web analytics

Watkins: govt adrift, icebergs ahead

Written By: - Date published: 12:55 pm, February 20th, 2010 - 13 comments
Categories: Media, national/act government - Tags:

Tracey Watkins writes that National is pissing off important constituencies and Labour’s messages are resonating:

There may not be any sign yet of the Government closing the income gap with Australia but there are certainly signs that the squeeze is starting to go on to ordinary Kiwis.

Not only is there no sign of the gap closing, it’s widening by every measure (wages, GDP, unemployment)

The sharp end of all that talk about belt-tightening and trimming “waste” is emerging and we are hearing the first warning rumblings from the likes of Grey Power that, whatever they giveth (in this case their vote), they can also take away. Given the lengths John Key went to for the ultra-powerful grey vote, this will be cause for some unease within National’s camp.

Key promised the world to everyone, he has failed to do anything for anyone except the wealthy elite.

a [GST] rise to 15 per cent from 12.5 per cent will hit those on fixed incomes the hardest and the Government’s assurances of compensation all round are being treated with healthy scepticism. This is only natural, since what seems like a neat solution in an academic sense to the Tax Working Group’s call for a more competitive tax environment is likely to hold less allure the further down the income chain voters are. Labour’s line that the GST rise is nothing more than a thinly disguised tax cut for the rich, paid for by the poor, appears to be resonating.

Messages work best when they are true and when the public can see they’re true. Anyone with any common sense can see that if you raise GST and spend most of the money cutting taxes for the rich then middle and low income Kiwi families end up worse off. People are against GST increases because they know it’s a wealth transfer from the many to the rich few in disguise.

the crunch hitting home at Radio New Zealand and the Conservation Department may cause surprisingly few ripples among the man or woman in the street….And many businesses have been forced to adapt why not DOC?

I can’t agree with that. The Save RNZ Facebook group now has 7,000 members in just over two days. And the conservation estate is not just some abstract valued by urban liberals, it is a big part of provincial life, and vital to tourism. DoC is not a business, it is the guardian of our natural treasures for this generation and the ones to come. A lot of natural conservatives are concerned about conserving the natural state of our conservation lands.

On the Government’s spending cuts forcing DHBs to reduce home help the elderly: “the policy seems senseless, as well as insensitive, given that a few hours’ home help seems to be a vastly cheaper option than putting up the elderly at expensive retirement facilities. Like adult night classes, chopped for savings of just $13 million, the Government seems to be buying itself a fight with a significant chunk of voters including the sons and daughters of all those elderly stay-at-home voters for what seems like chump’s change in the grand scheme of things.”

This is a government that is willing to sink $50 million into a cycleway with no business case, will chuck a billion at Whanau Ora (which no-one can even define), can rustle up a hundred million or so for its stupid national standards experiment, and has billions for motorways that will produce less benefit than the cost, but cheap cost-effective programmes get the slash for ideological reasons.

Governments are rarely undone by one big thing – death by a thousand cuts is the more common fate. And it all hangs on whether voters continue to believe in the grander plan. So the budget will need to do a better job than has been done so far of explaining the big picture.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that National’s plan was ‘get elected’ and there’s nothing to follow it up, except PR stunts and silly announcements that come to nothing (cycleway, party central, whaling ‘plan’) as Smiling John bounces from cloud to cloud, and, in the background, ministers quietly pay off favours from National’s mates. There is no ‘big picture’ for the economy.

Because today’s grumbles are just the tip of what looks like a very large iceberg ahead.

Things are turning sharply for the Government. We’ve all felt it in the last few weeks. You can see it in the changing tenor of the rightwing blogs and the media. The latest Roy Morgan poll gives some early hints with the government confidence rating taking its sharpest fall since National came to power. The way is open for Labour to show itself as a government-in-waiting with a genuine commitment to the needs of the many.

13 comments on “Watkins: govt adrift, icebergs ahead ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    This from the same Tracey Watkins who spent most of 2007/8 cheerleading for Key… her heart will always be Tory, but even she’s worried about what she’s seeing.

    She’s right in this respect; that govts are rarely undone by one big thing, and this govt came to power masked by a thick layer of professionally applied layer of spin, polish and puffery. But once that wears through, as inevitably it must, the hollow men will not stand for long.

    • I seem to recall even GW Bush once enjoyed 80% approval. Now even Republicans are embarrassed to admit he was once President.
      KeY will be disowned soon enough.

  2. Mike 2

    I think the One News poll is out tomorrow as well

    • I dreamed a dream 2.1

      It’s all grim reading. Morgan poll, 3News poll, One News poll. All still have Key and the Nats as popular as ever.

      So what if the government is adrift and icebergs are ahead? Key and Nats seem to be able to negotiate any obstacles. They’ll sail past the icebergs easily. Unless we can get them to hit the icebergs. But it’s not looking likely. It’s more like Labour is stuck in mud.

      Maybe it has to come to pass for voters to suffer first. They they may consider coming back to Labour.

  3. Blue 3

    You hit the nail on the head, Eddie. After nine years out of power, National was desperate to become the Government at any cost.

    They promised everything, to everyone, all at the same time, put a popular figurehead on top of a 1990s line-up, lured the Maori Party into their lair, and are avoiding doing anything in the first term that would damage the approval ratings.

    Now they are scheming to get rid of MMP and solidify their grasp on power.

    They don’t ever want to be out in the cold for nine years ever again.

  4. prism 4

    Another expensive idea – broadband to every house. How has a government with privatisation agendas and wanting to leave things to business come to a position where it is sponsoring or paying for this? Is it a cover for getting better broadband to the rural area? For heavens sake, they have a good case on their own which is justified by their earning capacity for the country. Let people who want broadband budget for it themselves. What is needed is ensuring that everybody is technologically literate and understands the need for ethics and standards also – through the schools mainly.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      How has a government with privatisation agendas and wanting to leave things to business come to a position where it is sponsoring or paying for this?

      Easy, their rich mates and foreign owners want them to as they’ll make even more profit from the taxpayer.

  5. Anthony Karinski 5

    Maybe baby.

    But while there is a hell of a lot of discussion on The Standard about why Key/National is soooo bad and the trumpeting of pieces about how the Nats are about to go down the gurgles in the polls (for about the last year: Yeah Right!), little has changed. The government still retain an impressive lead. Kiwis just seem to like them more than they dislike them.

    Wouldn’t it be more interesting and indeed challenging for the columnists to apply their talent in a more productive manner. Blurting out that the MSM is biased or most people just find it hard to admit they were wrong at last election hardly constitute astute analysis. Rather it’s a form of lazy intellectual back slapping trying to mask the real issue: I don’t really know why the hell the nats are doing so well. I’m stumped, lost for words and disgusted by it. But instead of regurgitating MSM dribble I will now try to really find out what tickles the prickle in the kiwi psyche. If you do you may actually be an agent of change and not just a concoction of wishful thinking and ideological outrage.

    • RedLogix 5.1

      I don’t really know why the hell the nats are doing so well. I’m stumped, lost for words and disgusted by it. But instead of regurgitating MSM dribble I will now try to really find out what tickles the prickle in the kiwi psyche.

      Good comment AK. The reason Key is popular is the same as why science is loosing the battle against carbon industry lies….professional mass manipulation and emotive marketing beats rationality everytime.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    It’s becoming increasingly clear that National’s plan was ‘get elected’

    IIRC, in The Hollow Men Hager said that their plan was to get elected and then do what they wanted. Power was everything. Well, they got elected and now they’re finding out that doing everything that they want may not be possible. I’m reasonably sure that they’ll try though. The May budget is going to be another like Richardson’s MOAB.

  7. Shona 7

    AK most of what warped the kiwi psyche last election came from radio. Talk -hate and arsewipes like Holmes promoting the hard Right agenda . Radio has always been the number one propaganda weapon for manipulating the masses since well before the second world war. And remember Steven Joyce created /owned Radio Works. Sheepole don’t want to think they just want their prejudices fed.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 7.1

      Thats because the media are really good at making the unexceptional and uncommon sound like they are exceptional and common. Stuff like there’s Islamic terrorists lining up to migrate and attack NZ, pedophiles on every street corner, violent criminals everywhere ready to attack us, all welfare recipients are lazy and ready to rip us off, lazy public servants wasting our money. etc etc..

      When they get into power politicians are forced to confront the fact that all of this is not true.

  8. Homo Domesticus 8

    Friends, Watkins spouts nothing new, I have been telling you this for months. The arselicking media have fawned on Key’s hollow words and empty promises. Watkins is waking up to Key; Espiner and co have not yet, Espiner probably never will, but others will follow.

    The bulk of Key’s cabinet were members of the last National cabinet, including Smith, Lockwood Smith, McCulley, Double Dipton English, Bozo “I’ll fix the power companies” Brownlee (yeah right, Gerard) etc were useless then and are still useless. These guys had no ideas, or original solutions to NZ’s problems then and they still don’t. New cabinet faces are also uninspiring the likes of Wilkinson and Tolley lurch from one stuff up to the next.

    We have had hopeless governments for the 15 years and New Zealand deserves better than what is on offer from any of the present parties.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New Zealand provides support to Timor-Leste for flooding and COVID-19 surge
    New Zealand is providing further support to Timor-Leste following severe flooding and the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. “Our thoughts are with the people of Timor-Leste who have been impacted by the severe flooding and landslides at a time when the country is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • WHANAU OF MĀORI BATTALION SOLDIERS REUNITED WITH MEDALS
    A ceremony has been held today in Gisborne where the unclaimed medals of 28 (Māori) Battalion C Company soldiers were presented to their families.   After the Second World War, returning service personnel needed to apply for their medals and then they would be posted out to them.  While most medals ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • SolarWinds compromise attributed to Russian state actor
    New Zealand has today added its voice to the international condemnation of the malicious compromise and exploitation of the SolarWinds Orion platform. The Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau, Andrew Little, says that New Zealand's international partners have analysed the compromise of the SolarWinds Orion platform and attributed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Queenstown roading project given fast track approval
    An expert consenting panel has approved the Queenstown Arterials Project, which will significantly improve transport links and reduce congestion for locals and visitors in the tourism hotspot.   Environment Minister David Parker welcomed the approval for the project that will construct, operate and maintain a new urban road around Queenstown’s town ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Screen industry secures landmark project
    Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash says a landmark deal has been agreed with Amazon for The Lord of the Rings TV series, currently being filmed in New Zealand. Mr Nash says the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) secures multi-year economic and tourism benefits to New Zealand, outside the screen ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Report into review of health response to lead contamination released
    The Government welcomes the findings from a rapid review into the health system response to lead contamination in Waikouaiti’s drinking water supply. Sample results from the town’s drinking-water supply showed intermittent spikes in lead levels above the maximum acceptable value. The source of the contamination is still under investigation by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ Upgrade Programme revs up economic recovery
    Transport Minister Michael Wood today marked the start of construction on the New Zealand Upgrade Programme’s Papakura to Drury South project on Auckland’s Southern Motorway, which will create hundreds of jobs and support Auckland’s economic recovery. The SH1 Papakura to Drury South project will give more transport choices by providing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech releasing the Digital Council's report 'Towards Trustworthy and Trusted Automated D...
    CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY  E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karanga maha o te wa, tēnā koutou, tēna koutou, tēna tātou katoa. Ki ngā mana whenua, ko Ngāi Tahu, ko Waitaha, ko Kāti Māmoe  anō nei aku mihi ki a koutou. Nōku te hōnore kia haere mai ki te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Green light for 10 minute e-bus to Auckland Airport
    Transport Minister Michael Wood today marked the completion of upgrades to State Highway 20B which will give Aucklanders quick electric bus trips to and from the airport. The State Highway 20B Early Improvements project has added new lanes in each direction between Pukaki Creek Bridge and SH20 for buses and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Review into greyhound racing announced
    The Government is putting in place a review of the work being done on animal welfare and safety in the greyhound racing industry, Grant Robertson announced today. “While Greyhound Racing NZ has reported some progress in implementing the recommendations of the Hansen Report, recent incidents show the industry still has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Road safety boosted by increased penalty for mobile use while driving
    The infringement fee for using a mobile phone while driving will increase from $80 to $150 from 30 April 2021 to encourage safer driving, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. Michael Wood said too many people are still picking up the phone while driving. “Police issued over 40,000 infringement notices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pacific mental wellbeing supported across Auckland and Wellington
    Pacific people in New Zealand will be better supported with new mental health and addiction services rolling out across the Auckland and Wellington regions, says Aupito William Sio.  “One size does not fit all when it comes to supporting the mental wellbeing of our Pacific peoples. We need a by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Fresh approach proposed to Smokefree 2025
    New measures are being proposed to accelerate progress towards becoming a smokefree nation by 2025, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced. “Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke kills around 12 people a day in New Zealand. Recent data tells us New Zealand’s smoking rates continue to decrease, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt expands Mana Ake to provide more school-based mental wellbeing support
    More children will be able to access mental wellbeing support with the Government expansion of Mana Ake services to five new District Health Board areas, Health Minister Andrew Little says. The Health Minister made the announcement while visiting Homai School in Counties Manukau alongside Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Record Number of People Move Into Work
    The Government’s COVID-19 response has meant a record number of people moved off a Benefit and into employment in the March Quarter, with 32,880 moving into work in the first three months of 2021. “More people moved into work last quarter than any time since the Ministry of Social Development ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Significant global progress made under Christchurch Call
    A stocktake undertaken by France and New Zealand shows significant global progress under the Christchurch Call towards its goal to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.  The findings of the report released today reinforce the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach, with countries, companies and civil society working together to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New chair of interim TAB NZ Board appointed
    Racing Minister Grant Robertson has announced he is appointing Elizabeth Dawson (Liz) as the Chair of the interim TAB NZ Board. Liz Dawson is an existing Board Director of the interim TAB NZ Board and Chair of the TAB NZ Board Selection Panel and will continue in her role as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government to phase out live exports by sea
    The Government has announced that the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years, said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “At the heart of our decision is upholding New Zealand’s reputation for high standards of animal welfare. We must stay ahead of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Workshop on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems – opening remarks
    WORKSHOP ON LETHAL AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS SYSTEMS Wednesday 14 April 2021 MINISTER FOR DISARMAMENT AND ARMS CONTROL OPENING REMARKS Good morning, I am so pleased to be able to join you for part of this workshop, which I’m confident will help us along the path to developing New Zealand’s national policy on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Inter-prison kapa haka competition launched
    For the first time, all 18 prisons in New Zealand will be invited to participate in an inter-prison kapa haka competition, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. The 2021 Hōkai Rangi Whakataetae Kapa Haka will see groups prepare and perform kapa haka for experienced judges who visit each prison and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government takes step forward on counter terrorism laws
    The Government has introduced the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill, designed to boost New Zealand's ability to respond to a wider range of terrorist activities. The Bill strengthens New Zealand’s counter-terrorism legislation and ensures that the right legislative tools are available to intervene early and prevent harm. “This is the Government’s first ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Carbon neutral government a step closer
    Coal boiler replacements at a further ten schools, saving an estimated 7,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next ten years Fossil fuel boiler replacements at Southern Institute of Technology and Taranaki DHB, saving nearly 14,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next ten years Projects to achieve a total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Appointment of Chief Parliamentary Counsel
    Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointment of Cassie Nicholson as Chief Parliamentary Counsel for a term of five years. The Chief Parliamentary Counsel is the principal advisor and Chief Executive of the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO).  She is responsible for ensuring PCO, which drafts most of New Zealand’s legislation, provides ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Emissions report shows urgent action needed
    Every part of Government will need to take urgent action to bring down emissions, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw said today in response to the recent rise in New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions. The latest annual inventory of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions shows that both gross and net ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ becomes first in world for climate reporting
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark says Aotearoa New Zealand has become the first country in the world to introduce a law that requires the financial sector to disclose the impacts of climate change on their business and explain how they will manage climate-related risks and opportunities. The Financial ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Awards celebrate the food and fibre sector employer excellence
    Exceptional employment practices in the primary industries have been celebrated at the Good Employer Awards, held this evening at Parliament. “Tonight’s awards provided the opportunity to celebrate and thank those employers in the food and fibres sector who have gone beyond business-as-usual in creating productive, safe, supportive, and healthy work ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tourism Infrastructure Fund now open
    Applications are now invited from all councils for a slice of government funding aimed at improving tourism infrastructure, especially in areas under pressure given the size of their rating bases. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has already signalled that five South Island regions will be given priority to reflect that jobs ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Electricity Networks Association (ENA) Annual Cocktail Speech 2021
    Tēnā koutou e ngā maata waka Tenā koutou te hau kāinga ngā iwi o Te Whanganui ā TaraTēnā koutou i runga i te kaupapa o te Rā. No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa.  It is a pleasure to be here tonight.  Thank you Graeme (Peters, ENA Chief ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Construction Skills Action Plan delivering early on targets
    The Construction Skills Action Plan has delivered early on its overall target of supporting an additional 4,000 people into construction-related education and employment, says Minister for Building and Construction Poto Williams. Since the Plan was launched in 2018, more than 9,300 people have taken up education or employment opportunities in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Youth Justice residence offers new pathway
    An innovative new Youth Justice residence designed in partnership with Māori will provide prevention, healing, and rehabilitation services for both young people and their whānau, Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced today.  Whakatakapokai is located in South Auckland and will provide care and support for up to 15 rangatahi remanded or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • The Duke of Edinburgh
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today expressed New Zealand’s sorrow at the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. “Our thoughts are with Her Majesty The Queen at this profoundly sad time.  On behalf of the New Zealand people and the Government, I would like to express ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Five Country Ministerial Communiqué
    We, the Home Affairs, Interior, Security and Immigration Ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America (the ‘Five Countries’) met via video conference on 7/8 April 2021, just over a year after the outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Guided by our shared ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Inspiring creativity through cultural installations and events
    Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni has today announced the opening of the first round of Ngā Puninga Toi ā-Ahurea me ngā Kaupapa Cultural Installations and Events. “Creating jobs and helping the arts sector rebuild and recover continues to be a key part of the Government’s COVID-19 response,” Carmel ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Drug-testing law to be made permanent
    Interim legislation that is already proving to keep people safer from drugs will be made permanent, Health Minister Andrew Little says. Research by Victoria University, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, shows that the Government’s decision in December to make it legal for drug-checking services to operate at festivals ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Better rules proposed for freedom camping
    Public consultation launched on ways to improve behaviour and reduce damage Tighter rules proposed for either camping vehicles or camping locations Increased penalties proposed, such as $1,000 fines or vehicle confiscation Rental companies may be required to collect fines from campers who hire vehicles Public feedback is sought on proposals ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government backs Air New Zealand as Trans-Tasman bubble opens
    The Government is continuing to support Air New Zealand while aviation markets stabilise and the world moves towards more normal border operations. The Crown loan facility made available to Air New Zealand in March 2020 has been extended to a debt facility of up to $1.5 billion (an additional $600 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Building gifted for new community hub in Richmond red zone
    Christchurch’s Richmond suburb will soon have a new community hub, following the gifting of a red-zoned property by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) to the Richmond Community Gardens Trust. The Minister for Land Information, Damien O’Connor said that LINZ, on behalf of the Crown, will gift a Vogel Street house ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific languages funding reopens
      Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the reopening of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ (MPP) Languages Funding in 2021 will make sure there is a future for Pacific languages. “Language is the key to the wellbeing for Pacific people. It affirms our identity as Pasifika and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • ERANZ speech April 2021
    It is a pleasure to be here tonight.  Thank you Cameron for the introduction and thank you for ERANZ for also hosting this event. Last week in fact, we had one of the largest gatherings in our sector, Downstream 2021. I have heard from my officials that the discussion on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Strengthening Māori knowledge in science and innovation
    Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods has today announced the 16 projects that will together get $3.9 million through the 2021 round of Te Pūnaha Hihiko: Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund, further strengthening the Government’s commitment to Māori knowledge in science and innovation.  “We received 78 proposals - the highest ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago