National Party

Let’s get the dirt out in front: Police Minister declares his conviction

Mickey Woodhouse has a drink driving conviction.  Did the papers find out via hacking?   Nope, the minister and Key wants it out there in advance.

Police Minister Michael Woodhouse has owned up to a past drink-driving conviction during a wide-ranging interview about his new portfolio.

Asked if he had had any brushes with the law, Woodhouse revealed: “I have a conviction for driving with excess blood alcohol – it’s 27 years old, I was 21.”

He said: “You’ve asked, I can’t say no . . . I suppose that’s on the public record.”

People with drink-driving convictions are not allowed to become police officers. Woodhouse was appointed police minister this month.

Those that can, do.  Those who can’t, become ministers.

Prime Minister John Key’s office confirmed last night that Woodhouse disclosed his conviction when applying to become a National Party candidate in 2008.

Woodhouse did not offer further details of the incident, but it has been reported that he was working for the BNZ about that time, before leaving in 1987 to play rugby in Britain.

Asked if he was now an upstanding MP, he said: “Certainly there’s too many eyes to be getting into too much mischief.”

Interesting dodge, don’t you think?   Sill hedging.  Wonder why…   Read more »

Is Key a subscriber to ‘canoe theory’?

Todd S. Purdum looks at California’s Governor Jerry Brown:

Brown’s politics have long been tough to pigeonhole. He is personally ascetic, like the Jesuit seminarian he once was, and in his first term famously drove a plebeian Plymouth. He has always been a bit of a fiscal skinflint and now bucks liberal orthodoxy on questions like legalizing marijuana. His long-standing credo has been the “canoe theory” — that the best way to head in a straight line is to paddle a little to the left and then to the right. In contrast to a Legislature widely seen as left of center, he is viewed as middle of the road.

It is hard to argue when reading that description of Jerry Brown that it doesn’t also fit John Key perfectly.

John Key sits squarely in the middle, with little paddles to the left, and then little paddles to the right. So far he has got the balance in the canoe just right.

But all it takes to tip a canoe over is a rogue wave, or a boat to speed past or the canoe to spring a leak.   Read more »

Brian Edwards on Labour’s leadership struggle

My good friend Brian Edwards gives his 10 cents worth on Labour’s leadership struggle.

It would have been nice if the Labour Party caucus had just been able to get together and pick a new leader, following the departure of David Cunliffe. That would have been the tidy way of doing things – a secret ballot, no dirty laundry washed in public, no protracted taking of soundings from all and sundry, no overt competition between the aspirants.

Let’s not do that then! Too sensible. Too easy. Too quick. Too like the way the National Party does things. And look where that got them.

So when the unions and the membership and the caucus have been consulted and weighed up the respective merits of the four contenders, there’ll be a new leader ready to take on John Key and the Nats.

Not an easy job when three out of four New Zealand voters just made it crystal  clear that they didn’t want a bar of you. And even less easy when you’ve just made it plain as a pikestaff to the electorate that no-one in your caucus stands out as the obvious, unchallengeable, next leader of the party. And certainly not Nanaia Mahuta, Andrew Little, Grant Robertson or David Parker.

Uh oh…all is not right in the Edwards household…perhaps the luncheon sausage ran out.

It’s not that they’re unintelligent or palpably untrustworthy or – as far as we know – have deep dark secrets waiting to emerge from the abyss like Kafka’s beetle. No, it’s just that three of them are dull and the fourth is interesting for the wrong reason.

No X-factor, no pizzazz, no charisma, no capacity to generate excitement. Oh for a Kirk, a Lange, a Clark. Good lord, even Geoffrey Palmer could play the trumpet!

Read more »

Isis will “rain carnage on the world” – John Key

Seems John is done pussy footing around

Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a coalition fight against the extremist group.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand this morning, Mr Key said he was still weighing up the risks and benefits of New Zealand adopting a military response against Isis, vowing to “carefully trod our way through this”.

However, he was of the belief that Isis were “very bad people” and a military response was morally justified.

“They’re very bad people and left unchecked they will rain carnage on the world, that’s my view of these people,” he told the broadcaster.

This is a critical moment in Key’s leadership.  If we have a domestic incident after he commits New Zealand to fighting ISIS in the Middle East, it will be interesting to see how the public will react when the bleeding and deaths are on our own doorstep.   Read more »

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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 »

Greens want to work together with National

I don’t think they really do.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei acknowledged in notes for a speech to Parliament today that many of the party’s supporters – and even those who did not vote for the Greens – would like them to have more influence at the table.

“Since the election I’ve received a number of letters, even from National Party members, pleading with us to from some kind of arrangement with National because they feel guilty about voting for a party with such a poor record on the environment.

“The idea apparently is that the Greens could act as some kind of foil to National’s anti-environmental agenda if only we just focused on environmental issues.”

But Turei said the Greens were a movement based not just on environmental principles but on the principles of social justice and democracy.

“This is who we are. We couldn’t stop caring about our environment, or our people, or our economic direction for that matter because it might be politically expedient to do so. It’s not our job to move to the centre; it’s to move the centre.” Read more »

“National might think it is all over. It might be just the beginning”

The NZ Herald are sitting on a pile of unused (and still stolen) Dirty Politics information, mostly the stuff that came from my emails.  When it became clear that they weren’t destroying Whaleoil, nor National, it was as if a switch was thrown – overnight, all leaks and coverage stopped.

Now that the election is over, the conundrum of how to deal with me still sits up.  They don’t just need a Cameron Slater Killer Whaleoil Killer, they need a Freed Killer as well.

But there is a much more personal reason for many Herald journos.

A number of NZ Herald journos have fallen silent after trying to frame their involvement with Dirty Politics from their perspective.  I’ve not responded to these in public in any detail – instead I’ll present the Inquiry with the evidence instead.  They can sort out the wheat from the chaff.

In the mean time, the NZ Herald have run out of people who can publicly attack me that aren’t already compromised by having been part of Dirty Politics.

It seems John Armstrong has drawn the short straw now.

National is hardly keen to resurrect the matter. The Prime Minister’s success in shooting the messenger to kill the message, National’s subsequent stunning victory at the ballot box, and the thrashing handed to Labour and that party’s post-election meltdown have pushed the contents of Dirty Politics well out of the political limelight.

The rotten smell lingers, however. And National should think seriously about acknowledging it is badly tainted and do something which shows it is genuinely cleaning up its act.

No doubt many in the party are instead quietly revelling in what comes close to state persecution of Hager for the trumped-up crime of exposing the ugly truth about the true level of National’s adherence to New Zealand’s fundamental democratic and constitutional principles. No doubt many think the party has got off relatively scot-free despite indulging in some pretty abominable behaviour.

Keep in mind that the NZ Herald are donkey deep in this as well.  They are trying their hardest to frame the issue so Dirty Politics might just, finally, take out yours truly as well as become the constant irritant for National during this term. Read more »

Armstrong: John Key’s hidden objective

There is some life in John left – he’s seen right through John Key’s plan

Today’s Speech from the Throne outlining the new National minority Government’s legislative and policy programme is unusually non-contentious. So non-contentious that it seems rather bland.

And that is just the way the Prime Minister would like the speech to be viewed – solid, if unspectacular.

You had to wait until the Governor-General had read the last paragraph of the speech for a definitive statement on John Key’s real agenda behind his Government’s agenda.

That final sentence notes that National is “privileged” to have won the trust and goodwill of New Zealand voters for a third time and will seek to re-earn that trust and goodwill “every day” over the next three years.

In other words, Key’s mind is already intently focussed on how his Government avoids the third-term blues and matches Sir Keith Holyoake’s 1960s achievement of winning four straight elections – something which is even more difficult under a proportional electoral system like MMP compared to the previous first-past-the-post system which had a built-in bias favouring National. Read more »

Will National privatise the RMA process?

Nick-Smith_0

Somehow this slipped past the radar because most journos seems to be calling it in at the moment, but it just popped back on.  Corin Dann reports

The government wants to let other providers compete with local councils for the issuing of property consents.

The government blames council red tape for a lack of housing development. Read more »

Our ISIS problem solved: Iraqi PM doesn’t want our help

Sending the SAS or not to send the SAS?   Key vs the left and the media?   All of this is no longer a problem.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi [yesterday]ruled out any foreign ground intervention to assist government forces in retaking territory lost to jihadists and urged Sunnis to give up such hopes.

Abadi was speaking in the city of Najaf after a rare meeting with the most revered figure among Iraqi Shiites, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and before a trip to neighbouring Iran.

“No ground forces from any superpower, international coalition or regional power will fight here,” Abadi told reporters, reiterating previous remarks on the issue.

“This is my decision, it is the decision of the Iraqi government.”

Some officials and Sunni tribal leaders in areas most affected by the unrest have argued the world should step up its involvement from air strikes to a ground intervention against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.

Ignoring the fact that ISIS are quite happy to have foreign boots on the ground, the fears of the Iraqi PM seems to be more about being invaded by stealth:   Read more »

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