Red Alert

Archive for the ‘John Key’ Category

NZ and the disarmament agenda – where are we?

Posted by on December 19th, 2013

The nuclear disarmament agenda has been gathering pace internationally in 2013 but our government has been ignoring, or just missing, every opportunity to do anything to advance it.

We had a great statement on it read at the UNGA recently by our disarmament ambassador, but that was despite Murray McCully, not because of him. She has been withdrawn from Geneva and sent back to Wellington, and the poor sole rep in Geneva is left there defending our interests and trying to advance the agenda without any instructions from government in Wellington.

The humanitarian rationale for non-proliferation and dismantling of nuclear weapons is gaining traction internationally. The impact of even one nuclear bomb being detonated (they are so much more powerful now than in 1945) will have catastrophic implications for the global environment and climate, food production and security, economics and politics, that winding back our collective arsenals and decommissioning nuclear warhead production is the only sensible way forward.

There are more or less 17,270 nuclear weapons in the world right now, of which 4,400 are on high alert, or ready to be used immediately. $1.75 trillion USD is spent annually on military expansion. Just 9 countries spend $100billion USD per annum, that is nearly $300million USD daily, on nuclear weapons. Just imagine what we could do if……

NZ had an opportunity to assist Obama and the US in his ambitious programme for the de-escalation of this threat to humanity, but John Key only saw it as a photo op. What a waste. It’s time he moved over and let someone who actually cares about NZ’s role in the world take over. David Cunliffe will do nicely.

Winning : Why are you the one to take on and beat John Key? Labour Leadership Q&A #14

Posted by on September 13th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 14

Winning in 2014 : Why are you the one to take on and beat John Key?

Question : John Key seems to be made of Teflon, people love his down to earth way and the fact he is a self-made millionaire, what do you think is needed to take the shine off his popularity and why do you think you can be ‘the one’ to take him on and win the next election?

Submitted by : Annalise Roache, Auckland


Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog. This started Tuesday 10th September, and continues till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.



Answer from David Cunliffe

For too long, Labour has consistently under-estimated John Key.

I won’t. I’ve got his number. John Key and National are prepared to spend billions in next year’s budget to make sure they win the next election. We must be ready to win and lead.

I can foot it with John Key or any other National Minister in any debate, anywhere, anytime. But we need to offer a clear alternative to John Key and his Government.

A Labour party I lead will offer a clear vision for a fairer, more prosperous New Zealand.

At the last election more than 800,000 people didn’t vote. We must engage and re-energise these people. They don’t want to hear that Labour is just a paler shade of blue; they want a true Labour party.

We must harness the collective talents of our Party, caucus and Labour movement for a common cause.

We need a renewal of our single, united purpose to speak for those who can not speak, to advocate for workers and their families, and recognise the needs and rights of hardworking New Zealanders everywhere.

To win, Labour needs urgency, unity, and strategy.

That is what I offer. I am ready to win.


Answer from Shane Jones

John Key is a wealthy man and has been able to convince voters that they too can enjoy his good fortune.

I believe I can match his down to earth ways.

I can relate to the 800,000 voters who have not turned out to vote Labour in 2011.

I do not trot out jargon because I believe kiwis want to hear an authentic voice.

A voice which brings Maori, provincial, Pacifica and working class votes forward.


Answer from Grant Robertson

More than half New Zealanders say that they don’t believe what John Key says.

I believe that the shine is wearing off him. New Zealanders feel that he is out of touch. But we can not underestimate him.

We need to speak directly, consistently and clearly to them to show that National has failed them, and that Labour has the values and the policies to make their lives better.

I have proven that I can put John Key under pressure in Parliament, such as during the GCSB/Ian Fletcher debacle.

Now is the time for me to take it to him right across New Zealand.

I would love nothing more than to go head to head with him in debates to call him out on his failure to deliver a brighter future.

I believe I have the skills to put Labour’s message authentically, directly and clearly to New Zealanders, and the political judgement to know the issues to use against him.


Nothing to fear, nothing to hide

Posted by on October 16th, 2012

Its been a couple of weeks since we have had the chance to test what standard of Ministerial behaviour is acceptable to John Key. I had another opportunity today in the House, armed with some new information.

It pays to remember that one of the things John Key campaigned on in 2008 was to instill high standards of ethical behaviour for Ministers. That’s one of the reasons that we have pursued the John Banks debacle because by any measure his behaviour has not reached the standards that I think New Zealanders would expect of their Ministers.

When the Police file on John Banks was released in September Mr Banks was the only one of the major players who’s witness statement was missing. And even in the summary report the three paragraphs referencing it were withheld. At the time Mr Banks claimed it was the Police who had made that decision.

Mr Banks said it was the police who decided keep his statement under wraps. Press secretary Shelley Mackey said: “Mr Banks is not responsible for what the police have released.”

We asked for all the correspondence between Mr Banks and the Police on the release of the report, and lo and behold we found a letter from Mr Banks’ lawyer that said

Accordingly, disclosure of any material relating to Mr Banks, or indeed any part of the investigation file, is opposed.

More lies, half-truths and obfuscations from John Banks. He has gone to great lengths to ensure that New Zealanders can not read what he told the Police about the donations to his Mayoral campaign. This from the man who said he had ‘nothing to fear and nothing to hide’. And all the while John Key clings on to Mr Banks to uphold his Parliamentary majority. At the expense of not only increased Ministerial standards, but almost any Ministerial standards at all.

Some might ask is this really damaging John Key. I think it is. The beginning of New Zealanders sense of disappointment in John Key can be traced to the “cup of tea” with John Banks, and his wilful ignorance of breaches of Ministerial standards just adds to the growing sense that he has failed to live up to his own hype.

Sticking up for your city

Posted by on April 22nd, 2012

It’s one of the main jobs of any member of parliament to stick up for your patch. You are elected by a constituency and they want and expect you to defend them and promote their rights. I don’t think constituents expect to get a better deal than anyone else in the grand scheme of things, but they don’t want to be treated with contempt and disrespect.

I don’t think it’s any surprise to anyone that I’ve come out fighting over the extraordinary, but probably predictable decision by Kiwirail to put the Hillside workshops up for sale. In Saturday’s Otago Daily Times I was quite forthright in expressing my views. I used some rather unladylike language and had to ring my mum the day before to warn her.

I stand by what I said. I think the government (and Kiwirail) have pissed on Dunedin. I think many Dunedin-ites agree. Saturday’s ODT editorial seems to agree too though in more polite terms.

I think that the only way we’re going to sort things is for Dunedin people to take control ourselves. And to have a future Labour government backing rail.

I’ll do my best to help find a buyer for Hillside. I’ll continue to take the fight to parliament and I’ll remain a thorn in the side of this government and the local National List MP Michael Woodhouse who has seriously let down the people of Dunedin in the pursuit of his own career. I’ll advocate for the need for and the importance of this industry to remain in public hands, and indeed to just bloody remain in our country.

When I took this job on I understood that there are times when sticking up for your city is more important than towing toeing a party line that you don’t agree with and which is going to hurt your city. It’s a judgement to be rarely exercised. Sometimes the greater good is more important than a local issue. But every MP should have the right and the responsibility to stand up for their city. This was one of those times. Woodhouse didn’t even think about it.

He blocked a select committee hearing on the petition signed last year by nearly 14,000 people (mostly from Dunedin) calling on the government to save the Hillside and Woburn (Hutt) workshops. He has never been held accountable for refusing to allow the people of Dunedin, the Hillside workers and their union to have a say before a parliamentary committee. He should be.

His government is negligent, disingenuous and downright liars about their responsibilities for Kiwirail and its decision and their knowledge of those decisions. As my colleague David Parker has said; if the KiwiRail board had made the same announcement without telling a Labour government, the board would have been sacked. It is just nonsense and untrue for shareholding Ministers to say they didn’t know Kiwirail’s direction and decisions. And it is very clear that they don’t oppose Kiwirail’s decision to sell Hillside.

There’s more at stake than the nearly 130 jobs, the loss of wages, taxes, skills and the more than 137 year history of a competent and valued rail manufacturing plant to the city of Dunedin. There are more than 70 engineering businesses clustered around Hillside. It’s the backbone of our city. It’s becoming more high tech. It’s a hugely important part of our local and regional economy.

This government doesn’t give a stuff. They allowed (and encouraged) it to be run down and now it’s being sold because Kiwirail says it’s not viable. Kiwirail deliberately made it unviable.

I ask you this. How is that that contracts have been handed to the Chinese to build rail wagons that are dubious in quality, when those same wagons could have been built here? They may have cost a bit more, but the workmanship would have been assured, the maintenance would have been less and have been more easily accomplished, and the people who built the wagons would have been earning decent wages and paying taxes in the New Zealand economy.

Kiwirail, and the government, has blocked any independent scrutiny of the dodgy process in awarding those contracts to China North Rail and the quality issues associated with the Chinese wagons. It’s time for some sunlight on both.

It is not false economy to manufacture in your own country. It’s our productive economy. I’d stand up for manufacturing jobs any day against paying for more pokie machines that create immeasurable social harm and are part of a mates deal to an organisation that will profit, might create a few more service economy jobs, but is unlikely add much more real value to our economy.

And I reckon that’s worth sticking up for.