Thursday, 30 July 2009

More rightwing bullying

Only a few days after misleading the nation about changes in the US prison population on National Radio (1), David Garrett has abused his position on a parliamentary committee by threatening those making submissions to that committee:

A group representing 30 officers who have worked for a privately run prison made a submission this week to Parliament's law and order select committee, which is considering legislation to enable private operators to run jails.

After Bart Birch, Uaea Leavasa and Satish Prasad criticised how Auckland Central Remand Prison was run under private contractor GEO between 2000 and 2005, Mr Garrett weighed in.

"You say that you don't want to go back to working in this environment - to the private [sector]. You'd be aware that given your submission here, you wouldn't get offered a job anyway, would you?"

Other MPs were visibly disturbed by the remark and National's Shane Ardern was quick to reassure the men that they should feel free to speak their minds. "Can I say, from my own party, you can sit here without fear or favour," he said. (2)

This is apalling, effectively telling these men that they will be blacklisted. It amply demonstrates the quality of the far right mindset. They can never, ever, stop being ideological. They can never, ever stop wearing their anti-state, anti-union, anti-labour hats.

That Garrett was sitting on a committee trying to work out the best course of action for the New Zealand Prison service, and that these men represented a segement of that service and had a right to voice their opinion, does not seem to have occurred to him. The possibility that these men might have something useful to say, some input from their experiences, couldn't persuade Garrett to bite his tongue. Even the possibility that their experience and opinion - even if it is negative - might be useful in helping make privately run prisons be more effective, was too much of a philisophical quandry for him, so he resorted to threats.

A few days ago, Paula Bennett sought to bully people who criticised benefit reforms (3), by releasing details of the benefits they received, without their consent, envcouraging others to throw rightwing vitriol in their faces to frighten them into backing down. Now David Garrett is trying the same thing, crushing opposition or even contrary opinion, through threats and intimidation.

John Key's supposedly nice new National lead government is starting to look very ugly. Still, good to see the 'Garettology' tag wasn't entirely wasted.
1 - As described previously on lefthandpalm:
2 - "MP accused of bullying jail officers," unattributed NZPA article, reproduced by The New Zealand Herald, 30th of July, 2009. (
3 - As described previosuly on lefthandpalm:

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