Recall that last week Speaker Lockwood Smith tried to heavy the press, demanding that they stop doing stories on MP’s expenses or he would do away with the Press Gallery. I suspected at the time that this was a tactical blunder, any hack worth their salt should take that as fighting talk! And it may be just a coincidence, but right on cue Monday morning we had the story about Ministers’ profligate spending on flowers for their offices. This was backed up with a Herald “your views” piece:
Is ministerial spending out of control?
Ministers have racked up a $52,000 bill for flowers in the first 11 months of the National-led Government. Finance Minister Bill English spent $4051 on flowers from January to November – double the amount of most of his ministerial colleagues and second only to the Prime Minister, who spent $5503. It was also double the $1928 spent on flowers by Mr English’s predecessor Michael Cullen over the same period in 2008.
Turns out from the views posted that we the people are not at all happy about this. I was particularly struck by the comment from Merv (Remuera):
Bill English. Don’t you just love the guy? Asks us all to tighten our belts, while at the same – not only loosening his own, but undoing the trouser button as well.
“Undoing the trouser button” – just seems to capture our greedy, overindulgent Ministers to a tee don’t you think? A suggestive image which in many ways I would rather have remained without. Too late now. Anyway, this is just one example of how the comments on public forums are turning sceptic for the Nats. I’ve written about this before, quoting Cindy (Titirangi):
I loathe this government and I could kick myself for voting them in.
Almost everywhere you look there seems to be a growing tide of anger in public forums. Is this because only angry people can be bothered speaking up, or is it the tip of the iceberg of a changing mass of public opinion? If the latter, then I think we’ll start to see it slowly but steadily in the polls as the new year gets under way…