Simon Bridges

How much does Northland care about roads?

More roads could be on the way for Northland, as National pours extra resources into the by-election.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges is expected to reveal more on plans for the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway today.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters believes he has forced National’s hand, but Mr Bridges says the plans were already in motion.

“I think this one of the beautiful old Winston tricks is that you’ve been neglecting that, you haven’t had this, you haven’t had that – well actually if you look at the figures, we’ve spent $750 million there in Northland since 2008,” says Mr Bridges.

You have to love Winston.  He’s setting the agenda every day, and the Government is constantly on the back foot refuting the old fox’s statements.

I truly doubt that Northland votes are going to be pivotal on the amount of money National will commit over and above the plans already in place for roads.   Read more »

Bridges, pork barrels and Winston’s new found interest in the North

The by-election is well underway and Winston Peters has professed an undying love for the north, except his party hasn’t stood a candidate there for three elections, and he used to be real happy being the MP for Tauranga, which is hardly in the North.

Meanwhile the National party has rolled out the pork barrels.

Prime Minister John Key is unapologetic about rolling out multi-million-dollar promises during the Northland byelection and says more is to come as rivals claim it is simply pork barrelling to try to hold on to the seat.

In a clear bid to outflank NZ First leader Winston Peters, National’s candidate Mark Osborne and Transport Minister Simon Bridges yesterday announced a $69 million upgrade to 10 of the 15 one-way bridges on Northland state highways. The announcement followed two polls showing National could struggle to hold the seat against Mr Peters.

Labour leader Andrew Little described it as desperate pork barrelling. Mr Peters said his entry to the race had clearly been effective at pushing National into action, but Northlanders would not fall for such a blatant and belated bribe.

Little can talk, his promises are likely to be even bigger, but I await with interest any sign that Labour wants to spend on roads. After a decade of calling State Highway One the “Holiday Highway” any improvement on roading will be a welcome change.    Read more »

Simon Bridges wants more people driving gay cars

It is bad enough that Craig Foss has gotten himself a new gay ute, but now Simon Bridges wants us to drive cars gayer than Fossy’s gay ute.

I mean seriously? Expensive, over priced, non-Green, electric cars?

The only good news is he doesn’t support subsidies.

Transport and Energy Minister Simon Bridges has officials investigating ways to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles.

But he doesn’t favour incentives or subsidies in what he says is “the most EV-ready country in the world” because of New Zealand’s very high proportion of electricity generated from renewable resources.   Read more »

Bridges Boo Boos

Sometimes it’s better just to shut up.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges says he’s warned petrol companies he’s watching how much profit they are taking at the pump.

But rather than say ‘yes minister’, one company has told the Government to check its facts because they’re wrong.

When oil prices dropped late last year Mr Bridges thought petrol company margins didn’t follow fast enough, and he was outspoken with his disapproval.

“What is clear – they got too high.”

The price of a litre includes the cost of the fuel, taxes, shipping and GST, while the remaining 18 percent goes to the company.

The Government says companies make roughly 30 cents per litre, but fuel company Z’s CEO Mike Bennetts says it only make about 19 cents at the pump. Read more »

The coming selection in Northland

The predictable demise of Northland MP Mike Sabin means a very blue seat is up for selection.

The majority is 9300, and Labour’s candidate, Willow-Jean Prime, has just had a baby, so is not expected to run again.

When Sabin won in 2011 there was considerable interest in the selection, with a good number of candidates putting their names forward. Some of these are expected to be contenders again.

Grant McCullum: Long time National Board member and perceived front runner in the last selection. Withdrew due to issues with a tricky missus. Inside word is she has just got more tricky over the years so McCullum will struggle to get approval to run.   Read more »

Stuart Nash on the Boagan’s plans to nick the AECT trust

Stuart Nash has written a piece on Michelle Boag’s plans to nick the AECT funds to gift to Len Brown for his train set.

It is on a little read hate speech blog run by Wrongly Wrongson, the blogger formerly known as Martyn Martin Bradbury, and so deserves wider attention.

Move forward to 2014, and John Collinge is at it once again.  Collinge, backed by another former National party president Michelle Boag, and helped by Auckland EMA CEO Kim Campbell, is trying to gather support for a scheme that would steal the shares off the people of Auckland for good.

Their miserable plan, as I have been led to believe, involves pressuring the National government to introduce legislation that would allow the shares, worth around $2.1b, to be nationalised, and then gifted back to the Auckland City Council for them to sell – to the people of Auckland and overseas buyers.

Let’s put this into perspective.  This year the AECT returned a $335 dividend to all shareholders (75.1% of whom are the people of Auckland). This is a most welcome bonus to many who are currently struggling with the extremely high costs of living in Auckland.

Vector is an incredibly progressive and innovative company and so this dividend is only going to grow.  Why sell it?  This is about ideology – and a massive disconnect by some wealthy individuals who simply have absolutely no idea at all how important $335 is to a huge number of Auckland families.  Read more »

More on the lack of peak oil

Yesterday we explored the lack of peak oil.

I also found an interesting recent article on the topic at Real Clear Politics.

In a chilling 2010 column, Paul Krugman declared: “peak oil has arrived.”

So it’s really not surprising that the national average for a gallon of gas has fallen to $2.77 this week – in 10 states it was under $2.60 – and analysts predict we’re going to dip below the two-dollar mark soon. U.S. oil is down to $75 a barrel, a drop of more than $30 from the 52-week high.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Energy Research estimates that we have enough natural gas in the U.S. to meet electricity needs for around 575 years at current fuel demand and to fuel homes heated by natural gas for 857 years or so – because we have more gas than Russia, Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia combined.

With prices returning to ordinary levels and a few centuries’ worth of fossil fuels on tap, this is a good time to remind ourselves that nearly every warning the left has peddled about an impending energy crisis over the past 30 to 40 years has turned out to be wrong. And none of them are more wrong than the Malthusian idea that says we’re running out of oil.

Each time there’s a temporary spike in gas prices, science-centric liberals allow themselves a purely ideological indulgence, claiming – as Krugman, Paul Ehrlich, John Holdren and countless others have – that we’re rapidly approaching a point when producers will hit the maximum rate of extraction of petroleum. Peak oil. With emerging demand, fossil fuels will become prohibitive. And unless we have our in solar panels in order, Armageddon is near.   Read more »

Ding Dong, El Presidente’s gone

BREAKING

This morning the Building Services Contractors New Zealand (BSC for short) sent out an email to members announcing that El Presidente Patrick Lee-Lo has stepped down as National President.

You may recall that for some time WOBH has poured sunlight into the BSC. Many, including Rodney Hide, called it a cartel-like organisation for being party to an Principles Agreement that excluded businesses from government contracts.

National’s former Minister of Labour Simon Bridges did the right thing and axed this agreement, much to the horror of El Presidente who claimed it was part of some conspiracy to undermine workers’ rights.

According to the announcement sent to members (and forwarded to WOBH by a member of the fish-gang), CEO Lillian Small says Patrick Lee-Lo was a ‘vibrant President’. I’d agree with that.

Here’s the email.   Read more »

Gayer than Fossy’s Gay Ute

It takes a lot to find a ute gayer than Fossy’s gay ute, but the diminutive Simon Bridges has managed it, and worse splashed it all over social media.

Read more »

Taxpayers’ Union slams Joyce for his expanded corporate welfare programme

Since the opposition is asleep at the wheel the job of holding a spendthrift government to account falls upon the shoulders of the Taxpayers’ Union.

They are holding Steven Joyce to account for his expanded corporate welfare programme.

Responding to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce’s defence of corporate welfare, Jim Rose, the author of Monopoly Money, a Taxpayers Union report on corporate welfare since 2008, says:

“Mr Joyce defends over $3 billion in subsidies to KiwiRail and Solid Energy under his watch by saying that they are state owned. Bailouts are not the role of ministers as shareholders. Since 1986, state-owned enterprises have had a statutory duty to operate as a successful business and to be as profitable and efficient as comparable businesses not owned by the Crown. The whole idea of the State Owned Enterprises Act 1986 was to bring an end to bailouts and permanent deficits.”

“Instead of putting a failed business in the hands of receivers, Mr Joyce defends throwing good money after bad by blaming the previous government for buying KiwiRail. That was three elections ago. Elections are supposed to count for something. $3 billion in taxpayers’ money cannot be handed out in subsidies with ministers bobbing and weaving about responsibility for the amount and wisdom involved. The Treasury Benches come with a full ministerial responsibility for every single dollar of taxpayers’ money spent under your watch.”    Read more »