“The Nation” reveals gobsmacking incompetence by Ministers English and Lotu-Iiga

By   /   May 3, 2015  /   94 Comments

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The only reason why National’s reputation for being a “sound prudent fiscal manager” survives intact is because New Zealanders are not paying attention.

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the nation_logo

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If there is a crystal-clear example why a functioning democracy must have  vibrant, critical current affairs programmes on free-to-air televesion, then  TV3’s ‘The Nation‘ on the morning of 2 May was top-of-the-pile. Without doubt, this land-mark episode was a powerful insight into the general competence (or lack, thereof) of two of the government’s senior ministers; Finance Minister Bill English and Corrections Minister, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga.

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Corrections Minister, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga -- TV3's 'The Nation' host & interviewer, Lisa Owen -- Finance Minister Bill English

(L-R) Corrections Minister, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga — TV3’s ‘The Nation’ host & interviewer, Lisa Owen — Finance Minister Bill English

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The highly talented host-interviewer, Lisa Owen, interviewed both, drilling deep down, and extracting information; admissions; and more critically – waving aside pathetic attempts to fudge legitimate answers. The resulting exchanges did not make for a ‘happy day’ for either government minister, revealing one totally out of his depth, and the other unwilling to admit that his stewardship of the country’s economy has been an abject failure.

1. Finance Minister Bill English

In  the opening months of World War 2, there was a period from September 1939 to May 1940, known as “the Phoney War“. Both the Allied Nations (led by Great Britain) and the expanding Fourth Reich were technically at war, but major military operations did not commence until Nazi Germany invaded Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg on 10 May 1940.

In New Zealand, we might have referred to those first eight months as a “Clayton’s War” – the war you’re having when you’re not really having a war. (For those old enough to remember, “Clayton’s” refers to a non-alcoholic beverage marketed in New Zealand in the 1970s and 1980s. It was heavily promoted with the catch-phrase, “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”. The marketing campaign was an advertisers dream-come-true, catching the public’s attention. The product, unfortunately for the manufacturers, was less successful. )

The same could be said of New Zealand’s so-called “rock star economy” and “recovery”.

By nearly all accounts, our recent growth has been predicated on three factors;

  1. The Auckland housing boom/bubble
  2. The Christchurch Earthquakes re-build
  3. Exports – particularly dairy – to China

The first is reliant purely on borrowing from off-shore to fund speculative activity. When that bubble finally bursts, we will be left with a multi-billion debt; thousands of bankruptcies; and an economy in tatters as capital flight takes place.

The second is a short-term growth-spurt which owes it’s origins to two natural disasters – literally disaster capitalism.

The third is built upon China’s unsustainable growth, and has recently fallen away, returning Australia as our number one trading partner, as the value of dairy commodities plummet.

The first two are unsustainable. The last is reliant on a major trading partner’s economic well-being. As with New Zealand’s lamb and butter exports to the UK prior to it joining the EEC in January 1973, we have placed our export “eggs” in one, very big, very fragile, basket.

Against this backdrop of The Phoney Economic Recovery,  the following financial facts should give us cause for concern;

  1. The on-going cost of the 2009 and 2010 tax-cuts, estimated to be around $3.8 billion per year, and up to $4.26 billion last year
  2. Plummeting dairy prices resulting in lower payout to farmers and taking $7 billion out of the economy
  3. Reduced tax-take by the government is around $4.5 billion

In view of unsustainable tax-cuts in 2009 and 2010; the economy taking a $7 billion “hit”; and lower than anticipated tax revenue by this government, it was hardly unexpected that Bill English’s promises of a surplus this year have collapsed.

Lisa Owen challenged the hapless Finance Minister in a sixteen minute long interview. In this excerpt, English is evasive when asked questions about the governments surplus;

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Full interview here

Throughout the interview, English was upbeat and insisted that a surplus was just around the corner;

“Well, okay, it would be nice if the number got there this year; it’ll just take a bit longer. What’s important here is the trajectory. So Government is closing its deficits; it’s getting to surplus. We’ll soon be in a position to start paying off debt. Our expenditure’s under control; the revenue’s a  bit harder. You’ve just seen in the last day or two, dairy prices are going down again; that has an impact. So we’re sufficiently confident in the direction that we’re not going to cut services or cut entitlements to try and chase a larger surplus number.”

Lisa Owen asked the Minister: “Okay. Well, before on The Nation, you said that the Government would not make any cuts to reach surplus. Is that still your plan?

English replied;  “That’s right. We’re not going to make any specific extra decisions now just because our tax revenue’s a percentage point – 1% down.”

Then, incredibly, English maintained that tax-cuts were still on National’s agenda;

Owen: “I just want to look at some of the big promises, like tax cuts. They were meant to come from that $500 million that you now don’t have. But is it fair to say that they’re not really likely now?

English: “As we indicated last year, we wouldn’t be able to contemplate that until 2017 for some of the reasons that you’ve outlined. So at the moment, the ability to deliver some kind of moderate tax cut hasn’t changed and we would have the next couple of budgets to work out how that would happen.”

Owen: “Hang on, Minister. It has changed, hasn’t it, Minister, because you’ve just identified the fact you’ve got less money, so it must have changed.

English: “Well, we’ve shifted the money from next year to the year after; that’s technically what’s actually happened. We’ll deal with that as time goes on, but the point I’m making is our finances are-“

Owen: “Is it likely that your tax cuts then will be delayed as well? Maybe 2018, not 2017?

English: “No, we’re not suggesting that. We said at the end of last year that they would be possible in 2017. We’ve made allowance for that.”

It beggars belief that we have a Finance Minister willing to entertain the notion of tax cuts at a time when dairy prices are dropping; tax revenue is falling; and public debt has ballooned to $59.9 billion  and rising by $27 million per day, every day.

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public debt - NZ Treasury

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Never mind tax cuts – when do we, as a nation, start to repay this debt mountain?!

The reality is that if National proceeds with promises of tax cuts in 2017 (which is an election year – bribe anyone?) New Zealand will have to  borrow from offshore to make up the shortfall in revenue. Our debt mountain will continue to grow.

English himself admitted that the deficit this year will be in the order of around half a billion dollars;

“…It is what it is, and that is for the 14/15 year, we budgeted $370 million surplus. It looks like it will be a $500 or $600 million deficit, and the surplus will be the next year. So we’re on track.”

Somewhere in National’s gross mis-management of the economy, they have gone from a $370 million surplus to a potential $600 million deficit – just shy of $1 billion lost.

How does a government make such a colossal mistake? “It is what it is” is hardly an explanation.

Throughout the interview, English kept repeating the mantra of a future surplus;

“The direction is pretty clear. Our surpluses will come and they will grow, and we’ll be able to pay off debt.”

“The target remains getting to surplus, and in the Budget, you’ll see the details of where the Government is up to with it. But I’m indicating that despite falling a bit short in 14/15, we’re on track for surplus.”

Though English insisted that there would be no cuts to spending, he did use coded language for possible reductions to welfare spending;

Owen: “Is it likely that your tax cuts then will be delayed as well? Maybe 2018, not 2017?”

English: “No, we’re not suggesting that. We said at the end of last year that they would be possible in 2017. We’ve made allowance for that.”

Owen: “Okay. So what about measures to curb poverty, then? Will they have to be delayed? Because the Prime Minister identified them as something of a priority. Is that going to be delayed?”

English: “Well, we’ve been working on these issues for a while, particularly focused on communities and families with persistent deprivation and caught in a cycle of dependence. And so you could expect to see us continue with that sort of programme through this Budget…

… Or sickness and invalids beneficiaries with more support for their health issues and more support for employment, could actually get out of dependency, off welfare and remain in work.

Because as we all know, invalids don’t actually have real disabilities or debilitating injuries or diseases – they are simply on a “cycle of dependence”.

When in trouble, blame someone else. In this case, invalids.

Owen then moved on to the issue of Auckland’s growing housing crisis and nailed English on this government’s spectacular inability to manage and address that city’s housing shortage. English simply blamed the Auckland Council;

“Well, the migration numbers have stayed high, bearing in mind about half of migrants appear to go to Auckland; the other half go to the rest of the country. But there’s pretty clear signals that Auckland City Council need to get on with the job. They are the ultimate decision-maker around the infrastructure and around the consenting for new houses. We’re giving them the toolkit to enable them to do it faster, but there’s clearly a lot more to be done, and we’ll keep looking for more tools to help the Auckland City Council to do the job they need to do.”

When still in trouble, keep blaming someone else. In this case, the Auckland Council.

Thus far, National’s grand strategy to cope with Auckland’s housing crisis is to shift ownership of 2,800 properties from Housing NZ to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company – as if shifting properties around on a giant ‘Monopoly’ board will somehow solve the problem?

Owen pointed out to English that in transferring 2,800 houses to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company, that he was breaking a previous committment;

Owen: “Now, hang on a minute. There you offloaded 2800 houses, and I thought you had a cap on getting rid of state houses of about 2000. So is that cap gone now?

English: “Well, no. What we’ve said is Housing New Zealand will own at least 60,000 houses, and that certainly hasn’t changed. Government remains the owner—”

Owen: “No, you said a cap, Minister. So has the cap gone now with this 2800 houses? The cap’s blown?

English: “No. Government will remain the owner of the Tamaki houses. We’ve simply put them in a different government company, which has been set up specifically to regenerate that community, because it’s a very particular skillset.”

English had all but surrendered to Owen’s persistent questioning by outright admitting his government’s failure to address Auckland’s mounting housing crisis;

“That’s right. We’re not meeting demand. I certainly agree with that. Whether it gets worse before it gets better, forecasters can argue over that. We’ve got plenty to do to meet the demand that’s been there for a while. And as I said, the Government’s supporting Auckland City, trying to get them a better toolkit and making our own contribution through redeveloping our own land in Auckland.”

For English, this interview was possibly the worst in his political career. He had to explain why his commitment to returning to surplus this year was now in tatters, and why his government’s housing plan for Auckland consisted of moving state housing from owner to owner, without adding significantly to the overall stock.

The only reason why National’s reputation for being a “sound prudent fiscal manager” survives intact is because New Zealanders are not paying attention.

But worse was to come when Corrections Minister, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga took the chair and was also interviewed by Lisa Owen. What followed was a debacle of Hekia Parata proportions.

2. Corrections Minister, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga

With on-going  privatisation of State services dressed up as so-called “Public-Private Partnerships” (PPPs), Lisa Owen put several questions to the Corrections Minister on the role of UK company, Serco, which has been contracted to run the new prison at Wiri.

His responses were jaw-droppingly incompetant. The man was totally out of his depth, as these excerpts show;

Owen: “So are they getting paid and how much?”

Lotu-Iiga: “Well, the contract is between Serco and PlaceMakers, and I’m not privy to those sums, but—”

 

Owen: “So you don’t know how much the business is going to make—”

Lotu-Iiga: “I don’t have the figures on me, but we could ask Serco what the contract’s for.”

 

Owen: “Out of the inmates building framing and having these contracts. So who makes the profit out of the contract?”

Lotu-Iiga: “ Well, we don’t know whether there’s profits being made, but what PlaceMakers—”

 

Owen: “Why don’t you know that, Minister? Because this is under your watch.”

Lotu-Iiga: “Well, I spoke to the managing director of PlaceMakers yesterday, and they said that they will pay a standard contract for fees to Serco. I don’t know what that amount is…”

 

Owen: “Right, so in terms of rehabilitation, but you don’t know who’s making a profit or if one’s being made?

Lotu-Iiga: ” Hang on. They’ve got a commercial transaction between Serco and PlaceMakers. I don’t know what that figure is, but we can work it out.”

 

Owen: “Even with that $30 million? Even with that $30 million profit that they’re making per annum?”

Lotu-Iiga: “I don’t think they’re making a $30 million profit.”

 

Owen: “You don’t think it’ll make $30 million, and what you’re saying is it’s still saving money even though this company is making a profit out of it? It’s still saving us money even though they’re taking that profit.”

Lotu-Iiga: “It’s… Well, it’s saving the taxpayer money. It is saving the taxpayer money.”

 

And then this astounding admission from the Minister that must have had every viewer that Saturday morning choking on his/her milo/tea/coffee, and the Prime Minister speed-dialling his Chief-of-Staff;

Owen: “Who employs those monitors? Who employs the monitor in the prison? “

Lotu-Iiga: “There will be— If I can just finish, there will be an ombudsman. They will be subject to complaints—”

Owen: “So the monitor in the prison, Minister, just to be clear, the monitor in the prison; who employs the monitor?
Lotu-Iiga: “My understand is that the monitors are based in the prisons, but they report to the Department of Corrections.”

Owen: “Who employs the monitor and pays their wages, Minister?

Lotu-Iiga: “Well, I don’t have those facts on me, but they do report—”

Owen: “Well, I do. The person who employs the monitor— the person who employs the monitor is the company, Serco. They employ the monitor, and pay their wages.”

Lotu-Iiga’s spectacular ignorance of his own portfolio has almost certainly destroyed his political career. He will also have disappointed his political strategist and mentor, controversial far right-winger,  Simon Lusk.

Lusk was employed by Lotu-Iiga during the 2008 election campaign for the Maungakiekie Electorate Campaign. In return, as well as being paid by Lotu-Iiga, in his Maiden Speech in Parliament the newly-elected MP openly acknowledged Lusk’s involvement in his election to Parliament. In this Youtube video, Lotu-Iiga mentions Lusk at 3:56. Note who is sitting behind Lotu-Iiga – Aaron Gilmore, another Lusk protégé.

Bad luck, Simon.

It is not often that I feel sympathy for a Minister of a National Government. When I do, it is the pity I feel for a doomed man whose career has come to a grinding, crushing halt.

At the next Cabinet re-shuffle, Lotu-Iiga will be joining Kate Wilkinson, Phil Heatley, and Aaron Gilmore in political oblivion.

Dead Minister Walking.

3. Political Panel

Mike Williams, Bernard Hickey & Jamie Whyte comment on interviews with Bill English and Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga. Note ex-ACT leader, Jamie Whyte’s cringe-worthy apologistic comments on behalf of English, and why he thinks government debt does not matter.

4. The Programme

All in all, this was one of the most outstanding episodes of “The Nation” with excellent interviews; topical subject matter; and insightful analysis by (most) of the panellists. Lisa Owen joins Kim Hill as two of this country’s most formidable interviewers.

This is the sort of programming Mediaworks should be broadcasting at Prime Time. My “money” would be on people desperate for informative television – who are sick to their stomachs on a sickly diet of “reality tv” – to flock to such a viewer-friendly scheduling.

Good, quality, current affairs should never be tucked away as some sort of “guilty pleasure”.

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References

Wikipedia: The Phoney War

Wikipedia: Claytons

Rabobank: Country Report New Zealand

Farming Show: Australia becomes top trading partner once again

Radio NZ: Price drop another blow for dairy farmers

NZ Herald: Brian GaynorPlans for jump-start reveal differing styles

Scoop media:  Govt’s 2010 tax cuts costing $2 billion and counting

Fairfax media: Dairy prices fall at Fonterra GlobalDairyTrade auction

Beehive: Fact sheet – Personal tax cuts

Radio NZ: English concedes surplus target unlikely

Youtube: The Nation – Can National promise a surplus by 2016?

TV3: The Nation – Interview –  Finance Minister Bill English

Treasury: Debt

Fairfax media: Public debt climbs by $27m a day

Fairfax media: Government offloads 2800 state houses to Auckland development company

TV3: The Nation – Interview – Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga

Wikipedia: Serco

Simon Lusk: Clients

Fairfax media: The rapid rise of a well-educated man

Youtube: Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga MP – Maiden Speech

Previous related blogposts

Tax cuts and jobs – how are they working out so far, my fellow New Zealanders?

Did National knowingly commit economic sabotage post-2008?

Budget 2014 – Why we will soon owe $70 billion under this government

The Mendacities of Mr Key #3: tax cuts

When the Rich Whinge about paying tax

Two Tax Strikes against Dunne?

“It’s one of those things we’d love to do if we had the cash”

National’s Ohariu candidate admits contact by Simon Lusk

Power Struggle in the National Party?!

Other blogs

Unframed: John Key has no credibility on debt and no Plan B

Acknowledgement

Tim Watkin, Producer of “The Nation“, for interview transcripts; link to Youtube excerpt featuring Bill English; and valuable insights.


 

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94 Comments

  1. Brendan says:

    Frank,

    Nazi German was the Third Reich. Sorry to be picky.

  2. phillip ure says:

    epic-review..

    well done..!

  3. Gosman says:

    Both Mike Williams and Bernard Hickey basically agreed with Jaime Whyte over debt.

    • Really?

      What panel were you listening to?

      • Gosman says:

        Jamie Whytes’s point was that debt in itself wasn’t a bad thing if the reason for the debt is to improve along term economic position. Mike Williams agreed but stated there is political dimension to failing to make the surplus (which Jaime Whyte agreed with). Bernard Hickey not only agreed with Jamie Whyte but stated that with interest rates so low why wouldn’t you borrow. Do you deny my take on this?

        • wild katipo says:

          The Double Dipper from Dipton is the minister for Finance.

          That figures. Its like putting the safe cracking bank thief in charge of the vault door lock combination.

          And about as stupid.

          But then again we are talking the National party .

          And let us never forget where the mans cronyism really lays when he stated ”We should be glad we have a LOW WAGE ECONOMY as this encourages foreign investment ”.

          About the only ‘ good ‘ ‘ foreign investment’ has been so far is to create the artificial ‘ growth ‘ and out of control property market in Auckland driven primarily by Chinese foreign investors.

          The tides turning , Gosmuck , …and those who work for a living and the unions are getting pissed off with bullshit low wages paying exorbitant prices for rents , mortgages and the obscene cost of living.

          And when that Auckland property speculators dream becomes a nightmare and blows up ,- the smell of shit will be everywhere . And you better make sure your not downwind of Bill English because he will reek the worst having most of that shit land all over him.

          Him and all his speculator buddies.

          Both English and that other ignoramus dolt both need sacking.

        • You need to point out where Mike Williams agreed with Jamie Whyte, Gosman.

          Quite the contrary, Williams said;

          @ 2.18: “It’s politically damaging.”

          @ 3.15: “But Jamie, it is the right test, if you make it the test.”

          So unless you can quote Williams, you’re out on a limb on that one.

          • Gosman says:

            Ummmm….that is I exactly what I stated.

            “Mike Williams agreed but stated there is political dimension to failing to make the surplus ”

            is pretty much the same as:

            “But Jamie, it is the right test, if you make it the test”

            The point Mike Williams was making there is economically it may not be important but if you make achieving the surplus the goal you will lose out politically if you fail to achieve it. Jamie Whyte then basically agreed with him.

              • Gosman says:

                Bravo for such a thought out response /sarc.

                Why do you think Mike Williams didn’t state something along the lines of “Well actually Jamie getting in to Debt is actually a very bad thing and it is extremely important that the Government balances it’s books as soon as possible otherwise the economic outcome will be very bad indeed”?

                I note you also don’t dispute that Bernard Hickey stated that it is indeed a good time to borrow.

                • Your assertion that Williams agreed with Whyte is rubbish because it didn’t happen. If it did, please provide the quote.

                  Simple. Provide the quote.

                  • Gosman says:

                    *Facepalm*

                    If Mike Williams had a problem with what Jamie Whyte had to say why did he choose to focus on the political aspect not the economic?

                    • Get your face out of your palm and acknowledge that at no time did Mike Williams agree with Jamie Whyte.

                      If he did, you could provide the quote.

                      This is one of your worst examples of mendacity, Gosman.

            • Priss says:

              So Gosman, you lie about what Williams said about White’s comments and now try to cover your arse? You righties are shameless when it comes to fibbing.

              • Gosman says:

                I didn’t lie about Williams comments. In fact I have further expanded above on the reasons why what I stated reflected the actual reality of the panel discussion rather than what you wish it to be.

                • framu says:

                  “If Mike Williams had a problem with what Jamie Whyte had to say why did he choose to focus on the political aspect not the economic?”

                  bull shit gosman – your own words show your running an assumption not a fact

                  so – link it or drop it

    • Oliver Q says:

      Gosman, I watched the video. Can you point out where Williams agreed with Jamie Whyte, because I sure as hell couldn’t find it.

  4. CLEANGREEN says:

    National Government is the forth Reich, – as their monetary policies and social engineering are strikingly similar to Hitler’s third Reich Brendon.

    Try watching what is really going on here, as you may know John Key has attended secretly as Prime minister of NZ to “The Bilderberg Group” planning strategy meetings from 2011/12.

    Quite possibly due to being a PM of a country Key is already a sworn “Priest” (Presbyter) of these clandestine “one world government” meetings that were kindled, planned and resurrected by Germany.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6z4H6USPt4

    • Gosman says:

      And we have a Godwin.

      • Graham Harcourt says:

        Gosman, can I politely tell you where you can put your Godwins?

        • Gosman says:

          I very much doubt you could do that politely.

          I make no apologies for pointing out a Godwin when it occurs. The Daily Blog is an especially prolific place for this.

          • wild katipo says:

            Probably because of the neo totalitarian shades of the current govt. It especially lends itself towards being described in certain ways.

            And if you took the time to take your eyes off your bank account long enough and admitted your avarice ,those of your ilk , you would see how dangerous this govt actually is.

            Until then the descriptions still stand and are truly valid – making your constant cry of godwin irrelevant.

            • Gosman says:

              No it doesn’t. Attempting to compare what is happening in New Zealand or any where else in the developed world to what happened in Nazi Germany is both intellectually lazy and dishonest.

              It is also not very conducive to any sort of sensible and rational political dialogue. You are essentially stating that around 50% of the voting public supports Nazi policies. Now imagine if the right regarded all people like you on the left to be equivalent of hard core Communist. All you have is a society that is polarised between perceived Communists and perceived Nazis. Tell me how that helps resolve issues of the day?

              • Gosman, your propensity to deflect and avoid the actual issues I’ve raised above – is beyond parallel.

                How about actually referring to what I’ve written, instead of careening off on wild tangeants?

                Or are the issues I’ve raised too embarrassing?

                • Gosman says:

                  Not really. Your economic analysis is rather weak and the bias in your quoting is atrocious (prime example bring the quote from Treasury about the fiscal impact of the Tax cuts only quoting half the story). We’ve been down this particular path before. You haven’t raised any additional or new points. If you are interested in discussing this further I have an open offer to meet up over a drink in Wellington.

                  • Oliver Q says:

                    Actually Gosman, you are deflecting. You’re off on wild goosechases wittering on about trivia, and avoiding what has been written.

                    Saying that Frank’s economic analysis is “rather weak” is a piss-poor way to put your point when you fail to point out WHERE it’s weak.

                    Personally, I think you’re in over your head and have no answers.

                • Bee says:

                  I like your analysis Frank. Seems to stack up well for me.

                  I saw the interview with the prisons minister and the guy is simply hopeless.

                  As for English, he’s doing the best under the circumstances but I agree that the tax cuts a few years ago weren’t affordable. Mind you, I can’t complain as I don’t pay much tax because of the way I structure our affairs.

              • MJ says:

                “You are essentially stating that around 50% of the voting public supports Nazi policies.”

                Blindly stupid, much like the populace that thought voting for John Key because he’s a “nice guy” that “smiles and waves a lot” while lying like he does (documented and verifiable in the hundreds now – unlike your lies!) is anywhere near paralleled with their realisation of it. If they knew (and I firmly believe they will know one day), then he wouldn’t be in government right now.

                Mark my words, in as little as 30 years time, he will become one of the most hated (and I know that’s a strong word to use) Prime Ministers ever to step foot in the Beehive.

  5. Blake says:

    Bill English – the master at being evasive and at cooking the books ? ? and misrepresenting the facts. He would defend Jonkey to the bitter end and eventually over the cliff.

    ROCK STAR ECONOMY ! Yeh right ? ? !!!! tell that to all the homeless and the starving and vets and seniors in need and the children without a good home or good shoes and abuse victims and the mentally challenged and the disabled and on and on.

    Great Job National ! took us right into the smelly TOITY.

    Running scared ? are we National with all the ugly truths coming out ! ! !

  6. GettingOn says:

    Jamie Whyte was pathetic – I assumed he was hungover after a night out on the champagne.

  7. TE says:

    “who is making profits out of this”
    the share holders of Serco of course …

    This guy is another abject failure as a Corrections Minister
    he is just reading from page 1 “baffle them with bullshit” out of the politicans hand book … his page written by S. Lusk.

    Sam Lotu-iiga can’t tell any body anything it seems,
    often saying “I don’t have those facts with me.”
    really … where did he think he was going, to the shop to buy lollies,
    He was going to an interview about the Wiri prison as the Minister of Corrections

    and his interjections of “could you let me carry on”…
    with my meaningless often incoherent ramblings meant to confuse and deflect you.
    only served to reinforce my dismay and mistrust in his ability to be worthy of his current role.

    Why can’t NZ run a prison at the same cost as a British company???
    A company that have a history of problems, failures, fatal errors and overcharging around the world.
    Could it be the 50k the government make when a prisoner escapes from the prison?

    Monitor = observe and check the progress or quality of (something) over a period of time; keep under systematic review
    Serco employe the monitor, very dodgy IMO

    What a fantastic investigative interviewer Lisa Owen is and thank goodness she is on the side of ‘lets get to the truth of the matter’

    • Draco T Bastard says:

      Why can’t NZ run a prison at the same cost as a British company???

      It can. In fact, the government can always do things cheaper than the private sector because it doesn’t need to make a profit and thus, for the same price, we would get a better service.

  8. jay says:

    The Bean Counter shown up for his pathetic self which is he’s just a miserable idealogical bean counter.Totally without vision for NZ other than giving away its wealth to the already well orf.

    • e-clectic says:

      He’s not a bean counter he’s a bean shifter.

      “Now, if I put a couple of beans in tax cuts, half a bean in R&D rebates, ignore the diminishing beans in too narrow an export sector, defer five beans into the 16/17 projections, allege bean mismanagement by my predecessor, quote glowing bean management reports from my creditors, look glum about the earthquake lifeline, hark back to the global bean crisis, praise the controls on bean inflation by the RB, repeat “rock star economy” incessantly, swap a tranche of houses for a couple of magic beans – who knows, we can grow a trickle-down (ahem, surge-up) magical beanstalk. Yes, that’s pretty much my cunning plan.”

  9. donna says:

    Thank you, Frank. We are TV-less so your summary and links are most welcome.
    🙂

  10. countryboy says:

    Brilliant @ Frank .

    Just one little thing however . And perhaps wildly off-topic .
    But you did write ” As with New Zealand’s lamb and butter exports to the UK prior to it joining the EEC in January 1973,”

    How about a closer look at why , and who, was behind us being sliced off as exporters to the EU and the UK as they hastily built up the EEC , mainly for the security of their on-going food supplies , food supplies we were brilliant at supplying until ……………… ! What do you think happened Frank ? To force Europe, the UK and even the USA to such drastic measures ?

    Before you dismiss my suspicions, remember, it was only 30 years prior to the 1970’s that people were eating each other in Leningrad.
    Think of how Auckland might shoulder such a reputation ? [ Some old coot saying ] ” I remember . Back in Auckland during the famine . People were forced to eat each other. ”

    We were the first to export meat and dairy via refrigerated shipping back in 1875 . To a winter bound Europe ! A perfect market advantage for our farmers .

    So why did Europe and the UK drop such a great supply of foods and wool ?
    Who did that to us ? Who could have sabotaged such a fabulous trade route to an exceptional market ? Who did that and for why ?

    Answer the above questions and you have the missing jigsaw puzzle piece to complete the picture that is our foundering country of plenty where people go hungry and without while fools pretend they care as we pay them six figure salaries to labour to support their lies in a resource rich country the size of the UK but with a population the size of Melbourne AU .

    So dear Frank . What do you think might have happened back in the early 1970’s to bring us down and have us become reliant on having to export to our old competitors, the Australians ?

    You’re very, very close to undoing, unstitching The Great New Zealand Institutionalised Lie . It would be superb if it were you to do so @ Frank.

    You have tremendous investigative skills @ Frank . You use them with good intentions . So what do you think went on, and why .
    But be careful . You’d be poking a nasty , sleeping giant with a sharp stick .

    • Gosman says:

      I believe it was the French. Are you suggesting they are behind all the world’s ills? It would explain a lot I suppose.

  11. Andy Rennie says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0NYBTkE1yQ
    This a USA senator Alan Grayson asking why the FED loaned NZ $9billion… only thing Key said as to why he borrowed it at the time (3months after he got in the first time as PM) was “interest rates are low.” also Benacke says he loaned it to a world bank? NZ government isn’t a world bank?

    • Gosman says:

      Congratulations you have discovered the smoking gun that blows open the whole conspiracy.

      Pass the information on to the Opposition immediately. I’m sure Andrew Little or Winston Peters will love to cause the downfall of the government.

      Why do I get the feeling you won’t have much luck doing that?

  12. Draco T Bastard says:

    As with New Zealand’s lamb and butter exports to the UK prior to it joining the EEC in January 1973, we have placed our export “eggs” in one, very big, very fragile, basket.

    Supported by an even bigger, more fragile hydrogen balloon.

    “They are the ultimate decision-maker around the infrastructure and around the consenting for new houses. We’re giving them the toolkit to enable them to do it faster, but there’s clearly a lot more to be done, and we’ll keep looking for more tools to help the Auckland City Council to do the job they need to do.”

    Did you notice that when the ACC did come up with a plan to address the housing shortage via increased housing density National stepped in and told them that they can’t do that and that they had to increase greenfields development instead? So much for ACC being the “ultimate decision-maker”.

  13. For God’s sake! As Brendan said, it was the Third Reich – and France was the senior partner – or Leader. Simple history; the lack of which clouds judgement on the rest of your article.

    • Ooops, my bad on the number of Reichs.

      The rest of my article stands on it’s own merits. If you think there are further errors, Lindsay, feel free to point them out. Cheers.

      • I did read the rest Frank, and it is a good article. Perhaps I did not make my point clear enough, and maybe I’m just a pedant. But basic errors annoy me. The Press is famous for them; perhaps sub-editors are an extinct species.

        I want the current bunch of clowns, who in my opinion, are taking this Country down the entirely wrong road, to be thrown at the next election. To do that requires informing those who elected them – basically the middle road voters – to see the errors of their ways.

        I have no idea how to motivate the huge number of lazy stupids who can’t even be bothered to have a say. And these are the ones who most would benefit from a Left of Centre Government. They won’t even vote their own self-interest; it’s a hardy.

        • …..perhaps sub-editors are an extinct species.

          Actually, for Fairfax, they are. The company made most of them redundant in the last few years.

          As for my errors (typos, etc), I mostly do my own proof-reading – which is never a good idea. Especially when I usually finish a finish at 1am or 2am in the morning…

          Thankfully, readers can quickly point out typos and suchlike.

          As for the “Fourth Reich” error – I blame an old “Twilight Zone” story for that. Weird, eh?

        • wanafli says:

          Seriously? Thrown out??? Shot at dawn, and their carcasses thrown in an unmarked grave might be more appropriate . . .

  14. Dave Head says:

    This truth has been struggling to heard/seen since before the last election. This what happens when Investigative Journalists are few and far between and the the average Journalists salary is so low!

    But you don’t have far to look for a story!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdqbf0KJ-zM&feature=em-subs_digest-vrecs

  15. CLEANGREEN says:

    Good reporting on very fishy deals going on, and once again Illuminati JP Morgan is smack in the middle of these covert deals.

    It looks like we are all pawns in their game alright again, and there should be a federal indictment of all the corruption occurring in the entire banking sector to stop this treason.

  16. Mike the Lefty says:

    What was that old joke about “jam tomorrow”?. Bill English is Mr Jam-Tomorrow. He always promises that better things are just around the corner. We never get around the corner, perhaps he just forgets to tell us that it is a very very long corner.

    • Draco T Bastard says:

      The RWNJs have been promising us that it’ll be better tomorrow for the last 30 years. So far, it’s only got worse under their delusional policies – except for the rich who are massively better off.

      • James Thrace says:

        “National govern for everyone” … that make up the 1%
        “National want to create a better standard of living” … for the 1%
        “National want to listen to what the real issues are that matter” …. to the 1%

  17. BobW says:

    It’s a damned shame that National can’t be honest and give forth right (as opposed to Fourth Reich) answers. Every time there’s an issue that needs an answer, these National guys sidestep with vague answers. It is time they acted like a prudent fiscal managers instead of being totally irresponsible twats.

  18. CLEANGREEN says:

    BOBW you are so right,

    Check out how Natz only trade in lies like their scummy leader.

    Check all the lies he has peddled till 8/11/14 so the register of lies can be expected to now exceed 250-300 by now.

    updated 06/08/14.

    tl;dr 150+ lies and hypocrisies, catalogued with sources.

    I read this and wanted to get all Key’s lies in one place. Thanks to /u/stevo_stevo for the idea and starter list!

    Please comment with any lies or hypocrisies that have been missed!

    I did this because I knew Key lied a lot, I didn’t understand the quantity and scope til now – so, I have no answer how his popularity increases – must be the 50% in the polls are woefully ill-informed or are blind to the facts….

    We get the politicians we deserve.

    I promise to always be honest – False

    The big list of John Key’s lies

    1 John Key claimed that he didn’t know about the Exclusive Brethren tactics. False.

    2 John Key claimed that he didn’t have Tranz Rail Shares. False.

    He actually said he had between 25k – 50k shares, but after a journalist discovered his family trust had also bought some, he changed it to 100k. Still dodgy, but not quite claiming he didn’t have any. /u/jandalofdoom http://www.reddit.com/r/newzealand/comments/293rq9/labour_vindicated_by_lius_error_story_politics_3/cih5yvz

    Herald: Key accused of lying over Tranz Rail shares

    3 John Key claimed that he didn’t own a vineyard. False
    John Key and his vineyard investments

    4 John Key claimed that he voted to keep the drinking age at 20. False.
    One more from NBR

    5 John Key claimed that he didn’t know about the renewal of the BMW contract in 2011. False.

    6 John Key claimed the wage gap between New Zealand and Australia had closed under the National government. False.

    7 John Key claimed that his office had no involvement with the SkyCity deal. False.

    8 John Key claimed that the Sky City deal will provide 1000 construction jobs and 800 casino jobs. False.

    9 John Key claimed that all five bidders for the convention centre were treated equally. False.

    10 John Key claimed that Solid Energy asked the government for a $1 billion capital investment. False.

    11 John Key claimed that the 2011 Budget would create in the order of 170,000 jobs. False.

    12 John Key claimed that NZ SAS soldiers were not involved in the Kabul Hotel gunfight. False.

    13 John Key claimed that Iain Rennie recommended Ian Fletcher for the GCSB job. False.

    14 John Key claimed that he hadn’t seen Ian Fletcher in a long time. False.

    15 John Key claimed that it was always the intent of the GCSB Act to be able to spy on New Zealanders. False. – Not sure what this one means.

    16 John Key claimed that the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom was an isolated incident. False.

    17 John Key claimed that the bulk of New Zealanders earn between $45,000 and $75,000 a year. False.
    According to Statistics New Zealand’s New Zealand Income Survey results for the June 2010 the median income (the amount which half the people in the country earn below) was $529 per week, which equates to $27508 per year.

    18 John Key claimed that he is honest and upfront. False – see above.

    19 Video of John Key on the campaign trail in 2008 ruling out a rise in GST if he won the election. False

    20 On privatising assets, “I don’t believe that’s gonna turn the New Zealand economy around. False /u/John_Banks

    21 update 10/07/2014, “National promised in its 2011 election manifesto all state houses which could be practically insulated would be.” False

    ‘In answer to written questions this week, Housing Minister Nick Smith said of the 30 percent of the 68,000 houses under Housing New Zealand’s management had not been insulated.”

    22 More GCSB – at least Key’s pal is in charge now…

    “The spymaster who initially cleared the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) of illegally snooping on Kim Dotcom was also directly involved in seeking the suppression order signed by Bill English as Acting Prime Minister.”

    The Herald has learned former chief legal adviser Hugh Wolfensohn was involved in arranging the once-in-a-decade certificate which sought to bury the scandal.

    The Prime Minister confirmed yesterday for the first time it was Mr Wolfensohn’s advice that quelled GCSB and police fears they had illegally spied on Mr Dotcom and his co-accused Bram van der Kolk.

    He told Parliament: “The best of the legal advice presented by Hugh Wolfensohn was that it was legal. As we now know, GCSB and Mr Wolfensohn were wrong.*

    Mr Wolfensohn no longer works at the bureau after being placed on “gardening leave”. A spokesman for the GCSB said of Mr Wolfensohn’s advice: “With hindsight, we know it wasn’t right.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10872586

    23 John Key: ‘I’ve never lied about Kim Dotcom’, 21/11/2012 False – from 5 Oct 2012 and One video exposes Key, GCSB’s & Banks’ Dotcom lies

    24 “Gerry Brownlee breaches airport security rules”. Every other National MP that has broken much less serious rules (and got caught) has been removed from their position. Hypocrisy
    Using the exit door jokes, optional.

    25 Genesis energy asset sales will be predominantly ‘mum and dad’ buyers. False.

    “A controversial American couple are the biggest investors in recently floated Genesis Energy – sparking angry claims the Government has been caught out “screwing the scrum” against mum and dad Kiwi buyers.”

    26 “The good news was I was having dinner with Ngāti Porou, as opposed to their neighbouring Iwi ,which was Tuhoi, in which case I would have been dinner” (audio)

    Another 143 here.

    @ArchieDaRival doing an admirable job with “John Key’s 69 top lies”

    With some duplicates from the 143 and the above, a number of around 150 seems fair.

    Honourable mentions

    1.John Key being a dick about GCSB (to tax payers and) Russel Norman in question time.

    2.Eight NZ politicians who were forced to resign

    3.Key rejects criticism over Mubarak comments – Supporting a tyrant and a dictator with no representation for the Egyptian people was fine because Mubarak supported Israel

    4.Open letter to Eugene Bingham or would you have voted for John Key if you had known

    i. The true relationship John Key had with Andrew Krieger and the attack on the NZ dollar in late 1987.

    ii. The role John Key had in the Asian Crisis, the Russian collapse and the collapse of the LTCM hedgefund.

    iii. The role John Key had in the Subprime trade and the real timeline of the Subprime crisis and the subsequent collapse of the global economy.

    Using the evidence above and the ‘smile’:

    Sociopathic Traits

    John Key’s History

    Career

    • Investment banker, New Zealand for 10 years

    • Investment banker, Merrill Lynch 1995-2001

    • Member, Foreign Exchange Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York 1999-2001

    Merrill Lynch Senior Executive Steve Bollotti said of John Key “he revolutionised the blue blood investment banking sector.” Note: The GFC.

    “Fran O’Sullivan: Key chases luck o’ the Irish” – Ireland since bankrupted by bankers.
    01 – I promise to always be honest

    02 – We’re not proposing to change the Employment Relations Act in a way that weakens unions

    03 – we are not going to sack public servants, the attrition rate will reduce costs

    04 – we are not going to cut working for families

    05 – I firmly believe in climate change and always have

    06 – We seek a 50% reduction in New Zealand’s carbon-equivalent net emissions, as compared to 1990 levels, by 2050. 50 by 50. We will write the target into law.

    07 – National Ltd™ will provide a consistent incentive for both biofuel and biodiesel by exempting them from excise tax or road user charges

    08 – I didn’t know about The Bretheren election tactics

    09 – If they came to us now with that proposal [re trans-Tasman Therapeutic Goods regime], we will sign it

    10 – I can’t remember my position on the 1981 Springbok Tour

    11 – Tranzrail shares

    12 – I did not mislead the House (1)

    13 – Lord Ashcroft

    14 – National Ltd™ would not have sent troops into Iraq

    15 – Standard & Poors credit downgrade

    16 – the double-down grade doesn’t really matter and its only about private sector debt

    17 – I did not mislead the House (2)

    18 – I didn’t say I want wages to drop

    19 – the real rate of inflation is 3.3 percent.

    20 – the tourism sector has not lost 7,000 jobs

    21 – no I have never heard of Whitechapel

    22 – I won’t raise GST

    23 – people who are on the average wage and have a child are $48 a week better off after the rise in GST

    24 – the purchase of farmland, by overseas buyers will be limited to ten farms per purchase

    25 – the Pike River Mine was consented to under a Labour Government

    26 – no promises were made to get the remains of the miners out of the Pike River mine

    27 – I did not provide a view on the safety of the Pike River coalmine

    28 – I did not mislead the House (3)

    29 – capping, not cutting the public service

    30 – raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour will cost 6000 jobs

    31 – north of $50 a week

    32 – privatisation won’t significantly help the economy

    33 – wave goodbye to higher taxes , not your loved ones

    34 – I never offered Brash a diplomatic job in London

    35 – Tariana Turia is “totally fine” with the Tuhoe Treaty Claim deal

    36 – Kiwisaver

    37 – National Ltd™ is not going to radically reorganise the structure of the public sector

    38 – tax cuts won’t require additional borrowing

    39 – New Zealand does not have a debt problem

    40 – New Zealand troops in Afghanistan will only be involved in training, not fighting

    41 – the wage gap between New Zealand and Australia has closed under my National Ltd™ government

    42 – It took 9 years for Labour to make a complete and utter mess of the economy

    43 – National Ltd™ has changed the Overseas Investment Act to include 19 different criteria

    44 – the price of goods and services has risen by 6 per cent since the last election, while the has actually gone up by 16 per cent

    45 – no, although its a week ago and here I am being interviewed on television about them, I havn’t seen Gerry Brownlee’s comments regarding demolitions in Christchurch and which caused such outrage, but I can talk all about them

    46 – our SAS soldiers were not involved in the Kabul Hotel gunfight

    47 – the use of the Vela brother’s helicopter was required so I could attend meetings relating to national/international security concerns

    48 – the DPS makes the decision about accompanying the Prime Minister or not, I had no choice but to take them on holiday to Hawaii

    49 – I did not mislead the House (4)

    50 – oh, maybe our SAS soldiers were in the Kabul hotel gun fight but they weren’t wounded by friendly fire

    51 – New Zealand has lost $12 billion from GDP due to the Christchurch earthquake . . . oh, it might actually be around $15 billion from GDP due to the Christchurch earthquake . . . Blinglish said what?

    52 – 10,000 houses will have to be demolished in Christchurch due to the earthquake

    53 – 14,000 new apprentices will start training over the next five years, over and above the number previously forecast

    54 – Our amendments to the ETS ensure we will continue to do our fair share internationally

    55 – we are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations

    56 – any changes to the ETS will be fiscally neutral

    57 – we [NZ] have grown for eight of the last nine quarters”

    58 – National Ltd™ will tender out the government banking contract

    59 – we will be back in surplus by 2014-15

    60 – Nicky Hager’s book “Other People’s Wars” is a work of fiction

    61 – unemployment is starting to fall

    62 – we have created 60,000 jobs

    63 – we have created 45,000 jobs

    64 – the 2011 Budget will create in the order of 170,000 jobs

    65 – I don’t know if I own a vineyard

    66 – no, I did not mislead the House (5)

    67 – the Isreali spy killed in the Christchurch quake had “only one” passport

    68 – the Police will not need to make savings by losing jobs

    69 – GCSB re Kim Dotcom x 3 (that we know about)

    70 – I did not mislead the House (6)

    71 – I voted to keep the drinking age at 20

    72 – New Zealand is 100% Pure

    73 – I’ve been prime minister for four years, and it’s really 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year

    74 – baseball in New Zealand is attracting more government support

    75 – the decision to buy brand new BMWs was made by the Department of Internal Affairs without reference either to their minister or to me

    76 – I didn’t have a clue that Ministerial Services, which I am in charge of, was going to buy brand new BMWs

    77 – even though two of my ministers knew all about it, I didn’t have a clue that brand new BMWs were being bought.

    78 – even though my Chief of Staff met with officials to discuss purchase of the the brand new BMWs, I didn’t have a clue

    79 – Labour forced us into buying the brand new BMWs, its their fault

    80 – ummm, look, sorry about that BMW thing , it was because I was so upset about the death of a New Zealand soldier and Julia Gillard was visit too

    81 – the public demanded that we change the labour laws for The Hobbit

    82 – “The Hobbit” created 3000 new jobs

    83 – we have delivered 800 extra doctors in the public service

    84 – I did not mislead the House (7)

    85 – I wasn’t working at Elders when the sham foreign exchange deals took place

    86 – I was starting School Certificate exams in 1978

    87 – I don’t know who arrived on the CIA jet to visit the spies I am responsible for

    88 – reducing barriers to property developers will increase the availability of affordable housing

    89 – Labour left the economy in poor shape

    90 – forecasts show unemployment will fall

    91 – we have closed the wage gap with Australia by $27

    92 – Ngati Porou and Whanau Apanui are not opposed to mining

    93 – I have not had any meetings with Media Works

    94 – our [NZ’s] terms of trade remain high

    95 – the TPP is an example of democracy

    96 – National Ltd™ will use the proceeds of state asset sales to invest in other public assets, like schools and hospitals

    97 – New Zealand troops will be out of Afghanistan by April 2013

    98 – overseas investment in New Zealand adds to what New Zealanders can invest on their own

    99 – overseas investment in New Zealand creates jobs, boosts incomes, and helps the economy grow

    100 – National Ltd™ will build 2000 houses over the next two years

    101 – there are only 4 New Zealand SAS soldiers in Bamiyan and all working in the area of logistics and planning only

    102 – selling state assets will give cash equity to those companies

    103 – the Sky City deal doesn’t mean more pokies

    104 – there was nothing improper about the Sky City deal

    105 – my office has had no correspondence, no discussions, no involvement with the Sky City deal

    106 – SkyCity will only get “a few more” pokie machines at the margins

    107 – any changes to gambling regulations will be subject to a full public submission process

    108 – Sky City has approached TVNZ about the purchase/use of government-owned land

    109 – the Auditor General has fully vindicated National over the Sky City deal

    110 – there’s a 50/50 chance the Hobbit is going off shore unless we do something

    111 – David Shearer has signed up for the purchase of shares in Mighty River

    112 – Solid Energy asked the government for a $1 billion capital investment

    113 – fracking has been going safely on in Taranaki for the past 30 years without any issues

    114 – no front line positions will be lost at DoC

    115 – Iain Rennie came to me and recommended Fletcher for the GCSB job

    116 – I forgot that after I scrapped the shortlist for GCSB job I phoned a life-long friend to tell him to apply for the position

    117 – I told Iain Rennie I would contact Fletcher

    118 – for 30 years, or three decades, I didn’t have any dinners or lunches or breakfasts with Ian Fletche

    119 – I did not mislead the House (8)

    120 – No, I did not say we would follow the US and Australia into a war against North Korea

    121 – I paid for that lunch and I’ve got the credit card bill to prove it

    122 – I called directory service to get Ian Fletcher’s number

    123 – I did not mislead the house (9)

    124 – I am honest and upfront

    125 – cyber terrorists have attempted to gain access to information about weapons of mass destruction held on New Zealand computers

    126 – the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom was an isolated incident

    127 – New Zealand has an arrangement to have asylum seekers processed in Australian detention camps

    128 – the law which says the GCSB cannot spy on New Zealanders is not clear

    129 – the only way net new jobs can be created is by private investors putting their money into businesses in New Zealand

    130 – an increase in the number of people looking for work indicates that confidence is returning to the economy

    131 – the 10 percent of taxpayers in New Zealand who are the top earners pay 76 percent of all net personal tax.

    132 – I did not mislead the House (10)

    133 – the substantial wage growth under Labour was eroded by inflation

    134 – National Ltd™’s 2010 tax changes were fiscally neutral

    135 I did not mislead the House (11)

    136 – the bulk of New Zealanders earn between $45,000 and $75,000 a year

    137 – Pike River Coal did not put profits and its production ahead of the safety and lives of those 29 workers.

    138 – Radio Live had sought advice from the Electoral Commission about my show just before the election

    139 – it is because of National Ltd™’s policies that the price of fresh fruit and vegetables has dropped.

    140 – the length-of-the-country cycleway will create 4000 jobs.

    141 – police training for next year has not has not been cancelled

    142 – National Ltd™ has only cut back-office jobs in the health service

    143 – The Crown’s dividend stream from the Meridians, the Mighty Rivers of the world is large and there is no motivation to sell assets

    • e-clectic says:

      But he appears “decisive” – and for the kiwi voter, decisiveness trumps integrity – always.

    • MJ says:

      So, this list doesn’t include the electioneering? The Dirty Politics saga? Judith Collins and her resignation? Nothing at all from this year?

      We need you to update this one if you’re able to, please… Because you’ve done a top job with this one. I’d hasten a guess it’s gone well over 200+ by now.

  19. Rosemary McDonald says:

    What breed of dickbrain/moron/fwit would sign a 25 year contract (with ‘con’ be the operative word) with a company with a track record like Serco’s?

    Eh? Eh? Eh?

    Thank you Frank, I think, for making this information available.

    I’m off to shed tears of rage and despair.

  20. Lisa Finlay says:

    Frank, thanks for such an insightful breakdown of The Nation today. I haven’t seen the episode yet, but will do so now!

    These politicians are so used to getting a sloppy underhanded delivery with regards to investigative journalism, that it’s a rare treat to see the ball collected and aimed at the stumps, whilst they canter across the pitch. What really gets my blood boiling is that it’s such a rarity to see the spin dismantled.

    With the shambolic/outrightly partisan performance of Carter in the house, the opposition has also consistently been denied the opportunity of bringing these issues to the chamber and having Government ministers answer the questions being asked of them.

    I am furious that the likes of Sam Lotu-Iiga has managed to be re-elected 3 times. The Labour MP Carol Beaumont who also ran against him 3 times, was an incredibly hard working, principled, motivated List MP. She was actually the person responsible for first bringing the “Loan-Shark” Bill into parliament, which was reflective of a great need in her Maungakiekie electorate. It proposed tighter regulations for these predatory organisations who preyed on the poor in areas like this. The Bill was of course rejected by National, and later claimed by Lotu-Iiga as his own initiative!

    Grrrrr, one could well ask where is the justice? As close as we will come it seems, is by identifying the moments when this Government is effectively being bought to account. Thanks to The Nation team and Lisa Owen, and thanks to you for your analysis which will hopefully encourage more people to watch The Nation, and pause to think about the issues being raised.

  21. esoteric pineapples says:

    Stuffing up the economy? Make the poor pay for it.0

  22. Wensleydale says:

    Brilliant.

    Serco pays someone to make sure Serco doesn’t engage in any unethical behaviour. That person reports to Serco, who will then presumably alert the powers that be that Serco is up to no good and should probably be sternly reprimanded and/or prosecuted.

    Rest easy New Zealand! Serco has your best interests at heart. And if you can’t trust a huge, all-consuming multi-national whose cancerous tendrils have spread into almost every facet of modern society, and who is answerable to pretty much no one other than themselves, who can you trust?

    I know I’ll sleep soundly tonight.

  23. Murray Simmonds says:

    Excellent article Frank.

    Now sit back and watch as Judith Collins works her way back into cabinet , probably initially as the “all new, born-again, shining white” replacement for the Minister of Corrections. And then on to bigger and better things (bigger and better for her, that is, but definitely not for the country).

    She might even angle for Bill’s job, but I don’t think she’ll get it.

    • richarquis says:

      I honestly doubt that Collins would ever go for MOF. She prefers a portfolio based on a moral argument (cough, cough, yes, I know) from which she can play the holier than thou card. She’s all about thumping her fist on the podium and banishing demons, rather than the more sedate number crunching. I just don’t see MOF in her personality.

    • MJ says:

      Works? I believe the word is “worms”.

      “She might even angle for Bill’s job, but I don’t think she’ll get it.”

      In more ways than one.

  24. david says:

    Lisa Owen has proven to be the top interviewer in this country with the way she is not afraid to tackle and try to make accountable these ministers. I look forward to the time when she interviews Key to expose his disingenuous answers hopefully soon.
    Good on her for showing her professionalism…..I think she may have been looking at some vintage Jeremy Paxman!

  25. Nehemia Wall says:

    This is a drum you often beat Frank, but only by misreading the data.

    Yes, NZ’s debt has risen significantly under this Govt, but much of that has relating to Chch and to buffering the economy from the recession. Without the tax cuts (which incidentally were universal) and running deficits, this country may well have had a depression the likes of which we have never seen.

    But on a wide number of other measures, the country is in very good shape.

    The current rate of inflation is less than 1% per annum, in 2008 it was around 5% (http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/key_graphs/inflation/).

    The 2015 deficit will be around $500m. The deficit left by the last Labour Govt was approaching $3bn, and was structural in nature, and was forecast to last many years into the future. (“The government’s operating balance went into structural deficit[9] in 2009 and is projected to remain in deficit until around 2015.” . http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/reviews-consultation/savingsworkinggroup/finalreport/21.htm. This was in part due to policy decision that dramatically increased spending as a % of GDP, hardly sound fiscal management.

    Current home loan interest rates are being quoted under 5%. In 2008 they peaked at almost 11% (http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/key_graphs/mortgage_rates/)

    Despite a huge reversal in the number of people leaving the country under the previous Govt, NZ now has the highest workforce participation rate in its history.

    I would suggest NZ’ers are indeed paying attention, and that is why this Govt is so popular, and all economic alternatives have been roundly rejected.

    • Nehemia Wall says:

      I forgot to mention GDP growth, which is currently just under 4%. In 2008 this Govt inherited an economy whose growth had been falling since early 2007, before the effects of the GFC.

      • Growth rates in New Zealand:

        Between 2000 and 2007, the New Zealand economy expanded by an average of 3.5% each year as private consumption and residential investment grew strongly. Annual inflation averaged 2.6%, inside the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s 1% to 3% target range, while the current account deficit averaged 5.5% of GDP.

        Source: https://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/investing-in-nz/opportunities-outlook/economic-overview

        More specific figures:

        2000: 3.6%
        2001: 3.1
        2002: 4.4
        2003: 3.5
        2004: 4.8
        2005: 2.3
        2006: 1.5
        2007: 3.1
        2008: 0.2

        http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=nz&v=66

        Real GDP growth for 2007 was 3.1%. So your assertion that “growth had been falling since early 2007, before the effects of the GFC” is bollocks.

        From Treasury’s Budget 2008 BEFU report;

        Losses of $2.7 billion are forecast in 2007/08. This is a reflection of the recent decline in overseas equity markets and increases in the ACC claims liability and GSF liability.

        Source: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/budget/forecasts/befu2008/13.htm

        The GFC started well before 2008, Nehemia/Intrinsicvalue;

        The crisis played a significant role in the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth estimated in trillions of U.S. dollars, and a downturn in economic activity leading to the 2008–2012 global recession and contributing to the European sovereign-debt crisis. The active phase of the crisis, which manifested as a liquidity crisis, can be dated from August 9, 2007, when BNP Paribas terminated withdrawals from three hedge funds citing “a complete evaporation of liquidity”.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_crisis_of_2007%E2%80%9308

        And also,

        http://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2012/aug/05/economic-crisis-myths-sustain

        Also,

        One of the major factors in the narrower-than-expected surplus was the impact of weak global stock markets on the returns of the NZ Superannuation Fund late last year.

        – NZ Herald, Feb 19, 2008http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10493214

        So your continuing attempt to deflect from Bill English’s apalling track track record of seven budget deficits, is laughable. Cullen posted nine Budget surpluses and English is heading in the opposite direction.

        And you have the cheek to try to prove otherwise?!

        You RWNJs really are in La La Land.

        • Nehemia Wall says:

          “Real GDP growth for 2007 was 3.1%. So your assertion that “growth had been falling since early 2007, before the effects of the GFC” is bollocks. ”

          It’s not an assertion. It is fact, supported by the cite I provided, an indeed by your own data.

          “Cullen posted nine Budget surpluses…”

          What was the 2009 deficit Frank?

          • Nehemia/Intrinsicvalue – Cullen was not the Finance Minister in 2009.

            • NehemiaWall says:

              [Nehemia Wall, you have ignored my directive not to keep posting. Your one week suspension is now a permanent ban. Consider this notice an official trespass notice. If you attempt to use another User-name to keep posting, we will contact you ISP and lodge a complaint. – ScarletMod]

          • Oliver Q says:

            The Finance Minister in 2009 as Bill English, so it’s hard to see what your point is. In fact, reading all your posts here, I surmise you’re not much more than a cheerleader for the Act Party. Congratulations, I’m sure you’ll rise in the ranks very quickly.

            In fact, it seems you’re either cherry picking details to suit yourself or just making up any old shit. No wonder your party is known as the “One Percent Party”.

          • Callisto says:

            Nehemia Wall; the finance minister in 2009 was Bill English not Michael Cullen. And Frank posted growth data for 2007 which you ignored in favour of your own rubbish.

            If this is the best you Nat supporters can do, you’re wasting your time and ours.

            As Frank said, Cullen posted nine surpluses. You have no answer to that, do you? He also paid off NZ Inc’s debt. Again, you are silent on that. Say what you will, but Labour governed better that the Nats. That’s a fact Jack!

    • Nehemia/Intrinsicvalue, we have been through this before, under your “Intrinsicvalue” guise. You’re repeating stuff that you’ve presented before, and it was all misrepresented nonsense then, and it’s still misrepresented nonsense.

      Example 1:

      But on a wide number of other measures, the country is in very good shape.

      Actually, it’s not. You obviously haven’t read anything I wrote above, nor taken it in. Wilfull ignorance on your part?

      Example 2:

      Your quote from Treasury;

      “The government’s operating balance went into structural deficit[9] in 2009 and is projected to remain in deficit until around 2015.”

      You’ve taken that out of context to attempt to validate your position. The full quote is actually;

      New Zealand ran fiscal surpluses for about 15 years from 1994 to 2008. These surpluses strengthened the government balance sheet allowing net debt to fall from 1993, and net worth to rise through the period. This helped counter the growing private sector domestic and external indebtedness.

      The government’s operating balance went into structural deficit[9] in 2009 and is projected to remain in deficit until around 2015.

      Note the reference to “New Zealand ran fiscal surpluses for about 15 years from 1994 to 2008”.

      Note that Treasury refers to the structural deficit beginning in 2009, well after the GFC had hit New Zealand, and after National had come to power. Two unaffordable tax cuts in 2009 and 2010 merely worsened the economic and fiscal crisis we were facing.

      Which means that your claim that;

      The deficit left by the last Labour Govt was approaching $3bn, and was structural in nature, and was forecast to last many years into the future.

      – is more rubbish on your part. It’s a lie, made up by an anonymous ACT supporter/troll who is desperate to use this forum to smear the previous government in order to deflect attention from Bill English’s abysmal performance.

      It is noteworthy you haven’t posted any evidence to prove your claim (actually, a lie) that “the deficit left by the last Labour Govt was approaching $3bn”. Like so much of your bullshit, Nehemia/Intrinsicvalue, it can be easily disproved.

      Our country had moved from an operating surplus before gains and losses of $5.6 billion in 2008 to a deficit of $18.4 billion in 2011, over 9 per cent of GDP.

      Source: Dr Jonathan Coleman, National Minister, 19 August 2014 – http://www.jonathancoleman.co.nz/index.php?/archives/466-NZ-Council-for-Infrastructure-Development-Speech.html

      That’s from a National Minister, Nehemia/Intrinsicvalue.

      Even Key admitted that Labour’s fiscal management was superior, in July 2012,

      “The level of public debt in New Zealand was $8 billion when National came into office in 2008. It’s now $53 billion, and it’s forecast to rise to $72 billion in 2016….”

      Source: https://www.national.org.nz/plan/plan

      Example 3:

      This was in part due to policy decision that dramatically increased spending as a % of GDP, hardly sound fiscal management.

      Much of that increased spending went on health, education, justice, defence, housing, etc – all areas that National had cut in budgetting during the 1990s. And which is why Shipley’s government was thrown out in late 1999. For the time, it was sound fiscal management – especially as Cullen simultaneously posted nine budget surpluses; set up the NZ Super Fund; saved Air New Zealand and Kiwirail from bankruptcy – and the economy was so strong that unemployment dipped to around 4.3%.

      Compare Cullen’s track record with English’s and tell us who was the better Finance Minister? First of all, compare nine surpluses with seven deficits.

      And take it from there.

      Current home loan interest rates are being quoted under 5%. In 2008 they peaked at almost 11%

      – due, again, to the Global Financial Crisis and Recession which have resulted in central banks throughout the world holding their OCRs at extremely low levels. In Europe, interest rates are even lower than ours. Would you say Europe is in better financial state than us?

      The US has a lower OCR. Again due to their economy being weaker than ours.

      And before you get too cocky, we’re lucky to have had a stronger economy based on Australia and China – both of which escaped much of the GFC/Recession;

      Recovery has been led by exports, with strong demand from our major trading partners Australia and China, who have been less affected by the crisis.

      https://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/investing-in-nz/opportunities-outlook/economic-overview

      • TE says:

        Thanks for that Frank,
        People like NW remind me of the current MSM and their National masters spraying shit talk every where, hoping some will stick and fester and grow into truth on the hosts ie simpletons.
        People seem to have less time to check out what they believe to be right these days and just think well that was an in depth sound piece of writing so how could it wrong? they then take it on board and even quote this festering shit as their daily mantra. By the time it gets to some one 4th hand it becomes cold hard facts in the simple minds of people like NW
        Thanks for your writings we enjoy them very much

      • Nehemia Wall says:

        [Enough. I have warned you before about spamming with multiple postings. Enjoy one week vacation from this forum. If you attempt to post again within that period, I will make it permanent. – ScarletMod]

      • ThinkAboutIt says:

        Excellent summation unfortunately flaw exits in your comment that NZ is asleep as to the fiscal incompetence of the National government. The truth is that most find fiscal matters as interesting as watching the grass grow and have more immediate / enough hard issues to manage in every day life.
        Therefore it is the role of the opposition to ensure that REAL fiscal issues are articulated clearly so as to break this ennui. Labour have and continue to fail to fulfil this role. To be quite honestly they come across as a tepid version of the Nats.
        If I may be so bold to also add that one piece of misinformation continually peddled by National and its supporters is the role that the GFC has played in NZ economics. The truth is that other than a short term blip the GFC had little impact on NZ which was protected on the Financial front by APRA and the trade front by the boom in China trade.

      • MJ says:

        K.O. Frank.

        “Note that Treasury refers to the structural deficit beginning in 2009, well after the GFC had hit New Zealand, and after National had come to power. Two unaffordable tax cuts in 2009 and 2010 merely worsened the economic and fiscal crisis we were facing”

        And were absolutely stupid.

  26. brian says:

    Hi Frank. I think the relevant piece of this article needs translating into the many languages that populate Onehunga and distributed in the electorate under the heading,’ Did You Vote for This’
    cheers

    • Thanks, Brian.

      It’s unfortunate that “The Nation” isn’t broadcast in a prime time slot.

      If more New Zealanders had watched last week’s episode, a fair number of them might reconsider the hoary myth that National is a “sound , prudent fiscal manager”.

  27. XRAY says:

    Nationals handling of our economy should be a huge cause for concern alright!

    I worry that English is convinced they will make a “surplus” sometime next year ONLY because they are busily shifting the goal posts, changing the parameters as to how things are measured, deferring debt, in other words cooking the books. They were accused of doing this very thing by hiding or deferring debt in Christchurch’s rebuild prior to the election, about the time we had that mirage of a “Surplus” .

    It’s already happened with Nationals botched aim of lifting exports to 40% of GDP by 2025. When, by all normal measures, it was failing and going backwards they simply took the value factor out of the equation and showed that exports were lifting and thats the stat they publicised. The only problem was they were lower value exports, so we are getting low value growth from exports. They have since had to comply with world accounting standards in this department and the predictions are exports will be even lower than when National started.

    So the shell game continues with English and National. How long until we are found out?

  28. Mike in Auckland says:

    So Bill English cannot “balance” the budget, talks about weight loss programs to explain the government’s financial and economic supposed “successes” and seems to knows full well where to get more “missing” money from.

    Firstly the IRD is set to chase more people for due tax, but also the poorest of the poor are again asked to fill the gap. Now WINZ has stopped paying emergency dental treatment advances, and expects people to look for root filling costing no more than 300 dollars per annum.

    There is another idea for illegal backyard operators, I suppose. While some middle class folk travel to Thailand or the Philippines for “cheap” treatment, few if any WINZ clients will be able to travel at all.

    Here is the news item from Radio NZ National, about the most hideous way that the MSD, WINZ and the government “save costs” now, hitting the poorest and the sick again:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/272803/shrinking-winz-dental-loans

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/201753044/advocate-warns-beneficiaries-could-be-going-to-loan-sharks

    • Nehemia Wall says:

      “So Bill English cannot “balance” the budget, ”

      Actually he can, and he will. And before the Treasury forecast when this Govt took office. Remember the ‘decade of deficits’? Remember this…http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10536181

      • Your selectivity and dishonest representation of what people have said is disappointing, Nehemia/Intrinsicval.ue – but what we’ve come to expect from you. The full context of what Brian Fallow actually wrote;

        After 14 years of surpluses, we now face nine years of deficits.

        After a sustained reduction in public debt – under Governments of both stripes – it is now set to rise relentlessly over the next 10 years, well before the worst of the fiscal pressure from retiring baby-boomers hits.

        Michael Cullen is right to point out that even after the forecast deterioration, which he suggested no finance minister should be comfortable with, New Zealand’s Government accounts would still look good by international standards.

        Your faith that Bill English can balance the books at a time when he is promising tax cuts in 2017 is misplaced.

      • Bee says:

        Mr Wall, it’s fairly hard to balance a budget when you’re borrowing hand over fist to pay for the groceries. Ah well, all good i guess. LOL!

      • Mike the Lefty says:

        Well, just yesterday in parliament he admitted that there was likely to be a budget deficit for the next two years, so he can’t and won’t. Where do you get your information from???

      • Callisto says:

        NehemiaWall; your admiration for English and Key is misplaced and reading your comments, you are a joke. I’ve picked up at least TWO distortions of fact from you so god knows what other rubbish you’re writing.

  29. Jim says:

    When any intelligent man uses the word “Allied” to discuss the war – they should keep in mind it is actually two words – All Lied. Or All Lies. And that none of these words we use are by accident. Never.


 
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