Deposing Simon Bridges Would Be A Mistake

56
3459

DEPOSING SIMON BRIDGES as Leader of the Opposition would cause the National Party more problems than it would solve. Yes, Bridges is difficult to like and prone to serious lapses in political judgement, but he is also capable of exploiting the Government’s weaknesses with considerable aplomb. It is this strength that National needs to keep in play as the country counts down to the General Election. Truly bad things are coming down the pike and Labour lacks the depth of political talent required to deal with them. In the same way a tree can hide in a forest, Bridges’ failings may soon become much harder to spot.

Keeping its collective nerve will admittedly be difficult for the National caucus. Very soon appalling private poll results will be confirmed by equally appalling public ones. Bridges’ favourable/unfavourable numbers will test the patience of his colleagues to the limit. And the dazzling halo of public acclaim currently crowning the Prime Minister will only make National’s parlous political situation even harder for its parliamentary team to bear.

But bear it they must. Surrendering to a run of bad news seldom makes the headlines any better. Bridges may have many faults, but he is, at least, a known quantity. Of his potential replacements: Paula Bennett, Judith Collins, Mark Mitchell and Todd Muller; those not generally detested by the voters are generally unknown to them. Worse still, all bar Muller hail from the National Party Right, and Muller’s allegedly “wet” credentials are far from unimpeachable. (In party politics, just about everything is negotiable!) In short, if the National Caucus does lose its nerve, then the public’s most likely reaction will be either “Not her!” or “Who’s he?”

What this dilemma reveals is the party’s failure to equip itself with enough politicians of sufficient stature to meet all contingencies. How differently the party was positioned in 2002, following National’s worst ever electoral defeat. Bill English may have led his colleagues to the crushing repudiation of a 20.9 percent Party Vote, but when the smoke had cleared Don Brash and John Key were seated comfortably on the Opposition Benches. The former was particularly well-suited to lead National back into electoral contention, and the latter had everything it took to carry the party forward to victory in 2008. Scanning the Opposition’s ranks in 2020, it is simply not possible to identify either a Don Brash- or a John Key-in waiting.

Giving New Zealand a National Party leader even further to the right than Bridges would be an invitation to electoral ruin. By the same token, electing a new leader of no fixed ideological abode would immediately prompt the question: “Why did they bother?” It would also prove that National’s caucus lacks the wit to recognise the winning combination it already has.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Bridges has already proved his ability to fasten his sharp little teeth firmly around Labour’s jugular if its representatives and advisers are silly enough to give him the opportunity. One has only to recall his successful exploitation of the Treasury’s Budget Papers foul-up to be reminded of the harm Bridges can inflict when he gets the chance. On that occasion he seriously compromised the Minister of Finance’s “wellbeing”. Grant Robertson has seldom looked so irked!

More seriously, Robertson now has Paul Goldsmith marking him on the economic wing. National’s finance spokesperson may strike voters as a fairly cold fish, but given Goldsmith’s role is to forensically deconstruct the Government’s response to the Covid-19-induced recession with icy detachment and unrelenting severity, his rather chilly persona may be no bad thing. That Bridges and Goldsmith have become close friends and allies only makes the wisdom of keeping both of them at the head of National’s column all the more compelling.

What every member of National’s caucus can do for their all-too-frequently hapless leader is remind him constantly of the fundamental importance of political timing. How different things would have been this week if Bridges had restricted his response to the Prime Minister’s extension of the Level 4 Lockdown by a further week to one of calm, but guarded, support. If he’d followed this with a heartfelt shout-out to all the small businesses struggling to stay afloat in the Covid-19 flood he would also have been superbly set up for what unfolded the following day at the Epidemic Response Committee.

Labour thought itself very fortunate to secure the services of Dr Deborah Russell. Her academic expertise in taxation made her a sitter for Cabinet. That is to say – it did. Because her performance at the Select Committee on Tuesday, 21 April was not the sort that enhances political careers. Russell’s almost total lack of empathy for the thousands of small business owners facing ruin as a result of the Lockdown will not be forgotten in a hurry by the individuals and families involved. Insinuating that their acute financial vulnerability was evidence of business incompetence, was like rubbing salt in an open wound. Symptomatic of the ever-widening gulf between Labour’s professional-managerial recruits and the rest of the country, the New Lynn MP’s condescension recalls Hilary Clinton’s infamous description of Trump’s followers as “a basket of deplorables”.

Had he not buried himself under an avalanche of public (or, at least, Facebook) opprobrium by responding so gracelessly to the Prime Minister’s announcement, Bridges could have pilloried Russell for her insensitivity and ignorance. National’s core supporters among the nation’s small and medium-sized enterprises could have been reassured – inspired even – by their party leader.

“I may not have Jacinda’s star-power,” he could have said, “but I know – because hundreds of you have told me – what it’s like to lie awake all night wondering how to save the business you have poured your whole life into building up. How dare a well-paid academic-turned-Labour-politician criticise that sort of effort and dedication? What did she earn her doctorate for – cruelty?”

With problems whole lot worse than Dr Russell’s insensitivity heading Labour’s way, all Simon Bridges and his Finance spokesperson need to do, is let the Coalition Government’s predictably over-cautious and ideologically-arid policies speak for themselves.

Jacinda only has five months to teach her colleagues to speak the language of empathy and kindness. If she fails, then National’s words of condemnation and reproach will be more than enough to unseat her.

56 COMMENTS

  1. Seriously, who cares? If they and Labour disappeared off the political landscape I’d throw a wild party and get blindly drunk…..

    • “Jacinda only has five months to teach her colleagues to speak the language of empathy and kindness.”

      You think people are that easily brainwashed do you? After the “Homes for everyone” etc campaign which turned out to be MOTELS for everyone!
      Chris, like it or not Taxpayers/Citizens actually expect our leaders to deliver…..We don’t want just “empathy and kindness”. We actually want action & results…..because here in the REAL WORLD where I and many others run a business IF WE don’t deliver……we don’t get paid!
      These clowns (opposition included) can run a muck….and the Remuneration Authority guaranties them an inflation adjusted pay rise!

      • I can get that, Because in there aren’t hundreds of thousands of new houses in new suburbs all over the country peopled by those who inhabited motels, Simon Bridges should be PM.

        Along with Paula Bennett he was one of the leaders of a Government under which hundreds of thousands of new houses were built in new suburbs all over the country which meant that motels weren’t housing the desperate.

        I agree Ardern needs to teach her colleagues to speak the language of empathy and kindness. Better still maybe teach them to not say anything. Each individual member is not allowed to have individual perspectives and say them in ways which ask questions about a situation or be seen as an attack on the leadership. A pack of media dogs is ready to attack and if there’s nothing else will seek blood over someone saying ‘the’ instead of ‘a.’

        Of course when only the leader speaks so that every single word is controlled the hysteria will be about the rigid dictatorship.

        • And which planet have you been littering up lately? Hundreds of thousands of “state houses?”.. Having an opinion that isn’t very realistic, or credible is one thing, but believing fairy tales with utter conviction shows us that there is one seriously delusional thinking behind the support of the CCP investment agency, located in the national party head office. Earth to tory morons. They sold off thousands of houses, and those who didn’t end up on the street, were put up in motels, paid for by the ministry for persecuting the weak and vulnerable. Get your time lines, and facts right before sharing your deficiencies with normal people.

    • Sean
      right on.
      However, we gotta hava guvmint
      I’ve said before and say again:
      If Labour want to get back in as government, they need to run the election sooner -rather than later.
      The pain of economic grief will soon overwhelm the euphoria of Jacinda supressing the virus.
      Voters forget the good – real quick They remember the pain and economic pain is night.

      If Jacinda called an election for July; she’d piss in. Greens and NZ First wouldn’t get back and National would be toast.
      If she leaves it till October/ November?
      Bad idea – in my view as an objective strategist (I don’t vote Labour).
      Bridges- as Mr. Trotter refers too – is totally irrelevant to the outcome.
      its Jacinda now or -as Churchill found when his raison d etre expired – and as David Lange found when the No Nuke issue had run its course.
      Jacinda will find when the virus has run its course.

  2. “Had he not buried himself under an avalanche of public (or, at least, Facebook) opprobrium…”

    Don’t under-estimate those comments, Chris. Many (most?) were from politically conscious citizens. But at least one person I recognised amongst the thousands of names was about as apolitical as one can get and still remain a breathing member of the Human species. If Bridges’ FB comments could raise her ire, it said a lot about him “not reading the room”.

    As for Ms Russell;

    (a) Her comments will be forgotten in the next news cycle

    and

    (b) A full and frank exchange of views is necessary within such a committee. (Hence David Seymour’s presence.) If it becomes an echo chamber, all singing from the same song-sheet handed out by the Nats, it becomes a meaningless exercise.

    • I don’t think so. If the left want real change then all those younglings are going to have to get involved. The Chinese wing of national is heavily involved with national, running there businesses, and National are creating more places for them. Do these same places exist with in the left? I don’t know, I really don’t fucking know. University and polytechnic places should be doubled immedialty and teacher pay should rise 10% and student facilities improved straight away if Chippie and Robertson have any sense.

  3. A most thoughtful article Chris. Thanks!

    For me, Bridges greatest sin is his inability to sound plausible when speaking in public. He’s not saying anything specifically wrong but I just can’t get past the ridiculous accent. Or should I say ‘iccint’? A bit like Bill English sounded bucolic and therefore unsophisticated.

    I know you like historic references Chris so here’s one: Margaret Thatcher was a grocer’s daughter from Grantham in Lincolnshire – near where I was born – and had a typical accent of the area:

  4. “Labour lacks the political talent”
    Whilst I agree to a certain extent, remember the opposition aren’t exactly endowed with talent, particularly when they have a screeching deputy as leader who delves in the dark magic of divulging in others personal information for political gain. Thanks but no thanks, I’ll be voting for the lesser of two evils.

    • Here we are again basically agreeing but were as you chose the Left I choose the Right .
      As I see it the problem for the Left is they have done little in their 2 years to correct the problems they identifed coming in to power and for the Right those problems were created by them in the first place.
      The virus and how to deal with it is a whole new ball game with a new set of rules. Without that problem Simon would need to get across the message the Right have learnt from the past and Jacinda would say we need more time possibly without NZF holding us back so give us 3 more years
      I think it will be close and much will depend on how the Greens and Act fair.. At the moment Act is very vocal whereas the Greens are nowhere to be seen or heard.

      • Yes we can agree on this.
        Most agree Labour weren’t ready for Government. As you say however, now that they have had 3 years behind them, I think if Jacinda can learn from those three years, just as you say Simon may have learnt from his, Jacinda can do a cull of poor performing ministers and start the economic rebuild.

  5. A most thoughtful article Chris. Thanks!

    For me, Bridges greatest sin is his inability to sound plausible when speaking in public. He’s not saying anything specifically wrong but I just can’t get past the ridiculous accent. Or should I say ‘iccint’? A bit like Bill English sounded bucolic and therefore maybe unsophisticated, although he wasn’t.

    I know you like historic references Chris so here’s one: Margaret Thatcher was a grocer’s daughter from Grantham in Lincolnshire – near where I was born – and had a typical accent of the area:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18GpxVCW8eg

    But she made it her business to take elocution lessons to prepare her for high office. That’s planning!

    It’s noteworthy that when a Arnold Schwarzenegger movie is dubbed back into German, they don’t let him do the German voice-over because he’s Austrian and sounds like a farmer to German ears.

    • Cripes Andrew – sounding uncouth is hardly a radical new development in NZ politics. Key sounded uncouth, but managed to somehow hold the nation in thrall for years. Jacinda sounds pretty uncouth too, with her sumpthink, povvidy and apparent inability to distinguish bought/brought. It doesn’t seem to worry most of us too much.

      To my mind, Bridges’ other main problem (apparent from his gaffes and lack of charisma) is his lack of focus. Kiwis can’t really get a sense of what sort of government he would lead. One week he’s putting the boot into political correctness, next he’s talking tough on law and order, next he’s vowing to slash regulations and taxes. It’s not clear whether National under Bridges would be a neoliberal project, a conservative project, a front for Chinese business interests, or what.

      I don’t quite understand how he’s survived some of those gaffes, especially the tasteless comment about Maureen Pugh. But then there’s lots of things I don’t understand. It may just boil down to a lack of convincing alternatives.

      • Simon lacks the political nose of the ‘sniff test’

        Classic example was Labour were yawing from one crisis to another with the Kiwibuild failure, allowing convicted drug dealers residency or Shane Jones showing then utter disrespect…and how does attack them??? Slushy machines in prisons??? Labour should be like shooting fish in a barrel, and he keeps missing

    • Yes id have to agree Andrew.

      Its interesting though that the lefties love to pillory Bridges for his broad ( very! ) kiwi working class accent.

      Yet Aderns mangling of english…somethink, comunidy, poverdy etc seems just fine. As was Keys.

      Nevertheless I largely agree with Trotters post. Bridges, rightly or wongly simply does not resonate with voters and Im not sure anything can be done about that. Im thinking of Little, Cunliffe, and Shearer who had the same problem.

      The real calculation is whether to replace him now or post election i think. And who knows, maybe Bridges himself is part of the team calculating exactly that.

    • Andrew: “…I just can’t get past the ridiculous accent….”

      I agree. To my ears, he sounds like a petulant adolescent; that, combined with his very strong NZ accent, results – at least for me – in a perceived lack of credibility. Though in truth, it’s mostly the petulant adolescent thing which undermines his credibility for me. It’s like listening to one’s erstwhile teenager.

      I’ve thought for some time that he’d benefit from speech lessons, just to take off the rough edges of his intonation, and that accent. He doesn’t need to lose the accent entirely, just reduce it a bit. Ardern also has a NZ accent: it just isn’t so strong.

  6. Sorry Frank, but I’m with Trotsky on this one. Bridges’ Facebook post was ill-advised and peevish but the broad thrust of what he said – that we have issues with tracing, testing and PPE – is actually true.

    Russell’s remarks were disastrous. She’s impugned half a million small businesses that employ 30% of the country. Her comments be recycled over and over ala The Deplorables and be a rod to flog Labour with for years. If you doubt this compare her comments to Cullen’s (totally defensible) ‘rich pricks’ barb which dog the party to this day.

    • I think the broad thrust of what Bridges alluded to was barking at parked cars. FB responses give evidence to this.

      As for Russell’s remark, ” disastrous “is a ridiculous overstatement.

  7. Look the reality of the situation is quite simply this. If memory serves me correctly, as preferred PM the last poll taken 9/2/20 Bridges polled 10.6%. Let us assume this hasn’t changed( no doubt he’s dropped).
    89.4% of our country just dont see him as leader. The irony is that Cunliffe, Shearer and Little all resigned as leaders of Labour because the writing was on the wall( and dirty politics). Bridges arrogance and that is all it is, stops him from resigning. If he was to cut the umbilical cord now, his humiliation would be cut short. As it is he continues to be a buffoon. The upside for Bridges is there is no viable option, although as pointed out, Key is working overtime on that.

  8. Dr Russell’s insensitivity is typical of those with an expertise in taxation and our obsession with politicians in NZ who seem to be more interested in the excitement of the balance book than offering a quality of life for NZer’s but she is not alone…

    John Key – former accountant, and a much more dangerous smiling assassin.

    Judith Collins – tax advisor and NZ laughable representative on the Panama papers, her tone deafness – where do you start, although a lot more lively a personality than Deborah and thus for a certain type of NZer more likeable.

    As for Deborah she is right on some level, because a lot of NZ businesses, big as well as small ones are now obsessed with labour scams and don’t even operate as a viable business with NZ rules. For those still in denial (a list below).

    Smoking, liquor shops, restaurants, supermarkets, horticulture and big business via (Franchises and subcontractor models) seem to be users of underpaid labour in NZ! Even the police are caught out!

    Migrant paid for job to get visa for immigration, but loses wife to employer instead
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12323204

    Christchurch companies penalised $100,000 in Employment Court for underpaying staff
    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2020/04/23/deposing-simon-bridges-would-be-a-mistake/

    Bakery owner to pay back $33,800 illegally deducted from worker’s wages
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/112128450/bakery-owner-to-pay-back-33800-illegally-deducted-from-workers-wages

    Concern NZ Bus hired migrant workers without fixing conditions – union
    https://www.msn.com/en-nz/money/news/concern-nz-bus-hired-migrant-workers-without-fixing-conditions-union/ar-AAK9Hjm

    NZ Police fined $7000 and banned from hiring migrant workers for six months
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/119873753/nz-police-fined-7000-and-banned-from-hiring-migrant-workers-for-six-months

    22 restaurants, 120 staff – and now a $40,000 fine
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12014023

    Reporoa holiday park owner hits back over record $680k exploitation fine
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12294528

    Nearly all Chorus broadband subcontractors breaching labour laws, MBIE says
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12138990

    Burger King banned from hiring migrant workers, placed on Employment NZ’s stand-down list for year
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12115610

    Wellington grocery store owner fined more than $53,000 for exploiting migrant worker
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/82974522/wellington-grocery-store-fined-more-than-53000-for-exploiting-migrant-worker

    Rotorua kebab shop Just Kebabs fined $73,000 for not paying hard-working employee the minimum wage
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/87045117/rotorua-kebab-shop-fined-for-not-paying-minimum-wage

    Indian restaurant bosses fined for exploitation
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/287183/indian-restaurant-bosses-fined-for-exploitation

    Auckland grocer fined $12,000 for attempted exploitation
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11841871

    Indian businesses ‘sell’ jobs for visas to students
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/336687/indian-businesses-sell-jobs-for-visas-to-students

    Auckland building boss charged with fraud after investigation into illegal labour
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12005146

    Migrant worker describes ‘modern day slavery’ scam
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/339373/migrant-worker-describes-modern-day-slavery-scam

    Kiwifruit body wants more RSE workers
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/356985/kiwifruit-body-wants-more-rse-workers

    Sikh temple to pay $100k for breaching employment laws
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/117040153/sikh-temple-to-pay-100k-for-breaching-employment-laws

    Sushi restaurant owner to pay $30k for exploiting workers
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/321156/sushi-restaurant-owner-to-pay-$30k-for-exploiting-workers

    Jailed trafficker committed ‘crime against human dignity’
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/320465/jailed-trafficker-committed-'crime-against-human-dignity‘

    ERA fines South Auckland employers for paying $4 an hour
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/80994968/era-fines-south-auckland-employers-for-paying-4-an-hour

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/117551892/death-of-a-migrant-under-the-table-workers-building-aucklands-multimillion-dollar-homes

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/365583/punjabi-singer-gets-home-detention-for-drivers-licences-bribes

    ‘I just want my money’: Immigrant fighting for unpaid wages
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/personal-finance/news/article.cfm?c_id=12&objectid=12032894

    Queen St money remitter discharged after laundering Polish and Russian crime syndicate’s cash
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12260326

    Auckland finance director sentenced for laundering dirty multi-national drug money
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12116319

    No wonder NZ suicide is so high and the working poor are the new ones lining up for hardship grants and social housing!

    Competition with 300,000+ new resident visas being issued by government yearly to keep the competition high for local workers and businesses competing against the scammers.

    And clearly this is the tip of the iceberg of those being caught and prosecuted….

    • 100 % SaveNZ, same model that was perfected by Singapore & used to great effect in the UAE, the only difference in N Z is they are using corruption/residence/immigration as a carrot it is an absolute disgrace that we have allowed this to happen in N Z.

    • SaveNZ: “….a lot of NZ businesses, big as well as small ones are now obsessed with labour scams and don’t even operate as a viable business with NZ rules. For those still in denial (a list below).”

      A relative runs a small business, has done since the early 1990s. We pay attention to reports such as those you adduce here, because it pays to be au fait with what’s going on in the SME world.

      I’d point out that, if I remember rightly, all of those businesses in your comment above were run by recent migrants.

      In this country, it’s fairly easy to set up a business, which, of course, is why so many migrants do it. My charitable take on things is that migrants are often ignorant of the detail of the legal system here, which is why some fall foul of employment law, for instance.

      No doubt some follow pernicious practices here because it’s how things were done in their home country – or at least they could get away with it there, so they did it here as well. Then there are some who are just bad buggers and deserve to be thrown out of NZ.

      But pretty much all of the small businesses with which we have dealings, or know about, act according to the law.

      There’s no question that the flood of migrants into NZ over the last 30 or so years has driven down wages and conditions for employees. And over those 30 or so years, the business environment has become very difficult: there’s been a race to the bottom in charge-out rates and contract prices, such that there is now no fat in the system. At the time of the metoo imbroglio, I remember hearing someone say in an interview that many (possibly most) of the big consultancies were only a couple of contracts away from bankruptcy. Money coming in went straight out again on expenses; that’s because competition for contracts is so intense that there’s little to nothing left for profit, or to put aside for a rainy day.

      We’ve been told that many SMEs hire migrants because they come in work-ready and with a good work ethic. The same cannot be said of all local workers, unfortunately. And to top it off, migrants will work for lower wages: of course business owners will hire them. It makes commercial sense.

    • SaveNZ: “….a lot of NZ businesses, big as well as small ones are now obsessed with labour scams and don’t even operate as a viable business with NZ rules. For those still in denial (a list below).”

      A relative runs a small business, has done since the early 1990s. We pay attention to reports such as those you adduce here, because it pays to be au fait with what’s going on in the SME world.

      I’d point out that, if I remember rightly, all of those businesses in your comment above were run by recent migrants.

      In this country, it’s fairly easy to set up a business, which, of course, is why so many migrants do it. My charitable take on things is that migrants are often ignorant of the detail of the legal system here, which is why some fall foul of employment law, for instance.

      No doubt some follow pernicious practices here because it’s how things were done in their home country – or at least they could get away with it there, so they did it here as well. Then there are some who are just bad buggers and deserve to be thrown out of NZ.

      But pretty much all of the small businesses with which we have dealings, or know about, act according to the law.

      There’s no question that the flood of migrants into NZ over the last 30 or so years has driven down wages and conditions for employees. And over those 30 or so years, the business environment has become very difficult: there’s been a race to the bottom in charge-out rates and contract prices, such that there is now no fat in the system. At the time of the metoo imbroglio, I remember hearing someone say in an interview that many (possibly most) of the big consultancies were only a couple of contracts away from bankruptcy. Money coming in went straight out again on expenses; that’s because competition for contracts is so intense that there’s little to nothing left for profit, or to put aside for a rainy day.

      We’ve been told that many SMEs hire migrants because they come in work-ready and with a good work ethic. The same cannot be said of all local workers, unfortunately. And to top it off, migrants will work for lower wages: of course business owners will hire them. It makes commercial sense.

      • @SnowWhite, Firstly the links are not all small business migrants – often a big recipient of lower labour wages, is the big business listed on the sharemarket that lobbies for the cheap migrant labour to come into NZ. Of course when things go wrong they just sack them (after sacking their local labour first) and make the NZ taxpayers pay for their care. Win, win! When you need new staff, no problem you just make the NZ government bring in more workers for you!

        Most of the big business doing that are listed on the sharemarket or overseas companies (Skycity, Downer, Chorus, Fletchers) and don’t care what happens to NZ, but the goal is to get their share price rising and undercut other contracts.

        Those leading the charge, enjoy the executive bonus they can get out of the neoliberal friendly rhetoric of exploiting and lowering the cost of labour for their shareholders. (Of course in real terms, the big subsidies in NZ to business, is the NZ taxpayers via the government, for the increasing low cost labour, it is the government who increasingly pay for workers health, eduction, pension, wage tops ups WFF, accomodation benefits, hardship benefits etc).

        Now even the NZ police, Chorus are using underpaid labour therefore the scams are getting to the point of no return for labour for all of NZ.

        • SaveNZ: “Firstly the links are not all small business migrants – often a big recipient of lower labour wages, is the big business listed on the sharemarket that lobbies for the cheap migrant labour to come into NZ.”

          I’d guessed that your comment was aimed at me.

          Indeed: I stand corrected. Not all of the links are migrants: just most of them. The police and NZ Bus are the exceptions. And Burger King: but that chain has gone bust, courtesy of the bloody virus; though I believe that it was already in the shit financially. No consolation to all of the workers now out of a job, but.

          As we understand things, pretty much all of Chorus’s subbies are recent migrants. Some of them have done work for us, and very competent they were, too. But nevertheless: exploitation in that sector is being perpetrated for the most part by recent migrants. Regrettably, it is often recent migrants exploiting other more recent migrants.

          While recent migrants may have some excuse for not following the law, New Zealanders working for or running big companies here have none. They deserve to have the book thrown at them.

          However, the rest of my comment stands. That sector of small business with which we have dealings follows the law.

          • @D’Esterre It is very hard for another business small, medium or large, to compete against another business that is increasingly receiving money from their workers not paying them (and using subcontractors is not excuse) – the franchises and businesses using subcontractors absolutely know (or should know) illegal conduct is going on, and the sad thing is, the legitimate businesses who pay people properly are increasingly going bust or reducing their wages thinking labour is part of their problem!

            The reason is that it is migrants involved is that Kiwis will obviously not work below minimum wages, or for nothing and pay their wages back.

            It is not racism – it is why migrants are exploding in NZ – why pay staff legally when you don’t have to! Make them pay you!

            They need migrants in on the scam to make it work – and if a person is paying back their wages, or are incapable of understanding NZ laws then they should not be working or operating in NZ, both recipients are in on the scam! The migrant gets permanent residency in NZ for them and their family but not on legitimate terms.

            That is why I advocate tightening up the visas to pre 1990 levels in terms of costs for business (used to cost minimum $10,000 to sponsor an overseas worker) and all new workers had to pass an English language test (to make sure they understood what was going on in the country they were working in and thus not likely to be exploited) and a health test and a proper worker test that a local could not do the work and there of course needs to be a limit on the visas down to the 10,000 – 15,000 that were being advocated when COL got into power.

            Government need to make it 10 -20 years before a person is made a permanent resident to make sure they are of good character, and should not be accessing NZ free health and welfare before then, with a strong audit before permanent residency is given out. (Aka drug dealers are operating in NZ for 26 years without ever even filling out a NZ tax return and people are on welfare and getting a state house while never having had a job in NZ, it’s crazy).

  9. Russell’s comments were not wrong. Her timing was though! Sometimes best to say nothing.

    Decades of Govt. figures show the high failure rate of NZ small business in the 1-2 year range. Start ups are typically under funded and under planned–operators treat them as a source of a weekly wage from the start which is regularly a recipe for failure.

    It should be remembered that a number of self employed are actually exploited low paid workers incorrectly categorised and forced into contractor status–pay your own GST and ACC etc. etc. As opposed to those into a start up dog walking or cup cake making business.

    As for the National leadership, leave them to it, pundits have no effect on the tory bastards anyway.

    • I was holding off on my summation of her comment however like you I also believe what she says is correct. Think Bauer.

      If a business is not sustainable with a wage subsidy, then it’s probably not sustainable at all. The difference is only in the PMs and finance ministers language in relationship of sustainable business. Bauer’s days were numbered anyway.

      • NZrs have had the rug pulled out from under them in business. Bauer is not a small business and I thought that was what Ms Russell was talking about. All these advisers and politicians should walk in the shoes of a micro business which actually is what most NZ businesses are – I think it is 5 employees at most.

    • @ Tiger Mountain, Bert, The woke are trying to rip Deborah apart, but I think a reasonable amount of NZer’s are agreeing, or as many are agreeing with Deborah as disagreeing.

      I personally find the media and woke witch hunts against minor infractions (going to beach a few KM’s too far, David Clark) of politicians more annoying than useful. The government and media are obsessed with trivia rather than in depth analysis of serious breaches of politicians corruption that are quickly covered up.

      The issue that politicians should be discussing on the wage subsidy is why so many businesses in NZ are going under (before Covid) and the remarkable rise in businesses not paying the minimum wages here and why the wage subsidy is already attracting fraud. The answer should be obvious, from the links, NZ has encouraged the business vehicle for fraud in NZ on visas and underpayments.

      A question never examined is why NZ not talking about is how over the past decade we are replacing the ‘nurse from Invercargill https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/world/boris-johnson-thanks-kiwi-nurse-jenny-invercargill-her-care-during-his-hospital-stay with a nursing support worker from the Philippines https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12203129 and think that one warm body in the heath system in NZ equals another – meanwhile our immigration figures seem to think as long as one Kiwi is replaced by another warm body, all is well in NZ immigration and society! The accountants and economists fail to look beyond the data which increasingly the don’t want to examine at all to learn the truth!

      The constant brain drain, of professionally skilled kiwis with the neoliberals replacing them with lower skilled cheap workers is relentless in NZ, and thinking that one outgoing migrant equals one incoming migrant in NZ is laughable when you look at who is going from NZ and who is coming into NZ . Even when Kiwi’s come back they are overqualified in today’s NZ that only has praise for the supermarket worker and cleaner and billionaire rich. Middle class, and experts are apparently invisible and add nothing to NZ anymore.

      This also co- insides with the rise in the hardship of the working/middle class poor in NZ, a lack of skills here, lack of innovation, rise in suicide, murder rates, terrorism, dysfunction everywhere in terms of trying to get anything done from building a house, getting an operation on the public health system, to repairing a road, lowered hospital beds in NZ per capita https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_hospital_beds, increasing jobseeker payments, massive rise in migrant pensioners who don’t have to pay NZ taxes, while working Kiwis do, with Kiwisaver, and a huge amount of government borrowing to keep the ponzi going..

  10. Simon Bridges has big corporate shoes to fill after John Key….

    “Ladies and gentlemen, John Key,
    Leader of the National Party
    Prime Minister Of New Zealand since 2008
    Everyone Voted for him without knowing his track record,
    Who he worked for, Where his career originated & how he does business today.
    By the end of this Short Video you will know enough to be able to make an informed decision when voting him in or not again.
    Little Johnny was born in a state house,
    A Son of an alcoholic absentee father
    & guilt provoking mother
    who pins all her hopes on her son,
    living vicariously through him,
    especially because she never had another boy
    and never remarried.
    She then allegedly inherited a large sum
    and allegedly spent much of it on her son.

    John worked for 10 years
    as a New Zealand investment banker
    since the mid 1980’s
    When the market crashed
    he made a killing selling New Zealand dollars.
    He headed offshore In 1995
    working for…

    -Merrill Lynch
    This bank was exposed as the worlds first derivatives traders
    & went bust during the 2008 financial crisis due to its heavy investment in the derivatives market,
    swallowed up BY…

    – The Bank of America
    Which it turns out John Key still has shares in,
    A conflict of interest considering anyone could google the Bank name and “fines”
    to see it’s been fined many times for drug dealing,
    gun running, money laundering & is famous for getting countries into debt,
    Is John Key personally profiting from New Zealand’s growing indebtedness ?
    The Bank of America also has a stake in the military industrial complex
    who’ve profited tremendously after several successive, no end in sight, illegal US wars.
    This gives you an idea of the kind of circles John revolves in.
    John’s worked for Merrill Lynch in Singapore, London, Sydney & …

    -Ireland
    When the “Irish Tiger” economy was kicking off,
    It was allowing “sweet heart” tax breaks
    to big banks and financial institutions
    if they moved their back offices to Ireland,
    So John did, Assisting 15,000 of his clients to Avoid Tax
    the Irish economy was hollowed out with debt,
    collapsing shortly after John skipped the country & put all his money into…

    -“Blind Trusts”
    John Key knows what’s in his blind trusts,
    he’s a bit of a drinker and he let it slip while a bit pissed
    that he owns a vineyard,
    turns out that vineyard is in his blind trust,
    although he claims he doesn’t know what’s in it.
    This is because he has 2 trusts,
    1 blind & 1 not so blind that mirrors the other one.

    He was in charge of business units like
    global foreign exchange
    and European bond and…

    -Derivative Trading
    What is Derivative Trading?
    Basically it’s so complicated that the Auditor general once said something like
    “it’s such a technical area that I can’t understand it,
    so I got KPMG to investigate themselves for me and they assure me it’s all good”
    Recall the great depression?
    Of course not, in the 1920’s you could buy $10 worth of shares for only $1 down
    allowing people to gamble on the stock market at incredible volumes,
    massive amounts of fake money & debt was generated
    and the economy got sucked into it like a black hole.
    To prevent that happening again, a law was crafted called…

    -The Glass Steagall Act
    Which was repealed in 1999 leaving the US derivatives market completely unregulated.
    The New York State gaming Commission tried to regulate it because they saw derivatives as gambling,
    but they were unsuccessful, obviously.

    In 1999 John was legally allowed to sell derivatives in America due to the repeal of Glass Steagall,
    Was invited to represent Merrill Lynch & join the Foreign Exchange Committee
    of the…

    -Federal Reserve Bank of New York
    A private banking cartel that has a monopoly on the supply of money
    and loan it to the US government at interest & more or less control the US government through debt.
    Ownership of the 13 banks with shares in the FED can be traced back to the worlds most ultra intergenerational wealth families, hidden away from public view via an elaborate network of family trusts.

    John Worked there for 2 years and twice undertook management studies at Harvard University in Boston.
    He became known as the smiling assassin by colleagues
    after personally terminating over a hundred employees in one day
    with a big beaming smile, no guilt, no remorse, no conscience, a…

    -Corporate Psychopath
    Charming & enchanting when you first meet them
    But are ultimately shallow and have few meaningful lasting relationships,
    They crave money and power and are willing to sabotage,
    intimidate, manipulate, steal, defame, lie and cheat, shamelessly without guilt,
    Desiring attention & idolization with pathological narcissism & despising criticism,
    Often sexually promiscuous.
    Private prosecutor Graham McCready is including a DVD of
    The Wolf Of Wall Street in his evidence against John Key
    Evidence of the lifestyle & mentality Key & co-workers likely enjoyed on wall street.

    Normally on Wall Street your earnings get paid
    40% Cash,
    40% Stock
    20% Options
    Key demanded to be paid 100% in stock and options
    That’s where his incentive to crime is!
    Imagine the opportunities for insider trading when you literally run the country?
    He tried to flush out commercially sensitive information from the ombudsman when trans-rail was being valued while at the same time owning shares in it!
    John Key just can’t help himself.

    When Key left Wall Street after 6 or 7 years in foreign exchange,
    he was in the tip top of the elite, with roughly 50 million on salary and bonuses,
    -Key refers to his 5 million dollar mansion as the house that Merrol built,
    They had a beach house in Omaha and now have a 3.2 million Hawaii holiday home,
    Only 202,000 people have incomes above 30 Million Dollars
    Roughly 2,000 of those are billionaires,
    -John Says
    “We’re not ridiculously wealthy, there are lots of people not seen on the NBR rich list that have a lot of money.”
    Not counting his blind trusts he could be worth hundreds of millions.
    Is he wall street banker or New Zealand prime minister?

    Jumping forward to the 2008 financial crisis:
    Money Magazine said derivatives were one of the chief causes of the 2008 credit crunch,
    A collapse that happened in the same year we elected John Key
    To handle the debt crisis he helped cause
    as he admitted on breakfast tv!
    And what did he do once elected in order to save us from the debt crisis?
    He borrowed more money than all previous prime ministers combined!
    We’ve gone from 8 billion to over 80 billion so far,
    With 112 Billion worth of derivative debts
    In Off The Books Accounting Since 2011 and growing!
    Key knew about his unauthorized biography long before it was released,
    guess what? It doesn’t even mention the word derivatives once!

    A man of the people you say?
    He’s supposed to be the Member of Parliament for Helensville,
    & lives across town in a 5 million dollar Parnell Mansion he calls “the house that Merrol built”,
    Only had 1 public meeting in his electorate the whole election,
    On the proviso that no one can talk about or criticize him, any other party,
    Or their policy, Or their candidates,
    And guess who was the only person that violated those conditions which John Key himself set up for everyone else? John Key!

    So, let me see if I have this straight,
    he’s a psychopathic narcissistic passive aggressive mamas boy with daddy issues,
    And he has control of a country that has no corruption prevention framework?

    He may have been sent here to destroy this country,
    But it is not yet destroyed & we can change our future if we choose to.
    Sink Team Key and it will deal a crippling blow to the financial elite’s agenda.
    This is Vinny Eastwood, Vote Wisely New Zealand.”

    https://www.thevinnyeastwoodshow.com/vinny-mr-news-eastwoods-blog/john-keys-real-past-exposed-must-see-please-share-6mins

  11. Bridges did exactly the right thing. He has to put a stake in the ground and say what is wrong and why. The earlier the better and paradoxically the more abuse he takes now, and faces down, the better he will look in the long term.

    We can look back on the early inaction of this government, the tourists expected to self isolate, the Ruby Princess plying it’s infection in our waters in mid March, lack of checking on self isolation. Soon we will see the horror show of our economy with businesses failing, people out of work, losing their homes and all the time with envious eyes on the Australians who will have done as well with Covid 19 and still have a functioning economy.

    The economy will be the battleground and you only have to listen to Deborah Russell and Jacinda earlier this week to see how out of their depth this lot is.

    This isn’t a sprint it’s a marathon

    • Save NZ
      So what are you except a bloated bag of judgmental wind. What have you achieved. Where did you come from. I don’t know JK but he’s succeeded after coming from a background that would suggest he shouldn’t have done that well. He succeeded in the social and economic background that was there to use. What’s your problem apart from what seems like The jealous raving of a socialist Evangelist. JK was pretty popular which suggests you are painting a large part of the population with the same brush you used to paint JK. What does that make you you apart from what seems like a pompous wealth envious judgemental prat that you seem to be. Try writing your own history. At least you will have the opportunity to defend your own exceptional life.

  12. ACROSS THE ROOM: NZ First is looking attractive (Hey Girrrrl Hey) .. I’m sure her dance card is filling up.

  13. I would disagree with the notion that National have no credible alternative to Bridges.
    Chris Luxon.
    From the start, he has been groomed (or has groomed himself depending on your interpretation) to be the next Shonkey, the smiling assassin.
    That is what the National Party membership really want: another John Key to tell them how great they are, how their economic selfishness is actually good, not bad for the country. The membership, from what I can gather, have no confidence in Bridges and they sense electoral defeat in a few months time under his leadership. Judith Collins is too poisonous for most of them, Paula Bennett too unpredictable and Paul Goldsmith too much of a misery-guts.
    Luxon has a great pedigree: he is rich, steadfast in his belief of his political worthiness, John Key is his mentor, he believes in trickle-down economic theory, he doesn’t give a monkeys about anyone on less than the average wage and he is only interested in combatting climate change to the extent that he can profit by it.
    What more could you ask of a National Party leader?
    IF National changes leaders before the election it, and I agree with you that it is not a given, it will be Luxon.
    That’s my prediction.

    • Given that Chris Luxon has yet to be elected to Parliament (he is currently National’s candidate for the seat of Botany) it is a constitutional impossibility that he could become the Leader of the Opposition. After the election, however, I think you’ll be proved correct – he will be the one to watch.

  14. The difference between Bridges and Russell are stark. One took his time to commit his thoughts to writing. The other was speaking off the cuff. Losing your hair over Russell thinking out aloud in a discussion is ridiculous.

    Without doubt she has now learnt to trust no person from the opposition party’s and will now likely become one of those stifled guarded politicians who you cannot get a straight word out of.

    And then people bitch and moan how politicians avoid answers and wonder why!

    • The political RW in NZ, including Chris Trotter, have a deep crush on Deborah Russell. The thinking man’s tax wonk.

  15. Simon just needs to tell the truth and speak his mind confidently off the cuff. That was the charm of Key, love him or hate him, I never had the feeling he was a duplicitous liar, he spoke his scumbaggery openly. And he never censored criticism. I never had the sense that Key was coached, he was just a natural money person. Of coarse, different and easier times, but really BE REAL. I am not saying that Simon should be Key but himself. This is where Her Highness Queen JA is faltering and now reeks of political hand outs.. She absolutely had a Mother protectorate feeling for NZ when she she shut us down and she is amazing. But Simon was right that people cannot live in fear and hospitals cannot be closed for what they consider “elective.” Also this virus is here, most Kiwis have had time to think how they would function if someone in their family contracted it. Has this government made sure that hospitals can function with the normal influx of flu and perhaps covid, because that is what they should have been doing for the past four weeks.

    • Well Angie, we are not living in fear. That’s a conspiracy theorists imagination. Just doing the time at keeping safe. Fuck the economy. People matter more than dollars. PM Ardern is doing a hard job brilliantly, but to Nazi Party supporters it’s never good enough.

      • Are you actually accusing me of being a Nazi? trust me I am not good looking enough. You will see waves of this flu. and society cannot be shut down forever. And social distancing between human beings is not ok long term. People need affection. social distancing from others is not even legal.

      • And you are living in fear if you cannot pop in to your friends for a wine or have your kids play with other kids in a park.

  16. Well, whatever happens, my trusty crystal ball tells me that we won’t be hearing much big talk and bravado from Mr Foot in Mouth

  17. Simon hasn’t helped his case with his latest fairytale about people being stopped at road check points by gang members.
    The last refuse of the right-wing scoundrel: whip up some racist reaction.

  18. With all due respect to Chris and those who have weighed in with their own armchair strategy, I really don’t see the value of this kind of political gossip. There is zero substance here. Nothing about the kinds of policies a Bridges-led National would take into the election, and how they would differentiate them from the policies of Labour and other parties. Nothing about how the policy platform and promotion would change under a change of leaders. No actual *politics* at all.

    The more people focus on this kind of scandal and strategy stuff, instead of talking about what policy changes they want from the government, the more cynical they become. The result being disengagement from the political process, and voter depression (self-suppression), which tends to favour the centre-right (National and the Blairite rump of Labour). If we want to improve the prospects of the left in the upcoming election, we need to use every political blog post and comment from now on discussing policy, policy, policy!

  19. It is interesting. I decided to look at Simon’s chart. I did not know he was a Libra. You know, scales balance and I will lie if I think it is for the better good. So perhaps he is who he is. Oh and by the way is it not interesting that both your blessed Queen J and Key were both Leos.

  20. Bridges has probably successfully achieved what no other leader of the NZNational Party has ever achieved and that is to turn so many National voters off ever voting for him.

    Well done National and well done Simon Bridges.

    Keep up the good work and no-one would want to vote for National ever again.

    And so if National want to be guarantee-ed of little or No Votes at the election then please do keep Simon Briidges on as leader. He is doing a splendid job at destroying National.

    Meanwhile the one I call Sir Lies-alot(aka John Key)has obviously given his backing to the former head of Air NZ. Odd timing is that indeed.

Comments are closed.