McClay and Key have made a total mess of the Chinese steel fiasco:
Gordon Campbell on Todd McClay’s faulty memory
As NZF leader Winston Peters was saying yesterday, McClay’s obvious difficulty in getting his story straight is part of a wider credibility problem with this government. Time and again, whenever an issue arises the initial response by government is to deny or diminish the problem – nothing to worry about here, everything’s OK, move on. In McClay’s initial version, China’s threat to retaliate if we pursue dumping allegations over their steel was only ‘hypothetical’ – and was intimated to be a media creation that people shouldn’t take seriously.
Then, hang on. In line with the usual pattern, as embarrassing details emerged into daylight, the story changed. Oh, McClay had somehow ‘forgotten’ he was briefed on this issue only a week beforehand. Then, a bit later: oh, actually MFAT has been working on this issue for the past few months. Over which period, supposedly neither McClay and/or officials had thought to adequately brief Prime Minister John Key. McClay has apologised to the PM for that alleged lapse.
It has been a classic protect-the-leader response. Note: McClay apologized to Key for exposing him to criticism, and not to the New Zealand public for repeatedly misleading them. That’s the first rule in these kind of scandals: protect the leader at all costs.
Currently, the Key government is still locked in re-assurance mode. Allegedly, no threat of retaliation by the Chinese exists …
Well then, what a strange coincidence:
Zespri confirms Chinese officials issue risk notice over kiwifruit
Chinese authorities have followed through on their controversial threats to clamp down on imports of kiwifruit into the country.
It comes after China threatened to slow down New Zealand dairy, wool and kiwifruit exports, to retaliate against New Zealand for initiating a preliminary inquiry into cheap Chinese steel allegedly being dumped here.
After the threats were revealed, Prime Minister John Key publicly castigated Trade Minister Todd McClay for covering up the threats. He sought and received assurances China would not go through on them.
But on Tuesday, despite the assurances, China was revealed to have issued a risk notification and strengthened inspection and quarantine processes on New Zealand kiwifruit entering China ports. …
The Nats are in a difficult spot here, no doubt about it. The weak steel is a serious issue and it should be investigated. But their usual tactics of deny and lie have been caught out yet again. We need competent government on this issue – are we going to get it?
So our steel/trade retaliation story was wrong? China issues "warning notification" valid for 6 months over "rot pathogens" in NZ kiwifruit
— Vernon Small (@VernonSmall) August 2, 2016
— Fran O'Sullivan (@FranOSullivan) August 2, 2016