Bridges scandal

Written By: - Date published: 9:27 am, June 19th, 2015 - 22 comments
Categories: accountability, national - Tags: , , , ,

Rob Salmond has an excellent guest post at Public Address. Here are some extracts:

Bridges swims in troubled waters
by Rob Salmond

I received new information from Simon Bridges this week, via the OIA. In my opinion, it proves he and Wayne Eagleson have been lying to New Zealand to cover up an abuse of power around the Northland by-election.

Bridge bribe

Remember the failed Northland bridge-bribe? That was a National party plan, not a government policy. The rules on those kinds of partisan initiatives are clear – politicians cannot use taxpayer-funded officials – at all – for this kind of project (Cabinet Manual, section 6.60).

Yet that is exactly what Simon Bridges did when he forced NZTA officials to drop everything and work on his bridge bribe. A series of emails, released to me via the OIA a while back, show the panicked and wide-ranging requests from Bridges’ office to the NZTA.

Then, predictably, the excuses began; each sillier than the last. … The most recent excuse, from Wayne Eagleson, was that National was initially planning this whole caper as government policy, then after getting the work done changed its mind and did it as a partisan announcement instead.

… I wrote to Bridges and asked him, under the OIA, for:

all documents held by your office that mention or detail whichever specific “government policy formation process” was used by Wayne Eagleson to justify the tasking emails about Northland that your office sent to NZTA …

This week, I got a response. The total number of documents Bridges could find to back up his story was … wait for it …

None. He couldn’t find even a single email obliquely mentioning a possible government bridge-widening programme in Northland. It was a ghost policy.

This is completely ridiculous. As I blogged at the time I made the request:

And, if they can’t find any documents, but they say that Bridges – in his own head – first intended the NZTA work to be for government policy formation, later changing his mind, then you might as well print the Cabinet Manual in two-ply. If the rule is “Ministers can use public officials for party work so long as the thought crossed their mind once for it to be government work,” then just delete the rule and be done with it.

That standard – obviously rortable as it is – is now what that National says protects the taxpayer from having to bankroll unlimited partisan research for the government of the day.

It is a sham and a disgrace. In other countries they’d call it corrupt.

The government needs to stop bullshitting everyone, admit Simon Bridges acted inappropriately, and stand him down for as punishment.

Continuing to insist on this obviously, provably fake version of events makes them look like a lying child caught elbow-deep in a cookie jar.

Go read the whole post at Public Address.

22 comments on “Bridges scandal”

  1. Tracey 1

    C’mon, this is a young Minister who has been taught by such people as


    Monkey see, monkey do, right?

  2. Old Mickey 2

    Excellent article. And, sadly the chances that all governments and all ministers being held to account for this…, zero, nada. As soon as it get raised, then the history lesson begins about all previous examples. Bridges is on a tight rope at the moment, he has to make a call re the thieving Lines Company (TLC) from Taumaranui. The commerce select committee and commerce commission are slowing uncovering Bridges inaction against TLC. People are dying, pensioners are being disconnected (for $19) and Bridges has done nothing. Would be great if Shearer took the opportunity to show up Bridges appalling behaviour.

    • tc 2.1

      Shearer…ha ha ha ha good one OM. Great example of lazy, self interested, ineffective trougher.

      • Old Mickey 2.1.1

        I know Shearer and Little have been copied on correspondence on the TLC issue, so looks like you are right.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    I really hope Bridges is a future leader of the National party, as apparently he is being groomed to be.

  4. cogito 4

    “The government needs to stop bullshitting everyone”

    Why? It has won them three general elections. Bullshit works, and kiwis lap it up. This govt will not stop bullshitting. Kiwis need to stop lapping it up and swallowing it like chocolate sauce.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1


      Would be nice if we could effectively ensure that corrupt government ministers could be jailed as well.

  5. Charles 5

    Meanwhile, in the minds of NZders across the nation…

    National MPs are corrupt liars you say? Outrageous. Would never have guessed. They look like nice polite people to me… doing what’s best for the… oh… wait… whats that? Miley Cyrus in the nude posing with a pig! eeeehehheheee! it’s important because it’s a PIG and she’s NUDE!

  6. Stephen Dickson 6

    Damn straight Draco.
    It really is time they were all held accountable and that there was serious repercussions for their actions.
    Jail. Fines. Stripped of any honors etc.

    • Colonial Rawshark 6.1

      Nice thinking but civic action is the only way that is going to happen; the power elite aren’t going to put in place steps to expose themselves.

      Is any political party going to put forward proposals on 100% transparency of political funding? Or public funding of political parties to get private money out of the picture? Nope.

    • Capn Insano 6.2

      How gutter-vermin like Collins can keep the title of ‘Honourable’ is beyond me and with people like Key I would follow the word ‘Right’ with a difference choice of words.

  7. Tom Gould 7

    Why doesn’t someone ask the Cabinet Secretary to uphold the dignity of the office and the Cabinet Manual? Surely they would honourably resign faced with such malfeasance?

  8. Smilin 8

    Simon BBBBBBRRRRRIIIIIIIDDDDDGGGGGEEEEEESSSSSSSS the gap between National Party BS and The National Govt but its really an inversion of Bridges ego nano nano a really fuckn small gap if any

  9. Smilin 9

    Simon BBBBBBRRRRRIIIIIIIDDDDDGGGGGEEEEEESSSSSSSS the gap between National Party BS and The National Govt but its really an inversion of Bridges ego nano nano a really fuckn small gap if any

  10. There needs to be a proper solution to this issue of bullshit and blame-passing. Or maybe just fire the whole unit of people who are causing all this ruckus. Then again, that would probably cause more problems when they have to clean up all the mess left behind..

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