Gerry Brownlee

Another Cunliffe numbers botch up. Again

Gerry Brownlee listened with some incredulity when David Cunliffe was touting his new Labour Cluster Truck Transport Policy yesterday.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says Ministry of Transport analysis of Labour’s new policy for taxing motorhomes shows many motorhome owners would actually be charged higher Road User Charges under a Labour government than they are presently, not lower, as Labour’s leader claimed this morning.

“This is frankly remarkable – I’m not sure if David Cunliffe is being tricky or if Labour is simply a shambles,” Mr Brownlee says.

“This morning David Cunliffe announced a Labour government would charge motorhome and campervan owners for the wear and tear their vehicles do to the roads based on their vehicles’ actual weights.

“But analysis by the Ministry of Transport shows that based on the difference between average and maximum weights for trucks versus motorhomes, the owners of many motorhomes would end up paying more for Road User Charges than they do today.

Well, Cunliffe lost all the Truckie votes yesterday, and you can add the Gypsy demographic to that as well.   Read more »

Is more red-tape and bureaucracy the answer for Christchurch?

Apparently the Christchurch City Council thinks more red-tape and bureaucracy will solve the housing problem in the city.

City councillors have voted unanimously to explore options for setting up a register of residential rental properties in Christchurch.

The proposed register is the idea of the Tenants Protection Association (TPA) and is part of measures that are being considered to help address the crippling shortage of rental accommodation in the city.

TPA manager Helen Gatonyi told the council’s housing committee that New Zealand was one of the few countries that did not have a register of residential rental properties.

“It has been said there is more legislation required to house pigs than there is to house people in this country. We need to register our car, our dogs, we need to register our businesses, so why is there so much resistance to registering our residential rental housing,” Gatonyi said.

In view of the housing crisis in Christchurch a rental register was critical as authorities needed to have a comprehensive understanding of the rental market so they could plan to meet the accommodation needs of the estimated 10,000 workers who would be coming into the city to assist with the rebuild.

“It is absolutely necessary for planning,” Gatonyi said. “We need to know what residential accommodation is available and where it is.”

The level of homelessness in Christchurch was a “great deal bigger than any of us want to contemplate” and a key to changing that situation was having accurate information on where the gaps were.   Read more »

The Press editorial on Cunliffe and Labour

Ouch, arguably one of the best press editorials ever.

It completely dissects the opportunist that is David Cunliffe and his tailoring his message to whoever is standing in front of him.

 Labour leader David Cunliffe perhaps scored one or two electoral points last week when he visited – in her damaged home – an 85-year-old widow who told him she had been “pushed from pillar to post” in her dealings with EQC.

The visit pulled on the right sort of heartstrings, at least with some of the correspondents on this page, and resulted in an admission from Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee that EQC and Fletcher had “dropped the ball” in her case.

Brownlee promised immediate action. That was a good result for the widow, Dot Boyd, and a minor publicity coup for Cunliffe.

Unfortunately, it was no substitute for a cohesive and well-articulated earthquake recovery policy from Labour, which continues to look lacklustre when it comes to explaining how it would handle the rebuild.

Cunliffe followed up his photo opportunity with a pledge to set up, if elected to Government, a $2 million fund to help individuals bring test cases against EQC and insurance companies, to “clarify the law, remove blockages and help get things moving”.

There is an immediate perception problem with the amount, which seems almost insignificant given the scale of the problem.

While Cunliffe talks of millions, the Government in election year is bound to keep repeating its mantra that it is funding $15 billion of a $40b rebuild.  Read more »

Len’s rail offer ignored

John Key has given Len Brown a ‘must try harder’ report card for his ill thought out rail bribe to the government.

The NZ Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key has rebuffed a $250 million offer from Auckland Mayor Len Brown to kick-start the $2.86 billion City Rail Link in 2016, saying the project is on track to begin construction in 2020.

The two leaders met in Auckland last week where Mr Key told the mayor the Government was still committed to the rail project, but its preferred timetable was to start in 2020 with a review in 2017 to see if that date could be brought forward.

Mr Brown had written to Mr Key saying his council would pay for an early “works programme” to get the project started at Britomart and under much of Albert St, partly driven by Precinct Properties wanting to start rebuilding the Downtown Shopping Centre next year. The offer included $250 million of the city’s money for work under the Downtown centre and up Albert St and a Government commitment to pay for half of the project from 2020.

Mr Key, who last year said the project could start earlier if Auckland could meet tough rail patronage and employment growth targets, said officials would look at Mr Brown’s offer “but at this point really, nothing has changed”.   Read more »

Herald editorial slams Brown…again

The Herald editorial this morning slams Len Brown for pretending he can advance any of his pet projects because the shattered image of his mayoralty.

As part of his platform for last year’s local body elections, Mayor Len Brown said he would push for a 2016 start to Auckland’s $2.86 billion city rail link. He reiterated that policy in a Herald opinion article this week, and said it would be his top priority for 2014. But although the song remains the same, the mayor’s ability to gain an early start to the rail link has been much reduced.

This is a consequence of Mr Brown’s diminished standing following the revelation of his poor judgment, conflicts of interest and lack of accountability arising from his two-year affair.

The Government knows full well that with the public and councillors barely tolerating the mayor, it does not need to respond to his entreaties unless it is to its advantage.

Len Brown is a lame duck mayor who can be safely ignored. What is he going to do if he doesn’t get his way? Call a meeting in the Ngati Whatua Room?

Given that, the focus of debate about the link should be squarely on funding options for the Auckland Council, which will share the cost of the project with the Government. It has long been apparent that agreement on this will not be easy.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee has insisted neither tolls, congestion charges nor a regional fuel tax would be used to pay Auckland’s share. His stand echoed that of Steven Joyce, his predecessor in that portfolio. Mr Joyce has also argued the cost of the project would leave little for any others in Auckland over the same period.

Such reservations may not have been insurmountable for a mayor at the height of his powers. Mr Brown would have been able to suggest forcibly, and rightly, that Aucklanders showed their backing for the link by re-electing him and should next be able to choose whether they pay their share through road charges or higher rates.

Mr Brown, however, is clearly compromised as much in the eyes of the Government as his own councillors, who will have more say in the development of major policies. Ministers will feel far less inclined to bow to pressure applied by a mayor who no longer has the backing of a substantial number of Aucklanders.

Here, as in other matters, Mr Brown will struggle to drive things forward.

The only thing Len Brown will be driving forward will be his new car.

Predictions results

Ok so here were my predictions from January…how did I go?

1. National Party MPs will cringe every time Hekia Parata is asked a question in the house, and will avoid being in the house when they know Hekia is going to be rinsed.

Went pretty much as predicted…and got progressively worse as the year progressed, saved only by inept Labour questioners who were more distracted by fighting amongst themselves over the leadership.

2. Nanaia Mahuta remains anonymous and never holds Hekia to account.

Yup, neither did anyone else which is bizarre because she is tits and a legend in her own mind.

3. Iain Lees-Galloway’s missus is still dirty with him every time he mentions a certain stenographer.

Not much has changed here.   Read more »

New Zealander of the Year – your chance to vote

OK, first, thanks for the many of you suggesting I should be New Zealander of the Year.  It would be cool, but I’m asking  my own team who to pick, so I’m obviously disqualified for this particular illustrious award.  But – thank you all the same.

Here are the people that didn’t get a clear 2nd nomination, so they can’t be voted for today

  • Lindsay Mitchell
  • Bevan Chuang
  • John Minto
  • Hone Harawira
  • Louisa Wall
  • Kim Dotcom
  • Scott Dixon
  • David Shearer
  • Val Baker and the Matata police
  • Bob Parker
  • Gerry Brownlee

One or two there reflecting some humour or the fact that we do in fact allow readers to have a different opinion to me!

Val Baker and the Matata police was an interesting nomination.  This is how it was put forward, and I think they’ve earned some approbation:   Read more »

Gerry isn’t a a true Scotsman

Gerry Brownlee should never be allowed to wear a kilt ever again. He has broken the rules.

Underwear may or may not be worn, as the wearer prefers, although tradition has it that a “true Scotsman” should wear nothing under his kilt.

Gerry and Amy Read more »

Whaddaya mean racist bro?

Apparently an ad for vacuum cleaners is racist.

The NZ Herald reports:

Vacuum cleaner retailer Godfreys has withdrawn a television advertisement after multiple complaints of racism.

The television advertisement promoting a 50 per cent off weekend sale featured a white man wearing a wig.

The ad stated, in part: “aww hey Bro, this one’s bigger than Kim Dotcom’s chilly bin aye … Godfreys heaps big sale … Aww bro this one’s bigger than Gerry Brownlee’s undies aye … Aww it’s heaps big, choice.”  Read more »

Drink Driving limit to be lowered

The government has announced that they are going to lower the drink driving limit.

Prime Minister John Key says cabinet has agreed to lower the blood alcohol limit for all drivers.

The limit will fall from 0.08ml per 100ml of blood to 0.05ml.

Key said the new lower limit would give fines to drivers caught between the old limit and the new one.

He said the government had a strong track record for road safety, with the road toll falling by about 100 deaths a year while in government.

“The work is not over, no death is acceptable.”

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said the decision was striking a balance of showing that the government was serious about alcohol in driving, while deciding whether drivers were criminals.   Read more »