Q+A: Phil Twyford “not my job to know” why KiwiBuild CEO not working

Phil Twyford was interviewed on Q+A last night. Oddly Twyford said he couldn’t comment on reports that the KiwiBuild chief executive Stephen Barclay left the job last month – see KiwiBuild problems building up more than houses – saying “I can’t comment on anything to do with an individual public servant, that would be completely inappropriate” but did concede that Barclay is not working at KiwiBuild: ” I know that he’s not at work, um but it’s literally not my job to know”

Corin Dann: I wonder if you can clarify and clear up this business with the CEO of KiwiBuild, Stephen Barclay – reports over the weekend that he has left the job. Has he left the job?

Phil Twyford: I can’t comment on anything to do with an individual public servant, that would be completely inappropriate.

Corin Dann: Where the minister of a two billion dollar investment here for the public, I would have thought that’s in the public interest for you to comment on that isn’t it?

Phil Twyford: So I don’t hire the public servants, I don’t manage them, I just get their advice.

Corin Dann: Do you know why he’s left the job..?

Phil Twyford: No, and I haven’t been advised on that, and it would be really inappropriate for me to comment…

Corin Dann: You don’t know why the CEO of KiwiBuild has not  been in the job since November.

Phil Twyford: Mmm. I know that he’s not at work, um but it’s literally not my job to know, and there are other people who deal with that, and they are, and I’m focussing on trying to get houses built.

Corin Dann: Has he actually resigned?

Phil Twyford: Corin, I can’t comment on this…It’s a matter relating to an individual public servant, and I simply cannot comment on it.

Corin Dann: Do you have confidence in him?

Phil Twyford: Corin, I can’t comment on this. It’s a matter that relates to an individual public servant.

And it went on, with Twyford repeating his ‘individual public servant’ and ‘inappropriate to comment’ lines. This seems remarkable that Twyford won’t say if the CEO of KiwiBuild has resigned or is working or not.

Twyford must know something about it, but is resolutely refusing to comment on it.

He did comment on the appointment of Barclay – “Great to have someone of Stephen’s calibre leading the Kiwibuild team.”


Q+A – interview with Jacinda Ardern

Ardern says they ‘will be’ the transformative government they promised.

It’s mostly a fairly general discussion with little of note revealed.

Ardern says that if a Labour Minister scandal comes up while Peters is acting PM she will handle any own party discipline.

Political coverage upheaval at 1 News

Political journalists at 1 News are deserting faster than National MPs after a change of leadership.

NZH: TVNZ reporter quits as new leader steps in

1 NEWS reporter Jessica Mutch has been in her role as TVNZ political editor for just over a month and it seems her Wellington colleagues, Katie Bradford and Andrea Vance are a little miffed they did not get the job.

Vance has quit the national broadcaster while Bradford has asked for reassignment to Auckland after they both missed out.

TVNZ, Mutch, Bradford and Vance did not want to comment but a spokeswoman for TVNZ confirmed the newsroom had been told of Vance’s and Bradford’s moves.

Vance, from Northern Ireland, has been with 1 NEWS since 2015.

Bradford, daughter of former Green MP Sue Bradford, has been with 1 NEWS since 2013 and Spy understands she made no secret of her desire to return to Auckland if she didn’t land the political editor role.

Mutch, 33, was based in the press gallery for eight years, and was TVNZ’s deputy political editor before moving to London as Europe correspondent.

So it’s not just political parties who have power struggles and departing unsuccessful candidates.

Dann leaving, and now followed by Vance and Bradford leaving, forces major changes to 1 News political coverage.

Dann announced a move to a full time role at Q&A in January.

Vance has been reported to be going back to Stuff. Her Twitter profile:”Northern Irish journalist. Can’t stop moving.” I don’t know if that has been recently revised.


Little considers stepping down

Labour slumped to 24% in the latest Colmar Brunton poll, their lowest poll result with CB for twenty years, prompting Andrew Little to consider stepping down.

1 News: Labour slumps to its lowest level in more than 20 years in latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll


Corin Dann: Have you considered whether you should step aside in the interests of the party?

Andrew Little: Yeah again I’d be lying to you if I said I hadn’t thought about that, that ah in fact I spoke to senior colleagues about that.

And in the end my colleagues said “we’re in this fight together, this is all of us, this is the Labour Party, and it’s what the Labour party represents”.

Corin Dann: So they said no, they said no we want you to stay.

Andrew Little: They’ve said ‘we want you in the fight”.

It sounds more of a fizzle than a fight.

It’s not just Little who has appeared to be missing in action, the party has shown signs of defeatism.

Metiria Turei: I think the poll is showing that New Zealanders are looking for leadership on issues like poverty and issues like homelessness, and they’re looking to the Greens to provide that.

Dann to Little: They’re gone ‘we’re in this for ourselves’ and they have gone ‘bugger the consequences if we hurt Labour’. That’s what they’ve done.

Andrew Little: They’ve got their plan, their strategy, we’re still in regular contact with them, we talk about this, um they’re doing what they can. Is it helping in the long run? Well they’re going to have to answer that question themselves.

Dann: Technically, Labour and the Greens, with the support of NZ First, could still form a government on our poll numbers. But Andrew Little concedes that if Labour was stuck on only 24% it would be difficult.

Andrew Little: It wouldn’t be what I would be planning, and i don’t, I think there’s be a real credibility issue.

But Little will somehow have to carry on.

Andrew Little: Have faith, fight hard, go for it, because that’s what I’m doing.

Unless Little comes back with something different and makes a real go of the campaign this could get quite a bit worse for Labour.

Peters on Q & A

Winston Peters is being given plenty of media oxygen this week. Following an interview on The National yesterday he was also interviewed by Corin Dann on NZ Q&A this morning – although a slip of the tongue or two referred to it being a debate, probably how Peters sees his one on one encounters with journalists.

It was a typical mix of fair points with dog whistle rhetoric, bluster and straight out bull.

On immigration he addresses common concerns over the numbers coming here and the pressure in infrastructure and housing, but he just blusters when asked to explain how exactly he would achieve much lower numbers.

One thing on which he is totally away with the fairies on is polls. He slammed TVNZ for their polls, but when pushed on this he made some ridiculous assertions.

Dann conceded that NZ First has typically campaigned well and improved on polls by election time, but pointed out that polls were snapshots.

Peters didn’t buy this, and seemed to think that polls now should somehow guess what is going to happen on election day. He sounds convinced he is hard done by on this, if so that’s based on ignorance of how polls work.

When I can get transcript I’ll add it to this post.

NZ First are unusually higher in polls than usual mid term and many think they will improve on that in the election, especially with Labour’s ongoing missteps, but it is far from a given.

It’s possible that NZ First election support simply didn’t drop off after the 2014 election and may not rise much higher, or they may have grown their support base and could do much better this time. Or not.

John Key on Q&A

John Key was interviewed by Corin Dann on Q&A this morning.

Terrific, probing interview by but I think the PM handled it well.

One News:John Key admits homelessness has risen on his watch

John Key says his government is working on many initiatives to combat homelessness, conceding that the issue has risen to prominence during his time as prime minister.

“Do you accept homelessness has risen on your watch?” ONE News Political Editor Corin Dann asked.

Mr Key agreed, but also defended his government.

“Yes, there are more people but equally we are also implementing a very significant plan,” he said.

“There’s no question that if house prices rise and if pressure goes on rents it has a significant impact on those most marginalised, not just those who are homeless.”

One News: John Key on Aus election: ‘Winning ugly is better than losing tidy’

John Key says the outcome of Australia’s election is important for New Zealand, and that Malcolm Turnbull’s biggest challenge is not election night, but about getting on and delivering results.

The New Zealand Prime Minister says on the basis that the Coaltion has the majority, he hopes Mr Turnbull will put his best foot forward.

“We need Australia over the next three years to be a strong and vibrant economy, they’re our biggest trading partner, it’s important to us,” Mr Key told ONE News Political Editor Corin Dann, live on TVNZ’s Q+A programme this morning.

Mr Key likened an election to a rugby world cup, saying it’s not about how you win, it’s about getting results once elected.

“Winning ugly is better than losing tidy.”

Video of interview (17:48)


“Right-wing Corin” and media bias

Corin Dann, TVNZ’s political editor, has been called on the resign “as his bias is a national disgrace” and an anti-GCSB protester now wants David Cunliffe to use the GCSB to spy on use the GCSB to track payments to MSM stooges like Corin Dann.

Without any apparent awareness of irony Dann’s interview of Cunliffe has been labelled “a nasty Tory disgrace”.

It’s common for people passionate about politics to lash out at news items and interviews that they don’t like. This is similar to what frequently happens in social media, if something or someone is deemed to be negative to a cause they are labelled as extreme opposites.

There is a good example of this on Labour’s Facebook page where they posted:

This morning the next Prime Minister, David Cunliffe, was on Q+A talking housing, a strong economy, and our cooperative relationship with the Greens.

We’d love to hear your feedback.

Link to interview: Cunliffe: Scrap National’s State Housing Policy (8:23)

Here is one response, from John McCartney:

Right-wing Corin, up to his usual nasty Tory line of questioning and tricks. How much is he being paid to spout the right-wing’s patsy questions? This is as bad, if not worse, than Shane Taurima’s apparent Left-wing bias. At least Shane did the honourable thing and resigned.

Corin should resign as his bias is a national disgrace. His blue tie, blue undies, blue “I love National badge” were all showing and it’s a disgrace to journalism.

About time for an inquiry into MSM media bias. When David is elected PM, he should use the GCSB to track payments to MSM stooges like Corin Dann.

It’s a nasty Tory disgrace.

Seeking responses in social media can be a double edged sword for parties. The aim is to encourage praise to to show how well supported they are, but it can also attract bizarre and extreme comments that don’t look good for the party.

Interviewers are supposed to challenge and press politicians of all leanings. They are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

I’ve often seen Corin Dann described as being soft on the left (and in much more critical language). That’s the nature of political commentary, disagreeing invokes extreme opposite abuse.

It’s preposterous to suggest that a Labour (or any) Government would use the GCSB to do anything like “track payments to MSM stooges like Corin Dann”.

Even more so when you see what John McCartney has posted criticising the GCSB and spying (he was active on a Facebook page Revoke the GCSB Bill).

Election year should sort it. End of story and end of GCSB.

OMG John Campbell – there are enemies of the state in New Zealand. Quick, urge politicians to give GCSB more power to catch the powder senders!!!! Hurry up and get them do it under urgency – we need to be safe from these spies and enemies that are sending powder to innocent people.


A comment on a blog post The GCSB Act – some history…

It was 92 people illegally spied on by GCSB (or other agencies) and Peter Dunne himself was one of them, Andrea Vance was the other, the Cuppagate journalist and the Cuppagate journailist’s lawyer were the others….

Grow some cochones Dunne and veto this abhorrent GCSB Bill.

McCartney was the twentieth of 203 people to pledge on #stoptheGCSBbill

John McCartney has pledged on 1 project.

And a comment on TVNZ Shane Jones unapologetic for targeting PM’s ‘sensitive spot’

John McCartney · The University of Auckland

Hmm…. bit colourful Jonesy. But we have had had a Prime Minister and his band of merry men and wonen who have rammed thruogh GCSB Laws, masterminded a Sky City CONvention Centre, paid a bribe to Tiwai Aluminium to stay in NZ..better to have the comments in public, than John Key being forwarded the comments by the GCSB. It’s ok for JK to talk about his vasectomy, but when the microscope goes on his sensitive parts by somebody else he blushes.

Methinks he doth protest too much.

McCartney is protesting a bit much about Dann’s interview with Cunliffe.  And his proposal to spy on journalists using the GCSB he has actively campaigned against is hypocritical and absurd.

Media will always appear to be biased to people like McCartney – except when media gives favourable coverage to their favourite politicians.