‘The most telling incident of the campaign’By Mandy Hager
Much as John Key would have liked voters to forget the so-called ‘tea party’ incident, it was the single most telling incident of the whole election campaign.
Don’t forget that the meeting between Key and Banks was set up as a publicity stunt, designed to sure up National support via the Act Party vote in Epsom — to enable them to get their right wing agenda in the back door of Parliament.
The ethics of the meeting alone showed how little regard National have for a fair and transparent voting system – but then to have claimed some kind of moral high ground because their discussion was inadvertently taped was downright cynical and manipulative.
Key initiated this meeting, knew the media would be there and knew there would be a great deal of interest in the discussion that ensued.
To have claimed that he had the right to a private discussion, in the middle of a media circus of his own creation, was disingenuous at best and insulting to our intelligence at worst.
If, as he claimed, the discussion was bland, then he should have insisted that the contents of the tape were revealed.
If it wasn’t, more fool him for saying anything at such a high profile meeting. He could easily have any such discussion with Banks in private: the fact that he chose such a public place, with media attending at his own behest, shows a level of arrogance and stupidity that clearly reveals the lack of moral fibre necessary to lead our country through such a difficult time.
It is the media’s duty to report on issues of importance, and the National/Act alliance was certainly that. Whether the tape was accidentally recorded or not, in the context of this electioneering stunt, Key and Banks had no right to privacy.
To make matters worse, Key called in the strong arm of the law and said it was unethical – what a joke from a man whose party pushed through draconian legislation which will allow ordinary people to be secretly recorded, thanks to their Search and Surveillance Bill. Such hypocrisy should not go unchallenged.
It all adds ammunition to the claim that National’s agenda was to tell the public only what it wanted us to know (and what it thought we wanted to hear), while keeping their real intentions quiet until it was too late for electors to make a more informed choice.
Another perfect example of this was Transport Minister Steven Joyce’s refusal to reveal the real costs of the proposed Kapiti Excessway until after the elections, when it will be revealed that this ill-conceived monstrosity will go tens of millions of dollars over the declared budget, at a time when the country can ill-afford to spend such a ridiculous amount of money on a road that will not only fracture a community and undermine the physical and mental health of all those affected (numbering in the hundreds.)
Joyce’s obsession with road building is dinosaur thinking in an age where climate issues and peak oil change all the rules for future infrastructure developments!