Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Speaking of "utter wastes of money..."

Recall the referendum on asset sales?  Sure you do - it was only a couple of months ago.  According to the country's then Prime Minister, John Key, having to spend $9 mil on such a referendum was an "utter waste of money."

It's kind of weird, but on Stuff right now there's a guy who's presumably the same John Key (because it says he's the Prime Minister), who's talking about holding a referendum on the not-exactly-urgent question of whether we should ditch the NZ flag in favour of, er, how can I put this? A sports logo.

After devoting some thought to the question of whether this really can be the same person, I have to conclude it is - same gormless expression, same mangled pronunciation etc, it all matches.  So, yeah, it's the same guy.  But what changed his mind about referenda?

After further thought, I've figured it out.  See, the November referendum was a mere citizens' initiated referendum, in which hundreds of thousands of absolute nobodies put their signatures to a request to hold a referendum on something as utterly trivial as the privatisation of public assets.  Of course spending $9 mil on that kind of thing is just a ridiculous waste of good taxpayers' money.  The Prime Minister's referendum, on the other hand, is proposed by an Important Person, not a collection of nobodies, and deals with a matter of such vital importance to the nation that of course $9 mil would be money well spent on it.  Or something.


Lindsay Mitchell said...

You rightly point to a hypocrisy.

More importantly, I'm wondering, which voter is he appealing to?

This development seems entirely consistent with his policy to 'refresh' his caucus make-up. Look also at constituency. Pull in younger, sporty, 'kiwi' identifying voters. Probably quite a sizeable constituency, especially when including those abroad.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Errrrrr Milt it was not a Citizens Initiated referendum.

It was a Greens Party Initiated Referendum in which they used hundreds of thousand of your dollars to recruit signatories and then couldn't get enough with their first shot.

JC said...

"Of course spending $9 mil on that kind of thing is just a ridiculous waste of good taxpayers' money."

Of course. Everyone bar a handful of lefty politicians agreed with that.


Frank said...

Holy Concord, this is the second time I find myself in agreement with you, Milt - and on a particularly well-reasoned point, as well.

It's a con, of course. Anyone with two inter-connecting neurons can see that.

What I find insulting is that Key thinks us plebes don't understand this.

Muldoon was much better at this kind of thing...

Angry Tory said...

Mad leftist idiot.

$9 Million because the stupid liability-disposal referendum was standalone.

Running the flag referendum (surely an idea well past due) with the general election will cost nothing -- I guess Key's polling has shown it will drive turnout of National/Conservative voters who will vote against.

Either that or he's actually given up and wants a visible "legacy" after moving NZ's policies even further to the left after Clark.

As for Sports Logo - do you really think the Maple Leaf flag is worse than the Red Ensign Canada used to have as their flag? really?

Watcher said...

"Running the flag referendum (surely an idea well past due) with the general election will cost nothing"

Gee wake up. This point has been raised before.

There is always a cost to the taxpayer.

Psycho Milt said...

D'oh! A couple of people have pointed out that this flag bullshit is classic diversionary material - if you don't like the way things are looking in the media, propose something controversial but essentially inconsequential. Then watch as troublesome things like Labour's policies and your embarrassing u-turn on parental leave get submerged in blather about what should be on the flag.

Kudos - sucked me in nicely.

Angry Tory said...

We know what should be on the flag - silver fern.

the only interesting questions are whether we try to keep the stars - or not.

As a diversion, all he's done is divert attention away from Labour's massive tax increases (will you enjoy paying 90%) and their bludger-baby policy - how on earth does that help?

Watcher said...

"We know what should be on the flag - silver fern."

And who's the we?

Common sense would suggest the protocol would be a call for designs followed by public preference and adoption.

What's been proposed is here's a possible new flag yes or no.

Yeah Right!

PaulL said...

There was no point in the asset sales referendum because that matter was voted on in an election, was stated government policy, and the referendum wasn't going to change that policy. As such, I suspect we can all agree that it was pure political grandstanding, and therefore a waste of money.

I'm not in favour of a flag referendum, mostly because I can't be bothered with changing the flag. But presumably we can at least agree that _if_ we wanted to change the flag, a referendum would be the right way to do that - it's not really a matter of govt policy, it's the kind of thing we'd look to a majority of the people to decide.

Paulus said...

But Key has now got all sorts of people pissed off with the answer to a question as to whether we should change the national flag.
Great answer though - very distracting of the Green/Labour move to raise the same at the election.
They will be really upset that he beat them to the punch.

Mark said...

I was starting to think the same thing PM (and I'm a die hard Key supporter) but is the difference more that the flag is a constitutional matter whereas selling 49% of shares in SOEs is not?

Edward the Confessor said...

What's it got to do with the constitution? Perhaps look up constitution in the dictionary.

Mark said...

It is a constitutional matter Edward.