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What is campaigning?

Written By: - Date published: 10:38 am, June 23rd, 2009 - 45 comments
Categories: john key, referendum - Tags: ,

As widely predicted, Christine Rankin is continuing to cause embarrassment for the government. She is now succeeding in making the Prime Minister look weak, as despite blatantly ignoring his warnings, he seems unwilling to sack her.

From John Key’s post-cabinet press conference just last week (15th June):

Question: The families commission’s come out in support of the yes vote on the child discipline referendum. Would you be expecting Christine Rankin to campaign for the YES vote?

John Key: I wouldn’t be expecting her to campaign no.

Question: Would you expect her to say anything negative about it or to oppose it?

John Key: Well look I think the position for the families commission is that they take a collective view actually.

Rankin has subsequently done an interview with Investigate magazine, where she talks about how it is a parent’s right to smack as a form of discipline. In response to Rankin’s interview, John Key said:

I don’t think it’s particularly provocative. I made it clear I wouldn’t want to see her campaigning on the ‘no’ vote, and I think she’s honoured that, so I’m pretty relaxed about it.

So what does the Prime Minister consider to be campaigning? In my view, generally the point of campaigning is to make your views known publicly, to seek media attention, and to educate the public on your viewpoint. That is exactly what Rankin has done here.

How can Rankin remain part of the Families Commission when she refuses to stop publicly contradicting them? Her comments are clearly undermining what is supposed to be a collective position supporting the YES vote.

However according to The Herald, John Key said he did not believe Ms Rankin was undermining the commission’s practice of presenting a collective view on issues.

One has to wonder, if this is his idea of ‘presenting a collective view’, does that mean his cabinet ministers are free to publicly undermine him and his government?

45 comments on “What is campaigning? ”

  1. Ianmac 1

    If John does not appear to be decisive with Rankin it could end up as mess as with Worth. Having committed himself he is stuck with it should she “transgress.” On the other hand should an individual be allowed to express an opinion?

  2. Merlin 2

    Ianmac, thats’ the trap Key has walked into here. He has now set a standard for Rankin that is higher than say Kim Workman, who is also a families commissioner but regularly comments on things. Implicit in that is an acknowledgement that rankin shouldn’t be in the job. It also makes it just a matter of time until she crosses the line and then it will be on Key to act, or fudge it like normal.

  3. the sprout 3

    i like how McVivar’s explanation of including her in the campaign launch as a prominent supporter was “just a mistake… i um forgot coz she’s always been our most ardent supporter”.

    at least one of them is lying.

  4. Peter Dunne calling on Rankin to resign: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10580229

    Wow even I thought it would take a bit longer than this for Christine Rankin to do something stupid.

    • Maynard J 4.1

      Did you forget about the referendum then? 🙂

      Says something about Bennett’s judgement too, pushing for Rankin at this time.

  5. Tigger 5

    Yep, Rankin is campaigning. And repeatedly shoving your son to the ground just because he won’t play rugby is not ‘loving’. Honestly, the pro-smacking lobby really need some reality checks.

  6. Tim Ellis 6

    I don’t think Rankin is campaigning. She is entitled to her personal viewpoint, but doing an interview with Investigate was unwise. This law and the referendum is a sideshow, but I think Mr Dunne’s comments this morning make her position untenable.

    • Maynard J 6.1

      It turns out Key meant ‘active campaigning’ as opposed to just plain old ‘campaigning’. Dancing on the head of a pin I think here.

      • Craig Glen Eden 6.1.1

        Thats what they did wrong in Mt Albert then. If Lee and National had actively campaigned they might have won!
        I suppose if you are relaxed about everything its all good. Seems to be the new Buzz phrase from Key”oh well I am pretty relaxed about it really” Just like the Spring Bok tour, Worths stuff ups, Garrets water cooler incident, pig crates, Rankins appointment, Bennetts gang connections,Prisoners being kept in shipping containers, Banks ripping the little guy, taking 6 million of disabled kids funding for support therapists, putting Lee in Mt Albert, losing forestry investment, global warming.and unemployment. To name just a few.

        Rankins the gift that keeps on giving. Good on ya Paula great choice!

  7. gobsmacked 7

    From the Herald:

    Family and Children Trust spokeswoman Bev Adair said Ms Rankin was the trust’s chief executive and would definitely take part in the referendum campaign at some stage. “She’s right behind this campaign.”


    John Key:

    “From time to time she might make the odd comment, but there’s a big difference between a broad characterisation of events and actively campaigning – and that would be unacceptable.”

  8. Redbaiter 8

    Memo from Progressive Headquarters-

    To- All NZ Regional Hate Squads in NZ media, Universities and sleeping under Grafton Bridge.

    From- Internal Directorate of Propaganda, Progressive Faction, NZ Labour Party.

    Instruction effective immediately-

    Postpone Garret offensive

    Re- focus on Rankin.

    Proceed until further notice.


    Comrade Sue

    • Maynard J 8.1

      If they really ‘hated’ they would call Key up for his bullshit hair-splitting and castigate Rankin for her unprofessional behaviour, and demand her resignation.

      That is pretty damn funny though, in no small part because that is what you really think is going on.

    • Merlin 8.2

      Thanks baiter. I’m not at Grafton bridge today (hitchhiking to the P Lab) so would have missed the message.

      • gobsmacked 8.2.1

        Do not accept cowardly revisionist instruction from HQ! It has been infiltrated by appeasers! Maintain assault on Garrett! Form breakaway faction now!

    • Chris G 8.3

      The funny thing about reds post is that he Genuinely believes it’s true.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    This story is getting more absurd by the hour. More Alice (sorry, Paula) in Wonderland:

    NZPA reports:

    Ms Bennett said she reiterated the Government’s position to Ms Rankin.

    “She certainly been made very clear that we don’t expect her to be actively campaigning on the no vote,” she told reporters.

    Ms Bennett said the interview was Ms Rankin’s personal opinion.

    “I think it’s pretty clear that Christine Rankin was speaking as Christine Rankin and not as families commissioner and in that case I thought it was quite acceptable.”

    Ms Rankin was entitled to her own opinion, she said.

    “I think that when she’s speaking as a families commissioner then she is with them on what they are doing but I think that she’s entitled to her view as long as she’s not actively campaigning against the commission, and what they believe, she is allowed to put a view forward.”

    Asked what actively campaigning was, Ms Bennett said Ms Rankin should follow the commission’s rules and policies. (ends)


    So just to be clear, you’re speaking personally except when you’re not, and you’re campaigning except when you’re not campaigning, and your job is to support a view you oppose.

    • Tigger 9.1

      So following that same logic, public sector CEOs, for example, can now make anti-government statements and so long as they’re speaking personally and not as the CEO and they’re not ‘actively campaigning’ then it’s acceptable?

  10. Craig Glen Eden 10

    I must have missed a few command dispatches, Its Key we really hate Baiter, followed closely by you of coarse.

  11. Zaphod Beeblebrox 11

    Please John, develop a spine and think about the precedent you are setting. Does this set the standard for members of govt boards and statutory authorities?

    I think I know what Clark would have done if a government appointment was actively undermining their employer.

  12. Maggie 12

    Don’t hate people like Redbaiter, he is what he is. Just keep him isolated and push the occasional piece of red meat through the bars.

    Christine Rankin makes being unwise an art form. She was unwise when she spent thousands of dollars on a junket for WINZ staff. She was unwise when she tried to establish a personality cult for herself while a senior public servant. She has frequently been unwise in her personal life.

    I don’t mind people making mistakes. What I do mind is people who make mistakes and don’t learn from the experience.

    • Craig Glen Eden 12.1

      You are right Maggie re the hate thing I was being a little tongue in cheek though when I said/ used the h word.

      (Baiter) your ideas are not a threat because they don’t work. 2.5 years and we will be back for another 9 years, good old Lucky Labour.
      Key will have his T shirt and National will be looking for another idiot who wants his ego massaged.

      • Helen 12.1.1

        The electorate has woken up to the fact that Labour is an anti-Kiwi hate party.

        Get used to opposition; your pitiful, entirely useless whining from the sidelines is extremely gratifying.

        [lprent: Ummm your previous comments are in exactly the same line. Very pointless, not engaged in the conversation, and mechanical. You’re designated a troll – go away and don’t come back. ]

  13. millsy 13

    if anyone is full of hate, its Rankin. She is on record as saying that she wants the poor thrown on the street, and homosexuality recriminialzed

  14. Redbaiter 14

    “Don’t hate people like Redbaiter, he is what he is. Just keep him isolated and push the occasional piece of red meat through the bars.”

    You cannot “isolate” us anymore Maggie.

    We are tearing down your walls and destroying your gulags.

    We are putting those ideas out there you hate. Starting those discussions you want silenced. Writing those words you categorise as forbidden.

    You’re done you Stalinist thug.

    Rather than smearing people who have different ideas to you as savage animals who should be kept behind bars and fed scraps, you should be thinking about an escape route.

    • Chris G 14.1


      still sittin in that armchair?

      • Pascal's bookie 14.1.1

        The 101st Chairborne is going to fuck you up man. They don’t take no prisoners. I’m serious. They were in the thick of the fight back in 03-06 man.

        Shit, they called anti war protesters traitors!! On the internet!!!

        They sat proud and strong in their basements and called down some serious pseudonymous mockery on the street theatre of the left. They laughed at puppets man. Don’t underestimate them dude.

        You weren’t there maan, you weren’t there.

        • Redbaiter

          You don’t get it do you Pascal?

          All it takes is ideas.

          Ideas that project the debate outside of the walls that you have built around discussion.

          You’ve crippled the debate for so long, but its over.

          We’re taking down your walls brick by brick, and we’re burning your gulags.

          Soon, sour bitter sovi*t collectivists like Maggie will be the ones with nowhere to go.

          I reckon you even know it yourselves.

          • Tim Ellis

            Exactly, Redbaiter. New Zealand was just weeks away from becoming North Korea under Kim Jong Il or Cambodia under Pol Pot. It’s great that you’re here defending our freedoms. Without you here I would feel as if the chains of tyranny were already wrapping around my wrists and ankles.

            Keep up the heroic fight RB.

            Others on here will abuse you with foul language or criticise your intelligence, but that’s just because they don’t have any ideas worth defending and because you debate too civilly and too honestly.

          • Pascal's bookie

            “All it takes is ideas.’

            Not quite true, they have to be ideas that:

            a) people like, and that, b) don’t suck.

            You also need someone to communicate those ideas that:

            c) people listen to and d) isn’t laughable.

            Sort a) through d) out and your ideas might start registering north of whogivesafuckistan in the polls.

            Till then carry on, we can use the LOLz

          • Redbaiter

            Your problem Pascal is that you are too politically and culturally isolated to observe the changes I have observed.

          • Pascal's bookie

            No I’m not coming over to your basement red. It doesn’t matter how you plead.

            You certainly aren’t going to entice me with promises of a peek at what you’ve learned from your curtain twitching ‘observations’.

  15. randal 15

    Assaulting children is the last resort of feeble people.
    Assaulting children who cannot fight back and are dependent for love and sustenance on the aggressor fosters identification with the agressor and the continuation of the cycle.

  16. The Voice of Reason 16

    If the phsychologists are right that previous behaviour is the best guide to future behaviour, then Rankin was made a commisioner with the knowlege that she had strong views on the matter of child assault and that she was liklely to be very, very public on the matter. She was obviously put in there to shake things up in a way that mirrors Bennett’s own world view and there can be bugger all doubt that she was given riding instructions to get stuck in to the other commisioners and the commision itself.

    Or to put it in a simpler way; if you put a fox in the chicken house because you’ve decide that you don’t want to be in the poultry business anymore, don’t complain when the feathers start to fly.

    Key’s difficulty is that he cannot effectively control Spankin’ Rankin without humbling Bennett at the same time. He’s already burnt off one rising star and he risks losing another if he publicly deals to Rankin.

    The obvious answer for this dilemma and any others that arise is for the PM to go fishing.

  17. gobsmacked 17

    Peter Dunne (a government minister, in case we’d all forgotten) speaks:

    “I would have thought that the Prime Minister’s view was very clear previously about what his expectations were and I think he now needs to honour those….He’s got to live up to the statements he made previously.”

    A Minister delivers a blunt challenge to the PM. That’s pretty serious.

    • Anita 17.1

      An extremely relevant and highly valued Minister whose party’s vote(s) as vital to the government’s continued stability.

  18. Redbaiter 18

    “Exactly, Redbaiter. New Zealand was just weeks away from becoming North Korea under Kim Jong Il or Cambodia under Pol Pot.”

    Good example of why all you can do is lose Tim. Year after year after year, you have postured as a someone who opposes socialism at the same time as you have encouraged it in almost every way possible.

    The point re Pol Pot and other past dictators is that the left were educated by their failures. They resolved to do it differently. By weaving their ideology into out culture in such incremental amounts it is virtually unnoticeable.

    Now, thanks to braindead and spineless lickspittles like you, we have reached the stage where NZ is so immersed in Socialism there is virtually no real alternative. They couldn’t have done it better if they had used real gulags rather than ideological ones. Helen Klark has been replaced by John Key, but everything is still the same.

    John Key is just Helen Klark wearing a mask.

    Sure, the usual types will pontificate on here about how extreme right Key is, and you will argue with them about that in the same old ineffective and grovelling manner, but its all a charade.

    Key and his bunch of faceless spineless losers will merely slow down the rate of change, for even if they wanted to do something, they would be defeated by snivelling leftists like you who reject anything that doesn’t meet with the approval of the Progressives you are so beholden to.

    Then they’ll be replaced, and the incremental slide into socialist totalitarianism will continue.

    Except that there is something different happening, and that is that the forces that see Key and the Nats as traitors and appeasers are growing.

    There is a growing realisation that the middle classes have been duped , and are now held prisoner by an elitist group of media cowards, snivelling left wing academics, shiny arsed self serving bureaucrats and useless spineless politicians (in Labour and National) who are focused on their own welfare and little else.

    See Cactus Kate’s expose of their real worth for a taste of the growing contempt for these poseurs.


    There’s a new wind blowing Tim, and appeasers like you are going to feel its chill before too long. Wet your finger and hold it up. Its only so very faint right now, but it will grow.

    Especially with that cur Key fanning it along.

    • gingercrush 18.1

      Oh you are full of utter shit Redbaiter. Go fly to America and live in the deep south and watch the trash that is Fox News. After all, its that news channel where you come up with your bullshit.

    • Tim Ellis 18.2

      I forgot to add in my last comment that you shouldn’t let others abuse you, Red, because they’re just being paranoid and unnecessarily hostile.

    • Its called democracy Redbaiter, you lost.

      • Maynard J 18.3.1

        I am not sure that what Redbaiter wants has anything to do with democracy, and if it is, it is not represented by a party that has gotten more than 500 votes in a recent general election, if ever.

        That is the problem with democracy – it really sucks when you are alone, all alone, with no-body to call your friend.

        • Chris G

          The problem with technology eg. internet blogs, is that we can hear these minnows views in a disproprtionate amount. cite; Red’;s 7000 posts on kiw.iblog

    • Chris G 18.4

      Because red equates national with labour and national won the election. Can I therefore join a Nat and tell him ‘We won, you lost, eat that?’

  19. scotty 19

    baiter ,its not the gestapo banging on your door,Its your parents, wanting to know if you’re coming to housie tonight.

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