Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Meaningless jibber jabber infects ministry

Katherine Rich MP National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

17 December 2004

Meaningless jibber jabber infects ministry

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Katherine Rich is urging the person who'll be named to replace Steve Maharey as Social Development Minister on Monday, to campaign against the weasel words infecting the department's reports.

"The report out this week dubbed a 'new approach to cross-government action for social progress and Opportunity For All New Zealanders', is a classic example.

"The recently published Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words gives us some idea of how to translate this jibber jabber," says Mrs Rich.

'Totalitarian states use weasel words to hide truth and slew or complicate meaning. They use them, as they use clichés and other dead forms, to exercise and maintain power' - Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words.

"The book goes on to describe weasel words as 'smokescreens or vapour to repel anyone sniffing out the truth'.

"The Dictionary of Weasel Words should put aside a new section for Mr Maharey and his 'new approach to cross-government action for social progress' which, in my view simply means - Labour's ideas for welfare," says Mrs Rich.

"Below is my translation of some weasel speak in the report."

Quote: '...it provides a strategic co-ordinating framework for sustainable social development, and stands alongside the Growth and Innovation Framework, which is the Government's co-ordinating framework for sustainable economic development.' Translation: We've thought a lot about what to call the plan.

Quote: '...overarching programme of action for a sustainable future.' Translation: The plan.

Quote: '... sustained interagency action.' Translation: What we're paid to do.

Quote: '... it shows how government agencies are working together to achieve and sustain improvements in social wellbeing, and to reduce disadvantage and promote equality of opportunity for all New Zealanders.' Translation: We're trying to make things better but we won't make any promises.

Quote: '... maximise the number of jobs that provide opportunities to increase potential and enhance productivity. Minimise persistent disadvantage in the labour market and enhance the sustainability of employment and to improve the quality of people's working lives.' Translation: We'd like more jobs and people to get pay increases.

Quote: '...Opportunity For All New Zealanders is more than a document. It represents the commitment by a broad range of government agencies to work together to make a difference.' Translation: We think this is important. Quote: '... identifies challenges and social issues that are critical for the future wellbeing of our people, and states how central government will respond to these.' Translation: We did some homework.

Quote: '... providing a resource for active citizen engagement in public policy discussion.' Translation: We hope people will talk about it.

Quote: '... this government is committed to a proactive cycle breaking approach to improving social wellbeing, reducing disadvantage and promoting opportunity for all. This requires both investing in people and in the social institutions that enable people to fulfil their potential, prosper and participate in the social, economic, political and cultural life of their communities and nation.' Translation: We might spend some money if we think it's a good idea.

Quote: '... the aim of social investment is to create a 'virtuous circle'. Investing in social development results in a healthier, better educated, employable and productive population. This in turn contributes to economic development and the continued prosperity of New Zealand and its people.' Translation: When we do spend money we hope it's not wasted.

Quote: '... maintaining effective social protection systems to respond to the needs of individualism, groups and communities who have encountered difficulties.' Translation: We're trying to keep an eye on things.

According to George Orwell this kind of language 'is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind'.

"New Zealanders want action on welfare - not wind," says Mrs Rich.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Minister of Finance: Plan Shows $100 Billion Infrastructure Projects

Finance Minister Bill English has today launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows a pipeline of $100.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade. More>>


Werewolf: Safe Landings Gordon Campbell on the safety challenge to the Wellington runway extension.

The safety-related legal challenge revolves around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. More>>


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Plastic Bag Activism, And Street Harassment

Amusing to see the Act Party experiencing another outbreak of young fogey-ism. What has aroused the ire of Act Leader David Seymour this time is the introduction of a Greens private members bill to the ballot process, calling for a 15 cents levy on plastic bags to reduce pollution. More>>


Unclear Weapons: US Navy Ship Cleared To Visit NZ For Navy's 75th

United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key... “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news