Judith Collins wins a Hypocrisy Award

By   /   June 12, 2018  /   21 Comments

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Playing politics with social issues is nothing new. National has perfected the art with it’s “tough on crime” rhetoric. It has also demonised solo-mothers; the unemployed; young people, and Housing NZ tenants with it’s meth-testing/contamination moral-panic.

Now National has added housing to it’s list.

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On 8 June, Coalition government minister, Phil Twyford announced the formation of a new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. In a media statement, Minister Twyford said;

Addressing the national housing crisis is one of the biggest challenges our Government faces. The new Ministry will provide the focus and capability in the public service to deliver our reform agenda,” Phil Twyford said.

Too many New Zealanders are hurting because of their housing situation. Many are locked out of the Kiwi dream of home ownership. Others are homeless or suffering the health effects of poor-quality housing.

The new Ministry will be the Government’s lead advisor on housing and urban development. It will provide across-the-board advice on housing issues, including responding to homelessness, ensuring affordable, warm, safe and dry rental housing in the private and public market, and the appropriate support for first home buyers.

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The Ministry will be set up by moving functions across from existing agencies, and look at utilising funding from their existing operational budgets.”

The new Ministry would have a small budget of $8 million and employ around two hundred people from existing agencies;

  • From the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment: the housing and urban policy functions, the KiwiBuild Unit and the Community
  • Housing Regulatory Authority.
  • From the Ministry of Social Development: policy for emergency, transitional and public housing.
  • From the Treasury: monitoring of Housing New Zealand (HNZ) and Tāmaki Redevelopment Company

Unfortunately, it does not appear that the new Ministry will be a re-creation of the former Ministry of Works and Development. The now-defunct MoWD was a hands-on government body that actually built much of the infrastructure that New Zealanders now take for granted, and which small government neo-liberalists conveniently ignore.

Amongst it’s many projects were;

– Waitaki Dam (Completed 1935)
– Roxburgh Dam
– Tekapo A (Completed 1951)
– Benmore Power Station (1965)
– Aviemore Dam (1968)
– Tekapo B
– Ohau A, B and C.
– Lake Ruataniwha
– Clyde Dam (Completed 1989)
– Tongariro Power Scheme (Completed between 1964 and 1983)
– Raurimu Spiral (1898)
– North Island Main Trunk Railway (Completed 1908)
– Otira Tunnel (Completed 1923)
– East Coast Main Trunk Railway (Completed 1928)
– Westfield deviation (Completed 1929)
– Auckland railway station (1930)
– Stratford–Okahukura Line (Completed 1932)
– Tawa Flat deviation (Completed 1935)
– Kaimai Railway Tunnel (Completed 1978)

By contrast, free enterprise – often touted as more efficient that state-owned enterprises – finds it difficult to build water-tight houses; keep up with housing demand; or even build a hotel.

The Ministry of Works and Development was split up into a consultancy group  (Works Consultancy Services) and civil construction (Works Civil Construction) and  privatised in November 1996 by the National government at the time.

National – which denied the existence of a housing crisis until it was forced to earlier this year – responded to Minister Twyford’s announcement with a jaw-dropping, eyebrow-raising statement of  naked hypocrisy.

National’s Housing and Urban Development spokeswoman and unofficial Chinese dairy liaison,  Judith Collins, lambasted the new Ministry as “really it’s a bit of a dud“. Ms Collins added;

“We’ve got a minister who’s desperate to look like he’s doing something. A new logo, and a new ministry is not going to build one more new house.”

Which is ironic, to say the least.

In July 2012, the then-National government  merged  the Department of Building and Housing, the Department of Labour, the Ministry of Economic Development, and the Ministry of Science and Innovation into one super-ministry – Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MoBIE).

According to Budget 2013, the cost of Establishment of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment was $119,993,000 – or $111,993,000 more than Minister Twyford’s $8 million Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

When it comes to establishing new Ministeries, National goes for the deluxe, no-expense spared model.

This included a few optional extras;

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Despite throwing  $119,993,000 of taxpayers’ money at the new “super ministry”, a December 2014 report by the State Services Commission was damning of it’s inefficiencies and poor performance.  Jamie Tahana from Radio NZ summed up the report;

But quietly published on the State Services Commission website last Tuesday, was a 65-page report completed in February that said the ministry had significant and external problems.

Out of 32 areas of review, the report highlighted 22 that needed development, and five that were weak.

Only five areas were considered well placed for future performance, and none achieved the top rating of strong.

MBIE rated weak on leadership and governance; workforce development; improving efficiency and effectiveness, and financial and risk management.

Aspects that needed development ranged from leading economic growth – the core reason MBIE was established – to engagement with ministers.

This was the same MoBie that – according to the SSC report – was tasked with;

… tackling housing affordability and social housing reform, including through the Housing Accords and special Housing Areas, particularly in Auckland.

Even while the National government at the time stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the gravity of the housing housing confronting the country, the SSC report was matter-of-factly pointing it out to anyone who cared to read the document;

It is estimated that 20,000 to 23,000 new houses are required across the country over the next five years to keep pace with demographic changes. The current level of new housing construction is 17,000 per year.

As far back as 2014, the State Services Commission was ringing alarm bells.

Unsurprisingly, it pointed out  that “the housing and construction sector is the lowest productivity sector in New Zealand, while also being a major determinant of growth in the economy”.

$119,993,000 spent on a new super-ministry that was failing to meet the challenges of a shortage of housing – and Judith Collins has the colossal cheek to complain of an eight million dollar investment in a new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development?

Playing politics with social issues is nothing new. National has perfected the art with it’s “tough on crime” rhetoric. It has also demonised solo-mothers; the unemployed; young people, and Housing NZ tenants with it’s meth-testing/contamination moral-panic.

Now National has added housing to it’s list.

It is clear that Ms Collins’ fear is not that the new Ministry will fail. She is frightened it will succeed.

Playing politics with poverty-stricken homeless families and middle class young New Zealanders unable to afford their own homes is gutter-level politics. It reminds us yet again of the depths to which some politicians will go to claw victory as the expense of others.

For outstanding hypocrisy in criticising an eight million dollar new Ministry devoted to solving our housing crisis, whilst National did only the absolute minimum for nine years, including squandering $119,993,000 on a super-ministry that hoovered up cash even as Kiwi families lived and slept in cars, Ms Judith Collins is awarded the Paula Bennett Certificate of Hypocrisy.

Enjoy.

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References

Radio NZ: Stand-alone ministry will help fix housing crisis – Twyford

Beehive: New Housing and Urban Development Ministry

Wikipedia: Ministry of Works and Development

Fairfax media: Housing ministry to advise on house prices and homelessness will be ‘frugal’

Wikipedia: Ministry of Works and Development – Major projects

NZ Herald: Repaired leaky homes worth 1/4 less

Newsroom: Why Auckland can’t build enough houses

Treasury: Income from State Asset Sales as at May 2014

Radio NZ: New National leader says there is a housing crisis in NZ

NZ Herald: National gets $50k donation from Oravida founder

NZ Herald: New Ministry of Housing and Urban Development a ‘dud’, says National

Beehive: MBIE to proceed from 1 July

Treasury NZ: Budget 2013 (p78)

Fairfax media: MBIE admits stone sign cost $24,000 more than it originally claimed

Fairfax media: Ministry spends $140,000 on screen, installs hair straightener

State Services Commission: Review of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)

Radio NZ: Super-ministry problems ‘inevitable’

NZ Herald: National, Act to get tough on violent crime

Fairfax media: Bill English describes some Kiwis looking for work as ‘pretty damned hopeless’

Additional

TVNZ: Opinion – Government’s handling of housing crisis lurches from chaotic to shambolic

Werewolf: The Myth of Steven Joyce

Other Blogposts

The Standard: Key finally admits there is a housing crisis but says it is all Labour’s fault

Previous related blogposts

National recycles Housing Policy and produces good manure!

Our growing housing problem

National Housing propaganda – McGehan Close Revisited

Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Tahi)

Another ‘Claytons’ Solution to our Housing Problem? When will NZers ever learn?

Government Minister sees history repeat – responsible for death

Housing Minister Paula Bennett continues National’s spin on rundown State Houses

National’s blatant lies on Housing NZ dividends – The truth uncovered!

The “free” market can’t even build a bloody hotel?!

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

The Mendacities of Ms Amy Adams – 2,000 more state houses?!

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= fs =

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21 Comments

  1. Mjolnir says:

    If ever there was an incompetant party when it comes to social problems, it has to be National. It’s ironic that the Nats cut back on social spending and then have to pay billions on prisons, motels, extra healthcare, etc. Actually, it’s not the Nats that have to pay for it , it’s us the taxpaying voter.

  2. […] neoliberal revolution 34 years ago transformed our Public Service from doers and builders (like Ministry of Works) into mangers of services and the focus is to allow industry to do whatever it likes with a […]

  3. cleangreen says:

    What a splendid Government we had then under the Ministry of Works.(MOW)

    What an awesome set of examples you posted here Frank, 100% article as usual.

    I should know about those ‘projects’ – as a 21yr old just completed a “National service” army stint I was now as a new Tradesman Electrician I was accepted to go to help build the Tongariro Power scheme in 1966 as a ‘Ministry of Works’ (MOW) employee.

    What a very excellent job and most ellevating of my character very strongly as time went on.

    Always we saw real efforts beginning to make NZ a stronger place to be as the bulding of roads and power scheme dams were built to make this one of the biggest power schemes in our history was being built.

    The roads were much better constructed under (MOW) engineering than they are now as we all see them falling to bits only weeks after being reopaired nowdays so we have really lost our way since those wonderful years of building our country.

    Labour needs to go back to being the principal engineering contractor of this country and not leave it to ‘coyboy’ contractors like ‘Downers’ who took over our rural roads from our council and now ur rural roads are falling apart and dangerous to drive on now.

    Frank says;

    “Unfortunately, it does not appear that the new Ministry will be a re-creation of the former Ministry of Works and Development. The now-defunct MoWD was a hands-on government body that actually built much of the infrastructure that New Zealanders now take for granted, and which small government neo-liberalists conveniently ignore.

    Amongst it’s many projects were;

    – Waitaki Dam (Completed 1935)
    – Roxburgh Dam
    – Tekapo A (Completed 1951)
    – Benmore Power Station (1965)
    – Aviemore Dam (1968)
    – Tekapo B
    – Ohau A, B and C.
    – Lake Ruataniwha
    – Clyde Dam (Completed 1989)
    – Tongariro Power Scheme (Completed between 1964 and 1983)
    – Raurimu Spiral (1898)
    – North Island Main Trunk Railway (Completed 1908)
    – Otira Tunnel (Completed 1923)
    – East Coast Main Trunk Railway (Completed 1928)
    – Westfield deviation (Completed 1929)
    – Auckland railway station (1930)
    – Stratford–Okahukura Line (Completed 1932)
    – Tawa Flat deviation (Completed 1935)
    – Kaimai Railway Tunnel (Completed 1978)

    By contrast, free enterprise – often touted as more efficient that state-owned enterprises – finds it difficult to build water-tight houses; keep up with housing demand; or even build a hotel.

    The Ministry of Works and Development was split up into a consultancy group (Works Consultancy Services) and civil construction (Works Civil Construction) and privatised in November 1996 by the National government at the time.”

  4. WILD KATIPO says:

    … ‘ For outstanding hypocrisy in criticising an eight million dollar new Ministry devoted to solving our housing crisis, whilst National did only the absolute minimum for nine years, including squandering $119,993,000 on a super-ministry that hoovered up cash even as Kiwi families lived and slept in cars, Ms Judith Collins is awarded the Paula Bennett Certificate of Hypocrisy ‘ …

    ——————————-

    Total bitch.

    There. I’ve said it.

    She , like Bennett , Tolley , and Richardson and Shipley before them,…

    All bitches.

    These are not the caliber of people we want anywhere near the decision making process, – let alone in positions of any power or influence. We still need inquiry’s into her role in Dirty Politics ,… and any conflicts of interest over our water resources and a certain fuel line that was broken up in Northland…

    And that’s only the peripheral things.

    Why do we tolerate these liars ?…. perhaps the looming takedown of Paula Bennett in answering as to why a certain politicians welfare payments were leaked to the media will help to mute these neo liberal scumbags…

    It certainly sets a precedent.

    I genuinely believe that when the next imminent Prime Minister comes to power,… neo liberal heads will start to roll.

    They know it , they fear it , and they know there’s 34 years of payback coming to them.

    Bring it on.

    • Jack Ramaka says:

      WP very sexists comments, you sound like the racists over at Kiwi Blog, Whale Oil and the Standard ?

  5. Samwise says:

    The neolibs got rid of the Ministry of Woks because it made free enterprise companies look incompetent.

    Cheap Chinese steel, anyone?

  6. Michelle says:

    someone should put a photo of Judeath collins beside the cow with shit coming from its backside saying what do they have in common. One has shit coming from its backside and the other has shit coming from its front side (her mouth)

  7. simonm says:

    ‘Oravida Judith’ is nothing but a corrupt, self-interested cunt.

    • Tamati Tautuhi says:

      The China Doll and Kauri Table Maker ?

      • Tamati Tautuhi says:

        Hopefully the Maori legitimate Maori land owners got paid a fair market return for the swamp kauri recovered out of the Northland Swamps. Who got the Bill for damaging the pipeline between Marsden Point and Auckland.

    • Jack Ramaka says:

      WP very sexists comments, you sound like the racists over at Kiwi Blog, Whale Oil and the Standard ?

  8. JustMe says:

    When she must surely someday have to meet her Maker I am sure Judith Collins will need to account for her actions. Right now I doubt the woman contains a conscience let alone any substance(other than say botox injections in the fore-head region)for her behaviour.
    Just recently she had a go at Phil Twyford over something that was actually ‘hearsay’. She was not at the event that she alleged happened and so the information she received was second-hand and therefore open to ‘enhancement to suit herself and the National Party aggenda’.
    If the National Party prefer find fault with the current government then it’s time they took a tough look at themselves and their past track records. Because not one of them is as pure as the driven snow that they are trying to make themselves appear as being right now.
    In all reality many NZers want MPs who are adult and take responsibility for their(the MPs)actions even whilst in government. To date the National lot conducted an ideal job at stupidity whilst treating NZers like imbeciles.
    I kind of think NZers are well and truly over self-serving and self-promoting MPs and past MPs whose only objective is a knighthood even when it turns out the past MPs of their respective electorates lied to NZers overall over a long period of time or even text messages.

    • Tamati Tautuhi says:

      Do you think the China Doll will get through through the “Pearly Gates” ?

  9. Marc says:

    Saw Judith Collins on the TV news being asked about the settlement that Nicky Hager got yesterday, including a Police apology, she had damned little to say.

    She and her friend Slater were instrumental in Dirty Politics.

    And do not remind me of that lying piece of crap called Paula Bennett, the beneficiary basher.

    They should both face trials for dishonest conduct, corrupt practices and abuse of power in their former positions as ministers.

    • Tamati Tautuhi says:

      I think Tolley and Bennett had their noses in this one, just my gut feeling, both not particularly nice people.

  10. Tamati Tautuhi says:

    At least the MOW people did some work, now we have contractors working on charge up with one person working and 5 x people watching ?

  11. Tamati Tautuhi says:

    What it takes Japanese roading contractors to do in 7 days our roading contractors now take 18 months ?

  12. OnceWasTIm says:

    The good thing is, this expensive bugger’s muddle of a super Ministry is being picked apart gradually.
    It hasn’t worked (as even the Apologist in Chief Lobbyist for the Right – Matty Dear notes:
    with regard to policy advice on Oil and Gas
    – ” ….shocking quality written by MoBIE….”
    – ” parts cut and pasted from public websites”
    – ” the experiment of MoBIE has failed” ) from Nine to Noon
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018648733/political-commentators-mike-williams-and-matthew-hooton at about 18.08 minutes

    The bad thing is that its arrogant and extravagant behaviour seems to continue despite undertakings and apologies for past shitty performance.
    Frank didn’t mention all the examples.
    Just when you hear an undertaking to reduce the number of contractors and consultants, back comes the previous CEO Smol on a 5 week trough.
    When you hear a Labour Inspectorate Manager assuring us all that we have enough Inspectors just prior to the election – knowing damn well they only have the capacity to investigate “systemic” issues and that those who’ve been exploited don’t want to go anywhere near them, along comes a show of how they really see their priorities: I.E. issuing inspectors with stab proof vests ffs!!!
    ( https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/103790349/labour-inspectors-now-wearing-stabproof-vests-but-say-theyre-not-cops )
    …. no they’re not cops – just a bloody sizable proportion are ex-cops.

    Then the concerns over shoddy motorway steel, and you think its been resolved, only later to find that Transmission Gully was also affected.

    Then there’s the payroll blunder
    Then there’s the ‘demographic profiling’
    Then there’s having to apologise over deporting some poor assault victim with a case outstanding.

    I pity Carolyn Tremain (the new CEO).
    It’s hard to know how much of it is under-resourcing in areas that matter, how much of it is muppetry and how much attitude.

    It rivals both MSD and MPI in its organisational culture and punative attitude

    (I could go on but I’m pretty sure responsible Ministers and probably the new CEO know it has, and IS falling short of expectations. I think they also probably know it’s been working by the Steven Joyce/Jonathan Coleman design and that it needs either radical change – or my preference, gradually picking apart and its good to see that process has just begun with the creation of the new Ministry for Housing and Urban Development)

  13. […] blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 12 June […]