Tuesday, 4 June 2019

New Zealand's Own Version of Monty Python

Hard to Believe

Can it get any worse?  That's the question which is unsettling many politically aware New Zealanders.  And the answer to the question is, "of course it can get worse".

Here are some descriptions of Debacle Avenue, which runs off  Molesworth Street in New Zealand's capital city, Wellington.

Nightmare on Molesworth St: How Labour's Annus Horribilis Went Viral
Duncan Garner

Where do I start? It should have been such a triumphant week for Labour. It was all lined up. Incumbency means advantage Labour. Platform set. Pause. Touch lives. Engage the voters.  All Grant Robertson had to do was choose the colour of the new tie and how close that barber should go on the sides.
It should have been a triumphant week for Grant Robertson - all he had to do was choose the colour of the new tie and how close that barber should go on the sides. It didn't turn out that way.  And with National leaving the books in a healthy state, due to their prudent decisions in the lean times, only Grant the lucky finance minister was left.
How could dishing out $25.6b in new spending across four years blow up in his face?

Bill English may well have traded his seventh child for such largesse and luxury. Don't forget National had a series of zero budgets – that is, not a new dollar extra was spent. Astonishing in hindsight, wasn't it? The pain came later and Grant's Mend-it May Budget was the beginning of the Wellbeing era.
And thanks to a strong economy across Labour's first 18 months, the stage was set.  But then the warning lights came on and the May meltdown was under way, although not initially obvious.  The inexperience took over, the blind spots were magnified, and when a professional was needed Labour sent in a bovver boy or muppet, depending on the situation. Woeful arrived when they needed wonderful.
Amateur hour become two, then three, and then a nightmare on Molesworth St began to unfold.  Speaker Trevor Mallard should never have released his inquiry so close to the Budget. Too much risk. Too much Trevor. Only Trevor could call someone a rapist when there's no evidence to suggest such a vile title was needed.
He won't go, and the lack of even the slightest of apologies was a glaring omission showing just how arrogant Labour has got so quickly into this first term. More on arrogance shortly.   So the first molotov cocktail had gone off. 
KiwiBuild then coughed and spluttered into a shallow grave too. The last rites are expected any day now, but it's officially called a reset and any apologies for misleading a nation look miles off, and if they come will be forced and lack the necessary authenticity to take seriously.
Then, as all this is going down, under the radar the unlikely Simon Bridges is masterfully trapping Labour in one of the most emphatic Budget smuggles ever.  A stunning but simple ho-hum entry on to a public website. Shock. Horror. So humiliated, these Labour muppets couldn't bring themselves to accept someone might be smarter than they are, so collapsed into their default settings of saying Nasty National the criminals.
Columnist Mike Hoskings has started referring to the Government as "the Government of Bullies".

What we have witnessed this week is the worst week of this Government's term - and by quite some margin.  They have had their individual bouts of ineptitude. The Clare Curran fiasco, the ongoing disaster that is KiwiBuild, the Meka Whaitiri scandal - but what made this week record-breaking was not just the cock ups and shambles, but the cock ups and shambles in a week that should really have shone bright for them.
Budget week is the crowning glory outside of an election victory, Budget week is the cream on the cake of the fiscal year. . . . And yet they took this week and blew it up. The KiwiBuild confession, given the size of it, was remarkable in itself, but was the least of their problems. Given we already had been well versed on what a mess it is, adding mess on top of the mess seemed by yesterday to have been just another chapter in the saddest and most incompetent of policy attempts in many a year.
They now confess that by the time their first (and possibly last) term of government comes staggering to the finish line that they will have built 1600 houses - not the 16,000 they said. It's laid bare, yet again, the cold hard truth about their ability to oversell an idea, and under-deliver it.
Then came the Mallard scandal. If the man Barry Soper talked to is the same bloke Mallard called a rapist, and if the man's story matches with the investigations held, in other words the complaints were unsubstantiated, then Mallard should have quit, or been sacked, or failed a vote of no confidence - or all three.  He is a bully, and don't get me started on this Government's treatment of unsubstantiated bullying allegations against Diane Maxwell, the Retirement Commissioner.
Here is where this Government is coming to pieces in the eyes of so many. This is the Government that has bent over backwards to talk about kindness, mental wellbeing and inclusiveness. This is the most open, honest and transparent government we have ever seen - and yet this week has shown that between Mallard, Grant Robertson, and Winston Peters they are nothing of the sort.
Mallard, in further irony, got bumped out of the headlines because along came Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf, and his bumbling mates Robertson and Peters yelling hack, hack, hack.  Not only did they have no clue about technology. They, like Mallard, took a bad situation, and in a play straight out of the Mallard 'bullying tips for all MPs' book, dumped all over the National Party. Only to have it blow up in their face.  And do we see apologies? Of course we don't, that's not what bullies do.
For those of us who aspire for this country to be great, this is the frustration. This lot are hopeless, they're amateurish, they're beginners in a professional game. They are taking this country, this economy and its hopes and aspirations, and butchering them.  And to make it worse, they're obfuscating, stalling, blustering, blundering, and generally behaving appallingly.
And it's all come to a catastrophic, shambolic head this week. And they're only halfway through the term.
And so it rocks on.  Mallard, Robertson, Peters--all three branded as obtuse bullies.  And where is the Prime Minister in all of this?  Nowhere to be seen.  She is revealing herself to be one of the weakest, impotent Prime Ministers in living memory.

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