Judge’s ruling in Boris case raises the idea of jailing all politicians who lie – but would this quickly fill our prisons?

The headline on an article in the New York Times a few years ago asserted:  “All Politicians Lie. Some Lie More Than Others.”

The article was written by a political fact-checker who – not surprisingly – found Donald J. Trump’s record on truth and accuracy was “astonishingly poor”.

At that time – when Trump was campaigning to become the Republican presidential candidate – her team had checked more than 70 Trump statements and rated fully 75% of them as Mostly False, False or “Pants on Fire” (the last category covered claims that were both inaccurate and ridiculous).

Trump has told many more lies since then. According to the tally published in The Washington Post in November last year, he had told 6,420 lies in his presidency.  In the seven weeks leading up to the mid-term elections, his rate increased to 30 per day.

The question we are raising at Point of Order today is whether political lying should be a crime and, if so, what the penalty should be.  Why not a stretch in prison? 

Our thinking has been triggered by Boris Johnson, Britain’s rumpled former foreign secretary, being called to answer for the lie at the heart of his Brexit campaign. Continue reading “Judge’s ruling in Boris case raises the idea of jailing all politicians who lie – but would this quickly fill our prisons?”

PM’s perfect pitch wins plaudits on the world stage and piles up political capital at home

Has any NZ prime minister ever generated the vast international kudos and admiration as Jacinda Ardern has gathered in the wake of the Christchurch massacre?

Few of those of us who have covered NZ politics for decades can think of anyone who could come near her.

Most of all, it has been all her own work, by her own hand and instinct.  In the immediate aftermath of the shootings, she declined draft statements prepared by her office and wrote them all herself.

She achieved a perfect pitch and tone that continue to echo around the world.  NZ’s embassies report universal admiration for her demeanour.  Many have been visited by inter-faith groups offering praise and support and invitations to attend Friday prayers. Continue reading “PM’s perfect pitch wins plaudits on the world stage and piles up political capital at home”

Hurrah – three MPs are sent to bat for democracy (but they will be doing it in Doha)

Just a few days after the Hastings District Council voted to change its governance system, the Speaker of the NZ House of Representatives, Trevor Mallard, announced the despatch of three members of Parliament to champion democracy.

No, they aren’t headed for the Hawke’s Bay to remonstrate with the Mayor and councillors who voted to attenuate their democratic system by appointing four members of the Maori Joint Committee to the council’s four standing committees.

Rather, as the heading on the press statement tells us, they are headed for Doha, Qatar, to participate in a “global forum for democracy” from 5 to 10 April .

The statement says:

New Zealand MPs participate in global forum to advance democracy, human rights, and peace

Three Members of Parliament will represent New Zealand at the 140th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly, where democracy, human rights, and peace will be on the agenda.

Continue reading “Hurrah – three MPs are sent to bat for democracy (but they will be doing it in Doha)”

New Conservatives are refreshed – and optimistic – after winning 0.2% of the party vote in 2017

We were reminded today of the minor parties and their role in our political system  by a press release headed New Conservative – from Strength to Strength.

The announcement of two new board members, David Moffett and Casey Costello, would make New Conservative a serious contender in the 2020 election, chairman Simon Gutschlag declared .

“With the growing success we are seeing, our Board has been keen to add specific skills that will be necessary to take the Party forward towards the next election,” says New Conservative Board Chairman, Simon Gutschlag.

“The 2020 General Election is likely to be the most crucial election in NZ politics for the past 30 years. We will fight for every New Zealander, not just those that support us, and we will do that with a highly skilled, energetic and professional team, dedicated to putting people at the heart of every policy and decision.”

The press statement includes brief notes on both new board members. Continue reading “New Conservatives are refreshed – and optimistic – after winning 0.2% of the party vote in 2017”

Chris Finlayson bows out – but first he shares his thoughts on good governance

Chris  Finlayson  always  stood  out  as  an exceptional  talent in  the  Key-English  Cabinets  and    his   work in  progressing  treaty settlements  is one of the great legacies  from  that  period of  National  government.

So, at a  time  when New  Zealanders’  faith  in  the role of the  State has been severely shaken by government agencies “spying” on citizens, Finlayson applied his formidable intellect in his last speech in  Parliament to point  the  way   ahead.

He told  a  crowded  House  in  his  valedictory he had  great respect for the  institution, but there will be much to do in the years to come, including reviewing the role of the State.  Continue reading “Chris Finlayson bows out – but first he shares his thoughts on good governance”

Who’s Pugh? An MP who graciously responds to disparagement and has a mum to champion her

It would make a great title for her memoir:  Who’s Pugh?

She was not the best known of MPs until she was named in dispatches during the brouhaha between National Party leader Simon Bridges and former National Party whip Jami-Lee Ross.

As the whole country now knows, during a phone chat which Ross recorded Bridges said Pugh was fucking useless.

“Point of Order” wonders what West Coasters will make of that judgement, because Wikipedia says she was elected to the Westland District Council in 1998 and served two terms before being elected as the district’s first woman mayor in 2004. In 2007 she was returned as mayor unopposed. She stood down at the 2013 local body elections and at the 2014 general election she contested the West Coast-Tasman electorate for the National Party.
Continue reading “Who’s Pugh? An MP who graciously responds to disparagement and has a mum to champion her”

Chutzpah and the amazing Winston Peters – surely he qualifies for a place on Martin’s list

Winston Peters  chutzpah  has  a  breathtaking element  to  it.  It’s  what  leaves some people stunned  as  the  old master struts  the political stage.

No  wonder  Simon  Bridges  seemed   lost for  a  counter when Peters  – at  the  25th  anniversary  celebrations of  New Zealand First  on Sunday – described  National   as “leaderless:  it’s moribund and it’s vacuous, and it’s got bitter and  jealous”.

For  a  party   that  wants to  put to Parliament  legislation to  compel  immigrants to  subscribe  to  NZ  “values” (yes, but not  necessarily  the  Treaty of  Waitangi)  it  seems a  bit  rich to  describe  another party  as  “vacuous”.

But   the  remarkable point   about  Peters’  comment  is  his dismissal of National  as   “leaderless”.  Would that  be because Simon Bridges   now  represents  Tauranga, the  seat    which Peters  commanded for a  decade  or so?   Surely  not.

Continue reading “Chutzpah and the amazing Winston Peters – surely he qualifies for a place on Martin’s list”