I’ve got bad news for Bryce Edwards

Bryce Edwards must have hit the crack pipe before writing his last woeful column of the year.

Apparently National had a horror year…or so the headline screams.

Yes, John Key’s National Government won a spectacular third term victory. And yesterday the Herald gave the reasons that National can be positive about its achievements – see the editorial, Govt comes out on top in colourful year.

And nearly every political journalist has awarded John Key the title of Politician of the Year – see, for example, Patrick Gower’s Politician of the Year.

But, it was still an incredibly torrid year for National, and even the PM pointed to the election campaign as one of his low moments of the year – see TV3’s Key found campaign ‘a low-light’ for 2014.

Tracy Watkins also stresses that it’s been a terrible year for the National Government: ‘His government was assaulted on every front with scandal, trouble and controversy. Ministers resigned, his coalition allies ended the year diminished, and he ended the year looking evasive and tarnished by his links to dirty tricks and shock jock blogger WhaleOil’ – see: One clear winner, plenty of dashed hopes.

Not only did the election campaign take its toll, but as I pointed out recently in another column, The downfall of John Key, the challenges and allegations of Dirty Politics were really starting to bite after the election. See also, A year of (neverending) Dirty Politics.

Even Matthew Hooton thinks the Government has suffered, especially since their election victory, and he details National’s incredibly arrogant behaviour since the election, pointing to the main offenders: John Key, Christopher Finlayson, and Gerry Brownlee – see: For John Key: summer of reflection please (paywalled).

Likewise, Duncan Garner says that although Key deserves to be the ‘politician of the year’, ‘The first few months of the new regime have been largely underwhelming. Not telling the truth about his contact with attack blogger WhaleOil hurt the prime minister. It was a royal stuff-up and he admits this privately’ – see: Key my politician of the year, but now for the third-term blues. Garner believes the Key’s reputation is on the decline: ‘It’s happening for Key, slowly. His jokes don’t seem as funny. He looks more haunted and hunted these days’.

Read more »

Is it time for recall legislation?

John Key thinks recall legislation is too hard. Frankly that is a cop out.

Recall legislation exists in many jurisdictions and it gives the people a decent chance to rid themselves of dud politicians.

If we had recall legislation, at the very least at a local body level then the power hungry despots like Len Brown and the ratbags at the Hawkes Bay Regional Council could be tipped out.

Recall has been successfully used in the US, especially by the NRA in order to remove ratbags who support impinging on constitutional second amendment rights.

Though John Key thinks it is all too hard perhaps he should have a chat to his besty in the UK, David Cameron, who is bringing in recall legislation as we speak.

Voters look set to get the right to sack “bad apple” MPs after Labour and the Liberal Democrats and said they would seek to strengthen current plans before Parliament.

The news is a boost for campaigners who are concerned that the current proposed legislation puts the right to call a “Recall by-election” in the hands of MPs, not voters.    Read more »

Waikato Times Editorial on Corruption

While convicted blackmailer, fraudster and serial litigant Graham McCready continues to cut a swathe through our judicial processes it should be noted that more and more politicians are breaking the law, especially electoral law.

While I cannot condone McCready’s use of the court for his own style of bullying there are many other who do the same thing, pretending to be litigants in person but costing their victims thousands.

With the failure of the Police though to action complaints against politicians it is time for something more robust that private prosecutions. In Australia we are witnessing what happens when regulators like the Independent Commission Against Corruption actually do what out Police have singularly failed to do you have to wonder why we don’t have such a body too.

The Waikato Times thinks the same.

Some legal experts have explained their doubts that Mr McCready will succeed in getting a private prosecution against Mr Brown. They say he will need witnesses to allege a link between the free hotel rooms at Sky and his support for SkyCity’s conference centre bid. Without that, there is no proof.  Read more »

Sledge of the Day

Christopher Finlayson’s entire speech was really one long sledge, enjoy it knowing that Grant Robertson was so very upset by it.

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I bet Finlayson is a follower

Christopher Finlayson is probably one of the quickest wits and sharpest tongues in parliament. He is also a fan of the arts and a catholic.

I suspect he will be mildly interested in the Pope’s Latin Twitter account which has scored 142,000 followers in short order.

POPE BENEDICT XVI was a Latin lover. In January, not long before stepping down, he launched a Latin language Twitter account that has since attracted more than 130,000 followers. People have used it to follow the visit to Brazil of the new pope, Francis. By comparison, the Polish papal Twitter feed has slightly more than 108,000 followers whereas Spanish, the most popular of the papal accounts, has more than 3m. Benedict also announced his resignation using Latin, giving a scoop to the one journalist who could understand him. The Vatican’s affection for Latin is shared by others online and on the airwaves. Why does a language with no native speakers have so many fans?  Read more »

Listen to reasoned explanations of the GCSB bill

Christopher Finlayson explains patiently and slowly what the GCSB Bill is actually about.

I makes the ranting and raving of Labour and the Green party and their paid flunkies look like a bunch of deliberate liars.

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6:33 of the best sledging in a long time

Christopher Finlayson pours numerous luminaries back into their bottles over their wailing about a law change to restrict protests at sea. He takes a swipe at Dame Anne Salmond and Sir Geoffrey Palmer, with a little swipe Bruce Fergusson.

The sledging is superb, delivered without histrionics and razor sharp as he plunges the dagger in.

Finlayson is so dry yet so funny at the same time.   Read more »

Quote of the Day award

The Herald has an online area to make your feeleings felt. Todays focus is on the ACC jumket-a-thon that this current coucil continues to run.

Here are some of the best quotes;
[quote]Aaron Bhatnagar
Make the next council junkets one way flights. This will save voters the hassle of throwing out the dozen wasteful, incompetent and self-centred councillors who have been running the council over the last two years. Hamburg and Bilbao will no doubt be delighted with the village idiots they will soon receive.

Ted Heath
Junket! Junket! Junket! Mr Mayor,stop wasting my hard earned rates dosh on dumb trips. Especially to Hamburg. Only a few decades ago the New Zealand Airforce was trying to level the place. I dont want one cent of my rates money going to a city which caused loss of so many Kiwi lives. Stick to spending on streets, footpaths, parks and libraries.

Paul B
Mr Mayor may be hoping to sell an extra $500 million of cornflakes to the city of Hamburg but I do no think this will mitigate the recent rates rises or our crap infrastructure. Scrap all sister city arrangements unless they provide tangible benefits to the city not just business class skives our councillors and their flunkies seem to indulge in on a regular basis (I would not be worried if something apart from endless reports came from them). Do the ratepayers of other cities put up with their councillors appetite for overseas travel? It would be interesting to know.

B Clark
Sister city? Oh brother! It is just a deceitful pretext for councillors to get free holidays all over the world at the long suffering ratepayers expense! Hubbard justifies his trip by saying he made a speech? I hope it was better than this pathetic line of BS he is feeding us! He is sick of junkets? So are we! Sack these parasites and bring back Mayor John Banks! He at least finished building spaghetti junction![/quote]