Bill English

More on National’s list issues

Last week we explained why National may have no new List MPs after the election. And why candidates should not expect National to honour any promises about List positions.

It is worth examining this further. National will lose three List MPs to retirement, Parata, Foster-Bell & Naylor. Bishop may win a seat. This will leave 15 current List MPs.   Read more »

Swing and Miss: New Zealand’s gone barking mad

Since the book’s launch last Tuesday the authors conceded they might have got the location of the villages within the Tirgiran valley wrong after Defence Force chief, Lieutenant General Tim Keating, said on Monday the SAS never visited those villages but did carry out an attack on Tirgiran village, more than two kilometres away.

NZDF on Thursday released maps pinpointing the homes they say were raided, and accidentally set alight.

The NZDF maps also set out different helicopter landing sites.

“None of the houses identified in [Hit and Run] were destroyed by NZDF or coalition members,” the maps note.

“Only positively identified armed insurgents were targeted. No personnel were targeted at any of the locations identified [in Hit and Run].”

Mr Hager and Mr Stephenson maintain that confusion over the location of the villages shouldn’t detract from the civilian casualties.

The NZDF fired two rounds at one person.  He died.  He was confirmed as an insurgent.  He was running at NZDF personnel, armed, and firing at them while doing so.

Why exactly do we need to look any further?   Sadly, the politicians are piling up behind Hager.   Read more »

Will National have new List MPs after the election?

It is a good question: Will National have new List MPs after the election?

Probably not.

Unless non-caucus members are ranked ahead of caucus members.

National’s current caucus has 19 List MPs. Three of these are leaving. Parata, Naylor & Foster-Bell. That leaves 16 List MPs.   Read more »

Kumara Bill goes to prison

When Jessica was sent to prison she couldn’t read or write, and numeracy was a struggle.

Today she stood proudly, shook the Prime Minister’s hand and accepted a certificate that marked her greatest achievement in life – the inmate can now read, and she loves it.

Jessica was one of six inmates recognised at a special ceremony today at Auckland Prison at Paremoremo for passing either literacy and numeracy, or beekeeping courses.

She said she’d never been able to read or write well and had had “a hard time” in life because of it.

But since completing the literacy and numeracy course, a programme run by the Howard League for Penal Reform, her life has changed completely.

Good on her.   Although I imagine prison life to be much worse if you can’t read either.   Read more »

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Clifton on National’s issues

Jane Clifton writes about that uneasy and queasy feeling that some in National’s caucus are experiencing as Bill English and his mates flap about.

Now, you do have to take what she says with a grain of salt considering she is married to Trevor Mallard…but she is a professional and what she says rings true with the feedback I am getting out of caucus.

As new PM, English is grinding away – to diminishing returns. Labour and National poll soundings show National’s percentage heading south towards the low 40s. Labour isn’t yet benefiting handsomely from this, but if “time for change” momentum accelerates, voters will, however reluctantly, perceive that giving Labour a legitimising vote share is the surest way to achieve that change.

Although tentative, the poll shift signals that what was once a victory sleepwalk for National has tipped into “game-on” territory. English’s assiduously steady-as-she-goes Cabinet, which hasn’t undone any key Keyisms (even the Super proposal is heavily provisional), will be asking what’s gone wrong.   Read more »

Tits for hands

Nick Smith really does have tits for hands.

John Armstrong explains:

With the countdown to polling day about to be measured in weeks rather than months, Bill English, while keeping his fingers strictly crossed, has had reason to feel increasingly confident that he will not fall victim to the tide of populism which has engulfed neo-liberal leaders like him across the globe.

The opinion polls still have National enjoying just as comfortable a margin over its rivals as had been the case before the change in prime ministers.

The economy continues to hum along nicely. There is no discernible mood for change.

Enter Nick Smith. The Environment Minister’s extraordinarily inept handling of the acutely sensitive matters arising from the export of bottled water invited the very backlash that English would have thought he was escaping.   Read more »

Bill English feels London terrorism feels close to home

Are we ready to have a re-think yet about allowing Muslim immigration to this country?

Apparently not.

Attacks near London’s Westminster Palace feel very close to home for New Zealanders who have visited and called the city home, Prime Minister Bill English says.

In a statement Mr English has condemned the attacks that left five people dead, including a police officer and the alleged assailant on Wednesday (local time).

“Innocent people should never have to fear such violence when going about their daily lives, and New Zealand stands alongside the UK in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism,” he said on Thursday morning.    Read more »

Why is Bill English still running interference for Murray McCully?

Winston Peters is holding Murray McCully to account, via Bill English.

Bill English may think this is a bit of a joke, but he knows that several large donors don’t think the same as him and have shut their wallets to National.

Prime Minister Bill English has confirmed Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully did not have approval from cabinet to support a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution criticising Israel, says New Zealand First.   Read more »

Nick Smith risks it all in election year

There are two people who will cost National the election. They are Bill English and Nick Smith, and they are wedded to each other.

Nick Smith is the proverbial omnishambles.

The next stage of the Government’s attempts to change the Resource Management Act with a massive 300-page amendment bill are likely to be one of the biggest tests of MMP we have seen.

There is now no guarantee that Environment Minister Nick Smith can get the legislation — or critical parts of it – through the House as both the Maori Party and Act threaten to vote with the Opposition.

No Government has been defeated since MMP was introduced on a piece of landmark  legislation in the Chamber because its coalition partners have voted against parts of it.

That is what could happen here.   Read more »

Want proof Bill English is a dickhead, here it is

The opposition and Media party have been attacking water exports.

Predictably, Bill English has quivered when confronted with tweets and outrage from the perpetually outraged.

The Government has written to its advisory group on water, telling it to investigate putting a price on exported water and to report back by the end of the year.

“We’ve written to the technical advisory group that’s working on water allocation, and asking them to include in their considerations the issues around export water”, Prime Minister Bill English said on Monday afternoon.

It comes amidst public and political pressure in recent weeks over the exporting of New Zealand water for sale overseas.

“There is real public concern about foreign companies access to water, there’s also a long-held, deep seated view among New Zealanders that no one owns it and it’s free,” Mr English said.

“We’d want to step through any process carefully so that’s why we’ve written a letter today.”

Read more »