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Friday, October 14, 2011

Breaking up

I listened to John Key's weak and petty comments on the Rena disaster the other day and noted some facts:
1. He choose to go to Maketu for a media conference - the furtherest place impacted so that there would be the least amount of local criticism and evidence of oil while still being able to claim he had been to the site of the spill.
2. The embarassing nodding and pantomime facial expressions in the background during the interview from the local young flunky MP, Simon Bridges, made both of them look like fools.
3. The PM's comments that Phil Goff was cynical in participating in a photo op' on the beach doesn't change the fact that Phil Goff with his bucket and spade in half an hour was making more of a response than John Key has made in a week of dithering, excuses and buck-passing.
4. The PM has not encountered bad press and hostility like this before in his term and his reaction was alarmingly similar to Helen Clark - focus on the initial fault of someone else and get angry about it as if that were the only issue and if that doesn't work get angry about those who criticise the PM. It's a game of deflection and it doesn't wash because it doesn't answer the questions the public have a right to know. [UPDATE 4:30pm: Just heard on RNZ that he's been to Papamoa to a public meeting and said he's "as angry about it as they are"! Classic Helen Clark deflection line that one - doesn't let him off the hook at all, doesn't answer the question why he didn't respond quickly or with any effect.]

The only way to win this PR meltdown for the National government was to have done something, or at least be seen to be doing something now. Setting up the nation's biggest call centre and saying it is a crisis response doesn't wash, neither does a volunteer army who are no substitute for the actual army and navy who have been relatively inactive.

While the Rena survived the last two days of heavy weather - albeit incurring a large crack in the middle - the possibility that sea conditions will become unfavourable before any substantial amount of oil is pumped out is a real one. The Rena is at risk of breaking up. The public's relationship with the PM is also at risk of breaking up - and the Nat's seem more concerned about that than the oil.

Stuff: Clean-up teams are being prepared in Whakatane for oil washing up there from the stricken ship Rena.

More than 350 tonnes of oil has spilled into the ocean since the 47,000-tonne cargo ship grounded on the Astrolabe Reef off the Tauranga coast on October 5.

More than 1350 tonnes remains on board, with only 10 tonnes being removed by salvors since the grounding.

Maritime NZ (MNZ) director Catherine Taylor said less oil had come ashore overnight "though we do know it is moving eastwards and there are reports of it moving beyond Maketu for the first time."

There had been reports of oil on Whale Island but this had not been confirmed.

The next stop after Whakatane is here - where I am. And I will be holding John Key responsible for every drop that I find on the local beaches of the Eastern Bay have no doubt. The people here will be angry, they will be motivated to respond and they will be organised. The Nats are going to take a hit in every general seat in the Bay.

The local Maori Trust Board have started the first lines of their mussel farm a few kilometres out from the coast. The water column is one of the best for growing shellfish in the country and initial results are promising. If that is affected by the Rena spill then it links Iwi all the way around the Bay to Whanau-a-Apanui - who have protested the Petrobras exploration survey earlier in the year - in vehement opposition to anything to do with oil drilling.

It is apparent to everyone except the MPs of the National Party that the government has no response capability to even a minor spill and that granting drilling permits in the deep sea would be an invitation to a catastrophe no one would be able to control and that would ruin the sustainable food supply provided by the ocean - for decades, possibly for generations. Only the highest order of greed-mongering whores would be venal, myopic and reckless enough to do that... and they are called the NZ National Party. They are willing to play Russian roulette with everything truly valuable about this place just to give themselves a bloody tax cut - why would anyone vote for that?


At 14/10/11 6:46 pm, Blogger H Stewart said...

Tim I rate you as a blogger / political prisoner but mate take a few deep breaths the response is dictated by process and it is the process and I suspect that we might need to look at that.

I didn't comment on your blog yesterday about risk adverse woman as it was wrong it is a risk adverse public service and that is reflected in their political bosses be they left or right.

Phil Goiff achieved nothing not even a PR gain in my opinion with the spade. John Key on the other hand fucked up my sex life today because a friend felt she couldn't travel to Auckland because JK was holding a meeting. She is Maori and wanted to question him,( I almost but not quite feel sorry for him) I would be shit scared of having to answer her questions.

Point 4 I suspect he is telling the truth, again I think we need to think about the process.

I will blog soon on this but hell I think the whole bloody disaster might come down to data entry.

This is political but the politics will be in the response after we have delt with the actual problem.

At 14/10/11 8:07 pm, Blogger Tim said...

...."2. The embarassing nodding and pantomime facial expressions in the background during the interview from the local young flunky MP, Simon Bridges, made both of them look like fools.?

Watch Parliament sometime. You'll foind Soimun nodding in agreement loik an ass-licking little ideolgue too - over ambitious and with a hero worship to a man with no substance. Soimun has ambishuns 4shore.

I can't understand it - the guy is actually super intelligent. Still - I spose that's what ambition and ego can do. Actually I can understand it just because in debates, he's apt to 'talk over' and try and 'shout down' anyone with a different view.
I feel sorry for his woif, but it moit very well be her indoors that's pushing the silly little cnut.
As for Jonky's media presentation - if NZers don't see through it, they won't ever. and Oi won't be surprised given recent history.

y the way....where's Whaleoil's presence these days (on tumeke, Citizen A, et al.?)
...."It is apparent to everyone except the MPs of the National Party that the government has no response capability to even a minor spill"....
Should have been apparent 20 years ago to Nats and Labs alike. We "corporatised" gubbamint agencies. We have 'CEO's" heading things; we have public servants forgetting the "servent" bit and with a new attitude.
We have a number of little corporate feifdoms appointed on the basis of political allegiances or out of political correctness - caability, accountability and any other "KPI" (in the new lingo) is irrelevant. Actually take that KPI thing literally if you happen to be a PS. Don't moan too hard either id things are feeling austere 'cos half you obviously voted for the specimen - tho' I've yet to find one that will admit it.
A quarter of a century of proof that the corporateised environment just doesn't work, but still we persist, and hobits sleep on. So much so that we've elected an international embarassment for a Proim Minsta.
Remember that corporatisation of the PS was sposed to de-politicise, and make things more efficiemt. Exactly the opposite has occured of course - INCLUDING the Police. It's more partisan, less efficient, as we know...a law unto itself (and if they break it the pollies will just change it on their behalf), inexpert, daily fuckups, extravagence, waste, tiers of self-indulgent pillocks...Jesus, the list goes on - EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE! Result: Events and consequences like Tauranga, Pike River, ChCh = pick and issue!
Thank God I have the luxury of being able to sit back and watch on with amusement.

At 14/10/11 11:47 pm, Blogger Frank said...

Tim, some kind of deal with Petrobras has already been signed. I believe it's for a 5 year exploration permit.


However, "exploratory" drilling canb be as potentially destructive as commercial drilling.

The contract needs to be cancelled.

As for National taking a "hit" on this - you may be hearted by this;


At 15/10/11 12:23 pm, Blogger Frank said...

"Only the highest order of greed-mongering whores would be venal, myopic and reckless enough to do that... and they are called the NZ National Party."

And their half-witted followers...

At 16/10/11 11:33 pm, Blogger Frank said...

It seems that John Key's credibility downgrade is starting to take root out in the 'burbs...


At 17/10/11 10:11 am, Blogger countryboy said...

Jesus ! We Kiwis are in trouble ... Big trouble . Our leader ; a vacant , skillful , artful dodger who never , ever shows his left hand what his right hand is up to and our opposition leader , a vacant , skillful , artful dodger who never , ever shows his left brain cell what his right brain cell is up to . key is as cunning as a shit house rat and about as clean , goff is just plain dumb as clay . key sucks corporate penis , including insurance penis , hence the ' pump out the oil from Rena NOW ! ' delay's . Maritime NZ (MNZ) director Catherine Taylor said something like this ; ' Insurance and legal people had to be contacted first . Does that mean Insurance companies and their lawyers are more important than people , coastlines , animals and birds ? Yes , it does ! It begs the question . Does that mean that corporate profits , corporate interests et al and the future of corporations and their interests in our country are more important than our well being and that our politicians have lied to us , sold us out and profited by selling our stuff to Them ? Yes it does ! We , us Kiwi's have a frightening leadership deficit bolstered by the fact that so few of us are lining up to vote in the coming elections and I wonder if those who do vote actually know what they're doing ? And if they do ... who the fuck does one actually vote for ? The neo liberal regime we endure have done such an efficient job of discrediting our political process that voting seems like a worthless pastime and so what's the point of it all ... That's exactly what they want ! While we snoozed along the battle lines , the enemy has sneaked in and made itself at home . They have their big dirty boots resting on our dinner tables as we look in from the outside , shivering in the cold ! Who's holding the door open for them ? New Zealand is now a Corporate Empire ! It's not something that might happen in some dark and distant Orwellian future . It's not some future prediction as warning bells sound as we rally round to guard ourselves against attack . It has happened ! Our governance is no longer a Democratic process . It's lawyers talking to lawyers as shiny , new private prisons are built ! Never mind though ! We beat the Aussies ! Awwwwwwww Mate ! Pass the Vaseline !

At 17/10/11 7:23 pm, Blogger Gem said...

Tonight (17 October), TVNZ devoted the first ten minutes of their 6:00 pm news to coverage about the All Blacks beating the Wallabies. Yes, this victory is something for the All Blacks to be proud of and for their supporters to celebrate. An exciting triumph definitely deserves in-depth coverage. It has already received such attention – the match and analysis of it was screened last night on TV1, TV3 and Maori Television. Yes, the win should be covered on the 6:00 pm news. The rightful place for such reportage is during the sports segment of the news.

Something else significant, yet not nearly as exciting and celebratory, is happening right now: the Rena disaster. The ongoing effects of this wreck are unknown but will be, presumably, momentous. That TVNZ didn’t lead with coverage about Rena suggests something beyond a keen, patriotic devotion to sports. TVNZ’s relegation of Rena to second place in favour of merry commentary on the All Blacks smacks of willful, false, manipulative cheeriness that is designed to divert people’s attention from an ecological catastrophe.

I congratulate TV3 for leading with the Rena disaster. I telephoned them and gave them positive feedback. I also telephoned TVNZ and told them to get their priorities straight. Interestingly, when I called TVNZ, their lines were all busy. Perhaps others were calling to voice their concern about TVNZ’s calculatedly skewed values.

The downplaying of the Rena catastrophe is cynical and disrespectful. I have heard (on television, radio and in articles), several people saying of the tragedy, “No one died.” So, it has come to this – the benchmark for adversity is set so high that anything short of human death no longer counts as catastrophic. Those trotting out this fatuous line do so to perpetuate a culture of fake jolliness, in which difficult questions are not asked and responsibility is shrugged off and shifted; in which measures to avoid future problems are never implemented and by ignoring history, we doom ourselves to repeat it.

Of course, the Rena disaster has become a political issue. Even so, let’s put politics aside for a moment; regardless of political belief, surely most people would agree that calamities cannot be addressed by using avoidance strategies like fake high-spiritedness, determined ignorance, and establishing a ridiculously rigid, prohibitive definition of tragedy. We need to consider this disaster, and other serious issues, in a mature, thoughtful way. That is not the same as juvenile finger pointing and blaming. As an aside: often, when people cry foul about supposed finger pointing and armchair critics, what they are actually doing is expressing anger at the fact that others are daring to ask questions about what is happening. For an example of such deflection, please refer to Paul Holmes’ interview of Steven Joyce on Q+A (16 October).

What is called for at times like these is honest, meaningful attention paid to the issue at hand. Asking questions and thinking (and, of course, taking action) are, amongst other things, the minimum requirements for being an adult. A quote attributed to Freud springs to mind: “Do not forget – to be an adult, one must dare to ask, why and how so, and also to express one’s own opinion or opposition. If you do not do that, you will always remain a child and it will always be the others that decide over you!”

At 18/10/11 5:03 pm, Blogger Shackleford Hurtmore said...

To be fair, John Key is only the Prime Minister. Warner Brothers still haven't phoned him up and told him what to do about the Rena yet.


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