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In other news

Written By: - Date published: 8:59 am, June 25th, 2011 - 14 comments
Categories: bill english, david cunliffe, john key, leadership - Tags: ,

The spotlight was on Christchurch last week, and will be on Te Tai Tokerau over the weekend. Lots of stories are slipping by under the radar. But both of these pieces deserve further comment. Tim Watkin at Pundit takes John Key to task:

The PM’s Pike River problems – time to stop digging

John Key’s brought some messy baggage back from Australia, and finds himself in a hole of his own making at a very sensitive time politically. Yet every new word just seems to make it worse

When it comes to talking about mining, the Prime Minister should realise he’s in a hole and stop digging. But from his interview with The Australian to his unconvincing performance during today’s Question Time, he just can’t seem to step away from the pit opening in front of him.

Yesterday, The Australian ran a news story that quoted John Key acknowledging that questions needed to be asked about mine safety standards in this country. He went on to say that a single-entry uphill mine, as Pike River was, would not have been legal in Australia. He stressed that he couldn’t give a complete answer because of the royal commission that’s under way, but added that no dount changes would be recommended.

Key’s statements weren’t in error, nor were they out of kilter with public opinion. The problem is that they were hypocritical – the great political crime – and that they muddied the waters around the commission and looked too political. …

The Prime Minister tried to get his feet back on solid ground, but instantly slipped. He told the Herald that he wasn’t saying that New Zealand had lower safety standards, merely that the countries standards were “different”. He stood by his statements last year that to his knowledge New Zealand standards are on a par with Australia.

But that’s nonsense. It’s clear that New Zealand mining safety standards are a) lower than Australia’s and b) not world’s best practice. …

And John Armstrong at The Herald lampoons Kate Wilkinson and Bill English:

English bounces back faster than economy

The Labour Party might claim National does not have a plan for growing the economy. But National does have a plan. What’s more it is a “cogent” plan. Not only that. It is a plan which plans to increase the number of jobs. For these mind-blowing revelations, we can thank Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson and her replies to questions in Parliament yesterday. …

Almost as excruciating to watch was Labour finance spokesman David Cunliffe’s well-executed evisceration of Bill English … he was brave (or foolhardy) enough to set up a patsy question for himself to which he answered that there was “emerging evidence”that despite the February earthquake in Christchurch, the economy had been on track “and perhaps a little stronger than expected” in the first part of 2011.

The cue for this relative outpouring of optimism was the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research’s consensus forecasts which, in showing economic growth rising to about 2 per cent over the next year followed by 4 per cent in the following year, were “fairly similar” to discredited Treasury forecasts in last month’s Budget.

But Cunliffe had done some homework. He asked whether English recalled his reply to a similar question in September 2009, when he had received reports indicating the economy was showing “some early signs of recovery”.

Or the one in October 2009 to which English had replied: “In recent weeks a number of reports have confirmed an early sign of pick-up in business confidence.”.

Or the one in March 2010, when English replied: “It is important we convert the early start to recovery into a permanent lift.”

Or the one in July 2010 when English had said the economy was “making very significant progress”. …

Cunliffe then cut to the chase, asking if English’s habit of counting his chickens before they had hatched was one reason Standard & Poor’s had kept NZ’s credit rating on negative outlook. English took it on the chin. “I do recall those answers,” he laughed.

There’s no denying that Key’s government remains popular. But that popularity is a house of cards, there’s no foundation of competence to hold it up. I still reckon that the election is all on, if Labour can offer a plausible, forward looking, and well costed alternative.

14 comments on “In other news ”

  1. higherstandard 1

    “I still reckon that the election is all on, if Labour can offer a plausible, forward looking, and well costed alternative.”

    Seeing as they’ve come out with nothing but similar drivel to National over the last several years one can only surmise that it’s more of the same dross for the next few years at least.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Similar drivel to National? Is National is going to

      – Stop asset sales?
      – Raise the minimum wage to $15/hr?
      – Repeal the 90 day right to fire law?
      – Remove GST 15% from fruits and vegetables?
      – Change the RBA to take into account non-inflation targets?
      – Create an R&D tax credit?
      – Restart a major programme of apprentice and trades training?
      – Order govt. organisations to Buy New Zealand made where possible?

      If they are, I’d like to know!

  2. “if Labour can offer a plausible, forward looking, and well costed alternative.”
    Yeah like Kiwi Saver
    The big problem all parties have is that word plausible, even the dumb ass masses are starting to see through the bullshit of endless growth on a ravaged planet – as imposable
    But the spirit of entitlement is strong, so maybe there is still enough time left to squeeze one more round of bullshit before it hits the fan

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      At least KiwiSaver takes money out of immediate consumer spending and consumption.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      But the spirit of entitlement is strong, so maybe there is still enough time left to squeeze one more round of bullshit before it hits the fan

      Probably more than one round. I reckon ~2020 before it really becomes indisputable that the socio-economic system that we’ve been slaving away under for the last few hundred years has destroyed any real hope of prosperity for the many. Times are going to get hard unless we (NZ) pull back into the environments limits but, yeah, no party I can find seems to be able to admit that.

      • Robert Atack 2.2.1

        Yeah Bastard, …………….. it is one )
        It would be like the Easter Island high priest saying they should stop their multi generational ‘economy’ of carving statues, as the amount of trees was approaching halfway gone?? but no they had faith in their gods (Kiwi Saver etc) that when all the trees were gone they would sprout legs walk to their place of guardianship and provide the masses with all their needs … which must seem as convincing as what politicians tell us today – the ‘market’ will provide.
        Nothing good is going to come from ‘project human’
        Homo Colossus has had one of the shortest times on this planet, but will leave one of the longest legacies, what with 440 nuke power plants, and the oceans covered in plastic.

  3. Afewknowthetruth 3

    How odd (not) that the big news of the week doesn’t get a mention.

    The IEA has organised depletion of the western world’s strategic oil reserves (oil in tanks) as well as depletion of oil in actual wells. By doing so it has managed to manipulate oil prices down a tad, so we can expect petrol prices to fall slightly. That should provide enough impetus to keep the merry-go-round that constitutes the NZ economy turning for a few more months.

    Just why the IEA would want to stimulate oil consumption after it has already acknowledged we are past peak oil remains something of a mystery. However, we do know that ‘lunatics are running the asylum’, so anything is possible.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Yeah, saw that. The reserves have a couple of months supply in them and so releasing them will pull fuel prices down a bit and then the reserves will be gone and prices will go back up.

      As to why? Summertime in the Northern Hemisphere and a lot of people wouldn’t have gone on holiday (read tourism) if fuel prices had remained high. In other words, it’s an attempt to boost the economy and make people feel better for a short while.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        It’s an attempt to head off further social unrest in several key countries. Its desperation measures.

  4. Ian 4

    How about this gem – profiteering off the NZ public
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10734386 – but it’s OK it’s big business ‘helping’ rugby!

    Meanwhile over at ACT HQ Smile and wave is hanging out with Cactus Kate!


  5. seeker 5

    Noticing more antics from Nick Smith who really went to the dark side about four years ago….. how is it over there Nick ?? Don’t bother to knock on my door this year in your ‘ol’ friendly meet the locals jacket’ that you’ve probably worn since you became MP for Nelson in 1996 in your effort to show how sincere and ‘user friendly’ you are for the electorate. Your true merciless, ruthless, monetary, manipulating, nature has been revealed in the last couple of years via ACC stripping and prepping for privatisation. This ‘good news ‘is happily just in time for this year’s election door knocking. How cynical.


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