A bad look

July 30th, 2009 at 8:46 am by David Farrar

It is part of our constitutional conventions of that people can give evidence to select committees without fear of retribution for what they say. Therefore I regard it as a bad look to see the story:

After Bart Birch, Uaea Leavasa and Satish Prasad criticised how Auckland Central Remand Prison was run under private contractor GEO between 2000 and 2005, Mr Garrett weighed in.

“You say that you don’t want to go back to working in this environment – to the private [sector]. You’d be aware that given your submission here, you wouldn’t get offered a job anyway, would you?”

Fortunately other MPs intervened:

Other MPs were visibly disturbed by the remark and National’s Shane Ardern was quick to reassure the men that they should feel free to speak their minds. “Can I say, from my own party, you can sit here without fear or favour,” he said.

The committee’s acting chairman, Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove, added his support to Mr Ardern’s remark.

’s comment was most unwise. You could defend it as saying he was stating the obvious, but in that case there was no need to state it. And at worst it looks like trying to warn people off criticising private prisons.

Questions at select committee should focus on the submission, the bill and related policy issues. If I made a submission arguing that (for example) Kiwibank should be sold, I would not expect to have an MP tell me that I should not expect to ever get any work from NZ Post.

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34 Responses to “A bad look”

  1. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,834 comments) says:

    What would you expect from a fellow who turns up three parts pissed for a televised debate?

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  2. LUCY (359 comments) says:

    A very very stupid remark from Mr. Garrett. I am very worried about that man.

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  3. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    The mouth breaks the speed limit but the brains still in park

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  4. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    He really must have a very high opinion of himself. What a plonker Rodney!

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  5. Say Goodbye to Hollywood (556 comments) says:

    Mr Garrett’s self importance is getting the better of him.

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  6. wreck1080 (3,815 comments) says:

    I thought labour dumped privately run prisons.

    I wonder, why all the labour supporters weren’t protesting about this one. The usual guff that the commies spurt out regarding the benefits of state control .

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  7. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    Funny, National Radio didn’t mention that he was rebuked by a National MP – just the chair. Well, not that I heard.

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  8. nickb (3,675 comments) says:

    What a nutcase, where did ACT find this guy?
    Unstable

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  9. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    Not so much a loose cannon as a random sniper? I wouldn’t care to be Rodney Hide with that guy standing behind me.

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  10. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,834 comments) says:

    Alan, Rodney need have no fear. Clearly the fool can’t shoot straight.

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  11. toad (3,673 comments) says:

    DPF said: David Garrett’s comment was most unwise … And at worst it looks like trying to warn people off criticising private prisons.

    I agree entirely DPF. Seems like the nanny state is being replaced by the bully state.

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  12. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Grooooooaaaaaaaaan, link whoring is soooo last regime.

    At least its an honest state, havent had one of those for at least a decade.

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  13. Gooner (995 comments) says:

    Hhmmm.

    It is astonishing considering Garrett is also an employment law barrister.

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  14. Brian Smaller (4,028 comments) says:

    You know – everyone hammes politicians for speaking with forked tongues, but when one says something that DPF points out is stating the obnvious, people get upset. Hell, I get more upset when they are deliberately obtuse.

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  15. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    Garrett seems to make a habit of displaying poor judgment. He will never be a Minister. Fortunately his opinion on a matter such as this counts for nothing, but Shane Arden did the correct thing is disassociating the National Party from this ill-considered remark. We had enough of this sort of thing under Helen Clark.

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  16. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Agree with Mr. Smaller. I appreciate Mr. Garret’s frankness openness and lack of pretention.

    It is a breath of fresh air compared to the posturing politcal correctness of those left wing elitists who never ever speak the truth about anything, and who, if they told us what they were really seeking, would never get elected.

    I’ll take David Garret over long term socialists like Shane Arden or Clayton Cosgrove anyday.

    He’s new, he’s fresh, and he deserves a go.

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  17. Luke H (73 comments) says:

    I saw a comment somewhere yesterday that went something like this:

    “Thank goodness ACT selected such a polite, thoughtful, well-spoken man like David Garret instead of a rude loose cannon like Lindsay Mitchell.”

    Couldn’t have put it better myself.

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  18. Gooner (995 comments) says:

    A civilised country is not so without inherent constitutional conventions and one of those is the ability to criticise government policy without the implied threat of losing your job because of such criticism. Some here say what Garrett said is breath of fresh air. I say it’s the breath of Helen Clark’s lair.

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  19. Ross Miller (1,681 comments) says:

    No Redbaiter. There are plonkers in ALL parties (it goes with the territory) and right now Garrett is ACT’s plonker.

    Just because he’s not a socialist (your construction) doesn’t mean he can’t be a plonker.

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  20. andrei (2,532 comments) says:

    Well I reckon that what Mr Garret said is the truth – like it or not.

    What’s the phrase shooting the messenger?

    Yeah thats it – this post is is just that – shooting the messenger

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  21. Chris G (106 comments) says:

    I was pleased to read that the other MP’s (The smart ones) quickly sorted it out, props to Shane Ardern too for standing up to him, that was good.

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  22. 3-coil (1,204 comments) says:

    If the prison officers found Garrett’s words so offensive, how do the delicate wee petals survive in the rough and tumble of a real prison?

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  23. bruceh (102 comments) says:

    Agree it’s not a good look. But there’s clearly no malice or attempt at intimidation – more a repartee from a straight shooter. As noted by others, straight shooters have impacts which create reactions, useful and un-useful. I think parliament needs more straight shooters. A little more experience and feedback and the aims will become very potent in cutting through the bulldust that is govt. This aim was in the un-useful category.

    Fair bit of cheapshot ad hominem in the responses, which as usual, whether from left or right, says more about the sender than the target. Hope such could adapt without error to the context of select committee membership and operation

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  24. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Just because he’s not a socialist (your construction) doesn’t mean he can’t be a plonker.”

    Of course it does not, but it is these strident complaints that “people should not say such things” that have been the cornerstone of the left’s assault on NZ’s culture. You Mr. Miller fought for freedom of expression, and now you seek the favour of those who would incrementally take that right from you. Bit by bit by bit.

    If there is one thing I detest in the National Party it is their lame obeisance to the cult of Political Correctness, and their unwitting failure to see what a poisonous insidious evil it is.

    Mr. Garret may not be the kind of simpering panty waisted limp wristed politician the left embrace, but he is a fundamentally decent man. He may say all kinds of things, but I say this is unimportant when compared to the need to break the left’s grip on political expression and our culture overall.

    We must stand with Mr. Garret if we are ever to repel the left. We can never defeat the left if we insist on shooting our own troops because that is what they say they want done.

    For too long National, like a rabbit in the headlights of the Progressives PC machine, have done as the Labour party has ordered.

    Time for some spine and some fight.

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  25. cpg23 (3 comments) says:

    Garrett’s increasingly proving to be a bit of a loose cannon. Watched him in this House goading Simon Power to critcise Elias CJ. Power’s answer to Garrett’s question: “I have full confidence in the judiciary”.

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  26. Cerium (23,346 comments) says:

    The Red right revolutionary Plonker Collective?

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  27. paradigm (507 comments) says:

    Mr. Garret may not be the kind of simpering panty waisted limp wristed politician the left embrace, but he is a fundamentally decent man. He may say all kinds of things, but I say this is unimportant when compared to the need to break the left’s grip on political expression and our culture overall.

    I don’t think this is a matter of PC/non-PC, it is a matter of an irrelevant statement, which at best wastes the select committee’s time, and at worst was an (mediocre) attempt to intimidate the people testifying. There was no reason for it at all, save maybe the desire to do some political grandstanding. Somebody explain how saying that was of any advantage to the committee, who’s goal was to try to collect information and tally argument and counter-argument. Pulling a Winston will not save us from any left-wing embrace.

    The guy shouldn’t be in the act party. He’s a hard nosed conservative in what bills its self as “the liberal party”. At least he didn’t tell them that in his day, people attending select committee hearings liked something else squirted in their mouths.

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  28. Ross Miller (1,681 comments) says:

    enjoy your comments Redbaiter and you are certainly consistant. Am all for freedom of speech and the socialists attempt to block that by way of the EFA is a dark stain of their (lack of) reputation. But the Garrett statement is another matter and, IMHO, out of order and, coupled with him hitting up on a female parliamentary staffer, qualifies him to be labelled a plonker.

    People who know me are well aware that I have no hesitation in confronting ‘plonkers’ in my own Party including having to front up to sitting MPs as their electorate Chair or higher and tell them ‘come in No.3, your time is up’ … and it was and they did (or it was done for them).

    It would not be earth shattering news to opine that some (many?) who make it to Parliament find out to their chagrin that they are uncomfortable with the institution. The smart ones get out early (Blumsky). Others learn from their mistakes. The drones hang on adding little to the sum total of honest endeavour. Interesting to see how Garrett pans out.

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  29. peterwn (3,215 comments) says:

    David Garrett had beter reflect on the case of an ex National MP who in 1998 or so effectively threatened a district police chief with dead end career prospects if his one of his sergeants continued enforcing parking restrictions outside a school upsetting his 4WD women constituents (admittedly, the precise circumstances of the tickets was a bit controversial). The incident was one of the nails in National’s coffin in 1999. It was the MP’s career which came to a dead end.

    Have a few more of these and John Key would be wise to whisper in Rodney’s ear that David is hardly going to enhance National’s or ACT’s election chances in 2011 if he stands then.

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  30. BlairM (2,307 comments) says:

    Ummmm… I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

    Garrett has no power over whom a private contractor would hire or fire. It was obvious he was not talking about employment within publicly run prisons.

    He was stating the obvious, and I’m sure those making the submission would have concurred. Generally when you make a submission criticising an organisation, you are hardly likely to want to go back to working there. He was just pointing that out.

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  31. NeillR (350 comments) says:

    Garrett’s increasingly proving to be a bit of a loose cannon.

    I would have used the term “fuckwit” but then i was never really one for diplomacy.

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  32. Rex Widerstrom (5,330 comments) says:

    Luke H notes:

    I saw a comment somewhere yesterday that went something like this:

    “Thank goodness ACT selected such a polite, thoughtful, well-spoken man like David Garret instead of a rude loose cannon like Lindsay Mitchell.”

    Here’s a question for Rodney. If you need reminding, here’s the Act Party List for the last election.

    Could you please explain why any of the people ranked from 6 down (pick a couple at random if you like) were considered inferior to David Garrett?

    And a supplementary if I may: What was Act offered, and what did it receive, from the Sensible Sentencing Trust in the lead-up to the last election, in terms of money and/or practical assistance.

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  33. Rich Prick (1,635 comments) says:

    Unwise? Yes perhaps. Fatal to the core of democracy as some would suggest? I hardly think so.

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  34. clintheine (1,568 comments) says:

    DPF said the right thing, Garrett just stated the obvious. Yes it might not have been the best thing to say but it was the obvious. I am sure all of you, even you wild ones out there, would be tempted to say the same if in the same circumstances – and I’ll defend your right to say it as well. It is a hell of a transition from somebody who usually gets ones own way and is allowed to say what he likes – to going into a job that means he has to shut up and say nothing.

    Many of you would find it excrutiating… I know I would!

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