The past week has seen a reversal in fortunes for the major political parties. I think that National’s attacks on David Cunliffe have been too well planned and too cynical and people are now seeing through this. They have started to realise that they are witnessing a cynical hatchet job on David Cunliffe. More and more people that I talk to have had their sense of fair play upset and they believe that they are being manipulated.
And National has until recently been very good at making it appear to be Labour lite and to hide those traditional tory behaviours that really turn ordinary kiwis off. But a number of recent examples have trashed this carefully crafted veneer.
If you ever needed confirmation that National is out of touch recent examples of rich largesse at our expense will provide it.
News broke earlier this week that Simon Bridges had authorised $237,000 of taxpayer funds being used to wine and dine and accommodate eleven oil company executives. The money was spent on four nights’ luxury accommodation, a sailing trip and attending two games during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Mr Bridges said the RWC was a great marketing opportunity, and called the oil and gas promotional budget “very modest”.
“The proof is in the pudding. Here in the last couple of years we’ve had $1.3 billion in 2012, and $1.5 billion last year, spent on exploration, which will yield dividends for New Zealand.”
He said although this investment did not see job creation from oil and gas production, there were other benefits.
“You’re still talking about hotels in Dunedin being full, in Taranaki rental car companies selling out, that sort of thing.”
Greens leader Russel Norman had things in a better perspective, likening the spend as bordering on sycophancy.
“Simon Bridges seems happy to give oil executives first-class treatment while our precious environment gets third-class treatment.”
He said Mr Bridges was being disingenuous with figures in the billions across the whole sector, as only Statoil had been given a permit.
“This is a slush fund for the pollution economy. And clearly in this case, it sounds like it didn’t even work.”
The money could have provided 160,000 breakfasts for poor kids or provided 800 kids with school breakfasts for a year. It is clear where National’s priorities are.
The impression of largesse was unfortunately reinforced by the release of Ministerial and MPs expenses on the last sitting day of Parliament. Murray McCully’s spending is phenomenal and one of the visa card bills did confirm that he had internet access while in New York. Tim Groser’s spend was similarly large. You really have to wonder why Ministers on quarter of a million dollars a year each rely on us to pay their booze bill.
As Idiot Savant puts it:
This isn’t acceptable. No private business would let its staff drink on expenses like this, and we shouldn’t either. If McCully wants a piss-up, he can pay for it out of his $268,500 salary.
To top things off Claudette Hauiti somehow spent over $30,000 on travel and accommodation during the three month period covered by the return. This is, to put it mildly, not a good look for the lowest ranked National MP.
If National really wants to win this election it needs to slip back into CT inspired Labour lite. And cut out big spending on our tab.