John Key turns Watchdogs into lapdogs
One of the triumphs of National has been the de-fanging of any watchdog that might threaten the privatization agenda. National follow a well worn path with these watchdogs, either stack the boards with right wing acolytes or strangle off budget so that the Watchdog can't resource investigations into abuses of power.
Turning our watchdogs into lapdogs is a neat trick, but the long term impacts don't bode well for our liberal democratic aspirations.
Public Broadcasting is supposed to be a watchdog, but by re-defining talent shows as public broadcasting (because it's broadcast to the public) we mutilate the concept into cheap entertainment to numb and distract rather than engage and challenge. Combine this redefined Circus Maximus content equation to cutting back on public broadcasting funding and the political appointment of John Key's electorate chair onto NZ on Air into the mix, and we have a public broadcasting watchdog that has been neutered and muzzled.
John Armstrong (hardly someone you would call a woolly socialist) pointed out what underfunding the Ombudsman is doing to slow unchecked political power. Slowing our Ombudsman watchdog to a snail's pace could be considered an oversight, but when linked to the exact same resourcing problem at the Office of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner and we get a picture of two of our highest placed watchdogs so squeezed for funding that they can't afford to bark.
How convenient for the Government.
Adding to that convenience is the rumors of 30% cuts at the Human Rights Commission after the Tribunal was stacked by National Party rednecks.
The National Party have systematically strangled off and defanged every watchdog we have while blitzkrieging their privatization agenda through without so much of a whimper.
How terribly trusting of us?