New Cabinet announced

October 6, 2014

Prime Minister John Key has announced the Cabinet for his third term:


“There is a lot of work ahead to continue implementing our plans to build a stronger economy, reduce debt and create more jobs,” Mr Key says.

“The new Ministry builds on the experience of the past two terms in office, and combines experience with some fresh talent.

“A number of Ministers have had significant portfolio changes, reflecting the need to give Ministers new challenges as well as providing a fresh set of eyes in some portfolio areas.”

Mr Key says a number of Ministers have been promoted either to the front bench, or further up the front bench, to reflect their strong performance in recent years and their promise for the future.

“Paula Bennett has been promoted to number five in the rankings, and picks up State Services, Social Housing and Associate Finance in addition to retaining her Local Government portfolio.

“Dr Jonathan Coleman becomes Minister of Health, and also picks up the Sport and Recreation portfolio, which will link nicely together.

“Amy Adams and Simon Bridges are promoted to the front bench, both with significant new responsibilities. Ms Adams becomes Justice Minister and Mr Bridges Transport Minister.

“Christopher Finlayson remains Treaty Negotiations Minister and Attorney-General, while picking up significant new responsibilities in the intelligence area. He becomes Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence Service and Minister Responsible for the GCSB, working closely with me in my new role as Minister for National Security and Intelligence.

“In this role I will continue to be responsible for leading the national security system, including policy settings and the legislative framework. Mr Finlayson will operate within the framework I set and exercise ministerial oversight of the NZSIS and GCSB, including approval of warrants.

“Officials have examined models used overseas and what we are adopting is very similar to what is seen with our closest partners.

“Housing continues to be a key area of focus for the Government, and a Ministerial team of Bill English, Paula Bennett and Nick Smith has been assembled to lead that work. Mr English will have direct responsibility for Housing New Zealand; Ms Bennett will focus on social housing, while Dr Smith will work on housing affordability and construction issues. The Social Housing portfolio will have responsibility for the government’s social housing functions, and for its relationship with the social housing sector.

Other changes include:

Gerry Brownlee becomes Minister of Defence, while retaining the role of Leader of the House and his Canterbury Earthquake Recovery and EQC portfolios.

Anne Tolley becomes Minister for Social Development.

Dr Nick Smith becomes Minister for the Environment.

Nikki Kaye becomes Minister for ACC.

Michael Woodhouse becomes Minister of Police. He also becomes Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety – a new portfolio title to reflect the modern focus of what had previously been the Labour portfolio.

Jo Goodhew becomes Minister for Food Safety.

Mr Key says, in announcing his new line up, three new Ministers will be appointed. Maggie Barry is to go straight into Cabinet as Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Minister of Conservation and Minister for Senior Citizens. Louise Upston and Paul Goldsmith will be Ministers outside Cabinet holding a variety of portfolios.

“Two ministers previously outside Cabinet have been promoted to Cabinet. Todd McClay will be Minister of Revenue and Minister for State Owned Enterprises, while Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga will be Minister of Corrections, Minister for Ethnic Communities and Minister for Pacific Peoples.

“Craig Foss remains a Minister, but will now serve outside Cabinet as Minister for Small Business, Minister of Statistics and Minister of Veteran’s Affairs.

“Chester Borrows will not be appointed to the new Ministry. He will, however, be National’s nominee for Deputy Speaker, and I want to thank Chester for his service as a Minister,” Mr Key says.

A number of Ministers continue largely in their current portfolio responsibilities. These include Steven Joyce in Economic Development, Hekia Parata in Education, Murray McCully in Foreign Affairs, Nathan Guy in Primary Industries, Tim Groser in Trade and Climate Change, and Nicky Wagner in Customs.

“The support party Ministerial and Under Secretary roles have already been announced, but I want to acknowledge again their contribution to the formation of a strong, stable National-led Government.”

Mr Key says the National Caucus will meet tomorrow (Tuesday 7 October) to elect its three whips for the coming parliamentary term.

The new Ministry will be sworn in at Government House in Wellington at 11am on Wednesday morning.

The list of names, positions and rankings is here.

 


In praise of erudition

September 27, 2014

National’s candidate for Rongatai, Hon Chris Finlayson writes on his campaign for the elucidation of readers of the Spectator:

Every three years in New Zealand, incumbent politicians must hit the campaign trail. Since 2008, I have chased votes in the Rongotai electorate. My Labour opponent, Annette King, has held the seat since 1996. She is a fine parliamentarian, a thoroughly nice person, and also a distant cousin on my mother’s side. ‘Chris says if he wins Rongotai, he’ll ask for a recount,’ she delights in telling voters. This is supposed to be a joke but, under New Zealand’s mixed member proportional voting system, winning individual seats is not the be all and end all. The number of seats a party has in Parliament is determined by a party vote, and local representatives by a separate electorate vote. As a list MP standing in a traditional left seat my job is to maximise the party vote for National.

The Rongotai electorate takes in Wellington’s rugged southern coast, the Miramar Peninsula and the working class suburbs of Newtown and Berhampore, which are fast gentrifying and turning from red to green. Its furthest boundary is the Chatham Islands, an archipelago around 700km from the mainland. It is a place of isolated natural beauty, rich cultural history, abundant fisheries and distinctively salty mutton. On my most recent trip, the twin-propeller plane was struck by lightning and my stay had to be extended by two days. There is no cellular reception in the Chathams, adding to its attractiveness.

The Newtown debate is usually the rowdiest of the campaign. In 2011, I was shoved by an Anglican vicar as I made my way out. This year, there are ten candidates lined up across the stage facing the audience squeezed into a wooden church hall. The crowd has a very particular strand of rule-bound, suburban radicalism: every mention of ‘revolution’ is cheered, but the audience will not allow proceedings to begin while party signs are blocking the fire exits. Along with Annette, the candidates include Russel Norman, a Tasmanian who relocated to New Zealand to work for the Green Party and now, holding the office of Male Co-leader, campaigns against foreign ownership. He finds himself fighting candidates from the populist Conservative and New Zealand First parties for the xenophobe vote. The Newtown audience thinks I am insufferably right wing but also thinks the same about the Greens and Labour. Dr Norman is accused of dismissing victims of sexual assault. Annette King gets a frosty reception for her party’s track record on Maori issues. I am roundly booed when I say the audience is ‘redistributionist’. More popular are a young man dressed as a shark and representing the Climate Party (his contribution to the debate is ‘learn to swim’) and also the candidate for the Patriotic Revolutionary Front. The PRF wants a benevolent dictatorship and has a leaflet showing a composite picture of Stalin and Einstein as its ideal leader. . .

It’s not just what he says but the way that he says it.

Oh to have the ability to write so eruditely, and also to have been a better Latin scholar.

Can anyone translate his quote (in the paragraph which follows the extract I’ve used) from Horace: parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus ?

I tried Google and got the mountains are in labour, security issues. Even without dim memories of third form Latin I would doubt that is what it means.


What they’ll need to do

July 12, 2014

Vernon Small muses on one of MMP’s downsides – the need for coalition partners:

. . . In Cunliffe’s case, he can be relatively certain Internet-Mana will be there.

His bigger concern is the political Centre’s negative views of Harawira, his Left-wing allies and Internet founder Kim Dotcom – and more generally about the increasingly fractured Centre-Left vote.

Labour’s vote softened measurably after the Internet-Mana deal became known. It believes that was not because the new party took Labour votes but more because it was a bridge too far for floating voters to contemplate a four or five-way alternative government.

And Labour knows – because it has already started – that National will use that against it.

It is a difficult line for Cunliffe to walk. He needs to emphasise the stability of a three-way deal with the Greens and NZ First – both of which have the advantage of being parties that win in their own right and will, if in Parliament, have achieved more than 5 per cent support. He can contrast that with National’s vassal parties, there only at Key’s favour.

Voters could choose a weak Labour Party propped up by the Green and NZ First parties with the added frightener of Internet Mana or a strong National Party with two or three very small coalition partners.

That’s a choice between instability, uncertainty and backwards policies from the left or stability, certainty and forward momentum from the centre right.

But strategising at the party’s weekend Congress pointed up the problem. Labour was stacking up its potential pluses just to get over the line.

It could push up to about 30, with a good ground game and organisation, the Greens bring about 12 per cent, NZ First would add another 5-6 per cent and Internet-Mana would add the final cherry on top. Presto, 51 per cent.

Over at the National conference the previous week, the mirror-image argument was being played out by its strategists.

Achieve close to 50 per cent and we govern alone. Fall to the mid 40s, and Labour with its allies could get the numbers. Subtext? Deals with our minor allies may be crucial, so brace yourself for Key’s announcement of deals with the minnows.

Memo to Cunliffe and Key: if you are counting them into your thinking, so will the voters.

Memo to voters: look less at what they say they will do and more at what they may need to do to win power.

A weak Labour Party would have to do, and concede, a lot more than a strong National party would.

We're for stable government.


Winning team won’t necessarily be winner

June 29, 2014

A party enjoying poll ratings which show it could govern alone might be in danger of complacency.

There is absolutely none of that at the National Party conference where the very clear message was

Prime Minister John Key told Patrick Gower:

. . . I know the polls look strong for us. And I know on the 3 Reid Research poll we’ll be able to govern alone and I’m really personally desperately hope that’s what election night looks like. But you and I both know it’ll probably be tighter than that and there’s every chance that we don’t win.. .

Chris Finlayson and Steven Joyce gave a similar message to the conference:

. . . Attorney General Chris Finlayson talked about the “hydra” this morning that grows new heads when the old ones are chopped off.

“Cut off Phil Goff and up shoots David Shearer and Hone Harawira. Saw off David Shearer and up springs David Cunliffe and Laila Harre.

“The fragmentation on the left hasn’t made the hydra weaker,” said Mr Finlayson “only more unstable if it can force its way into power again.”

Campaign chairman Steven Joyce warned delegates that the campaign was “still a little puppy” and that anything at all could happen in the next 84 days before the election – the wackiest thing imaginable, he said.

“A retired Maori activist who has become an MP working with a hard left unionist and let’s just throw in a wealthy German millionaire right-winger, they could form a political party,” said.

“That’s the sort of wacky thing that could happen between now and September 20.

“If Laila Harre, Hone Harawira, Pam Corkery, Kim Dotcom, Russel Norman, Metiria Turei, David Cunliffe, Matt McCarten, and John Minto are the answer, can we please have another look at the question?” . .

National’s got a winning team but it’s up to voters to decide whether to give the winning team the support it needs to  be the winner, or whether they’re going to trust government to the hydra on the left led by a weak Labour dominated by the Green, NZ First and Internet Mana parties.

With less than three months to go, there's no room for complacency. Join #TeamKey today.  http://mynational.org.nz/support


Politics Daily

June 12, 2014

This is an attempt to replace Dr Bryce Edwards’ daily political round-up while he’s taking a break. I’m not pretending to be balanced. While I link to a range of news stories, the blogs I link to are usually from the centre to the bluer end of the political spectrum or the more reasonable or witty bits of the pink to red end. You’re welcome to leave links to other news and blogs in comments.

Election

Claire Trevatt @ NZ Herald – NZ Game of Thrones – does Cunliffe dare to play?

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog - Caucus can safely roll Cunliffe from next week

John Armstrong, Adam Bennett & Isaac Davison @ NZ Herald – Election 2014: Parties ready but are you?

CameronSlater @ Whale Oil – The magic “Seven reasons” that will drive this election

Pattrick Smellie @ Stuff – Early date a savvy move from PM

Vernon Small @ Stuff - Curious case of deal with Craig

David Farrar # Kiwiblog – National’s potential election deals

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Paranoid Winston Peters dumps candidate?

Nookin @ Keeping Stock – A guest post on a new Labour policy

Pete George  @ YourNZ – Civilian Party and United Future announce campaign deal

Beehive

Chris Finlayson - Agreement in Principle signed with the iwi and hapū of Te Wairoa

Chris Finlayson – Screen NZ formed to boost NZ’s profile on world stage

Todd McLay – Intergovernmental FATCA agreement signed

Tony Ryall – Health Minister opens $67m Whakatane Hospital

Steven Joyce – International education numbers set to grow

Gerry Brownlee - Performing arts precinct off to an exciting start

Hekia Parata – Pegasus School opens

OCR

Brian Fellow @ NZ Herald – Wheeler yanks the leash

Tony Field @ TV3 – OCR rise good for savers

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – OCR goes to 3.25%

Crime

Rachel Smalley – Labour politicising a terrible tragedy

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Smalley tears into Labour

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Violent crime

Education

Inventory 2 @ Why don’t they mention the PPTA?

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Labour against paying the top teachers more

Other

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Misrepresenting the current abortion law

Cameron SLater @ Whale Oil – David Cunliffe upsets Chief District Court Judge

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog –

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Fine tuning immigration to drop Auckland House prices? Reserve Bank says yeah… Nah

Pete George @ YourNZ – Labour vs Reserve Bank on immigration

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Trevor Mallard continues to show that for Labour, facts are optional

Matthew Beveridge – Compare and Contrast: Chris Tremain and Todd Barclay


Politics Daily

June 4, 2014

John Key

Vernon Small @ Dominion Post – PM plays symbolic immigration card:

It was a half-promise. Almost no promise at all. But Prime Minister John Key’s announcement yesterday his Government was looking at increasing the recognised seasonal employer scheme had all the symbolic force he wanted.  . .

Claire Trevett @ NZ Herald – PM returns to Samoan village which made him a chief:

Prime Minister John Key has returned to the Samoan village of Poutasi five years after it made him an ali’i [high chief] and was welcomed with an ‘ava ceremony. . .

National Party

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Grassroots democracy:

Was in Mount Maunganui last night for ’s selection of a candidate to replace Tony Ryall in the . Tony’s majority in 2011 was a staggering 17,760 votes. . .

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Alfred for Te Atatu:

We met National Party List MP Alfred Ngaro last year and were most impressed by him. We’ve previously posted his maiden speech to Parliament in 2011, which was widely acclaimed. . .

Employment

TV3 – Govt ponders bigger Pacific seasonal quota:

The Government is considering allowing more Pacific Island seasonal workers to come to New Zealand, Prime Minister John Key says. . .

Fracking

Environment Commissioner urges New Zealand to “get ahead of the game” on an expanding oil and gas industry:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has found regulation in New Zealand is not adequate for managing the environmental risks of oil and gas drilling, especially if the industry expands beyond Taranaki. . .

Pattrick Smellie @ Business Desk – Environmental watchdog gives fracking final tick, seeks national guidelines:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has given a guarded final clearance for hydraulic fracturing, confirming her 2012 report that there are sufficient environmental safeguards, while calling for a National Policy Statement as a guide for local authorities facing applications from oil and gas companies. . .

Ministers welcome final PCE report on oil and gas :

Ministers today welcomed a report released by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on oil and gas drilling.

Environment Minister Amy Adams and Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges say the Commissioner’s report is a useful contribution to the discussion on how best to manage the environmental effects of onshore petroleum development, including hydraulic fracturing. . .

IMP

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock - Laila the waka jumper:

We came across this interesting gem hidden away on Stuff; check this out:

Laila Harre is on the spot changing trail
Meanwhile, Norman revealed that new Internet Party leader Laila Harre had wanted to be a Green Party MP before she quit her adviser role in December. . .

David Farrar @ Kwiblog – Harre was on Greens campaign committee until a fortnight ago:

. . .If this was Game of Thrones, Harre would be a sellsword or a mercenary. How can you be on the national campaign committee for one party a fortnight ago, while negotiating to be leader of a competing party? . . .

Pete George @ YourNZ – Harré and non-disclosure of political commentators:

Laila Harré’s political associations were well publicised late last month, but earlier in the month she was posing as a political commentator without disclosing her interests. . .

Tim Watkin @ Pundit - That’s the price I pay for hating Key the way that I do:

If you’ll excuse the paraphrasing of Billy Bragg, it seems appropriate as the left leave the moral high ground for a bit of electoral mud-wrestling and coat-tailing. But at what cost? . . .

Cameron Slater @ Whaleoil - The Internet Party and Postie Plus. No, really:

. . . Now we all know that the Internet Party is nothing but a scam, and the whole process of using MMP to score a hit on Key on behalf of Mr “I’ll destroy, anybody” Dotcom, but to have it so clearly illustrated mere days into her job is rather sooner than I expected. . . .

Pete George @ Grumpollie – How Internet/Mana will appear on the ballot:

I received this email from the very helpful folks at the Electoral Commission today: . . .

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Irony: the Internet Party doesn’t understand the internet:

Regan Cunliffe reports

“Yesterday afternoon, the Internet Party posted the following tweet: . . .”

Brain Rudman @ NZ Herald: Real cost of Dotcom alliance remains to be seen:

When eccentric millionaires hijack the political landscape as their own private playground, mere mortals should be very afraid. Even veteran leftie Sue Bradford, who loudly denounced the latest game and refused to have any part in it, has been shamelessly used by conservative oddball Colin Craig. . . .

Beehive

NZ to invest $5 million to rebuild Tongan schools:

Prime Minister John Key has today announced New Zealand will contribute $5 million to rebuilding schools in Tonga’s Ha’apai islands following the devastating Cyclone Ian earlier this year. . .

NZ to contribute to the upgrade of Teufaiva Stadium:

Prime Minister John Key has today announced New Zealand will contribute around $2 million towards upgrading Tonga’s national stadium in Nuku’alofa ahead of the 2019 Pacific Games. . .

NZ to invest $1 million into Samoa’s tourism sector:

Prime Minister John Key has today announced New Zealand will invest $1 million to help boost Samoa’s tourism sector. . . .

$359m boost for student achievement moves forward:

Education Minister Hekia Parata has welcomed advice from sector leaders on the Government’s $359 million initiative to raise student achievement, saying it maintains momentum and strengthens the path forward.

Ms Parata has released a Working Group report that provides support and advice on the Investing in Educational Success initiative announced by the Prime Minister in January. . . .

Christchurch housing rebuild momentum grows:

Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith today visited the site of a new Housing New Zealand development in central Christchurch, saying the progress on the 12 new two-bedroom apartments illustrate the momentum underway to fix and replace the city’s damaged housing stock. . .

Minister opens new Police National Command Centre:

Police Minister Anne Tolley has officially opened a new National Command and Coordination Centre in Wellington, which will use the latest technology to tackle and prevent crime and to keep New Zealanders safe. . .

Four young New Zealanders chosen for Bastille Day commemorations:

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson announced today the four young French-speaking New Zealanders who have been selected to represent New Zealand at the Bastille Day military parade in Paris on 14 July. . . .

Coat Tail law:

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Why wait? Cunliffe says ending coat-tailing a priority for his first 100 days:

David Cunliffe is grandstanding over coat-tailing and brilliantly painting himself into a corner.

Instead he is now saying that ending coat-tailing is a priority for his first 100 days in office…but in order to get into office he may have to rely on coat-tailing parties. . .

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – :

In Firstline this morning David Cunliffe said that will amend the within 100 days of office, to remove the one seat electorate threshold in .

This is absolutely appalling. A Government that will ram through major electoral law changes under , probably with no select committee hearings, and without consensus, is dangerous. Labour have form for this. . . .

Inventory2 @ Keeping Stock – Has Labour learned nothing from the Electoral Finance Bill debacle? :

Those who have been hanging around Keeping Stock for a long time will know our history. The blog was started due to our anger at Labour’s insidious Electoral Finance Bill, rammed through Parliament in the last sitting days of 2007. It was bad legislation, and the process was even worse. . . .

 

Labour

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Labour now doing the “Have you stopped beating your wife” routine:

How pathethic. Select committee scrutiny of estimates is meant to be about spending and performance of government. Instead uses it for a smear disguised as a question. . .

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – New Ziland Labours Weekly:

It’s a photo you’ll have to click the link to see it.

Phil Quin –  Jump to left puts Labour on rocky road:

Some Labour Party cheerleaders have convinced themselves they can capture the Treasury benches without winning an election. They’re wrong. . .

TV3 – David Shearer – I’m sticking with Labour

Labour’s former leader has no ambition to follow Shane Jones into an ambassador role. . .

Labour candidate for Tamaki Makaurau electorate could threaten Treaty settlement:

The selection of Peeni Henare as Labour’s candidate for the Tamaki Makaurau seat could threaten the settlement of the country’s largest Treaty settlement, between the Crown and Ngapuhi. . . .

Adolf Fiinkensein @ No Minister – Nine years of noise with no performance:

Yessir, that’s what Kelvin Davis needs to be hammering home to the electors of Te Tai Tokerau. . . .

Chris Trotter @ Bowalley Road – Truth Or Dare: Why David Cunliffe Needs To Come Clean with the Labour left:

WERE YOU TELLING THE TRUTH, DAVID? When you told your party that the age of neoliberalism was over? That you, alone among all your colleagues, had grasped the meaning of the global financial crisis, and only you could lead Labour to an election victory that would restore New Zealand to itself? . . .

Chris Trotter @ Bowalley Road – Labour’s flight from reality:

STALLED AT 30 PERCENT in the polls, Labour is still pretending it can win the General Election without help. Bluntly speaking, the party is in a state of serious, collective denial. The most frightening aspect of which, from the perspective of those New Zealanders seeking a change of government in September, is that while the condition persists National cannot possibly be defeated. Heedless, the Labour Party continues to fly from the reality of its own poor performance. Even worse, it’s begun flying from the reality of its own history. . . .

Carbon Tax

Jamie White - Russell’s Carbon Tax equivalent to 4.5% rise in company tax:

Last week, the Greens announced a plan to replace the emissions trading scheme (ETS) with a greenhouse gas tax.

Industrial firms that emit greenhouse gases will have to pay $25 per tonne. Farmers will have to pay $12.50 per tonne. This is a BIG new tax, the equivalent to lifting the corporate tax rate from today’s 28% to 32.5%. . . .

Stacey Kirk @ Stuff – Labour opposes Greens’ carbon tax plan:

Labour opposes the Green Party’s new carbon tax policy, saying the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was its preferred option.

Labour leader David Cunliffe said today his party would negotiate with the Greens on the policy, but did not favour it. . . .

Other

Lindsay Mitchell – The living wage effect and EMTRs:

Two parking wardens who will receive $4 an hour extra under the Wellington City Council’s adoption of a living wage each have a partner and a 4 month-old baby. Both say that they will be able to reduce their work hours due to the increase, and spend more time with their families. One from 75 hours down to 40 and the other from 50 down to 40.

Jörg Guido Hülsmann @ Not PC – How inflation helps keep the rich up and the poor down:

The production of money in a free society is a matter of free association. Everybody from the miners to the owners of the mines, to the minters, and up to the customers who buy the minted coins — all benefit from the production of money. None of them violates the property rights of anybody else, because everybody is free to enter the mining and minting business, and nobody is obliged to buy the product. . . .

Gabriel Makhlouf – The diversity advantage:

Thank you very much for inviting me to come and speak to you today. I’m going to focus on an important issue for New Zealand, for the public and private sectors and for the Treasury itself: our diversity advantage. . .

Matthew Beveridge – Twitter conversation 2 Jessica and Michael:

As David Slone said to me on Twitter this morning about the earlier Twitter Conversation of the day post

“proves pollies and journos can be human after all :-)” So here is another example. I have to say, I can’t wait to see why Jessica is looking up the numerology of tweeting MPs…….

 Matthew Beveridge – Social media and open debate:

One of the things we all seem to love about social media is the ability to actively engage with people. This is even more the case when it comes to politicians and parties. For many, social media is the only time and method they have for engaging directly with politicians or parties. Yet some of them are potentially sending the message that they don’t want to engage with people. . .

 Matthew Beveridge – Candidate social media details:

Ashley Murchison and I have been slowly compiling a spreadsheet of social media details for all of the candidates for the various electorates. It has take a while, but we are finally making some progress. The spreadsheet is available here as an XLS spread sheet. . . .


Can’t count, don’t count

May 24, 2014

Labour ditched a staff member seconded from Treasury and one of their MPs is already showing she’s in desperate need of someone with some financial literacy:

Jacinda Ardern has yet again shown why New Zealanders do not trust the Labour Party even to read a Budget correctly, let alone write one, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson said today.

Ms Ardern has made numerous incorrect statements about arts funding in Budget 2014, despite these errors being repeatedly pointed out in Parliament and online.

“The supposed ‘cut’ to public broadcasting claimed by Ms Ardern reflects the fact that last year $4.5 million was spent on the Going Digital project, helping the switch over to digital television,” Mr Finlayson said. “That spending is not in the budget this year, because, well, we have Gone Digital.”

“We have in fact allocated extra funding within public broadcasting on new projects, including the maintenance of the TVNZ archives.”

“There is no reduction in heritage spending, as she has claimed. What may have confused Ms Ardern is that heritage now appears in two appropriations, one of which is earmarked for World War One centenary commemorations, a key heritage project. The total is slightly higher than last year.”

“In future, perhaps she should read further down the page before firing off indignant press releases.”

“Funding for regional museums has been maintained throughout the two terms of this government, and remains at its baseline funding of $6.67 million per year,” Mr Finlayson said. “However, last year the appropriation was higher because unspent funds from the previous year had been carried over. This is spelled out in the Supplementary Estimates of Appropriations.”

“This government has revitalised the screen industry, a point she obscures. We saved the production of the Hobbit trilogy in New Zealand from the unions, and have ensured that not only will three Avatar sequels be filmed here but that the production will employ New Zealanders in key roles.”

“This is quite aside from the important recent structural reform of the Arts Council and Heritage New Zealand (formerly the Historic Places Trust), which were ignored by the previous government.”

“National politics is not high school,” Mr Finlayson said. “Jacinda Ardern shouldn’t think professing to care about the arts means she can opt out of  maths.”

 Doing the numbers and getting them right is a basic requirement for analysing policy – her own and those she opposes.

Lots of Labour policies don’t add up and that will only get worse if the party doesn’t have someone capable of doing the numbers.

However, Labour isn’t the only party to have failed to understand the Budget numbers, Green MP Holly Walker made the same mistake Ardern did:

If opposition MPs keep showing they can’t count they’ll make it easier for voters to show they don’t count in the election.


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