Sgt Shultz – a bridge too far



As the Sally Army takes an understandable pass on a buy in to run down state housing stock, the people of Northland can no doubt breathe a sigh of relief.

Indeed rather than having a “sing for your supper” church running housing, Northland is now enjoying an influx of concerned Nats who’ve flooded the North with bonhomie for the poorest part of the country.

But the love being lashed about in the form of new bridges on our neglected roads was quickly identified as conditional on people not complaining about the miserable lot that some suffer up this way. A woman threatened by Whangarei MP with further neglect of the roads if she didn’t pipe down had his threatening conversation recorded and replayed to the nation.

And, seeming to legitimise the view, more senior members of his government have made it clear that if we don’t forgive them their neglect to date, then they’re really going to leave us alone. The belly laughs at this, echoing around the region remind me of the day an angry prisoner stepped out of custody and into the dock for a date to be set for his trial. His stammering lawyer was told to shut up because he’d been sacked moments before in the cells below.

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The judge wanted to hear from the lawyer, but the prisoner insisted he could not speak for him. After a brief bit of toing and froing the judge told him to shut up “or….” The prisoner cut him off. “Or what? You’ll remand me in custody?” He laughed, the court full of lawyers laughed, except for me, who’d seen it coming and had the presence of mind to jam my hand in my mouth, biting it hard to suppress my laughter. The judge looked around, mentally taking names, acknowledging my respectful silence. After all, there might have run out of sanctions for the man in the dock, but he had a long memory and there was plenty he could do for the disrespectful lawyers over the following weeks.

In that moment, the judge had forgotten that basic tenet of warfare: beware the enemy with nothing to lose. These fools rushing to Northland and selling their National snake oil have also forgotten this. Up here National has done nothing of consequence. And while some might point to the good works of Mike Sabin with his strong stand on law and order, Northland has shown that it knows it was sold a crock.

This time Northland will ensure the modern day rendering of Sgt Schultz will soon lose his platform and will go back to not only knowing nothing, but doing nothing and being nothing.

Voters have wised-up to National’s lack of transparency and double-dealing in this region. The moment of death came when Schultz, enthusiastically assured the press that it was indeed his idea to fix the bridges, the names of which he couldn’t recall. His explanation of this memory lapse was that these bridges all have different names. He couldn’t have looked more of a fool if he’d said he’d end the confusion by renaming them “Sgt Shultz’s Bridge Too Far.”

It was indeed a bridge too far when it came to maintain his credibility. Attacked by Peters for bragging about doing the heavy lifting in the region, he posted a video of himself in the gym, sweating and trembling under the load while minions stood by, filming and, of course, making sure he didn’t hurt himself. And while he might have escaped the filming of the feat unscathed, he effectively put another nail in his coffin. Here in the North we don’t want to see sweaty men surrounded by minions in a gym. The heavy lifting we want to see up here isn’t happening in members-only gyms.

So unpopular is he that he could only rustle up 14 people at a meeting in Kaikohe. Clearly even his supporters have deserted him. The tide of support from the South has receded as they realise their lame duck candidate is not only a cringeworthy embarrassment on the hustings, but also has no show.

His nemesis, Winston Peters has taken advantage of the talent vacuum offered by National. On a roll, Peters identification of financial issues within the Te Ahu Art Centre was perhaps overkill. Osbourne’s management of the centre might or might not be incompetent, but one things for sure, his ability to explain the losses as depreciation was lost amongst the laughter. National had already become a laughing stock following the departure of the crime-fighting Sabin. It’s only prospect of recovering its shattered fortunes was to show that it took the North seriously.

Having foisted the now silent Sabin on us, the party should have known it needed to go the extra mile with people up here. It needed to show some faith by putting up a candidate who could rebuild the damaged credibility. By doing that, it would have had a candidate who was up to the task of dealing with not only the likes of Paddy Gower, but a skilled orator and politician like Peters.

That National could have entrusted the North to Sabin showed the arrogance of a complacent government. Putting up a blundering Osbourne as his replacement showed just how out of touch National is. With the castle left guarded by a fool, it should have known that a wily warhorse like Peters would overrun their previous stronghold.

For the next two years, the North is going to have a champion. Reducing name suppression protection for paedophiles has struck a chord in a region where children suffer in silence as men shaft them in the shadows.

Talk of expanding Northport has also struck a chord up here. With a deepest harbour in the country and land to spare, it would seem like a no-brainer. Who in their right mind would park cars and containers on the expensive Auckland waterfront when a good harbour and cheap land is going begging just a couple of hours North?

Peters hasn’t mentioned that the Port of Tauranga’s financial interest in keeping Northport out in the cold hasn’t been addressed, nor has the need for legislation to break its stranglehold. But an adoring electorate will not be troubled by this lack of detail. Peters is making the right noises up here and while he might not know everything, at least he doesn’t know nothing.





  1. Osbourne’s main claim to fame seems to be that he can bench press over 100 kg, judging on how often he keeps repeating it. I wonder how useful this is in being a good MP? Northland voters will judge it on Saturday.

  2. Well said Kelly.

    Northlanders have been shafted left, right and centre by the Natsies. Not only by denying them the truth such as the real reason previous MP Mike Sabin resigned suddenly, but also, out of the blue after 70+ years being a Natsy stronghold, Northland folk are expected to fall for bribes re new infrastructure etc! Insulting!

    Besides, what sort of MP would Osborne make, in the unlikely event of winning the seat, considering he can’t speak for himself, without the assistance of chief Natsy propagandist Lord Haw Haw Steven Joyce hiding in the background? Osborne certainly wouldn’t be up to the challenges of being an MP in Parliament, that’s for sure! The Opposition would tear him to shreds, particularly Winston Peters and the rest of his NZ First team!

    While not a NZ First supporter, I am hoping Winston wipes the supercilious smirks off the arrogant faces of Key, Joyce, English & Co, by taking the seat! That will change the structure of Parliament, upsetting many of Key’s sinister plans!

    Cheers for Winston this Saturday!

  3. government has shafted East Coast Gisborne/HB as well as our economies are shrinking.

    Caused partially as they shut down our Napier Gisborne rail service which was offering cheaper freight costs.

    Also reducing all funding of other infrastructure so the final result is that we get sick and killed and over run with truck noise vibration, and air pollution, and wind up with the dubious label as the most truck gridlocked regions in the country.

    We need Winston up there to help us here.

    Press release of Saturdays “Memorial” three year rally for “Save the Rail” rally.

    At 11.00 am on Saturday March 28th a group will lead a march down Grey St from the Old Post Office to the Railway Station. BYO banners, placards, whistles, drums & fat controller costumes… Some may also like to bring wheelbarrows and shovels as a symbolic demonstration of willing labourers to repair the rail washouts!

    Gisborne, Wairoa and Hawkes Bay people need to send the strongest message possible to government ministers that the rail is a billion dollar strategic asset essential for the district to retain. Government assistance is needed to reopen it. A growing number of Gisborne businesses have committed to using the line because it is increasingly cheaper, safer and more reliable than the alternatives (road, sea & air) for many of the bulk commodities we transport out of the region.

    We hope to have a good turnout to show the Gisborne community’s support for reinstatement of the railway line. Please bring your friends.

    • Yes….rail would be great way to have a nationalized transport system…linking the Northland port/ports in an economical distribution system.

      The benefits would be huge to not only Northland but the country as a whole.

      And yes….a deep water port which would become a hub of economic activity to help develop Norhtland… what a fantastic idea !

      • An electric rail system using Manapouri power would certainly help alleviating climate change as well. But National lacks the vision.

  4. New Zealand First’s “Send Them a Message” signage is eye catching and cheerful all the way up North and back again. National’s signage is unimaginative and meaningless with a red band running on a diagonal across the dreary images of Dear Leader and Sgt. Shultz which seems as though they had crossed themselves out.

  5. Labour had also realise that they are getting a message too – if National is getting rejected, Labour is not the first choice for effective opposition.

    • Why havnt we seen much of Winstons bus in Keri Keri,in fact I havnt seen it at all,we are voting in Keri Keri Winston, make your presence

  6. For the first time in yonks, Key is panicking and Joyce is having kittens. It’s a joy to behold.

    Message to Winston Peters: if you betray us again like you did in ’96, voters will never give you another chance again.

    • Yes…I think Peters is fully aware of the 96′ episode…however I also think he is fully aware of the magnitude of this quite historic event.

      It is more than just winning the seat of Northland. I suspect it is a catalyst for a growing mood of unease and discontent regarding the ongoing list of lies and deceits being foisted on this country.

      There is something ugly the Key – led govt has and is indulging in.

      Sabin is only a symptom of this.

      A lot is resting on the shoulders of Winston Peters when he wins the seat of Northland this Saturday.

      It is an unenviable position and he deserves our support.

      For he is taking on more than just the mere foot soldier of Mark Osbourne…hes taking on the Goliath of USA interests and an entrenched and corrupt neo liberal oligarchy.

    • He exposed the Wine box and payed the price.

      HE helped set up Kiwi Bank with Anderton, much to the big banks derision.

      Gave pensioners the much needed Gold Card,that most had already.
      For all of these he was fought tooth and nail.

      And he is the only one that ever talks about loss of sovereignty and trying
      to say the number of immigrants only drives down pay rates in an already low wage economy.

      What about work for our children? That so bad?

      Just my opinion.


      • Yes….All of the above – and for that we should give credit where credit is due.

        No wonder Key and the rest of the staunch neo liberal’s in both Labour and National hate him.

        We should count ourselves lucky we have a Winston ….he’s a lot like the Ralph Nader of NZ politics.

  7. The Rt. dishonourable Mr. Key is making an appearance at my son’s workplace today. Winston visited there two days ago, and received a very warm welcome. Is Johnny so desperate he is following Winston around? Stalking? Is Mr. Key so out of touch he doesn’t realise that although he may be embraced by upper management, a handful of of people, there are about 140 workers there that are, shall we say, unimpressed Mr. Key has chosen to grace them with his presence. When Mr. Key’s pending arrival was announced to the workers, the response as you can imagine, was expletitive-laden and unsuitable to publish on a civilised blog. You get the gist.

    • For such a popular Prime Minister, why does he need so many bodyguards?

      Best Bits or Seven Days should get hold of the images and imagery of this popular leader surrounded by gun-toting muscle….

      Key’s bodyguards: Pena’s bodyguards

      • That’s exactly right MCSANDWICH. Winnie went onto to the factory floor, talked to the workers, sat and chatted with them at smoko, even bummed a smoke because he had left them on the bus, Ha Ha. Key turned up with an entourage of goons, didn’t even bother trying to talk to the workers, briefly visited management, and left. The “popular prime minister” label is a myth, perpetuated in the media.

  8. Looking at the quality of all the replacements for National vacating MP’s tells me a great deal….dredging the bottom of the barrel for potential statesmen.
    Compare them to any Labour or Green newbie, says it all.

  9. Well written article , Kelly….I particularly liked the imagery regarding a basic tenet of warfare : beware the enemy with nothing to loose.

    This is virtually word for word out of Sun Szu’s Art of Warfare .

    Sun Szu said to ‘ place your army on death’s ground’….in other words with natural obstacles behind denying retreat……and that army will fight two , three times harder than normal and defeat the enemy.

    The Romans practiced the same ploy when things got tight and overcame the enemy time after time.

    National…became arrogant and indolent. The people of Northland therefore had nothing to loose by voting for Peters.

    They practically ensured they would loose by their actions and haughtiness…..

    And now they will pay that price……and ensure Winston Peters a victory.

    I also believe this to be the catalyst for an ongoing displeasure with National by the voting public.

    The continuing lies and dangerous veering towards autocratic rule will finally grind down and put a stop to this style of leadership.

    It will be very interesting to see how the future pans out for those in the current National inner party circle.

    I believe it does not bode well for them at all.

  10. Winston needs to keep his eye on the final count, as these nasty Nats can’t be trusted. A backhander here, a backhander there, and hey presto you’ve won the election!

  11. Watching Key and Joyce taken down a notch is a very good thing. Fun to watch the smarmy elitist’s and arrogant fools squirm.
    Besides ==>> Winston has a sense of humour and tells the truth.
    With those attributes and good ethics, he is light years ahead of the national train wreck. Voters – please continue to wake up.

  12. Peters talked about the ludicrous ‘competition’ between the three Ports companies on Radio NZ the other morning, as well as the need to rebuild rail infrastructure in the north.
    Gee, these things might even mean increased employment opportunities as well.

  13. He would be just like Shane Reti, Phil Heatley, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Chris Bishop, Goldsmith, etc etc.

    Sit down, shut up vote how you’re told and try not to screw it up.

    • @deflatermouse – if you are referring to Osborne, then yes I’d say he definitely falls into the nod/agree/vote accordingly category of those Natsy MPs you mentioned.

      And let’s not forget, for a few crumbs ask patsy questions of Key, English, Joyce & Co as well.

      However, Winston is going to win the seat, so next week it will be a case of Mark who??

  14. Hey tonight I received election bribe but wonder if they got the address wrong.

    Yes I live in Gisborne (not unlike the Northland area with the same isolation being out on a limb and at another end of a rail line, perhaps they got the address wrong.

    Yes it was a snappy MSD bright email saying “Your pension is increasing”

    Find the new rates here it said

    I thought I was in heaven for a moment and felt warm and fuzzy, felling as government finally respected the aging pensioners here.

    I wondered if I may now afford a new pair of shoes finally, but then I opened the window of rates changes and found that my pension had increased a miniscule $5. 86 a week so this was an absolute flop for the Northland voter who obviously the Government was throwing at the pensioners up there as a sweetener that may bring key’s man a win, but I felt insulted as the wife said you wont get anything with this or even a cup of Latte’ when we go to town next time so get over it.

    Yes Key and Shultz go stick your piss assed bribe of a 1.4% increase up your arse you creeps, you gave us nothing but an insult when you awarded yourselves a almost 3% rise so we are getting poorer as you fat cats get richer.

    • @ cleangreen – yes we received the same notice “bribe” from MSD, as did all those receiving the pension I’d say.

      However, isn’t it interesting the small increase isn’t backdated like some others I can name? Can we and the good folk of Northland, expect that one to come through today? You know the eve of the Northland byelection!

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