Cronyism fails Collins, but no relief for ACC claimants

The Nats usually look after their own. Hey, they defended Bill English’s housing rort until it became politically indefensible, and he “voluntarily” surrendered his allowance as a purported out-of-Wellington MP.

So you would expect the Nats to be rushing to back up Judith Collins’ defamation suit against Radio NZ and two Labour MPs with some public money.  And all the speculation over the last few days is that they would.

Nek minnit, it is revealed Collins didn’t even apply to Cabinet for funding.

The Cabinet Manual requires that Ministers discuss public funding of legal action with the PM before approaching Cabinet.

My bet is that Key told Collins “no way”. And not out of some concern about public funding of what appears to be a private lawsuit, but because Collins is in the wrong Nat faction. She is ambitious, and she would like Key’s job, which Key would obviously like to keep, just for a little while at least, until he is assured of a significant place in history.

Then we have the backroom players: Michelle Boag and Bronwyn Pullar on Key’s side; and Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk on Collins’ side. And poor old Nick Smith gets caught in the crossfire for inappropriately taking sides.

It is a grand political game, worthy of the English landed gentry (anyone want their moat cleaned?)

But aren’t we forgetting some people here? While the various inquiries circle around which Minister or which ACC official may have done something wrong, no inquiry is being launched into the plight of the ACC claimants who have been wronged by the pernicious, and arguably unlawful, policies of ACC that are designed to deny them cover and entitlements.

While other parties close their ears and play the political games, only the Green Party considers the plight of wronged ACC claimants to also be a political issue.


OK, that’s enough, let’s move on

Please, no more about the tea-tape. I don’t care. Just nine days to go – can we drop this obsession with secret tapes and return to discussing real issues in our usual cursory way, rather than not at all.  There are already plenty of public statements and actions from John Key on the dual topics Don Brash’s leadership capabilities and the value of elderly people.  I don’t need to hear any private conversations to make my mind up about whether to vote for him or not.

Everybody’s got something to hide, except for me and my monkey

The real content of the teapot tapes:

JK: Nice to see you John.  Guess we ackshully had to do this at some stage.

JB: Yeah, Don’s fucked it up so really, really bad. I really need some help right now.

DPS goon (prompted by Wayne Eagleson): Okay, everyone out of here now! They want to talk in private.

Bradley Ambrose: But what about my mike?

DPS Goon: Oh, just fuck off.  You can get it later.

[Ambrose grumpily departs, exit stage left.]

JK: Yeah, I’ve ackshully always said Don’s an extremist. But he’s your Leader, so I can’t say it publicly now. But will you ackshully dump him after the election?

JB: Anything you say, boss. He almost had me facing corporate fraud charges along with Peter Huljich, so he’s no mate of mine.

JK: Cool, mate. I ackshully always knew you were a National man at heart. But I’m a bit concerned about that racist stuff you said on “The Nation”.

JB: I was just telling it like it is, John.  If we continue the bankrupt response of just paying young Polynesian, young Maori men in South Auckland, the dole to sit in front of TV, smoke marijuana, watch pornography and plan more drug offending and more burglaries, then we’re going to have them coming through our window, whether we live in Epsom…

JK: Hang on there a minute, John. I ackshully agree with you, but we can’t say that till after the election. Play it my way, John.

JB: Yeah, okay, maybe.  But there are votes in saying boongas are thick, lazy, and criminal. And it’s true. Just like saying beneficiaries are bludgers.

JK: Ackshully, you’re probably right.  And I wasn’t really ackshully all that serious about you getting rid of Don. That was just a negotiation ploy. Don’s welcome anytime on board the Good Ship NACT. You’re ackshully just gonna have to live with that.

Something to Hide (other than Rodney)?

John Key and John Banks chose to stage a public event in a venue open to the public, for their intended mutual political benefit.

A scrum of journalists attended, as they had hoped. They wanted publicity.

Now they are bleating (or at least Steven Joyce is bleating on their behalf) that recording the bits of a meeting in a venue open to the public, but that journalists were muscled out of, was unethical or illegal.

Suck on a big turd, National and ACT! You wanted publicity from this meeting. It cuts both ways.

The good grace to return a favour

That Peter Jackson is such a polite man. Lesser superstars would not have thought to say ‘thank you’ when a Prime Minister passes a dodgily unconstitutional employment law just so that they can more easily exploit the employees of their film.  But here’s Jackson giving something back to the little people who helped him get where he is today – and, hey, it’s not like a celebrity photo-shoot in the midst of the election campaign costs him much.