Steven Joyce

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 »

Tracy Watkins needs to stop drinking the gallery Koolaid

The problem with the Press Gallery is they are generally actually out of touch with what actually happens in politics.

Preferring to talk about factions and plans and conspiracies when none actually exists. They are particularly tits at these prognostications with the National aprty.

We often see stories about faction wars inside National when none exists. We know they don;t exists because if there were factions then i’d be in one of them and if there was a war there would be bodies floating down political rivers.

Tracy Watkins embarks on another gallery fantasy…that political parties groom future leaders.

Helen Clark’s mistake in being too slow to rejuvenate her caucus left a very deep impression on Key. He has been far more proactive, creating an expectation that there is no room in the caucus for seat warmers.

The departure of a slew of National MPs at the last election is evidence of his more ruthless approach, as is his approach to Cabinet reshuffles.

For the first time that anyone can remember Key has made a practice of demoting ministers for performance issues, rather than the more traditional route of sacking minister’s only when they have transgressed.  This has given him room to constantly renew his Cabinet. Key rang the changes with a reshuffle which he hopes will mitigate the effects of third-termitis.

Elevating the likes of Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges up the Cabinet rankings also shows Key has a succession plan in place – along with Steven Joyce, they are being looked to as the next generation of National leaders. Will the drive for renewal reach even higher to the leadership and deputy leadership?

Read more »

Why is another rich man’s sport being funded by the government?

A privately held organisation is the latest corporate bludger to take government money.

Worse still is that they are increasing their bludging year on year.

The New Zealand Open has been given a major boost, with next year’s national golf championship securing increased government funding and live television coverage.

For the first time the New Zealand Open will be broadcast live in New Zealand and to overseas territories, including Australia and Japan.

And for the fifth straight year, the government has increased the amount of taxpayer funding going to the event.

At a press conference in Auckland today, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce announced a major events development fund investment of $700,000 a year for the 2015 and 2016 events and a one-off cash boost of $250,000 – to be matched by event promoter Sir Michael Hill – to ensure live broadcasting continues.   Read more »

For once I agree with Sam Morgan, but he’s a bludging hypocrite himself

Sam Morgan has taken a swipe at the Government’s ongoing corporate welfare via the Callaghan Fund and sparked a stoush with Steven Joyce the minister responsible for handing out the welfare.

TradeMe founder Sam Morgan has called the Government’s research and development policy a “subsidy for private investors” during a cut-and-thrust social media exchange with Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce.

The Government yesterday announced its Callaghan Innovation had awarded a further $32 million over three years to 22 high tech companies under the Research and Development Growth Grants scheme.

The latest companies come from a wide range of industries from aviation to horticulture and include two companies that floated in the past year – online travel software company Serko and software company GeoOp.

News of the grants prompted Morgan, an entrepreneur who has been involved with a number of grant recipients in the past, to take to social networking site Twitter and say taxpayers were “giving free money to publicly listed tech companies to benefit wealthy tech investors”.

“Serko. Good company. Just raised lots of money on NZX. No constraint on raising more capital. Successful grant recipient. Unnecessary,” Morgan said.    Read more »

One big long sledge by Mike Yardley

Mike Yardley writes one big long sledge against David Cunliffe:

With just 11 sleeps to election day, and as the campaign trail hits the home straight, we seem to be back where we started. Despite all the political histrionics, National remains in pole position with Labour seemingly marooned on 25 per cent support.

The maths would suggest Team Cunliffe needs to be hitting 30 per cent if there is to be any sniff of a sixth Labour-led government taking shape. Last week’s The Press Leaders Debate was a gripping spectacle to observe, once again delivering what could well be the killer campaign frisson, with David Cunliffe’s dismal inability to blow-torch John Key’s strategic query about whether family homes in trusts will attract capital gains tax.

Cunliffe was not only flummoxed, but woefully outfoxed. At the half-time break, his platoon of crest-fallen advisers hastily tromped off backstage, more ashen-faced than Mt Tavurvur.

It was a catastrophe for the Labour leader, who, ironically, throughout much of the debate, was the more composed and commanding performer.

The capital gains tax stuff up has cost Labour dearly. I expect the next polls to show a complete disaster.

But bungles can have brutal consequences, and this was a botch to match the “I’m sorry for being a man” moment. The Press debate also heralded what continues to be National’s central attack catchphrase: “Labour’s Five New Taxes.” An attack line designed to scare the bejesus out of middle New Zealand, the swing voters that decide elections.   Read more »

Joyce shouldn’t pull things out his arse

It’s a strange world we live in when Whaleoil and Whaledump agree:

weeeeeeeeeeeee

Better stick to running the campaign Steven, and leave the dark arts to people who know what they’re doing.

 

– Hacked from… good god, I don’t know… this is getting a bit meta really

Show us the money Phil! I mean, David!

Got an itch?  Tell Labour.  They’d love to scratch it.

In a veritable lolly scramble the Labour Party have been announcing policy after policy giving millions upon millions away.

Soon you’re talking real money.

How much?

Mr Joyce says so far Labour has pledged billions and billions of new spending.

“Labour has announced policies that on their own admission add up to more than $16 billion of new spending over four years. And the true total is likely to be higher because some of the policies have been costed incorrectly,” Mr Joyce says.

“And that’s before you add in the Greens and other coalition partners like Internet-Mana.

“New Zealand has yet to achieve its first surplus since the Global Financial Crisis and the Canterbury earthquakes – and the Labour Party has broken out the Santa Claus outfits.

“The last time Labour went into spending overdrive in 2008, it pushed floating mortgage rates to almost 11 per cent, it sent the economy into recession before the Global Financial Crisis and it left the incoming National Government with a deficit of nearly $4 billion in 2008/09. It’s clear David Cunliffe has learnt nothing from that experience.

“It’s becoming obvious unusually early in this campaign – New Zealand simply can’t afford a Labour/Greens/Internet-Mana Government.”

16 Billion and counting.

Personally I don’t believe they’ll actually do even half of it.  Most of them have out clauses in the fine print, such as “if economic conditions allow” and “after further review”, and so on. Read more »