Written By: - Date published: 7:41 am, December 23rd, 2015 - 61 comments
Categories: accountability, afghanistan, Andrew Little, death with dignity, Ethics, housing, iraq, john key, journalism, labour, Media, Minister for International Embarrassment, Minister for Overseas Holidays, national, parliamentary spending, Politics, public services, same old national, spin, Syria, war - Tags: chief archivist, department of internal affairs, euthanasia, iain rennie, job seeker allowance, nick smith, parmjeet parmar, phil goff, silly season, simon o'connor, state services commission, WINZ
With most New Zealanders concentrating on getting through the Christmas break, our politicians have largely abandoned the Beehive to enjoy the sort of holiday-leave most workers can only dream of. There’s still a few MPs “on duty”. Their function is to maintain the semblance of active government and to roll out a bunch of announcements they hope will escape full scrutiny.
Labour, for example, now supports the neoliberal corporate slaughtering of Middle Eastern innocents. The softening-up process to manufacture consent for “mission creep” has been going on for a while now. Labour joined in with a tentative press release on December 10. Now with a recent UN resolution providing apparent legitimacy for continued western imperialism, Andrew Little’s spent the last couple of weeks fawning around US military types. He popped up last week to lay down the various conditions required by Labour to support sending in the SAS to carry out more murders on behalf of international corporations. Since Little is conveniently unavailable for direct questioning about this position, it was up to Phil Goff to provide a public demonstration of semantic gymnastics.
Labour’s treachery is one of a number of big stories which, so far, have not attracted enough attention. Watch this space. Meanwhile, there are a bunch of wee snippety-type items which might be of interest to fellow political trainspotters.
Just days after returning to New Zealand from COP21, John Key expresses doubts about the science behind climate change. Apparently, New Zealand doesn’t have to worry about it.
The perpetually useless (and, thus, handy-to-have) State Services Commissioner, Iain Rennie, has white washed National Ltd™’s intended misuse of public funds for political purposes. Nick Smith’s office was setting up one of Housing New Zealand’s road-show events to promote list MP Parmjeet Parmar. After what must be the quickest State Services Commission inquiry ever to have been held, turns out it was a mistake by officials and nothing to do with National Ltd™.
While no one is looking and Parliament is empty, National Ltd™ introduced a new bill. Its a sneaky, wee bugger of a bill which allows National Ltd™ to spend millions and millions of dollars which have nothing to do with, nor are even mentioned within, the official parliamentary appropriations.
National Ltd™’s Tamaki MP and Chair of Parliament’s Health Select Committee, Simon “Father” O’Connor has been called out for what appears to be a significant breach of ethics. The Health Select Committee is currently hearing submissions in regard to euthanasia. In a barely concealed call to arms for fellow Catholics to get their submissions in, O’Connor was featured in the NZ Catholic newspaper. He took the opportunity to muddy the waters and state that even though he was Chair of the Committee, O’Connor felt quite free to openly sate ” . . . Some people think the government should help people take their own lives and others, such as myself, feel we have to do everything possible to ensure no one ever looks at suicide as a solution to a problem . . . ” <– emphasis mine, conclusion obvious.
As part of its drive to deliver better public services, National Ltd™ has been introducing high levels of stress into the lives of cancer patients. The latest New Zealander to enjoy this amazing “improvement” to public services was leukaemia patient Jason Leger. Work and Income received his various medical documents confirming his condition and the fact that he moved cities in order to receive the specialised treatment he required. Didn’t stop WINZ from sending him letters demanding that even though he was in a hospital bed, Jason still had to be actively looking for work. Things suddenly changed, however, when the media got hold of the story. A PR apology was immediately issued. These days, when such examples hit the headlines, Anne “Chopper” Tolley would have us believe that the introduction of high stress levels into the lives of cancer patients was an “administrative error” and nothing to do with the fact that since July 2013 there is no longer a sickness benefit, only a “job-seeker allowance”.
Thanks to the Department of Internal Affairs, charities supposed to benefit from pokies are being made to pay for the upgrade of 8000 machines which cannot accept the new currency being introduced. The charities will lose something like $12 million which, instead, will go to foreign-owned multinational companies such as Aristocrat Leisure. Readers will be happy to learn SkyCity isn’t really affected. According Sky’s chief spinner, Colin Espiner, there’s been no financial cost to the casino because its 1600 gaming machines only needed a software upgrade to accept the new notes. Lucky for some.
More than half of all government agencies audited by the Chief Archivist fail to meet the requirements of the Public Records Act 2005. This is of “serious concern” to the Chief Archivist, and so it should be: most of the agencies audited are in the justice sector.
And so it goes on . . . the steady dribble of silly-season news our political masters would rather we didn’t pay much attention to. There’s bigger stories which are best left for more detailed analysis in the new year, not that the MSM is likely to follow through. Instead, it has been making use of the silly-season to pad out its pages with opinion pieces. With so few eye-balls around, now is a safe time for it to pretend there’s such a thing as balance by including a wider range of critical views. There’s been quite a few scathing accounts of John Key’s behaviour during 2015, particularly in relation to his on-going support for New Zealand’s rape-culture. Not quite so serious, but equally scathing, was the Northern Advocate’s Joanne McNeill’s Report Card for John Key. The Prime Minister gets an F for Social Studies . . .
. . . John lacks empathy for anyone unlike himself except famous sportspeople. If the only good reason for government is to take from the rich to give to the poor, John’s mission is the opposite. While fostering elite private wealth, he deflects attention by persuading sycophantic middle classes to point the finger at the poor . . .
. . . heh! Funny, but also true, and sad.
Meanwhile, our Minister of Tourism has announced that “New Zealand at Christmas is a magnificent place. It’s a time where we can really see the best of New Zealand on display.” Seems a bit odd, then, that he made this statement on the eve of his departure to his favourite holiday destination, the United States, where will be spending Christmas. He obviously isn’t interested in seeing the best of his nation on display. Or, maybe, he was just lying. Again. As usual.