Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Quote of the Day - 7 August 2013

John Armstrong writes in this morning's Herald on the Government's response to the Fonterra contamination scare. His entire piece is worthy of reproduction, but we have chosen to add emphasis to the most quotable bits:

Unlike its management of some ongoing and by comparison trivial matters of state - such as the accessing of Peter Dunne's emails - the Government's handling of the Fonterra infant formula contamination scare is difficult to fault ... so far.
That assessment may yet change when the various official inquiries start examining the regulatory role of the Ministry of Primary Industries in the dairy industry.
For now, however, John Key, Tim Groser, Steven Joyce and other Cabinet ministers have provided a textbook example of how to handle a crisis. Their competence has been further highlighted by Fonterra's gaffes and atrocious public relations.
The Government immediately realised the gravity of the situation, identifying the priorities for action and showing no compunction about exercising what in other circumstances might be deemed heavy-handed intervention.
The scare may not be in the same league as an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Instead, Fonterra is a case of foot-in-mouth disease, such has been its various accounts of what exactly has been going on and which products are affected.

No wonder Key dispatched Joyce, his Mr Fix-it, to bang management heads together at Fonterra's Auckland headquarters. In contrast, the relatively inexperienced Primary Industries Minister, Nathan Guy, has been confined to the fringes.
This particular crisis has occurred at the best possible time for National. It has shunted the palaver over legislation granting more powers to the Government Communications Security Bureau and the hullabaloo surrounding the trawling of a journalist's emails by parliamentary authorities into the background.
Labour has mounted a filibuster in Parliament to try to delay the GCSB bill being passed into law, a tactic that yesterday looked irrelevant given what else was happening.
When election day rolls around in November next year, National's ability to win enough seats to stay in power will hinge on voters' impressions of how it has handled the things that matter to the average punter - things like preserving our dairy export markets. Not Dunne's emails.

We could not agree more. Far more New Zealanders are likely to be affected by a prolonged embargo of New Zealand dairy exports that by the passage of the GCSB Bill. Far more New Zealanders are likely to be affected by economic issues that by the Dunne/Vance e-mail saga. And thus far, the Government's response to a potentially very serious issue has been urgent and focused, as it should be.

Labour's filibuster yesterday was nothing more than expensive political grand-standing; as Armstrong notes, it "looked irrelelvant", especially when Labour won a rare Urgent Debate on the Fonterra saga, quite rightly granted by Speaker David Carter. 

Sure; Labour has every right to filibuster within Standing Orders. However the voting public will make its own judgment on Labour's motives in due course, especially when it becomes apparent that all the Left's scaremongering over the GCSB Bill was just that; ill-informed political scaremongering.


Chris Bird said...

Its interesting that one helen Clark has said that the country needs a GCSB so undermining the leader of her own party

Keeping Stock said...

Quite so Chris. And whilst she reckoned she never signed an unlawful warrant, the fact that of the 80-plus people possibly unlawfully spied on were under her watch illustrates perfectly why tightening up the GCSB's legislation is so important.