Simon Bridges

I can both confirm and deny

In a twist on the normal ‘I can neither confirm nor deny’ ploy, National Party leader Simon Bridges seems to want to both deny and confirm the rumours swirling around parliamentary circles about a deal with Alfred Ngaro.

On Friday Bridges was distancing himself from it all – nothing to see here folks, move along. Curiously, also on Friday, backbench National MPs were openly talking about the possibility of a National deal with Ngaro and Botany in public.

Why does it seem that the default position of a man who wants the electorate to trust him is to lie? It has happened time and time again, and when the truth eventually comes out it is not a good look. Quote.

National leader Simon Bridges has confirmed he’s talked with MP Alfred Ngaro about the establishment of a “values-based, religious party”.

Bridges says it’s an “alluring idea” and he’s giving Ngaro, a former National party minister, “space” to explore the idea.

But he’s being vague on who is behind the nascent party, and sending mixed messages on whether there will be an electorate deal.

“I am not setting up a religious party…I don’t think I’m giving him support or not, I’m just giving him space,” Bridges said.

“This is an alluring idea but we are under no illusions about how hard this will be.”

On Friday, the party’s MPs and official spokespeople were dismissing the idea as rumour and speculation.

Bridges says Ngaro was approached by “some people” in the last few months. He claims not to know who they are.

Read more »

Did Bridges finally score?

It is usually very disappointing to watch Ardern easily bat away Bridges’ questions in the house that start with the standard opener of, “Does she stand by all her Government’s statements, policies, and actions?”

On Tuesday he finally appeared to break through when he pressed Ardern on her vaunted small business experience. Ardern, as is her default mode, refused to give a simple straightforward honest answer to the question so Bridges was forced to supply the answer for her. Quote.

Hon Simon Bridges: Can she not say whether it’s fair that when a small-business owner takes all the risk to start their own business, when they sell up that business for retirement, the Government takes a third?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: The Tax Working Group considered all income in the same way, including the way that it is treated by tax. So that’s what they have put into the Tax Working Group: consistent treatment around all forms of income. We, of course, as a Government have to make a judgment over the consensus that we form over the Tax Working Group’s recommendations.

Hon Simon Bridges: Is the problem with answering my questions that she doesn’t understand small business very well?

Read more »

Simon gets schooled

Poor old Simon Bridges, he really cannot get a break. He tried to to look cool and intelligent in Question Time and failed.

It all started on Monday with Question 1 when Bridges challenged Ardern on rental growth under her government:? Quote.

Hon Simon Bridges: How many dollars a week has the median rent increased under her Government?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I’ve actually seen some of the statements from the member on rental increases, and what I wanted to point out was that the numbers that he’s used have been quite selectively chosen. When you look across the country at the?and I can give a percentage rather than a numerical figure to the member; but, if he puts it on notice, I’ll bring a dollar figure for him?geometric mean growth, that’s remained relatively steady. So in September 2018, that was 4.8 percent; September 2017, it was also 4.8 percent; September 2016, it was 4.5 percent; September 2015, 5 percent?you get the picture. So it is fair to say rents have consistently increased over the years. Obviously, the member will know the most significant driver of that is supply, and this Government is focused on fixing that issue. End quote.

Ardern lists the rental growth rates for the previous 3 years: 5%, 4,5%, 4,8% and 4.8% under her government which seems pretty normal.? Quote. Read more »

How to negate the waka jumping bill

In the midst of an explanation about the pleasures of rat-swallowing during the third reading of the Electoral?(Integrity) Amendment Bill , James Shaw made an interesting observation.? I am presuming that Shaw’s interpretation of the clause in question is correct. Quote.

[…] One of the things that has been overlooked in much of the debate is that there is a clause in this bill [55D (d)] that says that the party constitutions must be complied with; otherwise, it’s invalid. Now, if you don’t like this?if you do not want your party to exercise or have the ability to exercise the provisions in this bill?you can include a clause in your party constitution barring you from doing so.

Marama Davidson and I have written to the Green Party executive and asked them to consider, as part of the ongoing constitutional review, whether or not they should include that clause barring us from using that. End of quote.

It will be interesting to see the result of that.

Shaw went on to lay down a challenge to the National Party:?Quote. Read more »

Simon Bridges on free speech

Simon Bridges talking in Blenheim about his views on free speech 9 August 2018.? Transcript follows.

I think what has happened over the last few weeks is an absolute disgrace. We need to get back to the old fashioned bedrock principles of people are allowed to say what they want. Yes, there will be some thing right up the top called hate speech. If some came in here and was threatening, I won’t give threat examples, threatening to do terrible things to [indistinct] you know, there is a line, but we would set that bar very, very, high because people should be allowed to say what they want.

That’s the sort of society we want to live in.

What’s really going on in New Zealand at the moment is that some of them think that they can shout down people who disagree with them. That’s what is really going on. They think that that is the way to go. They will get themselves in to a politically correct cocoon where only people who are in there are allowed to say things as part of the conversation.

Well, that’s rubbish.

Don Brash: I don’t agree with everything he says. He’s been former Reserve Bank Governor, he’s been former leader of the Opposition, he’s a smart man. He’s not said anything remotely approaching racist.? [Indistinct]

He was banned, it is a disgrace what has happened, we do have to stand up for free speech, to be quite strong on these things.

Ultimately, my view is this: You are smart, fair-minded people, you can make up your own minds. You don’t need Aunty Helen, or Jacinda Ardern telling you what it is you should or shouldn’t find acceptable. That is not a free speech, mature, democratic country.


Is Simon Bridges really just a big massive socialist weasel?

Photo / Alan Gibson

Simon Bridges is the Minister of transport for the Announcements party.

I call them the Announcements Party because that is all National does these days.

Bill English announced changes to superannuation that won’t take effect until we have elected seven new governments. Paula Bennett announced 1500 new police and now we hear that Police are downsizing. They’ve also announced they are going to build eleventeen million houses and less than 50 have actually been built.

Now Simon Bridges has announced?light rail to Auckland Airport…in 30 years time.

Auckland will get light rail between the CBD and the airport, it was confirmed today, but it won’t be in place for another 30 years.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced this afternoon that work will soon begin on protecting the route for a mass transit corridor between the city and the airport. ?? Read more »

Simon and Steve say NO! to Goff’s plans

Phil Goff wanted to get the government to tax Aucklanders for using the roads they’ve already paid for along with a specific fuel tax to fund his inherited transport pipe dreams.

That has now reached the logical conclusion it was always going to reach in an election year.

NBR reports:

Auckland mayor Phil Goff?s major platform for funding the yearly $400 million shortfall for transport projects has been run off the road.

The government has ruled out a regional fuel tax, Mr Goff?s main hope for bridging the shortfall gap.

Finance Minister Stephen Joyce?said a regional fuel tax will not be introduced as “they are administratively difficult, prone to leakage and cost-spreading, and blur the accountabilities between central and local government.

Instead, Mr Joyce says the government will explore options with the council such as tolls and congestion pricing. Speaking to NBR after his first formal speech as the finance minister, Mr Joyce says Auckland is running out of room to extend the roading network after current projects are completed. ?? Read more »

Bridges to quit race, English’s “Dream” team is annointed

The hand over planned by John Key and Bill ?English months ago now appears complete.

The bullying, standover and threats have worked and now Simon Bridges is withdrawing from the race.

Simon Bridges is expected to withdraw from the contest to be National’s deputy leader today – handing it to Paula Bennett.

Bennett had public declarations of support from 23 MPs last night to Bridges’ 10 – and was understood to have enough private support to get her over the 30 votes needed in National’s caucus of 59.

The caucus was due to vote on it on Monday, but unless there is a last minute entry at that caucus meeting it appears set to be a pro forma appointment. ? Read more »

Bennett v Bridges: two token choices, either a mistake

When you are built for comfort not speed entering via the back door is often easier.

Labour are salivating over the apparent ascendancy of Paula Bennett. They are hoping like hell that Hekia Parata and her bullying team keep threatening backbenchers to declare for Paula.

They have more than enough dirt on her, including one of their own who has intimate knowledge of Paula Bennett. Then there are all the stories of her revolving door for staff and staff issues. Screaming at staff like Jake the Muss for not fixing her some eggs with alacrity isn’t really the way a deputy should behave.

Simon Bridges is promoting himself as the person to, hold Bill English in check, but he doesn’t have the bullying teams helping him that Bill English?does. Affectionately known as “Justin” by his former girlfriends he is lagging behind in the deputy stakes.

Radio NZ reports:

Bill English might have cemented his position as Prime Minister but National Party MPs still have to decide who will be his deputy.

Barring any last minute candidates the MPs have to choose between westie Paula Bennett or the more urbane Simon Bridges. ? Read more »

Finally we get started on decent transport links to Northland

Simon Bridges and John Key have turned the sod on a much-needed motorway to Whangarei.

The current road is a dog, and Whangarei is growing immensely. If Kaikoura showed us anything it is wise to develop alternate infrastructure as Wellington is now finding out with their crippled port. Whangarei port has been constrained by poor roading?infrastructure so this motorway is welcome.

A motorway from Auckland to Whangarei has been flagged by Transport Minister Simon Bridges.

Speaking at today’s sod turning to mark the start of the $709.5 million Puhoi to Warkworth motorway, Bridges said over time the motorway would extend to Whangarei, a distance of 162km.

Prime Minister John Key and Bridges turned the first sod during a tour of roading projects north of Auckland, including a new roundabout in the township of Waimaukau. ? Read more »