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The praiseworthy and the pitiful

Written By: - Date published: 1:04 pm, February 20th, 2009 - 23 comments
Categories: the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: , , , , ,

The praiseworthy and the pitiful is our weekly post on the little things that caught our eye but didn’t lead to a full post. This week:

Tracy Watkins’ new blog A best of the political journos’ blogs I reckon. Watkins has been responding to comments, showing a bit of a sassy side, and her pieces aren’t too long. Funny (and sad) thing is that the best writing we se from the political journos is often on their blogs.

Vernon Small pieces on the Dom and Independent on global recession B+ First political journo I’ve seen trying to get to grips with the geo-political ramifications of the global recession. He correctly points out that the outlook for the Anglo hegemony is not good, he doesn’t look at the other side – the economic and political power that China will gain, right now they’re the only ones with lots of money and they’re using it to buy up major firms and resources in the rest of the world. Points off for writing “double plus bad”, correct Newspeak is ‘doubleplus ungood”‘.

National: “taking the sharpest edges off the recession” C All the Nat MPs are saying as often as possible that their policies are doing this. It’s one of those brilliant spin lines. It sounds good but what does it mean? What are these ‘sharpest edges’, are the policies really going to take them off, why not all the edges? No-one asks, of course. Wait for this to be picked up like ‘rolling maul’.

Hide attacking Auckland Regional Council for losing money on Beckham. C Higher points because its good, if petty, politics but ultimately a bad mark because, if you’re one of the few who still cares about our constitution, you won’t like seeing a Minister looking over a council’s shoulder and criticising their individual and minor spending decisions.

Bill ‘eyes on the ball’ English: “this Government is not preoccupied with all the details” F He goes on to explain that he doesn’t need information because he is too busy making decisions. Any idiot can make a decision, good decisions require good, detailed understanding of the situation.

Key and English when asked about conditions for bailing out firms “there would be a very high benchmark”, “there would be a high hurdle for any assistance” F-. Um, those.. those aren’t answers and we deserve to have them.

Tony Ryall justifying canceling pay-equality inquires because they will “generate an additional form of remuneration pressure that is unaffordable in the current economic and fiscal environmentMega-fail Arguing sexism is necessary to save money. That’s a new low, almost a sacking offence I would have thought.

23 comments on “The praiseworthy and the pitiful”

  1. Mike 1

    “taking the sharpest edges off the recession” sounds like the excuse of an alcoholic having a liquid breakfast to “take the edge off the day”.

  2. Pascal's bookie 2

    “he doesn’t need information because he is too busy making decisions.”

    ’cause he’s the decider.

  3. So let me guess the great blogs are the left wing ones, they get As and Bs and the right wing blogs are bad they get, Fs.

    At least over at kiwiblog, they give credit to labour mp’s when they do something right.

  4. Tane 4

    Tracy Watkins is a journo Brett, and a National-leaning one at that. She’s no leftie blogger. Vernon Small is a political journo for the Dom Post.

  5. Occams Razor 5

    Does Vernon have a blog or RSS feed ?

  6. Felix 6

    Brett isn’t even trying anymore. F.

  7. Rex Widerstrom 7

    The Hide vs ARC thing is a conundrum for me. Certainly from a constitutional perspective we don’t want Ministers sticking their noses in to what ought to be the preserve of local government (though I seem to remember something about a certain Trevor Mallard and a certain stadium… but I’m sure you’ll find a way of telling me that’s different, Steve 😛 )

    OTOH local governments don’t have oppositions. There’s no one there to challenge and criticise and promote alternatives and in those rare instances there’s a few dissenting councillors their views are rarely reported – certainly not till after they’ve voted against a proposal (and lost).

    And if the community dare challenge some of these modern-day Caligulas, well, they’re just “single issue nutters” who can be vilified and made to feel so out of place that many of them leave.

    Keeping watch on, and challenging, Mayors and councils – especially some mayors and councils – is necessary part of democracy. It’s just that it’s usually left to poorly oganised, unfunded, minority membership ratepayers’ groups if it’s done at all.

    While the Minister isn’t the ideal watchdog, we do need some sort of monitoring / critiquing going on, and who else has the resources or public platform to do it?

  8. Felix:

    How is my post not trying?

    Tracy, a National leading Journo??

  9. Tane 9

    ‘leaning’, not ‘leading’, brett.

  10. Tane:

    Cool, thanks for the pick up.

  11. DeeDub 11

    Rex “, well, they’re just “single issue nutters’ who can be vilified and made to feel so out of place that many of them leave.”

    Yeah, and don’t we ALL wish the SST and their insane, retribution-seeking head nutter would be treated like that by certain polys and the media – but they’re the good kind of “single issue nutters’ I guess?

  12. ak 12

    On th…I mean OTOH Rex, the community has a lovely opportunity for expression every three years, and local body operations and consultative processes are vastly superior to the (almost non-existent in practical terms) central govt equivalent – open forum before every session of Parliament or its committees is there?

    Not to mention the audit requirements or comparative political realities: e.g. no councillor gaining the equivalent vote-share of the Yellow Gibbon (less than Winnie, despite the media gang-bang of the latter) would even get a foot under the table, let alone a Ministerial power equivalence.

    (and I’m sure Rodders will also be insisting on Govt expenditure staying under inflation too…..funny how “necessary stimulus” only applies to central govt….but I’m sure he’ll find a way of telling us how that’s different Rex 😉

  13. Pat 13

    SP – You forgot to give Labour a rating for their unanimous support for the repealing of the EFA this week. Must have slipped your mind.

  14. gobsmacked 14

    Let’s add an F for Judith Collins, who is starting to look very silly indeed.

    “Mr Matthews has told Radio New Zealand he never intended to resign and is committed to working with Ms Collins and the National-led government.

    He says Ms Collins told him on Friday morning she was pleased that he was staying on in the role.” (Radio NZ, emphasis added).

    That’s not just a flip-flop, that’s an acrobat without a safety net. And I’ll bet John Key will just love having to publicly back up his Minister’s latest twist and turn.

  15. BLiP 15

    Hey – at least Ryall is consistent – his actions have also seen the disabled further marginalised.

  16. Rex Widerstrom 16

    DeeDub… now there’s an interesting mind game. Call up a certain particularly rampant (and I use the term advisedly) schlock jock, get him going on “single issue nutters” (should be easy… I think there’s a button you push on his lycra outfit) and then ask him how that differs from his hero McVicar. Go on… I’d do it, but I suspect he’d recognise my voice and meltdown instantly (poor DPF once made the mistake of mentioning my name to him in the Koru lounge, and almost got a bill for cleaning the phlegm off the ceiling).

    ak… Please don’t imply Winston should be back in Parliament, I’m already on pills to control my blood pressure 😛 I’m sure if we resurrected Ned Kelly most Australians would vote for him, but he’d still be a bloody thief.

    You’re right, most councils hold open forums before their monthly meetings. Have you ever been to one?! Crazy (always) old (usually) men (usually) ranting on about their neighbour’s noisy parties while councillors read their agendas. People with something important to say told there isn’t time… or argued with by councillors even though they’re supposed to sit and listen, and maybe ask a question… or in worst cases, evicted by security.

    Actually that’s pretty much what it’d be like if Parliament did the same thing…

    And having the chance to rein in Rodney and co once every three years isn’t enough for me (I’m one of these participatory democracy single issue nutters 😉 ) so I’m certainly not happy about entirely leaving councils to it for three years.

    But I agree that, aside from public vilification, Rodney doesn’t seem to have a plan for dealing with it. I’m hoping that encouraging him to look at the issue might lead to a constructive plan for improving local democracy.

    Yes, I do do most of my dreaming on Fridays…

    gobsmacked: I can’t think of an expletive that’s sturdy enough for the job. F for Collins, FU for Matthews, perhaps. I’d say C for chutzpah but that’s too high a score.

    captcha: deter him. Well, I’ve done my best 😀

  17. Pat. good point. But I think I should do a full post on the topic sometime. Stay tuned, y’ll

  18. @ work 18

    Rex Widerstrom:
    schlock jock

    ?? is that slang for a schlong jockey?

  19. ak 19

    Pat: of course Labour voted to repeal. You forgot that it’s the most evil thing this side of Hades and ensures that an incumbent govt can never be voted out. Must have slipped your mind.

    (and Rex: those pills are impotent against the effects of kiwibleugh visits. Just say no. 😉

  20. Rex Widerstrom 20

    @work: Considering to whom it is I am obliquely referring, thanks for that mental image 😛 And no… schlock is Yiddish meaning “something cheap, shoddy, or inferior”. Thus inferior shock jock = schlock jock.

    Hmmm I just realised I’ve used two Yiddish phrases in comments on one post (the other being chutzpah). Oy vey!!

  21. RedLogix 21

    Of course it is real easy for Snodders to attack the ARC for taking a punt on Beckham and loosing some cash. We haven’t heard the tiniest peep from the little troll about how many uncounted trillions a fraudulent and grossly irresponsible finance industry is in the process of destroying world-wide… but let a public body come out somewhat on the wrong side of an otherwise perfectly legal and reasonable commercial risk… and it’s all ‘truly appalling’.

    A similar Beckham event in Wellington was very successful; so it was not wholly unfounded to think that it might work in Auckland as well…. sadly it did not and probably there are some lessons to be learnt from it. But this was a loss of less than $1.6m… I mean can Snodney not bring himself to say ANYTHING about the real gorrilla in the living room?

    As for Mr Tony Ryall. One word and one word only. Odious.

  22. Pascal's bookie 22

    RL, I’m guessing he’ll be returning the funds from the Nat/ACT coalition agreement as well. ACT gets given funding for ‘research’ outside of any portfolio areas they hold. Sounds like wastage to me.

    No-one seems to know what budget that will come out of either. Or why the taxpayer should be subsidising the ACT party. But I’m sure everyone knows exactly what any ‘research’ commissioned by ACT will say before they bother beginning to ponder on a subject.

    So yep, I guess Rodney will razor that little boondoggle right smartish.

  23. ryallsghost 23

    I smell a derivative format here.

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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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