All Blacks v Lions, 1st test

Crunch time for the All Blacks and the British and Irish Lions tonight as when they meet in the first of three tests in Auckland.

LionsAllBlacks

 

I’m looking forward to this game more than most, due to the difficulty in predicting a winner, and due to the novelty of Lions tours – they come here every 12 years so their last tour was in 2005.

 

The All Blacks haven’t been beaten at Eden Park this century – their last loss there was in 1994. They have been hard to beat anywhere in the world, but the Irish showed that it can be done last year when they played in Chicago.

They had a romp against Samoa last week but should be game hardened through the players involvement in the Super competition.

The Lions had a mixed start to their tour but have improved and have won their last two games. They will be very strong in the forwards, and are expected to kick ahead a lot to keep things in front of their pack.

It may be wet which may favour the Lions a bit but the All Blacks should be ready to deal with the conditions.

I think it’s anyone’s game, and I’m happy to put them at 50/50 odds.

Roll on 7:35.

A ripping first half. The ABs have put on a lot of pressure and got points but the Lions came back with a top try running it from inside their 22.

Halftime 13-8 to the ABs.

Great game, ABs too strong in the middle of the second half, the Lions came back to score on full time but too little, too late.

Final score 30-15.

America’s Cup – day 2

Team NZ is racing Oracle Team USA again in the second day of racing in the Americas Cup in Bermuda.

Team NZ had started the first to seven series at -1 due to a previous round quirk, but after winning both races on the opening day they led 1-0 going into the second day of racing.

This is being broadcast live on Sky Sport and delayed broadcast on Prime TV.

Newshub: America’s Cup 2017: Live updates – Team New Zealand v Oracle Team USA – day two

Race 3

1:10 pre-start – Team NZ gain the early advantage as they draw closer to the start line. Spithill trying to push Burlingto the outside line. Both boats on their foils immediately, neck and neck to mark one.

Team NZ gradually stretched their lead through the race. The seem to have better boat speed overall and have avoided making any drastic mistakes. Oracle under pressure make some mistakes.

Finish- The Kiwis blitz to the line leaving the Americans in their wake A fantastic performance by the Kiwis, clinical throughout as they lead from start to finish. The American boat has struggled to cope with Team NZ upwind, and that’s been the story of the series so far.

Race three – Team NZ win by 49 seconds.

So it’s 2-0 to team NZ with one more race to go today.

Race 4

Pre-start – Both boats jostling for position. Bad gybe by Team NZ sees them on the backfoot, in a tricky predicament as they edge to the line. Great recovery from Burling however, and he takes the early lead as they race to mark one.

Halfway through the race Team NZ are about 200m ahead.

Leg 5/7 – The lead has been cut down to 40 seconds but it’s still looking very comfortable for NZ out there.

There’s scant comfort when you know that one mistake can lose a race and can even break a boat.

Leg 6/7 – The advantage is almost a full kilometre now. Both crews seem almost a little stunned by this utter NZ dominance.

Team NZ go on to win another race to go 3-0 up.

Finish – It’s a margin of 1:12 in the end for the NZ boat on an almost perfect day’s racing for Peter Burling and their crew.

So it’s dominance for Team NZ so far, but there is now a break in racing until next weekend.

Can Oracle come up with another miracle improvement?

Highlanders beat Lions

I went to watch the Highlanders play the British and Irish Lions last night. It was bitterly cold and intermittently wet (there had been light sleet and snow earlier in the day) outside but as usual perfect conditions under the roof.

It was a very good game to watch, quite open at times. The Lions scored three tries to the Highlanders two but failed to convert a couple of late penalties and lost 22-23.

That’s the second midweek loss to the Lions. They will be hoping their weekend team manages to overcome the NZ Maori team this Saturday.

The Highlanders played very well for most of the game but made some costly mistakes. One botched kick set the Lions up on attack after which they scored a good backline try. The Highlanders replied with a try to leave the score at 10-10 at half time.

In the second half the Lions scored from an awful long pass from the Highlanders to put them in front, but the Highlanders made most of the play and scored again. They also nailed important penalties to nudge ahead 23-22.

The Lions missed two penalties, one relatively easy, the other very long range, and that cost them the game.

I had expected the Lions to put pressure on up front and try to out-tough the Highlanders in the forwards but that never really happened.

A nearly full stadium with a temporary stand in the usually empty east end created a great atmosphere, the best in New Zealand under cover.

Internet Party and the elephant in the room

The Internet Party are promoting themselves for this year’s election campaign, trying to ignore the elephant in their room from 2014.

InternetParty2017

They did have some innovative ideas for policy development by the party members, but it wasn’t polices that failed them last election.

Who is driving the party now?

Their website is ‘Authorised by Sarah Illingworth’ from Upper Hutt.

Their Contact page has generic email addresses and no names.

Their Candidates page states:

Our candidate list will showcase a strong and diverse group of Kiwis who are committed to securing positive change for New Zealand in the digital age. They will contest the 2017 General Election.

But all candidate slots are ‘To be announced’. It’s getting late in the year to be trying to put a candidate list together.

Without the elephant in the room’s substantial finances advertising will be a struggle, and unless they get someone to lead them who the media want to publicise – but that means they probably need to be controversial, or ridiculous, or an ex media person.

A good leader who could make a good MP is unlikely to attract any attention, such is the nature of our sensation addicted media.

 

Harrison, Venus, ascendant in France

A rare tennis success for a New Zealander at the highest level:  Michael Venus wins French Open doubles

For a sport that has been in the doldrums for so long, tennis in New Zealand at last has someone to savour, a Grand Slam doubles champion.

29 year old Aucklander Michael Venus and his American doubles partner Ryan Harrison have won the French Open with a straight sets 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (7-4) 6-3 win in the final over Mexican Santiago Gonzalez and American Donald Young in a final lasting two hours and 14 minutes. It was the first Roland Garros doubles final featuring two unseeded teams since 1993 and the first without a player from a European nation since 1982.

It’s a remarkable triumph in so many respects. Venus and Harrison only teamed up together for the start of the clay court season, winning their first ATP tournament in Estoril. Great friends since their US college days, Venus was a groomsman at Harrison’s wedding last year, the Kiwi hadn’t won a set Roland Garros in three previous first round appearances. Clay is his worst surface, or was, growing up in New Zealand where there are no clay courts.

Venus has become New Zealand’s first Grand Slam men’s champion since Onny Parun won the doubles here in 1974. Parun and Australian Dick Crealy beat American’s Robert Lutz and Stan Smith in the final.

He is the fifth New Zealander to win a Grand Slam doubles title after Anthony Wilding, Harry Parker, Parun and Judy Chaloner.

This is a great achievement for Venus – and Ryan Harrison.

But it should be pointed out that a doubles win requires more than one player – Michael Venus won alongside American Ryan Harrison.

The headline would be more accurate as ‘Venus and Harrison win French Open doubles’.

It wasn’t just the Herald focussing on half of the winning combination.

Stuff:  French Open: Michael Venus wins New Zealand’s first grand slam title since 1979

1 News:  Watch: A Kiwi champion! The moment Michael Venus claims French Open doubles title

International headlines give credit to both those who one the title;

Daily Mail: Venus and Harrison win doubles at French Open

The New Indian Express: Michael Venus-Ryan Harrison clinch French Open men’s doubles title

And even the US gives equal credit to both winners.

NY Daily News: Venus and Harrison win doubles at French Open

Michael Venus of New Zealand and Ryan Harrison of the United States have won the men’s doubles final at the French Open.

Credit is certainly due to Venus, but equally so to Harrison.

Well done to both of them. Not so well done by the New Zealand media.

 

 

 

Greens – 2017 list

The Greens have revealed their final party list that they will go into the 2017 election with.

Green Party unveils strongest ever candidate list

The Green Party is excited to today reveal its final candidate list for the upcoming election, with a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent set to take the party into government.

The final list was voted on by Green Party members, after a draft list was created by candidates and party delegates in April.

“I am confident this exceptional group of people will take us to our best ever election result and into government in September,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“We will be continuing our work on the big issues New Zealanders care deeply about – our people, our environment and our planet – and we will take that work into government.

“This list reflects the progress the Green Party has made in the 27 years since our inception. We are bigger, bolder and more diverse than we’ve ever been. We have supporters in every neighbourhood, town and city in Aotearoa New Zealand, and a candidate in most areas.

“I am thrilled that there will be highly skilled Green Party representatives in the next government and Parliament, who are experts in their given fields.

“Our returning MPs are joined in the top 20 candidates by new Māori and Pasifika candidates, a human rights lawyer and refugee, indigenous rights activists, climate change campaigners, business people, a farmer, a former diplomat, and a TV presenter.

“This list truly reflects 21st century Aotearoa New Zealand. Chloe Swarbrick will become New Zealand’s youngest MP in 42 years. In Jack McDonald we have one of Te Ao Māori’s leading young voices, Pasifika candidate Teanau Tuiono is a noted activist and expert on climate change, and human rights lawyer Golriz Gharhraman will become Parliament’s first MP who came to New Zealand as a refugee.

“The Green team will go into this critically important election united and determined.

“We will be a force to be reckoned with this election and in the next Parliament,” said Mr Shaw.

 Green Party list:

  1. TUREI, Metiria
  2. SHAW, James
  3. DAVIDSON, Marama
  4. GENTER, Julie Anne
  5. SAGE, Eugenie
  6. HUGHES, Gareth
  7. LOGIE, Jan
  8. GRAHAM, Kennedy
  9. SWARBRICK, Chloe
  10. GHAHRAMAN, Golriz
  11. MATHERS, Mojo
  12. COATES, Barry
  13. MCDONALD, Jack
  14. HART, John
  15. ROCHE, Denise
  16. CLENDON, David
  17. HOLT, Hayley
  18. CROSSEN, Teall
  19. TUIONO, Teanau
  20. TAMU, Leilani

There are currently 14 Green MPs. They will be hoping to do better than that this election.

They have promoted younger mainly female candidates. They presumably want to retain the support of those who voted Green last election and grow the young female vote, and maybe the young male vote as well to increase their overall party vote.

However most people are barely aware of party lists so a lot will still depend on the pulling power of leaders Metiria Turei and James Shaw.

Election predictions

Polls are generally snapshots of opinion in the past, but they are often used to try to predict future election results. This can be interesting but accuracy is obviously not guaranteed.

An interesting approach here to New Zealand general election forecasts

This page provides experimental probabilistic predictions for the 2017 New Zealand General Election. It draws on multiple opinion polls, but goes a step beyond a straightforward poll aggregator in that the estimated voting intention from successive polls is used to forecast the chances of each party to actually win seats on election day, taking into account uncertainty. Polling results are also adjusted to take into account different polling firms’ past performance in predicting different parties’ results.

Every election can have it’s own unique pattern of lead-up polling so past trends won’t always predict future trends correctly, but this is as good as predictions can get.

It has some flaws but I expect some of these to be dealt with.

Oddly that doesn’t include a National coalition with NZ First.

What I like about this site is that it shows ranges of probabilities, showing that there is always margin for ‘error’ or inaccuracy.

This shows that a range of outcomes are possible for all parties. I presume it will be refined as we get closer to the election – it will be interesting to compare these predictions with later ones.

The poll results and trends show how volatile the polls have been for Labour, Greens and NZ First.

Perhaps ominously for National their results have been tightening in a downward trend since John Key stepped down, but it’s too soon for poll responses to the budget.

For the term to 2014 National had been trending down but that turned around, but well in advance of the election. They will be hoping for a late upswing this year but there is no sign of that yet.

NZ First have had late and significant upswings for previous elections after dipping mid term, but this term their poll support has held up. It’s difficult to predict whether this pattern will repeat this year or not.

Budget reactions

Opposition parties have been left floundering after the budget delivers a bit for most people, and quite as lot for many families.

Labour have predictably criticised the budget but have not said whether they would leave the tax changes in place if they take over government later in the year.

Dene Mackenzie: Nearly everyone wins

National has done its best to buy Labour out of the September 23 election by delivering a Budget which has something for nearly everyone.

Those to benefit from this Budget stretch from students, to couples with children, low-income earners in Queenstown, every taxpayer through to pensioners.

Increased spending, much more than expected, left only New Zealand First leader Winston Peters sounding  enraged about the state of the nation.

Labour leader Andrew Little issued a one-page press release, which could have been read as a white flag of surrender, and Green Party co-leader James Shaw spent his entire speech talking about a lot of what-ifs and calling for a change in government.

The Government is not likely to change unless Labour and the Greens can provide some sort of counter to the growing economic strength of the country’s finances which allowed Finance Minister Steven Joyce to use his first Budget to spend up large in the areas that count: lifting incomes by changing tax thresholds, increasing Working for Family entitlements, increasing accommodation allowances and providing extra spending on health.

Importantly for voters in Auckland and Wellington, large amounts of money will be spent on ailing infrastructure including the Wellington commuter rail link.

RNZ: Budget boost only a ‘slight change’ for the struggling

A single mother on a minimum wage who lives in a state house in Auckland says changes announced in yesterday’s budget would only make a small difference to her life.

A full-time glasshouse worker, she pockets about $560 a week and pays $149 rent to Housing NZ.

Under changes to the tax threshold and Working for Families in the new Budget, she worked out she would bring home an extra $28.50 a week, $1,480 a year.

That sounds like a quite significant increase for someone on that level of earning, with a very low rent for Auckland.

Budgets can’t be lotto for everyone.

Brian Fallow (NZH): The better than nothing Budget

It is the better than nothing Budget. Steven Joyce has hardly thrown fiscal caution to the winds.

Neither should he, what an odd comment.

It would have been intolerable for the Government to crow about how well the economy is doing and project ever fatter surpluses and falling debt to GDP ratios while doing nothing about the pressure on the finances of lower- and middle-income families.

Both the increases to the income tax thresholds and the changes to Working for Families tax credits are overdue.

Liam Dann (NZH): Budget a ‘healthy’ lolly scramble

It maintained the “no surprises, steady as she goes” strategy that we’ve seen for the past eight years even as it delivered a few wholesome treats and rewards to the electorate.

The risk, of course, is that this kind of centrist approach will get little love from either side of the political spectrum.

But Prime Minister Bill English and Finance Minister Steven Joyce aren’t the kind of parents to risk over exciting the kids with a mad sugar rush. They promised nothing radical and they delivered it.

Critics will talk about election-year bribes but the narrative from National will be that we did the hard yards, we’ve built a surplus and now we get to invest back into the economy.

Audrey Young (NZH) Audrey Young: Budget has something for everyone

Starting at the low end means everyone gets something.

It is an election year Budget because almost every household gets something.

Some of the increases are huge especially in the accommodation supplement.

That reflects the biggest failure of the Government, in failing to control housing cost.

This Budget puts far greater weight on infrastructure spending than previous ones, although that was foreshadowed in December when Bill English was still Finance Minister.

Stuff: $20 extra for students ‘reasonable’

Laura Robinson says the $20 bump to the student accommodation benefit is good news for those who qualify.

Stuff: Budget a mixed bag

Budget 2017 has no major tax shake-up for average Manawatu families.

stuff: Budget will ‘cost Kiwi lives’

Patients and healthcare workers complain that Budget 2017 has left them frustrated and disappointed.

Max Rushbrooke (Stuff): A Government trying to make up for past neglect

In today’s Budget the Government seems to be playing the role of a parent who, after years of providing minimal support, turns up at their child’s birthday party bearing presents and hoping to be showered with praise.

There is, admittedly, much to commend in the Budget, for what it does to support New Zealanders and to increase fairness: the $321 million package for “social investment”, focused on mental health; the major boost to Working for Families that will raise payments by up to $26 a week per child; the lift in the accommodation supplement that gives low-income people $25-$75 extra a week to offset housing costs; and so on.

And the Government did last year increase benefits for those with children by $25 a week.

But this has to be set against the overall neglect of past years.

‘Neglect’ when the country was recovering from an internal financial downturn and a major international financial crisis, earthquakes and large deficits.

The Press editorial: Budget is an election-year cake with cream filling, frosted icing and a cherry on top

The package is many-pronged, reducing income tax thresholds for the lower paid, changing Working for Families tax credits for people with children, and boosting the accommodation supplement.

Perhaps the more significant longer-term measures are those aimed at future-proofing the economy, especially those to reduce the level of Crown debt and replenish the National Disaster Fund.

Joyce’s Budget is built on the promise of a strong and consistently performing future economy, but these measures at least will provide future governments with some wriggle room when the next natural disaster or global financial crisis hits.

 

A wilful, wanton, weak, wobbly, and woeful Winston

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): [Interruption] No, these are not for you, Gerry. These are “tins”—t-i-n-s. There is no surplus. Any fool can see that. What we had today was a wilful, wanton, weak, wobbly, woeful Minister with a wilful, wanton, weak, wobbly, and woeful Budget, and they are going to lose the next election, big time.

The most worried people watching me right now are those good, hard-working, loyal National Party voters who know this will not cut it. Out there, in their homeland, and in the provinces and in the regions, there is nothing for them at all. Here was the claim by Mr Joyce—200,000 more jobs in the last 3 years. To get on that list you just have to work 1 hour a week. Who can possibly believe in that sort of hypocrisy? Then they talked about their growth rate. It is actually 2.8 percent, and if you take out the 2 percent of population growth, that is 0.8 percent, and that is down the bottom of the OECD. You cannot believe these people. I know those National Party supporters out there who remember the likes of Holyoake and Holland and all those other people, when they were a worthy party. These people and the whole show are just a bunch of useless, hopeless, lazy, idle, and, in the main, old, use-by-date, well-gone members of Parliament. And they have got something to do with tins; they have got a tin ear. They do not listen. They do not care, and this Budget showed it.

Budgets are meant to be about philosophy. They are meant to be want demarcates a party against all the others. They are meant to be about a plan—a vision—that every sporting and cultural and business enterprise knows you must have, except National came in today with no plan, no vision, no idea. It is just trying to hang on for 3 years so Gerry does not have to do any work and so that some of them do not have to go back to their tawdry, hopeless, former life, where they never had a real job in the first place. Those members do not know what is like to make a lot of money in business at all. They came here because they are political and business failures.

Hon Member: Ha!

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Oh, do not laugh at me. I do. I have got a record of making some serious money when I had a practice in a law firm. Ha! More than anybody over there made, and I can prove that with the greatest of ease. But I gave up that life for the people and cause of this country, and I have never regretted it—never regretted it.

Did you like the way Steven Joyce reeled out billions and billions and billions of dollars all over 4 years? He never gave a comparison against 2008. He never gave a comparison against what they do in Australia, Canada, Scandinavia, and all the first world countries. No, he thought he could confuse people with big figures, and then the cacophony of clowns got up and what did they do? They clapped him. Unbelievable. I have never seen so many sheep going to the slaughter clapping their way to it—not one Judas goat; about 25 of them. All of the backbench—and they will not be here after the next election. They believe—and they said it again today—in globalisation. They believe in mass immigration.

The UK target is 65 million people. The UK target is net 100,000. New Zealand today has 4.7 million people. Our target? 72,000 as we speak, all cramming into Auckland, spilling over, and every social service is under massive stress with a housing criss that says today to a young student at university “When you leave, it is going to be three times as hard as your parents to get a house.” That is the legacy of this party. Oh, the Government members are not smiling now, are they? Oh, no. I can tell you at home they are all looking down at their noses. They are all fascinated by their correspondence. Some of them are reading the Budget again, trying to make head or tail of it because they can see it might have been the longest suicide note in history for them. That is what is going on here.

Let me tell you how bad these globalists are, because, you know, they do not pay attention to the rest of the world—whether it be Brexit, whether it be the United States, whether it be Australia. The Chinese Government recently is changing regulations to put capital gains taxes on properties held overseas and, guess what, just the other day Chinese investors were rushing to buy land in New Zealand. Two examples: Massey University sold land to Whyburn, which then onsold to a Chinese investor at a massive profit. They did not care what the profit was; they wanted to get that land in New Zealand and they got it. An Auckland golf course sold land to Mansons, which onsold to a Chinese investor at twice the market value. Just two examples. And we sold more land offshore last year—five times more than the previous year. These people are land agents for a foreign culture and for foreign economies, and the very last thing they will ever do is stand up for you.

When we sought to have a register of land and homes in this country so we might know what is going on, these people over here opposed it because they want you to be like their caucus. They want the mushroom principle. They want you in the dark permanently, and our job here is to shine some light on what is going on in this country.

That was a hopeless Budget speech—appalling—and then, to top it off, usually they go from the sublime to ridiculous, but it was ridiculous to pathetic. Up gets Bill English. When you see people standing in a certain way, you know, psychologically, how they are. When somebody goes like that, that means he is open to all sorts of attack because he knows he has got something to hide, and he did most of that.

Hon Simon Bridges: Well, you’re doing it now.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Yes, I am just showing—oh, for the benefit of “Simple Simon”—

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: —for the benefit of “Simple Simon” of Tauranga, I am showing those people there the way Bill English was standing. And do you know what he said? Do you know what he said? “You’re doing that now.” I mean, do these guys become Ministers in a raffle? It is unbelievable.

He claimed a surplus of $1.7 billion. He claimed a surplus of $1.7 billion. If I am looking at roading, that is $1.7 billion short already. If I am looking at railways, that is $1.7 billion short already. If I look at that Cullen fund, which the Government is not contributing to, that is $2 billion already. If I look at our hospital system, that is $1.7 billion to $2 billion already. And the Government claims a surplus whilst out there. When the struggle is real, it does nothing whatsoever, and that is the reason why it should lose.

It has forgotten what it stands for. That party used to be called the National Party with a capital “N”. Now it is the “International Party”—the puppets of every other society and all other people but ours. That is how bad those members are, and if they think they are going to win the next election—as Muhammad Ali would say, if they even dream they are going to win the next election, they should wake up and apologise. Unbelievable—unbelievable.

There is family poverty, mental health services are in disarray, the conservation estate and services are in dismay because the only work that is going in is if it can help tourists and to hell with New Zealanders and their legacy, social housing and motels—100,000 a night now—and science research and technology in is disarray. Were there any figures today about what it is going to be put into science technology as against GDP so we can have a comparison with Singapore and all the smart countries? No—no comparison at all. There is run away immigration, house price inflation going through the roof, infrastructure deficits in every town and city, and over the regions and provinces there is utter neglect—utter neglect. And the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, as I say, if we were contributing $2 billion a year, then there would be no surplus. We would be down $300 million today.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: So you borrow to save. Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! Borrow to save.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: That is the truth. That is the truth. Unbelievable.

And here we go. Oh, here we go. The person shouting out here is a man called Gerry Brownlee. If you are down in Christchurch, you will know who he is, because down there they call him “Mr Useless”, “Mr Do Nothing”, “Mr Slow as You Go”, and National made him a foreign Minister. The most amazing thing about that is he does not even know where Canada is. The first thing he did was insult one of our old friends—unbelievable. And then he goes over to Australia, and I bet the Aussies thought “Good God! What’s coming here? What have we got here?”. And then he calls the foreign Minister the Prime Minister. Unbelievable. Not trained—been here for years. He has been here for years. Unbelievable.

The real figure New Zealanders wanted to know today was what our GDP growth per person is. When you know that, you will know whether we are going that way or that way. And why would anybody, with all those economists and all those high-paid people in Treasury, not tell you what the GDP per person growth rate is so you will know against the rest of the world how you are doing? Not a word, not a syllable, not a sound, not a mutter, not a murmur in this Budget because the Government believes in the Budget of mushrooms as a principle. Do not tell the New Zealanders anything!

Do not tell them, for example, that in most trades and most professions, if you are in Australia—

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Funded on mushrooms.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Look, do not try to shout me down; I am having a conversation with real people. I am having a conversation with the people of New Zealand. I am not talking about people who spend all their time thinking about their next meal; I am talking about the people who are thinking about the next bill they have got to pay, because out there the struggle, Mr Brownlee, is real, and one party knows it and understands it and has answers for it.

Did the Government tell you how it is going to grow the economy? Did it tell you, for example, that manufacturing against GDP in this country is declining? Did it tell you that exporting as opposed to GDP is declining? Did it tell you, for example, some of the most amazing things in this Budget—and I will get around to it very shortly. But then it got on and said it is doing things for the Māori people. As though the Maori people are not like the rest of us. In this country we have got more red tape. Under the National Government we have got brown tape. That is what we have got: racism, separatism. But let me tell the Māori people out there—and there will be a lot watching right now, up there in Hokianga, in Kaitāia, because they would love to vote on our roll. They are not going to be voting for the National Party, but let me tell you this: after all the work that the Government said that it had given, and money that it has given to the Māori Housing Network—$14.4 million in 2015-16, $17.6 million in 2016-17, and more in this Budget—I want to ask those two members from the Māori Party here, who are here for the next 3 months, how many houses have they built?

Marama Fox: Hundreds.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: See what Marama Fox says? She opens her mouth, lets the wind blow her tongue around. But the answer out there, Marama, if you are concerned about this: they have built 11—11 houses. That is at $2.8 million a house, and they are not in Paritai Drive or Remuera. No, they are around the country. And they have consented 63 houses. That is, they have given them the consent. Now let me ask you: can you live in a consent? How many people do you know living in consents? This is a sham. It is separatism, racism, an endless campaign.

The people of this country in Māoridom—the followers would be legion, because the mass majority of Māori do not want your policies. The mass majority of Māori want a safe affordable house. They want a decent health system should they fall ill. They want an education system to give their children an escalator for progress in life. They want First World wages and First World jobs. Those four things are what Māoridom wants, and, come to think of it, that is what everyone wants, all around the world and in this country. One party alone understands that, and that is why the Māori will be lining up in their tens and tens of thousands in this campaign to back a party called New Zealand First.

But, of course, we are not separatist. We do not look at our race. We are not gender-biased. We do not look at people’s religion. We take on people because they have a thing called talent, and it starts at the top.

Let me just say, Mr Joyce got up and he said that all these people—1.3 million families—are going to be $26 better off. You know that famous line from The Shawshank Redemption, the movie? “The colossal”—I cannot say the next word. “The colossal [so-and-so] even managed to sound magnanimous.” Twenty-six dollars.

Ladies and gentlemen, in 2006, 2007, and 2008 we gave the minimum wage people $3 extra. We took it from $9 to $12 in 3 years flat. Multiply that by 40—how many extra dollars is that a week? Even Gerry should be able to work that out—even Gerry should be able to work that out. That is $26; we gave them over $120—if they are working Saturday as well, much more than that—per week. We did that 10 years ago. If you give us a chance, we will do it again. But we will make sure that business, because of sound tax policy, is able to pay for it. That is the difference.

You know, Mr Joyce talked about economic growth. He said the economy today—and I am glad he said it—is 14 percent larger than it was 5 years ago. We have looked behind the figures. Take out inflation, then that means it is 9 percent growth in 5 years—that means 1.8 percent per year. Now take out the population growth of 2 percent, and we are not even growing at 1 percent per year. Now more and more economists are beginning to understand that.

But we have got people like—somebody in the New Zealand Herald today, you know the kind who wrote this. He said the Government was swimming in money. Tell that to the people in mental health institutions or who are looking for a home, who are looking for a job—a decent job; some of them have got three jobs—who want to get rid of secondary tax and have a decent life. But here is the real rub, for the benefit of the Māori Party, and it is this—

Marama Fox: We’ll take it—$354 million.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: —only yesterday—no, no, I saw you get up and clap. But only yesterday the overseas merchandise trade statistics came out, and they revealed the stunning success of National’s much-vaunted tiringly boastful export agenda. guess what has happened? In the 12 months to April this year the New Zealand merchandise exports grew by a staggering—listen to this—0.2 percent. Multiply that by 10—that is 2 percent growth for a decade. And the Government members get up here and say that they have got a plan. They are a joke. Underneath the hype and misinformation it is a fake Budget that delivers nothing meaningful for ordinary New Zealanders, and nothing to make our economy go faster. It does not tell New Zealanders how they compare with the rest of the country.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is an election on 27 September.

Carmel Sepuloni: 23rd.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On 23 September, sorry. On 23 September.

Hon Member: Get it right.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Ha, ha! That is how I know that they are listening. I was thinking about the day we are all going to be down here as a huge caucus, and I got a bit ahead of myself. I got a bit ahead of myself.

But there is an election on 23 September, and in that campaign, on that day, in that vote, in the 2 weeks beforehand, people are going to have a chance—whether they are going to vote for their province, their families, their communities, or for their politics. Right now all the signs are showing that New Zealanders realise that they better put their hands up for their provinces, for their regions, and for their communities. If they do not do that then nothing will help them now.

I have never seen such a disparity between the rich and the poor, now creeping into the middle-class, in all my life. The great dream of people like Holyoake and others, when that party was a proud party, was a property-owning democracy with the greatest level of egalitarian equality of any society on earth. Look at it now: divisions everywhere. Even now, in wealthy families, people who are poor because they are students—with no chance of ever buying a home unless mum and dad can give them $300,000 or $400,000 to get a start. How many families who thought they were comfortable can afford that? But National has no plan for housing. It is going to bring in the population of Rotorua every year for the next 10 years, but it will not build the infrastructure. If you look at the motorways in Auckland now on a Saturday morning, you will know what a catastrophe this all is.

This has been a day of bad and sad news. The people in this Parliament, watching on that TV station, and listening out there in New Zealand have had to put up with 45 minutes of sad, bad news. But I have got one piece of great news for everybody watching and listening today. I have got one piece of great news for everybody out there who is watching, and it is this: that was Steven Joyce’s first and last Budget.

Andrew Little’s budget response

Labour leader Andrew Little’s response to the delivery of the 2017 budget by Steven Joyce was dissed a bit on Twitter, in part because of it’s content (much like his campaign speech he has been making over the last few months), and in part because he read it off a tablet.

ANDREW LITTLE (Leader of the Opposition): I move, That all the words after “That” be omitted and the following substituted: “this House has no confidence in a Government that has had 9 years to build a better New Zealand, and yet we have a housing crisis, we have mental health services on the verge of collapse, we have education that is becoming more and more expensive, and we have infrastructure that is unable to cope with the demands of a surging population, and it is time for fresh thinking and real solutions.

After 9 years—and 4 months out from the next general election—this National Government has suddenly discovered that wages for too many are too low, and it has done nothing about it until now, and even then it has not done much about it. Too many people can no longer afford to buy or even rent a home, and it has done nothing about it. Too many people are squeezed into our big cities, schools are overcrowded, public services are struggling, congestion is choking our cities, and it has done nothing about it. Here was its chance, a chance to show that it takes New Zealanders’ concerns seriously, and it muffed it.

Let me just take you through some of the points that come out of this Budget. Let us look at the tax package, shall we? Let us look at the minimum wage worker. The worker on the minimum wage, working 40 hours a week, who was getting the independent earner tax credit and was getting the tax break that the Government gave them—they got $11 and they got $10 taken off them. They got $11 given to them and $10 taken off them. One dollar. One dollar—there it is. This is the “dollar Bill Budget”—that is what it is.

It gets worse. Even the Government’s own figures that it proudly furnished us all with in the lock-up—the little bit of paper that talks about two low-income workers, both on an income of $33,000 each. They lose their independent earner tax credit, so they lose $20, and the tax benefit for them is less than a dollar each. It is a “less-than-a-dollar Bill Budget”. This is the “dollar Bill Budget”. This is not taking low-income earners seriously at all.

Let us have a look at health. Let us have a look at mental health. The so-called ring-fenced $100 million—that was money that has already been promised and provided to the district health boards (DHBs). Now they are being told that money that they had to spend for general health services they now have got to spend on mental health services, without any expectation of what that is going to go on. This is not fixing up our mental health services. This is a fudge—this is a fudge. The Government does provide for $25 million a year, unspecified, on extra mental health services. It is so woeful in its planning, so woeful in its direction, that it does not even know what it is going to go on. It put it in the Budget. It is so out of touch with New Zealanders’ concerns about mental health right now that it does not even know what needs to happen. And it will not fund it properly.

I have to tell you: the biggest health risk this nation faces today is the amount of fudge being rammed down New Zealanders’ throats that they are expected to take in this Budget. It is not good enough. The Government has funded DHBs for the next financial year and subsequently, more than $200 million less than the DHBs need to keep pace with population growth and demographic changes. It is short-changing and starving our health services yet again, year after year. No wonder they are struggling. It might have double-crewed the ambulances, but it is still the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

In housing: there is nothing of substance to address the most urgent, pressing issue facing the nation today—that is, the shortage of housing. The Government says $100 million for purchasing land for—you know how many houses? For 1,200 houses. Remember the announcement a couple of weeks ago of 34,000 houses? That was still woefully inadequate too. Well, it has provided in this Budget for 1,200 houses. That is going to fix Auckland’s 40,000-house shortage, not to mention the rest of the country’s 20,000- or 25,000-house shortage. This is a rinky-dink, short-changing, “dollar Bill Budget”.

Do not even get me started on the schools operations grant. What an embarrassment. What a disgrace: a 1.3 percent adjustment at a time when inflation in that sector is going through the roof. That is lower than inflation, and the people who will suffer will be the students, their families, and the teachers, who are struggling to provide a high-quality education in this country as it is. New Zealanders deserve better. New Zealanders deserve better.

We are blessed to be in one of the greatest countries in the world and to enjoy unparalleled beauty and a sense of security and freedom to chase our dreams. We pride ourselves, like all New Zealanders, on our hard work, innovation, creative thinking, and our great artistic expression—that is what we are known around the world for—and our brute determination to get stuff done. But that is not the experience of many New Zealanders today. Too many are missing out. And after 9 years of this Government, New Zealanders now are being shut out of things that have been our boast to the world.

You see, there is something else that defines us as a nation, something that holds us to together: it is the idea that our small, plucky nation faces the world to meet its challenges and as we do that we look out for each other, and we insist that no matter the circumstances of our birth, whether in New Zealand or abroad, rich or poor, Māori or Pākehā, we will have the opportunity to fulfil our potential, to do our best, to be the greatest, to do what we can, to do great things, or to do humble things. Knowing all the time that we will be picked up when we fall and we will give back when we have the chance—that is the Kiwi spirit. That is the very essence of being a New Zealander. That is the idea of New Zealand.

Nine years on under this National Government, we ask why we have such a chronic shortage of housing, and many young couples who, no matter how hard they work, no matter how hard they save, cannot get their first home. Nine years on under this National Government a growing number of New Zealanders ask why we have New Zealanders who are homeless in this country, living in overcrowded houses, living in cars and garages. Nine years on under this National Government, New Zealanders ask why the rent is rising so fast and why their pay cannot keep up. Nine years on under this National Government, New Zealanders ask why 60,000 of our fellow citizens could not get hospital treatment last year, because the local hospital could not afford to treat them. We ask why our mental health services are stretched to breaking point and why in this beautiful country of ours we have one of the highest teen suicide rates in the developed world—that is not right. And what is worse is a Government, 9 years on, that does not take it seriously, does not have anything serious to say or do about it. That is shameful.

Nine years on under this National Government, New Zealanders ask why so many schools are overcrowded, and why, with an ageing teacher workforce, so little is being done to grow the next generation of great teachers. Nine years on under this National Government, New Zealanders ask why tens and tens of thousands of young New Zealanders are out of work and not doing any training or are in any education and are fast running out of hope. Nine years on under this National Government, New Zealanders ask why the regions have been neglected, and why they cannot generate jobs to keep the local populations and work.

Today’s Budget is a squandered opportunity. This was an opportunity to do the real social investment, to invest in those things that are the foundation of opportunity and fairness, the foundation of wealth and prosperity for this nation, the foundation of the Kiwi spirit and of the New Zealand idea. No one will say that those on low and middle incomes do not need extra cash at the end of the week—of course they do. They need it now, not next April. But let us not kid ourselves. Remember Working for Families? Remember when that was first introduced? Remember who voted against it? Remember what they called it? So they vehemently opposed it then. It was introduced as a measure to deal with a dysfunctional labour market that was incapable of providing a living wage to many, many New Zealanders. And you know what? Nothing has changed. That remains the case today.

Now, the Government is trying to seek plaudits for funding the significant pay increase for home-care and aged-care workers, and I congratulate Kristine Bartlett and E tū and the predecessor unions and all those who were involved in taking it to court and bringing this Government to justice. That deal happened. And that line item is in this Budget because this Government was ordered by the courts to do so. Make no mistake; this is not generosity and it is not part of some big strategic plan to lift incomes of the lowest-paid New Zealanders. So let us get real.

New Zealand needs a fresh approach. New Zealand needs new ideas. We cannot claim success as a nation nor can we claim we are prosperous when so many are missing out, and when we are setting up a bleak future for the generations that follow. Labour’s plan is very clear.

On housing—we understand. We get that every New Zealander, every family, needs a roof over their head that they can call their own. We need, and Labour will build, affordable homes across Auckland and around New Zealand. We will set up the apparatus. We will develop the workforce. We will deal with the landowners. We will deal with the property developers. We will deal with the councils. We will deal with iwi. We will deal with Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all if we have to, to build affordable homes—100,000 of them. And we will build State houses. Some of them will be for people who, once upon a time, voted for the Māori Party, as well. People will have warm, safe, dry homes, and we will not have 40,000 New Zealanders homeless. That is shameful, and that is a disgrace. Not a single reference—not a single reference—in this Budget to a single solution about that.

On health—we will work to restore the $1.7 billion cuts from health over the last few years. Yes that is a real, and yes that has happened, and yes New Zealanders are suffering as a result. People will again have confidence that they can get good, safe treatment from the local hospital, and that will include getting pharmaceuticals that deal with modern conditions and they are effective. We will fix mental health services. We will have a primary mental health care pilot that will set us up and set generations up and fix our mental health problem. We will have nurses in schools as well, and we will do the workforce development that goes with it, because what matters most is giving our young people a chance, and hope, again.

On education—we will have an education strategy that is about preparing our children for success and having education available throughout a person’s working life, because let us face it the world of work is changing and technology is changing. It is changing what we do and how we do it, and we need an education system that suits. We will lift the funding freeze on schools, and we will make sure that there is a plan for school buildings that we will actually follow through on. We will work with teachers and parents and employers so that we have a school system that is fit for the 21st century and beyond. You see, education is so vital—so vital—for that new world of technology and for new ways of working. We have to get education right, and right now it is floundering, because it has a lack of leadership and a Government that does not care. Labour—Labour—will bring a fresh approach to education.

On the regions—we will partner with the regions, and we will secure new investments that will generate new jobs, good jobs, skilled jobs, better paid jobs, just as we had proposed to do in Dunedin with a centre of digital excellence, just as we had proposed to do in Gisborne with the plant to build prefabricated housing, because it fits our housing strategy as well. Thinking ahead—thinking about the issues that matter to New Zealanders: that is what New Zealanders are looking for. They are looking for a plan. That is what we are going to do.

For our young—it is just plain wrong and just plain shameful that the number of young people not in work, education, or training is growing year by year. We are selling a generation down the drain and I will not have it anymore. This is a top priority for me and for Labour. We will pay employers the equivalent of the dole whenever they take on a new apprentice. We will set up long-term youth unemployed with a 6-month job doing important work in their communities. Accuse me of job creation; I will wear that badge with pride. I want to look after our young.

On infrastructure—we will get our cities moving again, getting freight and people moving, and it will not just be about roads. It will be about rail. It will be about coastal shipping. It will be about all transport modes so we can get the country moving again and get investment that actually makes a difference, and we will partner up with local government to make that difference.

We need a fresh approach. New Zealand needs a fresh approach. New Zealand needs a plan that works, a plan that is about working for those who cannot work at the moment. One thing I can tell you that is absolutely guaranteed is that our party has signed up to Budget responsibility rules. That means planning not just for the next financial year, but for all the years that follow—being responsible about the present and the future. That is what we will bring to it. We will not write out any cheque that cannot be cashed.

This Budget is an election year Budget. That should come as no surprise when you make your finance Minister your campaign manager, too. That is what is in this Budget. That is what is reflected in this Budget. This is about a National Government, 9 years on—out of energy, out of ideas, not knowing what to do, and desperate to convince people that it wants to do something—realising what the real problems are: that it has not listened to New Zealand for too long. On 23 September New Zealanders will have a chance for a fresh approach, for new ideas. They will be voting Labour.