Twyford Didn’t Make the Kiwibuild Conference

The Kiwibuild portfolio has been a tough one, but to be fair, Phil Twyford only has himself to blame. He promised the earth, without a clue as to how he was going to actually pull it off. The general thinking now is that Kiwibuild was conceived by Annette King, publicised by David Shearer, and grew out of nowhere to become a massive Labour promise in the 2017 election campaign. Only one problem though. Phil Twyford cried from rooftops about the failure of National to build private sector houses and promised that Labour would do better but he did it on the understanding that they would lose the 2017 election. They did lose the election, but they were put into government anyway. Then Phil Twyford had to deliver, and he had no idea how exactly he was going to do that.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford will be a no-show at Monday’s KiwiBuild Summit in Auckland.
But industry experts say his absence won’t matter, as they’re more interested in the nuts and bolts of delivery, rather than “high-level numbers” and politics.
“Phil’s been replaced by Sir Brian Roche, who’s the new chair of the Housing and Urban Development Authority – we’re really keen to hear from him, because he’s the one who’s tasked with delivering this,” Property Council CEO Leonie Freeman told The AM Show on Monday morning.
“[Twyford] was on the agenda at the beginning, but I understand he can’t make it.

Of course he could make it. He was always going to attend and then he wasn’t. Has he just got tired of trying to defend a government policy that is dead, gone and has absolutely no hope of succeeding in any way, shape or form? That is what this no-show indicates to me.

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ACT Party Seriously Out of Sync with NZ ‘Political Culture’

And John Armstrong says it as if it is a bad thing?

Media attacks on the ACT Party suggest to me that David Seymour is gaining some traction. I’ve heard Heather du Plessis Allen dismiss ACT’s recent rebranding exercise as a non-event, yet the media reported on it. Now John Armstrong is saying that ACT is out of step with the rest of New Zealand’s political class.

What Armstrong pretends he does not realise, is that a small party has to have a point of difference, or no one will vote for it at all. When it comes to freedom of speech and also the euthanasia debate, Seymour is striking a nerve and, clearly, John Armstrong doesn’t like it. 

However, it is going to take a lot more than yet another redesign of the party’s logo to breathe fresh life into an outfit which captured less than 1 per cent of the overall party vote at the last general election and which on current opinion poll ratings has yet to give any cause for optimism that it will do better at next year’s contest.

But maybe the fact that Newshub’s poll showed that the majority of people are concerned about a loss of free speech will do it for ACT, eh John?

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Let’s Not Get Ahead of Ourselves…

The announcement that Christopher Luxon has resigned as the CEO of Air New Zealand and is likely to look for a career in politics has got the media in a tail spin.

Of course, that put an end to discussions about the gun buyback scheme and the lobbyist running Jacinda’s office, which was remarkably convenient for the government.

While it is good news that someone of Luxon’s profile has opted for a career as a National politician, maybe we shouldn’t be getting too excited just yet.

First of all, he does not leave Air New Zealand until September. Then, even if the plan is for him to stand for election in Botany, as has been suggested, that will not happen until the election late next year.

If he wins he then needs to spend at least one parliamentary term finding his way around the house. Politics is very different from the business world, and there is no guarantee that the change will suit him well.

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Countdown to the ballot box

So, what’s on my grocery list today? Broccoli, toothpaste, mayonnaise, casting my vote…

Yes, that’s right. From 2020, you will be able to vote at your local school, library, at the supermarket and in public toilets. It seems that ballot boxes will be set up everywhere, in an undisguised effort to increase the left vote. After all, of the missing million that they talk about every 3 years, we all know that most of them, if they voted at all, would vote for parties on the left.

Justice Minister Andrew Little announced changes on Thursday that will see voters gaining the right to enrol on election day at next year’s general election, and allowing ballot boxes to be placed in supermarkets and malls to make it easier for people to vote.

I am really not sure I like the idea of enrolling on election day. What is to stop you from voting as yourself once, and then going to a public toilet (or wherever) and claiming that you are not on the roll? It seems like a really good way of committing electoral fraud to me.

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Labour’s ‘Transparency Drive’ Falters

Claire Trevett claims that the government is faltering in its determination to be ‘open and transparent’. I assume that she has had a total memory fade when it came to Clare Curran, Derek Handley, Karel Sroubek, Ritchie Hardcore and so on. Still, it all adds to my theory that, even to a totally fawning and sycophantic media, the gloss is beginning to come off this hapless government. Maybe the Koolaid is not as potent as it once was.

Ministers are open to the Official Information Act and the questions of the Opposition on anything they say or do in their capacity as a minister, but they are immune from probing if they had a different hat on.

Two examples of convenient hat changes have arisen in recent times.
One was in a query from National Party MP Amy Adams for details of discussions Finance Minister Grant Robertson had with the Deputy Prime Minister about National’s pre-Budget access to Treasury’s website.
Robertson replied that there had been no conversations with the Deputy Prime Minister, but he had conversed with the Leader of NZ First.
Both are Winston Peters, but Robertson then ignored the rest of the request, presumably on the grounds Adams had not asked about the leader of NZ First.
That is pure game playing for the sake of it.

Avoiding answers on a technicality indicates that despite its pledge to be the gold standard of accountability, even this Government will do the minimum required to be transparent where it suits.

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Just as the Greens start to shed their ‘Loony Left’ image…

What exactly is John Armstrong smoking? What exactly makes him think that the Greens have ‘shed’ their loony left image?

It has largely gone unnoticed, but the Greens have managed to achieve something of special importance during their first stint as a partner in Government.

The party has got shot of the “loony left” label which its foes and, not infrequently, its supposed friends successfully pinned on the party during its long years in Opposition.

Has it? Pray give me some examples, John Armstrong, because, from where I am standing, they seem to be as loony as ever. Loonier, in fact.

Is this another article priming the electorate for 2020? Hey – the government is doing great… you don’t need to consider voting elsewhere?

Geez, this is going to be a long 18 months or so, if this is all we have to look forward to.

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Risks from Exploration Ban Come to Pass

Well, well, well… no, that was not intended as a pun. The fact that we have closed down future oil and gas permits has already started to have an effect on the economy, at a time when things are definitely turning downwards.

The departure of Chevron and Equinor from New Zealand’s exploration scene is a huge lost opportunity and shows how quickly the risks from the government’s exploration ban are coming to pass, energy analyst John Kidd says.
Chevron is a global-scale player. It was exploring for resources to supply low-emission gas to meet rising energy demand in Asia – much of it currently met by coal – as it does from its LNG facilities in Australia, he said.
“A company the scale of Chevron wasn’t here to make a small discovery. They were here looking for something to supply the export market,” Kidd told BusinessDesk.

Development of such an export LNG play in New Zealand “would have made a meaningful contribution to regional emission reductions and air quality,” he said. “But that’s a logical trail that this government is just not interested in.”
The Labour-led government last year shocked the industry when it banned new offshore exploration citing the need to signal a long-term transition from fossil fuels. It claimed the 100,000 square-kilometres of exploration acreage already issued – a quarter of which was held by Chevron and Equinor – would be sufficient to ensure security of energy supplies.
But the decision, taken against officials’ advice, was challenged by many, given the International Energy Agency is forecasting a 20-45 percent increase in demand for gas by 2040, in-part to replace higher-emitting coal and oil from global electricity and petrochemical production.

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Kiwibuild Shows Socialism at Its Worst

Kiwibuild was always a disaster waiting to happen. It was clear in the 2017 election campaign that Labour had no understanding of the issues affecting the home building industry, and in fact they, and their buddies the Greens, were a big part of the problem, constantly voting against proposed changes to the RMA. They came into power with no idea of how they would be able to deliver on the promises that they had made, and of course, as we now know, they have already given up.

Kiwibuild was, however, an unusual project for a government, because private housing is normally the domain of the private sector. Until now, governments have been responsible for state housing, but not private housing. That they have decided to try to get into private housing is a first for a New Zealand government but not, it would seem, for socialist governments.

Isn’t it a fact that socialist governments have to control everything? It is just that they haven’t tried to control the private housing market up until now.

The good news is that they probably won’t try again in a hurry.

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Shane Jones Is the Next Kingmaker

Don’t make me laugh…

I have talked before about Henry Cooke. As political writers go, I’m sorry mate… you are way out of your depth. You really need a good editor to pull your sillier ideas into line. These days, just about every article is an opinion article, and editors don’t seem to worry too much about truth any more. They can write what they want, free rein, and it just gets published… no matter how silly it is. 

And Henry Cooke’s latest article is silly… as silly as it can possibly be. 

There are some ministers in this Government who struggle with five-minute press conferences. Jones is not one of them. 
In a dark and crowded room in the bowels of Bowen House on Thursday he faced 90 minutes of continual grilling across two of his ministerial portfolios – infrastructure and regional economic development – armed only with two officials he barely consulted and a “KiwiRail Shane” cap.
The select committee performance was a good reminder of why Jones is probably the man best placed to replace Winston Peters as leader one day. He is a competent minister who has already been through the worst kind of media scrutiny possible, well-connected across Parliament and the media, and a s…stirrer of the first order, which earns him plenty of headlines. Yet his path is not guaranteed.

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Everyone Has to Change…

… says James Cameron.

I loved Titanic and Avatar, just like I loved Love Actually and The Remains of the Day, both starring Emma Thompson. These days, though, I am sick of these people, clever though they are, telling everyone else how they should live. At least James Cameron lives the vegan life he says everyone else must adopt, whereas Emma Thompson flies first class (or even by private jet) while telling everyone else they must stop flying to save the world. Remember, as always, it is okay if they do it… we mere mortals just have to do as we are told.

Now that James Cameron has adopted New Zealand as his home, temporarily at least, he has taken to the media to tell everyone how they should be living while striking at the industries that are the very backbone of our economy.

Nothing ever changes with these wealthy zealots, does it?

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