The National Party are buzzing today following the release of an infographic highlighting their move to deal with some of the challenges in the housing market.
The infographic, which details the number of dwelling consents issued in the year to September, has poured cold water over Labour’s plan to build thousands of new houses right across New Zealand.
“Nearly 30,000 consents is a massive number,” trumpeted Housing Minister Dr. Nick Smith using his well-worn mouth trumpet, “and all Labour have done is released a bit of paper saying what they’ll do. Our policies have produced 30,000 bits of paper. It’s those bits of paper that are going to protect hard-working kiwis from the elements.”
National have promised to release many more infographics in the coming days and weeks.
With the recent resignation of Her Ladyship Hekia Parata, questions are being asked about the National Party’s ability to represent all the people of Aotearoa. MyThinks travelled to a gated community in the decile 47 suburb of Remuera to find out.
MyThinks: Thanks for joining us Prime Minister.
John: Yeahnah thanks for having me.
MyThinks: I’m at your house, but never mind. Prime Minister… with the resignation of Minister Parata from your cabinet, are you at all concerned that you are no longer representative of everyone in New Zealand?
John: Whaddaya mean?
MyThinks: Well even at the moment with your current cabinet, there really are only a handful of members who aren’t old white dudes.
John: Yeahnah… no I mean just nah. Nah.
MyThinks: Nah you do mean yeah.
John: Yeahnah I do mean nah. We’re not just old white dudes. We’ve got heaps of chi… womans and some others.
(Let the record show that the Prime Minister made finger quotes in the air when saying others)
MyThinks: I think you’ll find it’s mostly old white dudes.MyThinks did some research and the average age of cabinet is 52, the average shade is pinky cream, and 60% of cabinet are men. Old. White. Dudes.
John: We have a very diverse team… so… Ackshully you’re wrong.
MyThinks: Ackshully… I’m not. There’s you, Bill English, Steven Joyce, Nick Smith, Murray McCully… all white… all dudes… all old…
John: What abo…
MyThinks: …Gerry Brownlee, Todd McClay, Chris Finlayson, Judith Collins, Simon Bridges…
John: Wait a minute… He’s young…
MyThinks: …Jonathan Coleman…
John: He’s a doctor…
MyThinks: …Michael Woodhouse and Todd McClay.
John: Yeahnah… but what about old Westie and thingy-ma-bob who used to do corrections before Mr. Collins? And that one that was Education Minister before Hekia. They’re all… um… not like me.
MyThinks: Yes… you’re right, but my point is… with all those rich old guys stearing the ship, how can you possibly know what’s going on for the homeless in Auckland or the people working two jobs and still having to use foodbanks?
John: Look… I saw the news last night. I know there are some Bad Hombres out on struggle street but I’m not going stand here and promise things I can’t give them.
MyThinks: Like tax cuts?
John: Yeahnah they won’t be getting those.
MyThinks: What will they be getting?
John: Look… I can’t stand here and talk to you all day… espeshully when the questions get really hard. I’m a very rich and important man with lots to do. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m having my driveway wallpapered. Goodbye.
MyThinks showed themselves out.
I like pie.
As a born and bred New Zealand man with 46 years experience living in this world, I have come, over the years, to adore pie. The pie I most enjoy is Pepper Steak, but I have been known to partake in Steak & Cheese, Slow Roasted Pork Belly and good old-fashioned mince.
Pie sharing is something I’ve had a problem with – particularly single pies. You know, those pies which sole reason for existence is to be consumed by one person. If they were meant for sharing the deity responsible for pastry goodness would have made them larger.
That brings be to family pies. These pies have been built for sharing. They are larger than the single-serve pies previously mentioned. They are called family pies for a reason.
One of the most important things about family pies that they are shared evenly across the family. The family that doesn’t share the pie evenly will not be a happy family.
They are going to take the $11 billion family pie of educational funding and devolve the decision-making on how that pie is eaten back onto the various Boards of Trustees and principals heading New Zealand’s learning institutions.
Why take the blame for increasing class sizes, under-resourced teaching and learning and operational spending decisions that put furniture ahead of hiring another learning support worker? That just makes the government look mean. Why should they look mean all the time? They make so many hard decisions and every three years people get to vote for them (mainly based around their decision-making). What if all these decisions were made BY OTHER PEOPLE? What if we started quietly reducing the size of the pie? What would happen then? We could reduce the size of the pie and other people will be left trying to sweep up the crumbs and any smears of gravy they can find. Those decision makers would still have to make the decisions BUT THEY WOULD HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THE SIZE OF THE PIE THEY ARE CUTTING UP!!!
OMG everyone! Yes… that’s right. OMG (not to be confused with 80s mellow synth poppers OMD).
If OTHER PEOPLE like parents on the boards and principals said, “We can’t afford to hire that person there to help our teachers deliver a robust learning programme,” then we could say, “Well… you know… we’ve given them billions of dollars. How they spend it really is up to them – the school communities.”
OTHER PEOPLE will end up burning the pie, dropping the pie on the floor, crushing the pie with a miss-placed size 10 Hush Puppy and BAMM! The pie is ruined.
No more pie for anyone.
And you know what? I didn’t ruin the pie. THEY did. Yes… them over there with their committee and their meetings and their decision-making. THOSE people ruined your pie.
Not me. I was in Wellington the whole time.
God forbid my pie metaphor has diminished the argument, but my point stands.
If we let the National Party loose with their plans for the education system, we will, I absolutely guarantee you, lose the wonderful system we have built up over the last century.
They will wreck it and the people who will lose out from this failed experiment are our most vulnerable asset.
Some observations on how the National Party deal with criticism of policy, process or behaviour. Below is an image of Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement – something I’ve tweeted before. Underneath I’ve collated examples of how our ruling party falls into each category as they use the various tactics supplied by PR firm Crosby Textor and other background players we, the public/voters, never see, yet pay for out of our tax dollars through the parliamentary machine.
Refuting the Central Point
Auckland house prices:
Reserve Bank of New Zealand: “the Government has to look at putting a capital gains tax on property investments.”
John Key: “No, I don’t think you can call it a crisis.”
National Party 2014 campaign advert:
Joel Martin, Eminem Publisher’s Spokesperson: “It is both disappointing and sadly ironic that the political party responsible for championing the rights of music publishers in New Zealand by the introduction of the 3 strikes copyright reforms should itself have so little regard for copyright.”
Steven Joyce, 2014 National Party Campaign Manager: “I think it’s… um… pretty legal. I think these guys are having a, having a crack.”
John Oliver, Satirist: “Pretty legal?“
Auckland Housing Crisis:
There is so much floating around on this at the present time. Let’s just go straight to the National Party’s response. Interestingly, part of their way of dealing with a crisis they don’t believe is actually happening is to release a press statement telling everyone how well they are dealing with the crisis that doesn’t exist.
What’s actually happening:
Bernard Hickey, Financial Expert: Total spending on construction in Auckland in 2015 was a record-high $10.9 billion and is forecast to rise to $18b by 2018 in the most recent Government forecasts. But that total includes building offices, motorways, tunnels, hospitals and schools. The 9651 houses consented in the past year remain below the 12,937 in 2004. More importantly, that was also far fewer than the 12,941 homes in 1974 when Auckland’s population was half its current size.
Homeless people living in cars and needing government help:
Mike Wesley-Smith, The Nation: A growing numbers of families are being forced to live in cars because of unaffordable housing.
Salvation Army response:
Salvation Army Press Release: MSD officials did not accompany Salvation Army social personnel to Bruce Pulman Park last Monday night, as part of the Army’s regular visits to the site. The Salvation Army declined the offer by MSD officials to accompany The Salvation Army as some of these people are very wary of government officials.
Responding to Tone
Dirty Politics – the Nicky Hagar book outlining how National uses behind-the-scenes PR attacks to belittle, slander or marginalise people who threaten their power.
National’s response (yes, I am aware of the irony of National accusing opponents of “smearing” them in a book about how they smear their opponents):
John Key, Prime Minister: …accused his opponents from “the left” of a smear campaign and dirty politics over the book’s release.
Media responses to Dirty Politics:
John Armstrong, Former Political Editor, NZ Herald: Hager’s allegations are many and varied. They are extremely serious. But one stands out. The allegation that one of John Key’s minions hacked into the Labour Party’s database is – to put it bluntly – the modern-day equivalent of the 1972 burglary of the Democratic Party’s national committee headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington.
Dr Bryce Edwards, Political Scientist: The “democratic deficit” seen in current New Zealand politics is particularly obvious in the way that government institutions seek to suppress information.
More from Dirty Politics:
John Key, Prime Minister (when asked by why Nicky Hagar was a conspiracy theorist): Because I think he is.
Steven Joyce, National Party Campaign Manager: “No.. no… I haven’t read the book. I’ve had a few people who’ve told me a bit about it but I haven’t read it.”
“It’s a bunch of stolen emails, a bunch of allegations, some of them are breathless about things that are already well-known such as David Farrar’s a member of the National Party, and others which are completely 1 and 1 equals 49 and apparently the Prime Minister’s a devil beast” (from 1.14 onwards).
The time when Steven Joyce called Grant Robertson a trainspotter:
@grantrobertson1 now you are being a trainspotter. Have a nice day
— Steven Joyce (@stevenljoyce) July 11, 2016
The time when Steven Joyce said several people who were debating with him were trolls:
— Steven Joyce (@stevenljoyce) June 9, 2016
The time when Steven Joyce called Labour’s policy ideas gobbledygook, expensive & unnecessary, and whacky:
.@nzlabour ’10 ideas’: 6 are already happening, 1 is gobbledygook, 1 is producing a brochure, 1 is expensive & unnecessary, 1 just whacky”
— Steven Joyce (@stevenljoyce) March 23, 2016
The time when Steven Joyce said that Labour MP David Parker talks rubbish:
@NZStuffBusiness Parker talking rubbish
— Steven Joyce (@stevenljoyce) December 16, 2015
The time when Steven Joyce said that political scientist Dr Bryce Edwards was biased:
— Steven Joyce (@stevenljoyce) December 11, 2015
Of course, there may be the odd person reading this from the right side of the fence thinking, well he’s just cherry picking out bits and pieces to back up his argument (refutation). My question to you: why does the National Party feel the need to spend so much money on PR? Is it because they know, in their hearts, that their entire raison d’etre benefits just a few (lucky) people. This is why they have to dismantle and deconstruct valid points detailing this.
Capital gains tax on investment property – bold call from Reserve Bank: TVNZ – April 15, 2015
Property crash predicted: NZ Herald – Feb 21, 2015
Key denies Akl housing crisis: Radio NZ – Apr 13, 2015
National Party sued over Eminem copyright infringment: NZ Herald – Sept 16, 2014
Eminem sues National over election ad: Stuff.co.nz – Sept 16, 2014
Record house build and construction under way: National Party Press Release – July 26, 2016
Bernard Hickey: Build houses and they will stay: NZ Herald – Sept 4, 2016
Auckland’s hidden homeless: The Nation, NewsHub – May 4, 2016
John Key: Homeless don’t want help: NewsHub – June 3, 2016
Correction: Press Release: Salvation Army – June 3, 2016
Hager book a smear campaign: Key: Stuff.co.nz – Aug 14, 2014
John Armstong: Hager’s claims light a fuse under the State of Key: NZ Herald – Aug 14, 2014
Bryce Edwards: The democratic deficit of Dirty Politics: NZ Herald – Nov 27, 2014
Today the government added to its list of funding announcements for education. Following hard on the heels of the announcement to give principals and board more choice when choosing which teachers to hire and how much to pay them, the government today announced further announcements.
Special education funding is in for a shake up. The government has said there will be extra funding given to those “differently abled” learners who are attending early childhood education. Although this will mean a cut to funding for older children with learning needs, the government has said this won’t lead to cuts in funding anywhere, except where “financial adjustments” are required to “meet the needs of learners” who are getting “the extra cash.”
Another announcement that came to light today was a plan by Hekia Parata to offer a range of online educational services to kiwi learners right across the country. The plan, which has worked so very well in the United States, would see learners log in to an online course run by something the minister called an “edu-bot” supplied by billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates.
Ms. Parata said the online course would be “cutting edge” and offer learners a unique chance to learn from the comfort of their bedrooms whilst wearing their undies – a prospect she said would entice many kiwi teens to choose this option.
“One teacher would be able to deliver thousands of hours of learning outcomes for thousands of students,” said the feisty Education Minister, “and that would mean we would require fewer teachers to deliver the learning needs of our learning learners.”
When asked whether Ms. Parata had any idea at all about the educational needs of any New Zealand learners she confidently replied, “Like the majority of my cabinet colleagues, I was at school at one point in my life and this gives me every confidence in my own abilities to know everything there is to know about education policy and the very latest in research-based pedagogy.”