The Jackal

23 Jun 2017

Bill English must resign

The Todd Barclay debacle highlights just how dishonest many right wing politicians really are. For over a year Bill English and the National party maintained a lie, even reselecting Barclay knowing that he had committed a potential crime.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

'He's got to go': Winston Peters calls for Prime Minister to resign

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has ramped up criticism of Prime Minister Bill English over the Todd Barclay affair - saying English should resign.

"He's got to go, Mr English. He's got to stand down, just like Barclay. He misled the media, he misled the House in every respect he is in serious breach of his responsibilities and duties," Peters said to media before entering question time that saw further questions about English's actions.

Asked if English had lied, Peters said there was no other possible conclusion.

The public is being expected to believe that English just forgot what he said in a police statement on the matter only a year previously. In the statement, English clearly outlines that it was Barclay who told him about the illegal recordings.

Despite that fact, English was happy to perpetuate the bully Barclay’s lies in what is obviously a cover-up designed to maintain National’s governance.

Clearly the excuse of hiding Barclay’s bullying and corruption because National wanted to maintain control isn’t a valid justification. Neither is Barclay remaining in the house because National wants to pass their destructive neoliberal legislation a good reason for him to receive another $80,000 of taxpayer’s money.

It’s not an issue that looks like it’s going away either, despite some diversionary tactics.

He said he had laid two privileges complaints against English, claiming he misled Parliament about whether he knew about the allegations against Barclay. In question time, Peters challenged English to release his phone records to prove he hadn't been involved in the dispute than already disclosed.

Anybody who believes that the public has simply moved on from and forgotten this issue needs their heads read. Although not scientific, over 80% of responders to a RadioLive poll think English should resign… and the RadioLive audience isn’t known to be National party detractors either. That ultimately means the government will be losing public support over this issue.

After the text was published on Tuesday by the Newsroom website, English said he couldn't recall who told him the recordings existed, but less than four hours later confirmed it was Barclay and released his police statement.

Speaking to media in Auckland today, English again rubbished cover-up claims by the Opposition, and said he had acted appropriately by informing Davie and making his statement to police. He confirmed he did so after being contacted by both parties.

English lied to reporters about who had told him of the recordings. He also misled Parliament about the allegations against Barclay. English again lied when he claimed that it was him who approached the Police about the issue.

Today, English is claiming that nobody knew what Barclay did was a crime. After the teapot tape scandal, where Police raided a number of premises over a recording of John Key and John Banks laughing about old people dying, the deluded Prime Minister’s claims are entirely preposterous!

National knew what Barclay did was a crime because they sent in Glenda Hughes, a National Party board member and former Police Detective to pressure the victim, Glenys Dickson, into keeping quiet. Under current law, that act can only be considered an obstruction of justice.

If that’s not an attempted cover-up by the National party, I don’t know what is.

Can you imagine how the MSM would react if this was a left-wing controversy. We would have months and months of calls for the Prime Minister’s head, just like they did with Helen Clark when she signed a painting for charity.

22 Jun 2017

Groser and GCSB damage international reputation

We all know that Tim Groser is a complete tool and wasn’t suitable to head the World Trade Organisation. It was in fact his own bloated ego that promoted him for the job, a job that he thankfully failed to attain.

Groser’s futile attempt at the WTO position had little international support, support he tried and failed to attain by spending lots of taxpayer dollars. In three months Groser spent around $260,000 travelling the world trying to gain votes for his foolish bid.

Now we’ve learnt that Groser also used New Zealand’s intelligence services to spy on other candidates vying to lead the WTO. There was an investigation by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, which came to an obviously forgone conclusion.

On Tuesday, Radio New Zealand reported:

GCSB lawful in supporting Groser's WTO bid

Ms Gwyn would not comment on whether it was appropriate for the spy agency to be supporting the campaign, but said it was lawful.

She has made three recommendations, including creating a standard plan for receiving and assessing requests for foreign intelligence assistance.

Here’s the actual Report into Government Communications Security Bureau’s process for determining its foreign intelligence activity (PDF).

Today, The Dominion Post reported:

Editorial: Spies should not help a politician's bid for a job at the WTO 
Under traditional notions of "security", the spies could only be used if, say, rivals to Groser stood a strong chance of winning and then doing harm to New Zealand's economic well-being. This would be stretching a bow to breaking point. Groser's rivals were the usual run of respectable trade officials and politicians, and the eventual winner, Roberto Azevedo, was Brazil's ambassador to the WTO.

The "advancing economic security" clause is also loose enough to allow spies to snoop on opponents of the current free-trade orthodoxy, and perhaps has already done so. It extends the rights of spies at the expense of citizens' right to oppose.

What's more, the spies failed: Groser didn't get the job. Hardly a triumph for the security services and their obliging legislation.

But was the GCSB really allowed to spy on WTO candidates from other countries under New Zealand law?

The Intelligence and Security Act 2017 states:

9 Objectives of intelligence and security agencies

The principal objectives of the intelligence and security agencies are to contribute to—
(a) the protection of New Zealand’s national security; and
(b) the international relations and well-being of New Zealand; and
(c) the economic well-being of New Zealand.

The Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003 states the exact same thing.

Let’s assume that Cheryl Gwyn doesn’t understand how an Act of New Zealand works and her misquote in her report of the relevant sections of the GCSB and Intelligence and Security Act was a simple mistake.

Firstly, a single sentence shouldn’t be taken out of context. That means the spy agencies cannot act without considering New Zealand’s international relations. Secondly, items are listed in order of priority.

If Groser’s objectives were to humiliate New Zealand on the world stage and destroy some of our international relations by secretly spying on officials from other countries, then the GCSB has achieved them.

How exactly does that advance the economic well-being of New Zealand? Clearly it doesn’t, and therefore there’s no moral or legal justification for Groser’s terrible abuse of power.

21 Jun 2017

Barclay's dishonesty must be stubbed out

There’s no question that the tobacco lobbyist turned politician, Todd Barclay, lied to reporter's yesterday about his secret recording of a long-term National party staffer, Glenys Dickson. She had to subsequently resign because of Barclay, who is reported to be a bully.

Amazingly Barclay was able to tell his multiple lies yesterday very convincingly, which is something that usually takes special training. Most backbenchers don't go through such training, which is reserved for MPs who're more often in the public eye like Cabinet Ministers, so it appears that Barclay is a natural right wing politician.

But if getting caught out telling bold faced lies wasn’t bad enough, it was also reported that National tried to hide the fact that they'd used taxpayer funds from the Prime Minister's leadership office to pay Dickson an undisclosed "severance package" to keep things quiet. Taxpayer funded hush money in other words.

Clearly Barclay’s continued lies landed Bill English in politically scorching hot water. It was somewhat unfortunate to see a Prime Minister of New Zealand floundering for answers while attempting a John Key style dismissal of the claims. The awkward English utterly failed to pull it off.

It was highly embarrassing to watch the PM trying to mislead reporters about his knowledge of the secret recordings and then only four hours later own up to making a police statement on the matter, something that English would have obviously remembered doing.

Considering the fact that he'd been covering for Barclay for over a year, you can see why English attempted to maintain the lie. He was basically damned if he did and damned if he didn't. At the end of the day National's idiot advisors got things really badly wrong!

English's confession that Barclay had made a secret recording and told him about it dropped the tobacco lobbyist right in it. Reporters expected that Barclay would resign... instead there was one of the strangest media conferences in New Zealand's political history.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

National MP Todd Barclay admits he informed PM Bill English about secret recordings

Reading from a prepared statement, Barclay said it was important he clarify his earlier statements to media.

"I'm sorry if any of the answers I gave this morning were misleading," Barclay said, before walking away before answering any questions, including why he lied.

They weren’t just misleading statements; they were blatant lies about a potential crime. If Barclay is allowed to just walk away from this and remain an MP it will show just how weak and pathetic National’s stand in Prime Minister really is. It will show that the word integrity isn’t within English’s vocabulary.

Not only does it appear that Barclay conducted an illegal act, as outlined in this post by Andrew Geddis over on Pundit, he has also brought the House of Representatives into disrepute through his continued dishonesty, which is another sackable offence.

If the National led government is to retain any credibility it must stand Barclay down and launch a full inquiry into his misconduct. Barclay must be made to answer the hard questions about his dishonesty and about his alleged bullying. Of course English could just cut to the chase and fire Barclay the bastard forthwith!

In light of the evidence the Police must reopen the investigation into Barclay’s illegal activity… because if they don’t then it points to their complicity in National’s attempted cover-up.

Compare the Police's inaction over Barclay when there is ample evidence that shows a crime has been committed to how they unlawfully raided Nicky Hager’s house and harassed his family. It certainly looks like the Police are playing political favouritism here and only a proper investigation into Barclay will alleviate the appearance that they aren't operating independently of the National party.

20 Jun 2017

Taxpayer's funding used as hush money

It should come as no surprise that the National party has once again used taxpayer's money improperly. They actually do it all the time. But there are a few differences with the latest revelation of misappropriation that make it stand out for all the wrong reasons.

Today, Newshub reported:

PM knew about hush money for bugged worker – investigation

Taxpayer money was used to make a dispute with a Government worker disappear, a Newsroom investigation shows.

Glenys Dickson, a former staffer at National Gore MP Todd Barclay's office, was paid out over bugging allegations.

Text messages from Prime Minister Bill English, who was deputy Prime Minister at the time, show he knew of the issue and the settlement was large "because of the privacy breach".

Todd Barclay is obviously a born to rule elitist and corrupt MP who doesn’t deserve to be in the House of Representatives. He should be fired immediately!

The fact that Bill English, now the Prime Minister of New Zealand, knew all about the misappropriation of the leaders fund to clean up Barclay's stinking mess makes this so much worse. The National party has essentially stolen taxpayer’s money.

How is the public meant to have confidence in the government and the Police when no search warrants were ever executed into Barclay's corruption and no prosecution was conducted?

Political editor Patrick Gower told The AM Show a firestorm is brewing over where the money came from.

"The payout came out of the leader's budget. That's a special taxpayers fund - a slush fund, essentially - held by the National Party leader."

"The question for the National Party today is why, when you have some sort of breakdown in your office, do you go out and literally take money off the taxpayer and use it to sort out your own problems? "

People wonder why National still has a lot of support. One of the reasons is that they use taxpayer’s money to purchase votes through various schemes that reward their supporters.

It's no secret that the National party funds the companies and people it’s associated with by using their political power, which is at the detriment of New Zealand.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister told TVNZ, "This matter has already been well covered in the media. It's pretty clear there was a breakdown in the employment relationship. Given it is an employment matter, it would be inappropriate to discuss the details."

If Bill English had any integrity, he would be requiring Todd Barclay to resign. I mean what type of politician refuses to cooperate with a police investigation? Clearly one that had something to hide.

How many more long-serving National employees are they going to lose just because Todd Barclay can smile like John Key?

18 Jun 2017

Sarah Thomson - Hero of the Week

People living in coastal areas throughout New Zealand know it, even farmers experiencing unprecedented flooding and droughts each year know it… so why isn’t the government taking climate change seriously?

The signs that Mother Nature isn’t happy with our current levels of pollution are clearly evident for all to see. But despite the increasing severe weather events, the National party is dragging its heels when it comes to implementing any type of adequate climate change policy.

That’s why it’s great to see concerned citizens like Sarah Thomson take the initiative and challenge the government on its woeful environmental track record.

On Friday, the Spinoff reported:

Why I’m taking the NZ government to court

I realised that politicians can’t always be trusted to act in the best interests of the people or the planet, and felt compelled by an irresistible force to do something, writes Sarah Thomson, ahead of a date at the High Court in Wellington this month

The day it really hit home was when I listened to James Hansen – the man who warned the world about climate change in the 1980s and whom NASA tried to silence – give a talk comparing climate change to an asteroid speeding towards Earth. The longer we delay taking action, the harder it will become to divert.

Fantastic! Here’s a James Hansen TED talk speech on climate change:

That’s some pretty sobering facts there. I can see why Sarah was inspired to take on the National led government on its climate change inaction and support of fossil fuel industries.

Most of us feel that the only power we have to change the laws that govern our lives and the world around us is the piece of paper we put in the ballot box every three years. But there is one last line of defence where ordinary people can use the laws already in place to create change: the courts.

I wish I shared Sarah’s confidence in the court process. The trick here will be to show that the government’s climate change policy is all hot air. National have in fact done nothing to build resiliency or curb our CO2 emissions in New Zealand. After nine long hard years, we still have one of the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions per capita in the world.

In November 2015, inspired by climate change litigation overseas including a case in the Netherlands where 900 Dutch citizens filed as plaintiffs, and in the US where 21 kids are taking a lawsuit against the Federal Government, I filed a legal action challenging the New Zealand government’s inadequate response to climate change. The case was the first of its kind here.

I was a student at the time, still in the midst of preparing for university exams, and with no experience in litigation. But I found a team of lawyers who shared my concern and who were ready to fight a battle all the way to the highest court. I was fortunate to also receive support from leading climate change experts, including New Zealand Professor James Renwick, and the very man who opened my eyes to climate change: James Hansen.

This is going to make for a very interesting court battle. It will also serve to keep the most important topic of our generation, climate change, in the media spotlight.

Only through public pressure can we hope to make governments favour clean energy production over polluting industries. It’s an incredibly important issue, being that our survival as a species depends on the powers that be changing their polluting ways.

That’s why Sarah wins this week’s Hero award. She is undoubtedly a fine upstanding Kiwi.