The Dim-Post

October 17, 2012

And yet more scattered thoughts

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 10:21 am
  • I don’t expect Paula Bennett to resign over the MSD scandal – even if she was ‘taking an interest in operational matters’. I totally expect her to start sacking some MSD executives if they don’t resign of their own volition. Bennett  modeled her ‘get tough and crack down’ persona on Judith Collins, but when the wheels came off ACC, Collins did actually get tough on her board and officials, who all got sacked. It’s starting to look like Bennett is only willing to get tough on beneficiaries and whistle-blowers.
  • Speaking of which, isn’t it weird how whenever a member of the public comes forth and reveals government incompetence, and the government apologises and then further breaches privacy by revealing the identity of the whistle-blower and then attacking their character in public, the politician or senior staffer leaking that person’s identity is always keep secret. So now we have ‘who leaked the name?’ stories, written by journalists who know full well who leaked it, because they’re the people it was leaked to.
  • This process is a huge win for the government: people will be afraid to come forward and point out their incompetence, but I don’t see that as much of a win for the media so I’m not sure why they play along.
  • I’m not sure how this ‘Shearer vs Key over secret tape that might not even exist but it’s important to ask the questions anyway’ story is playing ‘outside the beltway’. Shearer had to do something to get into the Kim Dotcom game – Peters and Norman were sidelining him on a daily basis. (Imagine what Peters would do with a story like the possibly-non-existent spy tape!)
  • Now Shearer’s back in the game, but the reason the media weren’t going to him for comment previously is because he’s a stuttering inarticulate mess. Is getting him back on the news a good thing for Labour? Surely this guy’s leadership can now only be measured in weeks?

41 Comments »

  1. “Surely this guy’s leadership can now only be measured in weeks?” Well you’ve been saying this for months now, but I guess if you say it enough you’re bound to be proven right somewhere down the line

    Comment by Brad — October 17, 2012 @ 10:24 am

  2. “Imagine what Peters would do with a story like the possibly-non-existent spy tape!” – he was gold on it on RNZ this morning.

    Comment by Deano — October 17, 2012 @ 10:26 am

  3. I don’t know the management structure at MSD, but assuming they have a CIO, and assuming they are not brand new, I can’t see how they can not resign. I’ve known IT managers to offer resignations over far far less important IT failures. If it does eventuate recommendations were not acted on, then the case for sackings is compelling.

    The Minister can’t sack anyone, but she can make very clear to the CEO that her confidence in him and MSD can only be resolved by those responsible being held accountable. She can’t explicitly say he must sack someone, as that will breach employment law.

    What would be nice is for those responsible to resign, rather than be sacked.

    Comment by David Farrar — October 17, 2012 @ 10:29 am

  4. Two months. I’m coming to understand your perspective on Shearer, and if all the variables I can figure out in your perspective were calculated, it means that Shearer has an average of two months left as Leader of Labour.

    Comment by Dan — October 17, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  5. @ Deano – he was indeed. Practically had Mercep eating out of his hand.
    Listening to him own the narrative, I couldn’t help thinking that for all his faults, thank Christ Winnie is still in the House.

    @DPF – CIO at a minimum and the Head of Risk & Assurance as well (assuming they have both been there since April 2011). MSD has both according to their website. I would expect a fairly rigourous bloodletting at the leadership team level if Bennett is serious.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 17, 2012 @ 10:56 am

  6. Could get interesting during Question Time today?
    [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20121017-0821-winston_peters_reacts_to_being_kicked_of_session-048.mp3" /]

    Comment by xianmac — October 17, 2012 @ 11:08 am

  7. “…but I don’t see that as much of a win for the media so I’m not sure why they play along…”

    Because, as Malcolm X explained, there are two kinds of slaves: “house Negroes,” who worked in the master’s house and “field Negroes,” who performed the manual labor outside. House Negroes who cooperate have a much better life (salaries, privileged access to the slave owner and the plantation staff) than the field Negro, and are thus unwilling to leave the plantation, and potentially they are more likely to support existing power structures than field Negroes, like, say, independent parasite blogger keith Ng.

    Comment by Sanctuary — October 17, 2012 @ 11:12 am

  8. And in the meantime Hipkins continues to skewer Parata. Her performance is astonishing.

    Comment by Karl — October 17, 2012 @ 11:27 am

  9. Keith Ng is not a real name. Let’s fact it, he’s a vembot.

    Comment by Dan — October 17, 2012 @ 11:28 am

  10. Ah, Sanctuary, always the voice of moderation.

    Comment by Roger — October 17, 2012 @ 11:28 am

  11. According to this media release, Peter Hughes was the CEO of MSD until his contract ended in September 2011.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1103/S00526/minister-thanks-outgoing-msd-chief-executive.htm

    So it would be somewhat unfair if the current CEO, Brendan Boyle, who took on the role on 1 October, had to take all the blame for this debacle.

    Comment by Laura — October 17, 2012 @ 11:32 am

  12. Suppose you are Claire Trevett and a ministry staffer offers to tell you the, very, very interesting identity of a whistleblower. Yes, if you publish it, you are reducing the chances of future tipoffs being made to any journalist. But if you don’t run with it, the name will be shopped around and someone else will run it, and you’ll lose that story. Furthermore running it is clearly something of a favour to the staffer, and then they’ll owe you one for next time. So you have a choice to make about the common good of all journalists, vs your own short-term interests. It’s not hard to see why this keeps happening.

    Comment by Stephen J — October 17, 2012 @ 11:36 am

  13. A discussion in that there offline world last night, which I’ll offer to the collective wisdom of the Dim-Post staff room:

    Is Shearer the most hopeless leader of either major party ever? Or in your memory?

    Party blinkers off, I had him tied with Don Brash, except that Brash at least brought a fan club and cash, whereas Shearer is just – not Cunliffe. Is he anything else? Seriously?

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — October 17, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  14. “It’s not hard to see why this keeps happening.”

    plus I’m sure a lot more tip-offs come from deliberate political leaks than from the public, so it is probably more valuable to “inner-circle” reporters not to bite the hand that feeds the most juicy snacks…

    Comment by nommopilot — October 17, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  15. Is Shearer the most hopeless leader of either major party ever? Or in your memory?

    Look, I can’t recall ever ever thinking about it, or being briefed by my staff about this issue.
    Whether or not Shearer is hopeless is now a matter before the court of public opinion and personally, while I’m pretty relaxed about it, I can’t comment specifically.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 17, 2012 @ 11:55 am

  16. “Is Shearer the most hopeless leader of either major party ever? Or in your memory?”

    Goff, Moore, Palmer, Turei (proving that positive discrimination just gets morons promoted since 2009) …Shearer barely makes the top 5

    Comment by King Kong — October 17, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

  17. English, Brash, and Shipley were pretty disastrous also

    Comment by Dan — October 17, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

  18. So it would be somewhat unfair if the current CEO, Brendan Boyle, who took on the role on 1 October, had to take all the blame for this debacle.

    Based, on media comment, I understand that, prior to becoming the CEO, Mr Boyle was the Ministry’s Chief Information Officer. So not necessarily completely unfair to hold him accountable.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — October 17, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

  19. Roger McLay

    Comment by Leopold — October 17, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

  20. Oops – Jim McLay

    Comment by Leopold — October 17, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

  21. Shearer has that mode of halting speech often developed by people who enjoy 2-3 glasses of wine or whisky of an evening across 20 years or so. I’ve noted this more and more over the years. Listen to the commentators on Jim Mora’s NatRad panel show between 4pm and 5pm. The ones with halting speech will at some point declare their love for wine or whisky or sherry every night before bed. I’d love to know if Shearer is among that group. If he stopped drinking any alcohol at all for about 2 months, the halting speech would probably cease.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — October 17, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

  22. Wow, Steve – that’s pretty low! Shearer isn’t just hopeless, he’s probably an alcoholic too!! A diagnosis based on casual listening to the participants on … Jim Moira’s show.

    Anyone else got any health-related theories as to Shearer’s shortcomings? Spasmodic dysphonia, perchance?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — October 17, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  23. I’ve met Shearer a couple of times now and heard him speak in person. It’s clear that what’s going wrong is that he realises a better formulation when a sentence is already half way out and then corrects himself, something which very smart people often do. If he could force himself to slow down and pause, he’d be 100% better. It’s a shame. He has good points but verbal fluency isn’t one of them.

    And Steve: how do you explain Winston Peters then?

    Comment by Stephen J — October 17, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

  24. @ Andrew Geddis, the facts apparently don’t matter, what’s important is to ask the questions.

    Comment by gn35 — October 17, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

  25. It takes focus and practise to speak concisely. I’m surprised that Shearer hasn’t nailed that after however long he’s been in politics, but some decent media training would help him corral his thoughts when speaking.

    Comment by Ataahua — October 17, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  26. You are right surely,how long can shearer continue to be leader,he is not a leader and only
    decided to throw his hat in the ring at a bbq where the nat politicians were, at the last moment.
    What’s up?
    Labour can not afford to have shearer as leader the same as nz’ers can not afford to have
    the keynesion attack on nz and everything the people hold dear.

    Comment by anne — October 17, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  27. winston was brilliant in the house today,as said above, thank god we have him
    in the house.

    Comment by anne — October 17, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

  28. But it’s not just media training. It’s judgement. It’s essential.

    After the Mt Albert by-election, he must have thought “I want the (or a) top job. So I will start working on my obvious problem.” Because it was there for all to see.

    After he became leader, he must have thought “I’ve got the (a) top job. Now I must work on my obvious problem.” Because it was there for all to see.

    But he didn’t (or he did, and hasn’t learned, in which case he never will, so training isn’t the answer).

    So either he has an entirely false image of his capabilities, or he only listens to people who tell him what he wants to hear. Both lead to poor judgement, and terrible results.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — October 17, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

  29. The party leaders mentioned above:

    Goff, English, Shipley and Palmer all inherited a losing hand. Shearer has been given a run of aces, courtesy of the Nats and luck. The Greens and Winston have led the opposition, he hasn’t.

    Moore can only be judged by 1993, not 1990. He almost won (and then lost it on election night, bizarely). I didn’t like him but that’s irrelevant: he was at least competent, a pretty feisty campaigner.

    McLay was before my time.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — October 17, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

  30. Speaking of Shearer, I’m sick to death of John Key’s voice. He slurs, drawls, cuts syllables off anything longer than two: ” opp-chune-ty, pos-tive, hill-blee” and seems always to be saying “process”. Every soundbite of heard of him the last year, he’s said ‘process’.

    For all Shearer’s inelegance, he’s not a whole heap worse than Key, but better still, he isn’t Key, he’s something fairly new.

    Comment by Aztec — October 17, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

  31. @18 Graeme Edgeler: “Based, on media comment, I understand that, prior to becoming the CEO, Mr Boyle was the Ministry’s Chief Information Officer.”

    He was the Government’s Chief Information Officer (not the Ministry’s), and therefore not directly responsible for approval processes within MSD until he became CEO on 1 October 2011.

    http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/boyle-to-leave-dia-and-government-cio-role

    Comment by Laura — October 17, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

  32. “I totally expect her to start sacking some MSD executives if they don’t resign of their own volition.”

    It could equally backfire if there’s a re-run of the infamous “golden handshakes” that contributed to Jenny Shipley’s fall from grace at the end of the 1990.

    Comment by deepred — October 17, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

  33. He was the Government’s Chief Information Officer (not the Ministry’s)

    True that.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — October 17, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

  34. @andrew geddis

    Wow, don’t go to the stranded then if you are concerned about steve’s comment. Key is regularly described there as a sociopath, psychopath, drunk. And that’s not just in passing, that’s people making making ‘expert’ medical judgements based on observations on tv. One claimed to have a psych degree. I

    Comment by insider — October 17, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

  35. @insider,

    But is “it’s what The Standard commentators do” a desirable test for the acceptability of behaviour on other blogs?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — October 17, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

  36. It was just a concerned warning, knowing that you are gentle soul.🙂

    Comment by insider — October 17, 2012 @ 8:06 pm

  37. Who leaked what? Are you smoking something Danyl? You have definitely lost the plot.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — October 17, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

  38. Brash took the National party from languishing in the polls to within a whiskers edge of winning power. I think he deserves credit for that.

    As for Shearer, never forget that Danyl was a huge fan of him when he was running for the leadership, new ideas, compelling biography, etc etc. In fact, amusingly, the people who most fervently pushed Shearer for the leadership are almost unaimously the ones who constantly lay into him now.

    Comment by Hugh — October 17, 2012 @ 10:09 pm

  39. Steven J: Winston Peters is one of those exceptions that exist to make otherwise useful rules look less useful. I would say my observations were of a tendency…not a hard and fast inevitability. But as a tendency….it’s a useful one.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — October 18, 2012 @ 11:37 am

  40. Andrew Geddis: I’m not saying Shearer is an alcoholic.🙂 I *am* saying I have noticed over the years a clear correlation between regular daily consumption of relatively low amounts of alcohol (1 or more glasses of wine / night, let’s say) and halting speech. Learn to listen for it. You’ll see what I mean.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — October 18, 2012 @ 11:40 am

  41. I think that some people outside the beltway are have lost some respect for both Key and Shearer over the Dotcom issue. I think National were against the ropes on this one until Shearer gave Key a distraction from the real issue by way of a poorly thought out “gotcha” moment with the “tape, no tape, its not about the tape anymore” issue.

    Comment by A Voice Today — October 18, 2012 @ 4:43 pm


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