Foot in mouth award – Bill English, for his recent “Flat Earth” comment in Parliament

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idiot bill english

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I won’t be wanting to see any hint of arrogance creeping in… One of the big messages I’ll be wanting to give incoming ministers and the caucus is that it is incredibly important that National stays connected with our supporters and connected with the New Zealand public.John Key, 22 September 2014

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It appears that Finance Minister, Bill English did not get the memo from Dear Leader Key’s office:  “Dont get arrogant!”

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On 29 June, near two years after Key’s warning, Bill English’s cockiness has landed him in deep, fetid water when he responded to a question from Labour’s Grant Robertson in Parliament;

Grant Robertson: “Does he agree with the statement of Pope Francis I that “Inequality is the root of social evil”,  given that inequality has risen in New Zealand on his watch, and is it not time he got back to confession?”

Hon Bill English: “ There is no evidence that inequality in New Zealand is increasing.

A day later, interviewed by an exasperated Guyon Espiner, English again denied that inequality was increasing in this country. English’s tortuous mental and verbal gymnastics to deny rising inequality was utterly unconvincing and judging by the tone of his own voice, he wasn’t convincing himself either;

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Porirua family can only afford biscuits - bill english - radio nz - inequality - poverty

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English’s assertion that inequality in New Zealand is not rising beggars belief, when nearly every metric used has come precisely to that conclusion.

From the Salvation Army, last year;

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income inequality - salvation army - child poverty

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The Children’s Commissioner reported on increasing child-poverty, rising by  45,000 over a year ago to now 305,000  children now live in poverty;

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A third of NZ children live in poverty - childrens commissioner

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Statistics NZ’s report on the problem was unequivocal – “Between 1988 and 2014, income inequality between households with high incomes and those with low incomes widened“;

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income inequality - statistics nz - poverty

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1988 – When Rogernomics began in earnest. What a surprise.

Interestingly,  income inequality fell slightly in 2004, when Working for Families was introduced by the Clark-led Labour Government. Working For Families was the same policy derided by then-Opposition Finance spokesperson, John Key, as “communism by stealth“.

From the last bastion of “radical marxism”, the OECD, came this damning report on rising inequality in New Zealand impacting on our economic growth;

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income inequality - oecd nz - poverty

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The Report stated that “rising inequality is estimated to have knocked more than 10 percentage points off [economic] growth in Mexico and New Zealand“.

And even our Dear Leader once admitted that New Zealand’s “underclasses” was growing;

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key admits underclass still growing - poverty - foodbanks - homelessness

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So, is everybody – including Bill English’s boss – wrong?!

Is Bill English the sole voice-in-the-wilderness trying to spread The Truth, whilst everybody else – including faraway OECD – is wrong?!

Or has he run foul of Dear Leader’s prescient warnings not to become arrogant?

Enjoining the poor to ignore hunger and simply “Let them eat cake” did not work out well for a certain person 223 years ago. Bill English may not lose his head over his obstinate refusal to see the world around him – but he may lose the election next year.

So for Bill English, on behalf of those who are low-paid; homeless; unable to afford to buy a home; unemployed; poor; and will be spending tonight in a car or an alleyway, I nominate Bill English for a Foot In The Mouth Award;

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Foot In Mouth Award

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References

NZ Herald: Election 2014 – Triumphant PM’s strict line with MPs – Don’t get arrogant

Parliament Today: Questions & Answers – June 29

Radio NZ: Porirua family can only afford biscuits (audio)

Fairfax Media: Child poverty progress ‘fails’, Salvation Army says

Radio NZ: A third of NZ children live in poverty

Statistics NZ: Income inequality

MSD: Future Directions – Working for Families

NZ Herald: National accuses Government of communism by stealth

OECD: Trends in Income Inequality and its impact on economic growth

NZ Herald: Key admits underclass still growing

Newstalk ZB: Demand for food banks, emergency housing much higher than before recession

Previous related blogposts

When National is under attack – Deflect, deflect, deflect!

State house sell-off in Tauranga unravelling?

The Mendacities of Mr English – Fibbing from Finance Minister confirmed

Why is Paula Bennett media-shy all of a sudden?

Park-up in Wellington – People speaking against the scourge of homelessness

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national's free market solution to housing

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= fs =

16 COMMENTS

    • Third it !

      This was brilliantly said.

      “English’s tortuous mental and verbal gymnastics to deny rising inequality was utterly unconvincing and judging by the tone of his own voice, he wasn’t convincing himself either”

      Confession’s time English!!!!!!

  1. It better be an elephant’s foot in the mouth award, as I cannot think of any better more fitting foot, since dinosaurs have become extinct.

  2. If John Key has told his ministers not to get arrogant, then he certainly doesn’t practice what he preaches.

  3. I have been watching reruns of the various Star Trek sagas and interestingly enough New Zealand of the future is a (fictional) world penal colony.
    The Star Trek writers got it spot on: there are a large number of potential inmates under the banner of the present National government that deserve to be in the slammer with their systematic rape and pillage of what used to be our decent New Zealand society.
    It will save the cost of transporting them elsewhere.

  4. Nothing surprising here, except the bizarre and continuing popularity of the Nats. I suspect that there is something deeply tribal about us in NZ – many of us still hanker after a tribal chief, a ‘strong’ leader (and Key has managed to project that image. The current government stands or falls on his popularity). Within certain limits it does not seem to matter what their politics are or how their integrity stacks up. I’m sure a heap of Kiwis would vote for Ritchie McCaw if he stood for parliament, no matter what he stood for, simply because he’s a big guy with a nice reassuring smile and a good sporting record. If I’m right, this is really pathetic behaviour when we live in a complex and post-tribal world with serious issues to deal with.

  5. They don’t care any more – so I’m a liar, so what?

    Lying isn’t a turn off to the voter – it used to be but now we seem to accept it.

    transNational have latched onto the word “pragmatic” and people seem to buy that.

    • Pragmatic = lying and vice versa?

      Well, I guess NZers have got the government they deserve. When the rioting begins, I, for one, will be only too happy to remind National voters what they voted for.

  6. The mans clearly an idiot. Worse than that hes a globalist subversive in our midst.

    Any mention of the Double Dipper from Dipton should always recall just how he got that name. Particularly in the midst of this housing crisis that he , and his subversive globalist govt have created.

    The man has not changed his vicious neo liberal lunacy and plundering of the commons wealth since hes been in parliament.

    Recall those two famous statements by the Double Dipper of Dipton :

    1) ” We should be glad we have a LOW WAGE ECONOMY as that encourages FOREIGN INVESTMENT.”

    So essentially hes saying screw low and middle income earners and screw the homeless.

    Fine Catholic he is.

    2) ” The concept of the sovereign state is going to become more and more irrelevant in the future”.

    Well ,…. its good to know the man doesn’t believe in a nations sovereignty , isn’t it ? … along with screwing the hell out of any populace in his now defunct version of democracy’s.

    He fits in well with the neo liberal do – nothing and sit – on – his – fat – arse -and – draw- a – govt – salary which we, – the taxpayers ,- elected him as to serve the people of this country for this nations peoples best interests.

    The last time he was thrown out of office as the weak , useless ,and ineffectual PM that he was should have raised alarm bells when he became part of Keys govt – yet now hes Finance Minister.

    And equally as arrogant ( yet not in such an obvious and westy thug manner as Paula Bennett ) as Bennett.

    I think its high time the Double Dipper from Dipton should once again be booed and told to piss off as he walks for his last time down parliament steps when National loses in 2017.

    And Paula Bennett should also be accompanying him down those steps and being hissed and booed as well.

    In fact ,… that treatment should be shared among many top National party thugs ,… the modern version being that of tarring and feathering and the running out of town of anti social / anti democratic undesirables.

    Then there would be justice served.

  7. NATIONAL and their brighter future promise based on the neo liberal economy and National party/Crosby Textor approach has crept un challenged into every facet of our country and FAILED miserably.
    Unless a movement headed by a strong leader that can CONNECT and promote progressive polices and point out and ATTACK the FAILURES of this current cabal and can bring real hope and mobilise people into action without violence and really shake up the entrenched staus quo we might just have a chance to make the 2017 election a watershed one rather than a foregone conclusion that seems to be decided already by the usual suspects just like the last 3 elections and becomes the expected result
    Is there a Lange or a Kirk or a Michael Joesph Savage or a Bernie Sanders out there ready too lead a modern revolution and take our country back for all of us and not just a few.

  8. I can understand how Bill English ignored John Key’s advice not to be arrogant, given how arrogant Key is.

  9. I think it’s interesting that looking at the graph Frank provided, it’s clear that the Clark government did bugger all to reserve the damage of Rogernomics. “Working for Famlies” was and is a policy (and policy title) worthy of Frank Underwood (the ruthless sociopath Democrat President in the USA adaption of ‘House of Cards’). It fudges the inequality figures, while doing nothing to help the most vulnerable families, those left without work by across-the-board job cuts and casualization. We must demand a more substantial improvement for workers and our families, especially housing and food security, from a proposed Labour/Green government (assuming it is still possible to make this kind of change through parliament means…)

  10. Let them eat… oh, wait, didn’t someone say that a few hundred years ago? How did that turn out for Ms Antoinette, anyway?

Comments are closed.