John Armstrong on the scandals exposing National’s elitism and hypocrisy:
Like the Government’s $43 million loan to broadcaster MediaWorks and the bickering over South Canterbury Finance, the BMW purchase is one of the stories which refuses to die.
They are recurring nuisances nagging away at the Government.
The latest is the Auditor-General’s decision to investigate whether Sammy Wong, husband of former MP and Cabinet minister Pansy Wong, misused parliamentary travel perks to conduct private business…
…While not necessarily vote changers alone, a common thread connects the BMWs, the loan to MediaWorks, the taxpayer-funded bailout for investors in South Canterbury Finance, the Sammy Wong case , and even the $2 million “Tupperwaka” which Labour’s Shane Jones has caned so vigorously.
Labour cites them all as examples of how, despite the cries from Key and Bill English that times are tough, the politics of privilege are thriving under National.
Labour claims National is hell-bent only on helping its well-off mates. Witness last year’s tax cuts which favoured higher income earners, leaving those on lower incomes facing a rise in GST alongside other increases in the cost of living.
In contrast, Cabinet ministers get their fancy cars, speculative investors in South Canterbury Finance keep their money plus interest, and struggling MediaWorks gets a loan to tide it over while it restructures its balance sheet.
All this looks very much like the genesis of an election campaign strategy. Much will hinge on the extent that next month’s Budget complements the favouritism that Labour claims is fast becoming a hallmark of National policy.