When did lying become OK?

Written By: - Date published: 2:40 pm, September 30th, 2008 - 43 comments
Categories: election 2008, maori party, Media, national, racism - Tags:

On Breakfast this morning, failed National party candidate Paul Henry and Guyon Espiner discussed the possibility of the Maori Party and National working together in a government.

Henry: Do you get the feeling National would do anything for power, they would cut almost any deal at all with the Maori Party to get in?
Espiner: Yes, pretty much

Both seemed sure that National would give up their policy of abolishing the Maori seats in a second. Indeed, they thought National had only put up the policy as a bargaining chip to be given away after the election. Guyon said he detected no personal commitment to abolishing the seats from Key or other senior Nats, despite Key and his fellows being the same people who backed Brash’s racist Orewa speech. Neither seemed to see any problem with this dishonesty and lack of principle.

When did it become OK for a party to espouse policies that they intend to never follow through on?

43 comments on “When did lying become OK?”

  1. the sprout 1

    interesting that ‘flexibility of principles’ seems to be a baseline assumption in discussions of Key.

  2. Tane 2

    He’s not caught up in the arguments of the past. John Key is firmly focused on the future. He is ambitious for New Zealand and he wants New Zealanders to be ambitious for themselves.

  3. Dom 3

    I guess the issue is, are National supporters ambitious to see the Maori seats gone and if so, will they care when National goes belly up on this promise? It is a promise after all – this is from the Nat’s themselves:
    “Linked to the settlement of historic Treaty claims is our policy on the Maori seats. At the conclusion of the settlement of historic Treaty claims, National will begin a constitutional process to abolish the Maori seats. National wishes to see all New Zealanders on the same electoral roll.”

  4. So when did Henry & Espiner start making National Party (secret) policy ?

  5. Rakaia George 5

    What? Like getting us into the top half of the OECD and cleaning up Government?

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    From here:

    I consider myself a political conservative. The notion that politicians usually act in their own political best interest rather than in the best interest of the nation is close to being a conservative axiom.

    Sure, he’s talking about US conservatism rather NZ but I do think that there’s a good correlation between the two. They really do think that everyone only ever acts from self-interest.

  7. Daveski 7

    And if National is inflexible about any of their policies they are not adjusting to the realities of the MMP environment.

    Surely the horse trading is the very nature of MMP??

    Obviously, when Labour changes horses mid-stream, it is for only principled reasons and I completely understand that Labour hasn’t lied or misled voters about their intentions.

    You would be better served to ask why the Maori party feels increasingly able to work with the Nats. This is partly due to a softening of National policy. It is also due to the way in which Labour has treated Maori in the past, notwithstanding your ability to avoid any criticism of Labour.

    What happened to closing the gaps? The foreshore?

    Why shouldn’t Maori aspire to being rich pricks than be patronised as being beneficiaries or low income? These are problems you choose to overlook in given your pre-determined position on any of these topics.

    As a final point, the thing that has impressed me about the Maori Party is that they have managed to act with greater integrity than all the other parties. Good on them and let’s hope they duly get crowned the Kingmakers

  8. Well, John Key met with Tame Iti in August 2007 in a faraway Marae in the Uruwais. Ooh oops that was only two months before Tame Iti was arrested as a big bad “Terrorist” hell bend on assassinating self same John Key. I wonder what was discussed in that remote Marae. I have heard that John’s been trying to buy this election by offering some key people money but that is just hearsay. Although the person telling me this knows a lot of interesting people.

  9. Daveski 9

    As a useful contrast to SP’s post, try this from the Press:

    “She has been a great leader; she has done great things for the country,” Dr Sharples said in an interview recorded yesterday for TVNZ 7. “But maybe she is nearing the end of her time.”

    Recent events in Parliament showed Miss Clark was clinging to power, he said.

    “She is appearing quite desperate … she is behaving like someone who is really, really desperate to get back into Parliament at any cost.”

  10. MikeE 10

    Q: When did lying become OK?

    A: Apparently when one signs their name on artwork that isn’t theres..

  11. MikeE. yeah, a signature on a painting 6 years ago.. that’s the big issue here, not a party lying about its intentions over part of our constitution and the rights of Maori.

    I seem to remember Clark got hounded for weeks over that signature, whereas Key lying is laughed off

  12. Hamish 12

    That’s a Tu Quoque MikeE.

    I would put it down to political maneuvering. It’s just part of politics. The Greens can be seen to do the same thing, especially with GE. They know perfectly well that Labour won’t accept their stance on GE so they neither campaign heavily or highlight it.

    I’m not saying it’s the most honourable part of politics, but you certainly can’t just blame the National part for tactics like that. As much as you would like to try.

  13. insider 13

    economic transformation anyone?

    Carbon neutrality?

  14. Daveski 14

    Oops … the link above was from Stuff, not the Press.

    Just another lying rightie 😉

  15. insider 15

    “The broad aims of my government are…to restore public confidence in the political integrity of Parliament and the electoral process”

    “It is our objective to establish maximum waiting times for treatment.” (did they ever do this?)

  16. Tim Ellis 16

    The nature of MMP coalition building is that not every party gets what they wants. The Greens would have dearly loved to include transport and agriculture immediately into the ETS, and campaigned for it for a long time, before backing the ETS without it.

    Would National like to abolish the Maori seats? I think so, and I think it’s disingenuous go say otherwise. Labour claims to have wanted to push through public funding of political parties as part of the EFA, but reportedly dumped that proposal because NZ First wouldn’t wear it.

    It’s the job of political parties to announce what they want to achieve and what they stand for. So far National has announced 40 policies. Labour hasn’t released a single new policy this campaign. If National has the numbers to govern on their own, then you can expect that they will attempt to achieve all of them.

    If they don’t have the numbers to govern on their own, then there are some policies that will have to be compromised. It is clear while the National Party sees the existence of the Maori seats as an anomaly, and their abolition as desirable. But it won’t be the end of the world if, as part of a governing arrangement with the Maori Party, they have to forego that policy.

  17. insider. you’re not this thick. There’s a difference between having a goal and failing to achieve it and setting a goal never intending to achieve it.. the first is a matter of practicalities and priorities more than anything, the latter is just dishonest.

  18. The party with the most to gain from the abolition of the maori seats is Labour. I would have thought you geniuses would have been able to see the long game and STFU.
    When we adopted the system designed to stop another Hitler ever gaining ascendancy in post war Germany we were supposed to remove the maorimander.
    The whole point of MMP is representation for small groups who can get 5%.
    if the watermelons can do everything by committee and still get back in without special ginga seats why do we need race based seats?
    saying that I will be giving my party vote to the maori party this time.
    Sharples principled stand over labourFirst’s attempts to pervert the course of justice was enough to convince me to vote for them.

  19. What did I do to require the awaiting moderation classification?

  20. Lynn’s got Adolf and Josef’s surnames on moderation…

    [lprent: yeah there are a number of words there to trap the average troll so I can deal with them more easily the first time they come on.]

  21. righto, thanks Steve.. My right wing wingnut paranoia pills need a dosage increase.

  22. Phil 22

    The National policy stance is:
    …abolish the Maori seats after Treaty of Waitangi settlements are completed (by 2014)

    That’s two full parliamentary terms away. Why should it stop a coalition or arrangement for the 2009-2011 term?

  23. Paul Robeson 23

    I think this is absolutely spot on!

    As with the last election where National voters voted tactically to help get Rodney Hide over the line in Epsom, I fully encourage a tactical vote for the Maori party this time.

    Remember Tories (as Paul Henry and Guyon Espiner have told us): A vote for the Maori is a vote for the Nats!

  24. Tim Ellis 25

    SP I know you’ve said you’re a Green Party supporter, despite barely ever writing about Green issues and despite almost only ever running Labour Party attack lines. But as a Green supporter, I put it to you that the Maori Party is showing the kind of integrity and negotiating skill that has sorely been lacking from the Green Party in the last nine years.

    The Maori Party have a set of policies that are clearly targeted at their constituency. They are policy goals that are based on their values. They don’t particularly care who is in government, as long as their policy goals are achieved. This gives them maximum power in negotiating the best outcomes for their constituency. They will negotiate with anybody who is able to further their interests. As a consequence their vote is not taken for granted by anybody. They are treated with respect.

    The Green Party also has a set of policies that are clearly targeted at their constituency, and also appear to be consistent with their values. They have only ever supported Labour, irrespective of how well Labour achieves the Greens’ policy outcomes. They have very little negotiating power, because Labour knows they’re not going to go anywhere. As a consequence, their vote is taken for granted, and they don’t get to achieve their goals.

    What a breath of fresh air it would be for the Greens to announce a divorce from Labour, set out their bottom-line environmental policies, and announce that they will support any party that is able to achieve them.

    As a Green supporter SP, is it more important to you that the Greens work to keep the Labour Party in power, or that the Greens achieve their environmental goals?

    [lprent: Authors write what they want to and when they want to.

    There have been innumerable posts here over the last year on various aspects of areas that are supported more strongly by the greens than Labour. There have been posts critical of Labour and the Greens and the Maori party. Sometimes they have actually supported Labour, and greens. There have been virtually none lauding the accomplishments or ‘policies’ of National or Act.

    As various commentators from the right have noted at various points, posters have a strong tendency to focus on the faults of the right. There is a reason for that – we don’t trust the right. Their track record in government has been pathetic and usually actively destructive over the last 30 years that I’ve observed them. They usually screw up everything that they touch.

    That is what you describe as “Labour party attack lines”. They are not, they’re attacks on the credibility of the right, their philosophy, morals, and general attitudes to anyone who isn’t ‘one of them’. Sometimes we pick up on labour or green lines. Quite often they pick up on ours. That is what the left does. The target during an election period is usually pretty clear – it is the right.

    Tim – You can pick at the detail of what posters say, be critical of their opinions, and offer alternate explanations, etc.

    What you can’t do is to try and tell them what to write, when to write it, and what ‘line’ to write it on. Those are the things that if I let commentators get away with, will ultimately cause posters to stop writing – which is why I consider them to be an attack on the site.

    The ONLY reason I’m not booting you off for attacking a poster (and even bothering to write this) is that you’re usually more sensible. There are a *lot* of people who comment, and very few people that we let post. I value the latter far more.]

  25. A Labour-led government including the Greens is the best way to achieve the Greens’ goals. We’re not stupid, Tim. No-one believes that National gives a damn about the environment or social justice.

    And, as you know, the Greens have never supported Labour on confidence and supply.

    The Greens like to pretend thy would work with National, just as the Maori party does but its not going to happen really, it’s just a threat to increase bargaining power.

  26. And if you baselessly accuse me of being dishonest about my political alligences again you won’t be welcome here. I don’t say you’re not really a National supporter. It’s just manners.

  27. Tim, that would be great. The problem is, you are basing your hypothesis on the greens being an “environmental” party.
    They are not, the loony left wing is in control of the Greens and has been since they first entered parliament. This is why they can never free themselves of their parliamentary serfdom to the labour party. And the reason the labour party always treats them like the ginga stepchild.
    Voting for the Greens, Neanderton, Labour and now bauble boy amounts to the same outcome. RPGFirst on one side. Nats, ACT on the other with the Maori party balanced in the middle to negotiate the best possible outcome for their requirements.
    The Maori party will not enter into a formal coalition but they will extract the maximum amount from those they make King.
    That assumes that the Nats don’t get enough to need them, I think the Nats will probably get enough to not need them, but they would be fools to not try and work with Turia and Sharples.

    The more astute will have noticed I did not mention Peter Bland Dunne. He is the proto slut party. He will just go where the wind blows and scrabble around on his knees for an associate big job.

  28. Ben R 29

    “Brash’s racist Orewa speech.”

    Do you really think Brash’s Orewa speech was racist? What in it was racist? Even Chris Trotter said it was a speech about equality, not having a go at Maori.

  29. Well, if Chris Trotter says so it must be true. BenR, don’t take people for idiots, we all remember the speech, it was clearly racist – it said that Maori had all these wonderful benefits, which was untrue. It was the racist groundswell from that speech that led to the foreshore and seabed act, and the creation of the Maori Party.

  30. So Steve, the seabed and foreshore bill is down to Don Brash is it?
    Perhaps you might like to review the actual speech rather than the talking points about it.
    Disclaimer, did not like the speech then do not like the speech now. But continually falling back on the “national bad” meme has not worked since you guys started this blog, the polls are not moving and nothing new is coming from labour to make them move.
    Perhaps a period of introspection is needed, three years should do it.

    [Labour panicked when National gained 20 points on its racist speech and cravenly tried to look tough on Maori too with the FSA. No speech, no FSA. If you think a blog is meant to or able to move polls, talking to you is a waste of time. SP]

  31. Tim Ellis 32

    And if you baselessly accuse me of being dishonest about my political alligences again you won’t be welcome here. I don’t say you’re not really a National supporter. It’s just manners.

    I didn’t accuse you of doing that SP, I asked you to comment as a self-professed Green Party supporter about whether it is more important to you for the Greens to achieve their environmental goals or more important for the Greens to support the Labour Party in government. You didn’t really do that. I did say that you very rarely post on Green issues, and appear to be far more interested in mirroring the Labour Party’s attack lines of the day.

    We had this discussion about a week ago. You said that nearly every blog reports on what the Government is doing. I pointed out the Greens’ frogblog, which clearly discusses Green Party issues. I don’t think I got a response to that. You raised the issue of the Maori Party coalition negotiation strategy, and I compared it to the Greens’ strategy and asked you as a Greens supporter to comment on it.

    Thank you for the lecture on manners SP. As a point of manners I don’t like being accused of doing something that I didn’t do. I am voting National this election but I haven’t always voted National. I often disagree with them. What I don’t do is tell people I vote for one party and behave like I’m backing another.

    As for the Greens not supporting Labour on confidence and supply, that is splitting hairs. They have a “cooperation agreement”. They haven’t voted against Labour on confidence and supply issues during this whole term. The only reservation they had to a full confidence and supply agreement was to retain the right to vote with the Maori Party if the Maori Party introduced a repeal of the foreshore and seabed legislation.

  32. Bill 33

    FFS. There will be no DEAL between Maori/Labour or Maori/ Nat! The Maori Party are looking for a treaty partner, not a coalition partner. THINK about it.

    So, perhaps they will abstain from confidence and supply or whatever as a way of ‘supporting’ the government. But what they want is not to be a partner in government, but have a government that will be a treaty partner….ie Maori autonomy.

    How they intend to exercise their autonomous authority will be interesting to say the least, if they succeed in securing it.

  33. Ben R 34

    “BenR, don?t take people for idiots, we all remember the speech, it was clearly racist – it said that Maori had all these wonderful benefits, which was untrue.”

    I think you’re being far to quick to use the term ‘racist’. I’m not taking people for idiots (people should google the speech & make up their own minds). I do think it’s unfair though to label that speech racist because it questions how the Treaty applies in NZ today. I don’t see how that’s conducive to reasonable debate.

  34. Tane 35

    bb, I’d recommend having a read of Jon Johansson’s ‘Orewa & The Rhetoric of Illusion’..

    Despite facilitating a liberation of language around Treaty and broader race discourse in New Zealand, the Orewa speech contains distortions, attempts at manipulation, and stereotyping of Maori. Brash’s language is both rigid and dogmatic; he makes appeals to abstract creeds rather than offering carefully explained policies. His cultural interpretation is shallow. What emerges from the Orewa speech is a deliberate attempt at agenda control by manipulating race discourse to realign party support.

    http://blog.greens.org.nz/wp-content/politicalscience.pdf

    And remember, Johansson’s no leftie academic. He’s a liberal Nat and a long-time friend and confidante of Simon Power.

  35. Tane 36

    Again from Johansson, this bit on the dogwhistle is very good:

    When explaining Maori poverty in Wong’s Metro article, Brash described Maori as a ‘relatively primitive culture’, a phrase he also let slip when pressed by journalist Kim Hill several months later. The emphasis on Maori genocide, sourced to one of the country’s most notable historians, giving it an added cloak of authority, combined with his subsequent references to ‘primitive’ Maori culture, provide obvious cues described sometimes as ‘dog whistle politics’ to those who hold latent prejudice towards New Zealand’s indigenous people. Whether intended or not, the Orewa speech reinforced the ignorant and racist stereotype that Maori were ‘savages’ before the ‘gift’ of European civilisation was visited upon them. This paragraph was balanced with an explicit acknowledgment that early Europeans escaped convicts, whalers and the like were not ‘the cream’ of European civilisation either; however, this is where the ‘dog whistle’ comes in, for the first paragraph feeds an enduring stereotype, but the second does not.

  36. Preaching to the choir Tane (but thanks for taking the time to explain it to me), my issue was with the attempt to blame Brash for the seabed and foreshore confiscation. Tenuous.
    SP, if we are not trying to influence the polls why are we blogging at all?

  37. randal 38

    TIM ELLIS…what are you? you come on here and abuse your host and expect to be treated civilly. I think you might be a national toad!
    howzat!

  38. Felix 39

    Tim don’t be such a pussy.

    If you’re going to make insinuations and thinly veiled accusations at least have the guts to stand by them.

    Here, read it again:

    “SP I know you’ve said you’re a Green Party supporter, despite barely ever writing about Green issues and despite almost only ever running Labour Party attack lines.”

    p.s. this is where you say “oh no, there’s actually nothing in those words that definitely makes an accusation” as if everyone else is a moron and you’re not.

  39. Draco T Bastard 40

    How they intend to exercise their autonomous authority will be interesting to say the least, if they succeed in securing it.

    Unless they want a civil war – they can’t.

  40. Wall St Wanker 41

    Bring on the WAR!

  41. Pascal's bookie 42

    Felix, Tim thinks sophistry beats semantics.

    He likes to act the big hearted martyr, and complain that he is so unfairly accused of various sins, while butter wouldn’t melt in his what have you.

    Over at Hooten’s place I mentioned that head office pressured that paper up north into running the ‘clarification’ on Key’s wages quote.

    Tim said that he suspected I didn’t have any evidence, and that he thought I was making things up after the fact.

    A sophist of course will claim that he never called me a liar who was making shit up, but the semantics of his wording says that he thought I was. He decided to express those thoughts and suspicions rather than asking if I had any evidence. His meaning was clear and unavoidable, but I gave him the evidence anyway, and objected to being called a liar, he hasn’t responded to any comment I’ve flicked his way since. However pointed. I’m expecting he’ll claim he didn’t see my reply.

    I’ve no idea who he thinks he’s fooling with his silly games, but there you go. Personally I’d have a lot more respect for him if he just spoke his mind honestly, he’s not stupid and has some interesting things to say but ruins it with the stupid rhetorical antics.

  42. Ben R 43

    Interesting article by Johansson. Although in terms of his question – is ‘teaching reality’ achievable in contemporary democratic society – it’s not if people immediately reach for the race card to stifle debate.

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