• John Key – The End Game

    It is one of the wonders of the modern world that the democracy that past generations fought and died for is regarded as of little consequence by those who currently enjoy its benefits.

    While many parts of the world are still struggling – and suffering – under forms of government that fall short of the democratic ideal, we take it for granted at best and at worst do nothing to sustain it.

    Yet sustain it we must. Democracy is a fragile flower. Without proper sustenance, it will easily wither and die. We cannot simply assume that it will always be there, whether or not we bother to give it any attention.

    It was Francis Fukuyama who observed that even the most repressive regimes could not survive without the support – perhaps passive and tacit – of a large part of the population. Democratic government, treated with similar passivity, can just as easily be supplanted by something that falls far short of genuine democracy.

    That is why the current crisis about dirty politics is so important. It is not, as so many commentators seem to assume and assert, a distraction from the real issues that should decide the forthcoming election result; it raises exactly the kind of fundamental issue that the election should be, must be, about.

    The whole point of democracy is that we should put in place a government that properly represents our interests and that we can trust with that power. Democracy is not just about elections; it is about being able to make the elected government accountable for what it does in office.

    It is essential, if democracy is to be a reality, that our elected representatives should tell us the truth and should not use the power of government to serve their own ends rather than the country’s. We should be vigilant in ensuring that this is so – and we should act swiftly if it is not.

    The charges that are now accumulating against the John Key government could not, in this context, be more serious. Put briefly, there are now unavoidable questions that must be answered.

    Did John Key and his ministers pervert the country’s security intelligence services so as to serve their own party’s interests rather than to protect those of New Zealand? Did they use that power to discredit their political opponents in a concealed, underhand and partisan way? And, having done so, did they then consistently lie to the New Zealand public in an attempt to conceal the truth?

    These questions arise, not because of some “left-wing conspiracy”, but because the evidence is now overwhelming that something has gone seriously wrong. It wasn’t a left-wing conspiracy that arranged for Cameron Slater to get unprecedentedly quick and preferential access to a security report prepared by the SIS – access that had already been denied to other more mainstream media.

    It wasn’t a left-wing conspiracy that induced John Key to deny that he knew anything about that arrangement, in the face of the growing evidence that he had been specifically briefed on it by the SIS Director. Does anyone really believe that the Prime Minister (and the leader of TeamKey), who is also the Minister for the SIS, was left in ignorance of a surprising SIS decision to release at short notice a hitherto protected report about the Leader of the Opposition to a notorious right-wing blogger in the middle of an election campaign?

    And it wasn’t a left-wing conspiracy that induced the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, concerned as she no doubt is to maintain the integrity of the SIS, to begin an official inquiry into the whole sorry saga. Her decision is powerful evidence that these issues must be treated seriously, even if the time taken to complete a review could conveniently defer an outcome until after the election.

    So far, the reaction of the voters to this unfolding drama has been one of bemusement. Early opinion polls suggest that those who have grown accustomed to trusting John Key are reluctant to have their faith shaken.

    But, in a democracy, it is important that we demand high standards from our government and are ready to act when the evidence shows that those standards have not been met. A government that abused its power and that lied – in the most deliberate and formal way – to those who voted them in would not be fit to stay in office.

    The questions that have now been raised in all seriousness now demand answers. When we get those answers, and that cannot now be far away, the ball will then be in our court.

    If we are not prepared to bestir ourselves, but prefer to turn a blind eye, we would not only be acquiescing in the perversion of democracy in the here and now. We would also be betraying the legacy bequeathed to us by those who fought and sacrificed to guarantee the freedoms we now enjoy.

    Bryan Gould

    21 August 2014



  1. Dixxie says: August 22, 2014 at 2:44 amReply

    Here we have this man Key running the show, Bryan, when we desperately need someone like you. When it comes to integrity, Key doesn’t come up to your shoelaces.

  2. Tejopala Rawls says: August 22, 2014 at 11:16 amReply

    I couldn’t agree more Bryan Gould.


  3. Michael Pringle says: September 2, 2014 at 9:55 amReply

    Absolutely spot on Mr Gould. As you rightly say, half the country prefer to believe Key and don’t want to pay attention and bestir themselves from their dream. If only they would by 20th September!
    If, as Peters demands, there is a full royal commission of inquiry, then any 3rd term led by Key will come crashing down in a mess of accusation and criminal prosecutions.
    Not a very happy scenario.


  4. Sueh says: September 4, 2014 at 9:51 amReply

    And you have nailed it in a nutshell.

  5. Gavin Hill says: September 4, 2014 at 8:58 pmReply

    I know you are right, but how do we get the non-believers to believe before the 20th Sept. I have tried with a few of my friends and it just seems to go on deaf ears. Gavin

  6. Harry Duynhoven says: September 4, 2014 at 9:32 pmReply

    Bryan, I totally agree. I know many traditionally conservative people are simply horrified and feel betrayed at this systematic subversion of proper political process, the open contest of ideas. Regards.

  7. Margaret Bawden nee Hitchman says: September 5, 2014 at 6:25 amReply

    Good evening Bryan perhaps you may remember me…anyway it heartened
    me to read your article. I have never felt my country, that I love with a passion to be in such grave danger as it is at the present time. Elections are vital to our democracy and should not be reduced to the cult of celebrity and be judged on who can shout the loudest and lie the best.I opine that there are several factors as to why this has arisen, but the main one is the mantra of the failed greedy ideology of neo-liberalism where everything has a monetary value and ordinary people with decent ethics and opinions are besmirched and denigrated. Can you get your article widely published or is that a stupid question. Best wishes from a school friend. Margaret

    • Bryan Gould says: September 5, 2014 at 6:54 amReply

      Margaret, good to hear from you. Best wishes, Bryan

  8. Andy says: September 6, 2014 at 12:30 pmReply

    Thank-you Sir. This is exactly how I feel. Churchill was no angel, but he understood that there was no choice but to fight fascism, despite the odds. Those who will give our own Golden Dawn a mandate to dismantle our democracy on Sept 20 can, under the circumstances, be only described as enemy’s of our democracy.

  9. Shane Murphy says: September 7, 2014 at 6:25 pmReply

    All very true, but with the level of contempt for democracy shown by the average national Party voter, plus the incomprehensibly ignorant behaviour of the swing voters who are National seem to be able to count on, the likelihood of anything being done is negligible.
    The Democratic system has been destroyed by the rise of a duo-opoly in our news media. They have ensured a biased pro corruption news stance never really taking National to task. Only recently have they asked any real questions and when they did it was rather half hearted.

  10. Robert Haining says: September 8, 2014 at 5:54 amReply

    Outstanding ! Much like being in a field… I definitely believe you are spot on about our Governments dodgy dealings. Something smells rotten in Dannevirke, as the saying goes. I’m both astounded and ashamed of many fellow New Zealanders failure to recognise the reasons our ancestors fought and died for; a belief that they could have a say, or take charge of their own destiny, albeit in a representative system. Why is it always a ‘small, but vocal, minority ‘. Thanks for caring Bryan, it is appreciated.