The Dim-Post

March 6, 2014

With knives in it

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 3:10 pm

The Korova Milkbar was a milk-plus mesto, and you may, O my brothers, have forgotten what these mestos were like, things changing so skorry these days and everybody very quick to forget, newspapers not being read much neither. Well, what they sold there was milk plus something else. They had no license for selling liquor, but there was no law yet against prodding some of the new veshches which they used to put into the old moloko, so you could peet it with vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom or one or two other veshches which would give you a nice quick horrorshow 15 minutes admiring Bog And All His Holy Angels And Saints in your left shoe with lights bursting all over your mozg. Or you could peet milk with knives in it, as we used to say, and this would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of dirty 20-1, and that was what we were peeting this evening I’m starting off the story with…

– Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

You can see acceptable and unacceptable behavior as a set of Venn diagrams, with large circles of things you’re allowed to do intersecting with other circles of permissible behavior and the illegal and immoral falling into the shaded regions in-between. Alex in Clockwork Orange is allowed to drink milk plus and he’s allowed to drive a Durango 95, but not at the same time.

Politicians often seem to get caught-out in these shaded zones of intersecting permissible behavior and that’s where I think Judith Collins is right now with her troubles over visiting the offices of the Oravida company – of which her husband is a Director – on a trip to China last year. Collins explains that she just dropped by for a glass of milk on the way to the airport. Oravida’s website makes it look a little more formal.

collins1

Collins has also explained that there’s no conflict of interest here because her husband is a director of the company, not a shareholder. In a year of dumb, dumb spin I think this is the worst line any of Parliament’s comms experts have fed an MP and it’ll be tough to beat.

Anyway, it’s routine for Ministers to visit New Zealand companies overseas, routine for those companies to promote those visits, and it is also routine for New Zealand politicians to have family members involved in New Zealand business at a high level and it’s ALSO routine for New Zealand businesses to donate money to the National Party. Which I why – I think – Collins and her fellow Nats are a little bewildered at the suggestion that there’s something wrong about her taxpayer funded promotional visit to a company run by her husband that donated a large sum of money to the National Party, while everyone else stands around with their jaw open, stunned that the Minister of Justice could do something so stupid.

81 Comments »

  1. You must not be mean to Judith Collins. She is a sensitive little sausage and she might feel bullied.
    (Is the photo just one or is there a series?)

    Comment by xianmac — March 6, 2014 @ 3:20 pm

  2. That, and in what sort of Venn diagram does food branding in China and responsibilties of the MoJ possibly intersect that warrants such a junket?

    It doesn’t even come close to passing the sniff test.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 6, 2014 @ 3:23 pm

  3. Patrick Gower is to busy using a super zoom lens to try and photograph an undeclared piggy bank on David Cunliffe bedside table to notice a story like this.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 6, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

  4. And it was only 6 months ago too…….keep pushing – Labour need all the deflection they can find. Sad really.

    Comment by Brick — March 6, 2014 @ 3:30 pm

  5. Collins should know right from Wong, and she’s very much in the Wong here.

    Comment by Oh Busby — March 6, 2014 @ 3:40 pm

  6. $55,000 donation is quite a ‘deflection’

    Comment by John — March 6, 2014 @ 3:41 pm

  7. I would just like to say that there is no resemblance whatsoever between the Hon Judith Collins and Miss Piggy.

    Comment by Nick R — March 6, 2014 @ 3:43 pm

  8. Lets turn that one around and suppose Helen Clark or Annette King had visited a company in which a relative was a director and that had donated to the Labour Party, what might the reaction be? How about, “Far out, Helen/Annette know someone who makes stuff and money too! Who’d have thought it. Isn’t the modern Labour Party really plugged into this business/exporting stuff. Look at the cute Chinese staff!” And that’s just from Paddy Gower and Andrea Vance. I’ve left the really treacly stuff out to spare reader’s sensitivities. National wouldn’t have dared question the propriety of the visit.

    Nice try guys but its just a not particularly clever diversion. When you can come up with something that would be a problem if anyone on the political spectrum did it I might start taking the bleating seriously. And honestly, it wouldn’t require a visit from a Minister to generate that welcome party at a Chinese company. You guys need to get out more.

    Comment by Tinakori — March 6, 2014 @ 3:52 pm

  9. Lets turn that one around and suppose Helen Clark or Annette King had visited a company in which a relative was a director and that had donated to the Labour Party, what might the reaction be?

    I’m picking: cum-stained trousers all round at Kiwiblog, Whaleoil and Keeping Stock, followed by towering denunciations in which the word ‘corruption’ featured a lot.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — March 6, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

  10. so thats the welcome for a $55,000 cup of tea. sheeeit.

    So where’s Gower on this – perhaps Gower is scared of the scampi?

    Comment by John — March 6, 2014 @ 4:04 pm

  11. Tinakori’s comment makes the “It is difficult not to write satire” banner seem very apt.

    Comment by wtl — March 6, 2014 @ 4:05 pm

  12. I mean who doesn’t like to begin all their casual glasses of milk by walking through a Chinese welcoming party?

    Comment by Ant — March 6, 2014 @ 4:11 pm

  13. “her taxpayer funded promotional visit” – wait – so how much of the taxpayer funded trip to China was the visit to this company?

    Are we talking airfares, hotels, the lot, or an extra stop on a taxi ride to the airport? $15,000 cost or $50 cost?

    Comment by rickrowling — March 6, 2014 @ 4:21 pm

  14. Lets turn that one around and suppose Helen Clark or Annette King had visited a company in which a relative was a director and that had donated to the Labour Party, what might the reaction be?

    @tinakori – I think the reaction would be entirely predictable (as per Milt) if say, Annette King in her capacity as spokesperson for Health, went to have a glass of wine in Paris with with a hypothetical premium wine importer of which her husband was a company officer and which had donated $55k to the NZLP.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 6, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

  15. Ministers of the crown should take every opportunity to promote New Zealand product overseas – and as long as their actions are in this area – then the more they do the better.. If hubby or wife or brother is involved – so what.

    But its got to be about exports of NZ produced product – nothing else. They cant promote fonterra selling argentinian milk – only NZ milk, etc And certainly nothing to do with imports.

    Comment by barry — March 6, 2014 @ 6:14 pm

  16. Oh wow, just wow.
    If Annette King went to Paris on taxpayers dime for a symposium of Health Ministers, and popped into that wine bar, no big deal, surely?
    You lefties really DO have KDS.

    Or (a bit like Farrar) you guys have determined to get into a lather about this, to help deflect from one of Cunliffe’s many Trust Issues. I notice there’s no post on those little bits of fun, lol.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 6, 2014 @ 6:21 pm

  17. Tim Grosser (Sept 2013) and John Key (Oct 2012) did similar.

    After Richard Worth apparently touted for business in India, and Pansy Wong resigned because her hubby touted for business in China, it’s hard to believe National ministers could be so cavalier. Of course, a cynic might say that since Oravida has been generous at throwing money in National’s direction, this is National’s way of saying thank you.

    http://agrihq.co.nz/article/milk-runner-tangles-pm-in-product-endorsement?p=7

    http://www.oravida.com/lwl/newsen/

    Comment by Ross — March 6, 2014 @ 6:47 pm

  18. If Annette King went to Paris on taxpayers dime for a symposium of Health Ministers, and popped into that wine bar, no big deal, surely?

    Does King’s hubby own a wine bar in Paris and is King endorsing the bar? And does the bar donate large sums of money to the Labour Party?

    Comment by Ross — March 6, 2014 @ 6:49 pm

  19. Ministers of the crown should take every opportunity to promote New Zealand product overseas

    Why not tout for business there too, like Pansy Wong’s hubby and Richard Worth?

    Comment by Ross — March 6, 2014 @ 6:53 pm

  20. “I’m picking: cum-stained trousers all round at Kiwiblog, Whaleoil and Keeping Stock, followed by towering denunciations in which the word ‘corruption’ featured a lot.”

    And you would be devoutly defending the honour of Helen and Annette. Thanks for restating my point, PM. I won’t be getting excited about it until it is something that I would object to if a Minister from either a Labour or National led Government did it.

    Comment by Tinakori — March 6, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

  21. If National’s troubles are A Clockwork Orange then Labour’s are The Killing.

    Comment by NeilM — March 6, 2014 @ 7:20 pm

  22. Well isn’t that nice for Keeping Stock? He’s finally made it to the big leagues, being mentioned in the same sentence as Whale and Kiwiblog.

    Comment by orb — March 6, 2014 @ 7:29 pm

  23. Ross – you say…”Why not tout for business there too, like Pansy Wong’s hubby and Richard Worth?”

    But The government paid for pansy’s husband for him to do business for himself. In the case of Collins – the hubby had paid for himself – thats why there is no problem and its why Collins id giving the fingure to everyone – as she should.
    If hubby didnt do private business -then it probably would have been OK as he would then be the partner of the minister. Yes – I know there are some funny rules – but Wong didnt check them out – Collines did.

    Comment by barry — March 6, 2014 @ 8:12 pm

  24. There was a killing in A Clockwork Orange.

    Comment by Judge Holden — March 6, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

  25. Apart from the bitter left, does anyone really give a shit?

    Comment by Grant — March 6, 2014 @ 8:47 pm

  26. Apart from the bitter left, does anyone really give a shit?

    Well, I guess the people who wrote the rules requiring cabinet ministers to declare conflicts of interest did, but maybe they were just bitter…

    Comment by Psycho Milt — March 6, 2014 @ 9:25 pm

  27. And according to the reports, the office charged with determining conflicts of interest said there wasn’t. Collins was at a meeting for which it was appropriate for her to attend, and along the way stopped in at the offices of a New Zealand company that is exporting to China. If she HADN’T stopped in, people would have said “Why isn’t she supporting a New Zealand company trying to boost our exports to China?”.

    Comment by David in Chch — March 6, 2014 @ 9:49 pm

  28. people would have said “Why isn’t she supporting a New Zealand company trying to boost our exports to China?”

    And she could have said it would have been a bad look given her husband’s role with the company and the fact they are big donors to the National Party, making her critics look like a right pack of knobs. That would have been quite a win for her in the House being questioned on it, rather than not being in the house today.

    And it’s cool that Key says the cabinet office totally says she’s in the clear, on a piece of paper he won’t let anyone look at because he doesn’t have to so nyah nyah. Seems legit.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — March 6, 2014 @ 10:05 pm

  29. So under the Robertson stranded, no labour leader can ever visit a Union conference because of the appearance of conflict of interest involved, as they are donors of cash and foot soldiers.

    Next thing Steven Joyce will be done for opening the fair at his children’s school

    Comment by insider — March 6, 2014 @ 10:05 pm

  30. John Key was quoted on the radio tonight as saying that he has advice that her trip was within the cabinet manual rules, except the are not rules anyway, they are just guidelines which he and his mates just follow if they want. What a fucking idiot. Of course, he won’t release that advice.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 6, 2014 @ 10:06 pm

  31. It was a silly thing for her to do. But, realistically it’s at the misjudgement/silly-politician-not-quite-thinking-it-through end of the scale, rather than a constitutional outrage. And Robertson falls into the trap of coming across as shrill on a narrow insidery kind of issue, which doesn’t really do him any good, and makes him sound like a smart arsed fourth former who can make debating points but not friends (though Steven Joyce is the true master of this particular mode of expression). But what was the purpose of Collins’ visit to China anyway? Was it a fact finding visit to learn about China’s justice system and the benefits which efficient Chinese style judicial arrangements could bring to New Zealand?

    Comment by Dr Foster — March 6, 2014 @ 10:06 pm

  32. “But what was the purpose of Collins’ visit to China anyway? Was it a fact finding visit to learn about China’s justice system and the benefits which efficient Chinese style judicial arrangements could bring to New Zealand?”

    Perhaps those cost sharing arrangements for executions where the state supplies the gun and the family of the about to be deceased pays for the bullets

    Comment by Tinakori — March 6, 2014 @ 11:18 pm

  33. Wow Danyl, so you read Clockwork Orange?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 7, 2014 @ 2:05 am

  34. Next thing Steven Joyce will be done for opening the fair at his children’s school

    Why is it that the thought of Steven Joyce at a childrens’ fair seems like the setup for satirical post?

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 7, 2014 @ 7:46 am

  35. Wow Danyl, so you read Clockwork Orange?

    Nah. Quick google search for “milk” and “knives”, then cut ‘n paste from Google Books.

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 7, 2014 @ 7:47 am

  36. In China its not what you know but who you know. Relationships are all important which Collins will know full well. Yep Collins visit was fuck all do with NZ but instead about personal enrichment. However this relationship smooths the way for a Chinese company doing business with NZ.

    But dont forget comrades this is the NZ you wanted. Vast State involvement in the economy calling for those who want to get a head economically quickly to curry favor with the political class. This is just business. It will be labours turn again soon enough.

    Comment by Simon — March 7, 2014 @ 9:12 am

  37. This isn’t a “vast state involvement in the economy”, its some miserable cronyism conducted by our justice minister.

    If your post wasn’t just a weak troll attempt and you are genuinely unable to tell the difference, may I suggest that in the future you refrain from publicly declaring your lack of perception and understanding of these sorts of issues?

    Comment by Rob — March 7, 2014 @ 9:26 am

  38. But, realistically it’s at the misjudgement/silly-politician-not-quite-thinking-it-through end of the scale, rather than a constitutional outrage.

    Agreed. The whole thing could well be quite innocuous.
    But what is making it a story is the smug, evasive, steeped-in-bullshit messaging being pitched to all and sundry declaring “There’s nothing to see here little people, so stop fucking asking questions OK?”.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 7, 2014 @ 9:44 am

  39. Gregor: agree. Saying whoops would probably have made it all go away much more quickly. But I don’t think it’s in her vocabulary.

    Comment by Dr Foster — March 7, 2014 @ 10:00 am

  40. But what is making it a story is the smug, evasive, steeped-in-bullshit messaging being pitched to all and sundry declaring “There’s nothing to see here little people, so stop fucking asking questions OK?”.

    I think so. It’s not a stepping-down-as-Minister offense. It’s one of those things where Key says, ‘She’s been cleared by the Cabinet Office but I’d remind all Ministers to be careful not to create the perception of a conflict of interest.’ Story over. But governments get trapped inside these bubbles and the Nats and their staffers are all howling with laughter that Labour thinks they’ve scored a point, when Labour has – for once – actually scored a point.

    Comment by danylmc — March 7, 2014 @ 10:35 am

  41. It would be nice if both sides started trying to score points through actual policy proposals, rather than this back-and-forth skirt-lifting.

    Comment by anon — March 7, 2014 @ 11:29 am

  42. insider @29 nails it.
    “29.So under the Robertson stranded, no labour leader can ever visit a Union conference because of the appearance of conflict of interest involved, as they are donors of cash and foot soldiers.”
    Sweet.

    Simon @36:
    ” Vast State involvement in the economy calling for those who want to get a head economically quickly to curry favor with the political class. This is just UNION business. ”
    Sweeter still.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 7, 2014 @ 1:23 pm

  43. So under the Robertson stranded, no labour leader can ever visit a Union conference because of the appearance of conflict of interest involved, as they are donors of cash and foot soldiers

    So yes, the next time Grant Robertson attends a Union confernence – where Alf is an officer of said Union and presumably benefits financially from his position – and that Union has donated $55k to the NZLP (and fully expects that by making said donation, there is an expectation that financial and political benefits will flow to the Officers of the Union who make their living from its existence), then feel free to hold Robertson to account.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 7, 2014 @ 2:11 pm

  44. “fully expects that by making said donation, there is an expectation that financial and political benefits will flow to the Officers of the Union ”
    Steady on, Labour need only one CoS at a time: they’ll have to wait their turn, or just make do with a position on the List.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 7, 2014 @ 2:41 pm

  45. Hang on – we’re still missing the bit where the union stands to benefit from the Minister’s endorsement of its “product.” How does that happen?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — March 7, 2014 @ 2:43 pm

  46. And according to the reports, the office charged with determining conflicts of interest said there wasn’t.

    We don’t know that because tricky John refuses to release the advice he received from the Cabinet Office.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/238151/pm-won't-release-advice-over-collins

    Comment by Ross — March 7, 2014 @ 3:09 pm

  47. Collins should have been aware that her visit would be used for promotional purposes, and perhaps she was and it was deliberate, it’s happened in the past.

    But there might not be too many politicians who could visit a milk business and not have some friend or family member who could possibly benefit.

    One wouldn’t expect Green MPs not to invest in alternative energy or organic businesses just because their policies would benefit that sector.

    A little bit of perspective, especially in a small country.

    Comment by NeilM — March 7, 2014 @ 3:31 pm

  48. Never mind that: Burgess uses the common slavic (Czech, Serb-Croat) word ‘mesto’ meaning place or town to describe the milk bars. Is that a deliberate device of having the proponents speak slavified English?

    Comment by richdrich — March 7, 2014 @ 4:03 pm

  49. The lady is for turning

    Comment by Daniel Lang — March 7, 2014 @ 4:04 pm

  50. One wouldn’t expect Green MPs not to invest in alternative energy or organic businesses just because their policies would benefit that sector.

    Another classic astroturf.

    Guess what NeIlM – it’s not about the Green Party!

    It’s about the perception of influence for sale, through the connection between a Minister of the Crown and their significant other, who happens to be an officer of a company who has donated heavily to the Minister’s political party.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 7, 2014 @ 4:12 pm

  51. “A company run by her husband” – are you sure about that? My research shows he’s a Director but it’s a very long stretch to say that he runs the company. You’re rather over-egging the pudding on this one.

    Comment by miked999 — March 7, 2014 @ 4:47 pm

  52. Is that a deliberate device of having the proponents speak slavified English?

    Nadsat.
    “and so we rang the collocoll and brought a different waiter in this time and we ordered beers with rum in, being sore athirst, my brothers”.
    Collocoll = kolokol = Tsarsky Kolokol.
    Burgess appears to have had a lot of fun creating Nadsat.

    Comment by Joe W — March 7, 2014 @ 4:57 pm

  53. “[Unions and] the Minister’s endorsement of its “product.” How does that happen?”

    Oh, I don’t know. Something along the lines of: rewriting the Employments Contracts Act? Or declaring new statutory holidays, maternity and paternity leave, increasing minimum sick leave provisions, introducing compulsory unionism. If the union is the PSA, ensuring an engorgement of the public sector, particularly valuable jobs like policy advisors, communications officers, etc (good way to soak up unemployed journos, from what I hear).

    “Guess what NeIlM – it’s not about the Green Party! It’s about the perception of influence for sale…”
    What do you mean, it’s not about the Green Party? Surely it’s about ALL parties?
    And where’s the “perception of influence for sale”, you guys are really drawing a long bow on that, lol.

    “Yoohoo, don’t look at that man who used a blind trust to collect donations, then forgot to mention (nay, declare) an investment trust. Look OVER THERE at that lady who took a little detour while on a trip! Pure evil, I tells ya.”

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 7, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

  54. Clunking Fist, both were wrong.

    Comment by Delia Morris — March 7, 2014 @ 6:47 pm

  55. Oh, I don’t know. Something along the lines of: rewriting the Employments Contracts Act? etc

    On that basis, Nat/ACT ministers have a conflict of interest every time they meet anyone who owns or manages a business. Do we really want to go there?

    …that lady who took a little detour while on a trip!

    A little detour to use her cabinet rank to endorse a company of which her husband is a director…

    Comment by Psycho Milt — March 7, 2014 @ 6:51 pm

  56. “Guess what NeIlM – it’s not about the Green Party!”
    Yes it is, this blog is a Green blog.

    Comment by Grant — March 7, 2014 @ 8:36 pm

  57. this blog is actually on the nail, until tragic nats like you come to muddy the waters with diversionary green stuff.
    The lady spent considerable time promoting her husband’s company, a company that donates big money to the national party and she sneers at us taxpayers who paid for her fucking holday. Such arrogance indicates she’s been slatered. She should watch the company she keeps.

    Comment by John — March 7, 2014 @ 10:02 pm

  58. Comment #27 Dave in Chch
    If she HADN’T stopped in, people would have said “Why isn’t she supporting a New Zealand company trying to boost our exports to China?”.

    This is exactly the point, She could have gone and visited any of the many other New Zealand companies that are trying to boost exports to China, but she chooses the one that her Husband gains pecuniary advantage from.

    Comment by Michael — March 8, 2014 @ 4:03 am

  59. “On that basis, Nat/ACT ministers have a conflict of interest every time they meet anyone who owns or manages a business. Do we really want to go there?”
    On that basis, Labour/Greens ministers have a conflict of interest every time they meet anyone who runs a union or NGO. Do we really want to go there?

    Pro-business party in pro-business shocker. Party of the workers in pro-worker shocker. Yawn. There is no conflict of interest, perceived or otherwise, in this case. Now, if the Minister in charge of the Overseas Investment Office, took a trip to China, paid for by Bright Dairy…

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 8, 2014 @ 2:43 pm

  60. Pro-business party in pro-business shocker.

    Pro-business cabinet minister in “endorsing husband’s company” shocker. Do you genuinely not get it?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — March 8, 2014 @ 7:35 pm

  61. Oh, so it’s an established fact that she “endorsed” the company? And what exactly does the status of “endorsed” mean? Do NZ Govt funds flow to it? No? Then it’s a beat up to divert from Cunnies use of a blind trust and Cunnies failure to declare an investment trust. PM, you are not normally so lame.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 9, 2014 @ 1:05 pm

  62. “Oh, so it’s an established fact that she “endorsed” the company? ”

    According to her she was trying help them with a Ministerial visit, and that this is part of her job.

    You don’t think at all whiffy that of all the NZ milk product Co’s in China, she chose to go help the one her husband works at, and which donated to the National party? Rather than say, one of that company’s competitors?

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — March 9, 2014 @ 2:05 pm

  63. …so it’s an established fact that she “endorsed” the company?

    Oravida seems to think so: ““Mrs Collins personally tasted Oravdia’s products, giving her full endorsement of these products”.

    Is it an “endorsement” in the sense meant to apply to Ministers in these situations? Apparently, not, according to the PM, based on advice he received from the Cabinet office. But we can’t see that advice because of reasons.

    Comment by steve — March 9, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

  64. So henceforth, Oravida’s products will bear the Ministerial Crest and the words “By appointment to Her Right Honourable, The Minister for Justice, The Dominion of New Zealand”. That’ll help them sell more, eh?

    So the other companies asked, did they?

    “Mrs Collins personally tasted Oravdia’s products, giving her full endorsement of these products”.
    Once again I ask: what is the nature of the endorsement? Is it up there with Baby Joe endorsing Hydrate Zero, or does it simply leave the staff and management of Oravida with warm-fuzzies?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 9, 2014 @ 3:09 pm

  65. “Once again I ask: what is the nature of the endorsement?”

    At a guess, I’d say it’s the sort of endorsement a company operating in China might put on its website to communicate the idea that this company has a guanxi type relationship with the NZ government, but who knows. Maybe the minister knows, maybe the cabinet office knows, but no one is talking because shut up.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — March 9, 2014 @ 5:54 pm

  66. That idea of course might be reinforced by knowledge the Minister was married to a director, or photos of senior company staff playing golf with the Prime Minister of New Zealand, and that it donated money to the current ruling party.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — March 9, 2014 @ 5:56 pm

  67. “…Once again I ask: what is the nature of the endorsement..?”

    Probably just a quick snap though.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 10, 2014 @ 7:53 am

  68. Hehe, kinda reminds me of the time Helen opened a business school or something. She studiously avoided contact with the rich businessman who had bankrolled it and who had donated money to her party. I guess she didn’t want anyone to perceive any conflict of interest, lol.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 10, 2014 @ 2:10 pm

  69. You’re right, CF, those are definitely similar. Owen Glenn donated money to the Labour Party *and* Auckland University, and when the country’s biggest university opened their new building the PM showed up. You know, because Owen Glenn donated money to her political party. That’s what happened, right? Helen Clark went to UoA and was all like “I don’t always transport goods overseas, but when I do I make sure to use Vanguard Logistics Services. Oh, and nice lecture theatre.” That’s pretty similar to the Collins thing, yeah?

    Comment by simonpnz — March 10, 2014 @ 2:23 pm

  70. Myself a few days ago: This is exactly the point, She could have gone and visited any of the many other New Zealand companies that are trying to boost exports to China, but she chooses the one that her Husband gains pecuniary advantage from.

    Myself today: This is exactly the point, She could have gone and visited any of the many other New Zealand companies that are trying to boost exports to China, but she chooses the one that, donates to the party, plays golf with the PM and financially benefits her husband and several other senior party members. If this isn’t using tax payer funds to feather her and her parties own nest then I don’t know what is.

    Comment by Michael — March 11, 2014 @ 11:11 am

  71. Ultimately, do the public care? If not, then it is only you sillies getting a bit het up cos the blue team have been scoring all the runs lately. And, as much as you dislike the current players in team red, blue on top bugs you. Tribal, much?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 11, 2014 @ 1:26 pm

  72. Ultimately, do the public care?

    Probably not.
    But then again, the public dont care about tons of shit they should probably be enraged about so its not really a good criteria for assessing whether something is unethical or not.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 11, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

  73. Well, that’s REAL bubble thinking that: that the public should be ENRAGED by something that reduces YOUR team’s chances of getting their greasy hands on the levers of power.

    Actually, I didn’t choose those words “71.Ultimately, do the public care? ” carefully. What I should have said was “Ultimately, do the inhabitants without the bubble think that there’s some kind of conflict of interest?”.
    After all, if we are sent on a work trip overseas, wouldn’t we all stay on a few days longer, perhaps joined by one’s life partner, for a bit of R&R. Yeah, yeah, it wasn’t R&R is was some kind of side trip and an ENDORSEMENT, and you lot really have got it in your head that that REALLY means something. So, what IS a ministerial endorsement, exactly? Do they even exist? No? So the company claims an endorsement? Well, here’s a sad mofo claiming “exoneration” by an inquiry that didn’t investigate him, and also claiming to have won a Nobel Prize:
    http://climateaudit.org/2014/02/21/mann-and-the-muir-russell-inquiry-1/

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 11, 2014 @ 2:34 pm

  74. Well, that’s REAL bubble thinking that: that the public should be ENRAGED by something that reduces YOUR team’s chances of getting their greasy hands on the levers of power.

    Yeah, not so much. As I positioned before, from my POV this is not about any particular party. It’s about the general consuct of Minister’s of the Crown, irrepective of party allegience.
    So while you may be entirely accurate in your analysis of this being a “bubble issue” to whit, no one in the ‘real world’ cares, that doesn’t de facto make it unimportant.

    Otherwise, you may as well through concepts like intellectual freedom, privacy and habeas corpus on the same bonfire of issues that the public doesn’t care about except in the most abstract sense.

    After all, if we are sent on a work trip overseas, wouldn’t we all stay on a few days longer…

    Sure. But that is not the situation here at all so there is no point in drawing the comparison. If you have to dance on the head of a pin in order to define the meaning of “endorsement” then respectfully, you’ve missed the point.

    Simply, if Party A stands to gain – even potentially – from the endorsement of Party B (where Party B is a publicly elected official) AND Party A donates money to Party B’s political organisation, it doesn’t pass the sniff test IMO.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 11, 2014 @ 3:24 pm

  75. *conduct

    Comment by Gregor W — March 11, 2014 @ 3:24 pm

  76. “Prime Minister John Key is disappointed Justice Minister Judith Collins withheld details of a dinner in China with a company linked to her husband.” Fairfax.

    Oh dear.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 12, 2014 @ 1:27 pm

  77. “Otherwise, you may as well through concepts like intellectual freedom, privacy and habeas corpus on the same bonfire of issues that the public doesn’t care about except in the most abstract sense.”
    Eh? I would think that the public cares about those issues, not in an abstract sense, but in the most practical ways. Such as refusing to believe 100% in CAGW, “supporting” Dotcom in his fight against govts, talking in pubs and bars about being uneasing about how easily govts can monitor or communications. Do you even come across normal people in the course of your day?

    “If you have to dance on the head of a pin in order to define the meaning of “endorsement” then respectfully, you’ve missed the point.”
    Perhaps I have missed the point, but I don’t think you actually made one. Didn’t the Minister say “I’ve not “endorsed” anything”? Sure, she may be lying. But isn’t it more likely that she tasted their products and politely refrained from saying “those are nice but that one’s a bit shit”, and her reactions have been noted and given the status of “endorsement”?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9816335/Key-misled-media-over-Collins-Chinese-link
    “But today Key’s office confirmed that the Cabinet office had only read the English language version on the website, which did not contain those references.”
    So they never used the world “endorsed”, but merely some Chinese word that could be interpreted as “endorsed”. So is this a crib wall system, or wooden sides for baby’s beds?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 12, 2014 @ 2:05 pm

  78. I would think that the public cares about those issues, not in an abstract sense, but in the most practical ways

    Yet you go on to precisely describe “caring” in an abstract sense. Pub talk is not action.

    Perhaps I have missed the point, but I don’t think you actually made one.

    If you can’t see the point I’ve tried to make (repeatedly), then I’ve run out if ways to explain it. An ‘endorsement’ doesn’t need to be saying anything. Collins’ presence as an elected official, in what might be percieved by the audience as an official (or at least semi-official) capacity as a Minister of the Crown of a foreign nation, is endorsement enough.

    This is particularly true of interpersonal relationships in Asia. The Chinese in particular place great stock in the presence of official personages without them having to say “I endorse x”.

    Given that Collins is not an idiot and her husband does tons of business in Asia, they would both know this. Key as a man of the world knows this too so his position that this is a case of ‘lost in translation’ is completely disingenuous.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 12, 2014 @ 2:49 pm

  79. “Yet you go on to precisely describe “caring” in an abstract sense. Pub talk is not action.”
    Um, “action” is not a synonym for “caring”… is it?

    “Collins’ presence as an elected official, in what might be percieved by the audience as an official (or at least semi-official) capacity as a Minister of the Crown of a foreign nation, is endorsement enough.”
    In a country without real elections, I guess such an elected official would add some novelty value to their advertising effort. I still can’t see any real benefit flowing to the company from the “endorsement”. Although, after Katherine and baby George have tea with a Plunket group, that group will forever be “the” group (branch?) to join because it was “endorsed” by a direct heir to the throne and his mum?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 13, 2014 @ 1:39 pm

  80. Although, after Katherine and baby George have tea with a Plunket group, that group will forever be “the” group (branch?) to join because it was “endorsed” by a direct heir to the throne and his mum?

    It may be that any chronic forelock-tuggers out there would be so influenced. You’d know.

    Comment by Joe W — March 13, 2014 @ 2:09 pm

  81. Lol, I like tugging bits of my body (and could get a kick out of doing it in front of Kate), but not my forelock. There’s just too much libertarian in me.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 14, 2014 @ 1:59 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: