Tag Archives: Peter Dunne

Expediency overrules integrity

28 Jan

By Matt McCarten

(Reprinted from the Herald on Sunday, 27 January, 2014)

Five years ago I was impressed with John Key. He showed real principle during the 2008 election campaign saying he would not lead a government that included Winston Peters. When pressed by an incredulous media, he calmly explained that if to be prime minister he needed NZ First he would step aside and let Helen Clark govern with him. His reason? He didn’t trust Peters.

It was a master stroke and contributed more to National’s victory over Clark than people realise. Peters was deeply unpopular. His twinkling charm had been replaced with a shifty sneer. Key’s announcement followed Peters’ denial he had received money from Owen Glenn, when in my opinion he clearly had.

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Facts to arm voters at the polls

14 Jan

“Labour and the Greens require Mana’s Hone Harawira to retain Tai Tokerau and bring in a couple of others. Co-operation to take Waiariki away from the Maori Party is critical to them.”

By Matt McCarten

(Reprinted from the Herald on Sunday, January 12, 2014)

This is election year, and here are 10 things punters around the watercooler tomorrow should know.

1. Polling indicates all party support levels are pretty consistent. Past elections show polling numbers don’t change a lot in election year. Therefore the election will be close and determined by the minor parties’ fortunes.

2. The respected Pundit website’s poll of polls shows National is likely to get 58 seats and Labour and the Greens 59 seats. The minor parties get six MPs: Maori Party three; Act 1, United Future one and Mana one, making 123 MPs in total. NZ First and Conservatives fall under the threshold.

3. If the above happens on election day there will be an “overhang”, and any prime minister would require support from 62 MPs to govern. John Key wants the Maori Party and either Act or Peter Dunne. David Cunliffe obviously needs the Greens. Mana needs three MPs to get the left across the line.

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I spy cause for serious concern

18 Aug

By Matt McCarten

Herald on Sunday, August 18, 2013

The GCSB bill is due to be passed into law on Tuesday by a single vote.

The conventional wisdom is that opposition to the changes is a beltway issue, which means those in Parliament (and the press gallery) are the only ones who care about it.

After all, most people want the State to have the tools to protect its citizens from harm. That’s what John Key is hoping will carry that day.

But there’s something sinister about how our PM has managed changes he wants for spooks who spy on us. Here’s my unease:

1. Extending State spying powers has always been by political consensus. Labour’s David Shearer and NZ First’s Winston Peters have both said they were prepared to compromise. Their suggested amendments seemed reasonable. But Key is having none of it. Why?

2. The Law Society, the Privacy Commissioner, many respected jurists, and even a former GCSB boss oppose it publicly. When New Zealander of the Year Dame Anne Salmond says anyone who supports the bill has no right to turn up to Anzac events, then the penny must drop for mainstream Kiwis.

3. Key can now only get it through by Peter Dunne casting the determinative vote. The hypocrisy of Dunne supporting spies getting access to citizen’s emails, although he claimed personal privacy when refusing to give up his emails after he was accused of leaking classified documents, is contemptible. John Banks has already sold his party’s libertarian principles and supports the bill. Key now endorses the Act leader for Epsom at the next election. Join the grubby dots. No doubt Dunne will get endorsed for Ohariu once the vote goes through.

4. What happened to Kim Dotcom can happen to anyone. The raid on his house and the incompetence and covering up afterwards should be disturbing to every New Zealander. The bill gives more power. The GCSB spy system is linked into the US and UK spy network so foreign spooks will, in my view, be able to access our citizens’ information, too.

5. It seems a week doesn’t goes by without confidential personal information on individuals being leaked by a government department by incompetence. We have even had Cabinet ministers and ministry bosses happy to expose personal details of clients or employees when it serves their purposes. The temptation to use personal information against individuals will always be there.

6. There’s something scary about a politician deciding who gets spied on. When I was a teenager the then-PM Robert Muldoon released a list of his political opponents he said were being investigated by the Secret Intelligence Service. The smear was deliberate. Will a future leader use such information for political ends? You bet.

When civil society is potentially threatened, citizens need to register their concern. Tomorrow at 7pm opponents are meeting at the Auckland Town Hall. Sometimes it’s important to send a message.

(Matt McCarten is National Secretary of Unite Union. His weekly Herald on Sunday column are a commentary on social and political issues in New Zealand. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unite Union.)

So dumb… and they’re in charge

17 Jun

By Matt McCarten Sunday Jun 16, 2013

Peter Dunne. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Peter Dunne

Sometimes I despair at the stupidity of some of the people who run our country.

Peter Dunne built his reputation over three decades as someone smart and reliable. I was once told by a wise old union boss that the only thing anyone could ever hope for was respect from your opponents and love from your family.

The tragic self-immolation of Dunne destroyed in a twinkle his life work’s reputation. As his downfall was triggered by a too-close relationship with a female journalist, the support of his family may also now be at risk.

Like Act’s John Banks, Dunne is relegated to being a lone mocked creature shuffling around the corridors of Parliament, limping through to the next election on the taxpayers’ dime before his now-sullied political career is ignobly extinguished.

All political careers end in failure, just not as humiliating as these two. But these two aren’t alone.

What was going through Minister of Police Anne Tolley’s brain this week when she defended the front-runner to be the next police commissioner over his comments that he believed a dead cop’s integrity was beyond reproach – even though that same man was found to have planted evidence against an innocent man?

Earlier, Tolley attacked my union for claiming her cops took discounted meals from fast-food chains at the same time as roughing up their employees on strike, even though television cameras filmed the “police discount” key on the cash registers.

And don’t even get me started on Hekia Parata.

Is there anything she touches that doesn’t turn into a disaster? She spends her time parroting inane sound bites while her personal and department senior staff seek the exit door.

Before you think I’m being too one-eyed, what did Phil Goff, Kris Faafoi, Annette King and Clayton Cosgrove think they were doing accepting free seats in SkyCity’s VIP box at the All Blacks’ game last week?

Nice for them to get their snouts in the trough while the people who vote for them pay for uncomfortable seats in the cold outside.

Attacking SkyCity for using its political influence to get itself a sweetheart deal is legitimate politics. But the hypocrisy of cosying up on SkyCity’s dime loses any advantage Labour had over John Key’s unpalatable deal-making with SkyCity. Did those MPs not understand that SkyCity didn’t invite them because it just happened to have four spare tickets?

SkyCity knows full well that if National loses the next election, its pokies-for-a-convention-centre deal is at risk. Therefore it makes good sense to be nice to a few Labour MPs.

The cliche is true, there really isn’t any such a thing as a free lunch. In the situation last Saturday, it’s not too hard to imagine, after a few beers, our worthy guests winking to their hosts not to worry about Labour’s public antics as it’s really only those pesky Greens who take anti-gambling seriously.

Despite National’s glee, I give David Shearer a pass as he wasn’t a guest and popped in for only a few minutes to talk to someone present without partaking of the hospitality.

However, Goff’s explanation that he accepted the free VIP tickets only so he could meet SkyCity honchos to tell them what he really thought about the SkyCity deal was just embarrassing. Maybe he planned on using the halftime break to turn on his hosts?

Maybe our politicians aren’t as dumb as we think. Maybe the problem is that they think we’re dumb.

By Matt McCarten

Herald on Sunday

(Matt McCarten is National Secretary of Unite Union. His weekly Herald on Sunday column are a commentary on social and political issues in New Zealand. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unite Union.)

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