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The Standard Week: 19-26 September

Written By: - Date published: 5:00 pm, September 27th, 2008 - 20 comments
Categories: standard week - Tags:

Slippery John does it again. Asked a clear question by a reporter, he lied to her face. It was only when Fran Mold revealed to Key that she knew he had owned another packet of Tranz Rail shares (purchased and sold while he was asking questions about Tranz Rail in his position as MP) that he admitted the truth. ‘Sorry’ was he eventual position ‘I stuffed up, again’. Well, it’s one thing to stuff up when you’ve got no actual responsibilities, quite another when you’re PM. Can we trust this chump with power? Because ‘oops’ isn’t good enough when you’re leading a country. Here are our favourite posts of the week:

Hand in the till
The public needs to know what went on during that meeting with Rail America. We also need to know the full details of all Key’s holdings and an investigation needs to be held into whether he has misused his position for financial gain anywhere else….[more]

Go the drivers
we have a problem with low wages in New Zealand and tax cuts are not going to help that. What is going to help that is raising wages and it’s good to see Wellington bus drivers doing what they can to make that happen…[more]

Why National won’t win
Kiwis don’t like National – the people and the policies. The innocuous facades they’ve thrown up are losing crediblity and are failing to adequately disguise what’s behind them….[more]

Both Eyes Open shows activism alive and well
I’ve seen many Both Eyes Open posters around Wellington and I know thousands of leaflets from the Hub have been distributed. But this is just the beginning, we need to get tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of leaflets and posters out there before election day. We need more authorised designs sent in for posting on the Hub to be printed off. Bill English says it can’t be done because of the EFA. Show him how wrong he is….[more]

That meeting
…it seems to me that John Key’s meeting with Rail America needs some more explaining. For a start these kinds of meetings don’t just happen of their own accord… [more]

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20 comments on “The Standard Week: 19-26 September ”

  1. Concerned of Tawa 1

    Ah the hand in the till…

    Big dirty money influence..
    In bed with foreign donors trying to buy cash-for-honours
    Secret trusts and undeclared donations..
    Backroom secret deals between parties..
    Shameful partisan questioning by the select committee..
    Maori Party all but ruling out Labour First…

    And not a Brethren in sight…

    It’s why National will win.

  2. Anita 2

    Apologies for the off topic but…

    Way to go Wellington!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    For those of you not here, we’ve managed to keep STV (and therefore more representational councillors) despite the Mayor’s best effort to go back to FPP and the death grip on power it gave the existing elite.

  3. Tony Norriss 3

    Key’s Transrail shares were only 0.8% of his total portfolio. So, its a lot of effort to go to for very little return if the ridiculous conspiracy theories expressed in this article are correct.

    And Key’s perceived misdemeanor is chicken feed compared to the Labour/NZ First axis attempting to pervert the course of justice in the Priveledges Committee and the cover-ups and backroom deals going on with the Peters saga.

    Like they say, be careful about pointing your finger at someone else because there’s always four of your own pointing straight back at you.

  4. Janet 4

    That’s great news, Anita. In spite of all the right wingers efforts to push an FPP vote at every opportunity, citizens clearly dislike such such an anti-democratic system.

  5. r0b 5

    Key’s Transrail shares were only 0.8% of his total portfolio.

    And probably the only ones directly related to his role as opposition spokesperson on transport.

    So, its a lot of effort to go to for very little return

    So (in purely financial terms) is being an MP, and yet he does that.

    And Key’s perceived misdemeanor is chicken feed compared to

    Key doesn’t seem to think so, given all the energy he has put into apologising and explaining.

  6. randal 6

    what started with a bang ended with a wimpy…

  7. Tony Norriss 7

    No return, actually. He lost $100,000 on the deal. Sounds much more consistent with his version that he sold them to avoid a conflict of interest, even though he would lose money on the deal. If he was going to sell them to make a profit, then he would probably have held on until the price went back up.

    Ah yes, but he HAS put in effort into apologising and explaining, unlike politicians on the left at the moment.

  8. r0b 8

    No return, actually. He lost $100,000 on the deal.

    He doubled his money on his own 50,000 shares, and minimised the losses of his trust. It looks like he used his privileged parliamentary position to minimise his losses on earlier poor investment decision.

    Ah yes, but he HAS put in effort into apologising and explaining, unlike politicians on the left at the moment.

    Since when was Winston ex Nat Peters on the “left”? Or don’t you understand MMP?

  9. Tony Norriss 9

    Hi Rob,

    It was a myth perpetuated by Labour that John Key owned shares personally. The record of the share transactions provided by the broker can be viewed here.

    http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?articleId=28573

    Labour likes to change the facts to suit themselves.

    “Since when was Winston ex Nat Peters on the ?left?? Or don?t you understand MMP?”

    I was thinking more of Helen Clark covering up what she knew for months while Peters was blathering on.

  10. r0b 10

    Hi Rob

    Hi Tony

    It was a myth perpetuated by Labour that John Key owned shares personally.

    Actually it was a myth perpetuated by the share register. Interesting that Key’s documentation and the share register disagree. I’m prepared to take Key at his word on this that the register is incorrect. Not that it makes a blind bit of difference to his conflict of interest, his failure to disclose same, and his lying to reporters about it.

    I was thinking more of Helen Clark covering up what she knew for months while Peters was blathering on.

    There is a difference between not volunteering confidential information and “covering up”. Clark didn’t volunteer confidential information about a situation of which she hand no personal experience, only conflicting reports. Compare with Key who not only failed to volunteer information, he actively lied about it.

  11. Tony Norriss 11

    Hi Rob,

    It does seem to me that Helen has different standards for honesty. Helen seems to be prepared to accept the most fanciful constructions from Winston when most people can see he has been lying through his teeth. Yet she tries to jump all over John Key for what she perceives to be lies. Therefore, there is quite a discrepency there, suggesting that she has views “truth” on the basis of what suits her purposes.

    Also, there seems to be attempts from both Labour and NZ First to lean on the Maori party to change their vote on the Winston matter.
    Attempting to pervert the course of justice in other settings is viewed very seriously.

    So, from a public perception perspective, I think Labour has major problems on the trust theme they are promoting.

    I am interested in your perspective from a left wing point of view on why Helen has held so tightly onto Winston.

    It seems, from my perspective, that this will simply allow National to sleepwalk to victory. All National has to do is say “If you want more antics from Winston then vote Labour”.

    I can understand that she might see him as a potential coalition partner. However, that seems a highly risky strategy because it is predicated on the assumption that NZ First will get back in, which is by no means certain. It seems to me that the negative fall out of the continued association will cause far more damage than any benefit it might provide.

  12. r0b 12

    Hi Rob

    G’day Tony. Nice to be greeted each time, but if you don’t mind I’m r0b (the middle character is a zero), not Rob. Rob is an ex commenter here (currently posting as “Go The Right”) with whom I would not like to be confused.

    Helen seems to be prepared to accept the most fanciful constructions from Winston when most people can see he has been lying through his teeth.

    I think he’s been lying too, and I look forward to a parliament without Winston. However, that’s just my prejudice talking, the actual evidence is still ambiguous. You won’t see this described in most of the media, only the excellent Gordon Campbell did proper in depth coverage. Read this. Actually read the whole thing.

    Yet she tries to jump all over John Key for what she perceives to be lies.

    It’s not a matter of “perceives to be lies” Tony. Key lied. Let’s recall – he was questioned about 30,000 shares in July. Later (so he says) he found out it was 100,000 but he decided not to correct the record because the public interest had passed. So he was fully aware that he had 100,000 shares. Now let’s see if we can spot a lie (TV1 interview, 23rd Sept):

    Mold: “How many shares exactly did you and your family own in Tranz Rail?”

    Key: “Fifty thousand at the maximum point. Sometimes 25,000, sometimes 50,000.”

    Spot that? That’s a lie. Key has gone in to this recently, knows there is incorrect information on record, has chosen no to correct it, and has now chosen to lie about it.

    Mold: “Did you personally buy 50,000 shares in Tranz Rail in 2005 and sell them five weeks later…”

    Key: “Oh look actually maybe 100,000 from memory, yes. Sometimes 50,000, sometimes 100,000 yep”…

    Mold: “Isn’t that an issue you should be clear about?”

    Key: “Well, sorry, yeah, it was 100,000 in total.”

    Caught out lying he quickly changes his story. Pathetic. From earlier in the same interview:

    Mold: “Are you confident that the New Zealand Public can trust you?”

    Key: “Absolutely Confident”

    Well now we know that was a lie too. So it’s not a matter of Clark’s “perception” Tony, Key lied.

    Therefore, there is quite a discrepency there, suggesting that she has views “truth’ on the basis of what suits her purposes.

    Key is a proven liar, Peters is only a highly probable liar. And everyone has views on truth that suit their purposes, even Clark, even you, even me.

    Also, there seems to be attempts from both Labour and NZ First to lean on the Maori party to change their vote on the Winston matter. Attempting to pervert the course of justice in other settings is viewed very seriously.

    Grandstanding by the Maori Party. The RNZ interview I heard the Maori Party spokesperson on this downplayed the Labour connection, saying that it was a conversation between friends. And as to “perversion”, attempting to pervert the course of an election is viewed seriously too, just asked disgraced National ex leader Don Brash.

    So, from a public perception perspective, I think Labour has major problems on the trust theme they are promoting.

    I think they know exactly what they’re doing.

    I am interested in your perspective from a left wing point of view on why Helen has held so tightly onto Winston.

    Recalling that he has been stood down from his portfolios, and that Parliament is now over, so it’s not exactly “tightly”…

    It seems, from my perspective, that this will simply allow National to sleepwalk to victory.

    National will probably sleepwalk to victory anyway on the basis of an ill defined mood for “change”. Pity poor NZ when they realise that they have changed a competent government that has advanced the cause of the ordinary majority for something very different, something very much less.

    I can understand that she might see him as a potential coalition partner.

    That’s part of it. However much I dislike him and his racist party, if he squeaks his 5% then the electorate has passed judgement and he has a mandate. I can’t see either major party refusing to deal with him if they need him. Recall also that there is room for doubt in the privileges committee investigation (read that Campbell link above), and other investigations are not yet finished, so Peters is not yet proven guilty (though personally I think that he his), and Clark is without proven grounds to take further action. Damaging and risky I agree, but arguably “natural justice”.

  13. Tony Norriss 13

    Hi R0b,

    Thanks for the reply. I am enjoying the discussion.

    I think we are dealing with public perception here in a lot of these situations. To a degree, the facts are a bit irrelevant. If the public perceives something to be true, on either side, then that is what will end up deciding the fate of both parties.

    I agree with you that the interview with Mold was not a good look. To his credit, Key did front up immediately afterwards. This, at least, gave the public impression of contrition, quite different to what we would expect from Winston.

    I am interested from a strategic point of view in the strategies that Labour is adopting for this election which I cannot for the life of me understand. I know they are not stupid. Yet it seems to me that they have chosen a strategy which is going to doom them to lose.

    Whether it is justified or not, I think the public impression of Labour at the moment does not coincide with the “Trust” message that Labour is pushing at the moment. From what I have seen, I think that the public perceives that Labour:

    1. Betrayed their largest ever donor.
    2. Is accepting Peter’s version of events for political expediency.
    3. Has attempted to pevert the course of justice with the Maori party.

    Furthermore, Owen Glenn has publicly stated that Labour cannot be trusted, as has the Maori party, its natural political cousin.

    Now, I don’t necessarily hold all this to be true. Only that I think that a large section of the public perceives it that way. For instance, I was talking to Kerry Woodham on News Talk ZB last night. She said she has been a Labour supporter in the past but has been appalled at the goings on in Labour recently, and now doesn’t know how she’ll vote. From what I have read on other blogs I think a lot of Labour supporters are feeling a similar way.

    So, to win on trust, Labour has to portray National as worse than (the publicly perceived) them. Since the public perception of Labour seems to be one of treachory at the highest level, then it is going to be a hard argument to win. Even if they can show National to be just as bad, I don’t think it will be enough to change the polls.
    I don’t think a few lies here and there (which people expect from politicians anyway) or a few taped conversations will be enough to overcome the public perception of Labour at the moment.

    So far as Peters is concerned, I think Labour have erred badly in a strategic sense there too.

    I realise that Helen Clark has suspended Winston. However, that seemed to have been done very reluctantly, and she has changed her stance on a number of occassions with respect to the threshold for sacking him. First it was the priveledges committee outcome. Now she needs the Serious Fraud Office report as well. I heard Cullen in the house debating the Peters report. He was bending over backwards to accept the most fanciful explanation from Peters. Especially since Peters had changed his stories a number of times to match the evidence that was coming out. Now, the priveledges committee had to decide on the basis of balance of probabilities. I think you would agree that on the balance of probabilities Peters was an unconfessed liar. However, for some reason Labour does not want to accept this.

    Therefore, I think that the public perception can be justifiably held that Labour sees New Zealand First as a potential coalition partner and is trying to keep the peace for the sake of expediency.

    However, I see that a very risky strategy because I think it is doing a lot of collateral damage in the meantime. And it is by no means guaranteed that NZ First will get back in anyway.

    I think that strategically, Labour would have been much better to distance themselves from NZ First as National has done, whatever they decide to do after the election.

    So, to me it seems that Labour has chosen two very poor strategies that will basically allow National to sleepwalk to victory without really doing anything. I think that National could put up a stuffed dummy as a leader and they would still probably win.

  14. 1. Betrayed their largest ever donor.

    Oh no! Loyalty to donors must be paramount! Think FayRichwhite and Tranzrail. The insurance council and privatisation of ACC. Peter Shirtcliffe and a referendum on MMP. How about loyalty to voters?

  15. Billy 15

    Never had you down as an earlier riser, ‘sod.

    Explain, oh wise one, how betraying Owen Glenn served the voters?

  16. I get bouts of insomnia bro. And you’ve misstated my argument. I never said hypothetical betrayal of Glenn was a good thing and I don’t think they betrayed him, I think they should never have taken his money because he is a loose unit (and there’s nothing wrong with being a unit (I should know!) it’s just not a good quality for a major political donor).

    What I said is loyalty to donors is not the sign of moral quality Tony makes it out to be. Rather it’s generally a sign of a party more willing to govern in the interests of its donors than its electorate…

  17. Tony Norriss 17

    I think you are all missing my point.

    It is how the public perceives things in the end that really matters. You might debate whether these perceptions are justified or not. However, the truth or otherwise is not really relevant. In the end that does not really matter if the public perceives that Labour cannot be trusted on the basis of recent history.

  18. In the end that does not really matter if the public perceives that Labour cannot be trusted on the basis of recent history.

    But yet again it seems the perception is that it’s National that can’t be trusted –

    http://www.3news.co.nz/News/PoliticsNews/VotersdonttrustKeynottoworkwithPeterspoll/tabid/419/articleID/73651/cat/67/Default.aspx

  19. Tony Norriss 19

    I think it is the fact that Labour CAN be trusted to form a coalition with NZ First that would scare voters more than anything else.

    I think that voters would prefer to take the chance of NOT getting a coalition government that includes NZ First rather than the virtual certainty of getting one if Labour gets back in.

  20. r0b 20

    Thanks for the reply. I am enjoying the discussion.

    Me too Tony, that’s why we come here eh. But I’m a bit busy in the real world just now, so haven’t been able to respond fast.

    I think we are dealing with public perception here in a lot of these situations. To a degree, the facts are a bit irrelevant.

    That is more true than I like – but that way lies madness. Whatever the short term cost of basing decisions on facts, in the long term playing for perception only has to be a looser. It has to be facts (I know, call me quaint and old fashioned).

    I agree with you that the interview with Mold was not a good look.

    Don’t prevaricate Tony. Key lied. He said: “Fifty thousand at the maximum point. Sometimes 25,000, sometimes 50,000.’ That was a lie, wasn’t it.

    To his credit, Key did front up immediately afterwards. This, at least, gave the public impression of contrition

    You’ve chosen your words very carefully there – “public impression of contrition” is exactly right. Maybe you do understand Key. So how can you stomach supporting him?

    Yet it seems to me that they have chosen a strategy which is going to doom them to lose.

    Labour have been a competent and successful government. They are (in my opinion) insanely down in the polls because of a general mood for “change”, nothing more nothing less. A lot of people don’t trust Key. A lot of people are only considering Key because he promises to be Labour Lite. They actually want Labour policies, and some new faces and change as well.

    What should Labour do in such a situation? One course is to prepare to get fewer votes than National, but be better at building a post election coalition. Labour is clearly working to keep their options open – not silly. The worst case scenario is to loose completely (National form the government), but this scenario can be moderated by losing well. End up not disliked, not fractured, not infighting, not torn apart Like National was after 1999. Loose well, take a term of opposition to renew, come back stronger for the next three terms! If Labour does lose the election, it will be Clark’s crowning achievement if she can manage this last challenge, and lose well.

    From what I have seen, I think that the public perceives that Labour:
    1. Betrayed their largest ever donor.
    2. Is accepting Peter’s version of events for political expediency.
    3. Has attempted to pevert the course of justice with the Maori party.

    1. You can’t sell out political decisions to party donors. (Well, maybe National can, but Labour can’t). Glenn was pissed because Labour left him to fend for himself. But the government can’t be pandering to Party donors – that would be completely wrong. Just unfortunate that Glenn took it that way.

    2. Partly expedient, also partly natural justice. I hope you read the Gordon Campbell piece I linked to last time.

    3. That’s just a straight beat up. Once again, for political “perversion”, see National in the 2005 election campaign, so perverted that Brash paid with his political life.

    Now, I don’t necessarily hold all this to be true. Only that I think that a large section of the public perceives it that way.

    Agreed. And why do they perceive it that way? The answer to that question is very frustrating to those who wish that politics and the democratic process was fact driven. Sigh.

    From what I have read on other blogs I think a lot of Labour supporters are feeling a similar way.

    This seems to be a real National Party talking point, and I’m surprised to fins you spreading it. Labour’s support has been solid for ages – National’s support (while statistically greater) is soft. It wouldn’t take much to get these “Labour plus” voters back.

    Hup, out of energy, that will have to do…

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