So bad so soon

June 19, 2018

How did it get so bad so soon?
It’s a mess of ministers
acting like goons.
My goodness how the
mess has grewn.
How did it get so bad so soon?

With apologies to Dr Seuss, how did it get so bad so soon?

Audrey Young writes that Jacinda Ardern will forgive Winston Peters for anything, even the unforgivable.

A National MP joked this week that the Opposition didn’t want things to get so bad under Jacinda Ardern’s maternity leave that the country was desperate for her return – they just wanted a medium level of dysfunction.

That threshold was almost reached this week even before the big event, and things got worse as the week wore on.

Ardern’s faith in Winston Peters being able to manage the inevitable bush fires that will flare when she is away must be seriously undermined given that he and his party have caused many of them.

A series of accidental and deliberate mishaps has raised questions about a series of important issues including basic coalition management, ministerial conventions, the application of the “No Surprises” policy, and when a minister is not a minister. .  .

Stacey Kirk calls it a three ring circus with one ringmaster at the centre .

Consensus government in action, or a bloody awful mess? 

It’s difficult to characterise the past week as anything but the latter and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern may be worried about whether she’ll have a Government to come back to when she returns from maternity leave. . .

Patrick Gower wants the old Kelvin Davis back.

Patrick Gower on The AM Show. Credits: Video – The AM Show; Image – Newshub.

Kelvin Davis is a “wounded man walking” who better watch out, says Newshub national correspondent Patrick Gower.

The Corrections Minister on Wednesday announced plans for a new prison, but appeared to be unaware how many of its inmates would be double-bunked.

Corrections boss Ray Smith interjected after Mr Davis froze, confirming Newshub’s suggestion it would be around half.

“I get nervous before interviews,” was Mr Davis’ explanation, when asked about it on The AM Show. . . 

Duncan Garner describes government MPs as misfit kids.

. . .It’s taken them three minutes to look as shabby, arrogant and as broken-down as a third-term government suffering rampant hubris and pleading to be put out of its misery.  . .

Sue Bradford thinks the Greens are in mortal danger.

The Green’s water bottling decision exposes potentially fatal flaws and complacency at the heart of Green Parliamentary operations 

The Green parliamentary wing seem to be clueless about the mortal danger they face following news this week that their own minister, Eugenie Sage, has signed off on the sale and expansion of a water bottling plant at Otakiri Springs. . . 

Hamish Rutherford writes with Winston Peters in charge everything could be up for grabs.

. . . These are extraordinary times. Suddenly, with a Government already battling to keep business confidence up, with a story that the economy keeps on rocking, it seems as if everything is up for grabs.

We are now being handed lessons that have been coming since Peters walked into the Beehive theatrette on October 20 and announced he was forming a Government with the Left.

A Government so broad that the issues on which there is division become so amplified that they could almost appear to outnumber ones where there is consensus.

Where previous coalitions since the creation of MMP managed to keep together because the centre of power was so obvious, the timing of Peters’ action will be further unsettling. . . 

Health Minister David Clark has been accused of trying to gag a health board chair.

A leaked voicemail message appears to show Health Minister David Clark attempting to gag top health officials over the woeful state of Middlemore Hospital buildings. 

Clark has rejected the accusation, which has stemmed from audio of him telling former Counties Manukau District Health Board chair Rabin Rabindran it was “not helping” that the DHB kept commenting publicly.  

Emails suggest he also attempted to shut down the DHB from answering any questions along the lines of who knew what, and when, about the dilapidated state of Middlemore buildings. . . 

Peter Dunne asks is the coalition starting to unravel?

Almost 20 years ago, New Zealand’s first MMP Coalition Government collapsed. It was not a dramatic implosion on a major point of principle, but was provoked by a comparatively minor issue – a proposal to sell the Government’s shares in Wellington Airport – and came after a series of disagreements between the Coalition partners on various aspects of policy.

There has been speculation this week in the wake of New Zealand First’s hanging out to dry of the Justice Minister over the proposed repeal of the “three strikes” law that the same process might be starting all over again. While it is far too soon to draw conclusive parallels, the 1998 experience does set out some road marks to watch out for. . . 

Michael Reddell writes on how the government is consulting on slashing productivity growth.

 . .  I have never before heard of a government consulting on a proposal to cut the size of the (per capita) economy by anything from 10 to 22 per cent.  And, even on their numbers, those estimates could be an understatement. . . .

Quite breathtaking really.   We will give up –  well, actually, take from New Zealanders –  up to a quarter of what would have been their 2050 incomes, and in doing so we will know those losses will be concentrated disproportionately on people at the bottom.   Sure, they talk about compensation measures . . 

But the operative word there is could.  The track record of governments –  of any stripe –  compensating losers from any structural reforms is pretty weak, and it becomes even less likely when the policy being proposed involves the whole economy being a lot smaller than otherwise, so that there is less for everyone to go around.  The political economy of potential large scale redistribution just does not look particularly attractive or plausible (and higher taxes to do such redistribution would have their own productivity and competitiveness costs). . . 

And the Dominion Post lists mis-steps and mistakes and concludes:

. . .Some of this has been simply amateurish.

Such things are often a sign of a government that has outlived its mandate and begun to implode around the core of its own perceived importance. In its tiredness it can trip over the most obvious hurdles.

This Government is barely nine months old. It needs to find its feet, and quickly.

Has there ever been a government that has attracted this sort of criticism just a few months after gaining power?

How did this government get so bad so soon?


Bradford quits on principle

May 27, 2014

Sue Bradford has resigned from the Mana Party in protest against its alliance with the Internet Party.

She sent a letter of resignation to the leadership late this morning, effective immediately, saying she had lost enthusiasm for Mana and “sucking up to a German millionaire” was not her vision for the party.
“My overwhelming emotion today is sadness,” she told 3 News.
“Kim Dotcom is a gamer and it’s a big game that he’s playing, and I don’t want to become his pawn.”
Ms Bradford’s resignation means this will be the first general election in 15 years the former Green Party MP won’t be standing as a candidate. But she admits the alliance, known as Internet Mana, may be more attractive to others with political ambitions. . .

Those political ambitions will be untroubled by the principles Bradford has demonstrated in resigning.


Dotbomb divides Mana

April 14, 2014

Kim Dotcom’s reverse Midas touch has infected the Mana Party:

Sue Bradford and other leading Mana Party figures have walked out of the party’s AGM over its decision to continue negotiations towards an alliance with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party.

After discussions which went into the night at Mataikotare Marae near Rotorua yesterday, Mana’s branches “unanimously” agreed to move forward with the negotiations.

The party has given its leaders a month to negotiate, before they put any proposed alliance out to the party’s local branches for consultation.

However, Mana President Annette Sykes this morning said : “Our movement, I was concerned that it may be fragile and some of our membership – I don’t know whether some have chosen not to come back today.”

“There’s quite a number. We’re not talking hundreds, but we’re talking people who I think are leaders young and old and they are principled people who I have respect for. They’ve gone back to reflect with their branches.”

Ms Bradford this morning confirmed she was among those who had walked out.

“We left us last night so she perhaps includes us among those people because there was deep debate, deep dissension and resistance to the idea of going into an alliance with the Internet Party.”

“Some of us, both Maori and Pakeha, are really disturbed by the idea of going into an alliance with a neo-liberal billionaire.”. . .

The Internet Party has policies but it’s difficult to detect clear priceless principles.

Th Mana Party has principles and some of its members are principled enough to care enough about them than to be wary of the Dotbomb which could well leave the wreckage of their party in its wake.


Mana’s principles for sale?

March 24, 2014

The Mana Party is discussing an Alliance-like deal with the yet-to-be-formed Internet Party:

The Mana Party says a merger with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party is not an option, but an arrangement involving a joint list and sharing the party vote, could be.

Mana leader Hone Harawira says he met with Mr Dotcom last month and had what he says was a general political discussion.

Mana’s secretary Gerard Hehir says a formal merger is not an option but there may be scope for an arrangement where they campaign together under an umbrella party, to take advantage of the combined party vote. . .

The several parties which held hands under the Alliance umbrella had left-wing principles in common.

Mana’s principles are pro-Maori and solidly left-wing.

It isn’t clear what, if any, principles the Internet Party has.

Many of  Kim Dotcom’s, its would-be founder, are questionable and have little if anything in common with Mana.

This is clear to one of Mana’s founding members and a former candidate, Sue Bradford, who said Dotcom would be a deal-breaker for her:

Ms Bradford, a former Green Party MP who has been with Mana since its inception in 2011, told RadioLIVE there aren’t many similarities between the two parties.

“I find it incredible that a party with the kaupapa Mana has should be considering going into an alliance with Kim Dotcom – a man who tried to buy off the right and failed and now he seems to have turned to the left to buy the left off,” she says. 

“This is so far from the kaupapa I’ve dedicated my life to and I find it quite extraordinary.”

She says it “wouldn’t be possible” for her to stay with the party if it did do a deal with Dotcom.

“I don’t think doing deals with right-wing internet billionaires who are facing a number of legal challenges is the way forward for any party that adheres to the principles of social, and economic and treaty justice that I believe in,” she says.

“We should really be thinking twice about this.”

Ms Bradford says there are others in the party who think the same way she does, and has expressed her views to the party leadership.

It could be a “short-sighted conversation” and a “bubble in a tea cup”, and nothing could come of it in the end, she says.

She also had questions about how Dotcom treats his own staff, who have complained about poor wages and not being paid. . .

Bradford has principles and is sticking to them.

Harawira is showing that any principles he has are for sale.


From protester to MP and back

September 18, 2012

It hasn’t taken former MP Sue Bradford long to get back to her former vocation as a protester:

Anti-poverty campaigners protesting the Government’s welfare  reforms have chained themselves to the Ministry of Social Development (MSD)  Auckland regional office.

About 20 people took part in today’s protest at the office  in suburban Ellerslie, entering the building and chaining themselves to  equipment.

Inspector Lou Alofa of the police northern communications  centre said up to six people had been arrested.

“We have several people who have chained themselves to one  of the pillars there and police are working towards a resolution,” he said.

It was reported left-wing protester and former Green MP Sue Bradford was among  those at the protest.

They are protesting against reforms designed to get people off benefits and into work which is a big step towards relieving poverty.

How genuine is their concern about poverty when they are showing they’d prefer people stay dependent and poor?


Old enough to marry too young to vote

October 25, 2011

Sue Bradford is shocked that 25% of people aged 18 to 24  haven’t yet enrolled to vote.

Her answer? Reduce the voting age.

I’m not sure of the logic in this. Without addressing why young people aren’t enrolling, won’t reducing the age just increase the number of young people who don’t enrol?

Regardless of that, there is no compelling reason to reduce the voting age.

One argument for doing so is that people can marry at 16. Those who use that, forget to add that this is only permissble with parental consent.

Besides, marriage is personal. A marriage that goes wrong will have a direct impact only on the couple involved and any children they might have.

That’s sad but the damage is relatively limited, the consequences of bad government impact on us all. There are more than enough older people who are sufficiently ill-informed to impose bad governments on us without adding young people to the enfranchised.

The policies Bradford and her party, Mana, advocate might appeal to young people:

Lowering the voting age to 16 and including civics education in the school curriculum from primary school onwards.   
*Ending youth unemployment by focused Government support for  job    creation, alongside  free access to quality training and education,    including trade training programmes for young Maori (and others).    
* Abolishing discrimination in the benefit system which sees    young people 18 -24 granted less to live on than those aged 25 and over,    despite living costs being identical.   
* Working towards ensuring  that in future graduating students    enter the workforce free of the burden of student debt.      

But while young people might get temporary benefit, they, and the rest of us, would have to pay the long term cost.


Bradford’s candidacy boost for Bennett

September 15, 2011

Former Green MP Sue Bradford has confirmed  her candidacy in Waitakere.

This will help sitting MP and cabinet minister Paula Bennett by splitting the left vote.

The candidacy will get Bradford and her party some publicity and if Mana got sufficient party votes for a second MP, assuming its leader Hone Harawira keeps his seat, she might get in to parliament.

The iPredict contract gives Bennett a 74% chance of holding the seat.

The contract on Bradford being  second on Mana’s list, after Harawira, hasn’t attracted much interest.


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