Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Good and bad

This story makes me proud to be a Kiwi. Police are not bailiffs. We'd all be better off if their counterparts in the UK and USA remembered that distinction more often: their job is to keep the peace, not to "enforce" anyone's rights.

This story, I am much less proud of. John Key seems determined to victimise a more-or-less blameless cameraman just because he's been embarrassed.

Nobody looks particularly shiny in this episode. Banks is guilty of campaigning under false colours - he's a National man through and through, the only reason he's standing for a different party is to abuse a quirk of the electoral system that's supposed to improve representation for minorities (of which he decidedly isn't one). The opposition parties are guilty of hypocrisy in exploiting a stroke of luck - it's what I'd expect from Labour, but I'm disappointed in the normally idealistic Greens. And even the poor old cameraman is guilty of, at best, carelessness.

But John Key, now - his hypocrisy is multi-layered, cream-filled and chocolate-coated. He has been instrumental in making the ACT party the joke it is today - and now he publicly dispenses favours, like a medieval monarch, to reinforce its dependency on him personally. He publicised the meeting and made sure there would be plenty of coverage for it.

But the richest irony is in one of his last acts in the outgoing parliament, which was to push through - under "urgency", which is New Zealand-speak for "no discussion" - measures to make it legal for police to make (and use) covert recordings of political dissidents.

What's sauce for the goose, John...

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