John Banks may not get the sack as a minister but even the Prime Minister isn’t going to go out of his way to defend him any more than he has to.
When Banks’ chief tormentor Kim Dotcom turned up at Parliament this week, his ex-friend the ex-mayor was nowhere to be seen.
Asked if he believed Mr Banks should have shown up, John Key said that was Banks' choice ‘but I know what I do' – see Rebecca Quilliam, Claire Trevett and Kate Shuttleworth’s Dotcom case: PM 'never runs'. And according to Jane Clifton, the debate in Parliament is reaching such levels of absurdity that at one stage ‘Key leapt up, flung his arms in the air crying 'Rhubarb!' and sat down’ – see: Banks of loud rhubarb on Planet Key.
The Opposition is enjoying the sport at question time, and John Banks has a distinctly hunted look as he tries to avoid media questioning. But trying to bring him down over the legalities may be the wrong tactic writes Scott Yorke in Say What You Like, But He's No Criminal
. Yorke is, nevertheless, unimpressed with John Key’s continuing support of the Act leader and also parodies how the PM might rationalise future ministerial indiscretions – see: Next Week's Q&A
It seems that on Planet Key there are also meetings to discuss ideas that have already been ruled out. Regardless of whether Maori negotiate together or ‘iwi by iwi’, it is likely that the Government’s consultation hui will have little bearing on the outcome. Duncan Garner is scathing: ‘Prime Minister John Key says it's unacceptable. So let's talk about it. Seriously, these iwi leaders didn't come down in the last shower…. It's a sham. It's disingenuous. It's based on a lie’ – see: Iwi 'consultation' is a sham and insults Maori
. The Maori Party is now openly attacking National about the process, with MP Te Ururoa Flavell saying, ‘The Crown has deliberately gone into these hui with a pre-determined outcome’ – see: Govt's approach to hui questioned
Meanwhile the merits of the water claim continue to be debated. The Dominion Post editorial title is clear: Water claim is nonsense
. It says ‘Issuing unreasonable and unrealistic demands is not what Maoridom needs from its leaders’. This has prompted a detailed rebuttal from Morgan Godfery, including: ‘Property rights also go to the heart of western society. The Right like to extoll the values of western society, except when those values apply to brown folk. In these situations the rules change’ – see: Fisking the Dominion Post
. Similarly, Tim Selwyn (The Pakeha Veto
) takes David Farrar to task for his recent post, So much for that hui
Other important or interesting political items today include:
Are US warships about to come back to New Zealand? No. But it’s certainly significant that New Zealand is hosting a visit from the US Defence Secretary for the first time in 30 years. The visit is all about getting NZ onside for the growing rivalry in the Asia-Pacific between the US and China – see Robert Ayson’s NZ needs to watch out for itself
. And according to Brian Rudman, the Americans want to be our best friends again, but the price may be too high – see: US defence boss likely to demand too much
. The visit is also covered by the assistant editor of the UK’s Guardian newspaper, who aggregates various news stories and online opinions about the issue in Leon Panetta gets a lukewarm welcome in New Zealand
At the time he told the nation that the disaster had brought the community together but, according to Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, his upcoming book will reveal ‘the arguments, indecision, petty jealousies, power struggles and policies’ – see Glenn Conway and Sam Sachdeva’s Parker book airs post-quake 'power struggles'
Some experts claim the Government will still be in a $1 billion dollar hole by 2015 but Bill English is holding the line – even if further budget cuts are needed to meet the surplus target – see Andrea Vance’s Government holds to surplus timing
As debate continues over what the Reserve Bank should or can do about the high exchange rate Brian Fallow argues that the problem is ‘It has been too easy, a cop-out really, for governments to subscribe to the myth of central bank omnipotence and outsource the task of stabilisation entirely to them’ – see: Monetary policy needs mates
Fresh from advocating wholesale nationalisation of strategic resources, well known ‘pinko’ Fran O’Sullivan is now calling for strategic state investment in Fisher and Paykel to ensure at least some of the company remains in Kiwi hands – see: Institutions should stick with F&P
Banks and Planet Key
Kim Dotcom’s visit to Parliament
Water claims hui
SAS in Afghanistan
US-NZ defence relations