Media criticises Clark for lack of openess

October 20th, 2009 at 4:35 pm by David Farrar

There was a fascinating radio interview at 7.40 am on National Radio today. It was from a specialist newspaper that reports on the , and complaining about the refusal of to do press conferences, how Clark and Heather Simpson try to handpick journalists for interviews and a general lack of accountability.

You can listen to the interview here.

It sounds like the UN is less compliant than some of the NZ has been. Some extracts from the interview with the founder and editor of the Inner City Press that focuses on the UN:

In the six months she has been in office there have been a number of issues that have arisen and repeatedly, I would say half a dozen times, myself and other journalist have asked that she comes and do a press conference, an actual Q&A and take questions and it is yet to happen.

He points out she is the third most senior official at the UN, and not a single press conference in six months.

It has become somewhat striking, a total failure to answer questions about the agency as they arise. … Once requests were made for Helen Clark to do a press conference there were a flurry of calls from her two spokespeople at the UNDP to specific media outlets saying do you want a one on one. One of them responded and said Okay here’s the journalist who will do it. But UNDP responded No No we prefer this other journalist who works for you. That’s a degree of micro-management of press coverage that is almost unheard of in the UN.

But very familiar to people back in New Zealand. And many in the media went along with it, or they risked losing access.

If she is the third highest official in the UN, she needs to come and take questions because everyone else does. The Secretary-General does it on a monthly basis, the head of peacekeeping every two weeks.

Almost funny that Helen’s managed to actually lower the standards at the UN!

He also goes on to say how the only briefing anyone in the UNDP has given for some months has been about relief efforts in Samoa and Tonga.

Geoff Robinson: Are you the only journalist, is yours the only organisation raising this as an issue?

Lee: No, No … In July an issue arose about a hiring, a kind of nepotism hiring took place in UNDP. Inner City Press had the exclusive but after that it was covered by the Times of London, Reuters and even newspapers in Italy. All four of these publications wanted answers from UNDP and none of them got them. I sent e-mails to her long time staffer, Heather Simpson, to make sure we got her answer as to why this nepotism scandal was not a problem. There was never any response at all.

Heather’s job is to block media, not facilitate them!

But here is what is really interesting. All the media listen to Morning Report. Yet this quite stunning and significant interview has not been reported anywhere else at all!

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64 Responses to “Media criticises Clark for lack of openess”

  1. Swiftman the infidel (329 comments) says:

    What a surprise!

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  2. tvb (4,240 comments) says:

    She may make an enemy of the Press of course. For my part I sympathise with her position. I think the Press by and large are a bunch of jackasses. She can start a blog or a twitter page. Forget MSM they are gonners.

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  3. democracymum (660 comments) says:

    That famous french proverb comes to mind…

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

    “The more things change the more they stay the same”

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  4. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..Yet this quite stunning and significant interview has not been reported anywhere else at all!..”

    except whoar at 10.00am..

    http://whoar.co.nz/2009/helen-clark-and-heather-simpson-are-blocking-any-media-access-to-clarkin-her-united-nations-jobshe-wont-answer-any-questions/

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    [DPF: Well done. I meant in the media, but good to see you reported it on your blog]

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  5. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Someone (i’m sorry I can’t rem who) posted here on your blog the link today.
    I was fascinated by his response as he hasn’t done his research on her at all well.

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  6. Swiftman the infidel (329 comments) says:

    Thank God for the internet.

    The sooner those NZ media cowards are put out of a job the better!

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  7. Kingi (142 comments) says:

    I find Inner City Press to be dubious at best in terms of credibility. Why can’t DPF just let Helen go? This guy professes to be a credible journalist but really he’s just a hassle.

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  8. LUCY (359 comments) says:

    Come on people. This is Uncle Helen remember she has never been known for her honesty, integrity or ‘up frontness’ why on earth do you expect her to change just because she is at the UN.

    You watch within a year or 2 acting like her at the UN will be more the norm that it is now.

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  9. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (858 comments) says:

    i heard that interview this morning too. most interesting, seems the standard modus operandii is in action.

    Uncle seems to be bringing a new era of transparency and accountability to the United Nations too.

    Although as someone pointed out above, she will have to work pretty hard to reach their level, even with her track record.

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  10. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    Once a satrap, always a satrap.
    Helen Clark is corrupt to the core.

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  11. Mark (10 comments) says:

    But here is what is really interesting. All the media listen to Morning Report. Yet this quite stunning and significant interview has not been reported anywhere else at all!

    Of course not, she might come back!

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  12. jabba (280 comments) says:

    I heard, but didn’t see it, that she was on HARDTALK awhile back. The bloke who usually does this is a hard doer and wouldn’t take Helen’s typical spin .. I’m keen to see her try the death stare/lip curl on an overseas journo.

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  13. Whaleoil (766 comments) says:

    The NZ MSM clearly fear her imminent return upon the demise of Phil Goff.

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  14. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Great line DPF:

    Almost funny that Helen’s managed to actually lower the standards at the UN!

    Indeed, they were already pretty low in my estimation, but our Helen brought them down even further.

    As the UN’s no. 3, perhaps Helen (rather than John Key) has designs on the role of the Antichrist?
    If anyone can spot the obvious *cough* flaw in my suggestion you get a chocolate fish.

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  15. Jack5 (4,818 comments) says:

    Clark seldom scene in New York.

    Is she hiding in NZ, masquerading as Mallard on blogs, phoning her local MSM lackeys, and generally trying to ginger up the Labour opposition?

    Come out into the light Evil Spirit, wherever you are.

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  16. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Is that SPOOKY or what?

    Both Jack5 and I comment at the same time of 5:34 pm.

    I allude to Helen possibly being the “Antichrist”, while Jack calls her an “Evil Spirit”.

    Where two or more are gathered together in my name … [Mt 18:20]

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  17. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Of all the things the UN thinks the world needs, a lifesize picture of Helen Clark’s face shouldn’t be one of them.

    Though at least Hulun provides one useful function: she confirms to us the ulterior motive of the international left vis-a-vis climate change.

    This year, as we mark the International Day to Eradicate Poverty, let’s remember that if we don’t put this fight to eradicate poverty at the heart of any international climate change agreement, we are effectively leaving the world’s poor to “sink or swim” by themselves as Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said. The international community has a collective responsibility to ensure that this does not happen.

    Redistributive justice, next stop!

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  18. Richard Hurst (792 comments) says:

    Plenty of people especially here on Kiwiblog warned that Helen being appointed to the UNDP would be a bad idea. Well surprise, surprise: Helen hasn’t changed and standards of openness and accountability have not improved and may actually be getting worse under her. So why did Johnny boy and I might DPF support her appointment so enthusiastically?

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  19. Rex Widerstrom (5,327 comments) says:

    I bet the UN are more grateful every day for the reference she was given by that nice Mr Key.

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  20. Jcw (98 comments) says:

    And the New Zealand media aren’t biased towards labour, Ha! As if national would ever be permitted to get away with such beahviour

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  21. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Hurf Durf 5:50 pm,

    Of all the things the UN thinks the world needs, a lifesize picture of Helen Clark’s face shouldn’t be one of them.

    Ah, the wonders of Photoshop. Look ma, no mole! (again)
    Or, of course, they’ve started the clone factory up – this one is mole free.
    Maybe that’s how she’s able to micromanage the Labour party and play her role at the UN – let’s hope there are only two.

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  22. MT_Tinman (3,043 comments) says:

    “Almost funny that Helen’s managed to actually lower the standards at the UN!”

    Amazing that anyone could lower the standards at the UN.

    Leave it to our Helen to set new levels.

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  23. francis (712 comments) says:

    HC (UNDP version) on HardTalk: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/hardtalk/8268441.stm

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

    Simpson will be running deflection; “hey look over there, obamas doing it to Fox”

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  25. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,830 comments) says:

    Wait until Hannity gets stuck into the Bilious Bitch!

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  26. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    kkk..

    not..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  27. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Come guys give her a break, her and H2 are busy as little beavers, they don’t have time for interviews and such. They must prepare the UN for their Lord, the prince of darkness, the Antichrist. When the Dear One returns there will be some serious arse kicking and gnashing of teeth for all who put the boot into the lefties, the chosen ones. I think I’ll head for the hills.

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  28. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    side show bob 7:18 pm,

    Come guys give her a break, her and H2 are busy as little beavers, they don’t have time for interviews and such. They must prepare the UN for their Lord, the prince of darkness, the Antichrist. When the Dear One returns there will be some serious arse kicking and gnashing of teeth for all who put the boot into the lefties, the chosen ones. I think I’ll head for the hills.

    Bob, are you refering to this:

    Mar 13:14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

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  29. noskire (835 comments) says:

    Was covered on the RDU Breakfast with Spanky radio show in Christchurch this morning. Not sure why though, being the Labour sychophants they are.

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  30. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Yeah Knew about that one Kris, they are going to be some pretty popular mountains. Have no plans on visiting the middle east so will just have to take our chances here. We live in interesting times and I believe something big will happen soon, I don’t believe that 2012 will be the end of us but there are a lot of strange thinks going down at the moment.

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  31. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    side show bob 7:56 pm,

    I agree.
    If Klark starts pushing for the rebuilding of the temple, then it really will be time to head for the hills.

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  32. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Kris, the Dear One can’t rebuild the temple yet, the funds are not yet in but December in Copenhagen should sort that out.

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  33. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Bob 8:22 pm,

    Mention of Copenhagen just gets my ire up, and reminds me of what a Godless contrivance AGW is; along with the resultant global carbon tax to be shortly foisted upon us all.

    Aaargh!

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  34. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..a Godless contrivance..”

    that’d be your twisted/racist perversion of christian teachings..

    wouldn’t it..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  35. Robert Winter (100 comments) says:

    Mr Farrer’s increasing fixation with ex-Labour MPs – Messrs Field and Clark especially – makes me think think either a) he did some tiling for them and they are still to pay, or b) he really, really misses them. Perhaps, at some stage, he might join us in the brave new world of Messrs Smith, Brownlee and Key, and worry about the pillage of ACC and the conservation estate, and a Politics 101 example of poor political management?

    [DPF: I support what you call the pillage of ACC and the conservation estate. I have been fairly vocal in my criticism of the poor political management]

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  36. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    How can you pillage what there isn’t any of?

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  37. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    ACC is bust? How can that be after the nine years of significant economic growth the UN boasts about her?

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  38. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,820 comments) says:

    She was rubbish in her previous job and she is rubbish in her current job. Full marks for consistency.

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  39. Simon (710 comments) says:

    “Almost funny that Helen’s managed to actually lower the standards at the UN!’

    Utterly incorrect. All the world’s problems can be traced back to white lefties. There is nothing lower than a white leftie.

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  40. peterwn (3,205 comments) says:

    That woman is just plain inherently paranoid.

    She goes into the job with ‘urbus et orbis’ goodwill and no international political enemies to speak of, but behaves as if surrounded by critics and political enemies, a sort of bunker mentality.

    One wonders too whether is is not devoting excessive time to NZ internal politics rather than getting on with the job. I suspect she will re-appear on the NZ political scene in 2012-2013 as Labour’s leader.

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  41. Shunda barunda (2,966 comments) says:

    Jokes aside I actually think this is entirely consistent with the direction the UN would like to head. Perhaps the UN were impressed by her slippery ability to avoid the consequences for controversial actions, they will need people like her when they become stinking rich after Copenhagen.
    There is an agenda for wealth redistribution and that can only happen with the authority of the UN greatly extended.
    Get ready folks, the world will be a very different place in 10 years time, banning smacking will be the least of our worries.

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  42. NX (603 comments) says:

    couple of points;

    1 – Is the reason why Helen so reluctant to give interviews is because she spends all her time texting her former Labour party colleague that she’s neglecting her duties at the UNDP?

    2 – The journalist thought that Clark’s disdain for UN critics was the wrong approach… and she should try and win them over rather than put up an iron curtain. HELLO… how little things have changed. The poor journalist obviously had no idea Clark is never wrong…

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  43. libertyscott (358 comments) says:

    I posted a few times about the abject uselessness of the NZ mainstream media in asking Clark some hard questions about the UNDP, the recent scandals related to the agency – when most of the articles better fitted with the Woman’s Weekly

    http://libertyscott.blogspot.com/2009/08/helen-clark-and-undp-sycophancy.html
    http://libertyscott.blogspot.com/2009/08/what-does-clark-need-to-do.html
    http://libertyscott.blogspot.com/2009/10/helen-sends-undp-back-into-north-korea.html

    The UNDP has had nepotism, accusations of grossly overcharging the Panamanian government for services, and hiring North Korean staff to do its work, when clearly this risks aid being used by the dictatorship.

    The UNDP doesn’t even have complete properly audited accounts.

    It’s highly disappointing that under that environment, Clark does not look like she is even bringing the standards of NZ public sector governance to the UNDP, but is seeking to be just as opaque – at US$500,000 tax free a year.

    It’s more disappointing that there isn’t a journalist in NZ worth the name willing to do basic research and confront Clark with hard questions around how she reforms UNDP.

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  44. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    The secret to success of NZs most popular left wing politician – never let people know what you’re doing. Phil Goff keeps telling people what he’s doing and look what happens…

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  45. Brian Smaller (4,025 comments) says:

    There must be a lot of wreckers and haters at the UN.

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  46. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    Follow up on Radio NZ right now. Still Clark won’t front. Media minder says she speaks all over the world. Says she hasn’t had an opportunity to have a UN press conference yet. Yeah right! She’s been in the job almost a year! Been traveling too much apparently. Despite this Ban Ki Moon does a UN press conference every month. Pathetic.

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  47. berend (1,673 comments) says:

    DPF: Yet this quite stunning and significant interview has not been reported anywhere else at all!

    Why do you think we’re no longer reading the media?

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  48. scanner (340 comments) says:

    Some things never change, she must be due to turn in some artwork for auction shortly.

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  49. sk1 (7 comments) says:

    This post/thread is pathetic. Who cares? The UNDP is smaller than World Vision ffs. The job may be ranked no.3, but that is a historical artifact. The No 3 at the World Bank is a Kiwi, How may press conferences has he given in the last year?

    DPF, this may all be good fun, but if you had any historical sense you would know that encouraging further polarisation – as these sorts of posts do – is reckless. The US is now rooted, in large part because its politics is so polarised. We are copying that model here, and we wonder why we can’t build the sort of policy consensus they have in Australia.

    Have you heard the left screaming about how Jenny Shipley screwed the minorities as a director of Richina Pacific? No, because no one cares.

    Move on, for NZ’s sake

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  50. Robert Winter (100 comments) says:

    @sk1: Moving on woudl be good Unfortunately, as I have posted elsewhere: “One can only assume that the Right’s bitter commentary about (Ms Clark) is driven by jealousy of her ability, a miserable misogyny, and a hatred of her success.” They can’t move on, for her success is a constant goad. It is still surprising to see how, in NZ, competence can still provoke strident and incoherent criticism.

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  51. CraigM (694 comments) says:

    Sorry sk1, I can’t agree.

    We have some serious issues to face in NZ and many of them are caused by a lack of accountability, which leads to lack of responsibility. Why follow the rules if there are no consequences for breaking them?

    Leaders are supposed to set an example. The rot starts at the top. Whichever way you want to look at it, Clark failed to provide any moral leadership to NZ’ers during her tenure. There is nothing in her past that young NZ’ers can look up to and aspire to. Anything good is only highlighted my the smoke and mirrors of Heather Simpson and a cowardly local media.

    That her behaviour was rewarded with the No.3 UN job is shameful. her performance in that role over the past year has demonstrated her lack of ability and once again Simpson has moved into the role of protector.

    If Clarks true personality and limited ability was clearly shown to NZ’ers then we could move on from the politics of divisiveness that Clark herself implemented and encouraged during her tenure.

    We need some balance in our political landscape and seeing Clark burned on the alter of truth would be a good start.

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  52. RRM (9,633 comments) says:

    Video is loading…

    In other news, the right still gets off on hating HC!

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  53. sk1 (7 comments) says:

    CraigM,

    there are consequences. Labour lost, and are now in disarray.

    But there is a point you make that I accept. When Clark was PM, she did encourage divisiveness. Her dislike of the business community was at times pathological.

    But we are not going to see balance by seeing Clark ‘burned’, now that she has gone. At some point this cycle has to be broken, and now would seem a good point to start. . .

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  54. Shunda barunda (2,966 comments) says:

    “This post/thread is pathetic. Who cares? The UNDP is smaller than World Vision ffs. The job may be ranked no.3, but that is a historical artifact. ”

    The UNDP will very shortly become the most powerful part of the UN if Copenhagen goes the way of the political ideologues currently drooling at the prospect.
    Clark is a very careful appointment, she and her girlfriend are incredibly efficient in moving quickly behind the scenes, Clark is the political equivalent of a stealth bomber.
    It is no accident or luck that she got this job, it is necessary for the UN to reach its goal of greater global authority and reducing the sovereignty of member nations, even Key was scared off even talking about S59 before his visit to New York.
    With the seeming incompetence and idealism from the current US administration I think the extreme left have the best chance in a lifetime of implementing their goals for the developing world and beyond.

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  55. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (858 comments) says:

    so who are you sk1 who has turned up and registered specifically to run damage control for Uncle?

    Don’t you think it strange that the UN’s third most senior leader refuses to give press conferences?

    Don’t you think it strange that the General Secretary, who has a much bigger job manages to do monthly press conferences, but the UNDP Administrator can’t, so its clearly not the “busy schedule” but a matter of choice.

    Don’t you think it strange that the UNDP scandals all seem to be in place?

    Don’t you think it instructive that the Clark political machine is operating in NY EXACTLY as it operated in Wellington.

    As for “robert winter” well some socialists never learn do they. What were these “significant achievements” the right are trying to trash – building a no-nothing beneficiary culture that can’t understand you need to grow wealth before you distribute it?

    Look at NZ’s actual economic performance over the last decade – pathetic.

    Look at the growth of welfare roles – astronomical

    How well positioned is NZ to earn its way – worse than in 1999

    nearly 1/3 of our most skilled workforce has left the country for God’s sake!

    Even her crap about “sustainability” and “carbon-neutrality” turned out to be stump speeches for her next job, but wholly illusiory in fact.

    Then there was the corruption – how many National Government’s have had Ministers in Office engaged in criminal activity. How many former National Ministers are now in jail for fraud. How many National Ministers have been in Court for Assault charges? How many National Prime Ministers brazened it out, knowing that a supine media and sycophantic party would never dare to question them?

    Yeah, I’m jealous all right, so jealous I could weep!

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  56. sk1 (7 comments) says:

    I have just turned up, but not to run damage control for anyone.

    Democracy should be about have elections, having a winner and a loser, accepting the result and moving on. Being stuck in these endless relitigations helps nobody.

    We have a National gov’t, and a weak Labour opposition. So why is the site always going on about the past?

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  57. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (858 comments) says:

    and the reason it matters, is that Her Excellency clearly has designs on being the first President of New Zealand, so we need to keep a bloody close eye on her. I don’t think we could survive another three or four years of her “guidance”.

    in fact the country is so far gone that the Nats are simply possums in the headlights. They have nowhere to go, they have promised to keep the stupidest welfare state in the world, they can’t address “entitlements”, and they’ve left their “economic growth agenda” run too late.

    They havent got their shit together, and the way they are going, they are going to rush things, screw them up in the Budget, and then enjoy a winter of discontent during 2011, where the world will see Greenpeace “activists” absailing down smokestacks with dead cows “proving” that NZ isnt clean and green, where “party central” demonstrates that McCully’s idea of a grand vision is a shed with a bit of tinsel on it, and the buses to eden park will be on strike.

    In fact where is McCully? taking responsibility for his Maori TV F++k up? or has he found a vital and urgent need to be in Niue again?

    Quelle surprise!

    Oh how we will laugh! and the world will laugh with (at?) us…

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  58. Pita (372 comments) says:

    “So why is the site always going on about the past?” …Lest we forget sk1, lest we forget…or in the words of RickBarker “It is true to say that those who do not learn lessons from history are bound—duty bound—to repeat them!”

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  59. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (858 comments) says:

    To be fair Sk1

    I think its because DPF knows that the current government is lame. Yes they are hideously compromised by a decade of economic failure, and have been handed a hospital pass of a huge welfare state and no funding.

    But the Nats havent exactly gone about developing any coherent policy yet. It must be tough for DPF watching the party he believes in floundering around like amateur hour. So lets go back and remember what we have certainty about.

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  60. LUCY (359 comments) says:

    CraigM (623) 5 1 Says:

    October 21st, 2009 at 9:05 am
    “We have some serious issues to face in NZ and many of them are caused by a lack of accountability, which leads to lack of responsibility. Why follow the rules if there are no consequences for breaking them?”

    “Leaders are supposed to set an example. The rot starts at the top. Whichever way you want to look at it, Clark failed to provide any moral leadership to NZ’ers during her tenure. There is nothing in her past that young NZ’ers can look up to and aspire to. ”

    You are so right Craig. Unfortunately so is Shunda barunda “It is no accident or luck that she got this job, it is necessary for the UN to reach its goal of greater global authority and reducing the sovereignty of member nations, ”

    Every treaty/agreement signed with the UN reduces our sovereignty and puts us one step closer to a global government.

    We can no longer count on the USA as an example of a free people as that to is changing.

    When the president of the USA will not go to Europe to celebrate D-Day or the collapse of the Berlin Wall and communisim but will go to plead his case for the olympic games and to receive a peace prize that he hasnt earnt you know you have a shallow man who has warped sense of priorities.

    When you have a PM who recommends an ex PM, the leader of a party who amongst so many other things breached the public finance bill for a senior position with the UN and who recommends the finance manager of that same party for a lead position with public entity then you know that you have swapped one set of morally bankrupt politicians for another.

    What is John key ‘aspiring to’ I wonder? A position in the world government obviously.

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  61. LUCY (359 comments) says:

    ‘breached the public finance bill’ sorry that should be Act

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  62. scanner (340 comments) says:

    Same bitches, same script, same plot, different theatre, some thing never change.
    Wonder how long before she launches her takeover bid?

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  63. Murray M (455 comments) says:

    The Antichrist is not a position up for grabs, it is inherent in the person, born to be. I think he/she is amongst us, I just haven’t decided who it is, but it is looking very likely to be a son or daughter of Aoteroa aka God’s Own.

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  64. niggly (812 comments) says:

    WTF? I had no idea that H2 was over there too. Did MSM ever report that H2 gained a job there? If not, why not? This is the first I ever heard of it. After all, H2 was the second most powerful person in this country for 9 years etc. You’d think MSM would take an interest etc.

    As well as the same script, same plot stuff etc, it is suspicious when people appointed to top jobs take their glorified PA’s with them too. After all H2 would have had absolutely ZIP experience in the UN organisation and thus bumped out someone else from within the organisation that had been there previously in that role (or has denied existing staffers the opportunity to apply for the position etc). Wonder who that was and is there a story there waiting to be told?

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