Bridges is offside with supporters in bridling against an independent budget office

“I didn’t come down in the last shower,” Opposition leader Simon Bridges huffed on RNZ’s Morning Report when quizzed about his objection to the establishment of an independent Parliamentary Budget Office.

We are left to conjecture on what he did come down in and when it might bring him to earth.  A thunder cloud of paranoid suspicion, perhaps.

On this issue his instincts have seriously failed him. When the Taxpayers Union is welcoming a Green Party initiative now that it has been modified, Bridges and the Nats should take a bit more time before declaring their position.

Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says:

Continue reading “Bridges is offside with supporters in bridling against an independent budget office”

Sure, the PM made the Vogue cover – but polls suggest some of the lustre has been lost

PM Jacinda Ardern has been flying her government’s flag in the  Tokelaus,  as  well  as  featuring on the cover  of  Vogue,  achievements  few of  her  predecessors   have managed.

Such  events   have almost  certainly  strengthened  the  conviction of  those  who believe   she has  focussed  the eyes of the world as never before   on this country.

In  any case, when  Opposition  Leader  Simon Bridges  attacked Ardern  for  being  a  “part-time prime minister”  it  was almost  as if he had committed  some  kind of  sacrilege.  The  NZ Herald’s cartoonist reacted  with what he no doubt thought was a  clever  drawing  showing Bridges scraping  the bottom of the barrel.

Ardern’s  mate  Grant  Robertson  was  hot under the collar, too.  He raged that Bridges  had  been  “disrespectful to the office of  prime minister”  and was engaging  in  “dirty politics”.  Not  only that, but there  were  “sexist overtones”   in   what Bridges  was  saying. Continue reading “Sure, the PM made the Vogue cover – but polls suggest some of the lustre has been lost”

What Bridges can learn from Australia: forget about the polls and apply policy lessons

Just  as  Australians  are  absorbing the   lessons  of  Scott Morrison’s  “miraculous” return from the electoral dead, New  Zealanders  are  being told by  a prominent   Wellington  economist  Ganesh Nana  he  fears  the   Ardern government  is  about  to  back down  from “meaningful economic  reform”.

 Yet across  the Tasman   it  was  the  “ambitious”   economic reforms proposed   by   Federal  Labor  leader  Bill  Shorten   which delivered the crushing  blow   of   losing  what the pundits   called the  “unloseable” election.

Labour  in   NZ   is  probably   congratulating  itself  that  it  has   dropped  a  broad  capital   gains tax   not  just  from  its current  programme  but  for the future.For it  is clear  many  Australian  voters  rejected   Shorten’s  plan for  a   giant  tax grab across  the   economic spectrum   and  allowed   Scott Morrison to  play  mercilessly  the  line  “the  Bill  you  can’t  afford”.

Labor underestimated,    as  one  Australian pundit   put it,  the downside of

” … mucking around with the aspirations of middle Australia [through negative gearing and capital gains tax changes that stirred anxiety about falling house prices]. I think this would be the last time that the Labor Party goes anywhere near people’s homes.” Continue reading “What Bridges can learn from Australia: forget about the polls and apply policy lessons”

It looks like taxpayers (for now) have been spared the air fare to fly Bridges to Washington

Deputy PM Winston Peters, leading off the general debate  in Parliament  this week,  had  some  fun at  the  expense  of  Opposition  Leader  Simon  Bridges.

Predicting the early demise of National’s leader, Peters said Bridges had  cancelled  an overseas  tour.

Just the other day Mr Bridges, who is planned and appointed to go to Washington, which is the annualised tour for the Leader of the Opposition to go to Washington, decided to cancel. Why? Well, he’s too scared that if he’s away—

SPEAKER: Order! Order!

PETERS: Oh, he’s too worried that if he’s away—I can’t challenge his fortitude, but he’s so worried that if he is away, the mice will play. Can I just say this: you know, he should go, because even an inmate deserves a last meal—a last meal. He should go. National is a party of four d’s: distracted, divided, desperate, and divisive. The Government’s a party of four d’s: driven, determined, dynamic, and delightful”. Continue reading “It looks like taxpayers (for now) have been spared the air fare to fly Bridges to Washington”

How MPs can unleash the furies by throwing barbs like ‘stupid’

Describe the leader of the Opposition as “Simple Simon”, and it’s all a bit of a lark. Yes, Jacinda Ardern did have to withdraw and apologise in Parliament after she responded to a question from Opposition leader Simon Bridges with reference to a character in a childhood nursery rhyme.

Ardern was elected on a promise to bring a kinder and nicer face to politics, of course,   as a scribe at Stuff pointed out.

So is it kind and nice to respond to Bridges’ question: ” It’s quite simple…..Simon”

Ardern might have been paying Bridges a compliment, of course, saying he is uncomplicated, clear, plain and understandable (yeah,right!).  Those happen to be among the several meanings of “simple”  – but:

“If you say that someone is simple, you mean that they are not very intelligent and have difficulty learning things.”   Continue reading “How MPs can unleash the furies by throwing barbs like ‘stupid’”

Putting the Sroubek puzzle together is challenging – perhaps a key piece is missing

What’s  the  piece  missing from the  public  gaze  on the  Karel Sroubek scandal and what’s behind the  heavy backing  given to  Iain Lees-Galloway  by  both  the  Prime  Minister  and   the Deputy Prime Minister?

The blunder  the Immigration Minister made  over the  convicted criminal Sroubek  is  one of the  most egregious  by  a  minister  in decades.  He  wouldn’t have survived  under Helen Clark – or, for that matter, most other  Prime Ministers.

In protecting Lees-Galloway,  both the  PM and Deputy  PM  stoked the fires of speculation and political tension, culminating in the stoush in Parliament  where the Speaker expelled first the  Leader of  the Opposition, Simon  Bridges,  and then the Shadow  Leader of the  House,  Gerry Brownlee.

Continue reading “Putting the Sroubek puzzle together is challenging – perhaps a key piece is missing”

Jacindamania may fade – but not necessarily before the Nats rediscover their mojo

Although  the  rest of the  country may  still be fingering the  results  of  their  Black  Friday  shopping,   no  such  luck  for the   politicians  as  they  move into the  final phase of the  parliamentary  year.

Each of  the  main parties  is  desperate  for a spark  to lift  performance  (and perhaps polling).

PM  Jacinda  Ardern  is taking a shellacking  for   her silence on  China, its  human rights  offences, its cyber-bullying and in particular the  Professor Anne-Marie  Brady  affair. And then,  for  reasons no-one can guess at, she has turned a blind eye  to the disgraceful performance   of   Immigration Minister  Iain Lees-Galloway in  handling  the  issue of  deporting  Czech  drug smuggler   Karel Sroubek.

Is  Jacindamania  fading?  Perhaps not  yet,  but  it soon  will, at this rate. Continue reading “Jacindamania may fade – but not necessarily before the Nats rediscover their mojo”

Down but not out – Bridges can take heart from Jim Bolger’s poll experience

Much  excitement  is frothing among the  leftish  commentary  at the  poll rating  for  National leader Simon Bridges,  down to  7%   in the latest Colmar Brunton  sample.   Can  he  last   at this  level?

Not   easy,  but then the  party’s  level  at   43%   is still  remarkably strong,  given  the   extraordinary events  that were taking place   even as the pollsters  were  making their calls.

Even  though the  ambitions  of   some  behind  Bridges    are  palpable,  they  are  hardly  likely  to  risk calling  for a  no-confidence   vote  at this point. Continue reading “Down but not out – Bridges can take heart from Jim Bolger’s poll experience”

Who’s Pugh? An MP who graciously responds to disparagement and has a mum to champion her

It would make a great title for her memoir:  Who’s Pugh?

She was not the best known of MPs until she was named in dispatches during the brouhaha between National Party leader Simon Bridges and former National Party whip Jami-Lee Ross.

As the whole country now knows, during a phone chat which Ross recorded Bridges said Pugh was fucking useless.

“Point of Order” wonders what West Coasters will make of that judgement, because Wikipedia says she was elected to the Westland District Council in 1998 and served two terms before being elected as the district’s first woman mayor in 2004. In 2007 she was returned as mayor unopposed. She stood down at the 2013 local body elections and at the 2014 general election she contested the West Coast-Tasman electorate for the National Party.
Continue reading “Who’s Pugh? An MP who graciously responds to disparagement and has a mum to champion her”

Report on a leak looks like flushing a political career (and maybe more) down the drain

The association of Bridges with troubled waters was not overlooked by headline writers at the Dominion-Post today.

Bridges’ troubled waters draws front-page readers into a report about Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross’s spectacular explosion on Twitter and his allegations against his leader.

“It is disloyalty on a grand and almost unprecedented scale,” political journalist Tracy Watkins writes.

Continue reading “Report on a leak looks like flushing a political career (and maybe more) down the drain”