Steven Joyce

Many thanks to Annette King, Winston Peters and Russel Norman for continued promotion efforts

With all my mentions in parliament, Cam Slater is sure to be number one

With all my mentions in parliament, Cam Slater is sure to be number one

Third day in a row in parliament the opposition has been working hard promoting me and the blog.

Q1: 21 mentions by name from Annette King, Russel Norman, Steven Joyce and Winston Peters.

Q7: 8 mentions by Metiria Turei. She is going to have try quite a bit harder to match the efforts of Labour in this.   Read more »

Tax payer funded welfare for elite sports with intangible returns. What to do next?

It appears the business case for handing our taxes to the likes of two-timer Dalton still doesn’t stack up, but the politicians are still star struck.

Treasury has advised against taxpayer backing for Team New Zealand in the next America’s Cup, labelling it “poor value for money”.

The Government contributed $5 million to Team New Zealand to help retain key staff soon after its 8-9 loss in the 34th Cup in September last year – against Treasury advice – and is considering investing a similar amount to the $36 million contributed last time.

Treasury repeated its opposition in March, documents released to the Herald under the Official Information Act show

It told Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Finance Minister Bill English that Team NZ should get private backing and that “the extent of any positive economic impacts from a Government contribution [to the last challenge] have not been established” and could be gained without putting in public money.

“A number of benefits from Government support are often claimed, including increased economic activity, tax revenue, employment and an opportunity to promote New Zealand industry and tourism.

“However it is likely that many of these benefits would be achieved if TNZ were to enter without Government support.”

The whole area of government sponsored sport is rather murky to be honest.  For big events can’t be done without the financial support of the big wallet that has all our money in it.   Read more »

Good on ya Winston

Shane+Dobbin+Winter+Olympics+Previews+gYHJ0Gau9yCl

Winston Peters has quit the flag committee.

Good on him.

The proposal to change the flag is stupid, and a massive weapon of mass distraction being deployed by John Key.

New Zealand First has pulled out of a committee which will decide how the public votes on the national flag, saying it was an expensive exercise which took attention away from greater priorities.

Leader Winston Peters said this afternoon the flag referendum will “cost us dearly” and take the public’s eye off more pressing social and economic challenges.

“A change of flag might need to be considered but now is not the time. Poverty and housing are at crisis level, it’s no time for a government to be raising a distraction,” Mr Peters said.

His party had rejected the Government’s invitation to nominate an MP for a cross-party committee.

Prime Minister John Key said New Zealand First’s absence from the committee would not “inhibit the process in any way”.    Read more »

I hope National has changed its rules to allow this

Uppity old sanctimonious twats in the National party passed some rules that forbade candidates from seeking or employing professional advice.

It was known in National circles as the “Lusk Rule”.

The architects of it were the Buggers Muddle and it gained support by the board.

I wonder though if they are  going to rescind that rule now that one of Steven Joyce’s favourites is entering the same space. Read more »

Labour’s institutional dysfunction

Danyl McLauchlan is one of the few on the left wing that I can respect.

His observations when he isn’t being silly or writing bad satire are usually spot on.

He has taken the time to discuss the Labour party and what he sees as their impending collapse.

I don’t know if Labour is a dying party. Looks like to to me, but there’s still time to turn things around. I do think there’s an important difference between National in 2002 and the Labour Party in 2014. After their 2002 election loss National realised that it faced an existential crisis and took drastic action. They bought Steven Joyce in to review the party, underwent a huge reorganisation and then united behind their subsequent leaders, Brash and Key. The sense I get from Labour is that they don’t have anything to worry about because hey, National was in big trouble a few years ago and now look at them go! Sure, Labour aren’t doing great right now but it’s just history; it’s political cycles. You gotta ride it out and wait until the tide washes you back into government again. There was a nice example of this from former Labour President Mike Williams on the Nine to Noon political segment last week. Williams announced that the leader of the Labour leadership contest will probably be the Prime Minister in 2017 because four term governments are rare. Forget all that hard work of somehow beating John Key, which Labour has no idea how to do, or even reforming the party. Fate will just return them to power, somehow, because that’s what sometimes happened in the past.

I don’t think Key and National see themselves as being circumscribed by fate, and that they should just resign themselves to losing in 2017. I think they’ve built a fearsome political behemoth that dominates New Zealand’s political landscape and which they hope will endure for a long, long time, even after Key finally retires in his fifth term (or whenever).  Labour dying is not a worst-case scenario for the New Zealand left. Labour hanging around, slowly dwindling, occupying the political space of the center-left but not winning an election for another twenty years is the real and highly plausible doomsday scenario. I don’t know how much of National’s strength is an accident of Labour’s current weakness, but I do know that the new Labour leaders job will be reforming their party, and not beating Key. That’s not even an option for Labour until they somehow transform themselves into a modern professional political party, and figure out who they are and what they stand for.

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Why the silence? Bludgers don’t want us to know how much bludging they are doing

Team NZ always asking for more

Team NZ always asking for more

The bludgers in Team NZ are being assisted by the government who is playing secrets over precisely how large the bludging is.

This is completely unacceptable.

If taxpayers are stumping up cash then we are entitled to know just how much extra corporate bludging that Steven Joyce is happy to fund.

The Government will not say how much taxpayer cash Team New Zealand have requested to help bankroll their next tilt at the America’s Cup.

Documents about public funding of the yachting syndicate sought by the Herald through the Official Information Act were either heavily redacted or withheld by officials acting for Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.

Citing the public’s right to know how its money is spent by public officials, theHerald has lodged an urgent appeal with the Ombudsman.  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 »

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 »

How to speak like a politician

Politico has a good article that analyses and teaches you how to speak like a politician.

Complaints about political language are hardly new. In a famous 1946 essay, George Orwell groused that it “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” But if anything, doubletalk and weasel words proliferate now more than ever. They’re a manifestation of both parties’ desires to doggedly stay on message amid a rapacious 24-7 news cycle and the compulsion of some politicians to pass judgment—on Twitter, on TV or in Politico—on most of the issues that surface during it.

In doing research for our new book on political rhetoric, we came across five general categories of Washington-speak—the devices that today’s politicians use in their never-ending quests to one-up each other while, at the same time, appearing spontaneous—and productive—to voters. Here’s what you need to know to keep up with the best of them—if that’s what you want to do.

Once you notice these you will be better armed at detecting bull ordure.

1. The polite knife in the back. Politicians like to be liked. So even when sticking it to an opponent, they have an incentive to stay positive. Even casual C-SPAN viewers will recognize the most common forms of this passive-aggressive approach.

Take “my good friend”—politician-speak for somebody he or she often can’t stand. “My good friend” is most commonly used on the House or Senate floors when addressing a colleague. Usually it’s a thinly veiled way of showing contempt for the other lawmaker while adhering to congressional rules of decorum. When Democratic Rep. Gene Green of Texas first arrived on Capitol Hill in the early 1990s, he recalled, “The joke we had was, when someone calls you their good friend, look behind you. I try not to say it unless people really are my good friends.’”   Read more »

Silly mistake by Key

John Key is supposed to be a smart man, but he often makes silly mistakes.

The latest mistake he has made was probably at the behest of Steven Joyce and Bill English and is an act of petulance that will hurt him.

The caucus is already smarting about the promotion of 3 dead heads who have few friends in caucus ahead of other more capable ministerial prospects. With his nasty and un-necessary slight against Judith Collins he has just solidified that grumpiness.

Ex-Justice Minister Judith Collins is seething after she was delivered a humiliating snub by Prime Minister John Key, who has declined to recommend her for an official title.

Outgoing ministers are usually granted the right to use the honorific “The Honorable” for life, after a recommendation from the prime minister to the governor-general.

Last Wednesday, demoted courts minister Chester Borrows and retiring Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples were added to the ‘‘Roll of the Honourables.’’  But Collins – who resigned in August over the Dirty Politics furore – is missing from the list.

Collins was upset and angry to be given the news by Fairfax Media. ‘‘No-one has given me the decency to tell me that…I’m actually hurt and shocked.

‘‘Frankly, that you are the first person to tell me, I have to say, you could knock me down with a feather…It’s appalling.’’

Her fury was directed at Key: ‘‘If you are the person that is charged with telling me this then that says an awful lot about the person that should be doing it, and I am utterly disgusted.’’

Read more »