The Dim-Post

July 29, 2009

Question 5

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 12:49 pm

Hon ANNETTE KING to the Minister for Social Development and Employment: What criteria, if any, has she established for the release of personal information about beneficiaries?

I maintain Labour are making a tactical error by focusing on beneficiaries; this should be a question from Goff to the Prime Minister asking what criteria, if any he has established for the release of the personal information about New Zealanders by his cabinet Ministers. I realise they want more footage of Bennett’s stammering, witless replies to Charles Chauvel’s supplementaries but surely it would have been worth sacrificing another question to get both in.


  1. “Hundreds of readers have emailed expressing their support for Paula Bennett’s disclosure of two solo mothers’ benefit amounts”

    And this is why you are right.

    Comment by JakeQuinn — July 29, 2009 @ 1:19 pm

  2. I don’t think they understand that they can win the battle and have the privacy commissioner censure Bennett and award compensation, while still losing the war and have Bennett look like a hero.

    Comment by danylmc — July 29, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

  3. Key might not be there today, he was at Kopu Bridge this morning. Giving it to English would be a waste.

    Comment by Anita — July 29, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

  4. I’d argue the whole thing is not winnable. All national have to do is reduce it to an argument about the appropriate level of support for beneficiaries in these unsettled economic weather conditions with further tornadoes approaching from the tasman sea. Which is the more powerful soundbite?

    Comment by mjl — July 29, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

  5. danyl – to some extent I think you misunderstand the nature of opposition. Looking for “king hits” and “wins” is not really how it works. National finally got it right in the last term, by asking *the exact same questions* over and over again. It is not about the big screw ups but the constant drip of an approach by a government that will eventually lead to their downfall.

    Picking on beneficiaries may be popular in the short term. But picking on the weak, those lest able to defend themselves, at the bottom of the social scale etc. etc. will (I imagine) be Labour’s long term narrative about National. In the end, beneficiary bashing is distasteful, because to one extent or another we are all beneficiaries of the state (even RedBaiter).

    Comment by Don — July 29, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

  6. mjl, way to miss the point… the issue is inappropriate use of government information the beneficiaries line is a sideshow.

    the crown holds information on every single one of us. how would you feel if it was used to discredit you for the awful crime of complaining about something?

    Comment by Che Tibby — July 29, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

  7. “because to one extent or another we are all beneficiaries of the state”

    Amen. The politicians have us right where they want us, beholden to them, with the stick of accountability to Taxpayers (went it suits them) to beat us with. With us not wanting to miss out on our “entitlements”, we can tow the party line.

    At least MP remuneration is in the public domain…

    Comment by Clunking Fist — July 29, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

  8. I agree with you, Che Tibby. I am not missing any point. A large chunk of the public will miss the point Danyl is making as a result of the sideshow.

    Comment by mjl — July 29, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

  9. Also, the likes of the supplementary questions asked in parliament today distract from the larger question of abuse of power. For example, these supplementary questions as best I recall:

    (1) what these beneficiaries are eligible for and how the minister gives incorrect answers about what is actually available, and

    (2) the fact that the fathers may be contributing directly to the state’s support system for these children and so the figures quoted in the media are misleading

    Comment by mjl — July 29, 2009 @ 3:15 pm

  10. @mjl – that’s Chauvel being clever: if he can prove that Bennett provided incomplete or misleading information then that is yet another breach of the Privacy Act he can hang on her.

    Comment by Danyl Mclauchlan — July 29, 2009 @ 4:07 pm

  11. @mjl “my bad”.

    Comment by Che Tibby — July 29, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

  12. The supplementary questions were good (but would be even better if the likes of Mallard knew when to shut up, and let their smarter colleagues score the points).

    It would be fun to put a few questions to the Chief Executive of the MSD, who – Bennett blithely blurted out today – was not consulted or even told, while member(s) of his department did the Minister’s dodgy bidding.

    Comment by sammy — July 29, 2009 @ 4:27 pm

  13. Bash single mothers. Now.

    Comment by George — July 29, 2009 @ 6:41 pm

  14. You shouldn’t get involved in politics by criticising the government if you aren’t comfortable with them fighting back.

    Comment by radar — July 29, 2009 @ 7:12 pm

  15. You shouldn’t be a single mother if you don’t want people to criticise you for getting state assistance.

    Comment by George — July 29, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

  16. You shouldn’t get involved in politics by criticising the government if you aren’t comfortable with them fighting back.

    Which, given the power of the state, pretty rules out every private citizen in the country. That’s not democracy. That’s totalitarianism. If I were a kiwiblogger I might start making comparisons with Mugabe or North Korea.

    Comment by Don — July 30, 2009 @ 10:44 am

  17. […] unrelated, earlier in the week Danyl drew attention to the problem Labour face in attacking Paula Bennett over the beneficiary information leak […]

    Pingback by Around the traps with Douglas, Tiberius & Gardiner « Life and Politics — August 2, 2009 @ 11:50 am

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