Armstrong on the politics of the earthquake

September 9th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

John Armstrong writes:

The politicians are already playing politics, however, though not too flagrantly. Saying you are not going to play politics – as Goff effectively did – is itself a political statement. As was John Key’s decision to cancel his trip to Britain and France. As was ’s suggestion that yesterday was not the day for the verbal combat of ministers’ question-time in Parliament to be on display.

I thought that was very smart, and impressed that Labour suggested it. The decision provoked some hysteria from No Right Turn:

Meanwhile, Parliament has cancelled Question Time today, on the grounds that holding the government to account might be upsetting to the people of . So, the hasn’t just damaged several Canterbury landmarks, but our democracy as well. If the politicians believe it is unseemly to query and crow about the response (which has been good – an example of what government can do for us), then they could not do so. But to deem it unseemly to question the government in any way in the wake of a crisis comes disturbingly close to fascism.

Yes having the Opposition offer to have one less question time a year, is indeed close to fascism. I mean it is just like burning down the Reichstag.

Armstrong continues:

As was the PM’s second visit to Christchurch since the quake. As was Goff’s decision to ask to accompany Key in what was his second visit to the city in almost as many days.

Again thought that was a very neat thing to do.

Labour argues that Goff’s presence is justified by Christchurch being a Labour city.

Oh, just when they were doing so well. I was saying all these nice things about Labour, and they say something stupid. There was no need to justify Goff’s presence – he is the Leader of the Opposition. But to claim justification on the basis it is a Labour city is stupid. Does that mean that if the earthquake had hit the North Shore of Auckland, Goff would not visit – or if it had been another Napier earthquake?

Incidentally Christchurch is not the old republic it used to be. National received 4,889 more party votes in the five urban seats, and if you include the two rural seats, they received 21,472 more party votes.

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17 Responses to “Armstrong on the politics of the earthquake”

  1. James Stephenson (2,180 comments) says:

    Phil goes bob-each-way again. Close enough to claim reflected credit if the post-quake recovery goes well, far enough away to criticise if it doesn’t…

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  2. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Incidentally Christchurch is not the old republic it used to be. National received 4,889 more party votes in the five urban seats, and if you include the two rural seats, they received 21,472 more party votes.

    Can’t avoid politicking yourself, can you? Can’t avoid running the party line against Anderton, can you?

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  3. Tom Gould (141 comments) says:

    MNIJ, are you suggesting that this is simply a mouthpiece for the National government, fed lines and spin from their propaganda unit, and supported by their endless polling?

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  4. gravedodger (1,566 comments) says:

    MNiJ @ 11 12 sadly the carpet bagger aka the troughmaster general would not even be on the radar as a mayoral candidate without the very functioning labour party machine that couldn’t come up with a viable younger candidate than the mobile ego that is the old man from the past.
    Mayor Bob Parker achieved his office as an independent and that is a big thorn in the side of the great socialist alliance that could only see a success by going back to the past and following the hopefully last grasp at a position of power by yesterdays man.
    Perhaps you, Jack, could throw some light on the evaporation of the other, in the minds of some, better equipped candidates of the socialist left, eg Liz Gordon and Sir Kerry Burke both of whom actually came back to our city to involve themselves in our city unlike the Troughmaster General who continued to feed voraciously at the Wellington Trough even to the extent of re-registering his party of one to regain the $100 000 party leader’s budget as a source of funding for his grab at one more place in the limelight at the age of 72.

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  5. CraigM (694 comments) says:

    Armstrong came across as a grumpy old man with nothing but contempt for those that generate his livelihood.

    His piece was poorly timed & petty. He had an opportunity to be positive about the reactions of our politicians to this sad event and to encourage people to see our pollies in a more positive light.Instead he took the low road to tabloid garbage.

    Sadly, I fear many of our politicians will in time use the CHCH earthquake and the misery that follows, as a political football. However their restraint and indeed their positive behaviour to-date should be acknowledged and encouraged.

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  6. trout (939 comments) says:

    Armstrong is a little man seeking to belittle others in a desperate attempt to boost his own status. His line is generally anti government or anti politician because apparently negativity sells. I find his commentary generally superficial and uninformative. If he wants to know why politicians are visiting CH CH it is called LEADERSHIP, and successful leadership does not need to have base motives.

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  7. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    I was initially disgusted (to put it mildly) at I/S’s post, but then I realised something.

    He’s just taken one of the strengths of our democracy (that ultimately, as much as we disagree we want what’s best) and spun it into an attempt at totalitarianism.

    That is actually quite an impressive feat.

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  8. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    Armstrong came across as a grumpy old man with nothing but contempt for those that generate his livelihood.

    His piece was poorly timed & petty.

    That’s the feel I got from it too.

    Tracy Watkins also got hissy the other day. Are some journos having a bit of trouble with adjusting to a time when co-operation and doing what’s best at a difficult time? They don’t need to play their normal sides.

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  9. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Armstrong sounds like he is pissed off that none of the politicians are stuffing up over this.

    Quite frankly, its enlightening!

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  10. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    The idea that the PM and the leader of the opposition should be sworn enemies is sad IMHO. Would like to think both have NZers’ best interests at heart and should have no problem at all working together on something like an earthquake that has no respect for political left or right. May it continue as it has started…

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  11. tvb (4,422 comments) says:

    Labour is not a labour city as if that means anything. Do the mean it is Labours city. Therefore the labour party calls the shots? That is playing politics. The Labour party does not like seeing the Government and Bob Parker handle this so well so far. But the time may come nerves are frayed people are losing patience, fertile ground for the Labour Party to get the hurricane Katrina uplift which is what they angling for.

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  12. Lance (2,655 comments) says:

    Armstrong looks pathetic
    He was moaning a few days ago about JK abandoning the good people of ChCh for a knees up with the Queen, now he is moaning that JK is playing politics by staying.

    Wow

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  13. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Can’t avoid politicking yourself, can you?

    When taking issue with the point that “Christchurch is a Labour city”, you don’t find the party vote numbers relevant to that?

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  14. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    If one said Dunedin was a “Labour city”, I’d probably have to agree. But to say such a thing about Christchurch is ridiculous, just as ridiculous as saying “Auckland is a National Party city”. Certainly, nobody would say the same thing about Wellington, despite it not having a single National electorate MP!

    It is true that there are more Labour electorates in Christchurch than National ones, but a lot of the problem stems from the 16 South Island seat gerrymander, ensuring that there are no marginals in the city. However. Western Christchurch at least has always been National territory. Goff is talking a pile of shit if he says otherwise.

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  15. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    Goff accompanying Key needed no justification and was appropriate. It should be a parliament response rather than a government response and his presence supported that. Key had to cancel his trip although I suspect him going would do more for the economy than him staying but when the second city of your country is under a state of emergency it is probably bad form to be seen to flit off.

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  16. Zarchoff (100 comments) says:

    “Yes having the Opposition offer to have one less question time a year, is indeed close to fascism. I mean it is just like burning down the Reichstag”

    …or invading Poland!

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  17. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    They could save the country a fortune by limiting Question Time to one day per week. That’s about as long as is needed to deal with questions which are not just juvenile drivel.

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