Long read: 1,394 words

Jacinda Ardern recently implied that in her MPs she has talent to burn, including herself no doubt. This was in relation to Louisa Wall’s resignation as an MP. She said, on One News Breakfast, “there were many other talented MPs who had not made it into those roles.”

Talented, according to the Oxford Dictionary, means having a natural aptitude or skill for something. Synonyms include gifted, skilled, accomplished,  brilliant, expert and consummate. Perhaps Ardern would care to enlighten us with the names of these people.

Glen Bennett, Teresa Ngobi, Greg O’Connor, Steph Lewis, Shanan Halbert or Rachel Boyack? If these are the talented people Ardern is talking about then she needs to promote them into her Cabinet quick smart, as the incumbents are anything but.

Speaking again on One News Breakfast about Louisa, Ardern said, “The fact that she was in our caucus” (Ardern didn’t want her); “she had a strong list position” (only because it suited the Labour Party). “She now has a role where I think she’ll be using her strengths” (effectively hush money), “which speaks to the fact that as a caucus, and as a Labour Party, we’ve seen her strengths, we’ve acknowledged her strengths.”

What a load of twaddle. Her communications degree has not served her well in this regard. It appears the only thing it taught her is the art of obfuscating the truth. This she does on pretty much a daily basis.

Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has a degree in political studies. Here is a man who has wandered through both university and the back offices of Parliament to get probably the most coveted portfolio in the Cabinet. Like Ardern, he would probably struggle with the meaning of GDP. Our money is Robertson’s Monopoly money to spray around like water coming out of a garden hose. A garden hose is used to make what’s in the garden grow. Robertson also has something he’s supposed to be growing. It’s called the economy.

Unfortunately, in Robertson’s garden, things aren’t exactly flowering. Unlike his other friend Mr Mallard, who uses water on his enemies, Grant likes to irrigate his friends. He’s watered the gangs to the tune of almost three million.

The BFD. Gang growth. Cartoon credit BoomSlang

Meanwhile, the hard-working poor peasants are being flooded with increasing debt. Overall, cost of living expenses are up $3,000 over the past year, according to the New Zealand Initiative. They’re putting a lot of the blame at Robertson’s door. Our inflation rate is higher than in 19 of our 20 major trading partners. They want Robertson to put the umbrella up on excessive spending. Food price inflation is also growing like weeds, up almost eight per cent in the last year. Robertson is patently not the man for the job, but then who is?

How about Andrew Little? A person aptly named in terms of any meaningful progress he’s made in his portfolios. He thought he had the nurses’ pay agreement sorted only to find out last week it wasn’t so. Little should not be surprised, as the agreement was not what was originally proposed in terms of what the nurses believed they were getting. The amount of backdated pay is now no longer on offer. Angry Andy, in an aggressive stance, has told them the kitty is empty.

Little has little patience and has so far got offside with the mining community and the nursing fraternity. He failed to retrieve the Pike River dead and is now failing to support those who are tasked with keeping others alive. The health sector is in a mess and centralisation will only exacerbate the problems. Each DHB area has different requirements and needs to be run at a local level. More paper shufflers will be employed and fewer doctors and nurses. Big is not always beautiful.

Another minister interested in centralisation is Nanaia Mahuta. The involvement of iwi in the new setup to the extent she proposes has a smell of Maori ownership through the back door about it. Virtually no council wants it and the consultation process was a farce. The tap needs to be turned off on this idea.

Education is also in dire need of attention. It was a bad mistake to give the minister of education the Covid responsibilities as well. Hipkins has spent most of his time implementing numerous silly rules to the point where he confuses himself, as happened, not for the first time, prior to Easter. It seems you can get intimate on the dance floor without wearing a mask, yet at the supermarket, with acres of space around you, a mask is required.

Meanwhile, we are near the bottom of the OECD rankings in the basic subjects of reading, maths and science. The forced closure of charter schools, at the behest of Labour’s union paymasters, has only served to exacerbate the problem. Too much emphasis is being placed on left-wing PC ideology. One good example is the new history curriculum that conveniently starts at 1840.

Minister of Transport Michael Wood takes a lot of beating when it comes to implementing dopey ideological ideas. First, it was the bike bridge that anyone outside of the Lycra brigade could have told him was a stupid idea. He wasted $50 million on that. Next up is light rail to the airport.

Auckland Transport can’t keep the wheels going round on the nearly empty buses and Te Huia is another of this government’s ideological failures.

I have decided to put Kris Faafoi and Kelvin Davis together as they both seem keen on letting the wrong people in and out. In Faafoi’s case it’s the country and in Davis’s case it’s the prisons. Faafoi has completely bungled immigration to the point where people who are needed find it almost impossible to get in and those chasing better pay are getting out. John Key’s empty stadium is about to be emptied again. There is no doubt we are in for a brain drain as it’s easier to get out than in.

The same applies to Corrections, under the less than studious stewardship of Kelvin Davis. The name of the game seems to be let the criminals out as soon as possible and, if possible, don’t let them in in the first place. The number of wet-bus-ticket sentences being handed down appears to be on the rise while the numbers being incarcerated is heading in the opposite direction so the Government can then say they’re reducing the prison numbers.

This brings us to the Police Minister Poto Williams. Poto is potentially the most underperforming of the lot. If she’s not denying the numbers then she’s skewing them: telling us there are 700 extra police, which there are if you don’t deduct those who have left. Do that exercise and you find the actual number is somewhere just over 300.

A few others worthy of mention include Minister of Housing Megan Woods, who could solve the housing crisis if she could build them as fast as she can talk about them. Minister of Maori Development Willie Jackson is ensuring he’s looking after the wealthy end of Maoridom. Minister of Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni is making sure welfare and unemployment numbers stay up, with the assistance of the finance minister. This of course ensures more votes at the next election. Minister for the Environment David Parker has tried his best to regulate farmers into the ground and Minister for Tourism Stuart Nash has single-handedly put the industry on its knees.

If these people are indeed the talent Ardern is talking about, then it’s no wonder the country is in its current parlous state. Blaming the last National Government only highlights the fact nothing has been achieved since. Blaming inflation gives cause to look in the mirror, and as for blaming the war in Ukraine, the effects of that are yet to be felt. The tired old Question Time answer of ‘I don’t accept the premise of the member’s question’ doesn’t cut it either.

A political bonfire at next year’s election awaits them.

labour pains


A right-wing crusader. Reached an age that embodies the dictum only the good die young. Country music buff. Ardent Anglophile. Hates hypocrisy and by association left-wing politics.