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Entry 1650, on 2014-05-06 at 21:11:12 (Rating 5, Politics)
Over the last few weeks the wheels really seem to have started falling off for our government. There's no surprises with that of course, because it seems to happen to them all. After they have been in power for a few years other parties have got really arrogant and started to self-destruct too. It was a major factor in why the previous Labour government was defeated about 6 years ago, and still hasn't recovered today (for other reasons for Labour's demise see my previous blog entry).
The two most obvious recent signs of this arrogance are what I call the "Maurice Williamson Fiasco" and the "Judith Collins Oravida Saga". There are some similarities between these two which are quite revealing of the underlying problems: first, the ministers were caught helping out their rich friends; second, they thought what they were doing was OK; and third, what they did was not really part of their job.
But the two handled the situation quite differently. Williamson, who I always had a certain amount of respect for, just resigned as a minister quietly. But Collins, who I have always thought was an evil witch, made a complete idiot of herself and made things a lot worse.
Of course, our Prime Minister got things exactly around the wrong way, as he always does, and forced Williamson to resign but just gave Collins a few days off because she was "under pressure". Well, lots of people are under pressure but not many get a paid holiday as a result!
When constituents of Williamson's electorate were asked there was a lot of support for him because they said his transgression was minor and he was just trying to get a fair outcome. This is all highly debatable of course, because it's far from clear whether he was aiding or inhibiting justice. But Williamson is also liked because of his work for his constituents. I think he is basically a good person who is probably lead astray occasionally by his libertarian tendencies.
But Collins is another story. Her constituents might be getting a bit sick of her, when we hear comments like "I spend as little time as possible thinking about her" (don't we all) and "I don't think she's very honest, she's lying" (well, duh) and "it's her arrogance and I don't like how she always manages to get out of things" (so far) and "she's lost her way... things don't ring true" (yes, we all noticed that) and "[she thinks] the public is beneath contempt" (but who is really the one worthy of contempt?)
Sure, many people might say those comments could be applied to all politicians, especially those on the right, but clearly there are degrees of arrogance, dishonesty, contempt, and just general malevolence, and I think Collins is one of the worst. But of course good old Shonky John Key still thinks she's great! The same opinion he has of some other worthless incompetents on his team, like Hekia Parata. He really does have a habit of backing the worst people and abandoning some of the better ones.
It does seem that many people are beginning to understand just how corrupt this government is. By "corrupt" here I don't mean that they are corrupt in a legal sense, just that they have corrupt morals. For example Collins, goes to China at the taxpayers expense, puts a lot of effort into helping her husband's company while ignoring many others who were also in trouble, lies about it to both her leader and the public, then her party gets a $30,000 donation for their trouble. If that isn't corruption by any reasonable standard then I don't know what is!
But maybe it's a sign of things to come. Maybe this incompetence and arrogance is a sign of the end for the current government, just like it was for Labour 6 years ago, and we will have a change at the election later this year. I certainly hope so because this government is past its "use by" date and has started to go rotten!
Comment 1 (3944) by Anonymous on 2014-05-07 at 16:59:35:
So tell me just what it is you think Judith Collins has done wrong.
Comment 2 (3945) by OJB on 2014-05-08 at 09:52:37:
What has she done wrong? Well there are a lot of things I could list in more general terms, but in this specific case...
1. Went on an overseas trip at taxpayers' expense on a subject unlikely to advance New Zealand's interests (ironically openness and transparency in government).
2. While there made a deliberate effort to use her influence to persuade Chinese officials to help the company her husband is director of while ignoring the plight of other companies.
3. Lied about it when she returned, both to her own leader and to the public.
4. Her party accepted a large donation which could easily be construed as a payment to thank her for her help.
5. Went crazy and falsely accused a journalist of something she didn't do and then made a forced and completely insincere apology as a result.
6. Took time off, while being paid by the taxpayer, because she was feeling stressed. Being an MP is a stressful job. Get over it!
Comment 3 (3946) by Anonymous on 2014-05-08 at 10:53:49:
1. That is your opinion. I have no problem with any Minister traveling to further NZ interests
particularly with a major trading country.
2. As an elected member of Parliament and a Minister she is bound to assist any Company with NZ interests. The fact her husband is a director of a company should not preclude her from extending assistance to a particular company if indeed she did.
3. I do not believe she lied,but in my opinion as she has done nothing wrong she should have felt she could be more forthcoming with all the details of the trip.
4 That is politics. It happens all the time whoever is in power.
5. I have no time for journalists who have no thought of doing anything apart from trying to embarrass interviewees. The journalist would have been better drawing out the facts highlighting
the benefits of the visit and the assistance able to be extended to a NZ associated company.
6. She may be genuinely ill. I think you are being a little harsh and unsympathetic.
Overall I cannot see she has done anything that I would consider wrong. It is just a shame she was not entirely open about the whole affair right from the start.
Comment 4 (3947) by OJB on 2014-05-08 at 14:50:21:
Wow, sounds like you are determined to give her the benefit of the doubt no matter what she does!
1. How that trip forwarded NZ interests is very unclear. I have heard plenty of criticism of MPs from other parties going on expensive overseas trips for debatable reasons.
2. She pulled some sort of shady deal for a company she has a clear conflict of interest with while ignoring all the others with similar problems.
3. Of course she lied. We all know she lied and the PM put her on a final warning as a result. What a laugh that is!
4. So receiving bribes for doing dodgy deal is just politics. Does that mean it's OK?
5. Blame the victim eh? Are you a National Party supporter by any chance?
6. She was told to take time off by the PM so she wouldn't embarrass the party any more. I know she has a real health issue too, but I think that is unrelated.
If you can't see she has done anything wrong I hope you are similarly generous to Labour/Green MPs when they are in power next.
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