Steven Joyce

Steve Joyce can’t cope with real people

It looks like Steve Joyce can’t deal with real people…who might talk back at him.

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce’s refusal to meet medical students over the student loan cap is ”extremely disappointing”, New Zealand Medical Students’ Association president Elizabeth Berryman says.

The association renewed its efforts to secure a meeting after collecting more than 20,000 signatures in an online petition, but had been fobbed off by officials for weeks, Ms Berryman said.

”Do we have democracy in this country or not? ‘It’s not that hard for him to give us a response, so why is he being so cagey about it?”

Medical students are lobbying for the removal of the seven-year loan cap, which the association says could prevent some students from becoming doctors.

It will start to affect a few students from the end of this year, but will not be felt broadly until 2017.   Read more »

Robbo grooming himself for another tilt at the leadership?

With Andrew Little’s poll ratings mired below even David Cunliffe’s you have to wonder whether or not Grant Robertson is grooming himself for another tilt at the leadership.

Despite his announcement after being rinsed by Andrew Little off of the back of the union bosses supporting Little, it appears that Robbo may actually be having a crack again.

He has ramped up his publicity…he’s gone after John Key on a privileges complaint and done a soft…and I mean really soft positioning piece with Tracy Watkins at Fairfax.

The whole article doesn’t say much at all other than Robbo is going to do some shouting. Presumably in some country pubs because that is what all Labour aspirants do…cart themselves around the provinces supposedly to reconnect.

It is hard to tell though from the article.

Rugby mad Hurricanes fan Grant Robertson must have shouted himself to exhaustion at the Super Rugby final last weekend, One of his final tweets from the match admitted as much before his phone battery finally gave out from all the tweeting and texting.

Robertson’s approach to the finance portfolio curve ball thrown at him by Labour leader Andrew Little has been nowhere near as shouty as he was forced to rapidly negotiate unfamiliar territory.

Robertson was not the obvious fit; that mantle sat squarely on former finance spokesman David Parker’s shoulders. Always the lateral thinker of the Labour caucus, Parker was the man behind Labour’s  20011 economic platform. He  won widespread kudos for tackling some of the thorny issues – think capital gains tax, monetary policy and raising the pension age – head on. But kudos failed to translate into popularity, and Little’s claim to the leadership was built on a promise to review – read dump – the more unpalatable measures.

Little may be having a rethink as a lot of the economic chickens come home to roost, in the form of Auckland’s housing crisis, particularly in light of Bill English and John Key’s halfway house move to a capital gains tax.

But Robertson’s challenge has been to craft a coherent economic position while waiting on the wider party and caucus to grapple with the fundamentals of which parts of Labour’s 2011 manifesto to jettison, and which to keep or re-package.

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Explaining is losing, so Steve Joyce refuses to answer

As we all know explaining is losing, but there is an alternative, which Steve Joyce used on The Nation…refusing to answer.

Of course that just then leads to accusations of hubris and arrogance…something Steve Joyce has in spades.

Economic development minister Steven Joyce is dismissing talk of an economic recession but admits “the job isn’t done in the economy”.

The economy is facing some challenges but they must be kept in perspective, Joyce told TV3’s The Nation on Saturday.

“We shouldn’t talk ourselves into a funk. We should focus on what we now know works for New Zealand, and that is we’ve seen a recipe over the last five or six years which is really working for this country. This is a reminder that we keep pushing in those directions, that we keep opening up to world trade, that we keep encouraging investment in our economy, that we keep building the innovation in our industries. Those are the things that are important,” Joyce said.

His comments came as a bank economists pointed to further cuts to dairy payouts, interest rates and economic growth forecasts.

[…]    Read more »

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One of Steve Joyce’s corporate welfare darlings is making headlines

Rocket Lab is a US company, but in all publicity here in New Zealand, especially when it is about their corporate welfare they are described as a Auckland based company.

The reality is different, even Bloomberg knows they are a US company.

New Zealand, known for breathtaking scenery and fine wine, will add one more claim to fame when it becomes home to the world’s first commercial space-launch site later this year.

A U.S. company, Rocket Lab plans to build a base on New Zealand’s South Island from which to loft small satellites into low orbit. The goal is to increase the pace and affordability of sending up imaging and communication gear used for services including weather monitoring, natural disaster management and crop surveillance.

“Creating and operating our own launch site is a necessity to meet the demands of our growing customer manifest,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Beck said Wednesday. “With the launch frequency possible from this site, Rocket Lab is one major step closer to its goal of making space commercially accessible.”    Read more »

Steve Joyce’s MBIE making bigger troughs available

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Steve Joyce’s empire at MBIE is now building even bigger troughs.

The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says.

Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly 200 people in this one Ministry alone being paid more than $150,000 and a whopping 107 individuals earning over $170,000.

“That’s an eye-watering 23 percent increase on the number earning over $150,000 on last year’s total.

“The number of executives earning $170,000 plus at the Ministry increased increase 15 per cent over the same period.   Read more »

Wrong answer Steve

My good friend Steve Joyce has put himself into a bit of a a pickle and shows he doesn’t really understand the game of politics that well.

Sure he is the master of focus groups and polling…but he is like the half-back who is brilliant behind a pack going forward, but as soon as the pack starts dropping the ball and getting shunted backwards problems arise.

Yesterday was one of those.

MBIE is turning out to be a bit of a morass. We’ve had the $70,000 sign, the $140,000 video screen and now we have MBIE providing hair straighteners for staff.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has defended the installation of hair straighteners in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s building.

The Labour Party said the taxpayer-funded hair straighteners were the latest example of extravagant spending by the ministry, which has also been criticised in the last week for purchasing a $70,000 stone sign to display outside its Wellington building and a $140,000 display monitor for its reception.   Read more »

Here piggy, piggy, piggy – MBIE wins waste award from Taxpayers’ Union

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The Taxpayers’ Union have awarded MBIE one of their Government Waste Certificate of Achievement awards for their $140k tv screen.

Porky, the Taxpayers’ Union government waste mascot, this morning visited the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to award a Government Waste Certificate of Achievement to David Smol, the Ministry’s Chief Executive, for the Ministry’s extraordinary lavish office fit out. After some waiting, Mr Smol failed to front, but an MBIE official accepted the award on his behalf.   Read more »

National supports dead beat dads, gives left wing media commentators a budget bonus

Who would ever have thought that National would be seen to be supporting dead beat dads?

It seems incongruous but that is what John Key, Bill English and Steve Joyce have done with their bludgers budget: they have given dead beat dads a write off of their penalty payments.

At least two left wing media commentators will be ecstatic about those changes in the budget.

Prime Minister John Key says he hopes that plans to write off $1.7 billion in penalty payments on parents who missed child support payments will encourage those who have moved overseas to start paying child support again.

Revenue Minister Todd McClay said the overly punitive system had resulted in “paralysing” debts for some parents which meant they had given up trying to pay and thousands had gone overseas.

About 120,000 people had child support debt which totalled $3.2 billion – about half of which was owed by people now living overseas. Only $700 million of the total was in child support while the rest was interest and penalty fees for late payments.

Mr Key said it was the responsibility of liable parents to make child support payments. “They have a legal obligation to pay for their kids and they have a moral obligation to pay for their kids, and they should be doing it.”

However, the Government had to take a pragmatic approach and recognise that many were simply failing or could not afford to meet those obligations.

“We need to breathe the hope into those 120,000 families and individuals who see a hopeless position.

“What we are saying to those people is to come back, start making the principal payments to those low-income families that you owe it to, and we will forgive the interest and we will forgive the penalties.”

Read more »

Time to stop the corporate welfare

The Government says it doesn’t know if the millions it pours into corporate welfare via the Callaghan Innovation fund is helping or benefitting New Zealand.

Sounds like a bloody good reason to end it.

The benefit from millions of dollars of taxpayer-funded research subsidies may be heading straight offshore.

A boat building firm owned by Team Oracle’s founder, American billionaire Larry Ellison, drug giant Bayer, Nasdaq-listed Fiserv and global software firm SAP are all recent recipients of research and development grants from Callaghan Innovation, the government agency charged with administering the money.

But the Government says it has no idea whether any of its investment is actually benefiting New Zealand.  Read more »

After Key. Then what?

When the media regularly speculate about what is to happen after you’re gone, it is an indicator that you are in the autumn of your political career.   Audrey Young assists the process along.

The ponytail saga might have confirmed Mr Key’s infallibility to his hero-worshippers, but it has made talk of his succession a little more relevant.

As was evident in his biography, John Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, his threshold for tolerating failure is low.

In 2012, after a difficult but not disastrous year, he talked to wife Bronagh about whether he was still committed to remaining in the job.

And she was stronger than him about staying on and not be seen to be ”running away”, as he put it.

He has said he will stand again in 2017 because that is what leaders have to say until they change their minds.

But nobody would be shocked if Mr Key changed his mind if his popularity waned, given that his popularity sustains his political drive.

If it happened, it would not happen soon because he would want to recover his respect rather than slink away.

There is no suggestion of a leadership challenge.

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