Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Week in Politics

Sheesh, what a week it's been. The corridors of power have been flat tack with spin, innuendo, and the truly inane.

Lets start with the last first.

Inanity of the Week.

This has to go to the minor parties (Greens, Maori Party, United Future, and ACT) for their proposed code of conduct. To see Rodney Hide and Peter Dunne talk about the need to remove personal attacks from the House was ludicrous given some of their past behaviour. Rodney Hide (now known as the recently reformed Rodney Hide) is noted for his sharp tongue and scathing with during Parliamentary debate. In fact it's a strength of his and by signing up to this code he's effectively emasculated himself. And as for sensible Peter (setting aside some of his past diatribes against the Greens) wasn't he the one that all but accused Labour of being political adulterers just a few weeks back?

Wally of the Week.

Gordon Copeland by a country mile. Gordo, if you're going to commit your vote to one party make sure you name it correctly when you do your interview with One News. Naming the wrong Party makes you look like a bit of a dick. And as for supporting the Government on confidence and supply and National on everything else, well that's just bizarre. It's not often that I find myself in agreement with Whaleoil but this time I think he's hit the nail on the head.

King Hit of the Week.

This goes to the Ombudsmen and their scathing report on the Department of Corrections and it's prisoner transport procedures. The bad news just keeps coming for Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor who is by now a dead man walking. The smart money says he loses the portfolio at the next Cabinet reshuffle. The question then becomes who will be the next minister? One can't really see people queuing up for this job as Corrections is where Ministers go to die. If I had to make a pick I'd posit Ruth Dyson, Lianne Dalziel, and Shane Jones as potential candidates.

In O'Connor's defence I have to say his performance in Question Time on Thursday was a marked improvement. For the first time in 18 months he actually took National MP Simon Power head on and fought fire with fire and came out of the debate with some credit. Though one has to ask; why hasn't he done this earlier? It seems like it's too little too late.

Bizarre Diplomacy Award.

The hands down winner here is Fiji's Interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama over his regime's expulsion of NZ High Commissioner Michael Green. It seems the marching orders stem from Mr Field getting a better seat at the rugby than did Frank. No wonder Bainimarama is known as Coup Coup Frank in some quarters.

Mind you Foreign Minister Winston Peters didn't exactly cover himself in glory in the way he handled the matter. The media were aware of the situation shortly before 10 am Wednesday morning but could they get a comment from the Minister or his office on the situation? Not likely. Peters was intending to release the information at a Select Committee hearing after midday (if one was cynical one might suspect he intended to grandstand on the issue) and there was no way he was letting anything slip. In fact he went so far as to have the media booted out of the hearing when he briefed the Committee. The end result was that National Leader John Key was the first politician to comment on the development - not a good look for the Government.

The other bizarre thing about the Select Committee hearing was that for an hour and half not a single MP asked a question about Fiji. The biggest issue of the day and they stayed mute throughout. National also did itself no favours by not being there. They'd walked out in a huff earlier.

Junket Award.

I'm awarding this one to Trevor Mallard. It seems our Sports and Recreation Minister is heading back to Valencia again for the conclusion of the America's Cup. It seems being there for the Louis Vuitton Cup was so appealing he's felt the need to go straight back again. Mind you his presence there could explain this outburst from Ernesto Bertarelli about boorish Kiwi fans. Trevor "Heineken" Mallard does have a certain reputation.

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