Petty Peters poops on flag committee

Winston Peters has announced that NZ First are withdrawing from the cross-party committee set up to decide how the public will vote on a possible flag change.

Expensive Exercise Not The Priority Now

At the whim of the Prime Minister New Zealand’s attention is now on changing the flag – this will cost us dearly, not only in money, but in taking our eye off serious social and economic challenges, says New Zealand First.

“There are many pressing problems to be addressed, with even the PM now acknowledging the scale of poverty,” says Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“The birth of a new flag is being sold as the people’s choice but it is being commandeered by National.

“That’s the reason New Zealand First will not be sitting on a so-called cross-party MPS Group.

“A flag is New Zealand’s national emblem and any move to change it must go along an impeccable path.

“Instead, National has invited political parties that barely have a splash of public support. United Future could only rally 0.22 per cent of the party vote in the General Election and ACT had to have a helping hand from National to push Epsom voters to get a sole MP into the House.

“This ‘representative’ Group will decide on flag options that will go out to the public to vote on.

This looks like he’s playing petty politics, but that’s par for the course for Peters.

The committee has been set up to organise two public referendums – that will determine whether there is public support or not, not Peters deciding which parties should or shouldn’t be involved.

His is probably playing to his elderly constituency, as he often does, but doing it this far out from the next election seems politically futile.

NZ Herald reports: NZ First pulls out of flag committee

New Zealand First has pulled out of a committee which will decide how the public votes on the national flag, saying it was an expensive exercise which took attention away from greater priorities.

Leader Winston Peters said this afternoon the flag referendum will “cost us dearly” and take the public’s eye off more pressing social and economic challenges.

“A change of flag might need to be considered but now is not the time. Poverty and housing are at crisis level, it’s no time for a government to be raising a distraction,” Mr Peters said.

His party had rejected the Government’s invitation to nominate an MP for a cross-party committee.

Claiming “more pressing social and economic challenges” should take precedent is ironic from Peters who seems to spend most of his time pursuing petty political attacks.

Mr Peters said the process of changing a national emblem needed to follow an “impeccable” process, but National had instead included political parties with very little support in the decision-making process, such as Act and United Future.

Like that.

Prime Minister John Key said New Zealand First’s absence from the committee would not “inhibit the process in any way”.

And it shouldn’t. If Peters chooses to play in a different sandpit on his own that’s up to him. but his hissy fits shouldn’t prevent Parliament from continuing with doing it’s job.

David Farrar points out at Kiwiblog:

Peters has spent 20 years advocating referendums, yet when it is on an issue he personally disagrees with, he is against the public being able to have a say.

The public and the Government are quite capable of dealing with more than one issue at a time. Also poverty is not at crisis level. Peters is using that as an excuse to deny the public a say – because he disagrees.

Democratic principles and Peters are very loose partners.

What makes a New Zealander “prominent”?

References are often made to “prominent New Zealander”.

John Key is one of the more prominent New Zealanders.

What about ex-MPs? Take Rodney Hide for example, he was prominent in ACT circles, he was prominent in the Epsom electorate, and he was prominent enough in Parliament for a while. But most of the million voters who haven’t voted probably don’t regard him as prominent and many probably haven’t heard of him. He writes a weekly column for NZ Herald but the sports pages are probably more prominent for most readers.

Phillip Smith is one of the most prominent sex offenders at the moment. A month ago most people hadn’t heard of him, now many regard him as a scumbag, but only because his fleeing the country and his offences from the nineties have been publicised, he didn’t get name suppression as some offenders do.

Richie McCaw is one of the most prominent New Zealand sports people, but there are many people who aren’t interested in sport or in rugby so may know little or nothing about him.

What about ex All Blacks? Grahame Thorne was an All Black in the late sixties but many New Zealanders were born after that. He was also in Parliament in the nineties and was noted as an All Black who became an MP, but it’s hard to judge how prominent he is now.

Prominence is often due to what media cover and what they ignore. Thorne, an ex National MP, had a meeting prior to the election with then opposition leader David Cunliffe and the Labour candidate for Otago in Queenstown – see Cunliffe and a gift of wine – but it went virtually unreported, even though it could be justifiably be judged as of public interest.

Where’s the flag?

A photo of John Key at APEC in China (via Key’s Twitter: A quick breakfast with some of the New Zealand CEOs and our youth delegation who are also here for APEC.”):

KeyApec-flag

Easily and distinctively recognisable as New Zealand.

Confronting war versus promoting peace

John Key has outlined the Government approach to dealing with the Islamic State threat in the Middle East. There have been a variety of reactions.

Audrey Young at NZ Herald reports on what Key said in John Key: Kiwi forces will help train Iraqis fight ISIS

Three NZ Defence Force personnel have already left for the Middle East to scope out a role for New Zealand forces to help train Iraqi forces fight Isis, probably in conjunction with Australia.

But any such training would be done “behind the wire” and would be undertaken by regular forces on a base, not by the SAS, Prime Minister John Key said today.

“New Zealand cannot and should not fight Iraqis’ battles for them. I am ruling out New Zealand sending SAS or any troops into combat roles in Iraq.”

Later he said the SAS could be deployed to help to protect a base in which New Zealand Forces were conducting training.

Mr Key said the role of the SAS would not be similar to the “aid and assist” role in Afghanistan, which saw it accompany the Afghanistan Crisis Response Unit on jobs.

The Dominion Post (Stuff) raises fears and dramatics in Key lights a fuse that may fire up terror:

It may not have been coincidence that John Key chose Guy Fawkes day to light a bonfire under New Zealand’s complacency about being far removed from terrorism.

Key’s landmark speech outlining New Zealand’s national security risks paints a stark picture of the rising threat from within.

There are radicalised Islamic State sympathisers living and working among us, some of them actively discussing terrorist acts on New Zealand soil, Key told a Wellington audience.

They included those thwarted in their wish to take up arms in Syria with the Islamic State (Isis) and who now posed a threat to New Zealand’s safety and security.

With the recent shooting at the Canadian Parliament still fresh in people’s minds, few will quibble at Key’s view that we can no longer rely on our place at the bottom of the world protecting us from such acts.

They stress the threat:

But that does not minimise the nature of the threat from Isis and its chilling use of social media to spread its “kill a Westerner” message.

That could be brought even closer to home if Isis makes specific threats to New Zealand after Key’s announcement yesterday of a military contribution. That contribution is likely to be limited and confined to training Iraqi forces.

But Isis is unlikely to draw that distinction.

Karol at The Standard quotes Metiria Turei’s idealistic view in Turei for peace & freedom: rejects politics of fear

The Green Party stands for peace and freedom.

Peace is the best weapon we have in achieving personal security. It is a simple fact that New Zealanders are safest in a peaceful world.

And our democracy is only as strong as our personal freedoms. When personal freedoms are eroded our democracy is weakened.

Today, John Key has eroded both our quest for peace at home and abroad, and eroded New Zealanders personal freedoms.

By offering support the US led war with ISIS we are part of a strategy that reduces the prospects of enduring peace in the Middle East; and in the process we are also being told that we have to give up freedoms here at home too.

Conclusion

Mr Speaker

Today I speak on behalf of a truly independent foreign policy that works for peace as the best form of security.

A foreign policy that aligns foreign and domestic interests.

I speak on behalf of our personal freedoms. I put them on a pedestal, only to be eroded in the most extreme of circumstances.

And I speak on behalf of those New Zealanders who believe in alternatives to war and fear; those who aspire to peace and freedom.

We can build a better world, but it will require a better approach than the one outlined by the Prime Minister today.

Most people want peace – but when some people are intent on war doing nothing won’t stop them. Pacifism didn’t do much good for the Moriori.

Karol concludes:

Today Metiria Turei was bold and clear.  She showed a positive way forward.  I give her a standing ovation!

Rather than accept the narrative Key is trying to build, Turei identities and rejects that narrative. At the same time, she provides an alternative narrative, with a positive way forward.

The real world needs the promotion of peace, but it also needs to confronting of warmongers.

Nookin on Norman

‘Nookin’, a regular at Kiwiblog, has commented on Green co-leader Russel Norman.

Dr Norman seems to be getting a completely free ride with the news media and yet his latest behaviour should really be a major red flag for anybody who considers that he should play any part in a government.

He has become totally obsessed with the dirty politics, so much so that his entire engagement with the government since its election has been focused solely on that subject and has taken the form of ad hominem attacks without any evidence.

His comments about the police searching the Prime Minister’s home were prattish in the extreme. This is the sort of comment that you would expect to get in a preschool playground, not in Parliament. His comments lack any element of rational justification and the sole purpose of the comments can only be to have a very personal dig at the Prime Minister.

Norman’s driving force appears to be his dislike of Key and, particularly, his antipathy towards the USA. Have a look at his comments on the article about new security measures. Despite the fact that he has no access to security information, despite what has been happening in Britain, Australia and Canada let alone Afghanistan and Syria, he is more than happy to announce to the world that there is no need at all for any additional security measures and that the only basis for the government taking such measures is to play poodle to the USA.

It does not seem to matter to him that the director of SIS endorses the need and emphasises the security risk.

Of course, the easy answer is that she worked in the Prime Minister’s office and is a prime ministerial appointee – therefore a prime ministerial lapdog. In presenting such an argument, however, he would have to put aside the fact that it was Rebecca Kitteridge who prepared the report which exposed GCSB (much to Norman’s salivating delight).
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10687081/The-new-terror-threat

Norman hammers the human rights and fundamentals of democracy at every opportunity. However, read the following article by Fran O’Sullivan. There is one person standing between New Zealanders and their opportunity to see world leaders addressing our Parliament (our representatives).

That one person is Russel Norman. He does so on the basis that allowing the likes of the President of the United States, the Chancellor of Germany and the Premier or Deputy Premier or whoever he is of China address Parliament will subvert our democracy. Pardon?

The dictate of one man who represents 10 percent of the population is democratic? I mean, when did he ask us our opinion? He has a right to say and determine once and for all whether world leaders can address our representatives in our house of parliament? And he justifies that by saying that he is protecting our democracy?
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11351410

Norman has emerged relatively unscathed from the election campaign and its aftermath. That, however, is more attributable to the fact that he has not been put under any degree of scrutiny. He has been described as a “smooth operator”.

That, I suggest, is exactly what he is – an operator. He has an agenda. It is time the MSM really subjected his behaviour, his views, the alliances and allegiances that we will lose or have foist upon us if he succeeds and his apparently complete refusal to compromise under much closer scrutiny.

One almost gets the impression that the dirty politics campaign may have been part of the Greens’s agenda. He simply refuses to let it go.

It does appear a bit like all that.

Gander sauce all over Winstons’ face

Winston Peters, like Russel Norman, is suggesting the police raid John Key’s house. 3 News reports Winston, Norman: Raid Key’s house over hacker claim

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman think police should raid Mr Key’s house and office if he claims to know who the hacker is.

“[Mr Key] says he’s not actually certain – another brain-fade. If you do know conclusively, you should say so, but he says he doesn’t know,” Mr Peters says.

Peters should be wary of bringing brain fades into the discussion, he’s not exactly as sharp as he once was.

It’s nothing like a brain fade to say that you are not certain whether something you have been told is correct or not.

Peters may think that rumours he’s told are sufficient to try and wreck political careers but many of his attacks are far from conclusive. Most seem to be little more than hot air.

Asked if police should search Mr Key’s property he replied: “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, isn’t it?”.

If the police searched a politician’s property every time they made a hearsay claim they would virtually have to live with Peters.

He’s probably made more unsubstantiated claims – trying to discredit and destroy careers – than all other current MPs put together.

There is gander sauce all over Winston’ face.

Is Norman too close to the hacking, to the hacker and to Hager?

Russel Norman’s persistence in trying to hammer John Key over “Dirty Politics” seems to be adversely affecting his judgement.

Norman has suggested that the police should raid John Key’s house because Key has admitted being provided with a possible identity of the hacker ‘Rawshark’. NZ Herald report in John Key won’t reveal Rawshark’s name:

‘If this is the Prime Minister now saying that he thinks he knows who Rawshark is the question for the police is why aren’t they raiding his house?

“The police spent 10 hours going through Nicky Hager’s house because Nicky Hager supposedly knows who Rawshark is, well the Prime Minister is now on the public record saying he knows who Rawshark is. I would expect the police to be consistent and even handed and to raid the Prime Minister’s house and his office to find out who Mr Key thinks Rawshark is.”

This is a bizarre suggestion. What if Norman knew the hacker’s identity – should his house be raided?

I would expect the police to be consistent and even handed and to raid the Prime Minister’s house and his office” – if a Green MP’s home or office was raided by the police I suspect Norman would have a very different attitude.

Apart from the political implications it’s absurd to think that Key would have evidence of the identity in his home or office.

Key said ““Someone phoned and told me who the hacker was” – so if the police wanted to investigate that they would presumably look for phone records from telecommunication companies. It would be very unlikely there would be evidence in Key’s home or any of his offices.

Norman has also made some erroneous assertions.

“The police spent 10 hours going through Nicky Hager’s house” – this is a common claim. As far as I’m aware ten hours elapsed between the police arriving at Hager’s house and them leaving. Some of the time in between was spent talking with Hager, lawyers and superiors by phone, and waiting for responses. I don’t know of any facts about how long the searching took.

“Nicky Hager supposedly knows who Rawshark is” – because he has described in some detail his contact with the hacker, as reported by David Fisher at NZ Herald in August:

Hager says he spent weeks talking the person into letting him see the material and use it to build the narrative which became Dirty Politics. The hacker, says Hager, gave him everything. “I’ve seen everything. I’m 100 per cent sure.” The hacker then expressed a desire to keep back some material for himself. “We kind of negotiated how much,” he says. “I said ‘can I have all the political stuff’.” Hager got what he asked for and so, the book was written.

That’s a lot more involved than being told a name.

Ok, I presume Norman doesn’t seriously think that the police should raid Key over this.

But Norman has been increasingly looking obsessed over nailing John Key over “Dirty Politics”. His frustration at not scoring any significant hits seems to be affecting his judgement.

This abnormal Norman nonsense adversely affects the credibility of Green Party leadership and of the campaign Hager and his associates is trying to wage against Key.

How close is Norman to the hacking, to the hacker and to Hager?

That’s not for the police to investigate, but perhaps some journalists should be curious. Norman’s abnormal nonsense raises suspicions.

It may be nothing more than hope there is something in it to finally knock Key of his Prime Ministerial perch, but it seems to be clouding Norman’s judgement.

More on Key and ‘Rawshark’

It was revealed yesterday in the release of a new chapter in John Key’s biography that John Key had been told of the identity of the hacker “Rawshark’. NZ Herald reported John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’

In a new chapter in John Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, devoted to this year’s election campaign, Mr Key is quoted as saying: “Someone phoned and told me who the hacker was, but other than having a look at this person, I thought, ‘Oh well … nothing will come of it. Life goes on’.”

Mr Key did not divulge the name of the person to the biography’s author, senior Herald editorial writer John Roughan. Asked yesterday whether the PM had referred the name to the police investigation into the stolen emails, a spokeswoman for Mr Key said that though he believed he knew who the hacker was, “he cannot be certain”.

Key has been asked if he will reveal the identity. He won’t. A follow up Herald report – John Key won’t reveal Rawshark’s name

The Prime Minister John Key says he won’t reveal the name given to him as the identity of the hacker known as Rawshark, and won’t pass it on to police.

“In the end if the individual who told me wants to tell the police they are welcome to do that,” Mr Key said at a media conference today.

“I could spend my life worrying about people who undertake activities to try to discredit the government but at the end of the day it doesn’t take you anywhere.”

Asked whether he thought the police should be focused on investigating potential identities of Rawshark rather than investigating journalist behind the “Dirty Politics” book, Nicky Hager, Mr Key said: “That’s a matter for them…they run their own inquiries.”

There are quite a few people who have been closer to the action than Key who could probably help the police identify Rawshark. There have been rumours since before the election that they know who it is.

Whoever revealed the identity to Key should have also advised the police to help them with their inquiries.

As Key acknowledged, he “can’t be certain”, there is no guarantee that the person identified to Key was the hacker.

John Key on ‘Rawshark’

The biography John Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister has been updated with a new chapter. In it Key claims to know the identity of ‘Rawshark’, the hacker who illegally obtained data from Cameron Slater.

John Armstrong at NZ Herald reports John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’.

The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published biography of John Key.

In a new chapter in John Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister devoted to this year’s election campaign, Mr Key is quoted as saying: “Someone phoned and told me who the hacker was, but other than having a look at this person, I thought, ‘Oh well … nothing will come of it. Life goes on’.”

Mr Key did not divulge the name of the person to the biography’s author, senior Herald editorial writer John Roughan.

Asked yesterday whether the PM had referred the name to the police investigation into the stolen emails, a spokeswoman for Mr Key said that though he believed he knew who the hacker was, “he cannot be certain”.

The spokeswoman said the PM had had no involvement in the police inquiry, which has included a lengthy search of Hager’s Wellington home.

If Key has been advised of the identity of “Rawshark’ it would be surprising if the police haven’t been given the same information.

“Someone phoned and told me” is sure to raise questions and accusations about who phoned Key, with Cameron Slater being an obvious candidate.

However a lot of people will have some sort of contact with Key so it could be any of many.

And with an apparent identity in circulation it seems likely the police will know about it, there have been rumours for weeks that they know who it was.

Air shot #3 – Peters versus Key

Winston Peters was the third in line to take a swipe at John Key over “Dirty Politics” yesterday and he was the third to miss the mark. He sounded more like Mr Cranky than the leader of the opposition he claims to be.

4. Government—Transparency

[Sitting date: 28 October 2014. Volume:701;Page:4. Text is subject to correction.]

4. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader – NZ First) to the Prime Minister : Is he committed to an open and transparent Government?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Consistent with an open and transparent Government, when will the Prime Minister assure the public that at no time did his staff provide inappropriate services to the National Party whilst employed at the public expense?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : That would be a matter for the party, but I do not have any advice or any evidence to support the idea that they have done anything other than act totally professionally.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am asking the Prime Minister about his staff. That is not a matter for the National Party. It is to do with his staff, for whom he is responsible.

Mr SPEAKER : The difficulty I have with the question that has been asked and the answer that has been given is that it is asking now for a level of specificity that cannot be expected to be given by the Prime Minister in light of the very open and general question that was asked in the first place.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My question asked whether, consistent with open and transparent Government—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I have heard the question. [Interruption] Order! Resume your seat. I have already ruled, in respect of the first supplementary question, that in light of the generality of the primary question that the question has been addressed by the Prime Minister. The way forward is to continue to ask further supplementary questions but not to question the Speaker on the adequacy of the answer that has been given. I invite the member, if he wishes to, to ask further supplementary questions.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am not contesting your ruling on the adequacy—

Mr SPEAKER : Then I will hear the fresh point of order.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : My point was that the Prime Minister’s answer was that it was a National Party matter. In my supplementary question, if you look at it, I am asking for an assurance about his staff, so it cannot be a National Party matter—or is he condemned by his own statement?

Hon Gerry Brownlee : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You would have to consider the entire answer, in which the Prime Minister said that he expected them to maintain professional standards at all times.

Mr SPEAKER : The way forward is the advice that I have given to the member. If he has further supplementary questions, he should ask them.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Consistent with an open and transparent Government, when will the Prime Minister advise the public of all the facts pertaining to Mr Jason Ede’s services to the National Party whilst employed at the public’s expense?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : When questions are appropriately asked, they will be appropriately answered.

Peters must know this sort of question is easily avoided.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Consistent with an open and transparent Government, when will the Prime Minister give the public all the facts about—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The difficulty I have is that it was only during about question No. 3 when a Government member again asked a supplementary question without leading with a question word. We cannot have one rule for Mr Peters—

Hon Gerry Brownlee : Yes, but he knows better. He’s been here a long time.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I accept the right honourable gentleman should know better, but equally Mr David Bennett has been a member of this House for some time as well.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Consistent with an open and transparent Government, when will the Prime Minister give the public all the facts about his staff’s services to the National Party’s Jo de Joux whilst employed at the public’s expense?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I have not seen any advice that would confirm that the National Party has done anything other than spend taxpayers’ money appropriately and legally.

Hon Dr Nick Smith : What did Brendan Horan say? Look at your own house.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Is it not a fact—well, actually, we were exonerated, turkey.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] Order! That is a good lesson to that quarter of the House of what happens when you get an interjection through a question. Would the right honourable gentleman simply ask his supplementary question?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Is Jo de Joux, a National Party campaign manager, deeply implicated in improperly acquiring services from his office’s staff?

Mr SPEAKER : I invite the Prime Minister, if he wishes, to answer, but I cannot see any prime ministerial responsibility in that question. I will leave it for the Prime Minister to answer it.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I have no authority for that, and I refute the proposition.

Maybe Peters is playing a longer game, or he is not as sharp as he once was, that didn’t seem to get anywhere.

He looks cantankerous and toothless. So far he has failed to step up into the opposition leadership vacuum.

Key had little difficulty batting away the third air shot at him of the day.

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