Saturday, April 23, 2022

Wendy Geus: Govt back down on veto roundly ignored by media

Wendy Geus: Dr Reti uncovers explosive Government backdown on Māori health veto & Andrew Little misleads the House and press gallery look the other way

On the Wednesday before Easter Dr Reti sneaked a question to Andrew Little at the end of one of his Government’s patsy questions in the House:

"Is the Māori veto still in place in the health restructure"?

Taken by surprise, Little actually answered the question but went on the attack:

"No and it never was".

At times it seems like I am the only person paying attention.

In a proper functioning democracy when reporters cover news they should report it whatever their political views, this explosive revelation would be headline news. However, there was no sign of it until the following week when commentator Richard Harman on his blog Politik comprehensively covered the attempted cover up (including the big back down on the Māori veto), which has gone through several iterations until its reported demise this week.

Why Andrew Little would try to cover up its existence, aided and abetted by the MSM, is a mystery to me given there is a paper trail putting a lie to his ‘it never was’ statement. Old Habits are hard to break, I guess.

Isn’t it a crime to mislead the House?

His answer clearly did mislead as it came a day before the report and draft bill was released revealing the exclusion of the veto which was front and centre in documents tabling the original proposal; a Cabinet Paper and a Regulatory Impact Statement by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

As Richard Harman reports in Politik:

"There has been what appears to be an attempt to bury what is potentially an explosive backdown by the Government with the release of a report late on Thursday, hours before the Easter shutdown.

The Pae Ora Committee’s report and draft bill to legislate the health reforms legislation makes no reference to what had been called ‘a Māori Health Authority veto over New Zealand Health Authority decisions".’

New Zealand Health Authority has now been renamed a more sensible ‘Health NZ’. We can’t have two ‘Authorities’, despite the fact the grunt appears to have been taken out of the Māori Health ‘Authority’ with an erosion of their powers in the draft report for legislation.

In what are definitely, in my opinion, sensible changes made to the health restructure by the Select Committee the two bodies will work separately and not interact with each over the health plans and any final decisions will be made by the Minister of Health.

It now emerges one of the iterations considered after they dropped the original idea, was to give both organisations the right of veto, which when considered in practical terms, (something this ideological government is not that good at), would have been just plain silly.

Dr Reti’s craftily inserted question to catch Mr Little unawares proved beyond doubt that the veto has gone. Which is massive as the original veto would have given the Māori Health Authority (acting for 17% of the population) veto rights over the decision making and health spend for the remaining 83% of the population.

Is recent poor Government polling having an influence over decision making, I wonder

Had this been a National Government ramming though a highly controversial new reform, which had not been campaigned on, and they had a major back down, the roars of "gotcha" from the press and the Labour opposition would have been deafening.

However, with the media’s $55 million sweetener from the Labour Government conditional on them following the Government’s Treaty partnership line, the terms of which were written into the original fund agreement, they are really stuck between a rock and a hard place. Reprinting the Government back downs on Māori issues is not a good look.

This is, arguably, corruption and the MSM is, in my opinion, operating as the Government’s propaganda machine.

Last year, former politician Peter Dunne, in one of his radio interviews with Leah Panapa on the former Magic Talk, referred to TVNZ as "the Government’s propaganda arm". It was good to hear the ‘elephant in the room’ spoken out loud then by a seasoned commentator. We are certainly seeing it in action now.

Wendy Geus is a former speechwriter and generalist communications advisor in local government. She now writes for the pure love of it. This article was originally published by and is published here with kind permission.


DeeM said...

And MSM reporters wonder why they get abused by the public. They do seem honestly bamboozled as to why many members of the public do not trust them anymore, as reported by the recent survey showing that barely half the public have faith in our MSM.

It's possible they know exactly why but are playing the surprise and outrage card but I suspect they're really not that smart and actually think they are fine examples of their profession.

Ray S said...

Quite right DeeM. As long as MSM are being paid to spout and support government propaganda, they will continue to give the public the middle finger.
Corruption abounds, the government by offering the money and MSM by taking it.
I suspect MSM consider themselves the second fountain of truth.

RRB said...

Who or what is MSM?