Winter is coming

By   /   March 12, 2015  /   12 Comments

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Winston’s arrival is a better thing than we’ve had, sure, but I’m picking we could do with a Warden who might be a better voice for the oppressed up here.

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When Winston Peters announced his candidacy for Northland, he achieved more in four seconds than National has done for this beleaguered province this decade.

Who’s been robbed to fund the North’s ten new bridges hasn’t been disclosed, but you can bet the Nats aren’t looking at taxing the One Percent to cover the cost.

And who knows what the cost will be to the tax payer after the cynically-timed release of a historic threat of spiking infant formula. This cheap shot publicity stunt was clearly designed to let a sideshow hog the microphone, denying not only Peters valuable airtime, but also saving themselves the embarrassment of the Sergeant Shultz-like Mark Osbourne endlessly repeating that he knows nothing before a sniggering media pack. Osbourne, with all the doughy charisma of half-baked loaf of white bread was probably picked for his lack of profile and chutzpah. I guess when they’re desperate, throwing the dairy industry under the Peters’ bus is a small price to pay to deprive him and their own utterly uninspiring candidate of airtime

There’s no doubt that on the face of it, Peters’ arrival looks like a win for Northland. Years of neglect have left this province hollowed-out and starving. With underdeveloped rail, the roads are clogged with trucks, leaving villages choked with dust, scattered logs frequently closing roads and poor motorists near meltdown as they wait. But, it seems, the waiting for attention to our roads is over. We’ve got so much to be thankful for.
We can be thankful that one of the favourite provincial past times of wife beating won’t be interfered with let alone mentioned. In a province where such men are often very tired after a long day on the rough road, they’ll now have more time and energy for this past time and might even be able to shag their kids if they don’t fall asleep on the couch first.

We won’t be hearing much from Labour now that voters have been encouraged to send a message to National. A voice that could have spoken for women and children has, understandably, had the plug pulled on her microphone.

Winston, despite his long connection and professed love of the North doesn’t seem to have done much for it over decades he’s been in Parliament. If he truly loved us up here, he’d have threatened to stand in the electorate whenever we were in dire need. Imagine if he’d done this during the floods last year when so many of our roads were wiped out.
And as for Osbourne, is he going to stand up and fight for the abused women and children that he sees walking the streets of the towns in his electorate? “Oh no,” he’ll say, I drive a thousand kays a week around this electorate. I keep my eyes out for logging trucks on those pesky one-lane bridges and know nothing of these women and children you talk of.”
These are the other casualties. The ones people with power don’t want to talk about; the ones rich men playing politics drive past in their flash cars, their paint gleaming in contrast to the dull eyes of the people they don’t see.

The photoshopped image doing the rounds of Winston’s head grafted on to the (conveniently headless) body of Ned Stark calls him the Warden of the North. While he might have delivered improved bridges with a flash of his smile, he has little in common with Stark who refused the baubles of office, despised the duplicity of politics and lost his head because of it.

Undoubtedly this column might be seen as churlish. But the Trojans no doubt wished they’d better examined the dental work of the horse they took into their stable. Winston’s arrival is a better thing than we’ve had, sure, but I’m picking we could do with a Warden who might be a better voice for the oppressed up here. Winter is indeed coming. For some sooner than others.

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About the author

Kelly Ellis

Contributor

A staunch human rights advocate and barrister, she ran on the Labour ticket in that electorate in 2014. When not working or politicking she plays with old cars and motorbikes, sails, fishes, cooks or hides out on her boat.

12 Comments

  1. cleangreen says:

    We really need Winston to bring the Electricity Industry back under Crown control after the NatZ botched up our own power companies (used to be an easy friendly service with low cost power, which is now being ramped up by “Privatisation speculator’s”.

    So go Winston, – and please give us our right to have our own meters as many are reportly getting health complaints after aggressive companies are forcing (illegally) a mandatory fitting of dangerous Radiation producing Smart meters upon consumers for profit only and ability to hike power tariff pricing under a new (TOU) Time of use policy they engineered.

    We have reports of consumers having their power cut-off after refusing a smart meter and now are getting sick with no power after a month.

    Yes winter is coming and we predict people will freeze to death with no power supply if Winston doesn’t sort out the out of control “Electrical Industry now being run under the “Market Forces” NatZ policy.

    Following is NZ First Electricity policy.

    Vote for Winston Northland.

    Energy Policy – An Energy Sector That Once Again Serves All New Zealanders

    Overview
    Rt Hon Winston Peters
    Author:
    Rt Hon Winston Peters

    Date:
    Tuesday, May 27, 2014 – 13:00

    Dunedin Public Meeting
    Tuesday 27 May, 1pm
    South Dunedin Community Hall, King Edward St, South Dunedin

    The electricity and retail power sector in New Zealand has become utterly dysfunctional.

    Looking for logic in the New Zealand electricity sector is like looking for unicorns!

    In fact if anyone claims there is any logic to the way the New Zealand electricity sector is run they are either mad or one of those whose pay depends on the current structure.

    The Chief Executive of Mighty River Power’s total remuneration in the 2013 financial year was $1.3 million. And he was not the only chief executive well above the $1 million a year prevailing benchmark for the energy sector.

    They are the tip of an iceberg of management – with well over a thousand managers in the electricity industry getting over $100,000 a year.

    And then of course there is the pay for those who sit on the boards.

    There is now an air of complete unreality about the power sector.

    As prices are constantly hiked there is a sick attempt to convince the public that this is somehow the result of a ‘market’.

    As we all know, New Zealand has suffered grievously from the ‘free market’ model inflicted on New Zealand by Rogernomics and subsequent National governments.

    The mantra that everything has to conform to a competitive market was allowed to permeate all aspects of the economy including the electricity sector.

    Prior to this self-serving madness taking hold, New Zealand had a world class electricity system run by the state as a natural monopoly. Under this system, duplication of generation and transmission was avoided and costs minimised.

    If you are going to have a monopoly, it is preferable that it be a state monopoly because at least a state monopoly can be made responsive to the taxpayers.

    Today, the so called ‘electricity market’ exists only in the imagination of National Ministers – aided and abetted by the hundreds of managers and consultants who now gorge on the revenues looted from the public by way of electricity prices.

    The spin and misinformation coming out of the electricity industry and Government is Kafkaesque in its absurdity.

    What is patently clear is that thanks to misguided government policy, the electricity industry has become a self -serving structure that has imposed massive costs and delivered few benefits for New Zealand.

    The electricity industry has turned into a gravy train of epic proportions at the expense of the public.

    The government has also been helping itself to the public trough that is the electricity sector. In Parliament in March it was revealed that the government itself had extracted $610 million in dividends from Transpower alone since 2011.

    This is a staggering sum and a stealth tax by any other name.

    The electricity sector is now a baffling, bewildering, unfathomable mess with a myriad of quasi-monopolistic organisations and a regulatory body – the Electricity Authority – that simply rationalises and rubber stamps the status quo.

    All this is perfect camouflage for justifying price hikes. Does the Electricity Authority serve any constructive use in holding down power prices? Clearly not – it should go!

    In fact, New Zealand has moved from having relatively low electricity and power prices, when the system was run by the Electricity Department in the so-called bad old days, to some of the highest prices despite having the superb comparative advantage of significant hydro power as a source of sustainable generating capacity.

    The electricity sector is a basic element of our infrastructure. It should exist to serve the public and underpin the economy.

    Instead, thanks to National’s free market ideology it has been turned into a rapacious leach that is feasting on all New Zealanders, businesses and homes.

    The chronic state of the New Zealand electricity sector demonstrates the extent to which the National Party and its mates and cronies in the business elite have disconnected from reality and are now in a conversation only with themselves.

    Given the manifold failures, it is clear New Zealand has taken the wrong direction with the electricity sector.

    What is an essential part of the national infrastructure has turned into a way of gouging the public. As a first and necessary step in bringing sanity and stable prices back to the electricity sector, New Zealand First will bring Meridian, Mighty River Power and Genesis back into full state ownership.

    New Zealand First is committed to buying back the shares of the state owned energy companies sold by this National Government.

    The power company floats were an insult to the public – selling back to two per cent of the public what generations of Kiwis had already paid for and benefited from.

    Those sales were a direct attack on the investment and savings strategies of many generations and former governments that had the wisdom and sagacity to build these great assets in the first place.

    Crudely these sales are an admission that there are many politicians who can’t stand to have their privatised ideology results compared unfavourably to an ideology that says the people and their governments can build to everyone’s advantage, and owned by everyone, great state assets.

    • Gosman says:

      I presume you don’t have a mobile phone then if you have a concern about Smart meters. Is that correct?

      • jmh2000 says:

        Kinda missing the point. You have a choice whether you use a mobile phone or wifi in your home. You should be able to choose whether or not to have a smart meter, not have it forced on you. It appears that some people are particularly sensitive to these devices – shouldn’t they have a say?

        • cleangreen says:

          1000% jmh2000

          We as consumers must have the right to chose what we have installed outside our bedroom wall less than one meter apart from our heads at night as we pay for it right?

          We are living in a free society with our rights to chose?

    • kiwiburger says:

      Completely right about smart meters. Headaches, sleep disturbance and a low frequency hum. This is what ive been told by family that had them forcibly installed.

    • Nick says:

      Good call, Clean Green.
      The great thing about nationalized utilities like electricity is that the price you charge literally doesn’t matter. You charge more, the nation has more to spend; you charge less the consumers get a better deal. Try working that neat equation on today’s muddle.

      Eventual, early as possible, re-nationalization (in my book, at a haircut cost as penalty for seeking to exploit the rest of the population,) is the only rational way to re-establish some common sense and national purpose to this vital sector.

  2. Pete says:

    So harsh about Mark Osbourne! But he won’t mind now he has help with David Seymour of Act cosying up to him.

    https://trademe.tmcdn.co.nz/photoserver/full/369465873.jpg

  3. j says:

    So these voters are wife beaters and child molesters?
    And you still question why people don’t want to vote left?

  4. Wild Katipo says:

    At least Winston cannot be accused of foisting free market neo liberalism on us , – nor was he particually in favour of beefing up the GSCB as a surveillance tool for the NSA and lying about it.

    Nor caught out using the SIS as a weapon to influence an election campaign , or privatising state houses that LABOUR institued years ago.

    Matter of fact – last time I looked Winston Peters was against all that anti soveriegn ideaology.

    I would say strategically , we’re better off Peters winning Northland – and he will – than having another National stooge in the form of Osbourne.

    And yes – the people realise if it were not for Peters flashing that smile and putting the shits up John XKEYscore and the Nats , – those bridge bribes wouldnt have ever seen the light of day. National was quite prepared to let Northland rot , otherwise.

    Anything to weaken this immoral govt is an ally as far as Im concerned.

  5. downwithnats says:

    And who will keep Winston honest? At the cost of the brilliant Willow-Jean Prime, one hopes for a NZF that finally ditches the despicable National.

    • cleangreen says:

      Downwithnats

      I would put the word “ruthless” in front of Despicable and that better describes this criminal gang.