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Written By: - Date published: 11:41 pm, January 18th, 2014 - 48 comments

DPF Bain

Warning bells ringing for Nats

Written By: - Date published: 5:23 pm, December 1st, 2013 - 36 comments

planet key breaking up

On Thursday Vernon Small wrote on the Chch East by-election: “Anything above 53 per cent will look like a fine result for Labour, anything under 50 per cent a relative failure. If Doocey can attract 40 per cent of the vote National can be well-pleased. Less than 33 per cent and the warning bells will be ringing for 2014.” And we know what happened next.

Granny damning of Crazy Craig

Written By: - Date published: 10:54 am, November 24th, 2013 - 88 comments

colin craig

It’s not often that you’ll see a Herald editorial quoted at length here, but when they’re right, they’re right: Key [is] dead-set on forging a governing coalition with the Christian-Lite Conservative Party and its troublingly dim leader, Colin Craig. If Colin Craig is the answer to John Key’s problem, then National is in trouble.

Only 6,500 ‘mums and dads’ for Air NZ

Written By: - Date published: 7:13 am, November 23rd, 2013 - 69 comments

krusty burning money

It just gets worse. Only 6,500 ‘retail investors’ bought shares in the Air NZ asset sale. These are the so-called ‘mums and dads’ who National said would flock to buy into the asset sales. 0.15% of the population. And these are some rich ‘mums and dads’ – they bought $23,000 of shares each on average. Let’s face facts: the asset sales have failed in their own terms. National has failed New Zealand.

Tin ear or cold heart?

Written By: - Date published: 7:58 am, November 20th, 2013 - 239 comments

john-key finger new

Since he came to office, John Key’s government has spent over $350 billion (and borrowed over $50 billion). It has handed out taxpayer largesse to casinos, rich sailors, finance companies, and international corporations. So, why the blunt refusal to pay just $3.4 million to the Pike families and lean on the shareholders to get the cash back? Tin ear or cold heart?

Coleman’s disgracefully cowardly display

Written By: - Date published: 8:38 am, November 15th, 2013 - 151 comments

key principles

National’s, weird, favourite line at the moment is to say ‘we’re going to ignore the asset sales referendum and the opposition are hypocrites because they ignored the smacking referendum’. Russel Norman finally had had enough yesterday, and asked Jonathan Coleman just who had been PM when the referendum happened. Coleman’s answer was textbook cowardliness.

Is it any wonder?

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 am, November 13th, 2013 - 90 comments

fat ceo with all the money

Never wonder again why National is opposed to any kind of wealth tax, including capital gains tax, and would rather tax hard work instead. Never wonder again why there’s hundreds of millions of dollars for uneconomic irrigation projects but crumbs to feed hungry kids. Just look at this table of what the richest MPs won, and remember their friends are of the same class.

Rorty rorty

Written By: - Date published: 8:44 am, November 11th, 2013 - 89 comments

money into pocket

You’ll remember that, back in 2009, Bill ‘Double Dipton’ English was caught claiming an ‘out of town’ allowance – intended to pay for non-Wellington-based MPs’ accommodation in the capital – to pay the mortgage on his family home in Karori. Key’s solution was to let all his ministers claim the rort. Now, it turns out some of them are doubling down on the rort.

Couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery

Written By: - Date published: 7:18 am, November 6th, 2013 - 98 comments

krusty burning money

National was warned not to give the main ultrafast broadband contracts to Chorus. All it would do would restore and strengthen the monopoly that had kept internet prices too high (which Cunliffe has addressed). Of course, National ignored that. And now, once again, National finds itself in a corner, about to bailout out a large corporate that is using its market power to threaten its political agenda.

Doing what works

Written By: - Date published: 9:21 am, November 4th, 2013 - 88 comments

david cunliffe in the sun

One of Steven Joyce’s favourite refrains is that Labour is trying to take us back to the 1970s. You know, those dark days when unemployment was near non-existent, wages were high, growth was strong despite external shocks, we had nearly no foreign debt, profits stayed here, were we one of the richest and most egalitarian countries. He’s not far wrong.

“The purists can weep”

Written By: - Date published: 9:11 am, November 3rd, 2013 - 105 comments


Labour’s new KiwiAssure policy has been welcomed by John Armstrong as good politics. And it is. But it’s also good policy – at the same time we’ve got a government hell bent on making sure electricity profits flow to overseas investors, David Cunliffe’s policy is about giving Kiwi’s the ability to ensure that any money made from their insurance stays in the country and pays for hospitals, schools, and New Zealanders’ retirement.

The test

Written By: - Date published: 7:46 am, November 1st, 2013 - 114 comments


Fairfax has decided to go a bit mental on Labour and Cunliffe. An endless stream of stories trying to tweak Cunliffe’s nose over every little thing. Part of this is covering the embarrassment of their own rogue poll. More importantly, it’s a test that all new leaders get. The wave of hypercritical stories don’t mean much in themselves, how Cunliffe’s Labour responds does.

Key says ‘damn the torpedoes’ on asset sales

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, October 30th, 2013 - 44 comments

aotearoa not for sale big

The asset sales have been an unmitigated failure. They’ve raised less money than expected, they’ve cost more than twice as much as National said they would, no ‘mums and dads’ have shown up to buy the shares, and the public is waiting for its referendum. Now, it turns out that Treasury warned Key not to flood the market but Key plans to keep on flooding it.

Two-term panic gripping the rightwing punditry

Written By: - Date published: 10:52 am, October 26th, 2013 - 102 comments

national the sky is falling chicken

John Armstrong, Tracy Watkins, and Fran O’Sullivan all write today about National’s plunging polls and the growing likelihood that this will be the first two-term National government. They take different approaches – Armstrong: there’s nothing for Key to worry about, Watkins: there was a problem but the tide’s turning back, O’Sullivan: yeah, Key’s fucked.

The Meridian flop

Written By: - Date published: 7:29 am, October 24th, 2013 - 143 comments

aotearoa not for sale big

National’s trying to blame it on Labour and the Greens for the Meridian sale flop, which attracted only a quarter of the expected ‘mums and dads’ (rich ‘mums and dads’ who put in $18k each). But let’s just get this straight: the decision to sell was National’s. If they don’t think they’re getting the price that they should for the sales, then they should stop them.

Taking from the poor to pay the rich

Written By: - Date published: 7:29 am, October 23rd, 2013 - 119 comments

john key finger 2

In the same week the government announces a five million dollar gift to a yachting syndicate, Child Poverty Action Group has revealed that 13,000 of our poorest families have had their income slashed.

Random impertinent questions

Written By: - Date published: 8:52 am, October 21st, 2013 - 66 comments


Who says the ‘threatening texts’ in the Brown/Slater/Palino came from Brown’s camp? Didn’t the threatening text push Chuang into the affidavit, after weeks of being pressured by Palino advisor, Wewege? Doesn’t that make those texts awful useful for Slater/Palino? Do you believe Palino knew nothing of the affair, as he claims? If the purpose of the affidavit had been to present it to Brown quietly and get him to resign, wouldn’t that be blackmail?

What’s the play?

Written By: - Date published: 12:10 pm, October 16th, 2013 - 108 comments

emmerson on slater and len brown

No-one’s happy with the revelations about Len Brown’s private life, apart from Slater (himself also an adulterer) who is wallowing in all the details that Chuang seems only too happy to provide. But what’s interesting is that this is clearly a political play. Who’s behind it and what do they have to gain? The players: Slater, Slater snr, Chuang, and Palino.

Granny Herald tries to de-legitimise political opposition, again

Written By: - Date published: 7:42 am, October 15th, 2013 - 36 comments

granny herald in her blue frock

Yesterday, the Greens illustrated the size of the gambling concessions in the SkyCity deal with a to-scale cardboard display in Aotea Square. The visually striking move got extensive coverage on Breakfast yesterday and a rather, odd, story in the Herald, which chose to focus on the cost of the protest. What was that, presumably, outrageous cost? $3,000.

Armstrong on Nat’s attack on wages

Written By: - Date published: 8:01 am, October 12th, 2013 - 30 comments

simon bridges john key

John Armstrong has a good column on National’s attack on Kiwi workers today. Covering off David Cunliffe’s speech to the CTU, Armstrong talks about the way the Nats have been playing small target on their raft of small employment changes that add up to a serious attack on the wages and rights of all of […]

From failure to farce

Written By: - Date published: 7:44 am, October 11th, 2013 - 95 comments

aotearoa not for sale big

“John Key’s asset sales have descended from failure to farce” – that’s how Metiria Turei described the announcement that Mighty River Power will be buying back shares just five months after they were privatised. Clayton Cosgrove put it more bluntly: “It’s a good thing the government doesn’t own a brewery cos they couldn’t organise a pi .. a DRINK in one”.

Cunliffe stands strong for fair pay and your work rights

Written By: - Date published: 6:29 am, October 10th, 2013 - 139 comments

david cunliffe in the sun

David Cunliffe showed that he wasn’t just pandering for votes in the leadership race by reaffirming and strengthening his commitment to work rights at the CTU conference yesterday. When David is PM the minimum wage will rise to $15 an hour, the public service will set an example by paying the living wage, and the Nats’ attacks on rights will be reversed – no more Fire at Will, no more youth rates.

Shutdown 2013

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, October 7th, 2013 - 61 comments


The US is creeping toward a week of government shut down. Held hostage by the Republicans Tea Party wing.

It will be fascinating to see what this does to the GOP. Will it split into two parties one essentially fascist and one more like the republicans of old? Or will it just dwindle away for a while?

All hail RBNZ independence! – Armstrong

Written By: - Date published: 10:32 am, October 5th, 2013 - 94 comments

John Armstrong

Old man Armstrong’s out on the Herald’s front lawn this morning, shaking his fist and telling those bloody kids in Labour to stop questioning whether the Reserve Bank is doing the right thing. They should sit quietly and accept whatever the Bank decides to do. This is called ‘consensus’, apparently. Problem is, Armstrong provides no justification for complete RB independence.

Simon Bridges caught fibbing again

Written By: - Date published: 6:57 am, October 3rd, 2013 - 15 comments

Pants on Fire

Simon Bridges has been keeping a low profile lately but he’s in the news again today, and onceagain he’s been caught being somewhat less than honest.

It turns out he’s been caught trying to bury a report showing a huge quarterly jump in electricity prices.

National’s screwed up new housing policy

Written By: - Date published: 9:59 pm, October 1st, 2013 - 43 comments

nick smith subsidy

We know there is a massive home affordability problem, especially in Auckland. So, here’s National’s plan: don’t build any additional houses, just sell some ‘surplus’ state houses in provincial towns… where there isn’t an affordability crisis, and give 500 families these houses up to $20,000 of taxpayer money. That’s not a home affordability policy, it’s a parody of one.


Written By: - Date published: 7:38 am, September 30th, 2013 - 85 comments

dunce cap

The Herald and John Key are whining that National will have a ‘moral mandate’ to govern after the next election if it is the highest polling party, even if it can’t form a majority and the Left can. But the Herald and Key don’t answer the critical question: how? How would a National Party that can’t secure a majority in Parliament govern?

Meridian on the block

Written By: - Date published: 7:24 am, September 30th, 2013 - 40 comments

Asset theft National disgrace Demo Auckland Dec 2012

If you weren’t paying attention you could easily miss the fact that Meridian shares are opening today. that’s because there’s been a lot less mainstream hoopla about it than there was with the sale of MRP. Despite the face there’s been a whole host of taxpayer funded sweeteners attached to the deal.

On merit

Written By: - Date published: 1:07 pm, September 29th, 2013 - 35 comments

matt mccarten

Which Labour MP has Matt McCarten today described as “Another Cunliffe loyalist rewarded.” and scored 5/10?

Now, which Labour MP got the government on the ropes with a member’s bill to the point that Bill English had to threaten a rarely used and politically damaging financial veto?

On national’s smear tactics

Written By: - Date published: 9:34 pm, September 25th, 2013 - 100 comments

john-key finger new

As Irish predicted, the Nats continued their desperate smear campaign today with the revelation that David Cunliffe doesn’t actually have a qualification he never actually claimed to have. Honestly, you couldn’t make this shit up.

Labour up 6.8% – Herald DigiPoll

Written By: - Date published: 6:04 am, September 25th, 2013 - 269 comments


Sure it’s just one poll but that’s nearly seven percent. And it’s (nearly) all come off National. This goes quite some way to explaining why National are breaking out the desperate dirty tricks…

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