Phil Twyford

Is Labour serious about housing or just politicking?

Labour has been moaning for ages about affordable housing and imploring the government to DO something.

And so the government does do something…they say they will allow houses to be built on vacant government land, something labour actually asked for…I remember Annette King moaning about it last week in parliament.

Except Labour’s Phil Twyford has found something to moan about with that proposal too.

The Government’s plan to open up public land to help with the Auckland housing crisis is under attack, with revelations the land includes a power substation site.

Labour says only a quarter of the land earmarked for development can actually be built on – a claim the Government has rubbished.

The substation could be the site of the latest Government-backed housing development in Auckland. But the Government says there’s spare land behind all the wires, and it wouldn’t make a bad home.

“The substation is only in one corner, and there are three hectares of vacant land,” says Housing Minister Nick Smith. “Why would we not consider housing development on the remainder of the vacant land?”

On Budget day, the Government announced building on public land would get underway, saying it “owns approximately 500 hectares of land in Auckland with the potential for residential development”.

Read more »

Phil Twyford and Labour working with Auckland Council to stiff National’s affordable housing policy

Phil Twyford was busy on Red Radio this morning with a pseudo soft talking rhetoric about how hard it is for Auckland Council to build infrastructure and calling for the Government to pay up for the pipes and roads and public transport to service it.

There have been rumours about the traps that Labour is running thick with Auckland Council, especially Penny Hulse, to stiff the housing accord and to get the initiative to fail.

And one doesn’t need to wear a tin-foil hat to theorise a conspiracy to work complicitly together. Labour don’t want National to be successful and poo poo anything National comes up with (including things they might have done themselves). And the Auckland Council is desperate to thwart the greenfield expansion of the CBD because it undermines their goals to build a compact city.

Plus they are all pinko mates. So of course they will work together.  Read more »

Was Robbo white-anting Little too?

Was Grant Robertson white-anting Andrew Little too?

Rob Hosking at NBR seems to think so.

[P]erhaps the most revealing aspect is to do with Mr Little’s colleagues – what has and what has not happened.

First, what has not: there has been no rush by Labour MPs to defend their leader. Mr Little is very much on his own on this, in Parliament and elsewhere.

Usually, in such matters, with a leader in trouble, colleagues run interference, at question time in Parliament and in the media.

This time: nothing.

Second, what did happen: there was the odd, apparent stuff up, by Mr Little’s leadership rival Grant Robertson, at Parliamentary questions yesterday.

With government ministers desperately keen for the chance to enhance Mr Little’s discomfiture by raising the issue of the unpaid bill, Mr Robertson’s questions to Finance Minister Bill English provided them with just that opportunity.

Asking whether the decision not to cut ACC levies was at to be the result of competently managing and growing the economy, rather than “ripping off workers and businesses,” Mr English gleefully pointed out that “it is not the right day for the Labour Party to be talking about ripping off the workers. I mean, at least the workers pay some levy, whereas Andrew Little did not pay any of the bill.”

Now, Mr Robertson is a wily and experienced performer at question time. As a politician, Parliamentary ducks and drakes is by far what he is best at: in fact, his major fault is he often appears to think it is the whole point of politics to score some sort of debating point on the floor of Parliament. Read more »

It’s the Auckland Council that is the problem

Finally the Herald is waking up to the fact that Auckland Council is a useless organisation who are still the reason why housing is an issue.

Yesterday property developers were fingered the blame for supposedly sitting on their hands and land banking. And yesterday I said it wasn’t developers but Auckland Council.

Property developers say the failure to quickly resolve Auckland’s housing crisis is not their fault – lack of infrastructure is one of the biggest impediments to more building.

Connal Townsend, chief executive of the Property Council, said one of the biggest blocks to creating new subdivisions was lack of adequate sewerage, stormwater and fresh water connections.

Those often needed to be upgraded from existing residential areas to vast new tracts of land to enable developers to put up the homes, he said. Until that happened, developers might have consents to build but they could not go ahead.

Lack of Resource Management Act reform, no mezzanine or second-tier finance, a labour shortage and the high cost of building materials were other factors stopping the rush to put up new homes, he said.    Read more »

Some more thoughts on the Special Housing Area debacle

With Auckland Council failing to deliver on the Special Housing Areas in a deliberate attempt to thwart the Government and bolster its own compact city aspirations – a solution is required.

I hear that the Nat’s don’t want to push the issue too hard because they are worried about the political backlash.

But, it’s already happening.

Whilst it is a catch 22, the reality is that there are only two choices:

1. Do nothing, be hammered by Phil Twyford and Andrew Little and eventually lose the next election because the housing woes get worse and New Zealanders get sick of it – voting for change out of desperation;

2. Step in to take control of the process. Sure there will be blood on the floor, but if the problem is solved Kiwi’s will think the Nat’s are decisive, strong and solve problems and that’s a winning formula.

The problem is the stepping in bit.

Nobody is sure what the blood on the floor will be and in the dark of night they fret that its political suicide. Except I don’t believe that it is really is.   Read more »

Minor Losers, Ctd – Grant Robertson – 3rd in the Party Vote

- TVNZ

– TVNZ

Grant Robertson was one of the major losers of 2014, failing in his bid for the leadership for a second time.

He was beautifully knifed by Phil Twyford, in a great play by an otherwise unknown politician.

This doesn’t qualify him as a minor loser.    Read more »

Lesser Known Winners & Losers of 2014

philtwyford

The MSM and lesser known bloggers like to give out big gay lists of awards for political winners and losers in 2014 and often miss out on some of the most interesting stories.

So we will cover some of the winners and losers this year that haven’t really made it into the public eye.

I mean everyone else has labelled John Key politician of the year except Jane Clifton, who awarded that to me. The lists aren’t even interesting anymore.

Time for a change.   Read more »

Two pussies in parliament

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Check this out

Labour MP Phil Twyford has apologised on Twitter after Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett bailed him up as sexist for making a cat claw gesture at her in Parliament.

Mr Twyford made the gesture indicating Ms Bennett was catty after Ms Bennett said he appeared to be struggling to understand her answers to his questions about housing. Read more »

Phil Twyford shows us yet again why Labour are idiots

In the election the Labour party presented us with a concept for lowering power prices…removing competition from the market, and having state control.

It was an idiot idea, from the party of idiots. All around the world the plan has shown to be a complete failure, yet Labour ran with policy on the heroic assumption that they could command the economy to lower prices by removing competition.

Then in today’s Herald we have another Labour idiot mouthing off about another industry, but his solution is to increase competition, in stark contrast to their power policy.

Labour’s housing spokesman Phil Twyford has raised concerns about anti-competitive building industry practices after the world’s second biggest wallboard maker said it was reviewing its structure in New Zealand.

Twyford is concerned about German-headquartered Knauf Plasterboard after it said its operation here was being examined. “A review of the Knauf Plasterboard New Zealand structure is currently under consultation,” Knauf said yesterday.   Read more »

How about all those game changers, eh?

During the last parliamentary term we were all told repeatedly that this policy or that person was a “game changer”.

How did those game changers all work out?

Chris Trotter thought Matt McCarten was a game changer:

These are the stakes the Left is playing for – and they could not be higher. If progressive New Zealand rallies to Cunliffe’s and McCarten’s bright-red banner and helps them convince Middle New Zealand that Labourism, far from being an alien and dangerous creed, actually stands for all that is best in this nation, then it will have won an historic and lasting victory. But if it fails to seize the opportunity it has been given, then all that is worth fighting for on the Left will go down to defeat and New Zealand will be National’s for the foreseeable future.

Now IS the time for all good comrades to come to the aid of the party. Because, whichever way it turns out, the appointment of Matt McCarten is bound to be a game-changer.

Chris Trotter was very prescient in that post, he also predicted disaster.

[T]he Left has been given an extraordinary opportunity to prove that it still has something to offer New Zealand, but a desperately short period of time in which to do it. If old wounds, old grudges, old defeats (are you listening Jim?) are allowed to get in the way of making this unprecedented situation work to the advantage of ordinary New Zealanders, then it will end in failure.

And that failure won’t just be Cunliffe’s and McCarten’s, it will be the failure of the entire progressive movement. And it won’t just be for a triennium (or three) it will be for an entire generation.

If Cunliffe and McCarten are allowed to fail, the Right of the Labour Party and their fellow travellers in the broader labour movement (all the people who worked so hard to prevent Cunliffe rising to the leadership) will say:

“Well, you got your wish. You elected a leader pledged to take Labour to the Left. And just look what happened. Middle New Zealand ran screaming into the arms of John Key and Labour ended up with a Party Vote even more pitiful than National’s in 2002! So don’t you dare try peddling that ‘If we build a left-wing Labour Party they will come’ line ever again! You did – and they didn’t.”

Be in no doubt that this will happen – just as it did in the years after the British Labour Party’s crushing defeat in the general election of 1983. The Labour Right called Labour’s socialist manifesto “the longest suicide note in history” and the long-march towards Blairism and the re-writing of Clause Four began. (Never mind the impact of Maggie Thatcher’s unlikely victory in the South Atlantic, it was Michael Foot’s socialism wot won it for the Tories!)

Plenty of others thought Matt McCarten was a game changer…they just didn’t realise he wasn’t working for Labour. He certainly was a game changer…for National.    Read more »