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Relentless negativity

Written By: - Date published: 8:22 am, March 18th, 2020 - 57 comments
Categories: grant robertson, health, jacinda ardern, national, same old national, Simon Bridges, uncategorized, winston peters - Tags:

Twelve years ago I recall the moment that I thought the fifth Labour Government’s chicken was cooked.

It was when Key managed to front a change to the anti smacking bill.

The bill was in a difficult situation.  On one side was Sue Bradford with her private member’s bill wanting to remove a legal anomaly that allowed kids to be brutally beaten.  On the other side was an array of conservative forces thinking that such brutality was justified by the bible and it was all PC gone mad.

National’s then leader John Key seized the initiative and proposed an amendment that attracted overwhelming parliamentary support.  He burned some conservative political capital by doing it.  But he seized the opportunity.  And he looked like a leader.

Simon Bridges had a chance yesterday to do something similar.  A national crisis and an urgent need for political leadership to unite us all.  In fact the circumstances were far more urgent.

I watched Bridges’ speech in Parliament yesterday and was overwhelmed with a feeling of Meh.  And I was not the only one.

Jacinda and Winston Peters chided him for his approach.  From Jo Moir at Radio New Zealand:

“But I want to refer to the speech we heard from the leader of the opposition – frankly, I do have to because it was shallow and it was graceless and the New Zealand people will judge him for it.”

[Peters] wasn’t alone with Jacinda Ardern joining in too.

“There are moments in our history where it’s not business as usual. Where New Zealanders expect us to come together. Where we need unity – not politics as usual.

“And today Mr Bridges is one of those days,” she said.

Sam Sachdeva at Newsroom said this:

Robertson’s announcement was broadly well received by most, with the notable exception of National leader Simon Bridges.

For better and (in this case) for worse, Bridges has only one speed – relentless negativity, an attack-dog approach that pulled his leadership out of the mire last year but is now entirely inadequate for the job at hand.

Barry Soper at the Herald said this:

The package is also about cushioning the blow with most of the money going into wage subsidies for struggling businesses. That had Simon Bridges beating the drum saying it’d only pay 20 fulltime workers for twelve weeks before the $150,000 cap’s reached and he reckons it’s going to last much longer than that.

By the time he had finished, the drum sounded more like a grating cymbal. He ignored the fact that the vast majority of businesses in New Zealand have fewer than 20 people.

And Audrey Young thought the same:

“There are moments in our history where it’s not business as usual,” Ardern began her speech. “When we need unity, not politics as usual and today is one of those days.”

It makes criticism of the “war effort” almost seem unpatriotic. That didn’t stop National leader Simon Bridges.

National actually supports most of the package but Bridges struggled to find the right tone or words for the parts he supported or questioned.

The inclusion of winter energy payments for pensioners in what was called a “business continuity package” for Covid-19 was clearly a surprise, as was the $25 a week increases in social welfare benefits.

Bridges seized on it as an example of “confused priorities” and “taking the opportunity to prioritise beneficiaries over business.”

Bridges was beneficiary bashing with all his strength and saying some pretty outlandish things, even for him.  Like claiming that beneficiaries are being supported over businesses.

The claim is not only wrong but also ignores the direct Kensyan effects of the increases in benefits and winter payments.

Things are that bizarre that Paul Goldsmith is looking like a potential future leader.

Can I urge the National Party in the country’s interests to keep Simon Bridges in the leader’s position?

And if you want to see real leadership check this out.

57 comments on “Relentless negativity ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Bridges is in danger of making support for him equate to being unpatriotic and not being a team player in a time of crisis. That is a really, really bad place to get yourself.

    • KJT 1.1

      At least 40% will be, Crosby Textored into still voting for the Blue gumboot.

      "National is the party for business, and good financial managers of the economy, dontcha know"

      The demonising of the “other” the Bludging bene and greedy oldies, memes, are already starting, with National’s mouthpieces.

      • Sanctuary 1.1.1

        Well, you only have to go downtown in Crazyville and read the comments on kiwiblog to realise there is a certain percentage of our population who regard beneficiares are a lesser life form than COVID-19. I guess that is angry Simon's base.

        • Kay 1.1.1.1

          Ruth and Jenny relegated us to that level so have been dealing with that status for the last 30 years.

          I'd like to point out though- and not for one moment am I downplaying the seriousness of this current crisis- how many beneficiaries/poor/elderly/medically compromised around the world have ALREADY died over recent decades due to the deliberate actions of Right Wing politicians a la Simon and Co, and who would be more than happy to return to the status quo after all this is over?

          • KJT 1.1.1.1.1

            Yes. The Neo-liberal revolution, even compared to many other, political coups, was an extremely "bloody" one, but it is only the "lower classes" brown people, the poor and workers, around the world, that have paid the price, so who cares.

          • Rosemary McDonald 1.1.1.1.2

            Damn right Kay, but supposedly 'Left' gummints have also instituted or maintained policies that shorten (by design?) the lifespan of these citizens.

            I am certainly not expecting 'the most vulnerable ' in our community to get priority treatment.

            In fact, quite the opposite.

            Some have already 'come to terms ' with the very real possibility of their imminent demise.

            On a personal note Kay…take care, eh? I appreciate your comments and the information your provide.

    • Ae! Not sure what he's got left in the cupboard, but I guess it won't be long before he starts talking about "The New Zealand People" – along the lines of U.S. politicians talking about "The American People", and ScoMo, Dutters et all talking about "The Australian People". As IF any of them truly intend representing any of them.

      Let's just pray they keep the muppet as their Dear Leader. Problem is he's probably on borrowed time and the alternatives are probably worse

  2. dv 2

    Its not the package that is confused, it is Bridges.

  3. David Mac 3

    "If you need a feed or a bed or a shoulder, I need to hear from you." They're the sort of words that keep us all strong in times like this. Sounded to me like Simon was saying "If you need anything, don't call me."

  4. Stunned Mullet 4

    Bridges is indeed woeful but he is not alone, with the lack of good experienced parliamentarians perhaps calling back in some of the recently retired hacks to provide some backbone to decision making would be prudent ?

    • KJT 4.1

      He is the best, National has.

      • observer 4.1.1

        I don't think he is. But nobody in the caucus wants to step up.

        It was understandable that they closed ranks because they did not want to deliver a victory to Jami-Lee Ross, but that saga is over (in political terms, not the courts. His career is finished).

        The only reason to keep Bridges now, when even National voters have had enough, is to let him take the blame for election defeat. All potential leaders hope to remain untainted, they don't want "Loser" on their CV.

        They will go through the motions, make the right noises, but they don't *really* expect to win in 2020. So Simon stays.

        • McFlock 4.1.1.1

          Look for the nat who is first to go agin Bridges and dramatically pledge unity in this trying time.

          Dunno if they get away with it in one fell swoop or if it starts a Shakespearean bloodfest in the opposition benches, but Bridges' time as leader is moving from the calendar to the stopwatch when that speech is made.

      • Stunned Mullet 4.1.2

        @ KJT I wasn't just talking about National.

        I think there's a distinct lack of knowledge across parliament, if people like Michael Cullen (health permitting), Helen Clark, Bill English, Annette King are available to offer advice I think we should lean on them.

        • KJT 4.1.2.1

          Always going to be a problem with giving absolute power to about 60 people.

          Especially ones stupid enough to want to be politicians.

  5. satty 5

    After seeing the impacts of the virus in Italy, Winter Energy Payment is essential to ensure older people have a good chance to get through this pandemic.

    The National Party doesn’t show much care for a large part of their voter base.

    • Siobhan 5.1

      The weird thing is..National never have..many of the elderly (and not so elderly) National voters I know rely on Public Health (amongst other things)…yet vote National..go figure..I guess Simon knows his voters all to well

  6. observer 6

    Poll results from my encounters with Nat or swing voters:

    50% – he's got to go

    50% – National are stuck with him, just got to accept that

    0% – Bridges is great!

    People will still vote National despite Bridges, but not because of him. And he's not going to change. In these extraordinary times, in a world being transformed before our eyes, he's the one constant, with one setting. You can rely on Simon.

    • Enough is Enough 6.1

      I agree

      I work with Blue people and come from a Blue family who up until this past week have though the government was incompetent and full of slogans (with some justification for that opinion).

      However since Friday Jacinda has stood up and commended the respect of everyone. she is being praised by the Hooton's of this world, and those Blue people I associate with.

      People will still vote National, because politics is tribal. Simon however, after yesterday will be gone forever.

    • AB 6.2

      "People will still vote National despite Bridges"

      Seems like a good summation at the moment. So National will go over 40% but most likely not get the 46/47+ they need to govern with no friends other than ACT. There is fair bit of water to flow under the bridge yet with this crisis though – so counting chickens is ill-advised..

    • Morrissey 6.3

      Labour voters: 100% say Bridges is just fantastic where he is.indecisionno

  7. Treetop 7

    Blathering is not good from a politician even when the country is doing well. When a situation is hard to predict and it requires commonsense and commonsense is not shown by a politician, this shows the true character of the politician. Bridges is safe until the check donations are sorted.

    I intend to put any money which I am very grateful to have recieved which will not be spent on energy, toward funeral costs. Family would bury me, but I do not want to burden them.

    Some people have serious health conditions which they do not know what the out come will be if they get Covid 19. Some health conditions can unexpectedly kill without Covid 19 entering the population.

  8. aj 8

    Yes Bridge's performance was cringeworthy. He simply could not resist taking a shot at beneficiaries. More than once. He could well look at an interview with Chris Bowen yesterday (Sky in Australia). Bowen was completely in tune with the gravity of the situation and agreed with the measures the Nat-Lib Govt made to date, yet made his political points and suggestions in a quite subtle and graceful way. (no link sorry)

    What struck me with Bridges, he is almost a lone voice squeaking away when there was widespread and loud approval from a wide range of commentators and leaders of business, many of whom would not be natural supporters of the coalition government.

    • David Mac 8.1

      Yes, bashing beneficiaries as the best part of the nation are contemplating the possibility of becoming beneficiaries is not just bad taste, it's political Hari Kari….reminds me of that quote re: Teresa May "She fell on her own sword and missed." Simon's colleagues keep whipping the sword away, none of them want to hold the hot potato just now.

  9. left for dead 9

    MS,

    I thought you were a lawyer.No one has been allowed to brutally beat anybody in this country for quite sometime. Up your game.

    Alex

    • MartinC 9.1

      "No one has been allowed to brutally beat anybody in this country for quite sometime. "

      That you know of. What goes on behind closed doors and all that, what, eh?

      • left for dead 9.1.1

        Martin C,

        Sadly it's still happening.Allowed (within Law)being my point to M.S. that along with the gun nut thing, is the type of B.S the right pull i.e via spin doctors M.S pointed out a couple of weeks ago right here,advising the likes of, can I say Bridges the creep. most of M.S's points are well made.

        regards Alex

    • RedBaronCV 9.2

      Before the Bradford bill they were and getting away with it even in the courts. Serious, serious assaults on kids that if they had been inflicted on a stranger in the street would have resulted in a decent prison term.

  10. Reality 10

    How heart-warming it was to see Grant Robertson and Jacinda speaking to the nation, taking us along with them in these very uncertain times. I am thankful they are our leaders. They actually care about people and it shows.

    Simon Bridges on the other hand was embarrassing and showed he is not a leader. Having a go at beneficiaries at a time like this was disgusting.

  11. xanthe 11

    "The bill was in a difficult situation. On one side was Sue Bradford with her private member’s bill wanting to remove a legal anomaly that allowed kids to be brutally beaten. On the other side was an array of conservative forces thinking that such brutality was justified by the bible and it was all PC gone mad."

    Not wanting to derail the thread but the above statement is a both sad and dishonest misrepresentation!

    apart from that i agree that the covid19 disaster does show up those who have the ability and compassion to lead and those who haven't a clue

  12. Bill 12

    Fuck unity. Why is unity required if the direction of travel is so obviously wrong?

    Bridges and Robertson might not be on the same page, but they're certainly reading from the same book – different chapters perhaps? Regardless, their book isn't the one we should be taking instruction/guidance from.

    • Stunned Mullet 12.1

      Why don't you write a post on the obviously right direction we (the world) should be heading Bill?

      Would likely make for a good read, assuming you haven't already done it.

      • Bill 12.1.1

        You got a Jesus complex or something? Want a messiah to take care of you?

        When the direction is wrong, the direction is wrong. End.

        If you want a glorious leader, or a blueprint, or any process that might sustain the status quo by chewing up time before, eventually and inevitably, a parody of what we already have is thrown up, then you need to sit down and have yourself a wee think around levels of stupid.

        • Stunned Mullet 12.1.1.1

          So if I understand you correctly 'the direction' is wrong but you're not wishing to expound on your opinion of what we should be doing in regards the economy.

          Fair enough, although not sure why you want to bring Jeebers into the discussion ?

          • Bill 12.1.1.1.1

            I've said across a number of comments that the focus ought to be on our human economy and not the financial (or chrematistic) economy.

            Imagine you become aware that you're heading towards a catastrophe. Do you 'jog along' waiting for someone or something to tell you what to do? Or do you stop?

            • Stunned Mullet 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes what I'm asking is how do you focus on the human economy without focus on the financial economy after all the majority of NZers are beholding to private or public employers for their existence to a large extent.

              • Bill

                Do you, or do you not, simply stop as a first act upon realising you're headed for catastrophe?

                Our narrowing of what an economy is to the point where it's only about profit, has brought us to an incredibly vulnerable pass. Not only did globalisation with its long delivery chains and centralised production facilities help spread coronavirus far and wide rather fast, but the same dysfunctional view of economy has meant carbon was thrown into the biosphere even though it was long known to be a very bad idea, because profit could be built from doing that.

                Knowing that, and being aware of the consequences unfolding from that, it's time to stop.

                An economy (in any meaningful sense of the word) includes human society and the wider environments where we and our societies are located. How that might be ordered or organised is something that can't be left in the hands of those with narrow and warped ideas of economics and economic functions.

                I've said before that an inventory of what is produced and distributed ought to be undertaken with an eye to what is socially useful and what has deleterious effects on people and society and wider environments, rather than allowing the mere generation of profit to determine what we do and how we and our affairs are ordered.

  13. Morrissey 13

    Never thought I'd say this, but: Bring back Bill.

    Lots of National Party people will be thinking exactly the same thing every time Bridges opens his incoherent trap.

  14. Peter 14

    Some of the RNZ news broadcasts this morning started with Bridges' negativity.

    Media can deal with any story as it sees fit. Starting the day hearing relentless tones and words of pessimism and negativity creates a different feeling than hearing words of positivity.

    I suppose that's editorial choice. "When we go out there today, make sure we leave people feeling bad," might say one manager manager to his staff. "Make them fearful, not rusting and apprehensive."

    Or maybe on RNZ it was "Let's not go the whole hog but let's play Simon Bridges making himself out to be an idiot."

    • In Vino 14.1

      Not so. It is a long-established pattern with NZ media that when Labour say or do something, the media always begin by giving National's negative critique of it. This usually works to Labour's disadvantage, and it is one of the ways that the media favour National.

      This is exceptional in that Bridges is so bad, that the tactic is favouring Labour. As I say, highly exceptional.

  15. Fireblade 15

    Our Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance were shining bright yesterday. Simon appeared to be stunned by the glare and Paula looked like she'd been sucking on lemons.

    • Less said about Si moan the better.

      And as for westie Paula, does she ever look any different, if she does it is with a very fake smirk or a nod of the head.

      And to think she is in Bridges inner circle and also a trusted advisor.

      Si moan must be feel really empowered by that.

      • ianmac 15.1.1

        Paula just gave a speech straight after QT finished. She was very positive about all the people who were helping to deal with the pandemic.

        But finished on the importance of Opposition being expected to hold the Government to account. "This is the time when we must ask the questions," she said. Which sort of undid her pink suited "charm."

        From just after 4 minutes:

        https://www.parliament.nz/en/watch-parliament/ondemand?itemId=211730

    • Kevin 15.2

      Thats what happens when you are watching your political leadership aspirations go down the toilet.

      • David Mac 15.2.1

        I think Paula is right. Now is a good time for us to have an opposition that is on the "OK, why did you do that and not this?" ticket.

        But that's not what happened, Simon stood up and said "What you're doing is shite."

  16. mary_a 16

    Simon Bridges unfortunately sees people as potential voters and nothing else. Jacinda Ardern sees people as human beings, needing supportive reassurance from the top during this uncertain time.

    Jacinda Ardern, once again proves she (with Grant Robertson's support this time) is the right person to lead NZ during a time of crisis.

  17. theotherpat 17

    i urge you all to contact the National Party and endorse everything that soiman has said and encourage them to tell him to do more of the same…..righto…… election win done!

  18. ScottGN 18

    He’s not even smart enough to know when to call it a day. He was still banging away at Question Time in the House this afternoon. Even Woodhouse has realised it was time to shut it.

  19. Bazza64 19

    I think Simon is right in one respect. The government should have had the balls to lift the beneficiary payments & remove the in work tax credit for working for families, well before the Covid 19 relief. It is a move that would have labour written all over it as a left wing gesture & they should have been proud to stand behind it.

    They didn’t do this as I think they knew it wouldn’t be popular with a lot of voters, but you have to hand it to them it was a clever political move for which they get an A+ score.

  20. pat 20

    lol….Bridges is a fuckwit….but plenty will still vote for him

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