David Cunliffe gave a speech last in Parliament’s general debate which sounded more like a blog post on a left wing blog. In fact it reminded me of the Lord Ashcroft finding about UK Labour supporters who blamed their loss on the media and voters being dumb and fooled by the Government.
Here’s some quotes:
So why are the Romans still in Rome? Why is the National Party there? Well, it cannot be Steven Joyce and his talent for inflatable sheep; it cannot be John Key peeing in the shower and the pockets of the All Blacks. It has got to be more important than that, and it is. So I want to just reflect on the means of control by this Government, because, in rugby terms, it is very simple. It is not that it has a faster back line, it is not that it has faster forwards; they just screw the scrum. Here is how it does it: creeping influence in the media; undermining Public Service neutrality; politicising community groups; and threatening those who object to it. And, of course, the legendary National Party dirty tricks machine.
So Cunliffe says Labour lost because of all these things – nothing to do with policies or leadership.
It is a standing joke that prime-time TV is a choice between right Paul Henry, National candidate, and righter the irreplaceable Mike Hosking—irreplaceable because he pops up just about everywhere.
Umm Paul Henry is not in prime time. That is Duncan Garner and Heather du-Plessis-Allen. But Labour hates having any prominent media voices who don’t share their world-view.
If you do not believe me, just ask John Campbell , Carol Hirschfeld , Julien Wilcox , Brian Rudman , John Drinnan , and so on and so forth. Contrary independent voices that have been removed from prime-time TV and newspapers and have taken refuge in the Ark—Radio New Zealand.
So National is suddenly responsible for decisons of TV3, Maori TV and the NZ Herald. It’s all a big conspiracy and plot.
The reality, as I show in my media analysis, is that the vast majority of opinion columns in the NZ Herald and stuff are critical of the Government. It is a left delusion that they’re not.
Well, I wonder what is going to happen to Radio New Zealand given that New Zealand on Air is controlled by the Prime Minister’s electorate secretary—is it going to stop funding that broadcaster that is run by a former National Prime Minister’s chief media advisor?
One of six members of the NZ on Air board is Stephen McElrea. He has a long background in broadcasting but yes was also the Helensville Electorate Chair. But here’s what’s hilarious about Cunliffe calling him the PM’s chief media advisor (which he is not, and has no role in). Labour appointed Judy Callaghan to the NZ on Air Board – and she and her husband were in fact key media advisors to Helen Clark. I presume DC had no problem with that.
The High Court just found that the Ombudsman acted illegally in not forcing Tim Groser to disclose more about the Trans-Pacific Partnership background brief. It is a shocker when the Ombudsman is found by the High Court not to be defending the public interest. No wonder it has got a year’s backlog—and that is why Ministers act with impunity, not answering Official Information Act requests or parliamentary questions, because they know that by the time the appeal is heard, it will be too late. Why would it fund the Ombudsman—it is just a nuisance.
In the 2008 Budget Vote Ombudsman was $8.3 million. In the 1015 Budget Vote Ombudsman was $12.4 million. That is a 49% increase over Labour. Pesky facts I know.
Around Wellington, public servants are saying in hushed tones that the Westminster tradition of free and frank advice is gone. When was the last time that you heard Iain Rennie, the State Services Commissioner, standing up for public service neutrality and independence? He has not said boo since the Roger Sutton debacle. So where to from here?
Yeah gone are the good old days of sacking public servants because their boyfriend works for National, the lie in unison scandal in the Dept of Labour and the hounding of Erin Leigh for her free and frank advice.
Well, what about the Serious Fraud Office—Craig Foss knows all about that, the Minister of commerce. Well, it has gone belly-up because it no longer talks about taking criminals to justice; it just wants to recover a few pennies for National’s mates, the investors.
Really? He things the SFO is there for national’s mates? As I said, it sounds more like a blog rant.
Oh yes, the last Serious Fraud Office chief executive that actually stood up for New Zealanders’ rights got garrotted by Judith Collins and Cameron Slater—Cameron Slater who was exposed by Nicky Hager, whose banking records were given to the police voluntarily by Simon Power’s bank.
Oh yes Simon Power personally intervened I am sure. Again just barking mad conspiracy theory stuff. One can have a view that Westpac were too compliant with the Police request, but linking it to Simon Power is barmy.
UPDATE: The reference to a PM Chief Media Advisor may be to Dick Griffin (RNZ Chair) not McElrea.
UPDATE2: Worth noting of course that an inquiry found Judith Collins did not act against the former SFO CE – to the contrary she praised his performance and gave him good ratings.