Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt

Kelvin Davis cracking Photoshopped image credit: Luke                                               

If you have ever wondered why we don’t hear much from Kelvin Davis, you will soon know why. He replaced Jacinda on the Mike Hosking Breakfast show on Tuesday.

Putting it mildly, the interview was just plain embarrassing. quote.

Hosking

Tell me, why would your government cut a $30M deal to plant trees up north when no-one checked the quality of the land?

Davis

[….] but, hey look, are you saying that the Tai Tokerau land isn’t quality?

Hosking

Well, what we are finding out this morning is that the land in this particular deal that was done, a $30M deal to plant 1.1 million trees was so clogged up with weeds it couldn’t be used.

Davis

The land up there, the land up there I’ve seen planted in pine trees that you could barely get a bulldozer through but it’s still, the trees get planted and they still grow.  The weeds, in my opinion, don’t inhibit the ability of a pine tree to grow.

Hosking

So, the $30M deal, don’t worry about it, the trees you’ve lost from 1.1 million down to 119,000, don’t worry about it, it’ll be OK.

Davis

We will still be able to meet our target of a billion trees over 10 years, Mike.  You know, we’ve got to keep plugging on, this is a great policy of ours, that you know, there’s plenty of land up there that can be used. end quote.

The land allocated for planting is so full of scrub and weeds that the planting could not go ahead. Not much point in going on about quality land that is not reserved for planting, is there? quote.

Davis

Look, I don’t think there’ll be wastage.  I think that we can still make use of other land, of… you know, we’ve still got plenty of land for trees to be planted on up there, Mike.  I think the opportunities for employment for the people up there…you know, I think it’s a great policy.  I think we are not going to get everything right straight away, but at the end of the day we will still get our billion trees in the ground.

Hosking

So, the fact you’ve had to write off about 900,000 trees shouldn’t really be a problem?

Davis

Yeah, but those trees can still be planted elsewhere, Mike.  That’s what I’m saying, there’s plenty of land up there end quote.

Can they? Don’t think so. It is not just a question of nipping across the road and planting in some farmer’s paddock instead. They have had to write off nearly 900,000 trees. They turned 900,000 trees into very expensive mulch. If that isn’t wastage, then what is? quote.

Hosking

Shane Jones, who is of course linked to all of this.  20 questions having to be corrected, 60 plus meetings that were never accounted for, he’s in charge of three billion dollars.  One of those meetings was with Peter Baroni who is a former New Zealand First MP of course, how do we know there’s something not (sic) dodgy going on and none of this is ever recorded?

Davis

Oh, no.  You are not quite right here.  So, the meetings were all recorded in his diary they just weren’t under the particular portfolio.  You know, ministers don’t go out of their way to… to admit information like that. We know that if we get caught well then….

…. there would be big problems for us. But look, there were some 42,000 questions lodged in the last twelve months by the opposition.  I think we submitted 42,000 over three years.  So, if over 42,000 questions there is a handful of anomalies… a handful of ministers that have made a few mistakes…. and let me say Shane Jones corrected the mistakes too, and the National party held onto it for a month or so… that’s not a very good strike rate… 42,000 and there’s a handful of ministers that have anomalies, Mike.  If National are going to spend hours and hours pouring over the information in the back rooms they’re actually not really focused on the really important stuff like jobs and houses and education and health and… you know… getting kids out of poverty. end quote

Ministers don’t go out of their way to admit information like that… in the Open and Transparent Government? Really?

So he admits that ministers deliberately hide meetings. Good to know.

Does Kelvin Davis even know what the Opposition does? He should know. It is the role of the opposition to hold the government to account, and they do this by, among other things, posing questions. The opposition does not have to worry about really important stuff like jobs and houses and education and health and… you know… It is the government that does that.

Why do I have the theme tune to The Muppets Show going around in my head? quote.

Hosking

Are you worried about KiwiBuild and the demand given there’s only 330 odd registered buyers for what will… as promised, be 100,000 houses?

Davis

No, I’m not worried.  Phil Twyford’s done an immense amount of work on KiwiBuild, and there are more that have investigated, I think there’s 10,000 that have investigated… end quote.

The number of people who registered their interest is over 45,000 (gee, if I know this, then Kelvin Davis should) but those going into the ballots are relatively few. He’s just waffling. Nothing more. quote.

Hosking

Yeah, there’s plenty that have shown an interest but the difference between showing an interest and actually having the money and the wherewithal to pay the bill comes down to 338.

Davis

Yeah, it’s early days yet Mike.  We’ve only been going for one year and we are expected to fix up a mess of nine years all in one year.  Give it time to seed itself, plant itself, KiwiBuild will be successful and will help a whole lot of people into their first homes, I think it’s fantastic. end quote.

Are we still talking about the trees? They are going to plant themselves now, are they?

Of course, Davis can’t admit that the scheme is a failure (although he probably has no idea either way), but when in doubt… let’s roll out the ‘nine years of neglect’ mantra. That’ll fix it.

Except it won’t. Most of the Kiwibuild houses either completed or under construction were started under National. So that is what ‘nine years of neglect’ looks like. quote.

Hosking

Would you as minister of immigration have let Sroubek have residency?

Davis

Look, I’m really over that issue.  Ian Lees-Galloway has come under a lot of pressure.  He had to make a big decision in a short amount of time and absorb a whole heap of information and, you know I’m not privy to the information that he had at his disposal.

Hosking

When you say “short amount of time” the short amount of time was instigated by him, he was the one who instigated the “less than an hour”.  He had all the time in the world.

Davis

Yeah, and I’m hearing people say he should have made the decision in five minutes…

Hosking

Yeah, and why not boot him out of the country, because it wasn’t hard?

Davis

There’s 108 similar people that the National government also let stay in the country as well, we’ve got to remember that but, like I say, ministers don’t just have one issue to deal with at a time in that they’ve got… they can have a cup of coffee and have… end quote.

Do these guys play recordings of ‘Nine years of neglect’ while they sleep? It doesn’t matter who National let in. We are talking about this one case, where the minister of immigration allowed a drug dealing, wife beating gang associate, who came here under a false identity, to have residency. The only thing that Davis got right there was that the decision should have been made in 5 minutes and Sroubek should have been kicked out.

Kelvin Davis went on a radio interview that is normally held by the prime minister to represent the government. He did not have a clue what he was talking about. He was unprepared, unfamiliar with the issues and unable to give coherent answers.  All he could do was burble… plenty of land up north…. nine years of neglect…. Kiwibuild will be successful…. high-pressure situations for a minister… great policy of ours… nine years of neglect…

This person is the deputy leader of the Labour Party. He could be the prime minister at some point.

Now that really is terrifying.


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Accountant. Boring. Loves tax. Needs to get out more. Loves the environment, but hates the Greens. Has been called a dinosaur. Wears it with pride.

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