National spins new “fake news” narrative: there is no health crisis




National is under attack. It’s reputation as a “prudent fiscal manager” is threatened by a growing realisation that it has achieved government surpluses at the expense of under-funded DHBs, decaying infrastructure, poorly resourced mental healthcare, budget cuts to DoC, frozen funding for Radio New Zealand, cuts to early childhood education and schools, etc.

After nine years of frozen budgets (a cut, once inflation, population growth, and other pressures are factored in), New Zealanders have been made to understand the painful realities of austerity-National-style;



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It is against a backdrop of  startling revelations that hospital buildings are rotting from within and threatened with sewage leaking through walls, that National’s credibility has been challenged.

The new narrative is that National’s so-called “successful fiscal stewardship” has been achieved by deferring vitally-needed spending on critical infrastructure and basic social services.

In essence, after nine years in government, National is being held to account.

But National is beginning to push-back on the new narrative.

This became apparent on 29 April, on TVNZ Q+A’s Twitter account when several ‘tweets’ by obvious-National tribalists (and one disaffected ex-Labour member) all featured a similar theme.  The recurring use of the terms “false story” appeared several times along with the short-hand cliche, “fake news”;










All of which could be dismissed as the self-induced, delusional denials of individuals who identify a little too closely with the National Party – except it does not end with a handful of misguided National Party members.

On the same day Q+A was broadcast, and whilst National’s faithful Keyboard-warriors were engaging in “fake news” denials all over social media, NewstalkZB posted this on their Twitter account;



NewstalkZB’s website carried this story that the above ‘tweet’ referred to;



On  TV3/Newshub, Woodhouse was reported as saying;

[Michael Woodhouse] said the Government has racked up a “woeful litany” of broken promises in just six months, including “the manufactured Middlemore crisis, raising massive expectations for nurse pay increases he won’t now meet, the debacle of the air ambulance tender, inertia and an unnecessary inquiry in mental health”.

Woodhouses’ statements were taken from a National Party Press Release, dated 29 April, where he alleged;

“The Prime Minister recently stated the issues at Middlemore Hospital are emblematic. I agree – emblematic of a Government that has manufactured a crisis that doesn’t exist in order to mask its broken promises.

The Minister’s record now includes the manufactured Middlemore crisis, raising massive expectations for nurse pay increases he won’t now meet, the debacle of the air ambulance tender, inertia and an unnecessary inquiry in Mental Health and now a billion dollar broken promise. This is a woeful litany after just six months in office.”

Woodhouse has a singular gift for misrepresenting facts and ‘bending the truth’ when it suits him.

On 12 February 2018 on Radio NZ, National’s Housing spokesperson – Michael Woodhouse – responded to New Zealand’s housing crisis – by denying it!

He stated categorically;

“They acknowledge that social housing includes housing provided by NGOs [non governmental organisations] but then ignore that when they conclude that the number of state housing properties have gone down. Clearly that hasn’t happened, they’ve gone up.”

His assertion “that the number of state housing properties have … gone up” was a bare-faced lie.

After nine years in office, National had disposed of some six thousand state houses. As this blogger reported in February this year;

In the 2008/09 Annual Report, Housing NZ stated that it “manages a portfolio of more than 69,000 houses” (p4).

Nine years later, Housing NZ’s 2016/17 Annual Report revealed “we own or manage approximately 63,000 homes”. (p7)

Either Mr Woodhouse’s or my arithmetic is way out, because that is a 6,000 drop in State housing.

National’s track record after nine years in government is so bad that that cannot rely on the truth to validate themselves.   Instead, they must resort to lies.

National’s MPs and their tribalist supporters have nothing to be proud of.





Fairfax media: Is National really better than Labour with the Government books? Well, not really

Radio NZ: Doctors blame under-funding for DHB blowouts

Mediaworks: Sickening state of Auckland hospital buildings revealed

Radio NZ: DoC funding cut by $40m – independent expert

Mediaworks: What’s behind New Zealand’s mental health funding crisis?

NZ Herald: Govt has cut millions off early childhood education – Study

Manawatu Standard: Struggling schools cut teacher aide hours to keep up with minimum wage increase

NZ Herald: John Drinnan – Radio NZ survives the big freeze

Fairfax media: Funding in Auckland health sector not keeping up with population growth, politicians told

Radio NZ: Sewage leaking into Middlemore building’s walls

Fairfax media: Over 5000 at risk of going blind waiting for treatment, Ministry of Health says

Twitter: TVNZ Q+A

Twitter: NewstalkZB – Michael Woodhouse – 29 April 2018

NewstalkZB:  Government manufacturing a health-sector crisis – Michael Woodhouse

Mediaworks: GP visits might not get cheaper soon after all

Scoop media: Clark confirms broken promise on GP fees

Radio NZ: Housing report paints ‘sobering picture’ of crisis

Housing NZ: Annual Report 2008/09

Housing NZ: Annual Report 2016/17

Related Other Blogs

The Standard: Micky Savage – National’s fiscal ineptitude over Auckland transport

The Daily Blog: Martyn Bradbury -New Zealand’s new Alt-Right Twitter Trolls – Dirty Politics 2018

Previous related blogposts

National’s housing spokesperson Michael Woodhouse – delusional or outright fibber?

“Fool me once”

The many mendacities of Mr Bridges – a few volts short of an EV

The Mendacities of Mr English – No, I wasn’t told – Yes, I was told

National’s housing spokesperson Michael Woodhouse – delusional or outright fibber?

Newsflash: apparently our public hospital system is in crisis?!






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  1. Yes Frank,

    National will always resort to ‘the do aluminum” or ‘nothing to see here’ analogy just to get away without doing anything at all.

    Just look at our rotting infrastructure that they have caused by doing “deferred maintenance” on all we have seen fail everywhere now.

    For instance the rail network national carried out a savage attack on culling that rail track infrastructure maintenance funds, and sent that funding to Auckland for passenger rail; – to back up a foreign French company who took the service over from Kiwirail after National won the 2008 election.

    The loss of funding for the track maintenance caused the Gisborne rail damage in a rainstorm in 2012, as Phil Twyford stated here;

    National said; We were good at handling the economy??


  2. This lie won’t work – out in the real world too many of us know or know of people who live in relentless ongoing pain because their GP’s referrals get sent back to them by their hospitals’ customer service reps.

    These once-were-patients don’t fit the bean counters’ criteria, or the algorithms keep changing. Or perhaps the DHB’s Sisyphean focus is on balancing the books, and customers tend to get in the way of this.

    Learnt this weekend of two more younger men’s suicides – men contributing positively to society, but for whom the mental health help was simply not there. Gone, and families left broken.

    These are the stories that make me hope there is a god who will call to account the ministers/monsters whose decision making has seemed more based on Nazi-type eugenics than any Hippocratic Oath – or even plain human decency.

  3. Nationals austerity measures was like putting a knife into our Maori, Pacific and poor Pakeha people. I would like to know how many people died and suffered unnecessary because of the health budget cuts the last government implemented. We had 9 years of an arrogant, ignorant, hypocritical, self serving government that propped up the rich and kicked the poor and middle income earners literally in the guts so they could achieve this so called surplus. The huge costs many paying with their lives and many of our most vulnerable people being denied proper health services or help when they needed it the most. We cannot bring these people back but we have an obligation to ensure this never happens again.

    • Michelle sweetie, some of the dead are probably better off than some of the still living.

      I could sit in our local mall and list people who live in pain, get around with walkers, clutch their bellies, lower themselves painfully inch by inch just to sit down, whose GP’s can’t alleviate their pain and whose hospitals won’t or cannot help.

      I know some of their life stories – one or two Eastern Europe refugees – folk I like knowing because they are part of history – Hungarian Revolution 1956 – getting to the end of their lives, and it is utterly disgraceful, that when they are old and weak and fragile, and when they should be treated as people who matter, they are not.

      When pious politicians sing-song against End-of-life Choice saying New Zealand is populated by greedy people who will pressure these dear old souls to sign-off, then I suggest that it is likely transference, and it is
      what the pollies themselves would like to do, because if they cared even a little for the quality of life of vulnerable people, then they would not, as you say, kick them in the guts – except that there are big bucks to be made in the care industry, and we are all economic units nowadays are we not ?

  4. I give it 48 hours before the first one of those anonymous trolls make an appearance here, bagging you, Frank.

    They don’t like it up’em, cap’n!!!

  5. Michael Woodhouse better be careful. Key won’t like his Crown of Lies nicked by a rank amateur!!

    • No Mjolnir, Key normalised lying, and he may be proud of how very well his acolytes are perpetuating his craft.

      Here’s hoping that they don’t develop memory lapses and brain fades as well and have to figure out if they’re coming or going or merely running around in ever-diminishing circles.

  6. National Horror

    The Directness of our young Prime Minister is such a contrast to the slick bull shit of the Main Stream Media.

    There is something deeply creepy and slutty about the Herald’s (and RNZ) female line up. They dine on John Key’s fetishes and flights of fancy and Billy English’s lies. The so called Upper Crust. The Wealthy.

    Knowing they do not have one blade of Jacinda’s charisma, they then choose to castrate the her partner.

    As I say, they dine on their own filth – the Main stream Media. Nasty females. Sucking up behind Corin and Soper. While Mr and Mrs Kiwi suffer all manner of humiliations.

    While the media ignore the 60% of New Zealanders who are struggling without a house – and under exorbitant rents, they offer not a word of encouragement. Grim reapers.

    We are witnessing the devolvement and demolition of the national party and their sick followers – who til now have relied on the Media to cover their horrible destruction of once fine Aotearoa.

    it will take more than a stuttering Simon Bridges to save the corpse of machiavelian national.

    Good riddance

  7. Never admit guilt. Deny deny deny lie lie lie…and get away with it, unless the truth will out in some incontrovertible proof, as recently happened to Amber Rudd.

  8. National’s track record after nine years in government is so bad that that cannot rely on the truth to validate themselves. Instead, they must resort to lies.

    National and the right have to lie to get into power for, as John Banks put it 9Paraphrased), if they told the truth no one would vote for them.

  9. With the smear campaign against Clarke Gayford, the Right do indeed seem to be ramping up their Dirty Politics tactics. I guess it weas inevitable really.

    On the other hand, it’s indicative how threatening National and it’s alt-right allies find the current government. Could it be that the Ardern government is more left-wing than we’ve been led to believe? That the Right understand this and are fighting back as viciously as they can?

    The super over-payment smear against Peters was only the beginning.

    This will get much worse before the next election.

  10. No, not Paula’s cousin Michelle – seems to me she didn’t help anyone on benefits when gave the personal details of her critics to the media either.

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