Brian Edwards Media

Is New Zealand ready for its first gay Prime Minister?

The premise behind my question is that this National Government is stuffed and has little or no chance of retaining office after the 2014 election. A serious mishandling by the Prime Minister of the infamous ‘cup of tea’ episode, the Crafer Farms cock-up, asset sales in general, the ACC debacle, the factionalism within National which that debacle has revealed and the emergence of a less assured and grumpier John Key, all point to an administration in meltdown. Given all of that, the next Government ought to be a Labour-led coalition. But led by whom?

In his weekly Herald on Sunday column, Matt McCarten correctly states that ‘this has been a good week for the left. Labour has been useless for so long we’ve forgotten what it’s like for it to have the National Party on the back foot in Parliament. This week Labour was on fire.’

The column is accompanied by a photograph of Labour Leader David Shearer with the caption: David Shearer and his colleagues finally have the Government in their sights.

But there is no mention of Shearer anywhere in McCarten’s piece. Instead he singles out Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little as ‘pressing the attack’.

In a column headed ‘Scrappers thrive as Shearer acts statesman’, The Sunday Star Times’ John Hartevelt singles out Labour’s Deputy Leader Grant Robertson as ‘the party’s political scrapper’:

‘He’s been called up repeatedly as the point guy in the debating chamber on ACC and asset sales – two of the government’s worst bleeding sores.’

He also singles out Andrew Little:

‘If there were any doubts Little was genuine leadership material, his unflinching performance against a steely-eyed Collins should have put them to bed. That may be discomforting news to Shearer but it will be welcomed by his party.’

No more discomfiting to the Labour leader perhaps than Hartevelt’s description of him as ‘still dangerously bereft of a firm identity and without a proper grip on the leadership.’

Just four months after an election then, political commentators are suggesting replacements  for the current Labour Party leader. 

My own view is that the strategy, devised by his Chief of Staff Stuart Nash, of having Shearer stump the country making speeches, rather than leading the charge against the Government in the House, has been misguided. The effect has been that Shearer is rarely seen on prime time television, while the Greens, Winston Peters and his own Deputy make the 6 o’clock  running. Out of sight really can mean out of mind.

So let’s just indulge in a little speculation. Between McCarten’s and Hartevelt’s front-runners – Little and Robertson – who might make it to the finishing line? I’m going to plump for Robertson. Yes, Little enjoys the support of the unions and is a forceful debater in the House. But it’s hard to see this rather dour, uncharismatic unionist as the face of a rejuvenated Labour Party. At 41, Robertson, on the other hand, who lists his interests as ‘watching too much sport, playing a bit of indoor netball and squash, cooking, movies, listening to New Zealand music and reading New Zealand literature’, projects a youthful, energetic, upbeat  and thoroughly modern image. And he’s fiercely ambitious.

What else?  Oh yes, he’s gay. His life  partner, Alf, is a bus driver. The two were ‘married’ in a civil union ceremony in 2003.

So are we ready for a gay Prime Minister? I can only speak for myself. I find the idea invigorating. Other than prejudice, I can’t really think of any objection to it. And we Kiwis are for the most part an open-minded lot. After all, we had no trouble electing the world’s first transsexual MP.  And we didn’t seem to mind a mincing John Key.

It’s true that gay Prime Ministers are thin on the ground. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, elected Prime Minister of Iceland in 2009, was not only the country’s first woman Prime Minister but also Europe’s first openly gay head of state. She was followed in 2011 by Belgium’s Elio Di Rupo. When asked whether he was gay, the new Prime Minister replied, ‘Yes. So What?’ That strikes me as the only sensible answer to the question.

 

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136 Comments:

  1. “So are we ready for a gay Prime Minister? I can only speak for myself…”

    I won’t be as circumspect as you, Brian, and I will presume to speak for the majority of Kiwis.

    Yes! The vast majority who determine elections have no problem with it.

    Now let’s just see if, given the chance, Robertson, or Chris Finlayson (for example) can trust the good judgement of their fellow Kiwis and not patronisingly carp on about it and seek to make it an election issue.

    The LGBT community and supporters, as well as ordinary folks who care that all should have civil rights and protections fought a long battle from at least the 1960s on. But the battle has now been well and truly won. Time for victory laps is over – or at least if you want to win elections it is!

    For at least the last 15 years it has been the time for gay politicians, those who are secretly gay, or those who are erroneously suspected of being gay to be judged on the same criterion as every other – merit.

    Which they are.

    BE: Well, I hope that’s right. But public reaction to Chris Carter taking his civil union partner along on ministerial trips doesn’t entirely support that rose-coloured view.

  2. 2

    Raymond A Francis

    I can think of quite few reasons to dislike the thought of Grant Robertson as the PM of a ramshackle bunch of left wing (NZ First?) parties before I would worry about his sexuality
    Which to my mind, we are grown up enough as a country to ignore.
    I certainly hope so, I really think we have moved on from that sort of negitive thinking
    “Yes, so what” is the correct answer

  3. I am not against a Gay PM ,I just prefer a Green PM

    BE: You seem to be suggesting that the two are incompatible. That can’t be right.

  4. @ pjr

    “I am not against a Gay PM ,I just prefer a Green PM”

    Now you’ve stirred my prejudices!! :)

  5. Er … who says he’s the first?

    BE: Who have I missed then?

  6. Gee whizz we are a long way away from the election to be electing Robertson, better calm down to a frenzy. Most people I work/socialize with don’t give a flying stuff about the ACC nonsense and frankly have had enough of the Herald balling their eyes out like little girls. If the next poll shows the Nats under 44% and Labour over32% I will eat my hat.
    Imagine a coalition with Labour,Greens, Winston first and Hone. Hell that will be fun.
    I do agree that Shearer will turn out like Brash and Robertson is the much better candidate, I do worry that he has never had a private sector job, spent his life in the beltway rather than his personal life.

    BE: Anyone who doesn’t ‘give a flying stuff about the ACC nonsense’ probably doesn’t ‘give a flying stuff’ about anything much. Figures. I’d start tenderising your hat now, if I were you.

  7. Wasn’t Michael Savage widely supposed to be gay – I’m sure it would’ve been a very big deal back them and a jailable offense.

    Now who cares what a politicians sexual preferences are as long as they are competent.

    BE: From memory, Savage was a bachelor who lived in lodgings. I’m not aware of the suggestion that he was gay. The future British Prime Minster Edward Heath was allegedly advised to ‘stop cottaging for sex’ if he wanted to occupy 10 Downing Street. He no doubt took the advice. I interviewed him in 1969 and thought him asexual rather than homosexual, but I was a young and callow interviewer then. In Britain in those days it would presumably have closed the doors to Downing Street if it had been widely known.

  8. I personally couldn’t care less who any PM sleeps with or married to, but in terms of the dynamic between Shearer and Robertson is perhaps that of diplomat versus ‘scrapper’. That’s how I saw Shearer winning over Cunliffe. David Cunliffe was certainly a scrapper during the last term and had his foot on Bill English’s throat over South Canterbury Finance on at least one occasion. I felt he perhaps could have done more damage where he was (though not what he himself wanted). I still think Shearer with his formidable negotiation skills would be most suited to the leadership role, but the likes of Robertson, Little, Mallard and (especially on a good day) Cunliffe around him…formidable team!

  9. “Anyone who doesn’t ‘give a flying stuff about the ACC nonsense’ probably doesn’t ‘give a flying stuff’ about anything much”.

    OK, Brian. I’m all ears. Care to give us a reason, a real reason other than petty scandal “gotcha” politics why we should “care” about the ACC nonsense?

    “Er … who says he’s the first?

    BE: Who have I missed then?”

    Hmm. I’ll butt in on your attempt to answer a question with a question, by asking another question:

    Who do you think Janet may or may not have been thinking of?

  10. I don’t think NZ is ready for an openly gay PM, whether from right or left,but as others have pointed out, we probably have already had one, so who cares. More importantly, why did Labour select Shearer, when it’s already clear he hasn’t the quick thinking mind or ability to compete verbally in the house. If Little was gay and Robertson straight, Robertson would probably be the next PM in waiting, although I think he’ll be up against Joyce and not Key come next election.

    BE: Joyce certainly looks like the anointed one. With Collins as deputy perhaps. Now there’s a scary thought!

  11. “BE: Well, I hope that’s right. But public reaction to Chris Carter taking his civil union partner along on ministerial trips doesn’t entirely support that rose-coloured view”.

    Yeah, um, I’ve read the stuff that you wrote at the time. Whilst I respect your opinions, and the means by which you form and articulate them, we disagree on the reason for the demise of Chris Carter – and what motivated his critics.

    BE: OK.

  12. I well remember someone suggesting (well ok it was me!) that JK was a breath of fresh air because he had a light touch compared to HC. For HC every announcement was laden (maybe leaden also) with seriousness and drama and that got a bit wearing after a while. However maybe that was the difference between good political management and poor political management since the government certainly does seem to be losing the plot.

    However, like David I do not see ACC as a defining issue. Its a grab bag of different threads which like candy floss disappear when you apply pressure. The look is not good but I think Bryce Edwards was way over the top in his breathless commentary on it the other night. That really was the perspective of an insider.

  13. Latest poll is just in Nats up to 51 % and labour still at 29%, preferred pm key at 48 and shearer at 11.
    No need to tenderize that hat and proves my point that the media are making themselves look like idiots, however BE you have been consistently pointing that out for a number of years.
    Labour need to jettison Mallard and start re inventing themselves, they spent the last 3 years muck raking and look like they will spend another 3 years doing the same thing, bloody tragedy.

    BE: Congratulations, David, on not having to eat your hat. This first poll suggests you are right and I’m wrong. However, I’d still keep the salt and pepper handy.

  14. A gay Prime Minister? Hmmm. Havn’t we already had one?

    BE: Who was that then, Rosie?

  15. “BE: Anyone who doesn’t ‘give a flying stuff about the ACC nonsense’ probably doesn’t ‘give a flying stuff’ about anything much. Figures. I’d start tenderising your hat now, if I were you. ”

    An old joke that did the rounds once…

    The definition of a social democrat: a libertarian who’s yet to be hospitalised from a car accident.

  16. 16

    Most New Zealanders will vote for a good Prime Minister irrespective of sexuality. Of course a minority won’t. However the Labour leader could well become Prime Minister on the shoulders of the likes of Hone, Winston and the Greens without much popular support.

    So the question is not really whether NZ is ready for a gay leader but whether the Labour party is. Labour can win more seats by capturing votes from Hone and the Greens but that won’t make it Government. For that it has to win seats from National – and that was why it chose Shearer. It is also why I doubt they will ever choose Little.

    It’s early days yet but I doubt they will switch leaders unless their poll results actually worsen significantly.

  17. 17

    Christopher Mitson

    I think you meant “openly gay” prime minister.

    I’d like to think that the question is as redundant as the harrumphing that went on before we had female MPs, cabinet ministers and prime ministers.

    PS, very good catch on discomforting/discomfiting. I see the arthritis you recently referred to hasn’t slowed down the reaction times!

    BE: All these hints about a previous (I assume) gay PM. I’ve personally known every PM since Holyoake. Don’t think any of them was gay. Earlier?

  18. Interesting that neither McCarten nor Hartevelt mention Cunliffe.

    There are a several excellent “heavy hitters” in the labour parliament, in Shearers absence they should all be deployed.

    Actually they should all be deployed IN his presence.

    It would not hurt to concentrate on attacking The National Party instead of of playing factional favourites. (Leave that to the Nats).

    BE: Yes, Cunliffe is superb in the house. I took the view that he would have been a better choice than Shearer as leader and that is still my view.

  19. Not problem with a gay PM, just a problem with having a “scrapper” as PM.

    Is it too much to ask for a PM who brings something else other than student politics, working for the party, acting like a street brawler in parliament….

    It is all to depressing that the debate has sunk to such inanities and we have apparently so few choices…

    BE: It’s not too much to ask, but parliament is an essentially adversarial forum and the Opposition’s role is to oppose. There’s no reason why the ‘scrapper’ of today shouldn’t be the considered PM of tomorrow.

  20. My memory of the lead up to Keys intitial victory was that John Key played a pretty minor role. Nearly EVERY news bulletin was full of attacks on the Labour government by Key’s troops. Key pretty well stood back and played Mr Nice Guy. It appeared to be a very concerted campaign.
    It seemed to work, and the polish is only just starting to wear off that tactic. Could Shearer be doing the same thing?
    This tactic would have 2 benefits for him and his party. He gets some time to gain confidence. His strongest assets, his attack dogs, get let off the leash for a good run.
    Let’s face it…Key was never much good at quick thinking in a tight corner…if the bunbling Key can survive and look good, Shearer should have no trouble.
    As for the polls…I’ll say it again…they are useless unless we know how many undecideds there are.

    BE: I was pretty deeply involved in the 2008 election as an advisor to Helen Clark. Key’s pre-election image was pretty well the same as it is now – pleasant, ‘nice’. But his approach changed radically during the 3 televised election debates. In the first debate he was loud, aggressive, interruptive, rude. We were taken by surprise by this. Helen lost that debate. Both were more moderate in the second debate which we scored a draw. By the third debate we’d persuaded Helen not to continue attacking Key personally and she won that debate. Key looks rather less assured at the moment, but I don’t think his persona has changed markedly since he first appeared on the scene. The ‘nice’ image has clearly paid off. And he’s very adept at diverting questions.

    As for the polls, the last election result largely confirmed the picture they had been painting for months. Winston was of course the rogue figure. Politicians would be very foolish to ignore polling trends, as distinct from an individual poll.

  21. @ the real tony

    “My memory of the lead up to Keys intitial victory was that John Key played a pretty minor role. Nearly EVERY news bulletin was full of attacks on the Labour government by Key’s troops. Key pretty well stood back and played Mr Nice Guy. It appeared to be a very concerted campaign”.

    Yep, a lesson Key and National learnt by imitating the Helen Clark “appear-presidential-and-above-the-fray” strategy of 1996 to 1999, while the then-government died the death of a thousand cuts due to ultimately petty and inconsequential ‘scandals’ courtesy of attack-dogs like the loathesome Trevor Mallard. Rebounded on Clark when the maipulation to avoid a photo-op with Owen Glenn was too obvious to ignore.

    Ain’t karma a bitch!

    Brian has over-estimated the immediate effect of the ACC scandal – in fact Key’s insouciance is usually a better strategy than micro-management, which can embroil the head banana in an affair that amounts to no more than a lost thimble in a nunnery. However, the strategy for the opposition now is to keep nagging, and try and accumulate a perception of continual scandal.

    Trevor Mallard’s gift to the NZ political landscape.

    BE: “Brian has over-estimated the immediate effect of the ACC scandal” A point made in several comments. If you look at the post you’ll see that the ACC affair (still very much alive and kicking) was just one of half a dozen or so matters I said would combine to adversely affect National’s chances in the next election. Some selective or careless reading here.

  22. I like Robertson – authentic with passion and a wee touch of mongrel. Future PM ? The bigger question for me is Labour’s ability to gain power next time round. As others have pointed out if their plan is to get votes back from Hone and the Greens I cannot see it working. Better to form a solid grouping with the Greens so voters know a vote for labour will also support a Labour/Green coalition.
    On another note my bet is John Key will not be leading the Nats after – or perhaps before the next election.

    BE: I tend to agree with all of that.

  23. BE: “… public reaction to Chris Carter taking his civil union partner along on ministerial trips doesn’t entirely support that rose-coloured view.”

    Carter’s problem wasn’t what he did (though that was execrable enough), it was that he thought that playing the Gay Card was the only neccessary answer to every criticism. His wheels finally fell off when he no longer had Helen’s skirt to cling on to.

  24. “A point made in several comments. If you look at the post you’ll see that the ACC affair (still very much alive and kicking) was just one of half a dozen or so matters I said would combine to adversely affect National’s chances in the next election. Some selective or careless reading here”.

    Umm, not looking to quarrel with you, Brian. However, I thought your rebuttal to David, “Anyone who doesn’t ‘give a flying stuff about the ACC nonsense’ probably doesn’t ‘give a flying stuff’ about anything much. Figures. I’d start tenderising your hat now, if I were you”, lacked substance.

    Which is why I gave you the opportunity to elaborate more, “OK, Brian. I’m all ears. Care to give us a reason, a real reason other than petty scandal “gotcha” politics why we should “care” about the ACC nonsense?”.

    Well?

    As I haven’t received a response, I’m left assuming my assessment was correct. Some of the other issues you mention – the teapot tapes and “a less assured and grumpier John Key” – are in the same category. IMHO.

    And, yes, I can read carefully, and pick out “selective” judgements, e.g, “factionalism within National” – what? Boag?! I know she is an acquaintance, maybe even a mate, Brian. Fair enough.

    However, I don’t think a long-time Labour supporter/facilitator who is, by implication indicating a dissatisfaction with the current Labour leader by this and prior recent posts, is any any position to point the finger at alleged “factionalism”. IMHO. I didn’t make that obvious point the first, second, or third time around because I didn’t see much merit in labelling you “careless” and “selective”. However, if you won’t reciprocate the courtesy…

    And, “administration in meltdown”?! OK, I realise in this game the strategy is to say it enough times until it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in the public perception. But even issues like the Crafar Farms, and asset sales (looks like Key defused the Maori Party bomb everyone was yelping about 2 months ago) fall into Harold McMillan’s category of “events” as the real driver of political fortunes. IMHO. And to paraphrase another astute British PM-commentator, if a week is a lifetime in politics, 33 months (until the next scheduled election) is an aeon. And you want to write the obituary on the Key administration already? Maybe.

    Personally, I’d be more circumspect, and my instinct is that Key’s will be a three-term government. But I’m not bold/foolish enough to issue directives and instructions on how one should prepare their head attire as haute cuisine…

    BE: Well Kimbo, this comment is as good an example as I can think of to explain why I decided not too long ago to publish your comments but not respond to them. I don’t have time to debate line by line with you what I’ve written. To respond to you is just to invite another onslaught of jesuitical nitpicking. There are a number of other commenters on the site who are happy to debate with you in that vein. I’m not.

  25. “As for the polls, the last election result largely confirmed the picture they had been painting for months. Winston was of course the rogue figure. Politicians would be very foolish to ignore polling trends, as distinct from an individual poll.”

    We’ve had this conversation before. Yes trends are important, but trends can create behaviour. How many Labour voters didn’t vote last election because the polls said Labour were goners…probably enough to tip the balance in favour of the right I’d say. It’s the despondent as much as the swingers who decide elections.
    As for Robertson, he’d be dumb to waste a promising career by breaking from the bunch too soon. He’s young…he’s got plenty of time to make his mark.

    BE: “trends can create behaviour.” The self-fulfilling nature of polls is a regular theme of my posts.

  26. @ David “Latest poll is just in Nats up to 51 % and labour still at 29%, preferred pm key at 48 and shearer at 11.”

    That Colmar Brunton poll may be more misleading than reflecting any political reality. Some simple math, using my trustee 8-digit, solar powered calcular; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/bugger-the-polls/

    Even Colmar Brunton’s own figures don’t look to flash for National.

    As for whether NZ is ready for our first openly gay Prime Minister – I’d be happy if s/he was competant at running the country.

    Bernard Hickey’s piece in the NZ Herald yesterday was damning of National; http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10795790

    Is this where I insert my “I Told You So, NZ!”? http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/labour-the-economic-record-2000-2008/

  27. @ David: “Most people I work/socialize (sic) with don’t give a flying stuff about the ACC nonsense.”

    Then you’re almost certainly working and socialising with a bunch of dedicated Nat voters David. Everyone I know is fascinated by the unusual spectacle of the Nats bitter in-fighting over the ACC scandal. You’ll appreciate that observing the public melting of Jonkey’s “slippery when dry” persona brings some pleasure to those who lean to the left.

  28. @ Alfie

    +1

  29. @ Alfie +1
    Yes we always suspected the cracks were there but now we can see them. The Pres Secs must be working overtime on this one.

  30. The evidence that Ted Heath was gay is zero. The person who alleged it a few years ago offered no evidence at all, just that he had heard it somewhere, and both of Heath’s biographers have found no evidence at all even in his extensive personal papers. Both concluded Heath was asexual.

    There is also zero evidence that Savage was gay.

    Here’s a funny thing – does being single mean people can just assume you must be gay really? That seems insulting to both single people and gay people.

    BE: Persistent rumours were put about in her early career (and later when she was Leader of the Opposition and later still PM) that Helen was a lesbian. The fact that she didn’t want to marry was one reason, then that she and Peter didn’t want to have children, than that there were a couple of lesbians on her staff, including of course Heather Simpson. She wasn’t/isn’t. Though, as so many of you have observed, the only possible response would have been, ‘So what?’

  31. “There are a number of other commenters on the site who are happy to debate with you in that vein. I’m not”.

    No problem, Brian. Given that you seem to gravitate between making worthwhile and significant comments of substance about events in the news media, then transition to attempts at creating the news with analysis that is less than substantial or even marginally objective…

    and it is often rather tricky to work out which hat you are wearing…

    nor worth the effort to fending off the claims that your integrity has been offended and/or it is such a tedious process to engage with interlocuters who disagree with the substance of your claims…

    now would seem a good time to disengage.

    A genuine thanks for your thoughts and our interactions.

  32. …oh yes, and if I’m going to live up to the reputation of “jesuitical nitpicking”, a correction on my spelling above is in order. ‘Interlocutor’ is correct. :)

  33. > the next Government ought to be a Labour-led coalition.

    I’d rather have a government that had a social conscience. That counts Labour out.

    BE: The sort of conscience that will trade a convention centre for 500 new pokies to destroy dozens more New Zealand families? That level of cynical pragmatism is just one of the reasons I could never be a National or Act supporter.

  34. @alfie, I am a project manager so plumbers, painters, builders, labourers, engineers and clients of all stripes. There are a couple of old timers who still support labour but they get a fair bit of stick, almost as bad as being a green voter these days.

  35. A more pertinent question might be whether NZ is ready for a PM who is prepared to make politically tough and unpopular decisions rather than those that are politicaly expedient. In particular a PM who is prepared to tackle the problem of middle class welfare in the shape of interest free student loans, WFF, Gold Cards, NZ Super (generous by most international standards), all based on entitlement, and all election bribes by Labour administrations, rather than on need, all of which will lead us down the same path as Greece eventually.

    I doubt whether NZ is ready for such a PM until it is forced on us by international lenders. In the meantime we may as well have a gay MP; we could have a practising necrophiliac for all the difference it would make.

  36. @ David”…almost as bad as being a green voter these days.”

    Tsk… you’ve given yourself away again David. You obviously have trouble relating to anyone who isn’t a fellow right winger and you really should get out more. ;-)

    And please don’t think that being anti-National automatically makes someone a Labour supporter – I voted for Muldoon’s lot once but I’ve since realised the error of my ways. But an electorate can only take so much distain from their leaders and these days even some of my hardened National friends are having trouble reconciling Key’s position on several matters.

    Things like wasting so much Police time and public money over the storm-in-a-teapot affair, merely to cover up the very embarrassing lack of loyalty it revealed from himself and Banks until after the election. Not many Nat voters liked the way that rescued Winston from obscurity.

    Then there’s the economic stupidity of the proposed asset sales where dogma is determined to overrule common sense; the third world capitulation demonstrated when he changed our employment law to suit US movie studios; the current “Let’s have more pokies” policy to keep Sky City happy; and now the National Party / ACC poorly managed cover-up that just keeps haemorrhaging blue bile in public. The list goes on.

    There will always be people who would rather not think these matters through and who will proudly proclaim themselves to be National supporters to the end. I don’t have a problem with that… but I do hope that the end comes soon.

  37. 37

    @Frank, Bernard’s piece was incompetent rubbish – unfortunately as per usual:

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2012/04/repeating_labours_lines.html

    … following on directly from his absurd statistical blunder the previous week:

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2012/03/bernard_falls_for_it.html

  38. 38

    @Alfie, questions for you:

    1. How did the “teapot tape” get from the HoS to TV3 and Winston – given that Ambrose was free-lancing to the HoS?

    2. How can we know if the asset sales are sensible until we know how much buyers are willing to pay for them?

    3. Do you seriously believe the Government should have turned away the Hobbit and consequentially many other movies?

    4. How much gambling do you believe should be allowed and why?

    5. What “ACC cover up”? A google search reveals only 2008 accusations that Labour covered up a $1B hole in its finances.

  39. It will be a ‘gay day in the bay’ when Alan W awakes and realizes we have a Shearer led govt. That is the ‘plan’ Stan!

  40. Good grief! BE agrees with something I said!

    I think I need to lie down.

  41. @ Alan Wilkinson

    Bah! Nothing but “jesuitical nitpicking”! :)

  42. We’ve got to stop sucking up to all these poofs and other minorities like women, and put a real man, a straight shooter, in charge. Gerry’s our bloke. He knows his way around the world, and as long as his foot continues to firmly seal his mouth shut there’ll be no embarrassing leaks to sideline the important issues of the day.

  43. Given that a large part of the country want homosexuality recriminalised, (I note that same part screams on and on about ‘nanny state’), I have my doubts as to whether we are ready…..

  44. @ Alan Wilkinson “@Frank, Bernard’s piece was incompetent rubbish – unfortunately as per usual”

    Really, Alan?

    And yet, there appears to be several billions of reasons why he is actually spot on.

    The tax cuts were never affordable – as evidenced by the $380 million a week we ended up borrowing.

    The only “incompetant rubbish” I can find is the government’s mismanagement of the economy. Redirecting me to a rightwing blog doesn’t answer the problem at all – you’re simply asking me to read one of National’s propaganda mouthpieces.

    By the way, your point: “3. Do you seriously believe the Government should have turned away the Hobbit and consequentially many other movies?”

    … is untrue. Jackson himself admitted in an email to Gerry Brownlee that the movies were not in danger in going offshore.

    Anyway, what if they had? Are you seriously telling us that we should change our legislation to suit corporates who want to do business here?

    Whatever next? Would you accept a corporate investor who’ll put $1 billion into our economy – if we drop the mninimum wage from $13.50, to, say $10 an hour?

  45. Grant and Alf got married (or as they put it in their speeches ‘civilised’) in 2007 or 8. My twins must have been 3 or thereabouts. In the wedding photos one has his back to the camera in protest, which seems a typical 3-year-old stunt. Actually FWIW I don’t think NZ on the whole *is* ready for a gay PM. It would be nice to be proved wrong though.

  46. It is not Robertson gay-ness that is an issue, it is what he will do with that.
    After all, he will look at all issues from his personal standpoint, just like a childless couple will look at WFF totally different than a couple with 4 kids.
    If he starts to kowtow to the gay lobby instead of promoting good policy for all of us he will be seen to be perpetuating the very thing that sent Labour to opposition – the kowtowing to special interest groups and selective policies to suit what they see as a vote winners in any one particular socio-economic grouping. I refer to interest free student loans as one such policy aberation. Look how dearly that is costing the country – millions owed by uni-graduates earning big money overseas.

    BE: I would have thought the fact that Robertson is transparently gay would mean that any unfair favouring of homosexuals would be quickly spotted. I very much doubt that he would go down that road anyway. And do you think the fact that Helen and Peter were a childless couple in any way altered her approach to Working for Families? You seem to think that intelligent people are incapable of making disinterested decisions, not affected by their own lifestyles. Not my experience.

  47. 47

    @Frank, yes, really, both Bernard’s articles were codswallop … for the reasons clearly set out in the links I gave. Facts, logic and statistics are true or false irrespective of author – a concept which the Left seems uniquely unable to grasp.

    Yes, scrap the minimum wage and let everyone work who wants to – instead of condemning them to useless life on the dole destroying their self-respect and humanity.

    “Are you seriously telling us that we should change our legislation to suit corporates who want to do business here?”

    Absolutely, and for the same reason.

  48. I disagree with you, Brian. I don’t think NZ – apart from the white middleclass “progressive” – is ready for an openly gay PM. Look at all the flak Helen Clark used to get for allegedly being gay – when she is not. But more importantly, there is a huge conservative voting rump in NZ – not just the rural sector, but potential Labour voters – Pacific Islanders, ethnic minorities with strong religious views, Maori, and all those who are in danger of being disenfranchised because NZ politics offer them nothing. Labour saw this in the 2008, 2011 elections when its vote dropped so low – and a gay leadership won’t make ‘em come out and vote.
    Real workable policies might, but Labour has to work at this instead of being distracted by sideline issues.
    What is more, the so-called “leaders” being touted as alternatives to Shearer have very little experience of actual political life – most of them barely having seen one term in Oppositionn or at the most, a few months, like Shearer himself. And that lack of political experience could well be a put-off for potential Labour voters who are NOT seeing their representatives at the moment speaking out on their very real needs. Before we know it, those people will have all taken off for Australia (many of them are there now) and Labour’s vote will fall even more. Its a sad scenario.

  49. If I may join this rather late in the piece…

    I am not sure that New Zealanders really care that Grant Robertson is gay, and I’ve often wondered why some of the media and the bloggerati bang on about it.

    As for Edward Heath: I read several decades ago that he had once greatly loved a woman when he was a young man, but that she had left him for another man.

    Apparently his heart was so broken that he could not contemplate a relationship with another woman, and that he still kept her photo by his bedside until he died.

  50. @ Alan Wilkinson – do you really follow NZ politics with one eye firmly closed?

    “1. How did the “teapot tape” get from the HoS to TV3 and Winston?”
    How would I know? You’d have to ask HoS or TV3.

    “2. How can we know if the asset sales are sensible until we know how much buyers are willing to pay for them?”
    You might try reading a little Bernard Hickey – flogging off strategic state assets which are providing a solid return at the bottom of the market makes little financial sense.

    “3. Do you seriously believe the Government should have turned away the Hobbit and consequentially many other movies?”
    You do have a well-developed sense of the ridiculous, don’t you Alan. Even Peter Jackson was amused that Key had been so easily manipulated by a large US corporate – just read the news reports.

    “4. How much gambling do you believe should be allowed and why?”
    Personally I don’t believe that there’s a ‘good’ number of pokies, or that adding hundreds more at Sky City is in any way socially responsible. But why don’t you ask the Problem Gambling Foundation that same question? They’ll be able to provide you with the facts.

    “5. What “ACC cover up”?”
    Seriously? You’ve missed the whole Pullar saga? You should have been there Alan.

  51. My take on the “Hobbit” controversy; The government took a principled stand in changing the law. You can bleat that they “capitulated to foreign corporations” all you like, but the truth is that our employment laws were unfair, illogical, incompatible with a healthy film industry and absolutely in need of the simple fix that was applied. In the film industry, you need to employ people on a contract basis for the duration of a film. Their contract then properly ends. This was incompatible with the existing legislation that dictated that, for example, a modelmaker who was working on a single job for an extended time was by definition an “employee” not a “contractor”, and therefore could not simply be terminated at the end of the contract. Even if that’s what he agreed to at the start of the contract.

  52. 52

    Alfie, yes, I wink a lot.

    1. I have asked the HoS several times. They prefer not to answer and to fake indignation that Key compared them with NotW. There is a grubby story somewhere in there.

    2. I have read Hickey for years and he writes nonsense. He also owes me a bottle of wine for a losing bet that house prices would fall 30%.

    3. Here’s today’s news report for you: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10796284

    “NZ $3 billion screen industry soaring”. Thirty-five feature films were made in New Zealand in the 2011 year, according to a Statistics New Zealand survey.

    The loony Left would have slammed the door on them as the evil capitalists they are.

    4. So no answer? So how can you know whether the Sky deal is good or bad?

    5. There was no ACC cover up in the Pullar saga. Just a desperate attempt by Labour to throw mud and hope something sticks. Unedifying, but typical.

  53. It would be interesting to see if we as a Nation would accept a Gay Pm.Im sure some religious factions would be fighting tooth and nail against it.It may even be an election breaker.I thought the anti smacking bill would be a simple exercise .
    Im still in favour of a Green Pm whatever the sexual orientation.

  54. I’d rather not get into a bickering match Alan, but I note that while most gaming machines return 37% of their profits to the community, Sky City only manages a mere 2.5%. Where does the Sky City money go?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/6683748/casinos-ripoff-community

  55. 55

    Alfie: “Sky City only manages a mere 2.5%. Where does the Sky City money go?”

    I don’t know. Ask the Labour party which enacted the current legislation, the Gambling Act 2003.

    But first, don’t assume those facts as reported are actually true. I wouldn’t.

  56. @ Alan Wilkinson “Yes, scrap the minimum wage and let everyone work who wants to – instead of condemning them to useless life on the dole destroying their self-respect and humanity.”

    Ah, ACT policy – which has been rejected by 99% of voters. And for good reason.

    What you are advocating is a return to mass poverty and even more accumulation of wealth by the 1%.

    ME: ““Are you seriously telling us that we should change our legislation to suit corporates who want to do business here?”

    ALAN: Absolutely, and for the same reason.”

    Slaves to corporate whims?

    Again, no thanks. 99% of New Zealanders would not have a bar of such a thing. It astounds me that you’d sell our freedom, independence, and society so cheaply.

    No thanks. Your ideology is flawed and has been shown to be a failure. It benefits the wealthy – and their groupies – but no one else.

  57. Alfie: “Sky City only manages a mere 2.5%. Where does the Sky City money go?”

    ALAN: “I don’t know. Ask the Labour party which enacted the current legislation, the Gambling Act 2003. ”

    That’s not an answer, Alan, that’s deflection. The legislation is a backdrop to what Skycity is doing. That falls into the responsibility of this current government.

    But then, I’ve noticed that the Right are not very big on responsibility when applied to their own governance.

  58. I think you’ll find that Sky City have to publish those figures Alan. But you’re right about not believing everything in that story. The part where John Key says sticking a few hundred extra pokies into the Auckland Casino will only affect overseas gamblers certainly doesn’t have any ring of truth about it.

  59. 59

    Alfie, I think you should figure out which bit of the story you are going to run with.

    Is it the bit that says communities will lose out when their local pokie licences are moved to Sky City or is it the bit which says this won’t be a transfer from local gamblers to international visitors?

  60. Do open the other eye Alan as you’ve misquoted your Dear Leader quite badly. He actually claims the opposite… that local problem gamblers WON’T be tempted into using those hundreds of shiny new pokies. Yeah right!

  61. “That level of cynical pragmatism is just one of the reasons I could never be a National or Act supporter.”

    I’m not a National or Act supporter, Brian. Labour has lost its way and did so many years ago. Criticising NACT doesn’t change that fact.

  62. 62

    Oh dear, Alfie. I do have to spell it out for you slowly.

    The Government is considering offsetting the reduction in local pokie licences (reputedly contributing 37% of their profits to their communities) by allocating some additional licences to Sky City to support the construction of a major convention centre to attract international conferences and events.

    John Key thinks local punters will be less likely to go to machines located in central Auckland at Sky City than to ones in their local pubs and clubs.

    Hard to disagreee with that isn’t it?

  63. 63

    Frank, mass poverty was what you got in the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Albania, Romania, North Korea. It was not caused by a lack of a minimum wage.

    99% of New Zealanders would not have a bar of such a thing.

    Yet they voted National? Your statistics are as bad as your economics and politics.

  64. Frank, mass poverty was what you got in the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Albania, Romania, North Korea. It was not caused by a lack of a minimum wage.

    It was caused by an uneven distribution of wealth,perhaps we are looking at this from the wrong angle,maybe a maximum income allowable would be more to the point.

    nb Only 47 % voted national.

  65. @ Alfie

    ““5. What “ACC cover up”?”
    Seriously? You’ve missed the whole Pullar saga? You should have been there Alan.”

    Ok, I’ll risk the accusation of “jesuitical nitpicking” that comes your way on this site if you actually try and kick the tyres on assertions that get made, and actually try and support ideas and opinions with facts, and ask you precisely, Alfie – what cover-up?

    You know – Watergate, “what did the President know, and when did he know it”, “tell the CIA to call the FBI to stop their investigation” here is the “smoking-gun” that proves a political “cover-up”.

    Because that is what a real political “cover-up” is – rather than just a word that gets thrown around, and weakly buttressed by rhetoric such as “Pullar saga”, and “You should have been there”.

    I’ve read the reports. Haven’t noticed anything that is a cover-up, but I’m all ears.

    Who covered up?

    When did they cover-up?

    How did they cover-up?

    What is the specific evidence they covered up?

    And just as you’ve declared your political neutrality in this matter (and I do not doubt your integrity in the matter), I’ll declare mine: I hate “gotcha” politics, no matter who does it. Whether it was David Benson-Pope and that bloody tennis ball, Jenny Shipley dining with Kevin Roberts, or this latest Pullar stuff, it is usually all a load of bread-and-circuses crap, that demeans accusers, accused, media who report it, and the voters at whom it is thrown.

    So, Alfie – where’s this “smoking gun” right-wing dullards like Alan Wilkinson and I have missed being so widely and freely reported?

  66. @ Alan – “Hard to disagreee with that isn’t it?”

    Not at all. I’m old enough to remember NZ before pokies started wreaking their social havoc. But taking the evil machines from locations where they return 37% to the community and putting them into a place where they only return 2.5% seems right in line with National policies and fits perfectly with the crazed dogma that’s driving asset sales.

    Jonkey is quoted (in the Stuff story) as saying, “There was a range of ways the casino made payments to the community” but he doesn’t elaborate. I suppose that he may be referring to donations to the National Party, but it would be hard to view that being of any benefit to the community. I guess it all comes down to the colour of your lenses… and mine just aren’t as blue as yours.

  67. I am not sure what it has to do with gay prime ministers, but yes I do disagree with JK’s pink tinted and limp wristed view that problem gamblers are less likely to go to machines in Central Auckland; talk about self justification. There is no way of proving whether or the opinion is correct until such time as the pokies are in place but experience suggests that those with a problem are quite happy to travel for there fix and it is known that there are already plenty of problem gamblers patronising Sky City.

    It may not bother you, Alan, that we sell our souls for a nice new convention centre but it bothers me and it bothers others. I put casinos in the same category as brothels, tobacco and alcohol; they may be legal but it does not mean we have to prostitute ourselves to them. It is a legal form of money laundering where these tainted organisations try to buy respectabilty with their dirty money. It is why I object totally to the entire concept of the gambling industry channelling money into the community. The damage it does is far greater than any good it might do. Sky City may object to the view, but I see little difference other than legality in the services they offer and the services peddled by drug barons.

  68. Brian, is there something about Shearer that we should know, other than what you have written, that compels you to question his ability and suggest he won’t be leader of the Labour Party next election?

    BE: I doubt that I know anything more about Shearer than you do, Kat. I’m merely making a judgement as a media professional on how he is coming across. Have a look at Emerson’s cartoon in this morning’s Herald. It will at least tell you that I’m not alone in my view that he is making almost no impact on the national consciousness. And I think that’s a great pity.

  69. Brian, I thought you ran off to the Greens? Both you and McCarten are now no different to Tories when it comes to Labour. How does it feel, Brian?

    BE: You should probably get over that primitive tribal thinking, Tom. My objection to statements made by Shearer and others after the election defeat, was that they seemed to be saying: well, those good left wing policies didn’t work for us, so we better abandon them and move to the centre – or perhaps the centre/right. How wanting Labour to stick to its left-wing principles makes me ‘no different to to Tories’ is beyond me.

    And I didn’t ‘run off’ to anybody. I’m not a member of any political party and haven’t been for 40 years.

    As to how I feel – a bit bored with moronic comments like this.

  70. @ Kimbo
    If you accept that the Pullar affair seems to involve a lot of National Party in-fighting (and that’s pretty hard to deny), then “cover-up” refers to the PR spin that’s being generated by Nat Central.

    Boag blames her friend Pullar for including 28 influential names of “supporters and advisors” in a letter backing up her $14m insurance claim… but Sovereign replied to Boag, implying it was actually her who provided the list of names. Judith Collins threatens to silence her critics using defamation; Johnky denies knowing anything about it; Nick Smith is thrown to the dogs.

    Along the way Johnky announces “We’re all bored with this matter.” What you mean ‘we’ whitey? Nat Central may be hoping this affair goes away… the rest of us are learning just how far political power can be exerted in New Zealand – if you know the right people.

  71. @ Alfie

    Thanks for manning-up with a response.

    No, I don’t accept there is a lot of National Party in-fighting, so I’m not prepared yet to go sliding down the slippery slope you’ve prepared. Not until you produce a “smoking gun”. Which, you’ve yet to do.

    I see a disaffected former member who is in a criminally vulnerable position, and also, sadly, seems to have some serious judgement issues, no doubt as a result of her accident.

    I also see a (very) former National Party President up to her eye-balls in potential legal trouble. If you think that constitutes “a lot” of National Party in-fighting – fair enough. We disagree. However, I’m open to being persuaded by some facts. I’m all ears to hear who else constitutes the Pullar-Boag axis.

    “Collins threatens to silence her critics using defamation”. Hmm. OK, I can wear that as an interpretation. Don’t agree, and it seems to me Collins is damned if she said and did nothing (“All you’ve done is deny it. Why don’t you sue if it is untrue?!”), and if damned if she does, as you’ve implied. And if the Crown picks up the cost because she is Minister then it is a drain on the public purse, but if she funds it herself, well, that is just an indication Cabinet don’t back her – ho hum. Now you know why I think “scandal politics” is crap in terms of substance.

    Fact: Collins, as is her right is suing. The rest is unknown and speculation.

    Nick Smith wasn’t thrown to the dogs (IMHO – or Labour’s – they were demanding his resignation!) – he rightly resigned for a stupid error of judgement. Where is your smoking gun he was “corrupt”, or “thrown to the dogs” to protect someone else?

    “John Key denies knowing anything about it”. Hmm. So what else would you have him do to prove to you his innocence? Sue his accusers?! (oops, no, then he would be “threatening to silence his critics”…some people are difficult to please, Alfie!)

    You may well be right that Sovereign and maybe ACC caved in because of the perceived threat that Pullar’s name-dropping presented to them. Stupid them if they did. Which is why Pullar and Boag are now spinning like tops trying to make it look like something else, seeing criminal charges are a possibility.

    But if (and that is a big IF!) ACC and Sovereign did cave due to the perceived pressure, you’ve still not produced the smoking gun to show any involvement or verification from the “28 influential names”. I’m all ears for any substantial evidence (not suspicions and suppositions as you’ve produced thus far) that they intervened…

    But I am confused about how Pullar is portrayed in this. Which is she to you, Alfie? Brave whistle blower, or corrupt/mentally and emotionally impaired blackmailer? And Boag?

  72. @kimbo – “Brave whistle blower, or corrupt/mentally and emotionally impaired blackmailer?”
    She’s certainly no whistle blower though it seems like she owns a trumpet which she really enjoys playing.

    “And Boag?” Now you’re getting into to the upper echelons of Nat Central Kimbo. IMHO it’s Boag’s involvement that inspires discussion of undue influence and the possible abuse of polital power.

    Shall we agree to refer to this not as a cover-up but as the latest ACC scandal. That’s how Dr. Bryce Edwards views it in today’s Herald.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10796429

  73. @ Alfie

    “She’s certainly no whistle blower though it seems like she owns a trumpet which she really enjoys playing”.

    He he he. A gem amongst the turgid morass that is the Pullar affair. I can forgive you a truckload of half-baked conspiracies for that bon mot, Alfie!

    “Shall we agree to refer to this not as a cover-up but as the latest ACC scandal”.

    Happily. Your critique of Key, “”“We’re all bored with this matter.” What you mean ‘we’ whitey? Nat Central may be hoping this affair goes away…” is perceptive.

    Everyone, including Shearer and Labour is now assuming an assigned chereographed role. All part of the “death-by-a-thousand cuts” script.

  74. I’d been warned not to argue with Act supporters as they often sic their dogma onto you. I’m delighted that the discussion has ended on a civilised note Kimbo. ;-)

  75. @ Alfie

    No, no. Alfie.

    Contrary to what some folks round here may assert (I’m not naming names, except to say that is rhymes with “kat”), I’m not an ACT supporter. A centrist swinger gravitating right in my older age.

  76. 76

    @Ben, I’m surprised to hear you are selling your soul. Did you get a good price or are you just looking to upgrade?

    I must say I’m a bit of a fan of gambling seeing as it’s basically self-imposed taxation and reduces the socialists’ ever-increasing demands on the rest of us who don’t vote for them.

    As for alcohol, I don’t see how my occasional beer or wine amounts to prostitution. What on earth do you do with yours?

    Freedom is too valuable to throw away because a minority abuse it. That will always happen, but is the price of free-will and the freedom to use it. The alternative is the gulag. I guess we are half-way there. Let’s not get any closer.

  77. “…we’re halfway there.” god, alan, you have no idea.

  78. 78

    bje, where are you, then? And where are you going?

  79. @ Brian
    “It will at least tell you that I’m not alone in my view that he is making almost no impact on the national consciousness. And I think that’s a great pity.”

    Yes I saw the cartoon and it reminds me of a similar theme back in 2008 of Key ‘sleepwalking’ to power. Shearer may be thinking that to have any real impact on the national consciousness he has to first become Prime Minister.

  80. “Is New Zealand ready for a gay PM?”
    What? Another one, already?

    “Is New Zealand ready for a gay PM?”
    Is it going to be compulsory if we say ‘yes’?

    “Is New Zealand ready for a gay PM?”
    Only if he/she is the best possible person for the job. I can’t see why we would have to choose our next PM from the gay ranks simply because it’s their turn to come up another PM. Anyone can be gay if they put their mind to it – but not just anyone can run NZ Inc. Of course, the two qualities are not mutually exclusive: could be someone in the overlap DOES have the goods.

    “Is New Zealand ready for a gay PM?”
    On balance, probably not. Our next PM should be elected for what and who he/she is, and is capable of, not who he/she prefers to bed. I recall Willie Jackson, the greatest bigot and racist this country’s ever seen, saying Obama should be elected for President because he’s black. Personally, I don’t think that’s the sort of qualification one should choose a leader upon. Nor is being pink.

  81. @ Alan Wilkinson “Frank, mass poverty was what you got in the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Albania, Romania, North Korea. It was not caused by a lack of a minimum wage.”

    Alan, you do realise that invoking extremes like those you mentioned indicate you have no response to the issues I pointed out?

    We’ve had neo-liberalism here in NZ for 27 years and things are getting worse – not better. Haven’t you been paying attention?

    But if you’re going to invoke the Soviet Bogeyman, let me say this; it took the Russians about 70 years to realise that the great marxist-leninist experiment wasn’t delivering “the goods” (literally).

    How long will it be before you and other neo-liberals come to the same realisaton that the reverse-coin of marxist-leninism – neo-liberalism – also does not “deliver the goods”.

    Your call to to do away with the minimum wage suits people like you. But it would drive the majority into a deep poverty. We’d end up chasing too few jobs and competing against each other and bringing overseas labour into the country – further driving down wages.

    Again, no thanks. I doubt if 99% of New Zealanders would have a bar of that lunatic ideology. It’s no coincidence that no modern country on Earth hads tried a free market society as you envisage – not one. (Somalia comes close – but who’d want to live there?)

    Marxist-lennists and neo-liberalists: both so wound up in their extremist ideologies that they don’t realise the social and economic damage to do around them.

    Again – no thanks.

  82. @ Alan Wilkinson “The alternative is the gulag. I guess we are half-way there. Let’s not get any closer.”

    BJE is right – you haven’t a clue. That remark wasn’t just plain ignorant – it was offensive.

    There are enough Eastern Europeans, Russians, Ukrainians, etc, who would view that kind of remark with disdain. My parents amongst them.

    You’re damned lucky to be living in this country with it’s wealth and peaceful society. You haven’t the foggiest notion what kind of society would generate a Gulag.

    Fool.

  83. Alan there is the cliche that with freedom comes responsibility and sadly there are too many who abuse these freedoms.

    I am not seekng to ban your simple pleasures but as I said I merely object to these organisations buying the fig leaf of respectability under the guise of suporting the community. I hardly think that what I have said is likely to lead us down the path of totalitarianism.

  84. It occurred to me after writing the previous commnet that if organisations such as Sky City are so keen on helping the community they could send out the grant with the following letter.

    “We have pleasure in enclosing a cheque for $20,000 for your new facility. This money was taken largely from the most vulnerable members of society and resulted in many families experiencing grave financial hardship. The communities from which the money has been taken are largely in far greater need than your community but we are supporting National Party policy of transferring wealth from the poor to the rich. You will also be pleased to know that the donors of your grant have enabled us to increase our dividend to shareholders by 2%.
    Please enjoy your new facility and do not hesitate to approach us if you need further contributions from those who are least able to afford it.”

    BE: Great comment, Ben. I shall shamelessly plagiarise it.

  85. 85

    Frank: “We’ve had neo-liberalism here in NZ for 27 years and things are getting worse – not better.

    Wrong in every respect. Muldoon had wrecked the economy and we had a very bleak future until Douglas turned it around. Now we are very secure in a much more insecure world.

    Your call to to do away with the minimum wage suits people like you. But it would drive the majority into a deep poverty.

    No, it wouldn’t. America was affluent and attracting immigrants long before it had a minimum wage. Guess which countries have no minimum wage:

    Austria, Germany, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein.

    Notoriously deep poverty in those countries, isn’t there?

  86. 86

    Frank: There are enough Eastern Europeans, Russians, Ukrainians, etc, who would view that kind of remark with disdain. My parents amongst them.

    Then I’m shocked they haven’t taught you more economic and political sense.

    You haven’t the foggiest notion what kind of society would generate a Gulag.

    Oh yes I have: “Death by Government”
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

    Gulags are created by deluded people who allow Governments to control every aspect of their lives, almost always on the pretext of standing up for the “little people”. They always require that State power trumps individual power.

    You employ the arguments of the classic “useful fool” who supports the ascent of such tyrants to power.

  87. 87

    Ben, I’m glad to hear you don’t seek to impose your conscience on everyone else. Perhaps you can teach Frank and a few others the same lesson.

  88. In defence of Muldoon he attempted to negotiate our way out of a Global energy crisis.The effects of that were wrecking our economy.Carless days and Think Big were reasonable reactions to a difficult situation.Douglas created a redistribution of wealth and has continued to do so since.For alot of us it has never been turned around just more of the same or worse.

  89. @ pjr

    “In defence of Muldoon…”

    Fair thoughts, pjr. Because his personality was so polarising, it is often really hard to even begin to assess Muldoon objectively.

    Maybe Muldoon lacked the vision to see that the paradigm that Savage and Nash had set up in 1935, and which he (Muldoon) always sought to maintain was past its used-by-date. In that respect he was an able, often creative administrator within the “rules” and “methods” that prevailed, e.g., picking winners like “Think Big”, without the fore-knowledge oil prices would fall in the mid-to-late 1980s. But that is what politicians of that era did, because that was the expectation and social contract.

    He certainly understood the Douglas prescription, and rejected it due to the social cost he knew it would cause.

    Personally, while none of us shares Muldoon’s formidable intellect, political and social instinct, nor hands-on experience of running a complex mixed economy as he did from 1967-72, 75-84, I think he was wrong. Contrary to what Savage et al tried to create, there are no guarantees in life, and if the state tries to ensure their are, it usually makes things worse in the long-run. Also, contrary to what traditional left-wing/Labour supporters may believe (and I was once one of them), no one ‘enjoys’ the cost and pain of social and economic change.

    However, “fortress NZ” was not sustainable, and caused damage to our most valuable social and economic commodity – the ability to assess and mange risk. No, Rogernomics most certainly didn’t solve that problem either. However, putting the risk-decision-making capacity into as many hands as possible a form of economic democracy), rather than centralising seems the best way to do it.

    Until such time as we collectively learn to assess, manage and accept risk, then our economic and social wishes will always remain tenuous. Call me an ideologue if you will, although that’s my fallible pragmatic assessment 27 years after we launched out/were dragged kicking and screaming into the Douglas revolution.

  90. 90

    Ben: “This money was taken largely from the most vulnerable members of society and resulted in many families experiencing grave financial hardship. The communities from which the money has been taken are largely in far greater need than your community

    Factual fail. Sky City is in the centre of the Auckland CBD, an extremely wealthy community. The money is transferred from that wealthy centre to the poorer communities. However, don’t let facts spoil your spin:

    Auckland’s status as the largest commercial centre of the country reflects in the high median personal income (per working person, per year) which was NZ$44,304 (approx. US$33,000) for the region in 2005, with jobs in the Auckland CBD often earning more.[51] The median personal income (for all persons older than 15 years of age, per year) was NZ$22,300 (2001),[52] behind only North Shore City (also part of the Greater Auckland area) and Wellington.

  91. Alan, I love arguing with you; I never win but when it is over it gives me the same pleasure as removing a shoe with a nail poking through the sole. I do wonder at times whether you argue just for the sake of it.

    Sky City may well be in the CBD but the facility attracts those from outside the CBD from poorer communities; witness the cases of those who leave their kids in their cars while inside. I also think you are ‘spinning’ your statistics. The median personal income is for the ‘region’. Just because jobs in the CBD pay more does not mean that those earning those sums live in the CBD and in fact I believe much of the CBD accommodation is made up of shoebox apartments and some council flats.

    What Sky City and other pokie operators contribute to local communities is a spit in the ocean compared to the money they suck out of those communities and the amounts they pay to their shareholders. It is sheer humbug for these organisations to lay claim to doing a service to the community.

  92. Perhaps a census to establish who really are the contributors to sky cities financial success would be in order.Because Sky City is in the CBD doesn’t mean its income is derived from there.Its quite possible that the poorer economic areas go to sky city ,lose their money.Sky City takes their money ,clips 20% ,and hands the remainder back to a community of their selection.

  93. 93

    pjr – absolutely. But also compare Sky City with all the other pokie machines around the country.

    My bet is that Sky City’s clientele will be mainly Asian with very few from poor communities.

  94. 94

    pjr, info in Rudman’s Herald column today confirms my point:

    A breakdown of pokie machine venues highlights how they are concentrated in the poorer parts of town. In Newmarket/Mission Bay/ Remuera where rich folk live there are just 77 gaming machines. In the last three months of 2011, they siphoned up just $899,280 from Mr Key and his neighbours. These are the folk most likely to be wanting – and using – a fancy new convention centre.

    Manurewa, for example, has 162 pokies, which brought in $3,510,927 over the same three-month period. Manukau City residents were even more willing, pouring $4,055,024 into the South Auckland centre’s 207 local machines. Papatoetoe’s 102 pokies vacuumed up $2,144,576, Howick’s 144, $2,432,987. Not to be outdone, the gamblers of Henderson spent $3,517,421, Otahuhu $2,661,400. Compare that to the miserable performance of the Auckland City CBD, with just $2,832,138.

    He tries to spin a need for Sky City to move the poor into town but it is clear that transferring licences from the poorer suburbs to Sky City will reduce the impact on those communities.

    He also miscalculates the payback time for Sky City which will be at least eight years even if they maintain usage and profit rates immediately on the new machines.

  95. @ David
    “I do worry that he has never had a private sector job”
    What – like as in the real world with Messrs Hotchin et al?

  96. @ Alan Wilkinson

    “My bet is that Sky City’s clientele will be mainly Asian with very few from poor communities.”

    Eh? There are no poor of Asian descent in this country? I’m going to have to go and have a lie down after learning this.

  97. 97

    Ben: “Just because jobs in the CBD pay more does not mean that those earning those sums live in the CBD”

    .. but those who live, work and stay in the CBD will certainly be the main Sky City clientele.

    I believe much of the CBD accommodation is made up of shoebox apartments and some council flats.

    .. there is student accommodation but expensive real estate makes for expensive rents. Not many poor people live in the Auckland CBD.

    “It is sheer humbug for these organisations to lay claim to doing a service to the community.”

    I agree in the sense of net benefit with respect to pokie profits. However, a convention centre bringing jobs and visitors to the city is a completely different proposition.

  98. 98

    @Number Eleven, after your nap: I doubt many Asians at Sky City will have come from poor communities. Is that too hard to understand – or must you twist it into something else?

  99. A convention centre bringing jobs and visitors sounds suspisciouly like a sports stadium.
    I suspect it has similar risks.

  100. I wonder to if NZ would tolerate a “gaggle of gays” as ministers. I refer to Charles Chauvel, Lisa Wall etc.
    It was not me who coined that phrase, it was a Labour MP.
    And Brian – you cannot escape the fact that ones opinions are influenced by ones beliefs, values, religion, gender, ethnicity etc etc.
    I don’t believe that an openly homosexual minister can reflect accurately what I, a heterosexual person believe in.
    Just as a childless person cannot know what it is like to be a parent or grandparent.
    They have no idea just as a person who has not had cancer knows what it is like to have cancer, to survive it or to await death from it.

  101. Frank: There are enough Eastern Europeans, Russians, Ukrainians, etc, who would view that kind of remark with disdain. My parents amongst them.

    ALAN:Then I’m shocked they haven’t taught you more economic and political sense.

    Indeed I have. The lesson is clear for any sensible person to learn; extreme dogma from the left or right ends up causing misery for most. It’s a shame, Alan, you don’t understand that extreme right wing beliefs such as yours are every bit as destructive as extreme left.

    When dogma doesn’t take into account basic human needs, social as well as individual, it is doomed to failure.

    Frank: “We’ve had neo-liberalism here in NZ for 27 years and things are getting worse – not better.

    ALAN:Wrong in every respect. Muldoon had wrecked the economy and we had a very bleak future until Douglas turned it around. Now we are very secure in a much more insecure world.

    So now you’re blaming Muldoon?!?! How far back in time will you be going?

    Because it occurs to me that you’re spreading the blame to everyone except those who have been in power in the lastthreee decades, since Rogernomics was implented.

    I guess it’s true; the Right are not keen to take responsibility for their actions. But they sure as heck demand it of everyone else.

    Frank:You haven’t the foggiest notion what kind of society would generate a Gulag.

    ALAN: Oh yes I have: “Death by Government”
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

    You’ve read a book.

    I’ve lived in one of those countries.

    Your call.

  102. Guyon Espiner puts the blowtorch onto Prostetnic Vogon Joyce and Sky City yes-man Peter Treacy. Nice to see Espiner’s hardening his cojones – I look forward to him doing a Simon Walker moment.

    http://ondemand.tv3.co.nz/60-Minutes-The-Big-Gamble/tabid/59/articleID/5956/Default.aspx

  103. And there’s more on RadioNZ about the con-NEC-tions between Sky City and certain members of the so-called Fourth Estate.

    http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mwatch/mwatch-20120401-0906-mediawatch_for_1_april_2012-048.mp3

  104. 104

    Frank: “you don’t understand that extreme right wing beliefs such as yours are every bit as destructive as extreme left. When dogma doesn’t take into account basic human needs, social as well as individual, it is doomed to failure.”

    There is nothing extreme about placing a high value on social and economic freedom and making sure Government encroachments on it are necessary, effective and not harmful.

    you’re spreading the blame to everyone except those who have been in power in the last three decades, since Rogernomics was implented.”

    No, I’m just saying that Rogernomics was necessary and beneficial having grown up under the stifling restrictions and protectionism that previously existed here.

    You’ve read a book. I’ve lived in one of those countries.

    So what? It doesn’t seem to have taught you anything – unlike Hayek and Popper.

  105. I too think, “so what” is the appropriate response to questions about anyone’s sexuality. I personally, want a gay PM. I think young gay and lesbian folk need to know when they’re feeling down that things do get better, however, that doesn’t mean I think NZ is ready.

    For Labour to win constituencies that haven’t showed up for the last two elections need to feel compelled to vote. Perhaps National has screwed up enough for that. Yet, I’m not sure they’re ready for Grant Robertson. Openly, gay, step grandfather? A supporter of Civil Unions, and marriage equality. A supporter of legalised prostitution etc.

    In 2008 Labour lost because South Auckland failed to show up. Turnout in Mana dropped. Booths in strong Labour areas had miserable turnout. That trend continued in 2011. In fact National barely got anymore votes in 2011 compared to 2008, Labour’s vote just dropped. Even in areas where the Greens did well, Wellington Central for example – the Green vote didn’t increase. The Labour vote dropped.

    I hope Grant can be the person to compell those who aren’t showing up to vote. That they can and should vote for a Labour Party leads.

  106. 106

    @Sam, when you are running a business your job is to put together a team that contains the range of experience, knowledge and skills necessary for the task. The prime minister’s job is no different.

    I would far rather have a PM who can put together and manage a great team than someone whose life experience just matches my own. And there are plenty of politicians whose image as a good family man was completely fraudulent. Indeed, a political career prohibits normal family life. Nor is empathy and sensitivity peculiar to heterosexuals. I think most people understand this though some do not.

  107. Sam, if we follow your logic we need a PM who is bisexual with kids, has had cancer, one leg and partly deaf (to understand the needs ot the disabled), paranoid (luckily most PMs altready meet this qualification), and be a practicing Christian/Muslim/Hindu, and so on.

    That would be quite an impressive CV.

  108. Id expect he or she to be green as well.or is that asking too much?

  109. pjr: no, Rainbow would do

  110. Ben @12.35 – couldn’t agree more, but hey ‘jesuitical nitpicking’ has been the quote of the week for me. Yes!

  111. @ Jill Brookes

    The usual manic rabid right wing ideology from the usual suspects has been the ‘entertainment of the week’ for me.

  112. My rpoblem is that I don’t need to know who is ahomosexual in Labour’s ranks, or any other party’s ranks. The problem is that Labour highlights this as no other party, as if it is the most important issue for these MPs. It should not be.
    Prior to reading this blog I had no idea that Chris Finlayson is maybe homosexual, he seemingly has never made that an issue, in contrast to Grant Robertson, Charles Chauvel, Lisa wall, Darren Hughes, Chris Carter and others.
    And I am not aredneck, I have plenty of friends, some homosexual, some not and others I know nothing about.

  113. Millsy April 3rd, 2012 at 00:06 : “Given that a large part of the country want homosexuality recriminalised …”

    No we don’t Millsy, we just want them to SHUT UP and stop disturbing the horses.

  114. Alan Wilkinson April 2nd, 2012 at 21:24 : “Alfie, questions for you: 1. How did the “teapot tape” get from the HoS to TV3 and Winston – given that Ambrose was free-lancing to the HoS?”

    The REAL question, Alfie and Alan, is how did Bradley Ambrose manage to leave a recording device on the table IN RECORD MODE and then pretend that was an accident? He’s been tap-dancing around that since day one.

  115. BE: “… do you think the fact that Helen and Peter were a childless couple in any way altered her approach to Working for Families?”

    Yes. The world’s full of childless aunties and uncles who hand the kids back after minding them for the day and still don’t GET IT. Such fun.

  116. 116

    Wake Up: The REAL question, Alfie and Alan, is how did Bradley Ambrose manage to leave a recording device on the table IN RECORD MODE and then pretend that was an accident?

    Dunno, Wake Up, but wouldn’t it be even harder to “accidentally” give the recording to Winston?

    Plus obviously the police didn’t believe it was either accidentally recorded or passed on to the media. I suspect there were more grubby fingerprints on it than just Ambrose’s.

  117. @ Wake Up: “The REAL question, Alfie and Alan, is how did Bradley Ambrose manage to leave a recording device on the table IN RECORD MODE and then pretend that was an accident? He’s been tap-dancing around that since day one.”

    Simple. It wasn’t a ‘recording device” as you claim. It would have been a radio microphone as used by news crews all over the world. You feed that wireless sound into one audio channel on the camera and use the camera mic on the other. That gives you more options in post production and it’s industry standard practice. The mic will only record while the camera is recording. It’s all hard disc stuff these days so in this sort of situation it’s not unreasonable for Ambrose to keep recording as he picks out different shots.

    Unfortunately some bend the facts to justify their side of the argument – so in some minds the mic has become some sort of self-contained recorder which was “IN RECORD MODE”. What a load of rubbish.

  118. @ Alfie

    “Simple. It wasn’t a ‘recording device” as you claim. It would have been a radio microphone as used by news crews all over the world. You feed that wireless sound into…”

    OK, Alfie. So Wake Up, Alan Wilkinson and I are, by implication, paranoid plot-theorists when it comes to the circumstances of the recording (and subsequent dissemination) of the teapot tapes….

    BUT, as per your post of April 3rd, 2012 at 17:20 it is thoroughly feasible that a cabal of 28 or more high-powered National Party office holders and sympathisers are pulling the levers of power behind the scenes to: -

    1. exert influence on private businesses such as Sovereign Insurance,
    2. pressure government departments such as ACC,
    3. and force cabinet ministers such as Nick Smith to resign to cover their tracks

    all for the corrupt furtherance of their mates’ interests.

    And all this occurs within contexts (commercial business, government departments, cabinet and political caucuses and parties) that are notoriously prone to leaks, with dozens, if not hundreds having to maintain silence for the sinister plot to remain hidden.

    OK. It is the “money-shot” phrase of the hour, but my jesuitical nit-picking says your analysis has a few flaws.

  119. @Kimbo
    “OK. It is the “money-shot” phrase of the hour, but my jesuitical nit-picking says your analysis has a few flaws.”

    Kimbo, your ‘jesuitical nit-picking’ and all its flaws is painfully obvious, however the reason for you employing it continually is the real “money-shot”.

  120. @Sam – 00:11 Your neck seems to be of a fairly red hue to me – despite your protestations about us not needing to know the sexuality of our MPs. I personally don’t care whether our MPs are homosexual, heterosexual, transgender or whatever – it’s their abilities to be good MPs which really is the issue. I also believe that it’s the MSM which insists of making a big issue of the sexuality of MPs, particularly if they aren’t heterosexual – that’s how I was made aware of Chris Finlayson’s sexuality when he first was elected as a List MP. Maybe you don’t read newspapers or keep up with current affairs Sam.

    P S – I hope I’m not nitpicking!!!!

  121. @ Kat

    Ah, Kat. As usual a post devoid of substance, nor any worthwhile citation of facts to support your argument (aka “jesuitical nitpicking” on this site) but with enough vinegar to dissolve a string of pearls. With a hint of class-warfare envy to cling to for credibility like a threadbare cloak.

    Happy Easter!

  122. Frank: “you don’t understand that extreme right wing beliefs such as yours are every bit as destructive as extreme left. When dogma doesn’t take into account basic human needs, social as well as individual, it is doomed to failure.”

    Alan: “There is nothing extreme about placing a high value on social and economic freedom and making sure Government encroachments on it are necessary, effective and not harmful.”

    Oh yes there is! There is more to a functioning, balanced society than just “economic freedom”. There are also responsibilities, obligations to community; and meeting people’s needs as a whole – not just the individual.

    Freedom without responsibility is the attitude of the naive and immature. Hence why parental guidance is required to raise children. And why society – through the State – creates a balance that meets the needs of the collective, as well as the Individual.

    You forget that Humans, like our primate cuzzies, are social creatures. We are not an individualistic species.

    Frank:”You’ve read a book. I’ve lived in one of those countries.”

    Alan: “So what? It doesn’t seem to have taught you anything – unlike Hayek and Popper.”

    Your arrogance is breath-taking. It also demonstrates that you take more from books instead of reality around you. That is the downfall of extremists, whether Left or Right; you place a premium on theory instead of experience.

  123. Kimbo: “OK, Alfie. So Wake Up, Alan Wilkinson and I are, by implication, paranoid plot-theorists when it comes to the circumstances of the recording (and subsequent dissemination) of the teapot tapes…”

    My goodness, Kimbo. If I mistakenly implied that you were a paranoid plot-theorist I do apologise. While you appear to be a person with a right-wing bent who enjoys flaming, are you paranoid? Sorry… that’s not my area of expertise. And Alan seems like a decent enough bloke.

    When it comes to the question of why Key initiated the storm-in-a-teapot affair, opinions divide firmly into two camps. Those who are prepared to believe that it was genuinely a “private” conversation (and that Key & Banks really weren’t aware of the fifty or so journalists surrounding their table); and those who don’t.

    We now know that during the teapot conversation, Key and Banks revealed a degree of treachery towards their supposed colleague Don Brash which, had it been published at the time, may have affected NAct’s re-election chances. They also made disparaging references to grey voters and given the situation, most people would agree that the lack of integrity shown by both men was unwise to say the least.

    For those of us who view this staged event as a highly publicised pre-election photo-op, it’s hard to see Key’s subsequent Police complaint as anything other than an attempt to conceal the contents of the conversation until after the election. I don’t know Bradley Ambrose from a bar of soap, but I can’t help but feel that he’s been hard done by for the sake of political expediency.

    While Ambrose may have been aware that his radio mic was recording, surely Key & Banks were also aware that they were surrounded by microphones and “recording devices”. It beggars belief to suggest otherwise. Key & Co went to some lengths to keep it all nicely hushed up until post-election, wasting a good deal of Police time and public money in the process.

    Kimbo: BUT, as per your post of April 3rd, 2012 at 17:20 it is thoroughly feasible that a cabal of 28 or more high-powered National Party office holders and sympathisers are pulling the levers of power behind the scenes to: -

    1. exert influence on private businesses such as Sovereign Insurance,
    2. pressure government departments such as ACC,
    3. and force cabinet ministers such as Nick Smith to resign to cover their tracks

    all for the corrupt furtherance of their mates’ interests.

    I accept that Key, Shipley, et al were probably unaware that their names had been misused to support Pullar’s $14m insurance claim. But remember that the leaked Sovereign Insurance letter which mentions “the 28 names” was actually addressed to Michelle Boag – a former President of the National Party who presumably still exerts influence within the upper echelons of that group. And nobody is denying that then ACC minister Nick Smith misused his ministerial letterhead to further Pullar’s ACC claim.

    Call it a conspiracy theory if you will, but if there is any connection between the teapot affair and the Pullar-Boag-ACC fiasco, it’s the apparent – some might say blatant – abuse of power displayed by those charged with running our country. And that worries ordinary voters like me.

  124. @ Alfie

    “if there is any connection between the teapot affair and the Pullar-Boag-ACC fiasco, it’s the apparent – some might say blatant – abuse of power displayed by those charged with running our country. And that worries ordinary voters like me”.

    Gosh, I’m gald you’re on the case, keeping our democracy safe from “apparent”, nay, “blatant” abuses, and out of the clutches of partisan political interests, which, no doubt, is the motivating factor for the continued discussion on this site.

    I note that when it comes to, “Those who are prepared to believe that it was genuinely a “private” conversation…and those who don’t”, that the courts fell into the latter category.

    I also note you avoided the issue of the leaking of the tape. However, by implication, your response seems to be saying the content of the conversation justified it. Fair enough. You may be right, and while I disagree about the importance, legality, or value to democracy, Banks and Key should have followed the maxim “treat all microphones as live”. True, they didn’t suspect the recording device was on their table, but as there was a gaggle of journalists outside, some of who may have been able to lip-read, more fool them.

    Umm – you’ll need to work a bit harder to “connect-the-dots” on the Boag-Pullar-28 names-conspiracy thing. But maybe you can reference a few alleged scandals from the past so I can get a reference on how these things work (I’m new to the paranoia/conspiracy theory thing): Paintergate, Corngate, and speeding-across-the-Canterbury-Plainsgate (or whatever the hell that was labelled!) may help.

    For the moment I’m not discerning much more from this is National, that was Labour, so it is different. And it just is, so stop nitpicking over troublesome details, Kimbo! So if Taito Phillip Field is a crook, does that make the political party he belonged to when he committed the offence crooks? Did I mention I loather “gotcha” politics?! Like I say, work a bit harder on connecting those dots.

    And no need to apologise for labelling me paranoid. I’m not. It’s just that I KNOW some people are out to get me :)

    Enjoy your Easter, Alfie.

  125. 125

    Frank: “Freedom without responsibility is the attitude of the naive and immature.”

    So what? A free person is able to manage their interactions with others to everyone’s mutual benefit. Someone without responsibility will struggle to survive. You are trying to erect a straw man.

    “Your arrogance is breath-taking. It also demonstrates that you take more from books instead of reality around you.”

    No, it doesn’t. It just shows that I differentiate between those capable of learning from reality and those who don’t. Nothing you have ever said suggests you belong in the first category. Hayek and Popper do. You should read them.

  126. Kimbo: “…the courts fell into the latter category.”

    No they didn’t. The Court refused to get involved – sorry, declined to rule. One Police Officer stated that he thought Ambrose might be guilty. Oh that’s alright then… who needs courts! Just as long as the public are left with the right impression.

    Kimbo: “I also note you avoided the issue of the leaking of the tape.”

    That’s a side issue. I think we agree that whistle-blowing can be justified, provided that it’s motivated by public interest rather than commercial or personal gain.

    We also agree (and the courts confirmed) that Taito Phillip Field was a crook, but that was a fairly cut and dried case. The difference is that his criminal action didn’t directly involve or implicate the Labour Party. I don’t view Teagate as a conspiracy – more a possible misuse of power which just happened to involve our Prime Minister and by association, his senior political advisors. To that degree it does reflect on the party.

    Assuming that none of the 28 consented to add their to a list being put forward by
    a party member to (hypothetically) influence a third party for personal gain – and we’re talking $14m – then that wouldn’t usually involve the party. But when a couple of the key players are a former National Party President and the ACC Minister, to that extent it does reflect on the party. And our little republic will be growing bananas before we know it.

    Other elements of this case reinforce just how third-world New Zealand has become. For instance, how did the DPS minders miss an electronic gadget sitting there on the table, right beside the PM? If it was a radio mic it would even have an aerial and a glowing red light. Obama’s boys would have blown the thing up quick smart – potentially damaging Mr Ambrose’s ears, had he been using headphones at the time.

    The machinations of power are always fascinating and I’m not leading any charge to protect democracy. I can’t even ride a horse. I’d prefer to think of the conversation we’re having as the cyber equivalent of those grumpy old blokes who hunch over chess and backgammon boards the world over, putting the world right… one drink at a time.

    And a very happy Easter to you to.

  127. @ Alfie

    “”Kimbo: “I also note you avoided the issue of the leaking of the tape.”

    That’s a side issue”

    Hmmm. If you say so.

    “Kimbo: “…the courts fell into the latter category.”

    No they didn’t. The Court refused to get involved – sorry, declined to rule.”

    Eh gad – on closer inspection you are right, Alfie. Just as well we are not playing backgammon, as my capacity for jesuitical nitpicking would have given me a false confidence to propose a double-up, when your next throw was double six! Either that or I would have snaffled up your poisoned pawn to my cost.

  128. Shearer looks like to be a slow burner who is in no rush to peak. This may irritate and frustrate those who prefer a more cut and thrust type offencing match. He is not a scrapper and his unconventional style in the political realm may be his saving grace. After all, there is no shortage of ‘scrappers’ who can carry out the sniper attacks. Shearer could benefit hugely from remaining dignified and calm.

  129. @ Kimbo

    My utmost apologies I had you wronged as even the tune although discordant is worth its song delivered in true spirit like the chorus on a bright autumn morning as the hangover blinds the eyes and the pillow shades the ear from the piercing noise and the picking of the nits that rummage in my ears as the volley of your notes splay forth on the walls and bounce like meat pies across my sheets and splatter my eyes with dark and sombre overcooked cries of hard done by lessons not yet learned but fired at will like a gun in a fairground stall.

    Happy Easter to you as well!

  130. Alfie says: “… in some minds the mic has become some sort of self-contained recorder which was “IN RECORD MODE”. What a load of rubbish.”

    Alfie, mic shmike, details details – a mic is still a RECORDING DEVICE. You and Bradley Ambrose should go into business tap-dancing around the truth together. Whatever, he still recorded the conversation surreptitiously and then dicked around with the results. Why you want to ally yourself with such lack of integrity is beyond me.

  131. Forgive me being pedantic Mr (Ms?) Wake Up but stick a microphone – even a radio mic like this – on a table and it won’t record anything. It’s not capable of being used in that way. You need a seperate “recording device” to make any microphone useful. If it had been one of the little micro-recorders favoured by journalists, that might have been different.

    While I note the “presumed guilty” verdict you have inflicted on Mr Ambrose (once again, who needs courts when kangaroos work perfectly well) I’m hardly aligning myself with him. You may have missed my reference to his ear damage above? I just favour facts over uninformed speculation.

    I’ve worked with news crews and this type of photo op is usually a bun fight as people jostle for the best positions. Tripods and other gear get left lying all over the place in the rush. I seriously doubt that Ambrose snuck past the DPS minders and placed the mic on the table. It’s much more likely that he’d left it there in the confusion before the protagonists were even seated.

    And if Key and Banks had stuck to discussing Darjeeling this would never have become an issue. Why they decided just one week out from an election to talk about stabbing their colleague Brash between the shoulder blades is anyone’s guess, but that’s what suddenly made this an issue worthy of public attention. And of course that’s the very reason Key & Co used the threat of legal action to hide the contents of their conversation until the election was safely in the bag. After all, would any sane voter trust a top politician who showed that level of treachery?

    Of course the case was quietly dropped soon after. There’s a very good chance that Ambrose would be found not guilty by a court. Mind you, scattering about a few “opinions” that he was guilty does muddy the waters nicely. And what about Key stretching credibility by comparing this to the NoW case where journos hacked the cellphones of a murder victim’s parents? I’m surprised he didn’t compare Ambrose to Pol Pot.

  132. 132

    Alfie, I don’t think Pol Pot was much of a journalist.

    I’m happy to agree that Ambrose might(?) have accidentally recorded the conversation – though I suspect from your account that he accidentally left the microphone on the table but then deliberately recorded the conversation.

    However, he certainly deliberately turned over the sound track along with the pictures to the HoS. Who then distributed further to ensure the contents got released via TV3 and Winston we may never know, but it was certainly done malevolently.

    I don’t think Ambrose’s legal team were too confident of winning in court since they backtracked to an apology which scuttled any chance they might have had of suing.

  133. Assuming the radio mic was switched on (and they tend to be in these situations to pick up extra audio), just switching on the camera to shoot pictures would start the sound recording, whether it’s deliberate or not. I’m not saying Ambrose didn’t know… just that he may not have.

    If Ambrose was commissioned by the HoS then of course he’d hand over the recording to them – that’s his job for the day. Whether he was actually aware of what had been said by Key & Banks I don’t know, but even if he was monitoring the sound with headphones, I think given the ambient noise in the situation that it’s unlikely.

    And if I was on Ambrose’s legal team I doubt that I’d want to go up against a millionaire PM and the full might of the National Party. I think it’s more likely that a deal was struck where the poor sap apologises and it all goes away. Everybody wins! Especially those who scored another term in power.

  134. I don’t care a stuff about any politician’s gender preference.

    On the other hand, we’re only having this discussion because the petty egos of Labour’s parliamentary caucus were too small-minded and cliquish to vote for the obviously best qualified candidate during the last leadership stoush.

    As far as I recall it, Grant Robertson was one of the leaders of the petty, nasty ‘ABC’ campaign. That’s enough to disqualify him in my book.

  135. Jill Brooks – April 6th.
    You call me a red neck because I state that the Labour MPs in question make being homosexual such a major issue?
    I do read papers etc, but was unaware that Finlayson is homosexual. He never seems to make it an issue, unlike his Labour opponents.
    If that makes me a red neck in your eyes, so be it.
    I do not like to refer to any of them as “gay”.
    That term was coined to make homosexuality appear more attractive and main stream.