Thuggish behaviour in our Banana republic

David Farrar at Kiwiblog writes that this government is the most thuggish government seen since the Muldoon era. There is certainly some truth in that. You could almost forgive first term MPs for being a bit arrogant, as power does go to the head sometimes, before a few knocks sort out the ego one way or another. But Shane Jones and Ron Mark both have a lot of political experience, and both are reacting like bully boys in a school playground. If NZ First does disappear at the next election, it will be in no small way partly because of the antics of these two unbridled individuals who think they can do or say exactly what they like. They are about to find out that they can’t. quote.

I don?t think it would be unfair to conclude that the current Government is displaying arguably the most thuggish behaviour we have seen, since Muldoon?s time.

Look at what we have so far:

Shane Jones threatening to smear a journalist who reports on his conflicts of interest

Ron Mark telling a veterans group they have a responsibility to vote for NZ First as he got them funding

Shane Jones pressuring the SFO to go hard on National

A NZ First Minister sending a backbencher in to tell an electorate MP to withdraw from involvement in a community project or it won?t get funded

Shane Jones attacking the head of Spark for making a statement on the GCSB blocking their use of Huawei, despite the fact Spark was 100% obliged by NZX rules to disclose market sensitive information and hence had no choice.

Kiwiblog. end quote.

Not to mention Jones attacking Air New Zealand and Fonterra, knowing full well no one could stop him. No one did.

This latest move by Jones is simply outrageous. Now that the police has referred the question of National’s political donations to the SFO, the correct thing for everyone to do would be to calm down and await the outcome, which will be several months away. This is not good enough for Shane Jones, however, who said the following under parliamentary privilege on Wednesday: quote.

“We will study every single step they take to ensure because it’s the National Party, it’s not whitewashed,” he said.

“We will ensure that happens. This is incredibly serious and people may very well go to jail.”

end quote.

The SFO is an independent body, protected by a cornerstone of democracy known as ‘constabulary independence’, meaning that politicians cannot interfere in its proceedings. This is a sacrosanct principle of New Zealand democracy. It beggars belief that Jones could imply, or even think that he could have any input into the operations of the SFO, yet that is what he said.

He also launched an attack on journalist, Hamish Rutherford, who reported on Jones’ conflict of interest earlier this week. Rutherford has understandably been upset by this, partly because Jones called him unethical, but also because Jones has implied that he might use his parliamentary privilege to say more about him… and Rutherford would have no comeback if he did that.

Not to be outdone, Ron Mark decided also to use the house to make threatening statements against National’s Mark Mitchell. quote.

Ron Mark appeared to use a late-night debate to issue a threat to spill dirt on National MP Mark Mitchell.

“There goes Mr Mitchell over there, yabbering away… Bring it on, Mr Mitchell, I’ve a lot of information for you to share with the country,” he said. 

Newshub. end quote.

It may be that both Mark and Jones, aware that NZ First is tanking in the polls, are feeling the heat and are reacting accordingly. Then again, Jones began his bluster almost as soon as this government was sworn in, so that can’t be it. Most likely, they are behaving like thugs because it comes naturally to them.

Whatever the reason, Jones and Mark are not the type of politicians I want in government, and are probably on their way out of parliament partly because of it. In the meantime, Jacinda does another magazine cover, visits more kindergartens and does nothing about the unruly mess that her government has become. We are now officially a banana republic… and we grow almost no bananas.

Banana republic