Alfred Ngaro is a thug | The Jackal

16 May 2017

Alfred Ngaro is a thug

At first glance, Alfred Ngaro’s threats to defund people who speak out against the government might seem a bit random. After all he was preaching to the initiated at a National Party convention last weekend and probably wasn't expecting much attention.

It’s therefore conceivable the Associate Minister for Social Housing is just some sort of naïve lone wolf blindly wandering around in the political wilderness… Isn’t it?

On Saturday, the Newsroom reported:

People in glass houses shouldn’t speak out of turn

The associate housing minister Alfred Ngaro led the charge in a presentation laced with political menace against those who question National's performance on housing.

He even suggested Labour list candidate Willie Jackson could expect to lose Government support for his Manukau Urban Māori Authority interest in a second charter school, and its Whānau Ora contract should he "bag us" on the campaign trail.

"We are not happy about people taking with one hand and throwing with the other," Ngaro said.

"Do not play politics with us. If you get up on the campaign trail and start bagging us, then all the things you are doing are off the table. They will not happen."

Alfred Ngaro’s menace towards National’s opponents caused a rather large backlash and the government has had to go into a bit of damage control. Some apologies were made and assurances given by a Prime Minister hungry for attention.

An investigation into Ngaro's funding decisions was cynically launched and lasted all of a day before providing the inevitable foregone conclusion we've come to expect from National's self-regulation.

However you’ve got to wonder if the speech was simply indicative of the right wings belief system. After all, this isn’t the first time National has made such threats in public to try and silence critics or further their political agenda.

In July 2013, the NZ Herald reported:

Human Rights Commission: GCSB bill 'inadequate'

The Government's controversial legislation extending the GCSB's powers to spy on New Zealanders lacks sufficient checks against abuse of power or adequate transparency and accountability, the Human Rights Commission says. 
But Prime Minister John Key has hit back, saying the commission's report is a poor piece of work that was submitted late, and it needed to do better if it was to continue to receive taxpayer funding.

In March 2014, Radio New Zealand reported:

'Threats' to former anti-gambling chair

A former chair of the Problem Gambling Foundation says he was regularly threatened by government officials during his time there.

Earlier this month the Ministry of Health told the country's largest problem gambling service the contract for three-quarters of its services would end mid-year. The Salvation Army is the proposed new provider.

The foundation has said it fears the cut to its funding will end its work on preventing problem gambling.

Unfortunately these are but two of the many examples that show the National party acting on its threats. The right wing often use financial means, despite it usually being taxpayers money they’re spending, to further their ideological beliefs and hinder political opponents.

Unfortunately such a dictatorial and illegal method of silencing critics has a chilling effect on our so-called democracy whereby serious issues are left to fester instead of being brought quickly to the publics attention.

Also consider the fact that what Ngaro said was written down, a hardcopy likely scrutinised by National party minders if not fellow MP's before being given the OK.

Tim Murphy from the Newsroom continues:

He also attempted to paint the Salvation Army as divided over its criticisms of government housing policy.

He had been told by the Prime Minister Bill English "at a priority session" that English had met the Army's policy leader Alan Johnson at an airport. Johnson had reportedly told the PM he was part of a media campaign against the government's homelessness measures.

Ngaro said: "The Prime Minister said 'I need you to get close to him. I need you to love him'." The associate minister had joked back: 'I think that's a bridge too far.'

But Ngaro met Johnson ("not alone") on Friday.

He told the conference there were issues within the Salvation Army. "With the Sallies, you have the Church, the social programmes and the policy part. The policy part is running riot and sayings all sorts of things and there's some tension in the Church because they are not sure about that."

A pretty crappy speech all round really!

It’s important to understand the effect such mafia tactics have on various organisations, both NGOs and government controlled. Manipulating funding to punish or reward based on what is said publicly instead of budgeting based on performance criteria is a fundamentally flawed dynamic that has far reaching negative consequences for our entire society.

Alfred Ngaro’s public extortions should be ringing political alarm bells all over the country. Instead, much of the mainstream media is happy to allow the National party airtime to provide scripted excuses and promote their underhanded political agenda.

Although the Prime Minister has denied there’s any truth to Ngaro’s threats and assured government-funded institutions they have the right to speak out, the threat remains and will likely limit potential whistle blowers freedom of speech.

It appears National’s threat was a well-orchestrated warning that funding comes with certain conditions attached. One of those conditions is to not speak out against the National party especially in election year, no matter how egregious or numerous their failings... Well fuck that.