Monday, 17 December 2007

"Politicians' default position is to lie..." (updated)

TV3 political journalist Duncan Garner, who's seen more politicians than most, told a journalism training seminar recently:

"Those covering politics should be wary that politicians' default position is to lie and surround issues with a smokescreen."

Says Helen Clark: " I cannot accept that as accurate."

Discuss.  You may wish to refer to the discussion at Radio NZ's 'Mediawatch' programme.

UPDATE: Speaking of lies, here's Lance Davey from SOLO on this year's biggest lie, from New Zealand's biggest pack of liars:

The EFB will most certainly be passed on Tuesday, and the tragedy is that it is going through based on lies:

  • The lie that private wealth has any sort of "undue" influence on elections. Any influence it has, is as just, right and proper as the influence that private time and private popularity have.
  • The lie that some mysterious wealthy elite has the power to buy you and your vote and the EFB is the only way to stop them.
  • The lie that if you shut up then you can have your free speech. (New Zealand Fascist leader Winston Peters said in Nelson: "As long as you remain apolitical then this Bill will be no threat." You cannot legitimately preface any statement about an inalienable right such as free expression with "As long as.")
  • The lie that ambiguous "common sense" will always trump a non-objective, poorly written law...  Common sense? Is it enough to know that despite the potential accusations, investigations, harassment and the time and financial cost of defending yourself, after all that; common sense "should" prevail? The "chilling effect" is what happens when you don't want to risk finding out.
  • The lie that the Electoral Finance Bill was ever consistent with the Bill of Rights, and that the process of passing it wasn't a rotten, corrupt farce.
  • The lie that the Green Party are supporting it on principle rather than as pay back for Labour's votes on the "anti-smacking" law..
  • The complete and utter lie that "issues" campaigning is protected. We vote for a party, we don't get any vote on policies. To campaign on issues effectively you must at least imply party support or opposition. New Zealand, it's all a lie. The justification for the EFB,  the alleged consistency with the Bill of Rights, the supposed positive impact on democracy, all of it.

It is one massive lie to further entrench the state as our master, not our servant. Electoral communication will, for the entire election year, be more overwhelmingly dominated by the state than ever before.


  1. You may wish to refer to the discussion at Radio NZ's 'Mediawatch' programme.

    Yes, and Duncan Garner's response is particularly interesting - especially when he pointed out that the comment was made in the context (which Clark neglected to mention, either deliberately or because she was relying on a second-hand report) of a discussion of David Benson-Pope's handling of the Setchell affair.

    Now, if she cannot accept that Benson-Pope's default postion most definitely was to fudge like Willy Wonka on P - and flat out lie - then you've got to wonder why he was sacked from cabinet, and is certain to be deselected in Dunedin South.

    Hell of a pot, kettle, black moment.

  2. Who does Helen think she is kidding? She's telling lies herself. The politician's default position is to lie. It is in their fundamental nature. They breathe to lie.


  3. Q: How do you know a politician's lying?
    A: Their lips are moving.

  4. The EFB is the biggest load of crap I've ever seen dumped on my country. All that's left is crap. New Zealand needed a constitution, not just a bill of rights. This should never have happened but it's too late now. Stupid lying bastards.


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