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.

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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.