Todd McClay gets thrown under a bus

Written By: - Date published: 7:22 am, July 26th, 2016 - 56 comments
Categories: China, International, john key, making shit up, national, spin, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

This is getting boring.

It goes like this:

  1.  Key says something really stupid.
  2. Relevant Minister also says something stupid.
  3. It is discovered that reality is nothing like what has been spun.
  4. Media questions Key.
  5. Minister gets thrown under a bus.

Paula Bennett has tyre marks all over her.  Todd McClay is the latest one to develop visible tread marks.

The approach is appropriate.  National clearly understands that Brand Key is the one thing which may save them next election.  And he has to be protected and the others are all expendable.

Borrowing heavily from this post a week ago this was the story:

Speaking shortly after his arrival in Indonesia for a three-day trade trip, Key sought to pour cold water on the idea of any Chinese retaliation.

While he could not confirm whether MBIE had received a complaint about steel dumping, due to the confidentiality of the complaints regime, the Government had received “no indications” of Chinese concerns about possible anti-dumping duties, or potential retribution.

“Even if there was a complaint, and even if it was investigated, whether a country like China would take retaliatory action against New Zealand, I don’t believe that’s the case that they would.

“There’ll be lots and lots of ways of them looking to resolve issues if there were any, but it wouldn’t be through the sort of things that we’ve seen reported.”

Key said there was no “substantiated source” confirming that China would take action against New Zealand exports, only speculation.

Nek minnit …

In a major backdown, the Government confirms it was told a Chinese industry body had approached a New Zealand exporter, venting anger over a complaint against alleged steel dumping practices.

But Trade Minister Todd McClay says Mofcom – China’s trade ministry equivalent – has denied any knowledge that an approach occurred.

His comments come after government insistence that claims of trade reprisals from a steel dumping complaint against China imports were unfounded.

That was despite trade officials being warned about Chinese anger by a key exporter, Zespri.

And now this.  An apology from McClay for apparently forcing Key to tell fibs.

McClay has released a statement saying this:

Trade Minister Todd McClay has today reiterated that the Government has sought and received assurances from the Chinese Government that any competition issues would not impact on trade between the two countries.

Mr McClay is responding to reports that retaliatory action could be imposed if an investigation is launched into allegations of steel dumping.

“On my return from Indonesia I asked my office for a full review of the broader issues around this matter.

“I want to make it clear today that there have been discussions and limited correspondence over the past few months as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has endeavoured to assess the veracity of these reports.

“I remain limited in what I can say as there are legislative constraints around the reporting of competition complaints that are not yet under investigation. These remain confidential until such time as any investigation is launched and publicly notified.

“Having said that, at the time I should have requested a more thorough briefing before I responded to questions on this issue.

“I have apologised to the Prime Minister for not being able to provide more details at the time.

Of course China would say there would be no trade repercussions to New Zealand raising trade issues about steel dumping.  Can you imagine them saying anything elsewhere ?

Radio New Zealand has this synopsis of what McClay has been saying:

While in Indonesia last week, Mr McClay initially said there was no hard proof of any trade spat with China and the story of Chinese officials threatening kiwifruit, dairy and wool exporters was “extremely hypothetical”.

A few days later, Mr McClay said he remembered he had been personally briefed on the matter by his ministry the week before when he was in China.

Now, in a written statement released on Monday, he said ministry officials had been dealing with the matter for the past few months.

“I want to make it clear today that there have been discussions and limited correspondence over the past few months as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has endeavoured to assess the veracity of these reports,” his statement said.

So we have gone from there being no hard proof of any trade spat and an extremely hypothetical story to McClay recalls being personally briefed to officials have been dealing with the matter for the past few months to now officials have been dealing with the issue for the past few months and he is limited in what he can say because there is an investigation under way.

Key has criticised McClay for dancing on the head of a pin in saying that the only contact had been between a non Chinese Government entity and Zespri. I think the criticism should be vicariously applied to this Government because this sort of event seems to happen all the time.

And there is this weird article where the DPMC suggests that it had not informed Key or his office about the complaint even thought a trade war with China because of sub standard steel is as about as bad as you can imagine.

Lets get real here.  The dumping of sub standard steel in New Zealand by China potentially in breach of WTO requirements, the threat to major transport infrastructure posed by said steel, MFAT investigations and a Minister that says there is no problem, then says that there is a problem but it is under control then apologises for misleading the Prime Minister and he cannot say anything further because of the WTO investigation and we are meant to believe that no one thought to tell Key about what was going on.

Andrew Little is right.  This Government has this pattern of behaviour where a string of tricky denials is made when confronted with potentially damaging issues.  McClay should be sacked as a Minister.  And exactly what Key was told and when needs to be investigated further.

56 comments on “Todd McClay gets thrown under a bus”

  1. Paul 1

    Key.
    The silent assassin.
    A ruthless *******

    • Mosa 1.1

      Like the job of Pm Key is a useless bus driver.
      McClay and Bennett and some of the others are still ministers and just leaving tyre marks is not good enough.
      Promising higher standards in 2008 Key has failed miserably.

      • Patricia Duff 1.1.1

        Is the tide turning ?? lets wait and see. hope Labor party has the capital to cover all it’s promises, and the supporters ((that did not turn up last time to vote)) If less time was spent on the insults and more time trying to unite the country life would be less complicated all round

        If I was to select the leader for Labor it would be Annette King, her many years in politics she is well respected by all and has the ability to conduct herself still stand by her political beliefs
        Andrew looks angry all the time, he smiles only when he is going to make a judgement on one of the opposition

        John Key has by now developed a thick skin which enables him not to be loved by all, but in hindsight doing the best he can

  2. As I observed many years ago, John Key lies even when he doesn’t have to, even when telling the truth would be to his advantage. It’s fun for him, a game even. Clearly his arrogance has rubbed off on his team, but it’s clear from McClay, Bennett and myriad others that his ministers just don’t have his lizard eyed skills in this area.

    But for future reference, any time a National Minister starts a sentence with the word “so”, they are lying. Hope this helps.

    • dukeofurl 2.1

      I see his lies in his stock phrase ‘I havent been briefed’ which seems to mean many things but almost always really means -I have heard that..

      Im guessing he is never ‘briefed’ in the very formal sense of a report written for his consumption which he personally reads.
      These things are delegated to his political staff…maybe even his limo driver… and then afterwards Key has a ‘chat’ about it and other things.

    • thechangeling 2.2

      Very pertinent and humorous comments there TRP.

    • Kevin 2.3

      Lying is his default position. It is as natural to him as breathing. It is that simple.

  3. Neil 3

    The Standard gives a wilfully naive NZ Herald a lesson in journalism and politics:

    “Paula Bennett has tyre marks all over her. Todd McClay is the latest one to develop visible tread marks.
    The approach is appropriate. National clearly understands that Brand Key is the one thing which may save them next election. And he has to be protected and the others are all expendable.”

    It’s great for the Standard, but very sad for NZ democracy, that this blog is able to provide context, historical precedents, inquisitive analysis, and an open assessment of the facts, while the country’s largest daily newspaper looks more and more like a mass grave of journalistic integrity.
    #nzheraldwherebalancedjournalismgoestodie

    • The Lone Haranguer 3.1

      To be fair tho, Todd McClay deserved to be thrown under a bus – for being too stupid to recognise an important matter in his portfolio. He should be chucked from Cabinet too.

      I recall Ms Clark having a pretty similar policy. But just as her judgement and control over her ministers lost focus in her third term, so has Key’s judgement and control over his ministers.

      I guess by the third term of a government, those who were junior at the start, have enjoyed the Limo rides and with inflated egos, figure they are the future and their judgements are sound.

      Labour needs to look at what the Nats did right in the third term of Clark, in terms of organisation and staying on point, and work from there.

      Sure the message will be different, but the structures and the “one voice” deal should be the same.

  4. Sabine 4

    i think this might fit the message of the day

  5. Mike Bond 5

    And another issue blown up out of all proportion y Labour. Glad to see the usual “Fire him” thrown in! I just hope that one day if Labour ever get back into power, they remember these calls to sack this one and sack that one for no real reason at all, that they will be sacking their ministers for the same reasons. Question-What is the shortest career in New Zealand? Being a minister in a Labour lead government!!!!!

    • Gangnam Style 5.1

      Brought out the big guns early, “Labour did it tooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!”.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2

      I note you didn’t mention the way these little ‘mistakes’ follow a clear pattern. One that consistently presents initially false information, and then twists and turns until the facts come out.

      If these were genuine mistakes there would be no pattern.

      How many Tranzrail shares was it again?

      • Chuck 5.2.1

        “If these were genuine mistakes there would be no pattern.”

        I knew it! OAB you suffer from Apophenia 🙂

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.1.1

          I note that, unable to address the argument, you went straight to ad hominem, and further, that you have moved from ignorance to laughter.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1.1

            +1

          • Leftie 5.2.1.1.2

            +1 OAB

          • Chuck 5.2.1.1.3

            “you went straight to ad hominem” ok sorry OAB… but its just so easy with your one dimensional rants!

            BTW: There is no argument, McClay will have learned from this…end of story.

            • framu 5.2.1.1.3.1

              “McClay will have learned from this”

              yeah – that lesson is “tell lies like your boss does and your all sweet”

    • Observer Toke 5.3

      .
      . Hi Mr Mike Bond

      . You lick like a lackey. You will keep licking day by day, hour by hour, right down into the National Party and NZ Herald sewer. Slurping away like a little loyal parasite.

      . At least the Sewer is your normal environment. If you ever get into power don’t forget where you come from.

      .

      • Mike Bond 5.3.1

        A good childish response I see. Would have been disappointed if there was none!

    • Leftie 5.4

      You sound very worried Mike Bond. Even you know it’s not looking good for key and his Nats.

      • Mike Bond 5.4.1

        Are you serious? Why would I be worried? Last poll (and I agree it was a bit over the top) is a true reflection of the conversations I hear out there! I must however agree with being worried that Little could one day sneak in and be our PM. Watched him on TV this morning and it is scary to think he would represent this great country. Key has caused us some embarrassment, but Little would take it to a new level.

        • Leftie 5.4.1.1

          I don’t think anyone could destroy, embarrass and shame our country like John key is doing. NZ is not great anymore, traitor John the Con has seen to that.
          Thanks for proving you are indeed extremely worried about key and his Nats, even you know the reign of the terrible Nats is coming to an end.

          • Mike Bond 5.4.1.1.1

            Help me out here please. On what do you base your assumption that the Nats time is over?

            • In Vino 5.4.1.1.1.1

              Normally I cannot stand that silly, arrogant phrase ‘end of story’. Favourite of simplistic fools. But you used it above. So try this, and swallow your own medicine. The Government that promotes dirty profit-gougers deserves to be thrown out for its consistent dishonesty. End of story.

              Is that simple enough for you?

              • Mike Bond

                “Favourite of simplistic fools”. You said it! As for throwing the current government out, I actually might agree with you, but who do we replace them with? Please don’t make a bigger fool of yourself and say that the current Labour party with Little as it’s leader are a better option!

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Why, has Little demonstrated a clear pattern of reflexive lying?

                  • Mike Bond

                    Little just makes stupid promises that are firstly not costed and secondly not attainable in the real world. He is a union lacky and is very good at spending others money. This country will collapse financialy if we allowed the current opposition near our treasury benches.

                    • framu

                      your actually describing key with that statement

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yawn. So all you’ve got is lies and other people’s slogans. Why do you hate the freedoms of assembly and expression so much?

            • Kevin 5.4.1.1.1.2

              It doesn’t have to be, but ‘time for a change’ has worked before.

    • simbit 5.5

      Nah bol, this is serious…

  6. ianmac 6

    Todd: Hey Boss. There is a problem with China threatening retaliation over cheap steel.
    John: No problem buddy. Just keep quiet about it.
    Todd: Are you sure Boss?
    John: Are you doubting my judgement McLay?
    Todd: Sorry Boss. You are always right.
    A few months later.
    John: I was never told. McLay has let us down. Naughty boy Todd. You must know that even when I am wrong, I am right.

  7. Repateet 7

    I know it’s current but why pick on poor Todd?

    The fact is that is the way “they” operate. Collins, Parata, Bridges … and the conductor of that sad band, Key.

  8. Wyndham 8

    Nothing to see here Micky. Look at all those nasty possums, rats and stoats over there !

  9. whispering kate 9

    I wonder if Breakfast TV1 given the same opportunity of a billboard taking the mickey out of the PM (and there have been plenty of them in the past), would have given him a bit of a goading, I think not – its just the same old bias of our MSM, fortunately Andrew Little had a laugh about it – I think he has had to deal with far more difficult people in his prior job to worry over fluff like this. Breakfast most of the time is bloody useless anyway, it works as background noise but occasionally you get a gem on which is nice.

    • dukeofurl 9.1

      Its got the hallmarks of a ‘photoshop’ from Jason Eade, as he used to commission the stuff for use by Whaleoil and others.

      So I imagine hes left the previous place he went to hide after being hounded out of the 9th flr… but kept his security pass… and is now back on payroll.

    • mosa 9.2

      Breakfast is only good when you are eating it.
      That program dumbs down the viewers and victims before they even start their day !
      And of course a perfect platform for Key too spin his bullshit for another week , its like the hangover effect on a week day … it just makes you sick.

  10. Leftie 10

    McClay isn’t the only one that should and needs to be sacked, John Key and the rest of his dirty crew should be sacked too.

  11. Gabby 11

    Dammit, Toddie, always check Pony’s hat.

  12. Eevee 12

    Re. Todd McClay’s “Sorry, boss” – is JK losing control of his Ministers? is there a list (and dates) of staff who has said this to John Key? does JK have too much unsubstantiated trust in his staff? How does this reflect on his ability to select the best people to guide NZ towards a Brighter Future?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      At least they’ve set a date for when we can expect to see it 😈

  13. Justme 13

    Really the amazing ability of this government to tell porkies, react with denial and blame someone else but themselves is getting so stupid.
    I get the impression that ‘head of the pin’ that McClay is dancing on is becoming very overcrowded with National MPs saying and doing stupid things all the time now. Not a week goes by when a National MP is caught in the headlights and made to look a complete and utter idiot and a failure.
    But Key merely pats them(his MPs)on the back and does stuff all. Perhaps he too is dancing on the pin-head and knows that one wrong step will slide him quickly off the pedastool he thinks he is on.
    And yet after almost 8 years in government it is very much likely the Key government have become arrogant. They live by the adage that they can do no wrong but time and again they show themselves for the idiots they truly are.
    This government probably had no intention on letting NZers know about the sub-standard steel coming in from China. But then this is what we have come to expect from a sub-standard government. It’s a shame this government has become a joke.
    This reminds me of an Irish joke where the pilot of a stricken plane gives the ‘brains of Ireland’ the last ‘parachute’. Once the ‘brains of Ireland’ has strapped on the parachute and jumped out of the plane the pilot then tells the rest of the passengers that he(the brains of Ireland)jumped out with a flight bag strapped to his back. That is the Key government ie the “Brains of Ireland”(no offence intended here to Ireland which I am 100% are more intelligent than Key & co can ever be).It’s just the Key government have absolutely no brains between their ears. I am sure they are ruled by the almighty dollar signs and that’s about it.

  14. Gary the newbie 14

    mmmm!!
    Firestone Mclay and Goodyear Bennet
    There’s gotta be a Tui billboard in
    here somewhere

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