Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

The Week That Was: The Perkbuster General Gets Busted - And Is Bill English Doing A PR Job?

Read More:
Chris Ford
Chris Ford
Rodney Hide

For a political blogger like me, last week presented a feast of topics to comment upon and who can go past just two - the busting of the 'Perkbuster General' Rodney Hide and Bill English's little public relations coup on TVNZ's flagship news channel.

First to the 'Perkbuster General'. After telling most of New Zealand (to paraphrase Marie Antoinette) that we can go and drink privatised water under the new local government legislation, we learnt that Rodney wasn't so keen to personally pick up the tab for his partner's trip with him to the United States and Canada. Instead (in contravention of the Act Party's user-pays philosophy) we, the taxpayer, got presented with the bill. His partner, the very attractive and much younger Louise Crome, accompanied Rodney so that he could spend some quality time with the current love of his life. Of course, we know that Parliament is not conducive to the maintenance of stable long-term relationships due to the high number of hours worked by MPs and various staffers but, as was revealed in today's Herald on Sunday, Crome has moved to Wellington to be near Hide. While I don't have a problem with Rodney Hide wanting to maintain a personal relationship, I think that he should live by both his and Act's own creed and not take her on any other future holidays, courtesy of the taxpayer. After all, beneficiaries and ordinary workers would just love to have the same perks as Rodney and his other MP mates do!

Not to be outdone, the 'Double Dipper from Dipton' Bill English appeared on our screens in a thinly disguised party political broadcast on TVNZ 7 saying that our economy is turning the corner but we still had to do better than those bloody Aussies! This had the Labour Opposition (much in need of a distraction of it's own - more on that below) asking for equal time for all the other parliamentary parties in future politically-based programme trailers. English, who also escaped further investigation by the Auditor-General this week over his earlier ministerial housing claims, took somewhat of a beating over this but has survived to fight another day. At least John Key will now definitely be questioning his deputy's judgement and at least quietly thinking that it was a blessing that National lost the 2002 election with English as leader.

In a week when political outrage reached new heights (along with hypocrisy) came the revelation that Labour MP Rick Barker, and now another newbie MP Iain Lees-Galloway, were both involved in a dubious opinion polling exercise. This poll was conducted by a Labour Party-owned company that, as it turns out, no longer exists and volunteer phone interviewers were told to invent fictitious names if they were not comfortable using their own. Clearly outraged by this latest faux pas, Phil Goff has been quoted as saying that he has had 'a quiet word' with Barker and no doubt it would have been something along the lines of "perhaps you might like to join Chris Carter on the retiring (to enjoy some more time with the family, of course) list in 2011?" Then, at week's end, it turns out that Trevor Mallard had a cycle related run-in with a motorist on his way to work and no doubt there will be more to come on this story over the next week.

Sadly, though, Sue Bradford was the only person who could claim the parliamentary dignity award this week. Her valedictory address on Wednesday marked the end of her service in the bourgeois Parliament of the elites and her return to the real parliament - that of the streets. It also marked her final parting of the ways with her former Green colleagues whom (reportedly led by Russell Norman) have wanted to see the back of her for some time. This cruel treatment would not have been tolerated by Rod Donald had he been alive and still co-leader today. In fact, if it had not been for Donald's untimely death in 2005, Sue Bradford would likely have still been in the House at this very moment and preparing to fight the next election. Now, the New Zealand left has been deprived of one of the biggest champions of its cause in Parliament and only Keith Locke (who looks to have retirement on his mind as well and of the non-forced variety) will continue to fly the red/green flag there.

Now, for the parliamentary winners and losers of the week. Labour gets dinged for the second week in a row, Act (after a great coup last week with the ACC legislation) gets a black mark as do the Greens for effectively forcing Sue Bradford out. The sole winner of this week's political contest are (sadly) the Nats who continue to poll spectacularly well despite everything not having gone so smoothly for them lately. What will it take for the Nats to fall over politically? I don't know, but it will happen, but not while Labour continues the same behaviours that brought them onto the opposition benches in the first place!





All articles and comments on have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.