The worst government in 25 years

by Christie on June 14, 2019 at 8:00am

We say on this blog all the time, that this government would be in a lot more trouble if it did not have a very compliant media. Most of the media in this country let the government off the hook: from the Young Labour camp scandal to the Karel Sroubek case, the Derek Handley fiasco to more recently the biased speaker. Then there was the Treasury hack that wasn’t, and Trevor Mallard claiming that a parliamentary staffer was a rapist when all he did was give a colleague a hug.

Staffers, ministers and the speaker himself would have fallen on their swords – with a little assistance – under the last government, but now there is no accountability. We simply do not have the media baying for blood at each transgression like we did with the last government.

Well, maybe the worm is starting to turn. Duncan Garner has attacked the government, saying that this is the least effective government for the last 25 years.

I won’t argue with that.

Remember when Labour promised to lower the number of immigrants coming into the country?

The message to cut immigration numbers sat alongside other grandiose brain dribbles that would never happen. I recall 100,000 homes to be built, world-class cancer treatment centres, and a halving of the 70,000 immigrants that enter NZ every year.

But, the truth is, Labour told you a bunch of utter garbage, they told you what you wanted to hear – dog whistle politics to keep up with Winston Peters. But the truth is they have done diddly squat to get there.

We are back to rubber stamping immigrants into New Zealand to take the jobs in construction or whatever it is that they do and frankly, that we need.
There were 55,000 new immigrants to the year ending April 2019. We need these people, clearly.

Maybe, or maybe not, but we have nowhere for them to live, of course. Whether these immigrants are in the skilled migrant category or not, they are still not going to make the housing crisis any better.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway’s ideas to cut immigration can fit on the world’s smallest post-it note. In other words, he’s still hiding under his desk from the last debacle, scared to come out in case the PM is reminded how utterly useless he is.

I doubt if he has to worry too much. There is a cabinet reshuffle on the horizon, but as the talent pool for this government is as shallow as the proverbial car park puddle, I doubt if there is anyone better. That is the really sad thing in all of this.

When it comes to immigration, expect nothing to be done until Winston and his mates enter the next election period.

I am really not sure that Winston will get away with this again. He has raged on about immigration for decades, but for most of that time, he has either been in opposition, or a junior coalition partner. This time, he is the deputy prime minister and is clearly pulling a lot of strings. That he has not stemmed the flow of immigrants, while not significantly increasing the number of skilled migrants, is something he may have to address in the next campaign.

Duncan Garner is scathing. Here is how he sums up the efforts so far of this ‘transformational government’.

I’ve watched politics closely for 25 years and this government is the least effective of them all, by some margin.


Totally agree, Duncan. And it is not only in immigration that they are failing.

Lest we forget…

by Christie on June 13, 2019 at 9:00am

Trevor Mallard

I have been intending to write an article about the speaker this week, mainly because everything seems to have gone quiet on his accusations of rape against a parliamentary staffer. It both amazes and frightens me the way no one in this government ever seems to be held to account, even in cases where lives are damaged or destroyed.

You will all remember the Young Labour camp last year where there were accusations of actual sexual assault. No one was held to account for that, and the perpetrator still has the shield of anonymity. There is also anonymity in this case; Mallard accused an unnamed man of rape when it turns out that all he was guilty of was an apparently unwanted hug.

I am writing about this because no one in the media seems to be doing so… even though Barry Soper interviewed the man in question and clearly had some sympathy for him. Let’s recap what Soper said at the time.

The man stood down from Parliament after Trevor Mallard’s claims about rape says he feels bullied out of the building and wants an apology for what he described as the Speaker’s “slanderous” comments.

They are slanderous all right, and totally unjustified. I can only assume Mallard got the wrong end of the stick here and sympathised with the complainant, even though he was not in possession of the full facts. To claim a hug is rape though is off the planet. No one can ever hug anyone again without risking being subjected to a similar claim. This is the world we live in now.

He was stood down after the publication of last week’s Francis report into bullying and harassment in the Beehive, which revealed three serious allegations of sexual harassment.

Shortly afterward, Mallard said these alleged incidents were tantamount to rape.

Tantmount? Rape is rape. It requires penetration. The only question that arises with rape is about consent. A hug is not rape. A hug is a hug.

The hug may have been unwelcome, and to be fair, we all find ourselves in situations where we don’t particularly want to receive a hug, but you accept it with good grace and move on with your life.

Ardern refused to comment on the nature of the allegations in the Francis report. All information given to the Francis report was anonymous, she said.

A Newspaper.

Herein lies the problem. I understand that some people may want anonymity if they are making accusations against a dangerous person likely to retaliate in some way, although such anonymity is not generally given in the court system. There is a reason for that. The problem with anonymity in cases like this is that anyone can accuse anyone of anything, safe in the knowledge that they will never be held to account for what they have said. That can be dangerous.

I would bet my bottom dollar that, if there had not been a guarantee of anonymity in the enquiry into bullying at parliament, the ‘rape’ accusation would never have been made. Not that we actually know that the complainant made any such claim. We only know that Trevor Mallard did.

Well, for me, if a complainant is going to make an accusation against someone that could ruin his or her life, they had better be prepared to front up. If they are not, then questions must be asked about the motives of the complainant. In some cases, the motives will be malicious, without due cause. That might be what we have here.

I have a lot of sympathy with women who are genuine victims of sexual attacks, but an unwanted hug does not fit into that category. Yet this is the world we live in now. It may have been well intended originally, but the #metoo movement really does have a lot to answer for.

In ‘a significant change in policy’ Ardern is stopping the boats

by SB on June 5, 2019 at 8:00am

Photoshopped image credit: Luke

Ardern’s government budget has given a $25 million dollar funding boost to stop boats full of refugees from landing in New Zealand. This is embarassing for her as she wants to be seen as the kind and compassionate face of New Zealand welcoming refugees in to enjoy our ‘free’ housing, welfare and education.

Indeed she has made quite a big deal about it, complaining that our Australian cousins are refusing to send to us their unwanted illegal migrants on Manus Island. Actions, however, speak louder than words, and Ardern no doubt hoped that the funding boost to stop the boats would go unnoticed.

[…] Efforts to prevent boats of asylum seekers heading to New Zealand received $25 million funding boost in Budget 2019.
The heat has been on New Zealand from the other side of the Tasman for years.

[…] People smuggling was put back in the spotlight last year when intelligence leaks from across the ditch claimed there were new boat arrivals of asylum seekers, blaming Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. This was followed by a public spat between Justice Minister Andrew Little and Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, over New Zealand’s contributions to the region’s security.

It seems Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have not been not on the same page about how much of a threat people smuggling poses. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said the extra funding to prevent people smuggling would be used to boost New Zealand intelligence at home and offshore in the Asia Pacific region.

After the Budget announcement on Thursday, Lees-Galloway told reporters the risk of smuggling had increased in recent years but not long after, Ardern told reporters, no greater risk of asylum seeker boats travelling to New Zealand had been identified.

[…] The extra funding would be used to boost New Zealand intelligence at home and offshore in the Asia Pacific region. It would be used to invest spy technology to monitor chatter.

Less-Galloway […] insisted […] “There has been absolutely no pressure from the Australian Government. This has been a decision that New Zealand has made because we are aware that we are a target for people smugglers… and we are aware this dangerous journey puts lives at risk.”

[…] No boat had ever made it to New Zealand because it was a dangerous trip – but there had been chatter suggesting people smugglers were targeting and touting New Zealand as a potential destination […]
It was important for New Zealand to remain vigilant and have the appropriate resources to prevent and manage the possibility of a maritime mass arrival, he said.
[…] the move was criticised by Greens co-leader James Shaw, who objected to the spend.
National’s immigration spokesman Michael Woodhouse said […]
It was a significant change in policy for the Labour party that once told him there was more chance of little green men from Mars, than boat people coming to New Zealand, he said.
“They are on record saying it [boat people] was dog whistling and a beat up. Now they are spending-up on preventing boats arriving. If there is no change in the chatter, why is there a change in the investment in our border controls and our intelligence gathering?”

Motels are the new Kiwibuild houses

by Christie on June 5, 2019 at 8:30am

The lack of rental accommodation is reaching a crisis point. This government has driven so many landlords out of the market that there is nowhere to rent. I have heard stories about 70 people turning up every time a rental becomes available in Blenheim, and there are similar stories told in Lower Hutt. Tauranga has recently reached a particular crisis point, where there is simply nowhere to go.

Did you hear that, Jacinda?

The ‘No Vacancy’ sign has been put up in Tauranga.

The median weekly rent in the city hit a record $525 this April – that’s around three-quarters of the median income.

Property managers there estimate the city is short around 1000 rental properties, and the ones that are there are skyrocketing in price.

Trade Me’s statistics reflect a classic supply and demand issue. In March, listings were down 13 percent and enquiries soared by 75 percent. In April they were down 24 percent while enquiries were up 44 percent.
Tauranga does have plenty of jobs though, thanks to the orchard industry and the ever-expanding port. But Mayor Greg Brownless has a warning: don’t move to his city, regardless of what the job is, unless you’ve got a home locked in.
Because this is an issue no longer affecting only low socio-economic families, but everyone.

Even people with good incomes and good references cannot find rental accommodation in Tauranga. There are simply no houses available to rent.

Carrie Matkovich’s landlord was among those to move from Auckland to Tauranga. That left her without a home and forced her back into the rental rat race.

“I went to 103 viewings in 31 days,” she says.

The home she finally secured is $200 over her budget and meant moving her children to a new school. It’s a common consequence of the rental crunch.

The quantity and quality of applicants mean even the perfect prospective tenant is missing out.
“I’ve had a mum ring me last week, two kids, she works, good income, good job, good references, and she’ll be moving into a car next week if she doesn’t find a house,” says property manager Genna Short.
Short says landlords are so spoilt for choice they can be extremely picky. Some are requesting not only ‘no pets’, but ‘no children’ either.


Is this how we solve child poverty, Jacinda? Rental properties that do not allow children?

Seeing that Phil Twyford’s latest proposal for tenants is that they should be allowed pets, regardless of what the landlord thinks, this is an interesting development. Do you think the government will stop being silly about this now, and stop driving landlords out of the rental market?

No, They won’t. Here is their solution.

Motels are increasingly being used as emergency accommodation for the homeless and now the Government is looking at buying more around the country, in areas like Hawke’s Bay, Northland, Wellington and Marlborough.

Not Tauranga. But then, Tauranga motel owners probably get plenty of tourists, and can be much more choosy about who they rent their units out to.

A South Auckland block of units is one of seven former motels the Government – both past and present – has bought for a total of more than $14 million dollars spread around the country.

The Government buys the sites and then pays community organisations like the Monte Cecilia Trust to manage them and provide services to those in need.

“The success is measured in families not having to live in cars, leaky garages or on park benches,” Monte Cecelia Trust’s Bernie Smith told 1 NEWS.

This may be better than sleeping under a bridge, but it is no long term solution. If the Tauranga situation is anything to go by, some of these people will be in motels for months, if not years.

We all know what motels are like. The units are mostly very small, and even the more spacious units are scant accommodation for more than a night or two. I stayed in a motel in Taupo last year where I had to hold back the kitchen door to open the fridge. Living like that will drive people crazy fairly fast, particularly if they have children.

There are more than 11,000 people on the state housing waiting list and just under 2700 were placed in transitional housing in the last quarter.

The Government agrees that transitional housing has been an effective method but there are big concerns about increasing use of commercial motels for emergency accommodation.

“My preference would absolutely be that we did not have people in motels, but if the alternative is that they are in their cars, or sleeping rough, or no accommodation at all, it is much better than the alternative,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.


The alternative, Jacinda, was 10,000 new houses built every year for 10 years, as your government promised. Apparently, 18 months in, you have just broken the 100 mark, with 102 houses now completed. Wow. Only 99,898 to go… in 8.5 years.

Buying motels was never on the agenda.

I guess you could argue that this move makes sense. It is better to own motels rather than paying a small fortune every month paying motel owners to accommodate people, but it is hardly an ideal solution. This is, in fact, the government admitting defeat on the housing issue when, if anyone could solve it, they could.

In the meantime, some motel owners are laughing all the way to the bank. Motels are not the favoured holiday accommodation any more, particularly since the advent of AirBnB. Who would have thought that the government would come to the rescue of failing motel owners? It warms the cockles of my heart.

Just make sure you steer clear of these places, though, if you are looking for a place to stay. It pays not to go near them.

A slam dunk & still Ardern equivocates

by SB on June 5, 2019 at 9:30am

Credit: SonovaMin

The evidence is absolutely damning and a slam dunk, and still Ardern equivocates about it all. If she is this much of an equivocator over a case that is so open and shut it is scary to think what she would be like dealing with a really serious crisis.

The situation is clear cut yet it appears to be quite a conundrum for the prime minister, as Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf is after all one of the main architects of the Labour party’s “wellbeing” budget. Throwing him under a bus will feel like a betrayal of sorts, but why he was back at work yesterday as if everything was fine is beyond me.

The advice was found wanting, but the prime minister is reserving her judgmentover what to do with Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf until the State Services Commission has finished an investigation into the handling of last week’s Budget “leak”.
Speaking with Stuff on Tuesday, Jacinda Ardern would not be drawn on whether Makhlouf’s head was on the chopping block, after it appeared he misinformed both her office and Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s office that Treasury had been the subject of a hack, when it hadn’t.
“I don’t want to make any rash judgments or statements, while the State Services Commission are still looking into what happened over the course of those few days,” Ardern said.

You have to ask what exactly it will take for Ardern to take action. Does she really think she can treat the situation the same way that she treated the sexual assault and underage drinking scandal at the Young Labour camp? Does she think if she stalls long enough it will all go away and the media will lose interest?

[…] Hughes later confirmed he was considering claims by National that Treasury and the Government were “sitting on a lie” for 36 hours before coming clean, but he did not go so far as to confirm it was the subject of an investigation.
The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) has since responded to media questions to confirm it advised Treasury from the outset that it was not dealing with a hack.
The GCSB’s advice came before Treasury referred a potential hack to police, advised the minister’s office there had been a hack, and released a public statement saying the information had been received – directly or indirectly – as the result of a hack.

[…] It’s understood spy agencies were unaware the public statement on Tuesday evening would contain the word “hack” – Treasury having not consulted the GCSB before delivering its comment to media – which sent the intelligence community into a spin at thought a critical Government department may have been the subject of an offshore hack.

National took the step on Sunday of writing to Hughes to formally request the terms of his investigation be extended to include both Labour and Treasury’s communications in the aftermath of the incident […]

Has someone spiked Heather’s drink?

by WH on June 3, 2019 at 8:30am

Photoshopped image credit: Pixy

When the left-leaning media start putting the boot into our socialist government, things are getting serious. Did Heather wake up and have a sip of reality one morning?

Just like that, the rainbows and unicorns have vanished.

Where on earth did HPDA get that imagery from? It seems that her faith in a government that could be transformational, transparent and kind has been shattered as she says we have just witnessed one of the most brutal Budget weeks in living memory.

If ever there was a chance to transform, it was with the Wellbeing Budget. We were told it was a world-first. The OECD would be watching. It was “different”. It was promising “intergenerational change”.

That gets a ‘Fail’ from HPDA.

It was supposed to usher in a New and Amazing and Caring way of looking after our citizens. It sounded like a whoopee cushion instead.

This was supposed to be the most open and transparent government in the history of New Zealand. Jacinda Ardern told us that. […]

Another ‘Fail’ from HPDA.

Either Robertson knew what he was claiming [about criminal behaviour linked to the Opposition] wasn’t true, or he made an error so rookie it’s embarrassing. Either he played along with the hack claim to smear the Opposition, or he made a big mistake.

If it’s the former, it shreds the idea that this is the most open and transparent government in the history of the world. If it’s the latter, Robertson should tell Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf not to bother turning up to work on Tuesday after giving him wrong information.

And lastly, Heather asks, “Is this Government as kind as the PM keeps telling us it is?” and awards a third ‘Fail’.

What’s kind about Speaker Trevor Mallard accusing a man of rape when the real accusation against him was closer to a hug. An accusation that wasn’t even upheld.

It looks a lot like Mallard ran his mouth off about a rapist, freaked people out, realised he was in trouble for grossly exaggerating, and found a convenient way to put it to bed by announcing this guy was stood down from his job. That felt like scape-goating. It felt like Mallard put his job ahead of this man’s.

Is that kind? No. It’s not even living in the same city as kindness.

Heather is clearly not feeling the well-being.

This past week has shown us this Government is growing up. The awkward, pimply-faced, “I want to change the world” nonsense has vanished. The unicorns have been shot and eaten for dinner.

In the end, can you blame them? Politics doesn’t run on rainbow vapour. It’s brutal, ugly, cut-throat real politik.

Turns out this Government is getting pretty good at that kind of politics.

Botched Budget has motorists paying more for less

The first legislation passed after the so-called wellbeing Budget is to legislate for an extra $360 million worth of fuel taxes over two years, National’s Transport spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“We didn’t hear too much about this in the Budget, but these fuel taxes place a huge additional burden on Kiwi families. Prices at the pump are at some of the highest we’ve seen in years.

“The extra fuel taxes swamp any benefit to be gained from the potential handouts of the budget. This Government gives with one hand and takes more with the other.

“More galling is the fact that motorists are getting less for all the extra taxes they are paying.  The Labour, Greens, NZ First Government has cancelled, delayed or gutted a dozen major transport projects – such as the East West Link, a decent road north of Tauranga, south from Christchurch and in many other places.

“Meantime, the new projects they promised, such as the slow tram down Dominion Road, are nowhere near even the development of a business case.

“They get to pay more fuel taxes so that the Government can find new ways to frustrate them out of their cars, with their primary focus on ‘mode shift’ – code for getting people out of their cars and on to their bike or public transport.

“The result is a hole in progress on reducing congestion.”

Mike Hosking: Amateur hour – this Government of bullies is butchering the economy

What we have witnessed this week is the worst week of this Government’s term – and by quite some margin.

They have had their individual bouts of ineptitude. The Clare Curran fiasco, the ongoing disaster that is KiwiBuild, the Meka Whaitiri scandal – but what made this week record-breaking was not just the cock ups and shambles, but the cock ups and shambles in a week that should really have shone bright for them.

Budget week is the crowning glory outside of an election victory, Budget week is the cream on the cake of the fiscal year.

It’s the facts, the figures, the intention, the outlook, the projection, the forecasting of all you are and what you stand for as a government.

It’s your annual parade of fiscal and political brilliance. It is your crowning glory, because it’s got money, handouts and results – and a summation of all the reasons you are in government.

And yet they took this week and blew it up.

The KiwiBuild confession, given the size of it, was remarkable in itself, but was the least of their problems. Given we already had been well versed on what a mess it is, adding mess on top of the mess seemed by yesterday to have been just another chapter in the saddest and most incompetent of policy attempts in many a year.

They now confess that by the time their first (and possibly last) term of government comes staggering to the finish line that they will have built 1600 houses - not the 16,000 they said. It’s laid bare, yet again, the cold hard truth about their ability to oversell an idea, and under-deliver it.

Then came the Mallard scandal. If the man Barry Soper talked to is the same bloke Mallard called a rapist, and if the man’s story matches with the investigations held, in other words the complaints were unsubstantiated, then Mallard should have quit, or been sacked, or failed a vote of no confidence – or all three.

Related articles:

PM dodges questions on Treasury Budget bungle

30 May, 2019 7:14pm

 Quick Read

He is a bully, and don’t get me started on this Government’s treatment of unsubstantiated bullying allegations against Diane Maxwell, the Retirement Commissioner.

Here is where this Government is coming to pieces in the eyes of so many. This is the Government that has bent over backwards to talk about kindness, mental wellbeing and inclusiveness. This is the most open, honest and transparent government we have ever seen – and yet this week has shown that between Mallard, Grant Robertson, and Winston Peters they are nothing of the sort.

Mallard, in further irony, got bumped out of the headlines because along came Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf, and his bumbling mates Robertson and Peters yelling hack, hack, hack.

Not only did they have no clue about technology. They, like Mallard, took a bad situation, and in a play straight out of the Mallard ‘bullying tips for all MPs’ book, dumped all over the National Party. Only to have it blow up in their face.

And do we see apologies? Of course we don’t, that’s not what bullies do.

For those of us who aspire for this country to be great, this is the frustration. This lot are hopeless, they’re amateurish, they’re beginners in a professional game. They are taking this country, this economy and its hopes and aspirations, and butchering them.

And to make it worse, they’re obfuscating, stalling, blustering, blundering, and generally behaving appallingly.

And it’s all come to a catastrophic, shambolic head this week. And they’re only halfway through the term.

Dear Princess Cindy Pants

by Guest Post on May 31, 2019 at 9:00am

Photoshopped image credit: Pixy

Dear Princess Cindy Pants

I caught you on the covers of many magazines while I was buying my groceries. I couldn’t afford to purchase the magazines as being a small business owner things are tight. I saw you took a quick trip a Paris to talk to others about the internet. I’ve never been to Paris but I hear it’s nice. Running my small business keeps me very busy at less than minimum wage.

I saw your Well Being Budget today Cindy and I was wondering if you have ever thought about me. I’ve been paying taxes all my life and apart from a 6 month period when I left school I have always been employed. I wondered today if you knew I have a few part time students who never got your free uni handout, working for me to pay their way. They are such lovely people who study hard and work hard to make ends meet. I pay them well above minimum wage, not because you told me to but because I value them and they work hard for me. Did you know they earn more than me? I am sure that I’m not alone.

You told me today that YOU are lifting children out of poverty. Well done YOU. I suspect you are going to be quite tired. Just a question, do you think it’s possible for small businesses like mine to be a better solution to this child poverty problem you speak of? I realize you won’t get as many compliments but as they say, many hands make light work. Imagine just not fixing a problem for the period of time it takes someone to buy a packet of smokes…. but end it by empowering people to empower others. Your bandaids will come off in the first shower sadly, but I’ll still be toiling away, needing help but not being able to afford to employ anyone.

I saw Robbo give you a hug today, I do hope Trev doesn’t report him for rape. It’s a little silly for me to think like that, but I fear that under you that is how things are going. I hope you had a great day and I’m sure 340,000 people are happy. Is that true, that 340,000 rely on the government? How can that be? Anyway, I look forward to you smiling on another cover or jetting off to solve other peoples problems… I’ll still be here working hard and trying to make ends meet for my awesome wife and kids. They are my life and I will do anything for them. I wish many others felt that way as well

take care