Wellington, September 6, 2017
New Zealanders are witnessing the desperation of a government clinging to survival, evidenced by policy on-the-hoof, dodgy maths and dirty politics.
New Zealand had been hoping that we had seen the end of dirty politics, but what we are seeing is that the National Party doubling down on deceit and divisive tactics.
Bill English’s team are panicking, serving up a series of gaffes that must make New Zealanders question their fitness to govern.
Ministers’ faux paus
Steven Joyce’s ham-fisted hit job on Labour’s Fiscal Plan has now been debunked and denounced as untrue by economists and political commentators across New Zealand.
In her haste to be seen as tough on gangs, Paula Bennett – Bill’s number two – has been forced to apologise after she denied the universality of human rights in New Zealand, a hapless and ignorant claim.
And Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has promised to lift the number of elective surgeries to 200,000 – despite him saying in Parliament a few months ago the number of elective surgeries was already 200,000. Which one is it, Dr Coleman?
Of course, the rot starts at the top. Bill English talked blithely of his childhood swimming river the Oreti, yet it is now so badly-polluted that large stretches are unsafe for swimming, and the estuary it flows into is covered with deep and sometimes smelly silt, killing the cockle beds that used to be among the largest in the country.
Even National cannot claim a victory with the Waterview Tunnel – it was conceived, planned and approved under Helen Clark’s government.
And when Bill English claims that homelessness has been ‘virtually eliminated’ in Hamilton, that’s just wrong. People dealing with the problem daily in Hamilton say that the problem is getting worse by any measure.
What this betrays is an attitude in National that they can spin their way through the biggest problems facing New Zealand. They have no plan to make New Zealand a better place.
National’s campaign has degenerated into scaremongering and deceit. Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern has already ruled out income tax increases but National keep perpetuating the scare tactics. The New Zealand public aren’t fooled. After nine years, we have all had enough of this kind of politics.
Labour is committed to an energetic, positive and fair campaign.
We have got a plan to fix the housing crisis, restore much-needed funding to health and education and we will run the economy responsibly.
Phil Twyford is elected Member of Parliament from Te Atatu and Labour Party’s Spokesman for Housing, Building and Construction.