Wednesday, 7 December 2016

National leader/new PM: Your pick? [updated]


Unless you know something I don’t, there’s nothing to pick between any of the contenders for John Key’s job when it comes to rolling back the state. To my knowledge, the credentials of all of them on that score measures pretty close to zero. At best.

But let us know you have any cogent thoughts about any of them – or why they might be especially good or bad at the job.

And in the spirit of #dick’sdailyquestions, maybe answer this one for us too:

Q: How will John Key's resignation affect your everyday life?

UPDATE: While updating the archives, amid discovering Bennett and Joyce were both much more nannying than I’d remembered, and that Jonathan Coleman had barely attracted any mention over the years, I discovered this amusing idea from Not PJ’s Bernard Darnton for a new reality TV show that could, with these contestants, be once again very topical. He called it Benny TV:

Here's a new 'reality' TV that someone might like to pitch to Julie Christie.  Or perhaps an idea for some good research for a keen statistician.

Time for a top-rating prime-time TV show to answer the question:  “Who’s the country's biggest beneficiary?  Who really is the biggest moocher on the taxpayer, the biggest sucker on the state tit, the biggest bludger, trough-snuffler and rent-seeking-rort-mongering-entitlement-bogan in the country.”

You can see the show now, can’t you.

“Our next guest is the new Minister of Housing 'Whack-it-on-Your-Bill Phil' Heatley – a man who takes the idea of “state houses” so seriously he’s tried to corner that market himself.  A man with so many houses being paid for by so many taxpayers it would take a Cook Islands taw lawyer to work out.

“Could he be the country’s biggest beneficiary?

“Or is it the new Mistress of Police, Judith ‘Crusher’ Collins, whose arse isn’t so big that she can’t shoot up a taxpayer-funded housing loophole when she sees one, or a good old-fashioned taxpayer-funded limo ride when she can get one.

“Or the new Welfare Matron, Paula Benefit, who’s racked up a whole lifetime on the taxpayers’ tit – “a poster girl for National’s welfare policies” she called herself when she was appointed to head up NZ’s biggest spending department-- and doesn’t look like stopping any time now."

“Or is it our current Minister of Finance, Beneficiary Bill, who pulls down a bigger salary than any business would ever pay him, and claims still extra for having "a place of residence" he visits around twice every year?  A man with so many children only a thousand-dollar-a-week taxpayer subsidy is apparently enough to keep the whole brood together.

“Champion effort that.

“Or could it be it’s the former Minister of Finance Dodger Rugless, who likes to take advantage of the taxpayers' largesse to swan around on foreign holidays, making sure it’s us who picks up his tab?

“Or is it one of EnZed’s former ministers or Prime Ministers, one of them who hasn’t been picked up the latest News From the Trough, but who got a taste for things taxpayerish early on and is unable to kick the habit?  One of the former tit-suckers who can't take their mouth from the teat, and who's pulling down all the free travel and perks and the platinum-plated politicians' superannuation scheme that we're all paying for?

“What about the former Minister of Wine & Cheese Jonathan Hunt, or former PMs Shipley, Bolger, Palmer, Moore -- or the UN's new pin-up girl Helen Clark? Could one of them be our champion?”

"Stay tuned for another thrilling episode of Who’s the Biggest Beneficiary?  Brought to you, naturally, by NZ on Air, so you can see more of who you’re paying for.”

Well, maybe not such great TV – although you would see plenty of red herrings and a lot of scuttling for cover. But high time surely for someone to answer the question.

Could be fun!



  1. I have a few randoms thoughts about the contest, which is mostly a variety of Blancmange v Blancmange.

    But it struck me this morning listening to Judith Collins on NatRad that a PM with grudges to settle would be a very dangerous thing. NatRad very astutely ran her after listening from Nickey Hager, at whom she proceeded to vent, in total contrast to the pacific message she was presumably there to impart.

    And I wondered: could you imagine a Judith Collins in charge of the surveillance and law-and-order apparatus that’s been quietly set up over the last decade? That could be a very scary thought.

  2. There are two reasons the left-leaning commentariat were so eager to talk up Bill English back in 2001: 1. because his "policy settings" are theirs; and 2. because he would be hopeless as leader.

    They were right on both scores.

    Still are.

    You could call him competent as a finance minister - except that, outside Keynesian circles, any finance minister who takes a $10 billion debt and multiplies it by six would never receive that accolade.

    You could say he has integrity -- except you would have to forget the entitleitis an already well-paid Sir Double Dipton displayed in his claims for multiple living allowances.

    And any person who says that "pain is a part of life," and therefore people should be made to suffer *by law* when they don't need to, should never be allowed anywhere near the Prime Minister's office.

  3. With the acumen of a man who built a nationwide private radio network, but all the charm of a cup of cold porridge, Steven Joyce as a politician is unfortunately very much a meddler.

    A very smart man but with all the dangers of most smart men in power: the illusion that his own wizardy can solve everything. (He needs to read Hayek on the illusion of political knowledge.)

    Often been National's Swiss Army Knife, but the ribbons he's cut have all too regularly been crony ones: Sky City's, Chorus's, Fletchers's. Maybe because, like his departing boss, he's always confused the phrase "govt helping business" with "govt helping *specific* businesses." (Perhaps that's why he remains so partial to bailouts like KiwiRail's -- ande even of his own former radio network!)

    And as Transport minister he revealed very early on (banning texting; mandating cameras in taxis; going wowser onblood-alcohol levels) a strong predilection for nannying; and as Tertiary minister a very strong liking for a very destructive kind of micro-management.

    He would not be anything like a good pick.

    But who would be?

  4. For what it's worth (admittedly not a lot), when I saw Judith Collins on Paul Henry this morning, she did come across as a bit firmer and less wishy-washy than her opponents. But of course "firmer" can be either a good or bad thing depending on what it is you're trying to achieve.

  5. English: no, can never support a theocrat. He's a major reason for Key cynically squashing the euthanasia debate. As you've said before, Peter, he's on record that the human lot is to suffer unto his monstrous (comic book) god.

    Collins: Her anti-money laundering legislation has been the most draconian legislation I've seen in my working life (worse than anything in tax). Heaven knows the cost of it on the economy (but add about $600 to the legal fee for every otherwise routine house sale). And I bet it's doing nothing re terrorism; although it'll be shoring up the tax state (it's doing the same as Modi's attack on cash in India, and look at the disaster that is).

    Coleman: he's got the voice for it. Nothing more.

    1. If you gave every criminal in the country $10,000 it would still be far cheaper than the compliance costs for the AML legislation. My 82 year old mother was nagged to drag herself into a bank that she had been a customer of for over 60 years so she could prove her identity to them, and that's just one of the low cost effects.

    2. We've now had one set of friends give up on trying to open a bank account for their child. After three hours they left the bank in disgust.

      Worse, I'm pretty sure the Fijians and Islanders working the vineyards in Blenheim are still unable to get their money back home to their families as the intermediary companie's managing the transfers of cash couldn't comply with the legislation.

      I had a farmer purchasing a farm who solicitor is in Ashburton, and hour and a half drive for me. Even though I've known the lawyer for over 20 years under this idiot legislation he made me do the three hour trip to witness my signature (as independent trustee of client's trust with no beneficial interest in any of the assets).

      If you bank sees anything in your accounts that look out of the ordinary, including regular overseas transfers, they have to report on your to government. YOUR money and your private bank life (which is your life).

      It's insane. I think I remember reported last year that this idiot law caught just under 20 transactions that 'may' have been suspicious. (Don't hold me to that).

    3. Apologies for typos. That was rushed.

    4. T send money to Thailand I have to give a "reason" [ an excuse really ] to Kiwi Bank, then they stiff me about 5% of the exchange rate. English will be PM by inheritance, and blue rinse will take a 5% hit aso. Much of it to NZ First Nation hood. National pride . New Zealand .


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.