Dictatorial ‘Bilge Rat’ politics

Winston peters has accused John Key of being dictatorial and involved in ‘bilge rat politics’:

PM Stoops To ‘Bilge Rat’ Politics On Auckland Housing

Auckland Council is a victim of the ‘bilge rat’ politics of Prime Minister John Key, says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“Mr Key is bullying the council. Fix housing or we put in commissioners. That’s dictatorial. It’s arrogant.

Typically colourful language to attract attention, as Peters is adept at. And Key does appear to be at least a little dictatorial on housing in Auckland.

But is Peters’ accusation a bit pot/kettle? He has been seen as and accused of being dictatorial within the NZ First party.

Little seems to be seen or heard of the other eleven NZ First MPs.

With the party’s rise in prominence in polls and raised chances of NZ First holding a pivotal role in the make up of the next government more exposure of the whole line up of MPs is important. I presume Peters won’t demand all the plum positions in Cabinet for himself and leave all his colleagues out in the cold.

Peters dominates the NZ First presence in Question Time in Parliament.

The most recent questions asked by NZ First MPs:

Peters seems to often ask both NZ First questions when they have two allocated.

I think Peters was not at Parliament in the first two weeks of May so duties were shared around, but with deputy leader Ron Mark ask more questions (four) than the other three combined.

But unless there is an ejection or walkout from the chamber the NZ First MPs other than Peters seem to get little media attention.

So is the media the problem? Are they guilty of focussing too much on headline makers like Peters and ignoring much of what goes on with the other MPs?

A search in Google news for the last week for “Ron Mark” gets two hits but they are press releases at Scoop.

In comparison Labour deputy Annette King features in 12 articles.

Going back a month, excluding press releases, there are a smattering of stories featuring Mark:

Again King has significantly more, about three times as many.

Looking at News releases on the NZ First website it is apparent that a number of NZ First MPs are busy churning out statements.

30/05/16

27/05/16

So seven MPs other than Peters put out press releases non budget day, but that was into a very crowded media market.

26/05/16

25/05/16

24/05/16

23/05/16

22/05/16

21/05/16

20/05/16

Obvious prominence of Peters but quite a few contributions from other NZ First MPs there.

They just don’t make headlines, and seem virtually invisible in the news.

Is this a problem? Or just how things work with list MPs who are not in leading positions?

If this low profile for most NZ First MPs continues the public may not know much about them until they are thrust into a coalition spotlight should they get that opportunity after next year’s election.

I don’t know if Peters is dictatorial in the NZ First caucus or not, but his MP colleagues are working on getting their messages out.

Is the media too dictatorial in what gets put in front of the public?

Are significant media resources pored/poured into trying to find smidgens of connections in a myriad of Panama papers a more worthwhile service to the New Zealand public than informing us about those who may well end up playing a part in running the country in eighteen months?

Leave a comment

65 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  31st May 2016

    Nothing new here.Winston is NZ First.One could say Key is National also,based on his personal popularity and the ‘Team Key’ strategy.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  31st May 2016

      Labour is the unions – outdated, ineffective, disorganised, reducing in number, and largely forgotten in the present day having once been quite effective.

      Reply
  2. Joe Bloggs

     /  31st May 2016

    Naive much, but I’d never noticed that there are 12 NZF MPs. I’d struggle to name 3-4 … Winnie, yes, and that odious Ron Marks… I thought Richard Prosser died years ago (perhaps he did!) but the rest???

    Winston’s all about the politics of personality and there’s no room in the NZF stable for more than 1-2 braying asses

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  31st May 2016

      Corky pointed out to me just a couple of days ago that most of will struggle to name any National MPs who aren’t Cabinet Ministers, and there are probably a few Cabinet Ministers we’d need to look up their website for.

      Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  31st May 2016

    I have the impression Winston spends much more time in the bar than in his caucus. But I may be wrong.

    Reply
  4. Wow, that’s amazing, a topic entitled “Dictatorial ‘Bilge Rat’ politics”, premised around this statement by Winston Peters, “Mr Key is bullying the council. Fix housing or we put in commissioners. That’s dictatorial. It’s arrogant.” Perhaps it is too?

    However, that is the end of approx 30cm of screen space devoted to the topic. There follows approx 300cm or 3 metres of screen space devoted to somehow ‘proving’ that Winston Peters is dictatorial and arrogant plus generally expounding the failings of NZ First, with a smattering of Labour Derision Syndrome thrown in. Extraordinary! Balanced!

    Here’s a comment I liked from ‘Frankly Speaking’, “National now finds itself trapped by it’s own free-market dogma. Historically, only Labour governments have built housing, whilst National busied itself selling off state houses; implementing market rentals for Housing NZ tenants (in the past); and otherwise leaving it to the free market to meet demand.

    That “free market” has failed dismally, and attempts to blame the Auckland Council, RMA, and Uncle Tom Cobbly no longer wash with an increasingly grumpy electorate.”

    https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/the-slow-dismantling-of-a-prime-minister-downward-slide-continues/

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  31st May 2016

      PZ, even Labour has finally admitted to the supply problem. But you and poor old Frank are still stuck in your socialist bunker firing at your mirages.

      Reply
      • Whatever way you look at it “the supply problem” is the result of National’s lack of action or lack of appropriate action. They are certainly keeping that trend going by bullying the Council.

        And we all seem to be agreeing that what is required is government action? Funny that, in the “free market solutions” environment …

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  31st May 2016

          If you think housing is a free market you haven’t tried to build anything. Of course government action is required – to roll back their own bureaucracy that has usurped property rights.

          But if you can’t or won’t see that I’ve lost interest. Stupidity is so utterly boring.

          Reply
          • The loss of interest is mutual Alan, if you think “rolling back bureaucracy” is the only factor. You cite it so often I guess you do believe it?

            Do you want towns without town planning? Random sprawling suburbs that we – you – the taxpayer – must still supply with roads and other infrastructure, services, public transport etc? That steal the best horticultural land left in the vicinity of the city?

            What about the question of whether Auckland should spread out or build up and increase density? Is this not essentially a bureaucratic question?

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  31st May 2016

              Skip to my comment further down the page, PZ

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  31st May 2016

              Yes; yes; no – let developers build infrastructure, councils are useless; irrelevant – the market will price options; none of your business, the market will decide; no.

            • Gezza e hoa, I can’t see the relevance? One of your questions to NZ First was about Auckland planning perhaps? Stop with the mystery eh?

            • Oh … I see … cheers Gezza

            • Gezza

               /  31st May 2016

              I haven’t said what the question was because in my email I advised the spokesperson if NZF didn’t have a position on the issue, I would be interested to know his view he tangata ki te tangata PZ. So I would respect that confidence.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  31st May 2016

              @G
              So are you implying that you got a personal response, rather than one made in an official capacity???

            • Gezza

               /  31st May 2016

              @ pp.
              Explained more on the Post-budget Question Time thread which you’ll have now seen, e hoa.

    • I didn’t try to prove Peters was dictatorial. I made it clear I didn’t know.

      Reply
    • Basing a comment on what Frank Macskay has printed is like using Mein Kampf as an authoritative reference. Somewhatlacking in validity!

      Reply
      • It’s early in the day/discussion for Godwin to sing beejay. Validity is subjective, surely? I believe a social democrat’s viewpoint is valid. Bernie Sanders for example.

        Reply
    • Iceberg

       /  31st May 2016

      “Historically, only Labour governments have built housing, whilst National busied itself selling off state houses; implementing market rentals for Housing NZ tenants (in the past); and otherwise leaving it to the free market to meet demand”

      The existing 65,000 state houses is a bit of a fly in the lefty argument though isn’t it? As is the $30 billion spent on welfare, arguably the majority of it on housing of some form.

      The problem the left have with issues like this is that they have no answer to the question, “How much (many) is enough?” Nobody minds spending as much as it takes for those in need, but the left aren’t prepared to address the bottomless pit issue, that’s why the argument is lost. There hasn’t been a compelling one put up.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  31st May 2016

        If they were selling them to private buyers, there might be a point to that criticism. As they are not-with a few exceptions, like the ones that are now extremely valuable and whose price will build ? new ones-there isn’t.

        Reply
  5. Gezza

     /  31st May 2016

    I have expressed the view here before that Peters needs to give more opportunity to his MPs other than Ron Mark to ask Questions in the House.

    Regarding their spokesperson’s Press Releases not featuring in the MSM I get the impression that’s normal – that press statements by Opposition spokespeople other than the leaders, deputies or Finance portfolios are pretty much ignored. I keep trying to figure out if NZ First is capable of being viable without Peters when he retires or gives up the Ghost &, it seems to me, not with Ron Mark as leader.

    I emailed an NZF MP a couple of times about their policy stance on a couple of issues and got a nice prompt reply to the first question, but the second was apparently too curly as I’ve got no reply, so I’m wondering if it had to be checked with Winnie who didn’t want it replied to.

    Reply
  6. Gezza

     /  31st May 2016

    The Nation 28 may 2016 – Housing shortage in Auckland

    Bernard Hickey: the problem, talking to the construction industry, is they don’t see a solid pipeline of demand – that’s something that a government can say we can pay for lets say 5,000 houses a year for the next 10 years. When you’re a big company you need a solid pipeline of demand to look for, and that’s one of the problems the productivity commission identified: that we don’t have big enough building companies that have solid enough outlooks for demand to employ hundreds of apprentices, train them up and keep them for years – instead we’ve got lots of one and two person building firms who don’t have a solid outlook and…

    Lisa Owen: So what about an offshore company then?

    BH: Well, potentially that’s one way to bring it in, and the debate about bringing in outside investment to do not just one or two houses we’re talking thousands of houses, big projects, ones that will provide the affordable housing that’s necessary – somewhere close to Auckland…

    The council can’t do it as cheaply – the govt can borrow money at 2.7%, address this infrastructure problem by investing in a pipeline of demand by building housing, maybe not owning houses long-term but at least saying to the building companies, Fletchers, companies from overseas, whoever, we’re gonna pay for 5,000 houses a year for the next 10 years and let’s build these affordable houses.

    LO: Charles? Borrow cheap money, and build, whaddya reckon?

    Charles Finny (Saunders Unsworth – who initially said he thought the budget got things about right): Huge issue we’re facing, as New Zealand, around Auckland housing. Partly it’s not enough housing in general, but there’s also the social housing challenge, government’s going to have to play a role, and yes – government can do things no one else can do because it can borrow more cheaply.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  31st May 2016

      Government can borrow money more cheaply only by transferring risk to the taxpayer. It’s a fool’s mirage.

      Reply
      • @ Alan – It might be a question of which fool’s mirage produces the most housing? “for social reasons that may be justifiable” …?

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  31st May 2016

        When I told my parents that, having got UE by the skin of my teeth, I was bored to death with school & wasn’t interested in doing 7th form & going to University like my two brothers, he told me I couldn’t sit on my arse at home, so what job was I going to get? I told him I’d been thinking of getting a carpentry apprenticeship – they were easy to get & I liked mucking about building things.

        He told me not to do that: from his observations it was an occupation where you couldn’t guarantee to get enough work on an ongoing basis, because for the most part that was determined by whether each successive government was putting money into building houses or not. When they did, there was plenty of work. When they didn’t, the private sector alone didn’t generate enough house-building & there wasn’t enough work around for builders.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  31st May 2016

          Never invest in a market that government dominates is my philosophy. It only pays if you are big and political enough (like Fletchers and the big accounting firms) to corrupt it in your favour.

          The building industry is always vulnerable to economic swings and roundabouts as much of it is nice to have rather than need to have.

          Reply
          • I wonder if builders still ‘spec build’ houses? I grew up in a house my mother’s father, a builder, had spec built years before my parent’s met. I think he rented it out for many years before selling it to Mum and Dad.

            I would have thought that sensibly, one of the things we’d have government for is to cushion the “economic swings and roundabouts”? Especially where certain necessities are concerned, like ‘shelter’?

            I can’t really posit that argument about food though, can I? Or can I? Plenty of regulations in the food industry.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  31st May 2016

              I believe so, but have no idea of numbers, of course.

              There have to be regs in the food industry. I don’t want to die of food poisoning.

            • Ditto the building industry Miss Kitty, athough its own distorted, hybrid re-regulation led to the toxic danger of leaky buildings syndrome.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  31st May 2016

            Government attempts to cushion swings and roundabouts usually serve only to prolong hardships.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  31st May 2016

              Wasn’t the leaky building the result of Greens insisting upon untreated timber ?

            • Gezza

               /  31st May 2016

              No. Google it. It’s quite interesting.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  31st May 2016

              I don’t know why an honest question was downvoted. I was asking, not stating-that’s what I have always heard and wondered if it was true ! How pathetic some people are. Downvoting a question.

        • Gezza

           /  31st May 2016

          Yeah, well, whatever – if you any of you know of any builders looking for a decorator, I know a guy who doesn’t charge much …

          Reply
          • Caption Contest # 2 …. ????

            Huh … can’t think of one … “Doh”!

            “Former decorator appointed to review decorator regulations”

            Reply
          • Gezza

             /  31st May 2016

            Nah, it’s ok thanks Resene. I can colour-mix them myself?

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  31st May 2016

              STOP ! STOP !!! The lids aren’t…bugger, too late.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  31st May 2016

            I’ll just borrow your car to run the paint down to the boat, dear.

            Reply
    • Once again, they have got the cart before the horse. Demand for houses is a sum of net population increases at house purchasing ages, normal replacement of aging stock of houses, and demand from immigrants plus investment housing based on rental demand. This has to be calculated from statistical evidence, not by guessing. Anecdotal claims are not evidence of a problem. Has anyone got a link to evidence of a lack of housing in NZ?

      Reply
      • Really Beejay, you can’t find evidence? Not sure I can link this StatsNZ pdf though …

        http://www.stats.govt.nz/…/Statistics/…/housing/auckland-housing…/housing-in...

        Found it by googling ‘Auckland housing crisis statistics’, 3rd on the list …

        Reply
        • Seems like a very thorough and balanced report. I have only skim read “Key Findings” pgs 10 – 16 so far. Some very interesting comments, ends with –

          “There are further complexities when estimating the relationship between population growth and demand for housing as smaller households and more one-person households can lead to an increase in housing demand without having an increase in population (New Zealand Productivity Commission, 2012). However, lack of supply can lead to constraints on the formation of new households.”

          Reply
      • Blazer

         /  31st May 2016

        Col yesterday ,you had a solution,today you’re not sure a problem exists!

        Reply
  7. Jeeves

     /  31st May 2016

    I want to build huts on my land so that homeless people can live in them and WINZ can pay me their rent. Hundreds of them. And every week I’ll take 10% of the total and give it back to the tenant’s with the requirement that they keep their mouths shut about the conditions.I’ll put big gates up and never let the police in, so people can do what they want in the privacy of their own hut. I’ll pay the meanest looking tenants extra to police their neighbours.
    I reckon I’ll be a multi millionaire in no time.

    The only thing standing in my way are all those stupid rules about housing and shit.
    We need to get rid of those rules, so I can be a part of the free market.
    I want to be rich, and I know how to do it…

    Its not fair.

    Reply
    • Brilliant Jeeves. I’d have TM’d or patented that idea before I posted it though. I suppose it is copyright, isn’t it?

      Maybe this guy at NZCPR is correct (difficult though it is to write that five letter acronym)?

      http://www.nzcpr.com/papakainga-housing/#more-18558

      I’m not saying I agree with it exactly and certainly not fully and certainly not in some of the spirit it is written. I can barely speak the guy’s name because each week in The Northland Age he and his wife advise me about “Living off the smell of an oily rag”.

      However, maybe a more “papakainga” approach to housing for everyone would be good for everyone?

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  31st May 2016

        That’s not an acronym. Acronyms are initials that can be said as words, like scuba, NATO, WINZ, CYFS and UNICEF. NZCPR can’t be said any way other than as a set of initials. therefore it is not one.

        I don’t know where the idea came from that all initialisms are acronyms-this would mean that everyone’s own initials were acronyms ! Initialism is an old word, not a modern neologism, it is in an 1870s dictionary.

        If all sets of initials were acronyms, the word would be meaningless.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  31st May 2016

          Who cares? The good thing about it is, even if you are right, Kitty – and they may yet change the lexicon, when you bang any collection of capital letters into google and add “acronym” it finds all the relevant possibilities for you. 😎

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  31st May 2016

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acronym
            Worth a read Kitty – look at all the different types including initialisms that now qualify in some dictionaries under a broader definition of acronyms.

            Reply
            • How about … FFS! Damned inconsiderate of Frank & Muriel not to put a vowel or two in their ‘initialisation’ Miss Kitty. It could have been NZCAPER or NZCOPAR or something? Doesn’t really matter though, ‘Centre for Political Research’ is still a JOKE regardless of whether its an acronym or not.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  31st May 2016

      In a free market you can build what you like but you can’t force people to buy or rent from you. So you will go broke so long as other people are free to offer better options. That doesn’t sound as though it will be difficult. So to succeed you have to persuade a corrupt government to allow you exemptions they will not allow anyone else. That is generally how socialism works I guess.

      Reply
      • A notable theory Alan, except it presupposes a fully realised market. People only have choice where there is relative abundance, surely?

        It will be a long time before there is abundant housing in Auckland, in which case people take what they get, and there may never again be abundant affordable housing. There’s also the problem of the finite natural resource ‘land’, which is likely to always be scarce?

        I might be naive, I freely admit it, but IMHO being able to “persuade a corrupt government” is largely a post-1984 Rogernomics phenomenon.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  31st May 2016

          You are naive or too young to remember the fortunes made from “lucky” holders of import licences.

          There is relative abundance whenever markets are free. The problem is not the availability of land, but what you are allowed to do on it. Auckland has enough land to house a much greater population. It has very low density. Many would happily redevelop their urban land if allowed. That requires restoration of property rights as well as national standards protecting neighbours as I have frequently commented..

          Reply
          • So, okay, we may have merely exchanged one form of corruption for another? Wish it hadn’t been couched in terms of deregulation. Not that I ever fell for it.

            But statistics seem to indicate that the “fortunes made by ‘lucky’ holders of import licences” were not as extremely disparate and inequitous as the fortunes made by the favoured few of financialisation?

            You say “Many would happily redevelop their urban land if allowed.” What evidence do you base this on? I would have thought the desire to maintain price/value in the quarter acre paradise would run counter to this?

            Earlier you say, “Let developers build infrastructure, councils are useless.” But what if the market decides it wants more sprawl – as anecdotally it seems to do – and the market decides Dairy Flat and Pukekohe are the best sites for this?

            Developers will build the internal infrastructure and roading within subdivisions but what of the pressure placed on Northern & Southern motorways, public transport, sewage and electric systems et al. The central government read “taxpayer” will pay, plus build the new schools et al … Council will be required to do many things, maintain parks etc … and on and on it goes …

            Sure, okay … Rates …?

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  31st May 2016

              I struggle to remember when a private provider complained about too many customers, PZ. That leaves publicly-provided arterial roads as the only issue. The answer is staring you in the face: fund them by capital investment like every other business (except the Government can borrow “more cheaply”) and pay off the investment by future tax profits or direct usage tolls.

            • Gezza

               /  31st May 2016

              I haven’t really paid much attention to this project but did they fund the building of the cycleways this way, out of interest, Alan?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  31st May 2016

              @Gezza, yep, Government funded it and collects growth in tax from tourism businesses accordingly.

            • Gezza

               /  31st May 2016

              Do you know what the payback period is?

          • Blazer

             /  31st May 2016

            the Holland/Holyoake years .-the fortunes made from “lucky” holders of import licences.’

            ‘ you have to persuade a corrupt government to allow you exemptions they will not allow anyone else. That is generally how socialism works I guess.’

            Pretty sure they were National Govts Al….

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  31st May 2016

              I think you will find National had a policy of phasing them out, Blazer. But cradle to grave socialism was the religion.

  8. Blazer

     /  31st May 2016

    Al in typical mode…’government can borrow money more cheaply only by transferring risk to the taxpayer. It’s a fool’s mirage.’

    ‘The answer is staring you in the face: fund them by capital investment like every other business (except the Government can borrow “more cheaply”) and pay off the investment by future tax profits or direct usage tolls.’…

    think before you rush to post Al…you contradict and confuse yourself on a daily basis.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  31st May 2016

      No, Blazer. If the Government must own and operate roads as a monopoly then it behoves it to invest in them as a private business would. Yes, the “more cheaply” is a mirage but the need for the investment anyway is not. Sorry if this is too difficult for you.

      Reply

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