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Labour exposes planless Key

Written By: - Date published: 12:04 am, March 16th, 2011 - 128 comments
Categories: crime, Economy, im/migration, john key, labour, national, Parliament, phil goff - Tags:

There’s been increasing concern over the past week or two that not only has the government failed to communicate its plan for the Christchurch recovery, it doesn’t actually have one, and isn’t particularly concerned about getting one. Yesterday in the House, Labour took Key to task on this important issue. And he was found terribly wanting.

It started with Phil asking Key to give people in Christchurch some vital information:

Hon PHIL GOFF (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that “rebuilding Christchurch is a key priority for the Government this year”; if so, what rebuilding plans are currently in place?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister) : Yes, I do. However, due to aftershocks and the need for inspections and demolitions, rebuilding may not begin in the central business district for at least 6 months. It is very important that the reasons for the severity of damage to certain buildings and consequent loss of life are understood as soon as possible. For this reason, Cabinet will request that the royal commission provide an interim report back in approximately 6 months. This report will include any recommendations that may be relevant to the construction of new buildings in Christchurch’s central business district.

It’s funny, I heard Goff’s question and took at as being about the 100,000 damaged houses, including the 10,000 Key says will have to be demolished. You know, the places where families live. But it seems Key thinks first and last about business buildings. I guess we just see the world differently.

Hon Phil Goff: What steps is the Government taking to begin an emergency housing programme for the 10,000 families unable to return to their homes because they are uninhabitable?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The relevant Minister and Cabinet has that issue well in hand. We will be in a position to make an announcement in the foreseeable future.

Yeah, I wonder how foreseeable the future is when you’re crapping in a bucket, your house has come off its piles, and government ministers are making (and then retracting) ominous comments about your entire community being abandoned.

Hon Phil Goff: What new skills training initiatives are being put into place, given the massive rebuilding job that lies ahead of Christchurch? Given that 9,000 people in Christchurch have been made redundant as a result of the earthquake, with unemployment expected to reach 7 percent, what skills training initiatives are being put in place to ensure that those people can help in the rebuilding of their own city?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The relevant Ministers-Steven Joyce, the Minister for Tertiary Education, and Paula Bennett, the Minister for Social Development and Employment, have been meeting with both their departments and the business recovery group, which is the old chamber of commerce, to discuss skills requirements. Again, they have planning in hand and will be able to make announcements in due course.

Ah, good. Playing your cards close to your chest. That’s what the people in the quake zone are looking for.

Jacinda then asked Key about what he is doing to stop the tide of skilled construction industry workers that are heading to Australia, given that we’re going to need every one we can get our hands on when the rebuilding starts.

Jacinda Ardern: Is he concerned about the number of partly trained plumbers who have left New Zealand for Australia since September?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes, and I think Helen Clark should apologise for it.

Nice. No answer and a non sequitur swipe at his predecessor. Can you feel the ambitious for New Zealand-ness? Even Lockwood Smith thought it was pathetic, saying “I cannot help with the answer; that was the answer that was given.”

Jacinda Ardern: What does he say to Julie Colthurst, whose son has been forced to move to Australia to find a plumbing apprenticeship even after completing 12 months of plumbing training at Manukau Institute of Technology?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I ask him to please get in contact with my office.

And what happens then? Key gives him interview tips? Calls up one of his mates in the industry, pulls a favour?

Trev then chipped in with a further question about a young plumber who had just headed to Aussie

Hon Trevor Mallard: Why did the Prime Minister’s Ministers not take action to prevent people like this young man from leaving the country?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I am glad that the member asked that question, because this Government has taken lots of steps to prevent people from going from New Zealand. We have cut personal taxes, we have got on top of the crime wave that was prevalent when those members were in Government, we have made a priority of economic growth, we have had an outward-facing economy, and under our Government fewer people have left for Australia than under the previous Government.

Uh huh.

They got on top of the crime wave, did they? Strange that there were 15,270 more crimes recorded last June year than in the 2008 year June.

And growth’s “a priority”? Ah, that’ll be why GDP per person is down 3.4% since Key came to power and why we’re in a second recession that won’t end until at least June.

“Under our Government fewer people have left for Australia than under the previous Government”. Last year 33,583 people left for Australia, worse than all but three years under Labour.

128 comments on “Labour exposes planless Key ”

  1. lprent 1

    The guy is useless, and most of his cabinet are just as ineffective.

    We are now heading up towards 4 weeks after the earthquake, and they evidentally haven’t got the faintest idea about what they are going to do. As far as I can see, the only things that have been done for the future of Christchurch have been jury rigged solutions done with little money by the people and businesses in Christchurch. Oh and few businesses and their employees have been tided over – at least until next week.

    You can just see us having to write posts here in 5 months saying something like “remember when that nice man John Key and that great development guy Brownlee said they’d help Christchurch? Well you remember how they screwed everyone over at Pike River? Now tis your turn..”

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Not useless, they’re doing exactly as John Key promised his rich mates – lowering wages, cutting taxes on the rich while increasing taxes on the poor, and lowering public education so that the majority of people won’t know how to question the decisions of the rich.

  2. This is typical Labour trying to get hits on NACTs reliance on the private sector to initiate recovery.
    If Labour want to make any impact at all it needs to have its own plans to present to win public support and get credibility in election year. Christ if it can’t do this in Christchurch where can it do it? Needs a plan for emergency (we have a state of…) public works under MinSocDev for public employment in infrastructure, housing etc to immediately soak up unemployed and teach skills on the job. This planning should be done by public consultation beginning now, each neighbourhood represented by delegates elected by residents to make this a democratic plan supported by the people, not a Cabinet minister, crony, bankster, jackup with private contractors. Immediate statement that instead of cutting money in science and technology, a massive fund for the two unis down there to coordinate a wider plan for the reconstruction of ChCh harnessing the huge public sector skills that already exist in geology, town planning, transport, heritage etc. All of this should be coordinated by a Council empowered under the legislation handed to Gerry Brownlee to oversee the input from the neighbourhood councils and the wider planning process.
    If Labour can’t see that it needs to return to its roots in the working class facing a coming depression as well as more disasters and population displacements from global warming, then its living in a bureaucratic bubble of irrelevance and will face a big bang come November.

    • 26-64 2.1

      I think you’ve highlighted an excellent point there. Why does Labour, as a collection of people with influencial contacts, need to wait to be elected before filling the planning vacuum? It doesn’t. Unless it’s snoozing, after one too many chardonnays or scared it will offer a plan “for the good of the people” to the opposition. All very telling isn’t it. No politicians will move unless they get elected for their efforts. It’s about them, not “the people”. Time to look elsewhere for assistence it seems.

      • Rosy 2.1.1

        Immediately they’ll be spun as electioneering on the back of Cantabrians tragedy. About the only thing they can do as well as calling the government to account in parliament is to call them to account in the MSM – but even then they would have to be extremely wary

      • mickysavage 2.1.2

        Geez 26-64 National controls treasury and the Government spend. Labour gets the opportunity to stand up and give passionate speeches in Parliament but that is all.

        How about a crash course in politics before making such a statement.

        • Pete

          Savage exposure of planless Labour

          I hope Labour plans to do a bit more than speak in Parliament. Another heading could be:

          Savage exposure of nearly half of Parliament wasting every three years

          I want to elect MPs to work on running the country – all of them, not a few more than half. So why not something positive:

          Labour suggests ways of improving the response in Christchurch that doesn’t involve playing interference until November

          • lprent

            See my answer at 2.1,3

            Ineffective NACT ministers refuse to share information.

            Oh and I suspect that you do not understand the important role of the opposition. Next you’ll want to eliminate back benchers or something equally idiotic.

            • Pete

              If it’s important why don’t they do it properly? I’d suggest 80% positive politics, and the rest carefully selected and justified exposing of crap – which will then have a lot more chance of being taken notice off because everyone doesn’t just roll there eyes at yet another attempt to diss.

              Oppositions are too stuck in their stupid last century habits.

              • Pascal's bookie

                So the opposition suggests some positive ideas that they think are what is needed.

                The government, who disagrees, says ‘no, we are going to do this instead, which we think is the right thing to do’.

                What next? Should the opposition give up on their ideas and go along with the government’s plan, even though they think it is wrong? What about the people whom they are supposed to represent?

              • Colonial Viper

                Oppositions are too stuck in their stupid last century habits.

                No, it’s the Tories who are stuck in the elite aristocracy of the 1920’s, like you are.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  it’s the Tories who are stuck in the elite aristocracy of the 1520′s,


              • Pete your naievity is touching but it aint going to happen. National is not going to share its toys and it controls the Treasury.

                And it will leave everything up to the invisible back hand of the market.

                It will not listen to any of Labour’s proposals.

            • Pascal's bookie

              Pete seems to want to abolish democracy in the name of everyone just getting along and agreeing to do the plainly obvious things that everyone knows needs to be done and let’s not have have any of this incivil ‘disagreeing’ about it now, shall we, ok, good.

              • Rosy

                A United Future 🙂

                Captcha: Concepts

              • Pete

                I’ve made it clear I want a better, more democratic democracy. One where robust debate is welcome and necessary – and open, not quashed behind party curtains in the vain hope the appearance is “everyone just getting along and agreeing”.

                • Bright Red

                  you get all prissy about people debating and seeking answers from the government on what is happening in the Chch rebuild. Then you say you want more debate and more democracy.

                  It’s clear that the only debate you want is over how lovely John Key is – a) totally cutesy-wotsy, b) superfly.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  Nonsense. Your complaint seems to be that the parties spend to much time squabbling about their disagreements and that they just get on with it. This presupposes that there is a method of doing ‘it’ that everyone knows in their heart of hearts to be the right way.

                • Rosy

                  yeah but you’re only looking at what parties do within a system they have lost cotrol over, how do they get that back?
                  I don’t know if you were around for the election when Peter Dunne came back from the dead – you’re sounding exactly like hime when he was dubbed ‘Mr Commonsense’

                  As it stands the public aren’t engaged, they need something sensationalist to get involved, the MSM needs same to sell ‘news’, public gets pissed-off and cynical, and that shuts politicians up until the election but by then the public is disengaged.

                  Of course all parties should be pushed to do more, be more decisive, be more in tune. And this ‘presidential style’ of politics is doing Goff no favours. But the way you’re advocating change is not going to happen. Mr Commonsense provides fresheness but really is useless.

                  There are press releases all the time, the MSM cherry picks. Spend a few days looking at them on Scoop and see what gets picked up by the MSM – it aint the positive stuff. Look at Iain Lees-Galloway’s post on Labour.org.nz and se how much of that got out there – nothing http://labour.org.nz/news/guardian-column-%E2%80%93-march-2011

                  Sorry for the rant. I feel dissolusioned (but not yet cynical)

                • Colonial Viper

                  I’ve made it clear I want a better, more democratic democracy. One where robust debate is welcome and necessary

                  This is the same tube of extended BS from the same Pete who slags off grassroots involvement in political parties right here:

                  The racist party

                  Pete don’t believe in no democracy, at least not one ordinary people get involved with.

                  His saying he does believe in democracy is the same as the Republican party saying that it believes in family values, while striving to cut unemployment benefits, health services and social security to distressed American families.

                  • Pete

                    CV, you seem to excel at totally misrepresenting what people say. Not sure if you are just a hissy conclusion jumper or not.

                    [lprent: Wasn’t up to something I’d moderate for. He didn’t attempt to re-frame what you’d said (which is what I would moderate on). He pointed to something you’d already said and then took the mickey to undermine your current statements – which is considered robust debate under the policy (and if you think he does it a lot, then wait until you run across felix who is really good at it).

                    You always have to be moderately careful what you assert around the blogs because people will remember and use the local search engine to locate it (@author “Pete”, Advanced / comments / freshness). You get used to it – and it is a pretty good education into thinking through the implications of the things that you write (or say).

                    Incidentally, you will often find me or one of the other moderators popping up in moderation mode after you query on standards of behavior. We are the people who set the permissibility levels. ]

                  • M

                    Don’t forget CV the family values shtick tof he governor who rails against abortion then has his daughter visit the clinic under an assumed name.

        • 26-64

          You telling me Labour makes new political contacts each and every term and disards old ones everytime they get voted out? Rubbish. Tell me again about who needs the crash course in politics. What you’re saying is Labour can’t do anything but complain passionately – which apart from being untrue, only highlights their indolence and self interest. So that’s nice then. You all believe Labour’s lost for ideas and no one can do anything about it until they’re elected, at which point the official thinking will begin, with possible ideas coming around year 2.5 of the term. Is that about right? Or is the argument that if they do offer a plan, they’re too scared that someone might say it’s electioneering. So they won’t begin the thing they actually need to get elected to begin official thinking. But they don’t want to get elected on plans. They reckon it will happen naturally. How about a crash course in logic for some? Jesus christ. Everyone knows National have no plan. Here’s a free sales tip: sell options, not hopelessness.

          • Rosy

            You’re not the first person on this blog to be at a loss to understand Labour’s election strategy. If you go back a bit you’ll see frustration with with the slow pace in quite a few places e.g http://thestandard.org.nz/time-for-the-goffice-to-step-up-to-the-plate/
            And yes, they can and should put up their strategy, loud and clear

          • mickysavage


            List the things that Labour can do without access to Treasury.

            Filling the planning vacuum. I agree there is one. But to do anything about it you need access to the planning information and professional analysis.

            Labour has neither access nor the resources to get professional analysis. The Government even refused Labour’s request for legal advice concerning Foreshore and Seabed II. What chance is there of getting the Government to set aside resources for planning?

            • Rich

              What can they do *with* access to Treasury, who are neo-liberals to a man and gave zero input to the last Labour government?

              There are many left-wing economists who could help Labour form alternative policies, if they were so inclined. However, I’m fairly convinced that all Goff wants to offer is a slightly watered down version of National’s policies with different faces at the helm.

              • lprent

                The treasury regardless of their intellectual / ideological biases do a pretty good job of putting the numbers together that are required to make decisions on.

          • Adrian

            Bullshit that Labour is doing nothing. 10 days ago Brendon Burns rang me and said that he thought Chch was being bullshitted about how many Portaloos there were available and could I find some on Marlborough vineyards, I found 15 private ones and sent them down. I have since found over 100 sitting in storage owned by portaloo companies. What has been Nationals response, Nicky Wagner who styles herself as the MP for Chch Central ( a blatant lie, that the useless Speaker won’t do anything about} , got Nat sympathisers to ring me under the pretense of asking for one for their place , when the decietful one was just trying to find out if BB was putting them in Labour areas. Nasty bastards. Fuck I detest Nats..

      • lprent 2.1.3

        Because all of those nice reports detailing the current known damage and costs are currently only available to the government. The government are acting like stunned mullets caught in a net, but they are not releasing that information.

        You can’t develop policy without numbers. I suspect that the Labour caucus is considerably more capable than the NAct caucus but you cannot conjure anything out of nothing. But you require the civil service that works for the government to share that information with the opposition. Why aren’t you asking the ineffective NAct ministers to do that?

        • Pete

          Because I’m not in the Labour caucus. They’re elected to do something positive, as are all MPs, not to just grizzle if they feel left out.

          • Colonial Viper

            Pete your caricature of what our elected MPs do is more ignorant bullshit.

            It reminds me of Fox News in the US spreading patently false concepts and misinformation.

            And it is a classic Tory distraction play: trying to hold responsible the people who are relatively powerless (in this case the minority MPs in Parliament) instead of speaking directly to those who wield the power – National and ACT.

            Time for you to start blaming the unemployed for being unemployed now, on your cue.

            Oh not that its my job to undo your deliberate and manufactured ignorance, but the job of an Opposition in our Westminster system is to oppose. It’s not to be “positive”, you post-modernist ignoramus.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Before you told me that you thought the government should in fact share this sort of info (comment 7.2.1). Now you say that it’s Labour’s fault if, when the government fails to do this, they complain.

        • 26-64

          The reason no one asks “the ineffective NAct ministers” is because they’re ineffective. Hence the label, ineffective. The whole point is there is a vaccum, yes? So people look to the next group, The Opposition, for alternatives, yes?

          Are you suggesting that Labour have no influence whatsoever in Christchurch? Have you heard of Brendon Burns. Are you suggesting he’s just sitting out there like a isolated blueberry on top of a NAtional pancake? Who else has Labour got? And their contacts?

          But no wait, lets give Phil “shoot em looters” Goff the air time. He knows about Liz Hurley, That’ll help.

          • lprent

            26-64: It is 8 months to the election? What do you propose that happens to the people in Christchurch between then and now?

            The ineffective NAct ministers need a lot of prodding to do their damn jobs. Just because they’re currently ineffective doesn’t mean that they can’t move out of the way and let the effective members of their civil service staff do what is required.

        • dave brown

          Look the NACTs are using the quake to do a disaster capitalism election special. Labour has to up its thinking and planning to challenge that. Consider ChCh as a local parliament. Tons of people are pissed off with being mistreated by cavalier tory ministers sitting on prime land, water and now with visions of making bucks out of a rebuild. They are running ChCh under urgency with Gerry and John regulating at will. Speak directly to the people. They are reacting to the bullshit on RWC. Get them fired up on how to run ChCh. Who cares what the NACTs say about exploiting quakes, its obvious to most that they are already running ChCh for their class. What about doing it for the interests of the working majority? The quake has brought the class fissure to the surface, stop trying to straddle it.

    • Peter 2.2

      Agreed, I want to hear Labour’s plans. NACT are there for the taking, but you have to take them.

    • Peter Rabbit 2.3

      Your 100% correct Dave. Labour have wasted this opportunity to win potential voters over by being on the frontline of getting Christchurch on its feet again. While the local MP’s have made great efforts for their communities Labour should have flooded the area with supporters and allies, just imagine the publicity, support and public good will if Labour had used its National and International network to put 3000 (The student army only had 1300) people on the ground in Labour Red Tee-shirts helping out, cleaning up supplying emergency shelters/supplies (all packaged in Bright Red Plastic wrap printed in “Provided by Labour New Zealand”).

      Instead all New Zealand sees is irrelevant attempts at political point scoring in.

      • Colonial Viper 2.3.1

        Imagine the public support if the Government had taken 3000 unemployed people, and given them jobs cleaning up Christchurch and supplying emergency supplies/shelters.

        And where were the 3000 National Party volunteers?

        • Peter Rabbit

          I agree Viper though WINZ is humstrung by being unable to force people to relocate to where there are job opportunities only prevent them from moving to areas where there are a lack of them.

          However Labour needs votes, labour needs to win this election to prevent another 3 years of this same crappy government. We have a great grass root network, excellent contacts internationally and nationally with suppliers and potential allies who we should be reaching out to to. We may be out of government but it doesn’t mean that we have to act like it.

          • Colonial Viper

            I agree Viper though WINZ is humstrung by being unable to force people to relocate to where there are job opportunities

            Mate, you’re going about this all the wrong way. Don’t follow the standard punitive NAT/WINZ tack. Instead:

            – Make job offers. Pay decently, say $14/hr
            – Offer people basic relocation costs
            – Provide the new workers with accomodation and meals in Christchurch

            The Government will have literal shit loads of people signing up for a deal like that.

        • Armchair Critic

          And where were the 3000 National Party volunteers
          The Farmy Army, probably.

      • mickysavage 2.3.2

        Pete, Peter, Peter Rabbit?

        Full court press?

        This post is all about the Nats stuffing up the rebuilding of Christchurch and you guys all pop up and criticise Labour for, well I am not sure.

        Bit of a diversion play?

        • Peter Rabbit

          (Pete Rabbit as my daughter came in wearing a Peter Rabbit t-shirt while I was signing up)

          To be honest I don’t care about national. What I do care about is that we have 8 months before the next General Election and unless Labour sorts their stuff out we’re going to either be stuck with the current lot of fools for another 3 years or be force into trying to gain the support of every Tom, Dick and Harry minor party to be regain control.

          I fear however that the Labour leadership have lost any ability to win outright and victory will only be achieved by make compromises to Tom, Dick and Harry. Either way I think its time that if the Leadership won’t lead then blogs like The Standard need to stand up and provide that leadership and act as a rally point for Labour and left wing supporters generally.

      • Rosy 2.3.3

        I had family and friends who wanted to go to Chch and help. Advice from those handling things was that more people would mae things more difficult. If you didn’t live there, stay away.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 2.4

      Interesting this did not seem to be the approach when Gerry declared all those central ChCh buildings be demolished. Who did he consult before saying that?

      That said, your approach is a fair and reasonable one. We should let Cantabrians decide for themselves with outsiders offering advise and support.

  3. James 3

    Goff mentions a figure of 10,000 homes- it’s interesting how the PM is able to set the agenda for all, even the opposition.

    Re: “Nice. No answer and a non sequitur swipe at his predecessor. Can you feel the ambitious for New Zealand-ness? Even Lockwood Smith thought it was pathetic, saying “I cannot help with the answer; that was the answer that was given.””

    The question asked was a closed question, a yes/no question: “Jacinda Ardern: Is he concerned about the number of partly trained plumbers who have left New Zealand for Australia since September?”

    Basically in the House, that’s a waste of a question – it’s an easy answer, and a chance to swipe at the opposition (seeing as that’s all both sides us question time for).

    There’s little the Speaker can do when such a question is asked, unless the swipe attached to the end of the answer is outrageous, and of course previous lines of questioning are taken into account as to whether it had been political or not. What’s the saying – ask a silly question, get a silly answer?

    “And what happens then? Key gives him interview tips? Calls up one of his mates in the industry, pulls a favour?”

    I’m certain the Office of the Prime Minister does a little more than give interview tips, and if not, it should do, it sucks up enough state resources. But a nice, meaningless swipe at the PM nonetheless (something the author is critical of a mere few words beforehand).

    “They got on top of the crime wave, did they? Strange that there were 15,270 more crimes recorded last June year than in the 2008 year June.”

    There’s nothing like selective statistics – Key did it (assuming he’s using some sort of per capita stat, which will always generally show crime trending down), and so does the author. I’m not even sure if using the June 2008 – June 2009 measure is helpful, as half of this period was covered by a Labour government, and there is going to be an obvious lag when a new government comes in. In either case, page 5 on the document provided seems to indicate that total crime in June 2009 – June 2010 was 441,960, slightly down from the total crime June 2008 – June 2009 (442,540).

    Do two wrongs make a right?

    Maybe, but as the above post mentioned, Labour won’t be able to spin their way to a win, nor will they be able to negatively attack their way to win.

    • Rosy 3.1

      “Labour won’t be able to spin their way to a win,”
      And this is a good thing. I’d love to see an election campaign telling ot how it is.

    • Zetetic 3.2

      “I’m not even sure if using the June 2008 – June 2009 measure is helpful,”

      Eddie didn’t. The comparison is 2007/08 vs 2009/10. Not so good at the reading, it seems

      • James 3.2.1

        “recorded last June year than in the 2008 year June.”

        I’ve read this as ‘the last June year’ (June 2009 – June 2010) and ‘the 2008 June year’ (June 2008 – June 2009). Does he mean the year up to last June, and the 2008 year up to June?

        If so, then yea, not so good at the reading, my apologies to the author on that point.

        • Lanthanide

          If “last June year” end in 2010 June, with 2010 being “last year”, why does “2008 year June” mean the year beginning in June 2008 and not the year ending in June 2008?

          You’re being inconsistent.

        • Bright Red

          “‘the 2008 June year’ (June 2008 – June 2009”

          the June 2008 year is the year that ended in June 2008, doofus.

          Just like the December 2010 quarter is the quarter that ends in December 2010 in these latest CPI figures. http://stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/economic_indicators/CPI_inflation/ConsumersPriceIndex_HOTPDec10qtr.aspx

          No June year starts in June, it starts in July.

          captcha: invalid

          • Colonial Viper

            “doofus” – oh that hurts! 🙂

          • Herodotus

            To many cut of the influence of a past regime by the election date. Just because an election is held in say Nov. Does not mean that all the good/bad that results post election is as a result of the new govts. I see so many here comment on the finances/debt of the govt and comment on how great “our” accounts were from 99-08. Well Lab had little to do with the 99-00 finances of the country and more influence as to the deterioation that the govt books reflected in 08/09 or the amount that we had to borrow. Same applies to reported crime / unemployment etc. For too many this is just a game in the end result of “Our” team has to win. Even if our team is not that good
            I to would love to hear policies from Lab as well – the teasers that have been released come accross more as bribes than policies to advance NZ, and there is no commentary supplied as to where the $ to pay for the bribes is to come from. Lab was voted out for no vision and a disconnect. Nothing has changed.

            • Rob

              Yeah, something has changed. Nat is increasingly showing it has no vision either and they cannot forever count on smile and wave for connection

  4. Irascible 4

    In this situation relying on private enterprise to initiate recovery is a demonstration of inadequacy by the government as in a national disaster, like the earthquake, the task is too big for the disorganised, selfish interests of individual businesses whose self interests will over-ride the interests of the greater community.
    While Brownlee may see himself as the dictator of the city his interests appear to be focused on the destruction of the remaining buildings rather than the reconstruction of the city.
    An efficient government with an ability to plan and implement a plan would be able to reassure the people that they were putting it into action rather than mincing, hedging and sledging as Key obviously did in this exchange in Parliament.

  5. Well said Dave, but I wonder whether it’s even worth hoping that Labour could ever return to its socialist roots. As far as I’m concerned we may as well believe in Father Christmas.

    What I’m really liking is your ideas about delegates coming up from the grass roots being the anchor of local councils. Control from the bottom up rather than the alienated mess we’re in at the moment. Whilst there’s some good people in the Labour Party I think their top dogs are stuck in exactly the bureaucratic bubble of irrelevance you described.

    I don’t think any 20th century insitution can adapt to the world as we know it in 2011 unless we just want more of the same from the lame and impotent. What people like yourself and I are after has to come from something new and awakened and conscious.

    Captcha: solid

    • Bored 5.1

      El M, I clicked on your name and got RabidFire…why no stories for months, highly amusing then zip?

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    This says 36,830 people left to live in Australia long term last year. However I understand that the net migration figure is less than that, once you take into account people coming to NZ from Australia.


  7. Pete 7

    Labour exposes dishonesty

    Well, I hope it’s dishonesty, pretending there should be a quick fix for Christchurch and trying to score some political points off it. Goff must surely understand that rebuilding Christchurch is a difficult, complex long term project that needs careful assessment and planning which may not happen in his preferred election timeframe. He is either cynically using the Christchurch situation to try and run National down, or…surely there is no alternative, he must understand??

    If our two major parties can’t work positively together for the good of Christchurch and for the good of the country then we have a shitty system – or more correctly, a shitty way of using the system we have. Christchurch is a major test of resolve for the country and deserves far better.

    • Marty G 7.1

      It’s funny that your buddy infused is criticising Labour for not having created a plan for rebuilding Christchurch itself and you’re criticising Labour for expecting the government to develop one.

      No-one denies that rebuilding a city is complex but Key ought to have some vague idea of what he plans to do by now – the broad direction of how things must proceed would be fairly obvious to the civil engineers. He should provide people with a sketch of what is going to happen and rough timeframes. Keeping desperate people in the dark isn’t on.

    • Pascal's bookie 7.2


      On this:

      If our two major parties can’t work positively together for the good of Christchurch and for the good of the country then we have a shitty system – or more correctly, a shitty way of using the system we have. Christchurch is a major test of resolve for the country and deserves far better.

      How do you think this will need to get off the ground? Should it be the opposition just not applying any pressure or asking questions, or is the onus more on the govt to be inclusive and open in it’s decision making processes?

      You appear to be weighting the former over the latter, which seems a bit backwards to me.

      • Pete 7.2.1

        It should be up to National as much as Labour. Maybe that is happening more behind the scenes, I know electorate MPs are working hard on the ground in Christchurch.

        I don’t know how much of the public political carry on is for show and how much is for real, but it doesn’t show politicians in a good light when dissing seems to take precedence over doing.

        • Colonial Viper

          doesn’t show politicians in a good light when dissing seems to take precedence over doing.

          It’s the lack of doing on the RWC and on Christchurch which is sinking John Key right now.

          That sinking feeling is the confidence in his Government liquifying under his very inactive feet, and under Gerry Brownlee’s deadweight.

  8. infused 8

    Title should read “Eddie exposes Labour for having no plan fo Christchurch”

    • Marty G 8.1

      did I miss something? Is Labour the government? Are Labour MPs now ministers with the resources of the state behind them and the responsibility to use them?

      Oh, wait, no. National is the government.

      • Bunji 8.1.1

        And despite the lack of government resources, Labour have shown more of a plan than National. Saying we need to get onto skills training so there isn’t a huge shortage in 18 months when re-construction is fully humming. And saying that we need to stop selling state house so that we can use any spare to house homeless from Christchurch. This while John Key dithers over whether it might be possible to divert all reconstruction resources to getting the city in position to hold RWC games.

        On an unrelated note, I didn’t get enough sleep last night because I first read the headline as “Labour exposes pantless Key”. That was a bit scary first up.

      • just saying 8.1.2

        did I miss something? Is Labour the government?

        No they aren’t government. Labour’s plans for rebuilding Christchurch should refect its values and ideology. By now, if its alleged sea-change move away from neoliberalism was more than window dressing the differences between National and Labour would be glaring, not a distant flicker.

        If it was Labour, ie social-democrat-liberal, the plans for Christchurch would reflect the needs of communities and the people in them, first, second and last. Business would be represented in them as parts of communities. There is a whole raft of relief and rebuild policy that Labour would be announcing now. Labour would be bold.

        And such a party would hope that National was forced to ‘move to the left’ in response, and pinch some of the ideas,- for the sake of the people of Christchurch. They sure as fuck wouldn’t be holding their cards close to their chests, ready to show them off four weeks before the election, after the foundational damage has been done.

        • just saying

          Oh, and you can bet Labour would get coverage announcing such policy. The media would be screaming “where’s the money coming from?”

          And they’d reply “we’re raising taxes and adding new ones”. And it would be game on.

          • Peter Rabbit

            Most reasonable people (rich/poor/left/right) agree that there is nothing wrong about raising taxes for the appropriate reasons. Rebuilding Christchurch is one of those reasons. What people need confidence around is that:
            1) Any taxes collected for the rebuilding will go 100% towards this task
            2) The Tax will be collected for a finite period of time/until specific conditions are meet and what the period/conditions are.
            3) The amount of tax is far and reasonable.

            Labour would be best to rework its GST policy to continue the removal of GST from fruit/vegetables etc but combine it with an increase of x amount for the rebuilding process.

            • lprent

              Peter Rabbit – you’re crazy…

              Problem is that it is 8 months or so to the election. The money and resources for rebuilding are required now. What do you expect the people in Christchurch to do between then and now?

              This is the NACT governments problem. So far they look like they’re screwing it up.

              • Colonial Viper

                I reckon the NATs have about a months’ grace left. Two months if you’re being generous. If definite action and clear planning isn’t obvious in Christchurch by then some direct and sharp acrimony will start being heard from the ground (much more than now).

                In any case a focus on assigning valuable scarce resources to getting facilities right for rugby tourists and RWC VIPs is going to piss people off no end.

                • Pete

                  I agree with this.

                  I think “exposing planless Key” has jumped the gun. It sounds like strategists without a clue (or don’t care) about how much is involved in sorting Christchurch out.

                  • lprent

                    We aren’t Labour (see the about). If you want the nearest thing that they have to a blog then you need to look at Red Alert.

                    Some of the authors here are prefer Labour (and a few of us are actual members), others prefer the greens, left parties that don’t yet exist in the parliamentary political sphere, left parties that used to exist and haven’t quite died yet, or have completely different viewpoints like union focuses or like fluffy animals.

                    Labour and other political parties kind of have to live with authors and commentators tearing them a new one at regular intervals. The right have to live with us tearing them a hole at far far more frequent intervals. Hell the authors frequently disagree with each other either in posts or comments. The arguments are more useful for all concerned and that is one of the two things that we tend to agree on – the site runs on an “agree to disagree” basis. The other is a total aversion to trolling of various types because it gets in the way of a good productive ‘discussion’.

                    You’ll find that I and the other moderators take a very dim view of people trying to say that we either make or reflect a parties policy. Please don’t try it. You haven’t been doing too badly for a newbie yet and I’d hate to ban for one of self-martyrdom offenses listed in the policy.

              • Herodotus

                LP where is the rebuild- Fletchers are not helping in solutions. I have heard that the best thing would be for a new coy to manage the March event. There are sols like temp housing at the likes of Pegasus costing $1000m to build. You should be able to build a long ternm house for $1200-$1300 m2. less discount for building in mass. Sure we may get the situation of mass govt housing (not the pepper spreading that HNZ desire) but what a soln mass build state houses and then as those with needs met as their own houses are rebuilt vacate then replace with those with lower needs and requitrements for state housing. I am sure the powers that be could manage the legislation to allow fast tracking. Also in todays market there are land developers who would love todays cash from the govt and sell . 😉

                • lprent

                  I was always puzzled with the structure with Fletchers in that 10k-100k fix-it area under the overview of the EQC. But it is a bit beside the point.

                  To set them on to housing projects would require a direction from the government for a separate project. I don’t think that they’d be able to do both at once.

                  • Armchair Critic

                    I understood that the main task for Fletchers was to manage the rebuild, i.e. find subcontractors, commission them to do some work and arrange to pay them. I didn’t know Fletchers were doing much of the work themselves.
                    It seemed pretty strange to me, at the time. Sure Fletchers are known for building lots of stuff. But if the role was, essentially, project management, and if the preferred procurement method was “project manager with multiple subcontractors” then there are plenty of others out there, including specialists in this field. A very curious decision, selecting Fletchers.

                    • Herodotus

                      Fletchers comand a fully intergrated manufacturing /distribution of the building/construction sector.
                      Why not utilise this to building permanent housing it would cost marginally more than the temp type that I hear is being discussed.
                      A mid sized building coy could come up with a system to mass produce good housing quickly and with volume comes discounting.
                      LP agreed govt would need to take control in this. We have done mass state housing before?
                      AC Fletcher are the project managers – from other sources I have, not being very generous in their rates they are willing to pay for the work, they are in a monopoly so are price setters.
                      There are a few large scale developemnts on the fringes of Chch that have been only marginally touched by either quake.

  9. tc 9

    love te RWNJ’s ability to turn Sideshiow john and his dealing rooms totally absence of leadership into a labour issue…..head meet sand ah doesn’t that feel righteous…..your idols are self serving hollowmen get over it and stop shifting the blame and how is the air up there in denialville.

    • lprent 9.1

      I was thinking about doing some diversion into OpenMike for the diversion comments that seem to say it is all Labours fault that NAct hasn’t come up with a plan for Christchurch.

      But this is clearly the only line that the right supporters appear to be able to offer at present because the NAct government clearly doesn’t have any coherent plan.

      I figured it’d be better to leave the comments in place because otherwise there would be nothing for the NAct supporters like infused to write about.

  10. Afewknowthetruth 10

    Phil Goff had the gall to appear on national television and talk about the need to tell the people the truth.

    He is an absolute liar and shocking deceiver of the gullible NZ public.

    He knows perfectly well that peak oil was in 2005-6: the International Energy Agency reported as such in November 2010. He knows perectly well that the present economic system has no future: he has been presented with masses of information on the topic. He chooses to ignore the whole topic.

    He knows perfectly well that the monetary system is a huge Ponzi scheme and that the money for rebuidling Christchirch doesn’t exist.

    He knows perfectly well that the last place to build anything is a flood plan that will be under water a few decades from now.

    Liar, liar. liar.

    I would never trust him to run the country.

    Fortunately events in Japan are likely to bring the whole house of cards down fairly soon and expose all politicians for what they are …. self-serving opportunists.

    • Lanthanide 10.1

      Once again, if Goff came out and said this he wouldn’t be elected, and we’d just be stuck with National who are no better.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        How to break the impass then?

        When petrol is over $2/L, NZ will experience effectively zero economic growth. The way fuel prices are going, even with the downturn in demand from Japan, this is going to be more or less a permanent situation. (I await to see if NZ can achieve 3-4% economic growth ever again with fuel prices this high – I very much doubt it)

        The sooner the pollies can start facilitating some public discussion around this the better.

  11. ZeeBop 11

    Douglas was the Labour finance minister when the government introduced Thatcherism to NZ.
    How did such a right wing person get to the top of the Labour party?
    Why is Douglas seen by many on the right as trust worthy when obviously he either, was deceptively using Labour, or was once hard and fast supporter of the working man?
    Watching the news lately discuss the impact of Japan’s crisis to our exporters, I could not help wonder if they had translated the story and shown it on Japanese TV the public there would never knowingly have brought anything from NZ ever again, it especially got sickening when the reporter started promising that Japan would rebound and buy our goods and not to worry.
    There is something dark in the kiwi character that can overlook the lack of water, food, health and hygiene in ChCh and start planning to have luxury liners used to accommodate foreign rugby fans on docks that have been destroyed to save ‘sports’. That the same said jetsetting PR PM uses the crisis to have a bat with Shane.
    Its as if NZ doesn’t seem to understand that people like plants need healthy soils, that
    government needs to regulate and defend the interest of citizens, no, the media whores seem to believe the only worship is the profit line and that’s all that matters. There is a
    self-censorship in NZ media that will not discuss the social consequences of bad government because their mates will lose money, influence and have to actually make real profits building a vibrant deep economic base in NZ.
    We are badly managed with more socialism for the rich, and this is why back stabbing Douglas is still held out as a bastion of right wing politics, he produced a policy that has harmed NZ, he did it from the Labour government yet now is a pin up for the extreme right, and would sit down and talk about the consequences? no – so of course the media whore’s love him – he’d just like them. So what sort of message does that send? Get into the
    good books of a party, distort it, trash it goals, jump ship and then abuse the party that made you a politician for the rest your political career. What a character lesson for young kiwis?
    Douglas should come out and thank Labour for giving him a start in politics,
    should thank those who voted Labour or giving him a chance, so I can have it on utube ready.

  12. Armchair Critic 12

    Funny thing is, none of the usual suspects are saying Key has a plan. It’s quite obvious he doesn’t have one. He said so himself, in parliament, yesterday. Key – planless – self confessed, it’s all a done deal.
    Not good enough from Goff, though. John Key said he would have a plan “in the foreseeable future”. Supplementary question – When will the Prime Minister have a plan?
    Next Tuesday is the one month anniversary of the quake. When question time starts it will be one month, one hour and nine minutes elapsed. The first question from Labour to the PM should be “Why are there no plans in place to rebuild Christchurch one month after the earthquake?”, followed by “Why has the Prime Minister prioritised photo opportunities over the real work of leading the rebuilding of Christchurch?”

    • KJT 12.1

      Of course he has a plan. Allow corporates and the extremely rich to continue the burglary they started in 1984. Unfortunately, as Labour has gone to sleep, they may well succeed.

      • Armchair Critic 12.1.1

        Nicky Wagner is on TV now, telling us that the whole thing will take a long time and we shouldn’t expect much action in the near future.
        So it seems like they have a message and are now broadcasting it. It’s not a particularly good message – I wish Labour would say so, and come up with something better.

        • Jim Nald

          Today, Key plays happy cop; McCully, Wagner, rats and oafs play bleak cop.
          First, talk up. Then, talk down.
          Is this is like their psychiatrists who give them uppers in the morning, then downers in the evening. And keep them coming back for more.
          So the cycle goes. Up and down, day and night, day after day, night after night.
          And the Nat rats’ political black art is practised upon us, through obliging media.

  13. Ed 13

    Let not the left hand know what the right is doing. Brownlee wants open cast on DoC land – is this his first attempt?


  14. Colonial Viper 14

    Overall I agree that it would benefit LAB to develop and issue alternative plans* containing detailed individual proposals for the rebuilding of Christchurch.

    The strategy would be to dare the National Government to adapt these proposals into the larger plan for Christchurch. This could very easily be a win win for LAB.

    *Well they can’t really be considered “alternative” plans if they are the ONLY plans around for Christchurch 🙂

    • kevyn 14.1

      Why doesn’t Key just implement the plans that Helen developed during her nine years directing proparations for the overdue Great Alpine fault eathquake. Oh yes that’s right…her plan was the same as Key’s for an M6 aftershock from the September quake…”fingers crossed it won’t happen”.

  15. Afewknowthetruth 15

    We should not forget that the main reason we have a National government is becasue at the time of the last election most people could not stand the thought of another Labour government.

    At the time is seemed like the last Labour government was trying to outdo the Shipley government is incoimpetence and scandal.

    Peiople have such short memories.

    • Craig Glen Eden 15.1

      Afktt I think you should re name your self to Rewritethetruth. For three years National campaigned on negative lies ( Nanny State, crime, immigration to Australia bla bla) well Natiopnal and Key have achieved nothing for the people of NZ, nothing in three years. Child poverty is up, unemployment up those on a benefit up, so much for a brighter future?

      Honestly those who support this Government do so mostly on the basis they think Key is a nice bloke, mean while the economy dies under National as it always does.

      • Jim Nald 15.1.1

        After his brilliantly successful campaign and slogan to close the gap with Australia,
        John Key has decided to turn his sights on twinning that with his new initiative on
        a policy and plan for poverty:
        Dying to be in New Zealand.

  16. Treetop 16

    How stupid was it of Key to mention using cruise ships to accommodate rugby fans for the RWC in Christchurch and then finding out that the docks/piles in Lyttlelton harbour need repairing?

    Hasty decisions will lead to bad out comes and the detail is in the planning. I have noticed the tempoary repairs being done on water mains so people can have running water. This cost is necessary, it highlights how well the CCC are working to minimise daily hardship to its residents. Leadership is being shown here. I do not want to see the CCC out of the loop. Key could not even comment about what the working relationship with Brownlee and Parker is.

    • Lanthanide 16.1

      Couldn’t they house some of the affected residents Out East on cruise ships for a few months instead of tourists?

      • Treetop 16.1.1

        The thought would not have crossed the mind of the cabinet, even with the fast approaching cold weather.

        Noticed your Open Mike comment about the motorway. No doubt this was initiated by the CCC?

        • Lanthanide

          No idea. It’s a Road of National Impotence, so I don’t know how much direct control the CCC has over it.

          My boyfriend noted that the heavy earth works vehicles they are using for building a large part of the road doesn’t have a whole lot in the way of applications for rebuilding the CBD at this point, so if the equipment is free it seems there’s no reason not to use it.

          • Armchair Critic

            It’s a Road of National Impotence
            If that’s a deliberate error, it’s very clever, Lanth.

            • kevyn

              The southern motorway is a state highway so it is NZTA that calls the shots regarding the status of the construction contracts. However, it is likely that completing this project will ease the bottleneck between Hornby and Lyttleton faster than waiting for the one-way system to be resurrected. Loss of the one-way system has shifted huge volumes of car traffic from the other south-western arterials that used to provide the most convenient cross-town connections.

              • Lanthanide

                The motorway won’t be drivable for at least 12 months at a minimum, probably more like 18, by which time the central city should be back to at least November 2010 drivability.

            • Lanthanide

              Yes. I seldom come up with clever nicknames, but I think I managed it this time.

              • Jim Nald

                Quite appropriate for John Key who can’t tell the difference himself between importance and impotence.
                We’ve got great expectorations that he will improve.

  17. randal 17

    the govt is more interested in playing peekaboo with the christchurch seats over the world cup than committing itself to anything.
    it is a non committed government that in the end will be committed.
    haw haw haw.

  18. Alwyn 18

    I am curious.
    When John Key said that 10,000 houses would need to be replaced he was called, on this blog and elsewhere, a liar.
    Phil Goff now appears to be confirming the figure. Is Phil a liar or was John Key right in the first place?
    Phil Goff is now saying that the stadium is ruined and that RWC games cannnot be played there. John Key says that they do not know. Naturally we are asked to accept that Phil is honest and JK is a liar.
    Are we allowed to reject your assumption and decide for ourselves that Phil is just making things up?

    • Rob 18.1

      If repeating someone else’s lie makes you a liar, then perhaps you’re right.

      However, Goff did not say “the stadium is ruined and the RWC games cannot be played there” Didn’t say anything remotely like it …

      “I understand from international reporting that the IRB is going to rule it [out]. If Mr Key is aware of that then I think it’s time to come clean and just tell the people of Christchurch what the truth is. Giving them false hope is not going to help.”

      • Alwyn 18.1.1

        Sorry I mixed up two people and two issues.
        It was Phil who now accepts that John Key was correct when he said 10,000 houses.
        It was in fact Trevor Mallard who said on Red Alert that there was no way to hold the games in Christchurch. According to him anyone who could watch TV could see this and there was no need to wait for any Geotechnical reports. Red Alert March 7, “It is about Leadership …”

        • Lanthanide

          “It was Phil who now accepts that John Key was correct when he said 10,000 houses.”
          No, he’s just using the PM’s number. Doesn’t mean he is saying Key is correct. The figure is already in the media, and it is a rough estimate that is likely to be close to the final number, so when having a conversation about this sort of thing it’s best to use the terms that are in common parlance so everyone is on the right page.

          The issue with Key using that number is that, at the time he said it, there was no formal backing behind it. It appeared as if he had just guesstimated a number and then put it forward as if it had been official advice he had received. His guesstimate is actually likely to be around the right number, or perhaps actually slightly under the final figure. The problem is he appeared to have made it up. Since then, I heard an interview on the radio about 10 days ago with a structural engineer saying that the estimate of 10k had come from them flying over the city and assessing the apparent liquefaction damage and then fitting their visual inspection onto the data they had gathered about the September 4th quake and coming up with the rouge estimate of 10k. But Key was initially quite slippery on where he got the number from, and similarly civil defence and EQC officials had no idea where he got the number from.

          A bigger problem was really him saying that whole streets or suburbs would have to be abandoned, and then also throwing in the 10k number at the same time. Trevor Mallard highlighted the problem with this statement quite succinctly when he asked in parliament if “those living in streets that were to be abandoned were going to have their electricity, water and sewerage connected” in the immediate future or if they’d have to keep roughing it because there’d be no point making repairs to streets that would ultimately be abandoned.

  19. tracey 19

    no unions being chatted to in CHCH about job creation etc etc???

  20. Maggie 20

    Is it just me or do others also think Key is sounding more and more like Sir Humphrey Appleby?

    Then again, there is his Big Brother impression. More is less. Contraction is growth.

    Orwell would love Key.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 20.1

      Reminds me more of George W. Bush- same goofy smile and unending platitudes.

      • RobC 20.1.1

        Yeah, and GWB got a second term …

        • Zaphod Beeblebrox

          He beat Kerry though a combination of Fox News, lots of patriotism, a poor Democrat candidate and campaign and lots of dubious voter enrolment in Ohio. Sound familiar?

          His second term worked out so well for the U.S., didn’t it?

  21. HC 21

    Well – what else do we expect from a government believing in “laissez faire” economic policies? People basically have to pull themselves out of their misery by grabbing their own collar and pull upwards. I am not surprised about the approach by Key and consorts.

  22. Dale 22

    All the Labour mps and Goff can do is piss and moan about everything the government is doing. Why dont they just shut the fuck up and give us a fuking hand!

    • RobC 22.1

      Read the daily bulletins on their website that Bunji posts a link to every day in Open Mike.

      The ChCh Labour MPs are doing an out-fkg-standing job. They don’t have time to piss and moan ’cause they’re too fkn busy helping their constituents.

    • Colonial Viper 22.2

      Dale the little Troll, did you hear, the Government is prioritising fixing the pitch at AMI stadium and has already set aside money for it, why don’t you head down there and help them fill in the holes.

    • felix 22.3

      Give us a hand how, Dull? Just do whatever Key says?

      Is that what you mean, buddy?

    • Jim Nald 22.4

      Key keeps giving mixed messages,
      first gaming one half of us,
      and then playing with the other half.
      Bleak. Then, not unrealistic.
      ‘Buy!’ ‘No, Sell!’
      ‘Wait, Buy!’ ‘Never mind, Sell!’
      ‘Woteva, Buy!’ ‘Really, Sell!’

  23. Peter 23

    Brian Gould writes in the Herald in support of the view that National lack a plan ;


  24. randal 24

    cut to the chase.
    the only plan national has is to sell the SOE’s to its mates, stag the share float and take off to europe with the proceeds.

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