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What goes around…

Written By: - Date published: 5:10 am, August 3rd, 2009 - 53 comments
Categories: corruption, john key, national/act government - Tags: , ,

Paula Bennett appears to have broken the law in releasing private information on members of the public who were critical of National’s “ambitious” cutting of the Training Incentive Allowance. Bennett says she did this to “round out the story”. John Key is “comfortable” with this abuse of power, so presumably now the law doesn’t matter, privacy doesn’t matter, the new standard is “rounding out the story”.

Here’s a story a lot of people would like to see rounded out. John, why did you sack Richard Worth?

Prime Minister John Key is refusing to say why he sacked Richard Worth, on the grounds that the former MP is now a member of the public.

That won’t wash now John, members of the public are perfectly fair game. You’ve made that abundantly clear.

Dr Worth has said he is innocent of any breach of the law, and Mr Key has never disclosed exactly why he was sacked. Under intense questioning at his post-cabinet press conference today, Mr Key said he was not going to go any further.

Why did you sack your minister John? Your secrecy on this matter is unprecedented, leading the press to ask who exactly are you protecting, Dr Worth or yourself? That’s a matter of legitimate public concern don’t you think? Speak up John, don’t be shy…

What other stories need rounding out? Here’s a good one:

Parliament’s Speaker, Lockwood Smith, has cited privacy reasons in refusing a request by Green co-leader Russel Norman to identify lobbyists who have access cards to Parliament. … Dr Norman is seeking more openness in the lobbying process…

The privacy fig leaf has been Bennetted – so it’s time to round out this story. We the public have a legitimate interest in knowing who has the access to influence our government, it’s a fundamental requirement of a healthy democracy. No more excuses, let’s have the truth! Yeah — isn’t this fun? What’s next in this Brave New World — what other stories need rounding out?…
–r0b

53 comments on “What goes around… ”

  1. Matthew Hooton 1

    So what about that poll then?

  2. Deciduous 2

    Eeerrm

    “potentially a breach of both the Privacy Act 1993 and the privacy tort.” is hardly a damning indictment that you can use to claim “appears to have broken the law”

    Although as Hooton points out, any port in a storm after another flogging in the polls aye chaps?!

  3. Deciduous 3

    By the way, what happened to the excellent search function this site once had?

  4. Geo 4

    Yes MH.National down one ,Labour NC.The question should be what about the Bill English Rort.The Bennet-ifit basher.The release of private information from Govt data base.

  5. Geo 5

    And what about Paul Henry this morning calling Johny Key a blackmailer.If you don’t like what Bill English is getting for rent on his OWN house then he will change houses and we will pay him more.

  6. Deciduous 6

    Now I’m worried Geo! You listen to that toxic dwarf Henry? Thought you folk had the tuning dial super glued to Labour FM & Morning Report?

  7. Eric C. 7

    Speaking of rounding out the English story, I note DFP has been telling people it is okay that English didn’t declare his $1.2 m Wellington family home in his pecuniary interests if he declared the trust that owns it.

    The problem is English did not declare any trust and he did not declare the family home either.

    Maybe we need to see the papers on that family trust that English is hiding behind so we can round out this story.

    As for the polls, MH, they can turn very quickly when scandal is in the air.

    • Doug 7.1

      Eric C
      After nine years of Scandal you should know.

    • ghostwhowalks 7.2

      Dont forget the old weatherboard house that Keys family trust owns in Kumeu, that just happened to be the only place available to rent as a electorate office.

      Yes its listed on his register of interests , but isnt it an abuse of the rules to get the government to rent it from you when you get to decide what what is suitable as an electorate office

      • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1

        Can anyone say “conflict of interest”?

        These National MPs are taking us all to the cleaners.

  8. outofbed 8

    jez a few people fired up by the Nats conference
    Did they attend the “Making attacking comments on left wing blogs” workshop, over the weekend?

  9. Eric C. 9

    National was going to change all of that. Seems they got the scandals going a lot faster! How long was Worth a Minister? How much longer does English have?

  10. Deciduous 10

    Oh look Eric, I’d be surprised if a 1st term government with a new crew didn’t have its share of controversy. Although I did have a quiet chuckle when the Nat’s got away with it in the latest poll.

    • Eric C. 10.1

      Controversy? Signing a painting for charity you didn’t paint is controversy. A sex romp that John Key refuses to discuss despite firing his Minister over it, is not ‘controversy’. That is scandal.

      • Doug 10.1.1

        Eric C
        Using a Honey Trap is the scandal.

        • Eric C. 10.1.1.1

          Sounds like Worth was into his honey. Is that why John Key let him go?

        • ghostwhowalks 10.1.1.2

          Its not a ‘honey trap’ when you turn around and tell Worths boss that hes sexually harrassing a woman
          Remember the phone call Key said he didnt get because he was on a plane.

          No one would have heard any more about the Indian woman until a Korean Woman went to the police and to Tau Henares office.

          Some Honey trap?. It was randy goat who was charging the tax payers for his hot sheets hotels

  11. Deciduous 11

    Lets not sling mud eh Eric. Theres plenty of ammo after the last adminstrations daliance with autocracy.

    • Eric C. 11.1

      Mud? Such a harsh word.

      It is… What did the Right call it?

      Oh, yes, keeping the bastards honest.

      But I can understand why you guys who have been so silent or at least slow to react on the English scandal want to end the debate with accusations of ‘mud’. Let’s see what comes out in the wash.

  12. vto 12

    Well done r0b. Very fair calls. Just like me and others used to do with the last labour lot – apply some ‘principle’ or ‘ruling’ from one political situation to another. Helen et al would simply select the ‘principle’ appropriate politically for that moment and then conveniently use another later.

    Though we sit mostly on opposite sides of the spectrum you highlight one of the most frustrating aspects of politicians – namely, changing the rules as they go. It moves me to anger because it is a form of deception, or falsehood or lying.

    I think they think we dont notice. The current nat lot are certainly doing nothing (current expense exposure aside) to lift the lowly perception and reality of politicians in the public’s eye.

    • r0b 12.1

      Well done r0b. Very fair calls.

      Kind and fair of you to say so vto.

      Just like me and others used to do with the last labour lot apply some ‘principle’ or ‘ruling’ from one political situation to another. Helen et al would simply select the ‘principle’ appropriate politically for that moment and then conveniently use another later.

      But I’m afraid you lose me there. While Labour didn’t get everything right, and made some bad calls, they were guided by principle and I defend their record on that front. In the case of serious allegations Helen Clark stood down ministers, and if due process found them guilty they were sacked.

      In particular, Bennett has broken the law and should go, as Labour’s Lianne Dalziel was stood down for a similar transgression. English is rorting the accommodation allowance and should go, as Labour’s Marian Hobbs and Phillida Bunkle (Alliance) were stood down for similar. Worth should have gone long before he did for his conflicts of interest in India, as Labour’s Parker stood down at even the hint of a transgression.

      Labour ran a clean ship. It’s becoming clear that with National there are no standards and no limits – anything goes and you can stay in cabinet. John’s “new standards” are as low as they can go. I’m sure National get some short term jollies out of that, but surely they can see that they are sowing the seeds of their own destruction…

    • burt 12.2

      Labour ran a clean ship. It’s becoming clear that with National there are no standards and no limits

      If you seriously believe this rOb then you should seek professional help.

  13. Bomber 13

    Paula Bennett is the Sarah Palin of NZ politics (she can see the glass ceiling from her house!) – 19% Westy battler, 30% Stroppy mum from struggle street, and 51% smug accomplishment, the soft sell face of tomorrow’s massive cuts in social spending has breached privacy laws and the cabinet manual to release information about two dirty solo mothers who dared question the shut down of a training allowance that Paula herself had used.

    Bennie bashing dirty bludgers is as traditional to NZ as rugby, psoriasis of the liver and domestic violence. WE LOVE TO BASH THE BENNIE, and this bashing has been spectacular with the argument pushed in the corporate media that because people are on welfare, they have lower rights than real NZers who have jobs and as such can have their privacy thrown out the window for ‘wider debate’ and public denigration. While National was sending the myth of NZ egalitarianism down a vortex of vanity by re-introducing Sir and Dames, they were also lowering the privacy rights of those on the bottom rung to create a caste system that would make even Queen Elizabeth the second blush. Jack is no longer as good as his master, his welfare payment is too much and he has to call his master sir now.

    That enlightened organ of the people, talback radio, erupted with bennie bashing stories of solo mothers eating babies and spreading venereal diseases. “Why are they getting more money than the average wage’ roared the reasoned spittle of the talkback masses. Thank little baby Jesus that NZers were so caught up in damning solo mothers for earning above the average wage, that no one actually questioned why the average wage is so bloody low! It’s the minimum wage that needs to go up, not slashing solo mother benefits, but in our lust to bash the bennie once Big Sister Paula Bennett had unleashed the dogs of war, there was as much reasoned debate as a Michael Laws dinner party.

    The right should be ashamed of themselves! Under Brash it was ‘Maaaaaaaori get too much’ under Paula it’s’the bludger get’s too much’

    • vto 13.1

      the clang of noisy polemic eh bomber. did you actually say anything in all that other than abuse entire swathes of the nation?

      perhaps instead of simply writing off every single person in the country who has a problem with how much money the poster girls are getting as some sort of collective bunch of hicks you could examine why they have a problem with the poster girsl situation. they are people too you know – in the words of Horton the Elephant ‘a person is a person no matter how small’.

      Or you could just carry on talkback style..

      • SPC 13.1.1

        Why does the country have a problem vto?

        Is it because they are unaware that $500 a week is the minimum wage amount before any accomodation top up and the person receiving this on the DPB has to live on this and support her child/children as well and provide housing.

        Were they not informed that anyone working with a child children would be receiving more than any beneficiary and that child poverty is now centred around children in beneficiary families,not those with a working parent.

        It actually shows how poorly informed the public is. Especially when the way out of the child poverty is to have the parent educated – via such as the TIA – the hand up.

        As for the person on $700 a week – they were sick, two of their 3 children were sick and who knows what accomodation and travel costs they had (extra expenses being provided for on a means tested basis presumably).

    • sausage fingers 13.2

      Why are you called “Bomber”? What do you blow up? Do you advocate the use of violence to acheive your ends? Are you, like, really militant?

      Or is it simply sphomoric posturing so your mates’ll think you’re tough?

    • infused 13.3

      Bomber, you’re such a bore. You haven’t changed at all since channel z. God, why did I bother listening to you in those days. Stupid teen eh?

    • ghostwhowalks 13.4

      Struggle street ? Her father owned a business and her mother was a librarian.
      And she got a tertiary allowance that she doesnt want others to get

    • Kelsey 13.5

      PS It’s cirrhosis of the Liver. Psoriasis is a totally different kettle of fish…

  14. The Voice of Reason 14

    The opinion polls are a lagging indicator, Dec.

    Two years more of this agenda of secrecy, arrogance and dithering will do the Nats in at the real poll in 2011. The resurgance of support for Winnie comes from your voters, Act are marginalised (well done, Sir Bludger Douglas!) and Labour do not have to improve much to be back in the position of leading the next government. The only real poll so far, the Mt Albert by-election, shows that Labour are more than capable of puttting together a winning campaign.

    Fair enough that the right pat themselves on the back for a good win in November, but that won’t mean a damn thing in two years time.

  15. gobsmacked 15

    A real scandal is the Prime Minister lying to Parliament. That’s not an allegation, but a proven fact:

    http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2009/08/misleading-house.html

    (To the tedious dittoheads: take some time to read the documentation, and the admission from Key’s own staff.)

    Will Key be held to account? Of course not. But that doesn’t change the fact. He lied.

    • Daveski 15.1

      well put vto

      In the same light, a PM lying to Parliament a scandal. What’s new apart from short memories at the Standard.

      We should be holding all our MP’s to higher standards (pun intended)

      • burt 15.1.1

        Daveski

        It’s OK when Labour do it – actually its OK when Labour validate themsleves for breaking the law but National need to operate within the highest eticle standards or they are corrupt.

        Being active in blogs during a change of govt after a 3 term govt is entertaining. Everyone changes places and defends their team for the stuff they bagged the other team for and vice-a-versa. Hell even rOb thinks accountability is important now.

    • Ianmac 15.2

      Key is a bit like the kid who safely behind his Mum’s skirt and yells “Ha Ha Ha. You can’t catch me!”
      “Yeah. But you can’t hide for ever behind your mum’s skirt boy’o!”

  16. Bomber 16

    (yawn) vto, the issue isn’t to attack solo mothers because they are getting more than the average wage – it is to attack the fact the average wage is so fucking low! That’s a minimum wage issue and is the legacy of the new right industrial actions by National in the early 90s. Yes we should be shocked solo mothers earn above the average wage, but only because the average wage is so low! Ignoring that to attack beneficaries and then claim some moral high ground would serve you better in the Young Nats than this website.

    • vto 16.1

      You have a point re average and minimum wage etc. There are a whole bunch of factors for that and a whole bunch more to remedy too. But the issue re the poster girls was not about the level of the average wage it was about (privacy breach aside) who gets what, who’s paying, and the relative equity.

      And I think you need to pull them talkback specs off as I never once attacked beneficiaries as you claim. And Young Nats?? ha ha ha ha ha ha – not young and not nat. nat young (the aussie) may be …

      • SPC 16.1.1

        The relative equity?

        $500 a week is the minimum wage amount before any accomodation top up and the person receiving this on the DPB has to live on this and support her child/children as well and provide housing.

        Anyone working with a child children would be receiving more than any beneficiary. Child poverty is now centred around children in beneficiary families,not those with a working parent. The way out of the child poverty is to have the parent educated via such as the TIA the hand up.

        As for the person on $700 a week they were sick, two of their 3 children were sick and who knows what accomodation and travel costs they had (extra expenses being provided for on a means tested basis presumably)

        This equity and Bill English on what means tested basis (is on near $300,000 a year and has a professional partner working as a doctor) needs help paying for his housing?

        A person losing their job cannot get the dole if their partner is on the minimum wage $25,000 a week.

        Yet Bills wife is living in a home they own (via a Trust – whats this rort?) where she works. She should be earning enough to house herself her partner and their children on her own salary. Bill should be as well. And they both can do this together 5 to 10 times over on their combined income.

        What’s their income, is it over $400,000 or near $500,000 or is it more from investment income coming out of their trusts (is one trust paying an additional income to them while also charging them rent, so they can claim expenses off the government?)

        You want to talk equity?

        A person losing their job is supposed to live with her partner on a combined income of $25,000 (before tax) – they don’t receive the dole (and they won’t receive any WFF if there are no children) and they only receive an accomodation supplement IF they rent or pay mortgage (they pay rates – only a half subsidy at most is available and they won’t get all of that either) . This help does not cover the first and major part of any rent (they would have any owned home with a mortgage up for mortgagee sale) and they only get a part subsidy above that.

        Now what does Bill get?

        For near $1000 a week he could get a place in a hotel while his wife lived as a professional career woman capable of providing for herself and children on her own salary income.

        And Bill would still have his near $300,000 salary to live on without any housing costs to worry about.

        You want to talk equity?

        This man heads what Ministry that wants to bring accountability into the cost of public service …Roger Douglas, who spoke of all the tax cuts the rich could have if only they cut waste in government, and Bill are possibly declaring the whole point of “their government programme” is to make the rich richer and as two of that class why should they not do so directly from government

        • vto 16.1.1.1

          the relative equity of a working family or person getting less than a non-working family or person, all other circumstances being equal.

          you are comparing apples and oranges silly.

          but both the apples and oranges do need examination within their own orchards.

          • SPC 16.1.1.1.1

            You mean the poor receiving benefits should be means tested as to accomodation supplement. That a person receiving the dole should be partner means tested.

            But not people in power like Bill ?

            PS Yeah I get the poor eat apples so are guilty and should be punished with poverty and powerlessness (patriarchal religion)

            but I thought thought Bill was Catholic, not one of the dour Presbyterian Calvinist elect to the manor born.

            One rule for the poor and another rule for the rich – spearate classes separate rules …

    • infused 16.2

      They don’t ‘earn’ it, it’s a benefit. Labour has kept it low the last 9yrs. The minimum wage is an artificial way to boost wages. It’s a safety net more than anything.

    • The Voice of Reason 16.3

      Quite right, Bomber. And the best and quickest way out of the recession is to raise confidence by raising wages. Working people did not create this crisis, but they can help end it, but only if they have an expectation of being paid properly for their work and their confidence rises as a result. Fear is a poor motivator.

      The attacks on beneficiaries and workers that the previous Nat government so enthusiastically bought in only extended the economic misery right through the nineties.

      The philosophical problem for the right in NZ is that the relative equality of benefits and wages is a sign that NZ society wants a social contract underpinned by reasonable social welfare, so the only way a conservative government gets elected is on a platform of wishy washy liberalism. The real agenda cannot be pursued openly.

      The cracks quickly appear within the ranks of the right when the conflict between ideals and electoral reality can’t be resolved. Bashing the beneficiaries is an attempt to cover the cracks, not a well thought nor publicly supported policy.

  17. burt 17

    rOb

    I’m very excited that now we have a National govt you think MP’s must be accountable under the law as written.

  18. Bill 18

    Heard the one about the DonKey, the bennetficiary and the $1000 bill yet?

    Them and their worthy mates?

    How they all ‘got together’ and created an ass?

  19. ak 19

    Good post r0b, but don’t hold your breath. The media love-in has only intensified if anything since yore when “the work was done” and the leading players started getting on the piss with their golden idol.

    Compare the treatment of the substantial issues you outline with the rabid feeding-frenzy unleashed on Hels, Trev, Winnie et al last year for each and every comparatively trifling peccadillo.

    Look no further than today’s headlines: “Key urges kiwis to get behind All Blacks”. “PM invites families home”.

    The $1000/wk issue plastered over or ignored, the youth employment “initiative” a typical PR masterstroke: warm, compassionate Sunny caring for our youth, the media assuaging the base by leading (Espiner) with “Key cuts dole for under 18s”.

    Not a peep from anyone that under 18s haven’t been able to get the dole for years.

    No easy answer. While the handful of key swing-voter influencers retain their monopoly, it’s government by hack for us all.

  20. Rodel 20

    If JK is Kermit and Paula is Miss Piggy who are Bill English, Rodney, Murray and Co?? I think Roger is either Waldorf or Statler.

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