pete George

                An example:

                Speaking on Firstline this morning, Mr Key said her views were “sad” because a lot of taxpayer money has been spent on backing New Zealand’s literary sector.

                “We were the Government that for instance was part of being country of the year that was host of the [2012 Frankfurt Book Fair], for instance. Actually I remember us getting some criticism for putting in so much money into that particular event.”

                The Prime Minister has recently been in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, where inequality was a hot topic. He says rather than caring only about short-term gains, as Catton believes, there is “tremendous respect” for New Zealand’s recent economic achievements.
                “It’s growing, it’s producing jobs, its incomes are rising; today we are going to give a speech that talks about allowing and ensuring that more vulnerable families, who are very low-income families, get access to a home. That’s hardly the speech of a completely profit-crazed Prime Minister.”


                I’ve seen a lot of countering. Where have you looked?

                • fender

                  There’s been plenty of near character assassination going on, but the PM’s spin lines you have provided are the closest to a “countering” of her political argument, despite being just typical Key spin.

                  • Pete George

                    As has been already mentioned here Sean Plunket had go, albeit over the top.


                    Eleanor Catton brilliantly articulates and crystallises the entire left wing philosophy (people first, money second) when she says our government is only hungry for money.

                    Well, Eleanor let me spell it out for you – in the real world (a place in which you clearly have no experience, if I want to go to the cinema and indulge in a bit of culture, I have to have the money first.

                    There’s a lot more around.

                    I doubt that there’s many MPs who would agree with her.

                    • lprent

                      Sean Plunket is in my opinion a rather stupid arsehole, a blowhard who clearly is incapable of thinking, and the type of fuckwit bigot who makes me ashamed of ever having put on uniform to defend him.

                      He is an absolute disgrace of a kiwi. My bet is that he has never bothered to do much for his country. He appears to be the type of shiftless bastard who only ever helped himself – a neolib fuckwit. Hopefully he will rot in hell.

                      And you are not much better.

                      That is also an opinion.

                    • Pete George

                      You’ve just said elsewhere that slagging people off isn’t flash.

                      In my opinion there seems to be a bit of irony here.

                    • Pete George

                      Oh piss off you complete jerk.

                      To allow people to have the opportunity to state what their opinions are is exactly why I volunteered into the army.

                      Having gutless stupid gits like you slagging off people because they speak their mind is exactly why I would like to kick bigoted arseholes like you and Sean Plunket out of my country.


                      So a wee bit hypocritical.

                      Or misusing state power to bully and silence critics.

                      Taxpayers Union Press Release on Eleanor Catton

                      While on a different level what’s the real difference between that and using broadcast power or blog power to bully and silence critics or people with different opinions?

                      Greens on Facebook:

                      We were grateful to have Eleanor Catton’s support during the election campaign, and we fully support her right to speak freely about the Government’s priorities without being shouted down or called a ‘traitor’ by media commentators.

                      Applies both ways.

                    • Tracey

                      what is it about people like Plunkett who think they have a monopoly on what is and isn’t the real world?

                  • Paul

                    He doesn’t stop, does he?
                    Like a never ending loop.

                • McFlock

                  Holy crap, lol, he really said that?

                  So an incredibly wealthy PM says that obscenely wealthy individuals whom he met in a resort of the insanely rich talked about inequality (no comment about whether they were pro or con, private jets implies an answer, though). Refers to himself with the ‘royal we’. The performance metrics he mentioned involved income, gdp and employment (i.e. income). Housing affordability was a big issue last election – any pm who wants to keep their party in power would mention it.

                  3 out of 4 metrics seems to be, at the very least, profit-motivated.
                  The “we” suggests narcissism delusions of grandeur.

                  So, if not “profit crazed”, “profit motivated and possibly with at least a personality disorder or two”.

                  Great example of countering lol

              • Paul

                PG is fishing.

        • Psycho Milt

          “Ungrateful whore/hua” (ungrateful for what, ffs?) isn’t an opinion, it’s an insult. A pretty hypocritical insult, coming from such an obnoxious arsehole, at that.

          • Pete George

            Yes, Plunket was very insulting. I think it was way over the top – that sort of insulting language detracts from valid criticism.

            And I’d guess that there were politicians who insulted, possibly very insulted by what Catton said.

            • mickysavage

              False equivalence Pete. A discussion about the morality of this Government’s actions should always be welcome.

              • Paul

                Peter George is attempting to derail the thread.

              • Pete George


                Discussions are two way things, not ‘listen and shut up’. Aren’t they?

                You should know plenty about politicians being criticised. Shouldn’t they be able to respond?

                • Pascals bookie

                  How about when Key said he was sad Catton was talking about stuff that wasn’t what she was famous for.

                  Is ‘shut up and be grateful we didn’t cancel everything’ a conversation?

              • Paul

                He is trying to lure you in….

        • Wayne

          On this, I agree with Pete George.

          Of course Eleanor Catton can express her views about the government, and they are pretty typical for those on the Green Left. Nothing unusual there. For those who read the full interview, they are a pretty minor part of an interview which is mostly about being a writer in the small society that is New Zealand.

          But when the relevant words are quoted back to John Key by a journalist (and I am sure that is what happened), he has to say something. His reported comments from yesterday are pretty much what you would expect from just about any politician having to answer such a question. Not critical of her, simply stating that those are typical views of the Greens.

          This is truly a storm in a teacup.

          • Paul

            So why are you commenting?
            This has touched a nerve for many of the right.

            The Emperor has no clothes. He has been shown up to be what he is.
            Obsessed with money.

          • framu

            “he has to say something.”:

            yes – he engaged in character assasination and weak obvious dog whistles

            wow – the most senior public official we have is so pathetic and insecure he cant debate the ideas and has to resort to innunedo and name calling

            what a fucking champ

            thats the thing wayne – people like you should be able to make a counter argument without behaving like they are 5.

          • Tracey

            apart from his vekled insult by using greens i have no problem with him responding. i wish he would comment on sabin though. far more important.

            it is the insult by others i find fascinating, including their challenge of her book which dick frizzell judged best fiction and which got the man booker prize. so some people didnt enjoy the book but turn it into abuse.

            that universities have all the following characteristics and other tertiary institutions have 1 or more of those characteristics:

            (i)they are primarily concerned with more advanced learning, the principal aim being to develop intellectual independence:

            (ii)their research and teaching are closely interdependent and most of their teaching is done by people who are active in advancing knowledge:

            (iii)they meet international standards of research and teaching:

            (iv)they are a repository of knowledge and expertise:

            (v)they accept a role as critic and conscience of society; and

            of course disagree with her view of our govt but do it with reason and respect not abuse and churlishness as plunkett and taxpayers “union” have done and some here.

          • freedom

            “But when the relevant words are quoted back to John Key by a journalist…. he has to say something”

            really? Seems the PM has a different view
            what was it he said just the other day

            “Because I comment on things I want to comment on and I don’t on things I don’t”

        • Tracey

          no. and that you took me to be suggesting that is fascinating. responding is fine. veiled insults and overt insults deter people from speaking out.

          • Pete George

            That frequently happens here, doesn’t it.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              You’re not very good at it, though, no matter how hard you try.

            • Tracey

              and you are comparing TS and Plunketts radio vehicle with the standard? I wonder why no one here has been quoted on radio, print or tv media on this topic then?

      • Murray Rawshark 5.1.2

        They look like facts to me. It is my opinion that the acceleration due to gravity at the Earth’s surface is approximately 9.8 metres per second squared. It is a factual opinion.

    • Anne 5.2

      Her comments were not controversial at all, just a statement of fact.

      That’s why they’re outraged. How dare she consider herself important enough to make such a statement of evidenced-based fact. She is a writer and a woman to boot. She is not fit to lick John Key’s boots.

  6. Tracey 6

    je suis john key
    je suis taxpayers union

    not a very self aaware lot

  7. Colonial Rawshark 7

    That fucking Jordan Williams again. What a cretin.

    • fender 7.1

      Yeah there’s something seriously creepy about that Williams.

      Still, anyone who jumps out of bed late at night to go on a wild goose chase with their camera for the slater probably deserves sympathy for their illness.

  8. Paul 8

    Alan Duff about Eleanor Catton.

    “She is also bang on the mark about the state of culture in New Zealand.

    When it’s not banal radio and television with shrieking heads cueing us when and how to react, it is ordinary-to-awful prose in sound-bite form in our print media.

    Then it’s rugby and more rugby – and I’m one of the dulled-down addicts.

    In my opinion we’re a cultural wasteland, which you can see reflected right across our media. A garbage-strewn land ruled over by mediocrities fiercely and ruthlessly possessive of the high ground they’ve seized.”


    I like that about Plunket, Hosking, Williams et al.

    Banal, shrieking, mediocre.
    Sums them up perfectly.

  9. Wayne 9

    I think the Taxpayers Union press release is pretty stupid, pretty much for the reasons stated.

    You may have noted that in yesterday’s post that I did not actually comment on Ms Catton’s statements. Those are her views, and I am hardly surprised that those opposed to the government will tend to state their views in extravagant language.

    Just about everyone on this site sees the right as cardboard caricatures, just as most of the commenters on Kiwiblog tend to have the same view of the left.

    My comment yesterday was simply an observation that a greater proportion of writers artists and actors tend to cleave to the Left than in other societies.

    But I did also note that John Key seems to evoke reactions against him with a much higher level of vitriol than Jim Bolger or Jenny Shipley ever did. The comments on this site being symptomatic of that.

    I put that down to his “everyman “style, which is perceived to be anti-intellectual. Although even his detractors would have to admit that he is very smart, which of course is not the same as being intellectual, but being smart might be more relevant for a politician.

    • Colonial Rawshark 9.1

      Key is a better politician and has a better team working for him than any one on the Left has. That is pretty annoying, tbh.

      Jordan Williams will get a top spot on the National Party list if you ain’t careful.

    • Paul 9.2

      Which bit of Eleanor Catton’s comments below could be described as either extravagant or vitriol?

      “At the moment, New Zealand, like Australia and Canada, is dominated by these neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture. They care about short-term gains.”

      Good try at trying to slide by a couple of premises.

      Key is clearly profit obsessed, neoliberal, money hungry and cares about short term gains. From what he says and what he does, it would not be extravagant to describe his as shallow and say he does not care about culture. We hear about his golf games and his love of the mighty USA. We don’t hear about visits to the threat red or books he reads.

      He’s a currency trader, for goodness sake.
      He seems mighty defensive about the description.

      • Wayne 9.2.1

        I would say Eleanor Catton’s statements are extravagant, but they are not vitriol, or even close to it.

        The vitriol was a reference to some of the comments on this site.

        • Paul

          From the quote I provided, which words are extravagant?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Speaking of which, Dr. Mapp, do you think you may have been complicit in war crimes such as the targeting of civilians during your time as defence minister.

          How about torture?

          Truth and reconciliation commission?

          • Wayne

            One Anonymous Bloke

            To your first two assertions; “No” and “No.”

            Not sure what you are alluding to in your third.

            • Wayne

              On reflection I guess you were suggesting that I needed the benefit of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

            • freedom

              Paul asked a simple straight forward question

              “which words are extravagant?”

              here is the quote again
              “At the moment, New Zealand, like Australia and Canada, is dominated by these neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture. They care about short-term gains.”

              so which bit is extravagant, and if you manage to fabricate an answer, please feel free to elucidate on your definition.

              • Paul

                Yes I thought so too.
                The right wing really are trying to squirm away from facing the challenge presented by these words.

                “At the moment, New Zealand, like Australia and Canada is dominated by these neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture. They care about short-term gains. They would destroy the planet in order to be able to have the life they want. I feel very angry with my government.”

                Notice how they are trying to move in onto a discussion about tall poppies and literature.

                They aren’t comfortable with the description of their dear leader being shown up to be without culture, obsessed about money and uncaring about the environment.

                I think Eleanor Catton uses most diplomatic language to describe our shallow greedy and selfish government and politicians.

                People who would “destroy the planet in order to be able to have the life they want” could rightly be judged guilty of genocide and ecocide,

              • Stuart Munro

                I’m not even sure we can credit the braindead morons presently handling the NZ economy with even an interest in short-term gains. If that was what motivated them you’d expect to see the occasional surplus. These fools can’t even produce one.

                Too stupid to live is my diagnosis – though they certainly epitomise the other criteria of shallowness, greed and brutishness.

            • phillip ure

              not for want of trying there..eh wayne..?

              “..In a September 2003 house sitting, Mapp criticised the incumbent government’s lack of support for the US-led invasion of Iraq.

              His comment pertained to New Zealand being “missing in action” in Iraq..”

              still stand by that one..?

              ..the bloodlust/armchair-warrior jonesing was running hot..eh..?

              (did you have ‘ride of the valkeries’ playing in yr head..?..)

              ..and no civilians/innocent men/women/children killed in afghanistan while u were defence minister..?


              ..or have you just not yet faced up to that one..?

              • and no afghanis captured by our troops..

                ..and handed over to be tortured..eh..?

                ..while you were ministrer of defence..

                ..(the denial runs strong in this one..)

                ..were you a sgt schultz/’i see nothing!’ kinda defence minster..were ya…?

              • Wayne

                phillip ure,

                Although these posts are well off topic, because you have raised them and because they involve the integrity of New Zealand soldiers, I am answering them.

                New Zealand forces never targeted people who were not attacking them with lethal force. The formal rules of engagement, of which I took a very close interest in, were very specific on this point. And I was informed of all incidents involving New Zealand forces.

                And as you know there was a formal report on the allegations of mistreatment. To the maximum extent possible New Zealand forces monitored the treatment of any people captured by the Afghan CRU when New Zealand forces were present. At my direction we sent over a legal officer for this very purpose. And on my visits to Afghanistan I discussed this issue with General Patreaus and with the Red Cross, to ensure we were doing as much monitoring as possible. On the one or two occasions that New Zealanders actually captured combatants (as opposed to the CRU) we retained control of them, as required by the Geneva Conventions.

                • Paul

                  I don’t think up is attacking the integrity of NZ soldiers.
                  Rather he is questioning the integrity of NZ politicians who put them in harms way.
                  The same politicians who care about money as Eleanor Catton described.

                    • Paul

                      Phil, I highly recommend you watch Adam Curtis’s new documentary ( came out on the BBC this week ) called Bitter Lake.
                      Connects Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan.
                      I doubt Wayne would take an interest. Adam Curtis has previously made docos like the Century of Self which questions society.

                    • and who are now in denial about what they did..

                      ..that afghanistan war has been a dirty/grubby/filthy war..

                      ..and we have been eager spear-carriers to/for this torturing/murdering american-regime..

                      ..and in some rewrite of those facts..

                      ..you are trying to claim you/we have clean-hands..?

                      ..are you fucken kidding me..?

                      (and i did not go off-topic..i responded to what u said..)

                    • @ paul..chrs 4 heads-up..

                      ..and yeah..wayne should really watch it..

                      ..it should be compulsory-viewing for him..

                      ..and the other war-mongers..

                  • Wayne

                    You obviously include Helen Clark in that statement, since she was the first to deploy the SAS to Afghanistan. And the PRT had pretty much universal consent (including the Greens) across the Parliament.

                    • yes wayne…

                      ..they are all included..

                      ..shared-guilt easier guilt..?

                    • and cd u plse answer the ‘clean-hands’-question..?

                    • and all for trade’-reasons..eh..?..wayne..?

                      …all that blood/death of innocent men/women/childen..

                      ..and just to prove to america what a good obedient little arse-kissing satrap we really are..

                      ..eh wayne..?

                      ..u were there for those cabinet discussions..

                      ….u know what i say is true..

                      ..eh wayne..?

                    • Pascals bookie

                      More tired partisanship instead of actually discussing a point Wayne?

                      You said something before about cardboard cut-outs. Perhaps you might want to just consider the idea that you could be projecting a little?

                • Pascals bookie

                  Hi Wayne.

                  Are you aware that General Patreaus, while in Iraq, was involved with Col James Steele and the ‘integration’ of Shia militia into the COIN effort? Are you aware of how that played out?

                  • Pascals bookie

                    If you haven’t heard that story though, you should check up on it. It’s a hell of a yarn, and quite directly relevant to the issues we’ll be facing in Iraq.

                    Though I realise that, from public comments at least, all we should be concerned about is club dues, speaking order, and symbolically ‘standing up to ISIS’ irrespective of terrorist strategy or anything else.

                    But still. Colonel James Steele. Look him up.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  we retained control of them, as required by the Geneva Conventions.

                  Did you hand them over to US custody, as you told Keith Locke in 2011?

                  The USA has admitted practicing a torture program.

                  Are you sure they didn’t betray your trust?

                • (a documentary for wayne to have a look at..he can get to see his handiwork on the big-screen..

                  ..will his chest swell with pride..?..as he sees what he helped wrought..?

                  ..or will a black/dark spectre of guilt/misgivings/’w.t.f. have i done?’ pop up for him..

                  ..his seeming insouciance about his/our role as spear-carriers for america..butchering ‘rag-heads’ for uncle sam..

                  ..shows a man who has not really thought very much about the consequences of his/our actions….)

                  “..Bitter Lake is a brilliant portrayal of the west’s terrible arrogance in Afghanistan..

                  ..Adam Curtis’s Afghanistan documentary occasionally oversimplifies a complex story –

                  – but overall it is a powerful film that conveys the high cost of invasion..”



            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Do you agree that war crimes have been committed?

        • Pascals bookie

          And what did you think of Key’s response, which was initially to simply say that she supports the Greens, so of course she’d say that, and then today he said he was sad that she didn’t just stick to what’s she is good at?

          And yes, he said other stuff, but the response from the broader right has followed those tracks. how extreme and bitter are they/

        • freedom

          okay, I will re-frame the question Paul asked you yesterday

          you said
          “I would say Eleanor Catton’s statements are extravagant, …”
          You were asked what words are extravagant? You chose not to answer, perhaps you considered the question too vague in relation to your phrasing. So …instead

          In what way are her statements extravagant?

    • felix 9.3

      “I put that down to his “everyman “style, which is perceived to be anti-intellectual.”

      Bollocks Wayne. Bolger cast himself as the ordinary Kiwi farmer and was perceived to be embarrassingly anti-intellectual.

      If there’s anything about Key’s “everyman” act that elicits a negative response it’s the utter insincerity of it. He’s a multi-millionaire Wall-St banker with a home in Hawaii who plays golf with Obama, has tea with the Queen, and runs NZ in his spare time. He’s about as far from an ordinary kiwi as any PM has ever been.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 9.3.1

        Nah he’s just a jerk is John Key.

        Who else would say something like:

        Speaking to the BBC before the speech, Mr Key said Prince Andrew was very “well respected in New Zealand” and said without intimate knowledge of the case he couldn’t “pre-judge” the prince.

        Seriously using the word initmate in that way when discussing a rape complaint is deliberately smarmy and offensive. It’s not the first time he’s done something like that either.

        I find it quite disconcerting.

        The nothing to fear nothing to hide was another example. He cannot have been oblivious to the history of the phrase but was quite happy as a politician to use it – as were other members of the National Party.

        Sometimes he’s just pissing around with language to see WTF he can get away with.

      • Tracey 9.3.2

        succinctly put. great to have you back.

    • weka 9.4

      “But I did also note that John Key seems to evoke reactions against him with a much higher level of vitriol than Jim Bolger or Jenny Shipley ever did. The comments on this site being symptomatic of that.”

      I remember some pretty staunch vitriol for Shipley. But we didn’t have social media then, so it’s hard to compare.

      Part of it is also the cumulative effect of so many years. If this was the mid 90s I think the reactions to Key would be different to an extent. If Shipley were PM now, I think she would be getting much more vitriol than in the 90s. Many of us have reached our limit with the huge damage being done by neoliberalism or whatever you want to call it, so the only way a right wing PM is not going to get substantial vitriol is if they were to be old school conservative.

      • swordfish 9.4.1

        “I remember some pretty staunch vitriol for Shipley.”

        Well, yeah – Burn, Shipley, Burn !!!, for a start.

        • weka

          The main thing I remember about Shipley was hearing her on RNZ once and not knowing who it was speaking because I had missed the start of the interview and I ended up focussing on how reasonable she sounded. Not the content, but how she presented it. So she had her own bag of deception tricks and I’m confident that if she was PM in the age of social media, she would be severely criticised not just for her policies but for the manipulation as well. So not too far from Key after all.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.5

      Something to decorate that featureless internal landscape of yours.

      Perhaps Key is disliked because he employs people who trawl brothels hoping to catch their political opponents there.

      Now, you may say the dislike was manifest prior to Nicky Hager catching him at it, and the lying on camera over Tranzrail shares was enough for me. The man represents something very rotten.

    • Paul 9.6

      “But I did also note that John Key seems to evoke reactions against him with a much higher level of vitriol than Jim Bolger or Jenny Shipley ever did. ”

      And you can’t see why?

    • Pascals bookie 9.7

      ‘Just about everyone on this site sees the right as cardboard caricatures, just as most of the commenters on Kiwiblog tend to have the same view of the left.”

      You’re kind of prone to that yourself sometimes Wayne, (for example your comments at times about anti-americanism’ and the like) It’s human shorthand I suppose.

      But re the rest, I like Rob Hosking, but think he too has his blinkers. It’s easy to look at this site, or wherever and say ‘Gosh, isn’t the left extreme these days’. But honestly, nope.

      The left has dished nothing at Key that reaches the what the right dished at Clarke, for example.

      Or, John Key and his National party slagging off at the Greens, who they seem to think are a mix of Satan himself and Stalin. Of course people who see the Greens in a very different light are going to think less of National for saying these things. Or because he is close with whaleoil, or because he is openly contemptuous of critics. He uses his popularity as a shield to deflect arguments. Which you might say is ‘just clever politics’ but it is also not just anti-intellectual, but actually unpleasant to be on the receiving end of.

      • Naturesong 9.7.1

        Or misusing state power to bully and silence critics.

        Thats the one that really gets up my nose.

      • framu 9.7.2

        “or because he is openly contemptuous of critics. ”

        i would say hes a bit fearfull of critics as well – why else resort to the school yard level responses?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 9.7.3


        Otherwise well said.

      • The lost sheep 9.7.4

        “It is largely because the Left are so self-satisfied that they find themselves in the situation they are today.”

        George Orwell. 1944.

        Just as relevant 70 years later unfortunately.

    • emergency mike 9.8

      “I put that down to his “everyman “style, which is perceived to be anti-intellectual.”

      That would be due to your cardboard caricature view of the left. Key isn’t hated on here because his style. He hated on here because he is more dirty, dodgy, dishonest, and smug, sneering and snide about it, than Bolger or Shipley ever were.

    • The Murphey 9.9

      Q. By which measure is JK to be considered ‘very smart’ ?

      Q. How much of a factor is the gullible idiocy of Key supporters in countering your ‘ very smart’ supposition ?

      • Psycho Milt 9.9.1

        Well, there’s smart and there’s smart. I should think that if you wanted Key to express an opinion on symbolism and spirituality in the films of Tarkovsky, it would be one fucking short conversation. But when it comes to plans “so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel,” I expect he’s just your bloke.

    • Tom Jackson 9.10

      Just about everyone on this site sees the right as cardboard caricatures, just as most of the commenters on Kiwiblog tend to have the same view of the left

      Except in one case it is actually true.

      I stand by my belief that the political right are in an odd way the most self aware human beings alive. They have an absolutely infallible self knowledge, which they project on to their perceived enemies. If you want to know what the right wing really think or what they are really up to, just look at what they are currently accusing others of.

      It works without fail.

    • gsays 9.11

      hi wayne,
      i think, the reason for ” …an observation that a greater proportion of writers artists and actors tend to cleave to the Left than in other societies.”,
      is a reflection of aotearoa/new zealands’ proud history of tending to be leftish.

      by that i mean egalitarian, giving women the vote early, mickey savages’ policies and coupled with the tangata whenua and their reverence for women and children.

      now somewhere along the line we have strayed, perhaps the 50s and 60s with come work in the factories and then again with the labour partys’ treachery and the reforms of the 80s.

    • Wensleydale 9.12

      I don’t know. I vividly remember people burning effigies of Shipley in the streets after the benefit cuts. I can’t recall anyone doing something similar to Key as yet. Maybe it’s past due…

    • David 9.13

      She’s a celebrated author you dumb dumb, of course she will use extravagent language. I bet she uses beautiful english to ring the IRD. The right wing have been shown up by a political novice. (No offence to Eleanor Catton, of course)

    • Murray Rawshark 9.14

      I have never seen any evidence that Key is particularly smart. He’s learned a few survival techniques and can follow instructions. I’ve never seen any evidence of deep thinking, or anything more than the one-dimensional attributes you might get from an awkward teenage with only one ability. I’d guess his IQ at about 125, being generous.

    • Tracey 9.15

      either key lied and misled the people and bolger and shipley didnt or they werent as good at it.

      i recall shipley being vilified by the left for her hiding of protestors from the chinese premier and using police to push them away…. of handling revell badly… i think you can also say that key evokes more anger because he lies, misleads and is damaging nz in more ways than one.

  10. meconism 10

    Catton’s funding from CNZ is probably from the funds that they recieve from Lotteries and not from the taxpayers.

  11. swordfish 11

    It could be suggested, of course, that Catton’s argument is a little ideologically-confused. Excellent, hard-hitting comments on a neo-liberal, profit-obsessed political elite, but then immediately followed by a kind of anti-egalitarian (and arguably neo-liberal) attack on the so-called Tall Poppy Syndrome.

    • Pascals bookie 11.1

      I think the response she has received on that aspect has pretty much proven her point though.

    • Murray Rawshark 11.2

      I think you’re a bit confused there, swordfish. The neoliberals embrace the tall poppy syndrome, for everything except making money and being a Key loving All Black.

      • swordfish 11.2.1

        Nyet, Muzza, Nyet.

        Catton does come across as a little bit spiteful, elitist and precious when she explains her failure to win the New Zealand Post Book award as a result of some sort of collective jealousy at her overseas success. “There was this kind of thing that now you’ve won this prize from overseas, we’re not going to celebrate it here, we’re going to give the award to somebody else…..If you get success overseas, then very often the local population can suddenly be very hard on you…..It betrays an attitude towards individual achievement which is very uncomfortable. It has to belong to everybody or the country really doesn’t want to know.”

        Putting aside the fact that, as far as I’m concerned, this completely mis-characterises the popular reaction in New Zealand to her Man Booker win, there’s a clear undertone of neo-liberal elitism, individualism and anti-egalitarianism that starkly contrasts with her hard-hitting comments on the political elite.

        • greywarshark

          @ swordfish
          Eleanor Catton’s feelings were hurt. She spoke out in a mood of disappointment. Everyone has feelings. It doesn’t make her all the things you have described. And she is elitist, all writers are. A lot of books are published in NZ but writers still are a minority, special, elite group. And not many here win the Booker prize. On reflection she will wish eventually that she never opened her thoughts so widely to everyone, and that she had spoken more circumspectly.

          • One Anonymous Bloke


            It always strikes me as odd: railing against elites. I don’t begrudge the AB’s skills anymore than I would Eleanor Catton’s.

            In what sense is neo-liberalism ‘elite’ – a failed dogma being outperformed by faster, sleeker economic models doesn’t make the top table, sorry.

          • swordfish

            Yeah, I know, grey. I don’t want to be too hard on her, she deserves great acclaim for what she’s achieved and her attack on the neo-liberal elite was like a breath of fresh air. But the constant self-pitying complaints from certain elites about the so-called Tall Poppy Syndrome does begin to grate after a while. And, you know, Muzza (who I’m very fond of) did kind of challenge me with the suggestion that I’m “a bit confused”***

            ***Mind you, I’m reliably informed that during the only time I’ve ever spoken in my sleep (about 3 years ago), I apparently said quite clearly and loudly: “Well, I’ve got no idea what’s going on.” and then, about 15 seconds later “I still don’t know what’s happening”. So perhaps Muzza’s spot on after all.

            • Tracey


              I agree with a couple of your comments and upon further reflection overnight think she spoke from a place of hurt feelings. She did get the NZ fiction prize just not the over-all prize. Art, culture anything that is judged will succumb to an aspect of personal taste.

              I also don’t liek the use of the “tall poppy syndrome” as a kind of way to make us not criticise certain people as though they are somehow immune… be it Peter Jackson, Bob Jones Catton or whomever.

              BUT the response of Mr Key and the snide ridicule by making a churlish association with The Greens and far worse Plunkett and others taking the chance to pour vitriol and scorn over her has me wondering how people cannot see a semblance of speaking truth to those who do not want to hear in what she said (am not referring to you in that).

              By the way I doubt her personal earnings to date are up there with Jackson or Jones who never get asked to pay anything back despite their criticism and yes both have enjoyed taxpayer funds in their lifetime (Jackson for film making and Jones for his political party)

              • In Vino

                Good point. Why should anyone ask Catton to pay anything back? As I understand, she was funded by taxpayers to teach. She did teach, and obviously worked hard at it. Can any right-winger give evidence of her writing her book during teaching time? Can they give evidence of complaints about her not doing her job? I think she wrote her book in her own time, after hours. Anyone who suggests otherwise needs to provide evidence, or apologise and withdraw.

                Fat chance with right-wing sledgers like the Tax-Payers’ so-called Union.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  There isn’t a hoop that right-wingers can concoct that academics must jump through. Same goes for left-wingers.

                  Fuck the lot of us if we can’t deal with facts.

                  • In Vino

                    Agreed. But the academic skill of dealing with facts is possessed by few, and then some bastard muddies the facts.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The academic skill of determining facts is to deliberately undermine individual opinions using peer review: to send your findings to your worst enemy for analysis.

                      This is why Tories can’t deal with democracy: all their beliefs are shite.

            • greywarshark

              @ swordfish
              Funny. I comprehend completely. And if Muzza says someone is confused he will either be a good judge (if he can be objective about himself) or a very poor one, because he can’t.

              And the tall poppy sydrome bit gets trotted out in NZ often from people who have been able to grow to a great extent, by advanced grooming and resources. When people who have struggled point out that they had a tail wind, they trot out this trite response, saying that the comments don’t portray reality but are just based on envy.

              I thought it was just something we had, like cultural cringe, and then I read of people getting big doses tall poppies in the UK. I blame the Brits for it now. It seems to me that the USA are all for encouraging and cheering people on, but we enjoy being wise before the event, it won’t work, it’ll never get off the ground (Pearse). And then if someone does prove the septics wrong, they get annoyed at being shown up as useless wet blankets. It’s terrible in NZ to fail apparently, shows you are a fool and you become the butt of all the red-hen hangers on. So less things get trialled or ventured.

              Sir Humphrey says something like – Anything may be done, but nothing must be done for the first time.

              • Murray Rawshark

                I don’t know if it’s actually possible to be objective about yourself, or even much else. As long as we recognise that we are all subjective, I don’t see a problem. I can recognise my weak points and find it much easier to talk about them than my strong points. I was introduced as the world expert on a particular topic at a conference once, and I looked around to see who they were talking about. It seemed obvious to others, but ludicrous to me. I’ve seen this often with Kiwis.

                As to being confused, Swordy, we’ll just have to disagree for now on whether Catton was letting her neoliberal side out for a walk or not when she spoke about the Kiwi prize. I imagine she’d seen similar things happen to other people and would have been a bit too involved in the topic. In any case, I’m glad she spoke out. If any journalist ever asked me anything, I would.

  12. Saarbo 12

    A pretty average interview of one of the judges; Dick Frizzell by Scary Mary this arvo, gotta say it seems to confirm that Frizzell and co were actually affected by “tall poppy syndrome” and also seemed to be a pretty snarky attack on Catton on behalf of the RNZ judge,Kim Hill (That was what I inferred from it anyway).

    I also wonder if the “Tall poppy” attack on Catton is to divert attention away from her accurate comments about NZ MP’s…

    • Anne 12.1

      I also wonder if the “Tall poppy” attack on Catton is to divert attention away from her accurate comments about NZ MP’s…

      The more accurate the attack the greater the personal venom and vitriol. But don’t include all NZ MPs – just not enough of them yet to tip the balance back to truth and fairness.

      • Pete George 12.1.1

        “her accurate comments about NZ MP’s…”

        Which MPs? All of them?

      • Paul 12.1.2

        PG is bottom sea trawling.

        • Anne


          • Pete George

            That’s a cop out. Awkward questions?

            It’s a shame this issue has overshadowed Andrew Little’s speech today on boosting small business in New Zealand. To reduce increase employment and wages. So more people can afford to indulge in literature, art and culture more, So writers and artists and musicians get better paid.

            • McFlock

              Nah. Stupid question.

              Hint: look to the blue seats, and one or two little fuckers all on their lonesome.

              Edit: another hint – try to think of any mp who feels about personal profit the way you do about personal attention.

            • Tracey

              and do you think that was an accident ot the tax payers union factored it in to their press release to fan the flames of distraction and faux outrage

            • Sabine

              oh go home and try to be a good boy.

              you are boring…boring….boring.

          • Paul

            Goodness me, pg, would be a ghastly person to have to sit beside at a meeting. He would never stop.
            The bait is not even subtle.
            This time…Anne you care more artists than jobs.
            Fail to bite on this.
            What next?

    • Tracey 12.2

      they did award her best fiction…

  13. Paul Campbell 13

    Let’s not forget what we all learned in Dirty Politics – the Taxpayer’s Union is just a couple of guys working as a front for the nat’s they’re not a real thing

  14. greywarshark 14

    I think, myself, that Eleanor’s remarks have been fully traversed now, and it would be a good thing to leave them and move on. I feel that others will be thinking the same.

    • Paul 14.1

      Anything that reminds people that this government is made up of selfish, greedy, culture less people can for as long as possible.

      Better than the usual ‘Isn’t John Key and this government amazing’ that is usually served up.

      Maybe some of Eleanor Catton’s ideas will make a connection with people.
      And others will hear the bullyboy tactics of Plunket and think I don’t like the sound of that.

      • greywarshark 14.1.1

        @ Paul
        I don’t think that Eleanor should be the fairground face to throw things at Paul. Just keep on with your own comments. They are incisive and penetrating – you will pierce the apathy shields eventually.

  15. duchess 15

    Personally I thought Eleanor’s comments were perfect.

    I’m proud of her and hope she stands up to fall out. I haven’t seen any strong left wing comments being allowed through the media today to support her, just the usual nasty right wing clap trap that we have come to except as the normal. I’m so pleased I read “Dirty Politics” , it helps me to understand how the nasty right play.

    • Paul 15.1

      Anything that reminds people that this government is made up of selfish, greedy, culture less people can for as long as possible.

      Better than the usual ‘Isn’t John Key and this government amazing’ that is usually served up.

      Maybe some of Eleanor Catton’s ideas will make a connection with people.
      And others will hear the bullyboy tactics of Plunket and think I don’t like the sound of that.

    • Murray Rawshark 15.2

      Alan Duff came out in support of her.

  16. vto 16

    Released into the media within 24 hours we have RNZ’s Dick Frizzel on Catton, followed by the Taxpayers Union garbage …..

    coincidence much?

    some may have already noted this above..

    and isn’t this what they call a conspiracy McFlock and TRP? Yet there is no evidence in the public arena, just coincidence …

    • McFlock 16.1

      Dick Frizzel? WTF are you talking about?

    • McFlock 16.2

      I suggest that maybe you explicitly state the conspiracy you believe has occurred, and I’ll evaluate it and tell you how stupid and/or precious I think you’re being.
      Seeing as you seem to care.

      • vto 16.2.1

        Catton makes speech picked up on by media which makes Key looks silly and mean.

        Key has state of the nation speech next day at which he intends to announce major policy plank to divert damaging issue i.e. housing / inequality etc.

        Catton’s words gain traction and become headline news.

        Key needs diversion.

        Key’s media and press people (he does have them you know) search for something to discredit Catton. Find piece in interview about Catton’s point about NZ Book Awards / tall poppies.

        Key’s media and press people release / plant story to msm.

        At same time Farrar cranks up “taxpayers union” to provide additional discrediting.

        voila mr mcflock

        of course it could all be coincidence
        of course it could be that Key doesn’t use media / press / Crosby textor

        • Psycho Milt

          I’m sure we can all agree that this evidence of a conspiracy does match the persuasiveness of the 9/11 one thrashed out ad nauseum on Open Mike threads.

          • vto

            the theory of conspiracies (as opposed to ‘conspiracy theories’) does need closer examination than it is given, due to its common place in human activity, especially politics.

            do you think Key’s press and media people would have been looking at this particular Catton issue? Or not?

            edit: this particular Catton conspiracy was highlighted by me in relation to a bash-around mcflock and I were having on how to assess whether a conspiracy has occurred or not. McFlock said needs supportive evidence in public arena, whereas I said due to the secret nature of conspiracies that approach is flawed and that there are other ways of assessing, such as seeing who benefitted etc. See here http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-28012015/#comment-958310

            Cattons conspiracy provided a perfect example of another way of assessing whether or not a conspiracy has taken place.

        • McFlock

          So your theory is twofold:

          Theory one: that Key’s media people created stories like this, where folk involved in the NZ Books awards gave their responses to Catton’s comments on the NZ Book Awards

          Theory two: that the taxpayer’s union’s release described in the above post is part of a campaign orchestrated at least in part by the PM’s media office.

          Low-hanging fruit first: given the preponderance of evidence in the public sphere detailing both Farrar’s links to the national party and the willingness of Key’s mates to coordinate their PR activities, theory two seems a reasonable suspect.

          Theory one is a bit more dodgy. It could just have been a journalist actually journalising for once, albeit in a fairly lazy way. Basically, Catton’s comments have click-traction, so look for an angle on them that hasn’t been covered yet. The outcome can occur without introducing a new player in the form of the PM’s media office calling the NZBA or fairfax to arrange the report.

        • greywarshark

          Thank you vto
          You have explained everything perfectly. I hope McFlock gives you top marks when he is assessing your work!

          • McFlock

            nope. Nowhere close.

            One theory is pretty obvious given the much-headlined public information vto claimed didn’t exist.

            The other theory discards several possibilities that are much more likely than a conspiracy seated in the pm’s media office.

  17. venezia 19

    Yes – I read that on twitter..” Key says there were better New Zealand novels than the Luminaries such as Lord of the Rings”. What an embarrassment he is!!

  18. saveNZ 20

    Go Catton.

    Even notice how the right wingers mimic the left language to colonise it and devalue it.

    Taxpayer UNION.

    Are there any smart people in Labour who actually can comprehend the psychology behind how the right wingers are engulfing Labour like a giant virus and spitting out NationalLite.

    • JanM 20.1

      Yes, they did the same in the Early Childhood sector. The group ‘on the side of the angels’ was called the New Zealand Childcare Association – business interests called theirs the New Zealand Childcare Council – guess who the MSM now goes to for comment?

      • saveNZ 20.1.1

        It’s sickening. Things in this country are wrong on so many levels. It’s not just the government, but MSM, lobbyists even the opposition parties seem dead. Hopefully they are reawakening within this latest round of undiluted Greed, bullying and corruption.
        National bumper sticker

        Need for Greed.

        or maybe

        steal from the poor and needy
        We are entitled to be so greedy

  19. veutoviper 21

    After all the hysteria of yesterday over Eleanor Catton’s remarks – including Plunket’s disgusting reaction – a considered and rational editorial by Simon Wilson in Metro Magazine:


    It is well worth reading the whole editorial but here is a taste:

    Eleanor Catton is a leading New Zealand intellectual, and clearly she is not afraid to build a profile as a public intellectual. Hallelujah. We have far too few of those and we desperately need more. Why? Because public intellectuals have the job of helping us think more insightfully and critically about things that might really matter to us as citizens. The more we do that, the healthier we become as a nation.

    You don’t have to agree with her. John Key is perfectly entitled to defend his government, as he has done, and Sean Plunket is entitled to dissect Catton’s criticisms of this country, which he didn’t bother to do. But Key also said it was “a bit sad that [she] is mixing politics with some of the things she’s good at”, and that was patronising and silly. We should all feel free to mix politics with anything we like.

    As for Plunket, he said twice that we should “leave politics to the politicians”. Actually, it’s the end of democracy when that happens. It’s the very last thing we should do.

    On the one hand, I found the attacks and negative responses to Catton’s exercising her legitimate right to express her views to be very disturbing both in terms of the things actually said, and the underlying elements of some of those responses (anit-feminism, etc etc). Of particular concern to me was the fact that these responses came so soon after the dreadful events in Paris – and the related focus on the right to freedom of expression.

    On the other hand, it also brought the hypocrites out of the woodwork and into the clear light of day – and not just Plunket; Jordan Williams is just one other example.

    Just a pity it all had to happen on the same day as both Little and Key’s State of the Nation speeches and chew up airtime from both of these speeches.

    Here we are still not at the end of January, and 2015 is already shaping up to be a very interesting rollercoaster year on the political front….. It almost has that feel of an election year.

    • veutoviper 21.1

      Since posting the above, I have also read Gordon Campbell’s post via the TS Feed.

      Again a must read which comes from a slightly different angle but a similar conclusion. Campbell’s remarks re Key are totally on the nose IMHO.

      Here is the link to save scrolling – http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2015/01/29/gordon-campbell-on-the-eleanor-catton-rumpus/

      • Anne 21.1.1

        Unfortunately Campbell’s post is a pointless exercise. It’s too rational, reasonable and intelligent for the average Kiwi voter. He/she much prefers the irrational, unreasonable, emotional outrage as expressed by our illustrious radio host Sean Plunkett. It’s easy to digest, involves no thinking or reflection and it helps to bolster the belief that John Key is God and philistine radio hosts are his disciples.

    • Tracey 21.2

      Thanks for this (and the one below)

      I hope those struggling to understand the defence being mounted for Catton read both.

    • Tracey 21.3

      She made the speech on Saturday… it wasn’t highlighted til a few days later?

    • greywarshark 21.4

      Definition of politics – “activities aimed at improving someone’s status or increasing power within an organization.”

      To an aware citizen, everything is political. Does anyone remember just before the election yek complaining that something that was being done was ‘politicising’ the matter. A very telling point from the shape-shifter.

  20. “…the extent of its stupidity…” could not be covered in a book by Eleanor Catton.
    I mean only 800 plus pages wouldn’t be enough.

  21. reason 23

    The fact that two grubby dirty politics pimps in Farrar & Williams still get quoted shows that the National party smear machine has hunkered down and are back to shoveling shit in their usual style.

    It’s not very hard to know and be aware that the Taxpayers union is a cynical front organisation run by a couple of National party henchmen …………. So you would have to assume any media which uses and quotes them are in on the con job they are pulling.

    Catton was actually quite mild and restrained in the truth she told about our present government.

    Farrar is DP filth

  22. venezia 24

    LOL – I fell for it (piece originally from The Civilian) but see I was in good company!

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Joint media release on the occasion of the meeting between European Commission President von der Ley...
    European Commission President von der Leyen and Prime Minister of New Zealand Ardern met in Brussels on 30 June 2022. The encounter provided an opportunity to reaffirm that the European Union and Aotearoa New Zealand are longstanding partners with shared democratic values and interests, aligned positions on key international and ...
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    2 days ago
  • New Zealand secures major free trade deal with European Union
    Export revenue to the EU to grow by up to $1.8 billion annually on full implementation. Duty-free access on 97% of New Zealand’s current exports to the EU; with over 91% being removed the day the FTA comes into force. NZ exporters set to save approx. $110 million per annum ...
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    2 days ago
  • Biggest Year for Clean Cars on Record
    57,000 EVs and Hybrid registered in first year of clean car scheme, 56% increase on previous year EVs and Non Plug-in Hybrids made up 20% of new passenger car sales in March/April 2022 The Government’s Clean Car Discount Scheme has been a success, with more than 57,000 light-electric and ...
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    3 days ago
  • Police Wing 355 includes the highest ever proportion of Wāhine Māori
    Police Minister Chris Hipkins congratulates the newest Police wing – wing 355 – which graduated today in Porirua. “These 70 new constables heading for the frontline bring the total number of new officers since Labour took office to 3,303 and is the latest mark of our commitment to the Police ...
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    3 days ago
  • New RBNZ board takes up role from 1 July
    Members with a range of governance, financial and technical skills have been appointed to the Reserve Bank Board as part of the shift to strengthen the Bank’s decision-making and accountability arrangements. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 2021 comes into force on 1 July 2022, with the establishment of ...
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    3 days ago
  • New measures to help manage COVID-19 as country stays at Orange
    New Zealand to remain at Orange as case numbers start to creep up 50 child-size masks made available to every year 4-7 student in New Zealand 20,000-30,000 masks provided a week to all other students and school staff Extra funding to schools and early childhood services to supports better ...
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    3 days ago
  • NZ to join International Court of Justice case against Russia
    Aotearoa New Zealand will join Ukraine’s case against Russia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which challenges Russia’s spurious attempt to justify its invasion under international law. Ukraine filed a case at the ICJ in February arguing Russia has falsely claimed genocide had occurred in Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as ...
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    3 days ago
  • New advisory group provides enduring Māori expertise for Te Aorerekura delivery
    The Government has taken another step forward in its work to eliminate family violence and sexual violence with the announcement today of a new Tangata Whenua Ministerial Advisory Group. A team of 11 experts in whānau Māori wellbeing will provide the Government independent advice on shaping family violence and sexual ...
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    3 days ago
  • Making work better for Kiwi women
    Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine: Women’s Employment Action Plan was launched today by Minister for Women Jan Tinetti – with the goal of ensuring New Zealand is a great place for women to work. “This Government is committed to improving women’s working lives. The current reality is that women have ...
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    3 days ago
  • Good Employer Awards celebrate food and fibre sector
    The food and fibre sector acknowledged its people and leadership at last night’s 2022 Primary Industries Good Employer Awards, a time to celebrate their passion towards supporting employees by putting their health, welfare and wellbeing first,” Acting Minister of Agriculture Meka Whairiti said. “Award winners were selected from an extraordinary ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • PM's comments to NATO session
    Kia ora koutou katoa.  It is a rare thing to have New Zealand represented at a NATO Summit. While we have worked together in theatres such as Afghanistan, and have been partners for just on a decade, today represents an important moment for our Pacific nation.   New Zealand is ...
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    3 days ago
  • Veterans Minister announces new focus on mental health for veterans and their whānau
    Te Arataki mō te Hauora Ngākau mō ngā Mōrehu a Tū me ō rātou Whānau, The Veteran, Family and Whānau Mental Health and Wellbeing Policy Framework “We ask a lot of those who serve in the military – and we ask a lot of the families and whānau who support ...
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    4 days ago
  • Minister to advocate for Small Island States
    Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs Aupito William Sio has been appointed by the United Nations and Commonwealth as Aotearoa New Zealand’s advocacy champion for Small Island States.  “Aotearoa New Zealand as a Pacific country is particularly focused on the interests of Pacific Small Island Developing States in our region.  “This is a ...
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    4 days ago
  • Increased support for households to pay local council rates
    An estimated 100,000 low income households will be eligible for increased support to pay their council rates, with changes to the rates rebate scheme taking effect from 1 July. Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced increases to both the maximum value of the rates rebate, and the income threshold ...
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    4 days ago
  • He Oranga Poutama expanded into four new regions
    A long-standing physical activity programme that focuses on outcomes for Maori has been expanded to four new regions with Government investment almost doubled to increase its reach. He Oranga Poutama is managed by a combination of hapū, iwi, hauora and regional providers.   An increase in funding from $1.8 million ...
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    4 days ago
  • Wellington’s rapid transit option progresses to next stage
    The Government is progressing a preferred option for LGWM which will see Wellington’s transport links strengthened with light rail from Wellington Station to Island Bay, a new tunnel through Mt Victoria for public transport, and walking and cycling, and upgrades to improve traffic flow at the Basin Reserve. “Where previous ...
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    4 days ago
  • Keynote remarks: Tech 4 Democracy Summit, Madrid
    To Provost Muniz, to the Organisers at the Instituto de Empresa  buenas tardes and as we would say in New Zealand, kia ora kotou katoa.  To colleagues from the State Department, from Academia, and Civil Society Groups, to all our distinguished guests - kia ora tatou katoa. It’s a pleasure ...
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    4 days ago
  • On June 28, 2022, a meeting took place in Madrid between the President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, who was visiting Spain to participate in the Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as one ...
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    4 days ago
  • More young Kiwis able to travel and work in Spain
    A six-fold increase in the Aotearoa New Zealand-Spain working holiday scheme gives a huge boost to the number of young people who can live and work in each other’s countries, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. Jacinda Ardern and Spanish President Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón made the Working Holiday/Youth Mobility Scheme announcement ...
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    4 days ago
  • Supporting local government candidates
    A significant barrier has been removed for people who want to stand in local government elections, with a change to the requirement to publish personal details in election advertising. The Associate Local Government Minister Kieran McAnulty has taken the Local Electoral (Advertising) Amendment Bill through its final stages in Parliament ...
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    4 days ago
  • Govt passes law to protect consumers in banking and insurance sector
    New financial conduct scheme will ensure customers are treated fairly Banks, insurers and non-bank deposit takers to be licensed by the FMA in relation to their general conduct Sales incentives based on volume or value targets like bonuses for selling a certain number of financial products banned The Government ...
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    4 days ago
  • New law paves way for greater supermarket competition
    Legislation that bans major supermarkets from blocking their competitors’ access to land to set up new stores paves the way for greater competition in the sector, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Dr David Clark said. The new law is the first in a suite of measures the Government is ...
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    4 days ago
  • Vaccine mandate for border and corrections workers to end
    The Government has announced an end to the requirement for border workers and corrections staff to be fully vaccinated. This will come into place from 2 July 2022. 100 per cent of corrections staff in prisons, and as of 23 June 2022 97 per cent of active border workers were ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand's Commonwealth relationships strengthened at CHOGM
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has concluded a visit to Rwanda reaffirming Aotearoa New Zealand’s engagement in the Commonwealth and meeting with key counterparts. “I would like to thank President Kagame and the people of Rwanda for their manaakitanga and expert hosting of this important meeting,” Nanaia Mahuta said. “CHOGM ...
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    5 days ago
  • Emergency monitoring centre opened to keep New Zealand safer
    Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty officially launched the new Monitoring, Alerting and Reporting (MAR) Centre at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) today. The Government has stood up the centre in response to recommendations from the 2018 Ministerial Review following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake and 2017 Port Hills fire, ...
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    5 days ago
  • Waikato Expressway speed limit to change to 110km/h
    Transport Minister Michael Wood has welcomed the announcement that a 110km/hr speed limit has been set for the SH1 Waikato Expressway, between Hampton Downs and Tamahere. “The Waikato Expressway is a key transport route for the Waikato region, connecting Auckland to the agricultural and business centres of the central North ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government listening to sector on NCEA
    Following feedback from the sector, Associate Minister of Education Jan Tinetti, today confirmed that new literacy and numeracy | te reo matatini me te pāngarau standards will be aligned with wider NCEA changes. “The education sector has asked for more time to put the literacy and numeracy | te reo ...
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    5 days ago
  • Further Aotearoa New Zealand support for Ukraine
    $4.5 million to provide Ukraine with additional non-lethal equipment and supplies such as medical kit for the Ukrainian Army Deployments extended for New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) intelligence, logistics and liaison officers in the UK, Germany, and Belgium Secondment of a senior New Zealand military officer to support International ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago