ODT: Transparency vital in a democracy

The Otago Daily Times editorial today is on the National Government and Transparency vital in a democracy.

Watching the Government’s desperate lolly scramble as it tries to shore up votes in the Northland by-election has made uncomfortable viewing.

The big guns are being brought out to bolster support for National candidate Mark Osborne, with visits by Prime Minister John Key and a raft of other ministers.

Critics view the Government’s sudden interest in the province with scepticism.

With good cause, what National are piling into Northland hints of abuse of power and misuse of taxpayers’ money.

Voters are left wondering what can be taken at face value, and some critics suggest obfuscation has gone beyond pattern to habit.

Yes, that seems to have become the expected norm. Not a good look for a Government in it’s third term.

The editorial details a number of examples of questionable actions and inaction over reasonable disclosure, then concludes:

There are times when information is genuinely required to be withheld to keep New Zealanders safe, some sensitive negotiations are required to be done away from the public, and some comments may be inappropriate to make in a police or legal case.

But regularly providing obscure, incomplete, or partly true answers to questions inevitably results in ”boy that cried wolf” scenarios.

Trust is fundamental to any individual or government, transparency essential for any democracy, and robust oversight mechanisms and a free and active press equally crucial (particularly when there are claims the former two are lacking).

Mr Key and his Government would do well to remember that as they ask Northland voters to trust them and make more promises for the future.

Trust can be difficult to maintain during an extended term in Government. It tends to get whittled away.

Once lost trust is much more difficult to get back. John Key is struggling with this.

He has to be seen to significantly change direction meaningfully towards far better openness and transparency or he will keep gradually sliding out of favour with voters.

Transparency is vital in a decent democracy.

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7 Comments

  1. Mike C

     /  18th March 2015

    Yeah … because Andrew Little and Winston Peters are such shining examples of clear transparency. LOL.

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  18th March 2015

    It is a sign of government transparency that the only issues the free media can beat up are utter trivia such as when and what the PM knew about a police investigation.

    Reply
  3. duperez

     /  18th March 2015

    Yes, I reckon the free media should beat up real issues like a Prime Minister appointing someone to head a parliamentary committee on law and order who was the subject of a police investigation. I know that would be a difficult subject given the subject’s poor memory and fleeting acquaintance with the relationship between ethics, morality and telling the truth. Good challenge though.

    Reply
    • Goldie

       /  18th March 2015

      First, John Key does not appoint the chairs of select committees. If you want to find out how Parliament works, McGee is free on-line.
      Second, the committee (not Key) appointed Sabin in October, but Key was not told until at least a month later.
      But regardless, Key couldn’t do anything even after he found out because (a) the Prime Minister cannot dismiss parliamentary officials; and (b) Sabin was an electorate MP, and the NZ Parliament has never voted to expel a member.

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  19th March 2015

      @duperez, you illustrate my point precisely. If that’s the best the Left can come with no wonder they got annihilated at the polling booths. No wonder the media turn to Winston’s hogwash in a desperate effort to find something worth a headline even if no-one with half a brain believes him for a moment.

      Must be chilly up there all alone on your moral high ground?

      Reply
  4. Its so obvious that :

    1) the voters of Northland are telling ‘Team Key’ that their support cannot be just assumed, especially if they feel ignored

    2) lolly scrambles might impress a few, for a short while, but the people are ‘not fooled all the time’

    3) Key’s credibility is on a slippery slope, nonsensical rhetoric & jokes do not make him suddenly heroic !

    GOOOOOOO… Winston !!

    Reply
    • Mike C

       /  18th March 2015

      @Zedd. You’re such a fucking amazingly loyal leftie dick. LOL.

      Reply

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