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?”
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”
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)”
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 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”
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”
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”