Who’s stupid?

Should we accept leadership by deceit?

Who is stupid, us or New Zealand’s political leaders?

Vernon Small asks “Do John Key and Andrew Little think we are all stupid?” then he suggests that shouldn’t be answered in Foreign trust review brings out the worst in our political leaders

Ok, it is no surprise that many of our elected representatives can be “economical with the truth”. Thus it was in the beginning ….

But you would think there was enough evidence from around the world of how tired voters are getting with politics as usual and with the insider games and rhetoric – of fudging, dissembling and “politics as usual”.

There have been significant levels of ‘protest at the establishment’ support for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the US. The Brexit vote is seen as  largely based on a ‘stuff you’ sentiment. And the Aussies are having yet another election and may get yet another leader – who really cares who?

Insider-allergy was a key element in the rise of Donald Trump and the success of Bernie Sanders in the United States.

It also seems to have been a factor in the Brexit vote; an outcome that has delivered a result neither main party wanted but must now put in place for the United Kingdom – even as the backlash against the lies and exaggerations of both sides are coming back to haunt them.

Instead of choosing the best elections and referendums seem to be have become votes for the least worst. By those who can be bothered voting – increasing numbers of people can’t.

Or someone perceived as being able to stick it up them, hence the rise of NZ First here in New Zealand. And similar sentiments probably helped the status quo vote in the flag referendum. They were certainly evident in debate and media coverage.

A Little problem:

At the Labour leader’s media stand-up on Tuesday he defended the cynical late-Saturday, pre-All Black test, timing of a press release in which accepted he was wrong in allegations he made against tax expert John Shewan.

He also insisted he had not been asked for an apology by Shewan – referencing his memory of their first face-to-face meeting. True as far as it went in relation to the first meeting, but ignoring Shewan’s later letter specifically seeking an apology. Misleading at best, as Shewan later pointed out.

But if Little was fudging.

Little should admit he was asked to apologise by Shewan – and then match the action to the request.

A Key problem:

The Prime Minister was blatantly claiming black was lily-white with his continued insistence – against all the facts – that the current rules for foreign trusts is a “full disclosure” regime.

His argument runs that the current rules may only require minimal up front disclosure – the name of the trust, its New Zealand-based trustee and whether a settlor is based in Australia – but greater details must be held and provided to IRD if it seeks them … and that they have always been passed on to countries that ask.

Shewan’s recommendations would, he argued, simply move the information flow up to a level it was held by IRD and searchable, so the information was far more likely to go to countries that wanted it.

But back on the more familiar Planet Shewan, that was not how he saw it.

The current disclosure rules were “inadequate” and he considered “a significant expansion of the rules” was indicated.

Key should acknowledge there is a world of difference between holding information, ready to disclose if asked, and actual disclosure; just as there is gulf between what we have in place for foreign trusts now and what Shewan says we need – which the Government has largely committed to putting in place. 

Why should Key and Little communicate with candour and honesty?

If for no other reason, than that nobody likes being treated as stupid.

I think there are more and better reasons.

But if New Zealand’s political leaders keep treating us as stupid and think that being ignored by the masses means their stupid strategies have been effective one or the other (or both) are likely to cop the backlash as a mass of voters tell them to get stuffed.

We should have leadership, not manipulation and cynicism.

Winston isn’t the solution, there is no obvious solution. Except for sending our politicians a strong signal that we are fed up with their lack of leadership and their contest of stupidity.

Leave a comment

31 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  30th June 2016

    The voters are telling them to get stuffed. It’s just more are telling Little to get stuffed than are telling Key to get stuffed.This could change possibly, if Labour here learns from Labour in the UK, but that seems unlikely. Depends whether he’s learned not to let his mouth write cheques his ass can’t cash yet. Watching the Question Time circus in our House of Reps suggests an enema in The House is overdue.

    Reply
  2. David

     /  30th June 2016

    The voters are more telling the media to get stuffed with their Vance led conspiracy theories in conjunction with state owned media and Hagar over something that has a negligible affect on NZ. There is no reputational risk for NZ given we were a mere foot note in a story that disappeared in international media in a matter of days except where they had their own politicians behaving badly.
    Seriously would a tourist choose not to come here, or a shopper not buy a bottle of our wine etc.based on Panama Papers, nope it was the media once again trying to nail Key over a labour introduced and reviewed policy.

    Reply
  3. I’m not convinced by Small on this one. He’s trying to cover for Little by accusing Key of the same crime. Little was specifically asked to apologise and but claimed he wasn’t, and didn’t. That is clear cut and a bad look.

    The media went after the Panama papers with gusto despite the fact that NZ wasn’t a tax haven, and anyone with any sense knew that. Key was correct in claiming we had a best practice system in place, in any case he agreed to review it. Still the antagonised the press, TVNZ, RNZ and Hager set up the witch hunt commission because they just knew in their hearts that was evil going on. Shewan calls the “inadequate” and “in need of significant expansion” hardly what the media were hoping for (which is a mea culpa from Key) so now they are reduced to quibbling over semantics to spread the blame to all groups when Little is clearly the guilty individual.

    We need a better press. We need to be Freed.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  30th June 2016

      Haven’t you been paying attention?Don Brash ex Reserve Bank Governor categorically stated that NZ was a tax haven.The ongoing spin is mere semantics.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  30th June 2016

      I don’t think the MSM is actually anti-Key at all. If it was a Labour government they’d be anti-whoever it was who’d been competent enough to fool enough voters into voting for them. The MSM are just into manufacturing sensations.

      Shewan hasn’t suffered from “embarrassment”. If anything his reputation’s been enhanced. He’s just skewering Andy because Andy needs skewering.

      Reply
    • Iceberg

       /  30th June 2016

      You were going so well, up until “Freed”.

      Reply
  4. Iceberg

     /  30th June 2016

    “Why should Key and Little communicate with candour and honesty?”

    When every word in every statement that they make is fed through a partisan attack machine by opponents, activists and the media, then all statements are going to be short of full disclosure or massaged in some way.

    Can you handle the truth?

    Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  30th June 2016

    NZ had a full disclosure regime. Shewan is recommending a change to a partial exposure regime. There is a significant difference which appears to go unnoticed by the commentariat.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  30th June 2016

      Why’s he recommending it?

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  30th June 2016

        To minimise the speculative political target.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  30th June 2016

          Why’d he think there probably was something dodgy going on somewhere in it.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  30th June 2016

            forget Al.The answer…because thats what these tax ‘shelters’ are designed to be….dodgy…that is!

            Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  30th June 2016

            Did he say that? Or was it merely “possibly”? The Panama Papers seem to have failed to reveal anything of consequence.

            Reply
          • Gezza

             /  30th June 2016

            Pretty sure he said probably:
            1.13 The foreign trust regime does not appear to be inconsistent with any specific obligations under current international agreements to which New Zealand is a party. However, as there is a reasonable likelihood that the regime is facilitating the hiding of funds or evasion of tax in some instances, the Inquiry considers that New Zealand’s tax treaty partners would have a legitimate expectation that some action will be taken.

            Always sounded to me like he was someone who knew what he was talking about. Unlike Andy and The Vance. (Katie is only ever on to show off small jackets.)

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  30th June 2016

              “reasonable likelihood … of some instances” – who knows what that probability level is?

              And how come the highly politically motivated bloodhounds fed all the Panama Papers didn’t find any?

          • Gezza

             /  30th June 2016

            Smelling the scent of the prey doesn’t guarantee a kill.
            Shewan knows that.

            Shewan’s better at smelling scent and making a kill. Andy’s just found that out. The other hounds in The Circus are onto Andy’s scent now as well

            Reply
    • Blazer

       /  30th June 2016

      trying to be cute Al….’NZ had a full disclosure regime.’

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  30th June 2016

        It does. The IRD can request and obtain full disclosure from the NZ trust adminstrators and does so when required.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  30th June 2016

          and the criteria for ‘required’?The Shewan report studiously avoided the tax haven descriptor ,but I guess strategically, it bought time for Keys ex lawyer and the few other benficiaries of this magic show to tidy up their records.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  30th June 2016

            I understand IRD has acted on request from Australian authorities and other nations.

            Reply
  6. Blazer

     /  30th June 2016

    the fact that the whole construct is for the benefit of very few ,set against the reputation of a whole nation seems to be lost….on some!

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  30th June 2016

      You describe the political attacks on it perfectly.

      Reply
  7. duperez

     /  30th June 2016

    Being stupid doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful party leader. You just need to be less stupid at the times you’re trying to bullshit the masses that they are not stupid while you do something stupid knowing that those masses are so stupid they’ll be sucked in.

    Reply
  8. Blazer

     /  30th June 2016

    Bjelke -Peterson ,George W and Reagan are proof of that!

    Reply
  9. Blazer, can you please turn your knee-jerk protection of Left-wing doctrine off for a tick. Understand this my son, Key and Little are playing the game that is NZ Politics, so read or hear everything they say with a pinch of cleansing salt. Don’t be so defensive of anti-Left comments, we are taking the piss and you need to understand that, even if you don’t accept it. What Key and Little say is always a political statement except for those one on one contacts you may have with them, and even then you have to make a judgment as to their motives. Its called reality. Have one on me!

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  30th June 2016

      But Colonel ,surely you would have recognised the fact that my comments about the right,are simply salting that cauldron of discontent that is…politics!

      Reply

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