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The hidden infrastructure fiscal crisis gets real

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 am, April 10th, 2018 - 245 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, assets, Economy, health, national, Politics, same old national, Steven Joyce - Tags:

Steven Joyce’s $11.7 billion fiscal hole is becoming more and more of a reality although it is in hidden infrastructure costs that National had suppressed in search of the elusive surplus.  Imagine tolerating shit leaking into the walls of a major hospital just so that you could claim the bragging rights of having a surplus, something the previous Labour Government managed to achieve every year it was in power.

And there are more shocks to come.  And Labour is going to let everyone know about them.  From Benedict Collins at Radio New Zealand:

The government is going to drip feed stories of public sector underfunding by the previous government in the run-up to next month’s Budget, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has indicated.

Ms Ardern is playing down expectations of a big spending budget next month saying her government did not realise how bad the under-investment in public services had been under National.

She said it was now clear National put budget surpluses ahead of the wellbeing of New Zealanders, and chronically short-changed public services.

“I’ve always said that from the beginning we thought it would be bad, we didn’t know it would be this bad.

“And the public is seeing just a snapshot of it now, the state of Middlemore Hospital I think is emblematic of what we’re seeing across the board.”

Ms Ardern said Budget 2018 would be a rebuilding budget.

“This Budget is reinvesting in core services – that’s what New Zealanders expect, that’s what we have to do.”

While she refused to give any details of what’s coming, Ms Ardern indicated the government would release stories of the public sector underfunding by the National government.

“What we are flagging is that as we’ve gone through this process we’ve uncovered things we didn’t expect. We want to build more transparency around that as we lead up to Budget day.

National is resorting to its Crosby Textor designed and patented reply to all claims response, there are always crises, they dealt with them successfully (although how tolerating shit leaks in a hospital for six years is classified as successful is beyond me), and we have a wonderful strong economy obviously not measured by the levels of homelessness and poverty.  And Labour should just get on and govern.  Remember the chorus of “nine long years” they used to say incessantly?

And the blame game is now happening over Counties Manukau Health Board’s problems.  Jonathan Coleman burst into print last night on facebook and said that since Counties Manukau “through life” was so high he could not possibly have known about the problems.  Counties Manukau’s figure was 11% indicating how much of its total life its buildings had experienced.  The figure was by far the lowest in the country.  But former Chair Lee Mathias elected to respond:

I do not know what the LTIP 2016 is but if it a reference to the Northern Region Health Plan 2016/17 there is this passage:

There are a number of facilities in our region that are not fit for purpose and require substantial investment.  About 17% of our buildings are ranked ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. There are also buildings with seismic issues that still need to be addressed.

Coleman’s claim that he did not know about the problems is barley credible. No doubt as time goes by further significant and costly issues that occurred because of the last Government’s insistence on obtaining a surplus will occur.

Update: Lucy in comments has referred us to this document which has references to the LTIP (Long term investment plan) and mentions two different recladding projects that were required.

245 comments on “The hidden infrastructure fiscal crisis gets real ”

  1. You_Fool 1

    Coleman will rely on the semantics that he wasn’t personally told to try and get out of this…. Of course if I tried to claim to my employers that I didn’t know about how my department didn’t have working equipment I don’t think that me saying “but no one told me about it” would fly very far.

    Then again, when have National ever taken responsibility for their own actions?

    • soddenleaf 1.1

      Over promising. Housing in crisis. Hospitals in crisis. He’ll, even a body in the drift.
      Key is the worst PM ever. Thanks media for doing such a shit job of holding him to account.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        Thanks media for doing such a shit job of holding him to account.

        He supplied them with PM logoed wine.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Then again, when have National ever taken responsibility for their own actions?

      Never. The Party of Personal Responsibility is all about other people taking responsibility but not them.

    • tracey 1.3

      A liar or incompetent. Neither are good in a Minister.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    National’s politics on this are just terrible. They seem to be saying “well yes there is mess but stop moaning about it and get on and govern!” Which to the public looks like a complete admission of guilt and sounds pretty dumb.

    Farrar has the weakest, most piss-poor piece of sophistry up on his site that looks like everything else on kiwiblog – A National party press release with “indeed” appended on the end – that seems to continue their hopeless line on housing of denying there is a crisis whilst simultaneously claiming the knew about the crisis and were fixing it even though there is no crisis to fix.

  3. Tuppence Shrewsbury 3

    So Labour can’t budget properly. But Steven Joyce can and budgeted Labours budget gap between promises/ expenses and revenue to be roughly 11.7bn

    Quelle surprise!! they’ve spent all the contingencies before the first budget

    • Grey Area 3.1

      Hard to budget when a bunch of corrupt incompetent muppets suppress the truth to make themselves out to be good economic managers which is a sick joke.

      Your comment is a scary insight into the brain of a delusional National apologist. It adds nothing to discussion on this site.

      Note to self: Add to ignore list.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Your comment is a scary insight into the brain of a delusional National apologist.


        • reason

          Dangerous trashing through under-funding of public heath… is a modern National Governments Trade mark …. They do it every time. http://werewolf.co.nz/2017/08/bill-english-the-forgotten-history/

          ” under Jenny Shipley, he continued to steer the sector in a decidedly market-oriented direction. More importantly, English oversaw the continued deterioration of New Zealand’s health system — avoiding action on several slowly unfolding impending health crises and attempting to paper over the way National’s reforms contributed to them. Perhaps most alarmingly, English largely ignored a deepening mental health crisis, despite widespread public demand, an issue that continues to haunt the country today.”

          It was a large part of the previous Nact shippley government getting the boot by voters …. The Key / English / Coleman con artists had learned from last time … and were better at hiding this time around.

            • reason

              oh look … Chuck puts a link to a national party press release …. was it part of dirty politics chuck?.

              And why on earth did they give tax cuts to the rich … while continuing to under-fund ? …. explain that please. Your own words.

              As an aside Do you think Coleman will be as useless and part of business bankruptcies / failure in the private sector …. Like former Nat PM shipley ….former nat finance minister Ruth Richardson ….. Carrick Grahams daddy etc etc.

              80% non-compliant and semi-legal can bite you in the arse in the private sector ….New Zealands now having to pay for 9 years of that from the Nacts.

              Anyway.. Here’s shit in your hospital to you … maybe it leaked in from some english / key river water.

              • Chuck

                “And why on earth did they give tax cuts to the rich … while continuing to under-fund ? …. explain that please. Your own words.”

                It’s a little pointless answering your question, as no doubt you want all rich pricks taxed @60 cents on the $. And your only answer to funding no doubt is to forever throw more money at public services, instead of making sure it’s well spent and achieving a measurable result.

                DHB real spending per capita increased by $338 between the last Labour Government in 2008 and the end of the last National one in 2017.

                Let us see if this current Government write some large cheques to the DHB’s. After all, they spent enough time while in opposition saying the DHB’s required billions of more dollars.

                Oh, that’s right…they can’t pay for it. Unless Ardern backtracks on no new taxes or increases.

                • reason

                  How much extra of that budget blow out in your National party hack press release, … were because of Bill English and other shipley Govt strangle and cut merchants ?? …ie: flowed on from the butcher bill … as detailed in the well researched link from a respected Journalist that I put up … where-as you linked to Alwyns bible readings.

                  How much extra do Labour governments have to pay to fix something that’s run into the ground and rooted …. than it would have been to carry on with a properly maintained public service, assets / infrastructure. ?.

                  What are we up to cost wise with the present newly revealed National trifecta ???.. of leaky rotting buildings, damp mould infestations and sewage leaking /….. upon our health budget ??… roughly chuck ”

                  Also chuck …How much for hospitals to pay for security guards in ER wards on ‘drinking days … given nationals dirty politics hit against Alcohol abuse reform….

                  National were more interested in Sky city event centers … and rugby world cups

                  Still it could be worse … we could have ended up with a PPP with connections to Keys old mate ….Lord Ashcroft …. https://www.breakingbelizenews.com/2017/11/06/paradise-papers-reveal-michael-ashcroft-belize-avoid-paying-tax/

                  “awarded to Johnston International for two new Turks and Caicos Islands hospitals, said to have been overpriced and awarded without any appropriate tender process with an initial budget of $40m and costs to date of $125m”. … the two new hospitals initiated by the former PNP administration, which were originally estimated to cost under $50 million.

                  The two small two-storey hospitals – one in Provo with 20 beds and the other in Grand Turk with 10 beds – are encumbered by a mortgage of $235 million. If the mortgage runs its full 24-year course with interest, the buildings will have cost TCI residents half a billion dollars.” https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/feb/05/lord-ashcroft-collapsed-caribbean-firm

                  PPP you see …. http://www.tcinewsnow.com/headline-The-health-care-contract-5440.html

      • Baba Yaga 3.1.2

        Nobody ‘suppressed the truth’. Any of this information that was known to the government would have been known to the opposition. Ardern and Robertson are simply looking for excuses for the fact there was a hole in their numbers. From what I’m hearing and reading, most people aren’t buying it.

        • Sacha

          “Nobody ‘suppressed the truth’.”

          Coleman and Matthias can’t even agree on which of them knew about it, let alone the opposition at the time.

          • Baba Yaga

            Labour knew their numbers were dodgy, they just won’t admit it.

            • Hanswurst

              If Joyce had got up and said, “Labour’s numbers are 11.7 billion dollars short, because they haven’t factored in having to cleanse the walls at Middlemore Hospital of excrement that I know absoluteöy nothing about,” then you might have point, but that point would still be bollocks,

              • Baba Yaga

                Labour is trying to have it both ways. They campaigned on their being an infrastructure deficit, and now they expect us to believe they have only just found one!

                • Sacha


                  “Does she stand by her statement on underinvestment in public services that “we didn’t know it would be this bad”, and if so, how significant is this underinvestment?”

                  Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN (Prime Minister): Yes, absolutely, and much of that we could see from Opposition, as could New Zealanders in everyday life, as they saw individuals sleeping in cars or being unable to access health services. But what we are seeing now is in almost every portfolio I can find other signs of under-investment.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    So they had no idea, despite campaigning on this claim. No idea? Joyce was right. Governments face tough spending decisions all the time. This government haven’t a clue.

                    • Sacha

                      “much of that we could see from Opposition”

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “much of that we could see from Opposition”
                      If true, they have no excuse. So you agree their was a hole in Labours numbers?

                    • Draco T Bastard []

                      Of course they have an excuse – National were covering up their bad management.

                      Can’t make accurate plans when the people with all the information are lying about it.

                    • Sacha

                      “So they had no idea, despite campaigning on this claim. “

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “So they had no idea, despite campaigning on this claim. “

                      You do realise I was inserting sarcasm into the conversation?

                    • tracey

                      Please show where Coleman budgetted for the repair costs of Middlemore? A business case is NOT a fix. TIA

                    • Sacha

                      “This government haven’t a clue.”

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “This government haven’t a clue.”

                      Now on that, we agree!

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Please show where Coleman budgetted for the repair costs of Middlemore? A business case is NOT a fix. TIA”

                      Not sure where that fits into this discussion, but Coleman had funding and approval for the recladding already. I’m trying to figure out why David Clark has claimed in Parliament today he was only told about this issue a month ago. There was a very interesting exchange in QT today https://www.parliament.nz/en/watch-parliament/ondemand?itemId=199372.

                    • mickysavage []

                      No he did not. Check out the entry by “Manukau Building Re-Cladding”

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “No he did not. ”

                      Take it up with Mr Mallard. In the meantime, what % of the total health budget is going to be spent on Middlemore upgrade? Clue…it’s in the link to QT.

                    • tracey

                      Please post evidence that Coleman has budgetted for the reclad?.

                      Also can you explain how Coleman says he didnt know about it but you say he budgetted to fix it?

                      Despite your and Tuppence best efforts Coleman lying and not budgetting to fix Middlemore IS the topic of this thread…

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Please post evidence that Coleman has budgetted for the reclad?. ”
                      The QT link. Or take it up with the Speaker.

                      “Also can you explain how Coleman says he didnt know about it but you say he budgetted to fix it? ”
                      When did he say he didn’t know about it?

                      “Despite your and Tuppence best efforts Coleman lying and not budgetting to fix Middlemore IS the topic of this thread…”
                      No, the topic of the thread is Labour having left themselves no room for the day to day contingencies a sane government allows. You do know that the costs of Middlemore are infinitesimal?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Of course they have an excuse – National were covering up their bad management”

                      What bad management? How can any government cover up the management of public entities?

    • patricia bremner 3.2

      No TS, get it right. National painted a rosy picture while standing on rotting infrastructure. That is not good governance.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 3.2.1

        Why did the boards not make more of a song and dance about it? Why didn’t management take it up with the boards? were Ryall and Coleman expected to get out their pry bars and go over every building in the crown health portfolio?

        Amazing that something that is apparently sooooo massive was able to be covered up for so long by one minister and cabinet. Not one public servant in a public sector notoriously hostile to any government on the subject of under funding made mention of it until now. Seems very far fetched.

        • tc

          Maybe you don’t seem to understanding the gravy train of plausible deniability (ChCH rebuild, Pike River, Sheepgate, Dirty Politics etc) and who appoints the boards including dodgy CEO’s like at WDHB despite warnings given to Coleman about him.

          Or maybe you do so this is pretty weak given some of the higher quality diversions we get on TS.

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury

            Maybe I don’t believe that an 11.7b fiscal hole, much derided at the time yet budgeted on labours promises to all and sundry, is entirely caused by national?

            Maybe I believe the seeding of these stories, from MP’s to journalists and via friendly blogs (remind you of anything?) is to try and deflect the blame away from either Labour producing a coincidental 11.7bn hole in it’s budget or breaking it’s pre election promises? which is fair enough to try, but we don’t have to swallow the bull shit whole.

            • Sacha

              Labour has not identified a tidy 11.7b hole. English and Joyce were never able to provide detail about the contents of their imaginary one during the election campaign. Nice try though.

            • Ankerrawshark

              Labour didn’t budget for it cause they didn’t know about it ie the massive need for capital for. It they did know the situation at Middlemore it is not credible that they wouldn’t have hounded the national govt about it.

              It isn’t credible National didn’t know about the situation at Middlemore. Coleman had signed off on fixing/replacing the leaky mental health unit.
              So national hid the problem to boast about making surplus. I despise them

        • Stuart Munro

          Hmph – where was ministerial responsibility? Failures like Coleman are to be found out and thrown out in their first term. The combination of a crooked speaker and a flaccid pack of faux journalists instead let things rot until the government changed. If it hadn’t changed it would still be rotting.

          • Baba Yaga

            Where was the ministerial responsibility for the huge DHB deficits national inherited in 2008? Or for the debt switch instigated by Cullen between the pubic and private sector? Or the economy going into recession before the GFC hit? Or the ‘decade of deficits’?

            • Stuart Munro

              Well golly – if that were true (which I doubt) they had nine years to do something about it – but Coleman claims he knew nothing. Manifestly incompetent if not venal.

              As for your “decade of deficits” the dancing Cossacks had more credibility.

              • Baba Yaga

                “they had nine years to do something about it”
                And they did. Even the Scots are now wanting to mirror NZ’s economic success.

                And the ‘decade of deficit’s’ was what was projected under the policies of the last Labour government. As was the recession NZ was in before the impacts of the GFC.

                • Stuart Munro

                  No – nobody wants another moment of the shambles we’re still cleaning up.

                  The ‘decade of deficits’ was a Treasury lie designed to get Bill off the hook for his gross mismanagement of the NZ economy. Only morons of the class who swallowed the HSBC line about a ‘rockstar economy’ ever gave it any credence. Had our economy actually been performing as Gnat supporters claim, health and other portfolios would not have these massive gaping shortfalls.

                  So just stop lying and fuck off.

                  • greg

                    So just stop lying and fuck off. 100+++++++

                  • alwyn

                    “The ‘decade of deficits’ was a Treasury lie designed to get Bill off the hook for his gross mismanagement of the NZ economy”

                    If your claim had any resemblance to reality I would get Treasury to pick my Lotto numbers.
                    The Treasury prediction was made prior to the 2008 election. Bill didn’t take charge until after that date. Do you really believe that Treasury, the most unbiased of all the Government Departments would have say round preparing claims that would excuse any prospective National Finance Minister and would do them prior to an election in which the then Government might have been returned? They make reasonably good forecasters but they aren’t that good.
                    You are spouting rubbish.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    Oh a ‘Treasury’ lie was it? Not dancing cossacks then?

                    No, it was based on forecasts of what would happen if their were no policy changes.

                    What do you make of the SNP rejecting their socialist roots and wanting to copy our economic measures eh?

                    • Stuart Munro

                      What do I make of it?

                      Just another fatuous lie, that’s what I make of it.

                      “Stuart has only a faint connection with reality, so be gentle”

                      Baba Yaga is a lying farright deleted expletive – the worst kind of concern troll – having no evidence that could support his ludicrous claims he makes it up or borrows long debunked nonsense like the imaginary decade of deficits.

                      National must stand on it’s record – lackluster growth. Not funding basic maintenance in health. A balls up of education – two really – standards and Neverpay. Immigration at unprecedented levels, much of it illegal, most of it unskilled.

                      “Treasury, the most unbiased of all the Government Departments”

                      That’s there’s your problem right there – unbiased my foot! – they produced freaks (like Brash) so far outside the norm the only way their party stays in the polls is as a margin of error.

                      It’s about time the public did some quality assurance on Treasury – being the guys who get to measure things has led them to take enormous liberties.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Just another fatuous lie, that’s what I make of it.”
                      Ah, no. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12029629. You really do set yourself up Stuart.

                    • Stuart Munro


                      The Herald – The Sunday Herald – sez that Skilling sez that the SNP…

                      This is a piece of empty apocrypha on a par with HSBC’s Rockstar.

                      You could of course wait for the SNP to make such a pronouncement – but you’d be waiting a long time.

                      Unsurprising though – secondhand gossip from the far side of the world is the only way you could generate approval for the gross misgovernance that characterized the last decade.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “This is a piece of empty apocrypha on a par with HSBC’s Rockstar.”

                      I said you only a faint connection with reality!!!

                      “The SNP has long focused on Norway and Ireland as blueprints for an independent Scotland, but the eagerly-awaited Growth Commission takes New Zealand as a model for cutting the deficit through economic growth and sound governance. ”

                      Go on, blame the Scots!

                    • tracey

                      And Coleman’s lie? You cool with that? He signed off a business case for completion 2020/2021 not a fix. Can you show us evidence of where he signed off the fix? Bearing in mind if he has, he appears to have done so before the business case which on the face of it would be imprudent

                    • Stuart Munro

                      We don’t know that the Scots said it Baba.

                      Skilling told this story to the Herald – no fact checking occurred. It’s not a statement by Nicola Sturgeon, just a puff piece by some hack who’s managed to get a job there – probably fixing their photocopier or something.

                      And he’s from the so-called NZ Initiative – a group so out there they make Jordan Williams look marginally human.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “We don’t know that the Scots said it Baba.”

                      You don’t want to admit it. I know that.

                    • tracey

                      Speaking of not wanting to admit stuff, now you have seen his signature on a document referring to a need for a business case for middlemores recladding , do you agree Coleman lied when he said he didnt know about it?

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Well of course it would be an amazing disgrace for them.

                      But they didn’t say it – propping up the failing fortunes of a failed far right party on the far side of the world is fairly low on the SNP’s priorities.

                      Skilling said it – the SNP didn’t. Here’s their press page https://www.snp.org/updates

                      No sign of any of what Skilling claims. The Herald story is a misrepresentation of the SNP position.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “do you agree Coleman lied when he said he didnt know about it?”

                      When did he say he didn’t know about it? Given that he had provided funding for it, I find that a bit strange!

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “But they didn’t say it ”

                      You do know that NZ is seen across the world as an economic success story, don’t you Stuart? It must be hard for you to swallow.

                    • tracey

                      Are you kidding?

                      So you didnt even read Mickey’s post before launching into this thread?


                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Are you kidding?”

                      You’re confused. That link doesn’t even mention recladding, it mentions toxic mold and leaking pipes. And have you looked at the AG’s report, linked to in that article?

                    • Stuart Munro

                      “NZ is seen across the world as an economic success story”

                      By whom? A pack of lying assholes like you!

                      Sure, if you never look deeper than GDP growth, and ignore or cease to collect every negative indicator, you can almost make a plausible case. For dummies.

                      But here we like to consider reality. Realities like the Christchurch rebuild being incomplete seven years later when the Napier quake (which was much worse) was repaired in two years. Want to guess how long the Kobe rebuild took?

                      If you drill down, and not very far either, virtually all of the “National success story” stories are at best epiphenomenal. They were lazy, greedy, corrupt and stupid. They had no business being in government, and they have no business repackaging their manifold failures as success.

                      The Gnats made a complete fuck of things – and as the citizens of a democracy it is our right (and duty) to make sure that no government as bad ever gets its greasy paws on power again.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “By whom?”
                      By the SNP!!! And…
                      “HSBC’s chief economist in Australasia says the New Zealand economy has further entrenched its ‘rock star’ label after achieving growth beyond what was initially anticipated in 2015 and 2016.”

                      And of course, Grant Robertson…

                      “…no government as bad ever gets its greasy paws on power again.”
                      Gosh you must be aghast at the current mob then!

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Desperate much.

                      Grant Robertson and Newshub – and The Herald (not the SNP, which is as they say in Scotland, not proven).

                      I hope you’re not expecting a Stiglitz or Krugman endorsement off the back of a set like that.

                      As for the current mob, they are infinitely better than their predecessors. Which ain’t much to brag about.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Grant Robertson and Newshub ”

                      It wasn’t NewsHub it was an SBC Economist. But I understand your questioning Robertson’s credentials. He isn’t impressing me much either.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Perhaps the biggest thing you’re missing in your desperate drive to find a handful of supposed authorities (always a fallacious argument at the best of times) is that democracy does not rely on ‘expert’ opinion. Instead it is to respond to the views of the demos, the constituents or citizens.

                      Not Newshub or Robertson or the SNP or Skilling or uncle Tom Cobbly and all.

                      It is sufficient for any citizen to look at the performance of the previous government and say “I want better”.

                      I want better than the crooks who stole SCF without judicial process. I want better than the gibbering idiot who wrecked Solid Energy. I want better than the scumbag who favoured the interests of offshore insurers over Christchurch people trying to rebuild.

                      And no faux economist trying to sell that garbage as a rockstar performance has a shred of standing. The Key government was paid and sworn to work for us. They did everything but.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “…democracy does not rely on ‘expert’ opinion.”
                      We’ve been discussing the claim that NZ’s economy had received international recognition. And you start talking about something completely different! Focus, Stuart, focus.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      “We’ve been discussing the claim that NZ’s economy had received international recognition.”

                      Nice try troll – in fact we were discussing the abject failure of National’s economic policies, and you, in your flailing desperation tried to drag in foreign experts because you could not find anyone else with a good word to say about it. You even tried to drag in the SNP! It’ll be Putin next.

                    • BabaYaga

                      The hidden infrastructure fiscal crisis gets real

                      Stuart if you can’t even follow the conversation, best you leave this to the adults.

                • tracey

                  Baba Yaga

                  I am interested in your claim that NZ was in recession before the impacts of the GFC. When are you saying we went into recession?

                  • Baba Yaga

                    “The New Zealand economy entered recession in early 2008, before the effects of the global financial crisis were felt later in the year. A drought over the 2007/08 summer led to lower production of dairy products in the first half of 2008. Domestic activity slowed sharply over 2008, as high fuel and food prices dampened private consumption, while high interest rates and falling house prices drove a rapid decline in residential investment. Economic activity fell sharply following the intensification of the global financial crisis in September 2008, contracting 0.9% in the December quarter 2008 and 0.8% in the March quarter 2009, with production GDP driven by reductions in manufacturing, construction, and wholesale and retail trade.”


                    • mickysavage

                      So the drought was the fault of Helen Clark and Michael Cullen. Those bastards.

                    • tracey

                      Thanks for the post. Appreciate it

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “So the drought was the fault of Helen Clark and Michael Cullen. ”

                      You missed this:
                      “Domestic activity slowed sharply over 2008, as high fuel and food prices dampened private consumption, while high interest rates and falling house prices drove a rapid decline in residential investment. ”

                      High interest rates. High inflation. And Cullen merrily allowing private debt to increase to make public debt lower.

                    • Pat

                      whereas under National both public and private debt increased

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “whereas under National both public and private debt increased”

                      I’d be interested to know your alternative plan to fund the rebuild Christchurch and get NZ through the GFC. We were one of the most successful countries in the world over that period.

                    • tracey

                      Interesting observations in here including that oft forgot comment English made about NZ being well placed to get through the gfc cos of Cullen and Labour’s economic management


                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Interesting observations in here including that oft forgot comment English made about NZ being well placed to get through the gfc cos of Cullen and Labour’s economic management”

                      Low debt levels. And 20 years or so of sound economic policy. My beef with Cullen was his last term – he let the economy stutter when he should have cut taxes, and he allowed political bribes to get in the way of sound economic management.

                    • tracey

                      You know economists say in a recession giving tax cuts to the top earners removes money from the economy?

                      So tax cuts help ease a recession when given to middle and low earners.

                      Nats not only didnt do that, they sucker punched low earners with an unsignalled gst hike.

                      Anyway, back to the subject of this thread, Colemans mismanagement of health and his lies yesterday.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “You know economists say in a recession giving tax cuts to the top earners removes money from the economy?”
                      Who said anything about the top earners? Recent tax cuts in NZ have given relief to all income earners.

                      “Anyway, back to the subject of this thread, Colemans mismanagement of health and his lies yesterday.”
                      Which I’m still waiting for you to provide evidence for. Meanwhile, from a link you provided:

                      “A second document from the Auditor General in 2016 also claimed that buildings at Counties Manukau had a “through life” of 11 per cent, meaning they had 89 per cent of their useful lives remaining, he said. “That’s the second lowest of all DHBs. Hardly a red flag for imminent buildings problems at Middlemore.”
                      Counties Manukau District Health Board executives had their annual review at Parliament in February, and no mention was made of mouldy or leaky buildings, he said. Reference was made to patient numbers and demands on infrastructure but there had been no specific discussion of the state of any buildings.
                      But former DHB chairwoman Dr Lee Mathias quickly weighed in with a response, saying there was “nothing dodgy or secret about the state of buildings at Middlemore”. She said the problems were all well known and had been regularly reported.
                      “Ministers, including Coleman, signed off remedial work eg the complete rebuild of the Mental Health facility in Minister Coleman’s case.”

                      Labour have a problem here. If Mathias is correct, then they would have known about this, so if Coleman’s lying, so are they.

                    • Pat

                      How much was spent by the gov on the rebuild and how much did the debt increase?

                      Approx 8 billion (maybe 10 by now with the EQC/SR debacles)…gov net debt increased by over 60 billion.



                    • Baba Yaga

                      “How much was spent by the gov on the rebuild and how much did the debt increase?”

                      How convenient that you forgot to mention the borrowing to maintain social spending and invest during the GFC.

                    • Pat

                      lmao…I have no problem with the borrowing per se….the problem is with the lies and misrepresentation…the National Gov borrowed to prop up the economy, fiddled the books to present a surplus, gave tax cuts to the wealthy and blamed it on the CHCH rebuild…while running down the public services and flogging off public assets….good economic managers my arse.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “the National Gov borrowed to prop up the economy…”
                      Well they borrowed to stimulate the economy during a recession and maintain social cohesion, yes.

                      “fiddled the books to present a surplus”
                      The government doesn’t prepare the books, Treasury does.

                      “gave tax cuts to the wealthy”
                      They gave tax cuts to all income earners.

                      “and blamed it on the CHCH rebuild…”
                      ‘Blamed’? No.

                      “while running down the public services and flogging off public assets….”
                      They didn’t run down public services, and they didn’t flog off state assets. They lived within their means, and entered into the partial sale of assets, a policy that saw them re-elected son afterwards.

                      At least they didn’t go to an election with dodgy numbers.

                    • Pat

                      Bit too much hallucinogen in that cauldron Baba

                    • Baba Yaga

                      it’s a mortar thank you very much!

              • Chuck

                “Well golly – if that were true (which I doubt)”


                Total Health spending from 2009 to 2018 increased by $5.8 billion.

                Real spending per capita increased from $2990 in 2009 to $3337 in 2018.

            • Sacha

              “were Ryall and Coleman expected to get out their pry bars and go over every building in the crown health portfolio? ”

              You mean the ones everyone knew about because they were not covered up by the outgoing govt? Coleman refused to officially sign off on annual budgets for the DHBs at the end of his tenure. Disgusting little coward.

              • Sacha

                Sorry that was meant to be responding to this quote:
                “Where was the ministerial responsibility for the huge DHB deficits national inherited in 2008?”

            • Tricledrown

              Baba Yagga DHB deficits have been the norm since DHB’s were introduced.
              Funding has been frozen by Nationals sinking lid policy which is their go to policy appealing to people’s need for greed while letting crime become a business where we are paying $100,000 a year per prisoner when if we had enough police on the beat preventing crime it would save tax payers billions so Nationals sinking lid policy has meant there is 1,000 fewer police preventing crime and road safety relying on speed Cameras.
              There are up to a million more tourists on our scenic highways a long with all the Trucks supplying these tourists add logging trucks milk tankers etc. Increase in population.
              The numbers off vehicle movements has at least doubled in the last ten years.
              Nationals solution cut police funding by letting it fall by not keeping funding up to inflation and population increases including tourist’s.many more people in this country at anyone time those people deserve the same level of police numbers as the rest of the population as they pay GST for not much return.

              • Exkiwiforces

                And now China has popped up in the Vanuatu and the Stupid Muppets that called themselves no mates National Party didn’t even allocate a single cent to the $20B for the Defence requipment and upgrades before last election.

                So up yours Baba Yaga and be a nice chappie bugger off to have nice cuppa tea or have a wee tot of squirt before you head to bed. IOT think about your no mate Nationals total lack of spending in the essential services and while you are at pop down to CHCH to see the bloody mess your No Mates Party left it in.

              • BabaYaga

                Funding has not been ‘frozen’, so your argument collapses in your second sentence.

                The hidden infrastructure fiscal crisis gets real

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury

            Where is ministerial responsibility? It probably left at the last election when National were defeated.

            “The combination of a crooked speaker and a flaccid pack of faux journalists instead let things rot until the government changed. If it hadn’t changed it would still be rotting.”

            have you seen whats been going on in the house recently? it’s still rotting

        • Ross

          Not one public servant in a public sector notoriously hostile to any government on the subject of under funding made mention of it until now. Seems very far fetched.

          Yes, far fetched indeed. In other words, I’d imagine various people brought the issue to their local MP’s attention. Counties-Manukau DHB handles tens of thousands of patients every year. I’m sure some of them would’ve noticed mould (among other problems) and would’ve told their local MP who would’ve informed the Minister.

          But let’s face it – providing tax cuts to the wealthy is sexier and guaranteed to bring in more votes than maintaining hospital buildings.

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury

            And yet it never made the media?

            thousands and thousands of people all involved in a cover up in labour Electorates, all to help a national government be correct about an 11.7bn fiscal hole in the future.

            Sheesh, give me Ed and his russophile rantings any day over this

            • tracey

              And yet, a document with his signature clearly shows he knew Middlemore had cladding issues… see lucy’s evidence below.

          • Sacha

            “I’m sure some of them would’ve noticed mould”

            Not if it was contained inside the walls. And do you seriously think the staff would have stayed quiet if they had known?

          • greg

            you have to remember how vindictive and nasty the gnats were at anybody who questioned them tv3 and john Campbell the being prime example

        • tracey

          You seem to underestimate the size of Middlemore in the Health portfolio.

          We saw what happened to scientist under National’s reign when they made a song and dance. Joyce gagged them.

          Take off your rose tinted glasses and imagine Labour had presided over this.

        • tracey

          He knew about Dunedin hospital. He knew about the figures being being preferred on the Christchurch hospital which would make for a smaller, cheaper hospital. Or didnt he know about them either?

        • Bg

          Not to mention the Nurses Union. Why did they stay quiet on this for all these years? Does the union not care about the health and safety of their members?

          • Sacha

            Please provide links to any evidence that the nurses union knew – or admit you’re as full of shit as the hospital walls.

            • Tuppence Shrewsbury

              Provide cold hard facts that national knew of the problems. Something other than they were in government at the time of this occurred.

              If it was that obvious, everyone would have know . The minister wouldn’t be coming in for clandestine mound inspections and surreptitiously removing it all after the inspection so no one else would know.

              • tracey

                Scroll down, Lucy provides the evidence, and Coleman’s signature is on it. “Middlemore Building recladding”

                Find a new pin to dance on

              • Sacha

                DHB staff have said publicly they did not know. No reason to hide it if they did.

                The strongly Nat party-aligned Chair of CMDHB has said to media that Welli officials knew about it. Coleman has said to media that he was never told.

                Either all the senior Ministry staff kept it from their Minister (and from Bill English) or one of the two Nats is a liar.

                • Tracey

                  Sacha. Scroll down. Coleman signed off Middlemore reclad building case. Signed. It. Off.

            • Ankerrawshark

              Sachs lol 100+

        • Sacha

          “were Ryall and Coleman expected to get out their pry bars and go over every building in the crown health portfolio? ”

          When Ryall first became Health Minister, he did a line item review down to $20k value across the entire system. Accountant, and all that.

          Coleman was simply lazy and would have had an arrangement with senior officials to keep pesky details away from him. Accountability does not work like that, sadly for him.

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury

            And no mound came up. Go figure.

            This isn’t the golden out labour so desperately need to explain their upcoming poor performance in the beudget

            • tracey

              Oops, it turns out Coleman not only knew about Middlemore, his signature appears on a document about it…

              • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                And he’d signed off to have it fixed too

                • tracey

                  Wait on. Just up there you said he didnt know about it. Now you are shown he did, you claim him credit for signing off a fix?

                  He signed off a fix for a problem he says he didnt know existed?

                  I have seen him sign off the cost of a business case for recladding but not signing off the cost of fixing it. Can you provide that document please. Sorry to distract you from your day’s work shifting goal posts.

        • tracey

          More of a song and dance than getting the Minister to sign off “Middlemore Building recladding” which he duly did? Is that what you mean?

    • Tricledrown 3.3

      Tuppence These hidden costs were National new of all this cover up of the leaky hospital dodgy repairs in CH CH underfunding the Police lack of teachers etc.
      Yet now claim they know nothing Coleman resigned obviously to avoid scrutiny so National could avoid the consequences.
      National dismantled the building code in 1991 so caused the 30 billion plus leaky houses schools hospitals etc.
      Now the rot has come home to roost.
      Low taxes means second rate infrastructure.
      Rich people don’t buy cheap cars but are happy with cheap nasty infrastructure.

      • tracey 3.3.1

        Apparently Tuppence and Nats new defence is we knew nothing and were incompetent but…. look Labour!

        • Tuppence Shrewsbury

          Labour knew nothing either, yet they’re “better” on health and education. What a pathetic opposition.

          only know this is an issue? not a single report on this earlier? sounds like the government is over egging the issue to try and cover for the fiscal hole of it’s own creation.

          It’s going to be a constant whine of this government, “but the last lot…..”

          and when they lose the next election they’ll probably blame that on the previous national government too

          • Hanswurst

            Your thesis appears to be that the Labour opposition must (or should) have known about it, yet the National government, with all the resources and reporting systems of the state, cannot possibly have. My thesis is that you’re an idiot.

            • Tuppence Shrewsbury

              No, my thesis is that if national knew, then everyone would have known. But no one did. So this is no miracle cure for labour’s fiscal hole. It’ll still be here and the public will know

              • Ankerrawshark

                Tuppence if labour had of known about this when in opposition they would have ripped into national over it. End of story

                • Ad

                  So, you are saying they are shit at being government and shit at being opposition.

                  That is not a ringing endorsement.

                  • tracey

                    The same is true of National. They have sold a few pups.

                  • Ankerrawshark

                    Was that question to me ad?

                    I am not saying that labour are shit at either. I am saying that if labour had of known about Middlemores problems they would have attacked the govt. as would have the Greens and N Z first.

                    I believe Coleman knew and there is some proof of that. And I believe it was deliberately kept quiet so National could appear sound economic managers so they could win

          • tracey

            You know that the Nats were still blaming labour for stuff just last year.

            I lve that you seem unable to grapple with the notion that if Coleman didn’t know, he really should have been sacked for incompetence. Afterall Middlemore is one of the largest assets in his health portfolio.

          • tracey


            Check out page 97 then read Coleman’s signature on page 3 and to his letter. Seems he did know Middlemore needed recladding.

            Spin away Tuppence

            • Tuppence Shrewsbury

              It’s been budgeted to be fixed in 2020/21. The money is already there then. So the fiscal hole is entirely of labour / nzfirsts making.

              So good you think tha a budgeted 17mill expenditure somehow equals a hidden infrastructure crises.

              The left really need to work on their messaging. Lolololol

              • tracey

                Can you post your proof of that. The document says a business case is due in 2020/2021. A business case does not mean that is when they are fixed?

                While you are laughing, look in the mirror fool cos for most of today you claimed that when Coleman said he didnt know he was not lying and now you are using the proof he did know and therefore lied, as proof he budgetted to fix it?

                The Nats make you look foolish standing up for their lies and you come back again and again and so they lie again and again and they must laugh at how willing you are to look a fool at their expense

          • Ankerrawshark

            Tuppence you are so irrational I am going to suggest commenters ignore you. It’s just not worth responding

            • tracey

              It is fascinating watching her/him dance from pin head to pin head pretending their earlier statements were never seen by us all. All to stand up for Nats lies, even once shown proof they lied to him/her

              • Hanswurst

                “Dancing from pinhead to pinhead” makes them sound somehow adroit, when what they are actually doing is more akin to constantly *****ing in their own mouth, while everybody else bemusedly wonders what they think they are gaining from the exercise.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.4

      No. It was National that failed to budget properly, hid all that failed budgeting from us (otherwise known as lying) and now that Labour are in government we’re getting to see the mess that National made.

    • tracey 3.5

      Joyce has done the equivalent of burning the houses and stores of food as you retreat so the incoming soldiers might starve.

      • AB 3.5.1

        Salting the Earth
        Then hop to the private sector to profit from the ruin you left behind. But there is no corruption in NZ of course. Croaker Coleman gets off scot free despite being caught (at long last) red-handed.

        • tracey

          And a former Minister (Mapp) says this is all the CEO’s fault. So much for the parties of accountability.

    • Kevin 3.6

      Only he didn’t TS, otherwise there would have been increased spending on maintenance etc. The deficit he was referring to was in Labours proposed spending, not Nationals. If National had formed a government this would have all been kept under the carpet and not seen the light of day. You do not give away another $8 billion in tax cuts without cutting elsewhere.

  4. Cold Hard Truth 4

    Yeah but while they support the neo lib agenda themselves with ghastly nonsense like the CP-TPP, 90 day law , praising or supporting sketchy foreign entities and individuals its really a case of one monkey throwing shit at another. Its amusing at times but far from convincing.

    • Michelle 4.1

      yes but who left the shit and who is cleaning it up and the worse shit is the shit you cant see until you have a proper look (do a review cause its hidden but its there )

  5. faroutdude 5

    Repost from OM:
    Should be irrelevant anyway. DHB possibly knew about the relatively minor building maintenance issues, sounds like Coleman wasn’t informed. Possibly Labour were and decided to play politics with peoples health. DHB had been underspending budget anyway so why wouldn’t they just get it fixed – again perhaps playing politics. Looks like an excuse anyway – Govt should have kept some in the kitty for issues such as this instead of blowing it on wealthy students and PI Countries. Tweet from Patrick Smellie

    “Is pedantic to question the narrative about under-investment at Middlemore when today’s DHB stats show the capital budget is significantly underspent? I.e., under-funding can’t be the issue if money for capital upgrades is going unspent.

    — Pattrick Smellie (@pjsmellie) April 9, 2018

    This will blow up in JA’s face, maybe she is being white – anted (again)??

    • Gabby 5.1

      Why didn’t the board do something then dudie? Sure the govt should have kept something in the last lot were lying sacks of shit kitty. But how much? What more stuff no ministers knew about is coming out? Smellie sounds like bit of a floater.

    • SPC 5.2

      Reading between the lines,

      1. Daddy and mummy National do not like their children being seduced into voting Labour via a free years tertiary study.

      2. Any spending by Labour on brown skinned people PI/Maori/poor families will be used to dog whistle the middle class Pakeha to remain true to National, their own race and class self interest.

      3. An admission by one National voter that National’s focus on tax cuts 2009 and the planned one for 2018, meant there was no money left for contingency – thus a downside risk to the 2017-2020 government’s budget (remember in 2009 they resorted to a GST increase to cope).

    • Pat 5.3

      ” I.e., under-funding can’t be the issue if money for capital upgrades is going unspent.’

      Simplistic reasoning…theres any number of reasons a capital budget may not have been exhausted while capital investment required…insufficiency for one.

    • Sacha 5.4

      “sounds like Coleman wasn’t informed. Possibly Labour were”

      You’re dreaming. No evidence to support either statement.

      “under-funding can’t be the issue if money for capital upgrades is going unspent”

      As the DHB’s acting CEO explained to RNZ, if capital is spent it triggers immediate interest and depreciation payments stipulated by govt, which reduces the total budget left for operational spending. Any prudent manager would defer capital spending when the funder has made clear you will not get enough to cover both.

      • tracey 5.4.1

        Seems odd that even when in Opposition national gets some info before labour (Griffin over Hirschfield) but on something like this no one said a thing

  6. Sanctuary 6

    Coleman didn’t know because the DHB chairman knew that if he told the government bad news he would lose his job, along with the generous stipend that goes with it.

    National demanded surpluses and punished the truth. Like Pavlov’s dogs, the DNB heads knew what behaviour their masters expected and when they did it, they got to keep their jobs as a reward.

    • james 6.1

      “Coleman didn’t know because the DHB chairman knew that if he told the government bad news he would lose his job, along with the generous stipend that goes with it.”

      How interesting? Anything evidence to back up such a claim ? …….no?

      • Muttonbird 6.1.1

        When the Nats and their hangers-on get backed into a corner they always ask for evidence. The evidence of neglect is widely known by the NZ public and that is why the Nats are in opposition.

        • james

          Actually I ask for evidence when people state things as fact and it sounds like bullshit.

          BTW – did you ever produce everything to back up your claims that the new TTPA under labour had “assuaged most Kiwi’s concerns”?

          • Muttonbird

            Of course it has. And if you are looking for evidence you need go no further than the dramatic drop in resistance to it.

            • james

              ” And if you are looking for evidence you need go no further than the dramatic drop in resistance to it.”

              Awesome evidence there muttonbird.

              Have a look on the threads here about it – I dont see dramatic drop in resistance to it.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 6.1.2

        Are you kidding?

        • james

          Not at all – Sanctuary just stated that the DHB Chairman deliberately withheld this information from his government minister.

          • Gabby

            Croaker might’ve told him he didn’t want to hear a ribbit about it jimbo.

      • SPC 6.1.3

        Can you provide any other reason why the DHB did not inform either the media or the government (apart from the unspecified need for “substantial investment” – which suggests an inability to cope with the extent of the problem without saying what the problem was)? Were they frightened of embarrasing the government or scaring their patients?

        The fact that they allocated no money (and they had unallocated money) to redress the problem is negligence on their part. While they did nothing the problem must have got worse.

        While the unallocated money might have been set aside for work when they had sufficient funds, this is not transparent (so they were covering up the problem).

      • Tricledrown 6.1.4

        James National made it clear to all public servant’s if they whistle blew they would loose funding or jobs.
        Professed Jim Mann who spoke out against Nationals lack of action around the obesity epidemic and diabetes epidemic.
        National cut his funding completely and all other funding of any other research he was associated with.
        That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
        National are political thugs Coleman/and English both did what Kathryn RICH paid the National Party Cameron Slater etc to undermine good research and preventive health care.
        James you are a boring minion.

        • james

          “James you are a boring minion.”

          Awwwwww you hurt my feelings.

          Anyway given the rest of your post – do you believe (again without any actual evidence) that the DHB chairman deliberately withheld information from the Government?

          Should they not be held to account for this?

      • tracey 6.1.5

        Did Nats not know about Dunedin? Strange when they kept promising a new hospital every election for 3 terms. Did Nats not know the figures used for CHCH were flawed? They didnt care cos they wanted to save money.

        Middlemore has been in trouble for more than 1 term of Nat govt. Coleman is being disingenuous at best.

        It seems “no surprises” policy which served Nats so well is now to be regarded as not in place in Health.

        The apologists for the state of our mental health and health services in return for a small surplus and election “wins” reveal themselves as cruel and self serving.

      • Exkiwiforces 6.1.6

        Welcome to modern day management practices in the civil service James. As bad news such as this means the Muppets have to get off ass and fix it also it upset the overall balance sheet as saving money means no performance bonuses etc etc for the Muppets in senior management positions.

        Don’t even get me started on modern day Logistics management within the civil service either. It likes putting the Fox in charge of the chicken coop.

      • tracey 6.1.7

        Hmmmm why would a DHB Chairman not ask for money to repair so many buildings that are becoming health hazards? Just incompetence? Seems odd. That kind of incompetence would presumably run through all decision-making but still Coleman and his office didnt notice the incompetence.

      • tracey 6.1.8

        You were right, Sanctuary had no evidence the DHB Chair didn’t tell Coleman because the DHB Chair DID tell Coleman.

        Hat tip Lucy


        Check out page 97 then read Coleman’s signature on page 3 and to his letter. Seems he did know Middlemore needed recladding.

      • reason 6.1.9

        Two examples of money and jobs being taken from people speaking out …. to help james with his blue fog:

        The Gambling foundation having its funding cut and National trying to hand their contract untended as well as unwanted to the Salvation army …. who did not join in Nationals nasty vindictive … and pointed balls out example of what happens to critics of the Nacts.

        “the Government’s preferred replacement provider – the Salvation Army – hadn’t asked to take over the national contract in the PGF’s place. They got told they had won it without knowing exactly what they had won and without seeking to win it.” https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/the-governments-problem-with-problem-gambling

        Thats one of the worst examples James ….

        Others may pick John Key making a cynical arse of himself when trying to smear environmental scientist Dr Mike Joy on BBC hard talk … and the subsequent National dirty politics team having a ‘hate on’ against him … https://thestandard.org.nz/key-vs-science-on-water-quality/

        In this dirty unsuccessful bullying ….. a scientist telling the truth was harassed, labeled a traitor … and Mike Joy employers were pressured, this good honest scientist noted how others researchers reliant on funding were intimidated.


        P.s I’m still waiting, and I presume Tracey is to, for your answers to our different quite reasonable questions of you …. just before your last ban ….would you like a link to refresh your memory ?.

    • Ross 6.2


      But the DHB did tell Coleman. The words “require substantial investment” should’ve rung alarm bells with the Minister. Any Minister with a scintilla of intelligence would’ve asked how much investment was required. He apparently didn’t ask that rather basic question.

      • Sanctuary 6.2.1

        In the ambient culture that bathed the last National government – wishful thinking reinforced by denialism, suppression of evidence and the ready use of state power for the character assassination of anyone who dared speak out – no DHB chairman was ever going to do more than feebly signal the onrushing disaster for fear of the consequences, especially when that chairman will be a hand picked member of the neoliberal establishment whose primary concern is to retain the teflon coating of his and his fellow members of the CEO elite club.

        The words “require substantial investment” are, Sir Humphrey Appleby style, not designed to signal a multi-billion dollar problem. They are designed to be just enough to cover the ass of the board and at the same time provide plausible deniability for the minister.

        That way, everyone is clear of blame and they can all move on to the next lucrative appointment to the board of the port company/DHB/ACC or wherever they go next to get their snouts into the trough of public money that pays their fat stipends.

        It is all self-governing, mutually reinforcing, non accountable arse licking funded out of the public purse by technocrats and their political buddies who are never, somehow, held to to account.

        • patricia bremner

          1000% Sanctuary Total Avoidance complete with tactical political pin dancing.

      • tracey 6.2.2

        Lucy has revealled all today. He knew and he signe doff the plan which clearly stated Middlemore needed recladding

        http://countiesmanukau.health.nz/assets/About-CMH/Performance-and-planning/2016-17-CMH-Annual-Plan.pdf page 97

  7. Ed1 7

    I think there was a road that they promised – from memory before the election period, which since the election turns out not to have been formally agreed so not included in the pre-election financial statements. It would be good to have a list of issues where it was found out later that matters National was promising were never allowed for in the accounts. (For example, had they allowed for building bridges in Northland?)
    There are two lists – the items where National campaigned on the spending but had carefully not had cabinet agreement so the forward spending was not included. and where National claims incompetence and didn’t know of the need so it wasn’t included in pre-election accounts. The common element to both lists is that National misled New Zealand.
    It would be helpful for each item to have a url confirming the deception by National.
    “Lest we forget” . . .

  8. AsleepWhileWalking 8

    From my perspective hidden disability costs in our welfare system I would estimate at 50 million a year conservatively.

    Effectively this means that people who should have recovered and bounced through the system are now entrenched extending forward liability considerably/ increasing numbers on SLP.

    Can’t help but think they probably haven’t realised because of the nature of the system.

  9. Stunned Mullet 9

    Same old same old.

    National blamed Labour for the rotting educational infrastructure bill, Labour blame National for the rotting health infrastructure bill.

    Anyone working in either of these two areas will be familiar with the long time problems in both these areas which could consume most of the tax take in NZ, perhaps if the two parties worked together for once and came up with a long term solution we won’t be back arguing about the same crap in 3,6 or 9 years time….pigs might also fly.

  10. Marcus Morris 10

    In 1994 the then National Government changed the building code to allow untreated timber to be used in all constructions . One can only presume that the rationale for this incredible decision was that it would lower construction costs and hence provide greater profit for the industry. At the same time the same government abolished the apprenticeship scheme so opening the field for a host of cowboy builders to become involved in that same industry. The Clarke government reversed these decisions but not before incalculable damage had been done. I cannot understand why these “wizards of economic manage” have not been held to account long ago for those disastrous decisions. The Middlemore scandal is just one more manifestation of that crazy decision made almost a quarter of a century ago.

    • tracey 10.1

      Treatment was carried out in treatment plants. Once that was gone Caters and Fletchers could lower the price but not to entirely account for the drop in treatment price. Very easy profit increase.

    • Exkiwiforces 10.2

      Not only those Muppets got rid of the apprenticeship scheme, but also the farm/ horticulture cadet scheme as well and I would’ve been surprise at what we are seeing in 3 industries atm is a result of what happen in 1994.

      Forgot to mention at the same time in Defence that these Muppets shut down Wigram AFB in Christchurch as they were saying it was cheaper to send some of the Trainee’s doing Nav, Air warfare and AEO cse’s over to Oz at the time.

      Guess what’s about to happen in the RNZAF very soon??? And you wonder why I hate National so much on Defence issues with short term thinking.

    • greg 10.3

      natz are a masters of disaster thats what there supporters vote for but never pay for

  11. Enough is Enough 11

    I don’t really think it is credible that these issues were known last year.

    Did National somehow muzzle every doctor, nurse, patient, visitor, cleaner, cook, director, and ceo, and prevent them from whispering to the media about these issues?

  12. bwaghorn 12

    Go Borrow 2billion and sort this shit out . the economic activity wil up the tax take . blame the bats for a short time then stfu and get on with it

  13. ianmac 13

    When John Campbell was investigating the DHB he was told, I think, that the Boards were forbidden to speak out about the problems of underfunding. The DHBs had I think, a Government appointed watchdog to monitor their activities. (Was re the Otago and Canterbury DHBs.)
    Don’t know how to search the detail of this and am relying on my ageing memory.

  14. ianmac 14

    Marama Davidson has question No 1 today to the PM: “Does she stand by her statement on underinvestment in public services that “we didn’t know it would be this bad”, and if so, how significant is this underinvestment?”
    Q12:Dr LIZ CRAIG to the Minister of Health: What advice has he received about DHB deficit levels?
    Might be interesting?

    • Carolyn_Nth 14.1

      Here is how it went:


      1. MARAMA DAVIDSON (Co-Leader—Green) to the Prime Minister: Ka tū a ia i runga i tana kōrero mō te iti rawa o te mahi haumi i roto ratonga tūmataiti, ā, nā runga i tērā, “we didn’t know it would be this bad” ā, mēnā kua pēnei rawa, ka pēhea te nui o te iti rawa o te mahi haumi nei?
      [Does she stand by her statement on underinvestment in public services that “we didn’t know it would be this bad”, and if so, how significant is this underinvestment?]
      Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN (Prime Minister): Yes, absolutely, and much of that we could see from Opposition, as could New Zealanders in everyday life, as they saw individuals sleeping in cars or being unable to access health services. But what we are seeing now is in almost every portfolio I can find other signs of under-investment.
      Marama Davidson: Does she agree that the state of the books she inherited from National represents a moral and fiscal deficit, which we see every day in our homeless and unemployed, in our impoverished families, and in our threatened species?
      Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Yes, and being in Government obviously is about making choices and about priorities. The last Government decided that the priority, rather than investing in issues around unemployment and homelessness, was tax cuts—a huge amount of which went to the top 10 percent of income earners. This Government has different priorities.
      Marama Davidson: How significant is the under-investment in health in light of revelations that there is sewage and mould running through the walls of Middlemore Hospital, as a direct result of it?
      Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I would say Middlemore Hospital is emblematic of a much wider problem. District health boards are telling us that 19 percent of their assets are either in a poor or a very poor state. If you add to that the fact that they’re running what will be an estimated up to $200 million deficit, I think it’s fair to say New Zealanders in every walk of life will be experiencing issues with their health services.
      Marama Davidson: Has there been significant under-investment in other areas of Government spending, and has that impacted on core services, as we have seen in our health system?
      Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As I say, health, I think, is emblematic of what’s gone on in other areas. You’ll hear today, for instance, the Minister of Education talking a little bit more about the under-investment in early childhood education, which, essentially, has meant that parents have been picking up the tab from a lack of investment from the last Government. I’m happy to share the numbers.
      Marama Davidson: What plans does she have, if any, to restore investment in public services to urgently help those who are struggling the most, such as the 10 to 20 homeless people I spoke with who were sleeping outside the City Mission yesterday morning?
      Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As I say, we identified from Opposition that this was an issue. We made a very deliberate decision to cancel the tax cuts. The second decision that we made was to run a slightly longer debt track than the last Government, because we wanted to prioritise investing in housing and making sure that there wasn’t the scale of homelessness we saw under the last Government. As I say, Government is all about priorities, and ours are very different to the last Government.
      Marama Davidson: Will the Government consider any new taxes in the future to help solve these problems, given that it has ruled out any new revenue streams this term?
      Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As we’ve said, there will be no new tax regimes in this term of office, from this Government. Of course, we do have the Tax Working Group under way, but they may very well produce an outcome that could be fiscally neutral as well. Ultimately, we have budgeted and set out a debt track that allows us to make the investment that is the priority, and we did things like cancel tax cuts, so we could reinvest in health, education, and housing.

  15. tracey 15

    OIA Minister briefings?

  16. Lucy 16

    LTIP is http://countiesmanukau.health.nz/assets/About-CMH/Performance-and-planning/2016-17-CMH-Annual-Plan.pdf
    which was signed off by Coleman on 27 October 2016 – even if he didn’t read it his officals would have

    [Thanks Lucy – MS]

    • dukeofurl 16.1

      Exactly , very first page has Colemans signature

      And he gives the game away the part where ‘any changes require his approval’

      • tracey 16.1.1

        It beggars belief. So many still default to believing the word of a Minister… a Minister from a caucus whose complete lack of ethics was revealled by

        Bennett, Collins, Smith, Bridges (burying Kiwirail report pre election) English, Key, Finlayson…

    • tracey 16.2

      Page 97 clearly states “Middlemore Building Recladding”

      Well done Lucy, many thanks

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 16.2.1

        $17 million? $17 million? This government has over promised so much that it can’t keep up with planned and budgeted expenditure of $17m?

        So Coleman did know and should have recalled it, this is laughable.

        I’ll gracioulsy subtract $17million off whatever the fiscal hole is.

        Lolololololololol you think this a smoking gun? It clearly indicates that the budgetary allowances have been made already and therefore there is no infrastructure funding crises. Just a crises of funding for promises

        • tracey

          Not a smoking gun. Evidence that Coleman lied. You and others backed his assertion that he didnt know. When the lie is revealled you gloss over it and hop on to your next pin to dance. Enjoy the whirling. You have been made a fool of by Nat lies. Again.

        • greg

          so 9 years of lies fraud theft and ponytail buggery is ok is it????

  17. Sure, I admit to being one-eyed, but from where I sat, watching on my television, the Natz got a real hiding in the House at Question Time.

    Marama Davidson got the ball rolling with a question about underfunding over the past nine years – then Soimon tried vainly to make headway and failed. Almost every question came back to the mess the Natz had left behind them.

    Great viewing.

  18. Brian Tregaskin 18

    Baba Yaga Nationals legacy over its 9 year term will be remembered as the Government that left shit in our hospitals walls.
    History will not be kind

    • Grafton Gully 18.1

      There appears to be no evidence of adverse effects on patients, staff or visitors of mould and “shit in our hospital walls”
      The Annual Plan notes a business case to be made for the recladding and the case would be stronger if adverse effects were known.
      The plan does not prioritise “bricks and mortar” but services to deal with health issues before they become severe enough to need treatment in a hospital bed.
      The Counties Manukau population suffers more than most from diseases caused by low income and poor housing.
      Diabetes, lung disease in children and heart disease due to rheumatic fever from skin and throat infections can all be reduced with the proper resourcing of education and healthcare outside the hospitals.

      • tracey 18.1.1

        Coleman lied after a couple of weeks saying nothing. He signs off a business case for recladding. A business case with a deadline of 2020/2021. That is not when it would be fixed.

        So the new question is, if tge cost of all these buildings is not hidden, where is it and why has it been budgetted before the business case is presented?

  19. Sacha 19

    Canterbury DHB is carrying heaps of debt, partly because of the ministry’s refusal to replace major buildings fast enough or to keep up with increased demand: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/102933153/canterburys-health-spend-one-third-of-national-dhb-deficit

    • tracey 19.1

      And the Ministry’s refusal to accept DHB stats means it is smaller(cheaper) than it needs to be to serve its community

      • Sacha 19.1.1

        There is personal bias against that DHB by some MoH managers and they need to be rooted out.

  20. mosa 20

    It is always the same.
    National mismanages and incites a crisis and leaves office and Labour has to clean up with no credit from the public for doing so.

    That ” hole ” Joyce was referring to was Nationals own deficit in funding responsibly our core services.

    I hope that Adern and Robertson make sure that the previous government is scrutinised for the mess they created in achieving a surplus at all costs.

    How ” hollow the ” brighter future ” seems now.

    • tracey 20.1


      And their apologists look foolish again trying to back up their lies. At some point these folks must get sick of being made to look foolish by them?

  21. Ad 21

    It is impossible for this government to suggest that there was a hidden deficit of any kind.

    They had nine long years in opposition to watch this set of deficits grow, across all portfolios they held.

    They had nine years to get fed opposition attack materials, research them, and turn them into hits. Or into properly costed policies.

    They had plenty of “leaking” supporters in DHB boards, school boards, university councils, and the great sea of quangos circulating around Wellington, as well as the direct links of their own MPs.

    They had the Briefings to Incoming Ministers. They had the PREFU. They had their mini-budget in December.

    This government had all the time in the world to get their financial shit together, and now they fucking fold like origami at the first small cloud of trouble.

    Worse than pathetic. It’s weak.

    It’s not so much a set of shocks as a time-honored trope of forming some mild crisis to gain the immediate mandate to take far stronger action than they promised the electorate. Or, even worse, use a mild crisis to water down the very mild promises they made to the electorate into something weaker – which is what they are doing now.

    This lot are not even 9 months into their first year and they are already preparing to walk backwards so fast you can’t even make out their faces again the sun.

    As for Robertson, the softcock who is supposed to be fronting all of this financial aww-shucks-I-Had No-Idea horseshit, he may as well not exist for all the work he isn’t doing while getting the Prime Minister to burn her political capital on it. English would be better.

    Right now this lot look weak and incoherent to every single sector of the political and economic commentariat, and are rightly getting a good kicking for it.

    • Pat 21.1

      Was Cullen a competent finance Minister in your opinion?

    • ropata 21.2

      That’s way too dark. Labour were supposed to do all this from the Opposition benches when all they had was a few dissenting opinions and the official reports from Nat influenced ministries were a tissue of lies? When the Nat government screwed the books so much that they had half the country believing there was a surplus and we would all get tax cuts? When reporters were routinely denied and deferred OIA requests? How the hell was Labour supposed to know how deep the rot has gone when officials knew they would get the chop if they made National look bad??

      You’re dreaming mate. The only way we even knew about this was because the Nats’ campaign of suppression and dirty politics bullshit has been beaten (for now).

  22. Sacha 22

    A personal account of how the public sector was cowed by managers doing the bidding of Ministers:

    From about halfway through:

    I’ve also seen slipshod DHB systems rolled out, all to meet the deadline not of better services, but a smiling Ministerial appearance in front of the cameras. Former colleagues used to send messages to their management that they must flag system-wide deficiencies. They were told to ignore them, just file them away…

    “We have to meet the system roll-out deadline. We do not have time to go after these problems!”

    Waikato DHB for example is one where there were huge systemic issues.

    However, at least one colleague known directly to myself simply refused to comply, filing the error reports anyway. She remarked to me afterward that she would “file them anyway, no way is management going to get out of saying they weren’t told about this!”

    She was rotated out of her job soon after… I don’t think she’ll be staying in the Waikato: she knows too much about the potential problems.

  23. David Mac 23

    “It’s not our fault” is a legitimate response.

    Alas, it fixes nothing and inspires nobody.

    Won’t somebody please get that cladding off Middlemore and blasting the cavities with a suitable solution. I’m hoping for a government of action.

  24. mac1 24

    The Counties-Manukau Health Plan.

    Frankly, I don’t blame Coleman for not having read to page 97 to discover the cladding issue from this document.

    He signed off on it, though.

    I would have expected that his own staff. Ministry staff or that of the C-M Health Board to have kept him informed, as the Health Plan allows.

    I found the following bit of gobbledy-gook early in the document. Page 7.

    “Our Alliancing approach, whole of system leadership and Healthy Together strategy focus on transformational change in the community enables us to most effectively use resources with a focus on the short, medium and longer term priorities.”

    How does one focus “on the short, medium and longer term priorities”?

    Surely one would focus on one of the three priority options? It’s meaningless to talk about focus when the whole time frame is being targeted.

    P 117-118 has a doozy of a section.

    “5.5 Reporting and Consultation
    CM Health will undertake to consult/notify the Minister if the following takes place, and before making a decision:
     Significant changes to the way in which we invest/deliver services (as per MOH Guidelines)
     Entering into new arrangements such as the changes in shareholding with healthAlliance NZ Limited, and Ko Awatea and the Innovation Hub
     Any proposal for significant capital investment or the disposal of Crown land

    We will also comply with requirements in relation to any specific consultation expectations that the Minister communicates to us.”

    Who will believe that the Minister did not say to his staff and to the Health Boards that he should be kept aware of significant issues such as sewerage in the walls and mould growth requiring recladding of a building, in line with the last sentence of the section or the last bullet point requiring notification of significant capital investment?

    $17 million is not significant? Had a decision been made when a $17 million recladding had been budgeted in 2016-17? Was Minister Coleman ‘consulted/notified’?

    Especially when it is being spent on a significant health endangering deficiency in the Middlemore Building and the only response (page 97 line item) from the C-M is a business case development to be completed in 2020-21 at a $17 million cost for which the budget was approved in 2016-17?

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