‘Stuff’ editorial outlines the government’s continued pratfalls

A Stuff editorial outlines the government’s continued pratfalls: Quote:

To err is human, to put it on a voicemail message is simply stupid.

Health Minister David Clark is considered a bit of a hotshot. Barely a year into his political career, he was shoulder-tapped by then-Labour leader David Shearer to man-mark National’s formidable Mr Fixit, Steven Joyce.

Veteran political commentator Vernon Small described him as Labour’s “new rocket man”.

This week the rocket crashed. Spectacularly. End quote.

There is more to come, I’m told, with even more explosive information leaking out of the angry staff at Middlemore. Quote:

It appears Clark has been caught attempting to silence health officials over sewage and mould running down the walls at Middlemore Hospital.

That in itself will be nothing new. Governments have used various tactics over the years to wrestle the narrative and control the story. But those levers are usually pulled behind closed doors.

Clark has erred unforgivably by exposing the inner workings of the political machine; if the leaked voicemail is genuine, he has compounded that error by appearing to link that silence to the possibility of future employment.

Even worse, if that were possible, he has placed a potentially damaging recording in the hands of a man he played a role in removing: the message was for former Counties Manukau District Health Board chairman Rabin Rabindran, who resigned after clashes with Clark over issues at the hospital. End quote.

Clark should be held to account. The Cabinet Manual is clear on matters such as this. But the Cabinet Manual is used as a doorstop these days by a prime minister who is more concerned about virtue signalling overseas than reining in stupid ministers. Quote:

The “rocket man” is likely to walk away from the crash, but it represents yet another incident of uncontrolled and damaging combustion in a young coalition Government struggling to launch.

Shane Jones is a walking, talking combustion engine. He likes nothing more than lighting a fire under what he deems the soft underbelly of corporate complacency and regional neglect.

He will find plenty of fuel for his latest populist attack, on dairy giant Fonterra, but his incendiary language and calls for co-op chairman John Wilson to “catch the next cab out of town” go too far for a man of his standing and influence.

Some dismiss the oratorical arsonist as a political outlier and a mere buffoon – fellow ministers roll their eyes and shrug their shoulders at the latest outburst from “Jonesy” – but it’s not just his reputation and a few ivory towers he’s burning down.

Jones is a minister of the Crown, a party to some measure of Cabinet responsibility. No-one is expecting him to entirely toe the line, but they are right to be concerned at his penchant for obliterating it.

Others have been joining him at the bonfire: Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran was lucky to survive her naive meeting with former RNZ head of content Carol Hirschfeld and the clumsy handling of the fallout; Kelvin Davis has frankly made a pig’s ear of communicating the Government’s highly sensitive moves towards cutting the prison population; and Phil Twyford has demonstrated that a man wanting to build 100,000 homes must first have a good grasp of the numbers.

Some of this has been simply amateurish.

Such things are often a sign of a government that has outlived its mandate and begun to implode around the core of its own perceived importance. In its tiredness it can trip over the most obvious hurdles.

This Government is barely nine months old. It needs to find its feet, and quickly. End quote.

Damning, but then there is much to damn this government for.

Even blind Freddy and his trained seal can see that the government are inept. Now the media are saying out loud what many voters have been thinking for some time.

Once the fuss and bother of the world’s first woman to have a baby is over, the media will focus on what is actually being done, or, more to the point, what isn’t being done.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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