The Ministry of National Affairs

Written By: - Date published: 2:05 pm, May 23rd, 2008 - 68 comments
Categories: humour, john key, national, nz first - Tags:

Here’s a good ten minutes from the middle of Winston’s post budget address yesterday. The highlight is around four minutes in, on National’s burgeoning bureaucracy:

Did you know that John Key himself in his Wellington parliamentary office employs has 36 people?… they cost the taxpayer, every year… over seven million dollars… Teams of PR people and spin doctors and policy advisers and what for? There is no policy! …

And that’s only the lot within parliament. What about the blogsters, the webmasters, the David Farrar Rumpelstiltskin-ites, the consultants, ad agencies and even more public relations people outside? …

How can John Key go around the country telling the public he’s fiscally prudent when he needs a fleet of buses to carry his entourage? … I actually worked out that [National] are bigger than some pacific island economies! 

 

68 comments on “The Ministry of National Affairs”

  1. Ouch for Farrar.

    I mean, he’s always excited when his name is mentioned in public and will no doubt post on this one too but being conflated with a mythical German dwarf?

    Also, what’s up with him mocking people with kids getting WfF payments as ‘breeders’ a) 370,000 families get Working for Families, so it’s hardly some fringe group b) methinks a chance would be a fine thing for some.

  2. Classic! I’d just like to point out that the fact Farrar’s polling company works out of National HQ was first broken on newzblog…

  3. outofbed 3

    Peters? I don’t whether I love him or hate him :-}

  4. I think you’re supposed to do both…

  5. Linuxluver 5

    Peters has been rehabilitating himself slowly in recent years. He appears to be much better at staying out of trouble or at least deflecting trouble when it comes his way. I loved his recent comment, while being needled by a journalist on some point, about looking at legislation regarding foreign ownership of media….with a wry smile and away he walked. He rarely if ever gets caught out on legal or procedural matters. He’s won every fight I can think of on those fronts. You have to (begrugingly) admire his better talents (while acknowledging his flaws) and wish he was a bit more well-rounded. He cooda been a contenda.

  6. His speech was shit. I like the bit where he was going on about “What is a web designer, what does he need a graphic artist for?

    Douche bag. They run a wicked web site, way better than any of the other parties. That’s why he needs them. Maybe if he had some of those people he wouldn’t be trailing in the polls.

  7. Jeez infused – you seem to be taking it pretty personally. You’re not one of that 36 are you? Or are you one of the contractors he was talking about?

  8. outofbed 8

    Didn’t the Greens website win an award for being the best political web site ?

  9. I’m not taking it personally at all. Peters just needs to get a clue. If he doesn’t know what a web designer is, he has problems. He looked like an idiot.

  10. Infused – you never answered my question. Are you currently working for national or have you done work for them in the past?

    [Sod, don’t badger the guy. You’ve already been warned today.]

  11. Stephen 11

    outofbed, I think it was the best party blog…

    Of course a web designer is only one of the 36…

  12. alex 12

    Winston Peters is a rock star.

  13. [Sod, don’t badger the guy. You’ve already been warned today.]

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him badgering you guys on a similar topic and I figure if he is working for National he should probably put up or shut up. But it’s your blog and I’ll play by your rules.

    Just one thing can you identify yourself when you are scolding me? I mean if you don’t want to that’s fine but I would appreciate it.

    [lprent: He has a point on that second paragraph. Leave initials or something.]

  14. infused 14

    I’ve stated on many occasions that I am self employed Robinsod.

  15. rjs131 15

    Are you able to provide comparable figures for the Labour leadership? Just for arguments sake?

    Are you also able to provide any evidence that any money is going from National to Mr Farrar (since by posting this you must agree with it? ANd for arguments sake are you able to advise whether anyone of this site receives similar compensation from the Labour party or associated sources or those involved with the administration of the labour party?

    All this just for the sake of fairness of course

  16. So am I infused – but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t have the National party as a client. Ha! Imagine that! Anyway I’m not gonna badger you over this because it’s not really fair and I got really sick of people doing the same to me so please accept my apology. (I think you are only the second person I have ever apologised to!)

  17. Billy 17

    James Joyce and I want an apology for calling him “perhaps the most overrated hack in the history of literature.” The nerve.

    The Standardistas seem to be allowing you very little latitude lately, ‘sod. Why?

    [lprent: probably because he gets so damn close to the boundaries all of the time. but usually doesn’t step quite step over. It is a pain leaving so many notes on his comments warning him about how close he has gotten (yet again).]

  18. sean14 18

    Ouch for Farrar.

    I mean, he’s always excited when his name is mentioned in public and will no doubt post on this one too but being conflated with a mythical German dwarf?

    I don’t think David will be too worried, he is rather short!

  19. Paul Robeson 19

    Charisma!

    Is Peters the last politician left who knows how to give a speech?

  20. What the hell are Rumpelslitskenites, anyway? Is this something my parents didn’t tell me about, or just another of Winston’s language-mangling neologisms?

    [I think a_y_b’s got his spelling wrong it should be Rumpelstiltskin-ite, as in ‘like Rumpelstiltskin‘ the dwarf from the Brothers’ Grimm story with the secret name. SP]

    [Right you are Steve, new dictionary plugin added which should prevent such mishaps in future. a_y_b]

  21. The Standardistas seem to be allowing you very little latitude lately, ‘sod. Why?

    I know Irish is another misguided Joyce fan. But I suspect it’s just that I’ve been lowering the tone. Oh and I won’t apologise about Joyce because I know him pretty well. I would strongly recommend LF Celine however (I prefer my modernists low) I think you would enjoy his trilogy.

  22. Rex Widerstrom 22

    Dear me, there’s a lot of drool collecting in the bottom of Winston’s trouser cuffs today, isn’t there?

    “Making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”… what oratory! What originality! It certainly appealed to those desperate, bewildered and entirely superfluous ninnies arrayed behind him but then again their reading has been confined to the type of literature that has big colourful pictures and letters to the editor that begin “You probably won’t believe this but…”

    Perhaps Winston might like to devote his next speech to explaining why, when NZF had just two MPs, his office had a staff of eight only one of whom – a single secretary – did any work for Tau Henare. Winston had an appointments secretary / PA and a correspondence secretary along with Sarah Neems, whose role was… shall we say… ill defined. Then two senior advisers and two researchers. That’s seven lackeys devoted solely to one MP who had no Ministerial responsibilities at the time.

    I doubt any National backbencher (or Labour one, for that matter) has such an entourage. I can’t imagine Jim Anderton or Peter Dunne has either (though I stand to be corrected when the figures come out, as they now inevitably will).

    But then again Winston has always been the consummate pot, taking potshots (excuse the pun) at various kettles and getting away with it because – as is demonstrated above – enough of the people are fooled enough of the time.

  23. Billy 23

    Ta. Will check him out.

  24. randal 24

    so after all that what does natoinal need seven million dollars of my money for?

  25. LabourMustBeLiquidated 25

    I don’t care how bad National may or may not be. I would take anybody over Helen and her commie cronies.

    [lprent: Explaining why would probably enhance your survival chances on this blog site – right now you look like a troll, and after just one comment]

    IrishBill says: He is a troll. Another pointless comment like this and he’s banned for a month.

  26. randal 26

    how come leighton Smiths budget and salary is not added in to Natoinals election expenses?

  27. Trader 27

    It seems ludicrous that the taxpayer is funding 36 of Key’s staff! In the interest of balance, is it known how many similar such people Labour employs?

  28. higherstandard 28

    Trader I’ll think you’ll find that those 36 persons are across a number of MPs only the likes of Robert Mugabe and similar self important and deluded morons would need that many people looking after them alone.

  29. higherstandard 29

    Randal

    Seven million dollars of your money – you must have a very large yearly income. !

  30. IrishBill 30

    I think the point is Labour isn’t the party claiming such staff should be cut.

  31. higherstandard 31

    IB

    No the point is that the vast amount of Nzers are sick to the back teeth of these turds who come from all sides of the political spectrum to support the political parties and gorge on the public teat.

  32. Trader 32

    higherstandard: Funny you should use Bob Mugabe as an example as I left zim six years ago and you must know that the numbers working solely for Bob would be much larger than 36. You are also spot on…he is a moron. It is obvious that those 36 people would be spread across most, if not all the MPs but it does still seem like a large group of people.
    IrishBill: Quite right, Labour aren’t claiming such staff should be cut, however Winston emphasised how high the number of staff working for national was, so in the interest of balance, it would be good to know the numbers of similar staff working for NZ First and Labour.

  33. Vanilla Eis 33

    From personal experience, most backbenchers will have an EA at parliament and then probably two staff at their electorate office. Those off the list obviously don’t qualify for electorate staff. There is a Research Unit for each of the major parties, and possibly the smaller ones, that are sited in the government buildings. Ministers will clearly have extra staff, and I imagine that the leaders of the opposition would qualify for more than a single EA as well. Lord knows they’ve got the office space in the opposition offices at Parliament House for more than one each.

  34. Lew 34

    All this `in the interests of balance’ stuff is a little bit disingenuous. If you think AYB is cherry-picking, go and do your own research and report back. The operators of this site are reasonable folk; you might even get a guest post to air your righteous indignation – but if you want to know, the onus is on you to find out.

    I do agree that Winston is taking a cheap shot here. Leader of the Opposition is a fundamentally important position, and the man needs resources at his disposal. You wouldn’t want allegations that the government is only in power because it’s better-resourced, would you? That’d be ironical.

    L

  35. Trader 35

    Lew: Assumed that those more knowledgeable than I may have or know the info off hand.

  36. higherstandard 36

    Trader by all accounts one of the posters here should be able to let you know I seem to remember that one or more are members of the Labour Party ?

  37. randal 37

    anyone wanting to gorge on the public teat would have to shove national out of the way first and h.s. it is natoinal party vernacular, jargon what have you to claim that all money spent by the government is their money so I’m just following the trend. why do national have to spend seven million dollars of my money when frankly they aren’t worth it and I would rather spend my money on something else.

  38. Trader 38

    Randal i’m sure you could find a lot more than $7,000,000 of ‘your’ money being spent by Labour on things you don’t like and things you think are not worth it.

  39. randal 39

    yes trader but dont dodge the question. Why is national spending $7,000,000 of my money buying sinecures for their flacks. that money seems to be buying a lot of cheese for too many rats.

  40. Lew 40

    randal: They’re not. They’re spending $7m (over what time period?) on 36 staff in order to credibly contest a general election in a few months.

    You might want Labour to always win without having to try, but I’ve spent time living in one-party states and I’d rather have robust electoral contest. It keeps the honest honest, the strong strong, and the smart smart.

    L

    Captcha: `cream all’.

  41. higherstandard 41

    Randal

    You are a turd.

    None of the money spent by the parties in parliament is ‘theirs’ (apart from that raised in donations for electioneering) it is provided to them by the goodness of the public – perhaps if parties of all ilks had to write this 100 times in their own blood they might be less arrogant and more responsible with how they spend it.

  42. randal 42

    hs I am not a turd and why do you bring that sort of copraphagic language into this discussion. have you got faeces on the brain?

  43. higherstandard 43

    Randal you are a turd your constant displays of meteorism and borborygmy throughout the standard are a testament to you as the veritable overlord of stools

  44. Dan 44

    Winston’s confidence is showing, and the body language of the Nats in the background was of Y9 kids in their first classroom of the year: fearful and submissive. The dog whisperer would have had a field day! It was interesting his playing of the Bob the builder card; even Bob seemed to agree with him.
    Go Winston: Tauranga to NZF by 5%.

  45. outofbed 45

    Go Winston: Tauranga to NZF by 5%,

    It is my humble opinion that if Winston wins Tauranga, the National party will form the next Government if he doesn’t they won’t

    Rationale being, National are obviously going to be the biggest party but won’t have the numbers. Winston will go with the biggest party
    so a National win .
    All leftie voters in Tauranga should vote National for their electorate vote and obviously all rightie voters should vote NZF in Tauranga

  46. Disengaged 46

    Oh noes 36 staff shared by 48 MPs!The horror. I notice you are bit quiet on the Labour numbers. Given that most Cabinet Ministers would have five or more “advisors” each (Senior Private Secretary, Press Secretary, Office Receptionist,Electorate Secretary plus a seconded ministry staffer for each portfolio). I would imagine that Labour’s numbers are a lot higher. I’m not saying that they are overstaffed, but it does seem a bit disengenuous to make it sound like National is being profigate with its staffing levels when they are most likely the same or less proportionally than other parties.

  47. randal 47

    hs i thinked you are little cheesed off because you are not on the gravy train at HQ. please dont take your frustration and bitterness out on me. you demean yourself and your brother rats.

  48. Dan 48

    Sorry outofbed: NZF for local candidate and Labour for party vote. Winston has a home run!

  49. ak 49

    Minor correction if I may OOb: Winnie said he will negotiate first weith the party with the most seats.

    Important and highly salient choice of words from the master polly: as a Winwatchers Anonymous founding member from the opaque ages when the Great Brown Tory Hope first emerged, my money says his innate preferences lie snugly in the warm humanitarian bosom of our current experienced, intelligent, diligent (yet still strikingly attractive in those treasured fleeting moments when her classically handsome facial musculature relaxes sufficiently to reveal the purity and optimism of the essential life-affirming motivation within, which with her general deportment – that humble yet determined stride, so indicative of a willingness to listen and a firm intention to avoid the arrogant splay-footed tory strut – and a coiffure concomitant with a Ghandiesque personage too consumed by the affairs of our common predicament to stoop to vanity however minor (but improving daily, and yes, do do something with he teeth Hells) ahh.. leader.

    Sorry about that, where was i… oh yeah, no worries OObie baby, I’m pickin Winnie’s like lots of one-time tory suck-ups i’ve seen – once bitten by the hand you grovelled to, ten times shy. He’s now both charismatic and mature – poised and amply able to play a major role.

  50. Billy 50

    …if he gets back in.

  51. Dennis 51

    Say ak – have you seen this play? I think you might like it:

    http://www.listener.co.nz/issue/3546/artsbooks/10936/loving_helen.html

  52. outofbed 52

    So are we saying regarding W , NZF and Tauranga
    We (the left) will win if he does and win if he doesn’t ?

  53. Vanilla Eis 53

    Disengaged: As I said, quite likely two electorate staff. However, if you sincerely believe that the 36 being talked about are the parliamentary staff then you are sadly mistaken. If Winston is indeed correct about their titles, then I can virtually guarantee that they don’t work out of Parliament House, and that these will be off-site staff members based at National HQ. Which is exactly what was stated.

    Of course, I imagine Labour has a sizable staff as well. But just so we’re clear: Parliamentary Staff =! Party staff. Parliamentary staff (EA’s etc) are employed by Parliamentary Services, have their salaries paid for by the PS, and, believe it or not, are non-political appointments.

  54. Paul Robeson 54

    I think unfortunately that OOB may be right…Clarkson stands aside in Taraunga after winning there? Unlikely of own volition you would think.

    I don’t think Winston would have any problem going with the Nats, and I think they will only be too ready to give him what he wants to support them.

    By the way if the leader of the opposition needs staff to run effectively so does the country! I think may have been Winston’s well made point.

  55. illuminatedtiger 55

    NewZBlog – Kicking ass and taking names since December 07.

  56. Rodel 56

    If Winston were Labour I think I’d vote for him.The Nats look so childlike,guilty and incompetent when he hones in on them.

  57. Policy Parrot 57

    Executive Assistants non-political?

    While it may technically such, for all practical purposes, EA’s are usually competent, educated and organised young party members.

  58. illuminatedtiger 58

    Doubly so with National – Young, naive and perfectly happy to Google your name.

    Freaks.

  59. Ari 59

    Ah, Peters, every once in a while you have your moments, and catching National losing at its own game is a wonderful find.

  60. outofbed 60

    Meanwhile Rome burns
    Vast cracks appear in Arctic ice

  61. toms 61

    It pains me to say it, but I would prefer it if NZ First did not make it back into parliament. As a party, it is a spent force. In it’s heyday it was, at it’s best, a genuine voice for populist policies and had a nationalism that both the main parties, wedded as they are to globalised capital and an intellectual distain of popular expressions of national pride, are unable to harness for the national good.

    Winston Peters has always struck me as a man of unfufilled potential, a man in whom great charm, sure instinct and quick thinking have always allowed him to get away with avoiding hard work and dogged persistance. He likes the good life I hear, and good on him. Certainly, being minister of foreign affairs has suited him and his temperament and Helen Clark’s genius for coalition has shown Winston can be an effective member of government. But I get the feeling the political age that spawned Winston has drawn to a close, and I think in his heart he knows it as well. He may surprise us all and re-discover the the enthusiasm and the vigour needed for one more brilliant election campaign, but I think he is in it now simply because he can’t imagine doing anything else and when the political end comes he’ll accept it reasonably meekly.

    If NZ First were to poll around 4.5% and not to make the threshold or win Tauranga back, it wouldn’t be a particular disaster for the left. The 4.5% would be redistributed and Labour, the Greens, the Maori Party etc would all get a morsel along with National. And a coalition of Labour, Green, Maori, and Progressive without the handbrake of either Peter Dunne or NZ First would actually be the most left wing MMP government we’ve ever had, and with it would come a real opportunity and mandate to start structurally reversing the disasters of the 1990’s.

  62. r0b 62

    OOB, I fear that we may need to destroy the village in order to save it.

  63. outofbed 63

    Just been to the Nelson Market and had great delight in telling the Nats that their caravan (complete with mr smith inside) broke the EFA.
    As it has a great big “Party vote National” sign without out the correct authorisation.
    Yes i know it was petty, but hey they started it.

    I will see if it has been fixed next week.

    As an aside the National party are the only Political party allowed a stall space at the Nelson market by NCC which creates an uneven playing field. Although after much arm twisting we are begrudgingly allowed space for 3 months prior to the election.(its difficult to know when that will begin though)

  64. Jum 64

    ak
    May 23, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    they miss you over at Colin’s blog. Can’t you post on both?

  65. Jum 65

    You forgot to add the countless secretaries to that 36, as Winston pointed out. If Key does get in, does that mean he will have to get more so called bureaucrats, since he keeps telling us that all the staff with Labour are Labour stooges?

    Won’t that break his ‘cap on bureauocracy’ mantra.

  66. ak 66

    (Thanks Jum, love your work over there, keep it up! I’ll probably be back, just got sick of the incessant ranting and Colin’s increasing bias – and then they refused a comment (which was neither abusive nor profane) which was the final straw. Why don’t you have a holiday and stick around here for a bit – far nicer experience all round, well-informed thought-provoking comments and they don’t tolerate the sort of mindless talkback crap that is clogging Colin’s place)

  67. Outofbed – Ahhh a fellow Nelsonian! I think the NCC allow Smith and co to have a caravan as he is the local MP and they try and keep politics out of the Sat market which you must admit is a very laidback non-political zone. Most market goers avoid the caravan anyway.

    As for the topic here, I think if we all looked at this in numbers, BOTH parties have an extraordinary amount of staff and hangers on – all feeding from the taxpayers teat. I sure noticed a lot of them when I was living in Wellington and fraternising with political types. I actually found it difficult to see the difference in Lab/Nat staff.

    The 2 main parties are both guilty of excessive spending. I’d be careful to point the finger at the Nats as Labour are just as bad.

  68. outofbed
    May 24, 2008 at 1:07 pm
    Just been to the Nelson Market and had great delight in telling the Nats that their caravan (complete with mr smith inside) broke the EFA.
    As it has a great big “Party vote National’ sign without out the correct authorisation.
    Yes i know it was petty, but hey they started it.

    ————–

    I drove past Trevor Mallards car\van\thing a few times and wondered, but then when I was down in CHCH I noticed a National Party car without authorisation so thought they didnt need it. If I see the National one out around here again I’ll be sure to leave a note under the wind screen wiper

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