Bill English

Snow job from ministers office, staff react like Malcolm Tucker

It’s official,¬†there is now a decent blogger on the left that is worth reading. He breaks stories rather than talk to his typewriter or listen to his echo chamber.

He has scared a story out of the shadows by calling a ministers office…and the staff of the minister don’t exactly over themselves in glory either. [Listen at 2:34 to a Malcolm Tucker style reaction]

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This looks interesting, new lefty blogger might have one by the tail [UPDATED]

Slightly Left of Centre has an interesting tale on his blog:

Slightly Left of Centre can reveal this afternoon that Former Health Minister Tony Ryall, who was thought by many to be a highly respected Minister, was forced to quit by Finance Minister Bill English after it became clear that the much vaunted crown owned entity, Health Benefits Limited (HBL), had become a financial disaster.

Sources have told us that HBL, set up in 2010, is on the brink of financial collapse and that an announcement is due from Mr English in the next day or two. Sources also tell us that this was the real reason behind the surprisingly early end of Mr Ryalls political career.

Media Spokesman for HBL, Steve Fisher would neither confirm nor deny that HBL when quizzed by Slightly Left of Centre.

We wait with baited breath for an announcement from Finance Minister English on what was meant to¬†help ‚Äúthe¬†health sector save millions by combining the purchasing power of DHBs and using this to negotiate single contracts with suppliers.‚ÄĚ

Read more »

Can Grant Robertson ever be Leader of the Labour Party?

Gracinda is grumpy

Don’t worry dear, another 18 months of destabilisation and it will be our turn

Yesterday was a devastating day for Grant Robertson.

He has yet again lost the Labour leadership, and lost it despite getting 18 votes out of 32 in caucus.

Robertson was the front runner after the first ballot but he did not manage to win enough votes from caucus to over come his weakness with the members and the unions.

The members voted narrowly in favour of him over Andrew Little, but he did not manage to pick up many of Nanaia Mahuta or David Parker’s preferences, scarcely budging at all after the first ballot.

Robertson now faces a career defining decision. ¬† Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

It’s time for a chat

sycophant-3I note in the comments today in the flag issue that some commenters think I am attacking JohnKey by suggesting his $30 million campaign to change the flag is wrong.

Let me tell you something dear readers…I am sick of this sort of silly accusation that somehow I am against John Key.

I am not nor will ever be in the pay of the National party. I am not even a member.

If you come to this site for a party political broadcast on behalf of the National party, or in the belief that I should operate this site in blind obeisance to St. John Key then you are in the wrong place.

I was brought up surrounded by politicians from Rob Muldoon, to Jim McLay, to Jim Bolger, to Winston Peters, to Jenny Shipley , to Bill English to Don Brash and yes to John Key….plus many supporting characters.

I have witnessed the rise and fall of many politicians. I even helped draft the caucus resolution to chuck Winston Peters from the caucus one windy, rainy Wellington night. They are gone and I am still here.

The one thing that I was brought up with was a healthy disrespect for politicians, and that healthy disrespect was encouraged and nurtured by my mother.

I watched her regularly destroy a politicians argument with reason and logic. She never cared what their position was and never shirked from telling them when they were wrong.

I learned from her that it was ok to go against the ideas and wishes of a party leader. I watched her tell off Muldoon, remonstrate with Aussie Malcolm, mock Jim Bolger and quietly whisper to Jenny Shipley…plus many others.

It is not sacrilege to oppose the flag debate…it is after all a debate…just because I am not on the¬†side of St. John key doesn’t mean I am on the side of evil. I have simply chosen a side of a debate. David Farrar has chosen another side, it doesn’t mean we aren’t friends.

In a vibrant democracy sycophancy must be discouraged, instead reasoned and logical debate must be pursued.

John Key is not infallible, this might be news to some of you, but he isn’t. He actually does make mistakes, and you know what people are allowed to point those out. ¬† Read more »

How about shooting the messenger?

The roadshow is over, the public yawned, and I’ll be that less member¬†registered and voted in this leadership election than the last.

We know this to be true because we haven’t heard a peep out of Tim Barnett about the surge in membership like last time.

Grant Robertson, one of the contenders, has a long rant about why Labour lost the last election, and that it was not policies that cost Labour the election.

Pinning Labour’s poor election result on a couple of policies risks missing the much bigger issues facing the party as it rebuilds.

The roots of Labour’s loss are much deeper than any individual policy that we took to the last election.¬† For many New Zealanders they did not even get to the stage of thinking about our policy.¬† They made their minds up that Labour was not presenting as a credible alternative government well before controversy arose about Capital Gains Tax.

Our biggest task is to rebuild confidence that we are a unified Party that¬†stands clearly and authentically for our values. That will be my first¬†priority if I am elected Leader.¬† We cannot expect New Zealanders to back us¬†to run the country if we give the impression that we are not organised, and confident and proud of who we are. ¬† Read more »

Bill English’s state housing reform is privatisation by stealth

Like an insidious slow rot, Bill English wants to get his hands on part of the $16B worth of cash currently locked into government-owned social housing stock.  This is one of the most under-the-radar National reforms that may have a substantial effect.  John Armstrong muses

Bill English’s masterplan to radically “reform” the Labour-initiated, octogenarian state housing scheme has all the hallmarks of being ideological for ideology’s sake.

The power combo of English and the Treasury is a pretty unstoppable force at any time. Implementing a policy in tune with its world view, the Treasury has been let off the leash, albeit briefly. It is just like the good old days before MMP and the advent of prime ministers obsessed with opinion polls and little else.

That the policy may yet be a complete dud does not seem to have penetrated the minds of those responsible for writing the relevant Cabinet papers. It is enough that the winner from the restructuring of “social housing” – the more anodyne term that National prefers to use – is the private sector.

I’m all for Government getting out of things they have no business being in. ¬†But we are still to see a clear explanation how English is going to encourage the private sector to take on the least attractive and possibly loss-making tenants in a deal where they take all the risk. ¬† Read more »

Beware the cult of personality, and the legacy they leave

Over the past few days I have received more than a few random emails about a couple of posts where I dared to criticise John Key. I have also had some personal approaches.

Apparently my audience will be affected negatively by criticising John Key. He also is the saviour of the National party and without him National would be stuffed.

Ignore the fact that he shamelessly used one of my private emails to conduct a personal hit on a friend, and ignore the fact that he thinks I should just accept it as “mo hard hard feelings”. I say ignore those because they have absolutely no bearing on my criticism of John Key.

I criticise him because I am alarmed that National is falling into the same traps that Helen Clark fell into.

The trap of creating a cult of personality.

Let me explain.

Labour’s current predicament has come about as a result of 15 years of a cult of personality in Helen Clark. Where she was the labour party and the Labour party was her. She purged the party¬†of those who thought even a little differently. She populated caucus with sycophants, and she sacked good honest brokers in her office and replaced them with forelock tugging apparatchiks. She created the party in her image, the photoshopped one not the real you can break bottles on her face image.

When the public saw behind the photoshop they they recoiled. The party was destroyed in the 2008 election and she promptly departed for greener pastures.

But her legacy remains. Decidedly average MPs, middle manager types who were already promoted beyond their abilities. She left a caucus highly factionalised so there was no dominant faction unable to topple her. But the worst aspect was she left the party in the hands of hard left organisers who bizarrely think that the path to salvation is to be more hard left.

The funniest thing of all is there is still no one inside Labour who will ever hear a bad word said about Helen Clark.¬† Read more »

Circus? More like a party of clowns

Labour's leadership contest has become a Carnival of CLowns

Labour’s leadership contest has become a Carnival of Clowns

Vernon Small chokes down a bite of dead rat and writes about the state of his beloved Labour party that in his mind at least has become like a circus.

By rights the political debate should be focused on the Government’s handling of two things.

How does it meet its self- imposed need to do something alongside traditional allies and friends in Iraq and Syria without getting too deeply embroiled in the war against Islamic State?

And how will John Key make a dent in the number of children in poverty, given the Government’s pre-eminent focus on work as the best route out of poverty?

That begs the obvious question: what about the large number of working poor? And how out of tune was Bill English with his view that planning laws and local government rules were the main cause of poverty because they drive up house prices?

But then along came Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Shearer and the whole Labour three-ringed circus to demand its place in the limelight.

Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin