Chris Bishop can’t count

Written By: - Date published: 12:26 pm, December 3rd, 2023 - 48 comments
Categories: chris bishop, Christopher Luxon, health, making shit up, national, same old national, spin, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

You have to worry about how trustworthy the Government is especially when it gets very simple facts wrong.

Latest example has come from its attempt to justify its rolling back of the Smokefree reforms so that it had space to give landlords a retrospective tax cut.

On Wednesday Christopher Luxon claimed that if the reforms passed there would only be one tobacco retail outlet in Northland.

From Amelia Wade at Newshub:

National didn’t campaign on the smokefree rollback. It was a line item in ACT’s alternative budget and was only added to New Zealand First’s manifesto one week before the election – after people had started voting.

The Prime Minister has now seen the cigarette light in his governing buddies’ position.

“You’ve got one store in Northland that will be a magnet for crime, absolutely no doubt about it there will also be a big drive around the black market,” Luxon said.

But a correction, the former Government’s reduction of cigarette retailers actually allowed for 18 stores in Northland.

By my count the proposal actually allows for 34 stores in all, five in Whangarei, two each in Dargaville and Kaikohe and Paihia/Kawakawa/Moerewa, one each in in Kerikeri and Mangawhai Heads and One Tree Point and Ruakākā and Snells Beach, and 18 in rural areas of Northland.

But did National back off from what is clearly wrong?  This morning on Q&A former Tobacco lobbyist and current Minister Chris Bishop doubled down on the claim.

The claim is easily disproved.  The Director General’s list is readily available and I presume people within National can count.

But repeating the falsehood when it has been pointed out that it is wrong and refusing to back down is really worrying.  And clearly Bishop has not read the Director General’s reports.  And if policy has been formulated by such an easily disproved misapprehension of the policy then you have to wonder about how valid the analysis behind other policies is.

48 comments on “Chris Bishop can’t count ”

  1. Johnr 1

    I watched bishop on Q and A in astonishment. Never seen such pig headed stupidity from a pollie before. You'd of thought he'd have learnt when to stop digging by now.

  2. Ed 2

    It’s a real concern how brazen he was in the interview.

    • Ghostwhowalks 2.1

      Even worse as he probably knew it was correct but he couldnt contradict the boss…. until Luxon did his customary flip flop

  3. National just don't give a fick that people know they are dishonest and self serving, otherwise why would the use an ex employee of big tobacco to front this, has anyone dug into the cancer coalitions financial backers to make sure tobacco companies arnt donating to them ?

  4. Grey Area 4

    "I don't see how we can take this any further," says Bishop.

    You take it further by admitting you were wrong. But he won't because it doesn't fit the coalition's dishonest framing.

    It is of concern as Ed says how brazen he was, almost Trumpian with his alternative facts.

    Bare-faced liar.

    And as bwaghorn says they really don't care when they are caught out lying.

    A lot of us knew they were going to bad, but not how bad.

    • fender 4.1

      Yes, National are wedded to the U.S. Republican Party tactic of repeating lies in an effort to make them reality.

      • Rodel 4.1.1

        It's been called normalisation of lying…and its working. No journalist has the fortitude to say it.

      • tc 4.1.2

        With our pathetic owned media it's a solid tactic as you'll hardly ever be called out by the jonolists.

        If you are then refine the bs, Rinse repeat job done. Winnie's shown fact checking is beyond them and their goldfish memories.

  5. Wally 5

    Also:

    When asked, Bishop said he didn't believe Labour's changes would have saved lives.

    "No, I think the evidence is not there on that. The changes are highly speculative, and were actually opposed by some people in the anti-smoking movement."

    I'm sure he said that some homeless charities wanted landlords to be able to evict tenants without cause. No such homeless charity was every found.

    • Ghostwhowalks 5.1

      Remember the other smear of knocking on car windows at night and homeless refusing assistance.

      Complete lie

      • newsense 5.1.1

        Renters group helping their renting policy seems like another example of his BS. Some please keep a list we can hang around his neck.

    • Chris 5.2

      Repealing the anti-smoking laws is national's key policy for reducing the cost of living.

  6. observer 6

    Morning: Chris Bishop confident and strong.

    Afternoon: Chris Bishop confused and wrong.

    Luxon admits 'we've got it wrong' on number of cigarette outlets in Northland | Stuff.co.nz

    The bigger picture here is Luxon letting his senior Minister double down, and then throwing him under the bus. He's building himself a very unhappy team, and we all know how that ends for National party leaders …

    • Robert Guyton 6.1

      Well done, Jack Tame.

      Watch your back, Jack Tame.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 6.2

      "Ah, well look – we got it wrong. Ah, y'know I said we could have expressed it better."
      – Luxon

      Our Prime Minister – 'we' could have done better, imho.

      • alwyn 6.2.1

        It is rather nice to again hear a Prime Minister admit to having made a mistake. The last time I remember was in John Key's day when they made changes to KiwiSaver and said that no-one would be worse off. Someone found a case where a contributor in a particular income bracket could be worse off. Key admitted to the mistake and put a change in the bill to get rid of the anomaly. The then Opposition complained that he was making the change, mostly because he was removing the chance for them to attack him.

        I can't remember any PM since who has made such an admission and I doubt that Luxon will continue to do so when the inevitable mistakes happen. He will do what long term politicians always do and start claiming that black is white. Key in his later days, like Ardern and Chippie, simply never admitted a mistake.

        • observer 6.2.1.1

          Google: Ardern mistake.

          Search took 0.31 seconds.

          You really don't need to rely on your poor memory.

          • alwyn 6.2.1.1.1

            You mean where she got caught out in Parliament insulting Seymour?

            Did you see the bit in the first story you get?

            "Seymour told Newstalk ZB’s Heather du Plessis-Allan he’d been called worse, and he actually saw it as “a victory”.

            “I asked her the question… before she said it… can she give us one example where she’d made a mistake, admitted it, apologised and fixed it.

            “She couldn’t answer the question which is probably why she was a bit flustered… the great irony is now I actually have got her to apologise for something. So that’s progress. I just wish she’d apologise for a few other things.”.

            You are pushing things aren't you.

            [Firstly, you’re quoting from an unknown source and without linking; Google search results can be quite different for different users depending on a number of factors.

            Secondly, despite recent warnings, you continue your diversion trolling habit.

            Educational ban of two weeks and if that’s not enough then the next one will be much longer – Incognito]

            • Incognito 6.2.1.1.1.1

              Mod note

            • observer 6.2.1.1.1.2

              You mean where she got caught out in Parliament insulting Seymour?

              I mean the various examples which a simple search will show. Not only one.

              PMs of any party sometimes make mistakes and apologise. It's nonsense to claim that Key and Luxon did but Ardern/Hipkins never did.

              This is not a matter of opinion, but of record, and very easy to check.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 6.2.1.2

          The last time I remember was in John Key's day when they made changes to KiwiSaver and said that no-one would be worse off…
          Key admitted to the mistake and put a change in the bill to get rid of the anomaly.

          Could you provide a link to the details so that I can refresh my memory.

          I can't remember any PM since who has made such an admission…
          Key in his later days, like Ardern and Chippie, simply never admitted a mistake.

          Never say never wink

          Ardern admits Three Waters entrenchment mistake [5 Dec 2022]

          Maybe not being able to count ciggie outlets is just a simple case of Luxon/Bishflap post-election teething troubles – time will tell.

          He said sometimes when asked a question by a reporter on the campaign trail an answer would "run into the wrong spaces".

          An answer would run into the wrong spaces – quite like that smiley

        • Thinker 6.2.1.3

          Perhaps people like you find it "rather nice to again hear a Prime Minister admit to having made a mistake". That's your opinion and who can challenge you on that.

          However, if you thought a little more deeply about it, I find it rather not nice that such a personage as the Prime Minister:

          1. Can't tell the difference between 1 and 35; and/or
          2. Makes policy without considering even the basic facts that are there for all to see, for those who would be bothered; and
          3. Holds an impromptu press conference on a Sunday afternoon in a public reserve to tell the country that he has trouble expressing himself. This as his excuse for not understanding the difference between 1 and 35. Alwyn, here's your obligatory reference: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/301019597/luxon-admits-weve-got-it-wrong-on-number-of-cigarette-outlets-in-northland

          If government policy for the next 3 years is based on such limited research and if policies are rolled out to the public by a Prime Minister who admits to having trouble expressing himself, then we've got problems, I think.

          On 5 April 2022, Luxon labelled Vladimir Putin a war criminal and demanded the ambassador's removal. Brownlee went further, to cite the then government as "ineffective". Now, Luxon is unwilling to call for the ambassador's removal. Alwyn, do you find that "rather nice" too?

          (Here's your obligatory references: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/464672/national-party-leader-christopher-luxon-labels-putin-a-war-criminal-again-urges-ambassador-s-removal and https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2023/11/ukraine-war-prime-minister-christopher-luxon-unwilling-to-commit-to-expelling-russian-ambassador-despite-previously-calling-it.html)

        • Ghostwhowalks 6.2.1.4

          So it it was itsby bitsy teeny weeny mistake that affected one person in Kiwisaver ?

          Of course it was bigger than in that he claimed 'official advice' backed his claim

          https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/70116334/ird-document-contradicts-john-keys-claims-about-kiwisaver-changes

          In the following days the Government claimed there would be little if any impact on the numbers who enrolled.

          "[T]he removal of the $1,000 kickstart contribution will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver," Key told Parliament on May 26, claiming the statement was derived from "the formal advice from the Inland Revenue Department".

          The IRD advice was released :

          "Lower numbers of KiwiSaver members (particularly among the self-employed and children)," IRD warned.

          Just a month after the Budget, ANZ, New Zealand's largest KiwiSaver provider, said the number of enrolments had plunged by more than 50 per cent.

          The big reveal showed that Key just made up his claim about IRD advice, so was a deliberate lie on his part. Typically he didnt read briefing papers and just used his spin doctors prepared lines and his own factoids added.

          Strikingly similar to Luxons made up claim about '1 shop', and now trying to deflect with another lie about his staff 'checking the numbers' in future .

  7. Populuxe1 7

    I don't think anyone has ever accused Bishop of being particularly bright or mentally agile, except, perhaps, himself

  8. ianmac 8

    Sadly the message would have reached the ears of worried voters in Northland and elsewhere.

    Northlanders will say, "That Labour Government was going to destroy our rights and our pleasure by limiting the whole of Northland to one place to buy cigarettes. Just one! Some lefties reckon the numbers are wrong but how would we manage with just one shop? Just as well we now have a helpful strong Government to protect us. Yay!"

    That’s how Trump captures the MAGA lot, because it works!

    • AB 8.1

      It's a useful lie as it plays into the myth that normal public health measures are an example of the repressive nanny state, locking you down, telling what you can and can't buy, etc. Covid created this leverage point and it can quickly move outside the health domain into things like the state trying to stop you driving a ute, forcing the 'Maorification' of government departments on you, claiming that a man is a woman – and more broadly just telling you what to think. This is where the pandemic left us – and as Robert G perceptively noted the other day, such marginal thinking has "bled" into the mainstream now. It's not obvious how to push back on this movement – and Labour in Government clearly had little idea.

      • ianmac 8.1.1

        Yes AB and elderly Winston has grabbed the method and like Trump, is feeding the peasants what they want to hear. Doesn't have to be true and Winston knows that by the time a few wonder about the accuracy, it's too late, because they are on to the next trumpet call. Bishop did it today as did Luxon in a standup.

        Will there ever be a Correction to the Process of Manipulation of We the People?

        • Robert Guyton 8.1.1.1

          Yes. The Opposition can employ the same tactics; repeat the truth, repeat it again and again. Counter every run of lie with a run of truth.

          Why wouldn't that work?

      • observer 8.1.2

        That's a valid concern overall, but I doubt that it applies to smoking, not any more.

        Clark's government (or Parliament) banned smoking in bars, there was some pushback at the time but National weren't interested in changing it back again when in power. Same for other anti-smoking measures, introduced when Tariana Turia was Key's associate minister.

        There are other so-called "nanny state" issues, but the battle for public opinion has been largely won when it comes to tobacco, and I don't see any gain for Luxon & co against a united health sector.

        • Mike the Lefty 8.1.2.1

          When Labour banned smoking in bars National wailed that all the pubs would close down and it would be the end of life as we know it.

          When Labour banned disposable plastic supermarket bags National wailed that it would be the end of life as we know it.

          Several years on and we are still living, using bars and supermarkets as if nothing had happened.

          Millions less plastic bags blowing around in the streets and being able to go to the pub for a couple of hours and come out not smelling like a tobacco farm.

          It wouldn't have happened under National.

  9. observer 9

    The timeline is important here. It was Luxon who led with the false claim (post-Cabinet press conference, Tuesday). Bishop only followed his leader.

    I think there's too much focus here on conspiracy rather than cock-up (a common mistake on the left). Luxon has already demonstrated many times that he is not across details – before and after the election.

    That's not a tactic, it's not wily manipulation, that's just who he is. Bluster and waffle instead of putting the work in. He's way out of his depth, and should not be credited with devilish skills he does not possess.

  10. newsense 10

    Dishonest or incompetent?
    Or both?

    Having seen the campaign it doesn’t seem to bother them any which way. They certainly haven’t been punished much for it it, apart from some donors giving to NZF and their vote dropping to 38%…

  11. observer 11

    This is a detailed demolition of the government's case, from the NZ Doctor website. Anyone interested in the issue should read it. Luxon, Reti and Bishop should definitely read it.

    The Smokefree legislation is evidence-based, removing it is not | New Zealand Doctor (nzdoctor.co.nz)

    So on the one hand we have an evidence-based rebuttal of the proposed repeal. Along with similar responses from pretty much everyone who's anyone in the field.

    On the other hand, we have … nothing. If any major health organisation or relevant authority has come out in support of the government's decision, perhaps you could provide a link to it. I've seen nothing.

    Most political debates do have a range of opinion, a counter-argument to consider, with vocal supporters chiming in. Has there ever been an issue as one-sided as this?

    • Robert Guyton 11.1

      This is the approach they have adopted, meaning they will Get Things Done.

      Niggly criticisms such as, "all evidence is against your plan", will be absorbed and ignored as if it is mere vapour.

    • Vivie 11.2

      How does Shane Reti rationalise his support of the Government's decision to repeal Labour's smokefree legislation, in the face of international evidence of its effectiveness in reducing smoking? In his own electorate many doctors at Whangarei Hospital, 18 from one department at the time the following report, have signed a petition to leave the legislation in place. It is inexplicable that as a doctor Reti is willing to be part of a morally bankrupt, deceitful, uncaring government, and is defending the indefensible. From RNZ this morning:

      https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/503854/northland-doctors-say-scrapping-smokefree-legislation-ridiculous "If you have what's considered the biggest anti-cancer effort in New Zealand history, these smokefree laws, if you have that world-leading legislation, you don't repeal it, you don't throw that away just for some short-term tax revenues." Payinda told Morning Report.

      "The idea that 18 doctors would all agree on the same thing and would all sign up to this open letter within in a day-and-a-half of Dr Eugene Fayerberg writing the letter up, is pretty impressive. This is just in one hospital, not even in just a hospital, in one department of a hospital in Northland."

      He could not understand why the health minister – a former doctor – was supporting the proposal.

      "As a fellow physician, you surely must know the costs of such short-sightedness," the letter said".

  12. Rodel 12

    of course he can count. He just doesn't give a shit about other people.

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago

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