The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop

‘Flak’ from John Armstrong – (NZ Herald’s Chief political reporter) suggests Penny Bright may well be ‘over the target’?

3 April 2011

My 29 March 2011 “PRESS RELEASE:

“Is the attack on Phil Goff’s leadership being promoted by corporate interests who support NZ asset sales?”

got a great white (pointer) shark bite from John Armstrong – chief political reporter for the NZ Herald:

(NZ Herald, Saturday 2 April Pg A31

“One week in the life of NZ politicians


If you like a good conspiracy theory, then Penny Bright, the self-appointed watchdog on Auckland water supplies, is your person.

Bright, who stood for the Auckland Mayoralty last year and was an independent  candidate in last month’s Botany byelection, claims the Darren Hughes affair was a corporate media “beat up” to undermine Labour’s opposition to the state asset sales.

“Isn’t this the real reason behind the attack on Phil Goff’s leadership?”

Sorry Penny.  We doubt the media’s motives go much further than wanting to run a circulation-raising “MP enmeshed in sex scandal” type headlines.

And why would big business want to see Goff dumped?

Replace him and you risk getting someone who might pull off a (currently unlikely) election victory for Labour.

Compiled by John Armstrong”

It appears that I may have struck a rather raw nerve?

This is the Press Release to which John Armstrong, NZ Herald’s Chief Political Reporter is responding:

29 March 2011

Is this how democracy works in NZ?
We get the government the majority of big business want us to have – through corporate media manipulation?

Why aren’t corporate media focussing on helping to solve the continuing problem of the behaviour’ of MPs – by supporting a ‘Code of Conduct’ for NZ MPs?

Isn’t the real purpose of this Darren Hughes corporate media ‘beat up’ to try and completely undermine the Labour Party, as the main political party whose stated policy is opposition  to the corporate asset sale agenda?

Isn’t this the real reason behind  the attack on Phil Goff’s leadership?

Look at the Botany by-election result – the only ‘poll’ result that really counts – a binding vote of electors.
Asset sales were a key election issue. (3 minute clip – “Botany Candidates on Asset Sales” – debate 15/2/2011)

National’s Jami-Lee Ross supported the ‘partial privatisation’ (renamed)  ‘mixed ownership’ model – Labour’s Michael Wood (supported by Phil Goff), opposed it.

While Labour’s vote proportionately increased – National’s plummeted.
Pansy Wong’s electorate vote of over 17,000 dropped over 9,000.
Young Jami-Lee Ross got just over 8,000 votes.

The turnout was exceptionally low. 76% turnout in 2008 – dropped to 36% in 2011.
It’s not usually National Party voters who stay home – especially after John Key and Jami-Lee Ross effectively begged them to get out and vote. They didn’t.
More (former?) National Party voters stayed home than voted.

As an Independent Botany by-election candidate, my  own vote was not large, (124 votes), but in my opinion, the issues I raised, had an impact with a number of voters. Quarter page, page 3 advertisements which went into both the Howick and Botany Times and Howick and Pakuranga Times (which more than covered EVERY household in the Botany electorate), in the week before the by-election on  5 March 2011, included the following points:

“Why has there never been any ‘cost-benefit’ analysis of the ‘commercialise, corporatise – PRIVATISE ‘Rogernomics’ model – that this National/Act Government wants to extend?

Who has, and will benefit from future privatisation and asset sales?  The public?

How will the ‘Mums and Dads’ who can’t afford to pay their power bills, going to afford to invest in the power companies? “

(Full wording of the advertisements is included at the end of this post).
Did the raising of questions about asset sales help encourage over 9,000 (former?) National Party voters to stay home?
What does that mean for the 2011 general election, and the all-important ‘party vote’ for National?

What will those (former?) 9000 National party voters do in the November 2011 General Election?
Who WILL they vote for?

Will  proposed asset sales (particularly of electricity assets) be a potentially HUGE vote loser for this John Key-led National Party?

There are arguably thousands of (former?) National Party voters, who still remember the ‘bad old days’ of the ‘inefficient’ Department of Electricity and Local Power Boards – when you could afford to turn your heater on.

There are arguably thousands of (former?) National Party voters, who still remember National’s electricity reforms under former Minister of Energy Max Bradford, which removed the ‘economies of scale’ under the Department of Electricity and Local Power Board ‘monopoly’ – and replaced it with the current, duplicated, ‘competitive’ model.

“Energy Minister Max Bradford claimed that promoting competition in the electricity sector would bring price reductions, with gains flowing through to household and small business consumers. He identified long-term efficiency gains as the objective of the reforms (Bradford, 1998).”

“Supposedly, the first wave of reform to New Zealand’s electricity sector – deregulation and the promotion of competition – “was about efficiency, competition and accountability to customers” (Douglas, 1995). The creation as an SOE of the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (ECNZ) resulted in a monopoly in electricity generation and transmission which, presumably, could not be sold off in one piece. This implied the need for “unbundling” and Transpower Ltd was created to separate electricity generation and transmission, leaving generation with ECNZ. Contact Energy was split out from the ECNZ in November 1995, the intention being to create competition and, eventually, privatisation of electricity generation. “

Have (former?) National Party voters, like other members of the public,  experienced electricity ‘price reductions’, under the Rogernomic$ ‘commercialise, corporatise – PRIVATISE model?   Of course not. Power bills continue to sky rocket upwards.

Does this John Key-led National Party Prime Minister think that New Zealanders have experienced some form of collective frontal lobotomy, and forgotten their experience of the above-mentioned Rogernomic$ electrivity reforms – (of which we are all reminded, every month, when we get our next crippling power bill?)

In my view, this Darren Hughes corporate media beat-up is VERY similar to the corporate media campaign against Winston Peters and NZ First prior to the 2008 election.

Continual ‘MAN ON THE MOON’ headlines in the Herald about complaints made to the Police and SFO, although no charges had been laid – let alone any convictions in Court. Nothing came of those complaints – but the political campaign to discredit Winston Peters and NZ First worked.
NZ First failed to achieve the 5% party vote threshold.

Yet when I made complaints to both the Police and SFO about  John Key’s attempt to flush out commercially sensitive information information about Tranz Rail when he had an undisclosed percuniary interest, there was not one sentence in the NZ Herald – no TV coverage.

Likewise – when I took a private prosecution against John Key (after the Police and SFO chose to do nothing).

(You Tube clip 2008 – “Is John Key shonky?” )

“All the chief executives I subsequently canvassed in a mini-survey last week told me they didn’t want either Clark or Key to have Peters in their governments.”

Fran O’Sullivan: Meurant allegations require scrutiny 5 November 2008

Is this how democracy works in NZ?
We get the government the majority of big business want us to have – through corporate media manipulation?

My very strong recommendation is for the public and the Labour Party, is  to stay focussed on this key issue, take heart from the Botany by-election result, and don’t buy into this corporate media ‘beat-up’, the apparent aim being to undermine the main political party whose stated position is opposition to asset sales.

Penny Bright
Media Spokesperson
Water Pressure Group
Judicially recognised Public Watchdog on Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters.
“Anti-corruption campaigner”.

Attendee: Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference 2009
Attendee: Transparency International’s 14th Anti-Corruption Conference 2010
Auckland Mayoral Candidate 2010.

Independent Candidate Botany by-election 2011.

What I have now done, is complied the EVIDENCE which proves how there was a very similar corporate media campaign  to discredit and undermine Winston Peters and NZ First.

(Already posted today 3 April 2011)


April 3, 2011 - Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Human rights

1 Comment »

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