Comment

Yesterdaze: An apology on behalf of the National Party

COMMENT: James Elliott misses Paddy Gower and messes with this week's polls, meth myth and a belated apology so that you don't have to.

Mondayitis was compounded this week by the release of a new political poll. Let’s face it, political poll results just aren’t the same without Paddy Gower and I suspect Paddy Gower may not be the same without them. I imagined him bursting into a café in Mt Eden yelling ‘explosive and game-changing’ and then tearing off towards Symonds Street as fast as his tight-fitting suit would permit.

In lieu of Paddy’s pressure-cooker pontifications I’m headlining this poll with ‘Winter is coming, look out behind you Simon’ as Judith Collins appeared in the preferred PM stakes, polling at 3.7%. To put that figure into context it’s just under half Simon Bridges’ poll rating of 9.7%. And to put Simon Bridges’ rating into context that’s the same percentage of Americans who believe Elvis is still alive. And while it’s not quite now or never for Bridges as National’s leader, if next weekend's by-election in Northcote doesn’t go well for the blue team then he’ll be all shook up and lonesome tonight.

For her part, Judith Collins insisted she no longer harboured leadership ambitions and wasn’t interested in rolling anyone, presumably meaning anyone other than Phil Twyford.

And fresh from his domestic flight follies last week, Phil Twyford had another turbulent week as Housing Minister. It started when Chief Science Advisor to the PM Sir Peter Gluckman produced a report concluding that there was no point in testing homes for meth contamination because the health risks from third-hand exposure to meth are negligible. Sir Peter said that house occupants are more at risk from mould than they are from meth. That’s an observation dripping in irony given that many state house tenants have been forced to live with mould infestation but evicted for meth contamination.

Twyford apologised to all those affected by the meth myth saga and said he was doing so on behalf of former National Housing Minister Paula Bennett in particular, and National in general given their governance of the meth mess from 2010 to late 2017. National refused to apologise for its responsible role saying that it relied on the best official advice available at the time. That of course has nothing to do with apologising for the impact and results in just three short questions. What was the advice? How did they know it was the best? And who were the officials?

But rest assured that whether or when we get the answers to these questions, unlike the hundreds of turfed-out state tenants, it’s unlikely there will be any evictions from the roles of those responsible for this debacle.

And as to whether those affected will be compensated, Twyford said he wasn’t ruling it in and he wasn’t ruling it out, which is incidentally the Google translate result from Collins to the English language for her comments on her leadership ambitions.

Having debunked the meth myth perhaps Sir Peter could now be asked to bring scientific scrutiny to other issues of popular concern. Like how the public voting system on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ actually works, why gas station pies are so unfeasibly hot and whether it’s scientific fact that the consumption of smashed avocados by anyone under the age of 30 prevents home ownership.

I'm picking the avocado myth might well be debunked as there was a slight uptick in Auckland housing prospects this week. Just before the meth myth story broke Phil Twyford proposed a new plan for decongesting the city suggesting that all ‘Nimbys’ who don’t like state housing should leave. I’ve always struggled with the Nimby acronym. It sounds almost cute to the ear as if being a Nimby is like being a cheeky elf instead of what it generally means, being a small-minded unsympathetic bigot. Or a small-handed bigot if you’re Donald Trump and adopt Nimbyism as a guiding principle for governing an entire country. A better and more symbolically accurate acronym for Aucklanders opposed to state housing might be BASHERS – building Auckland state houses everywhere ruins society.

Auckland’s housing situation could be further complicated if Miriam Clements gets her way. Clements who stood for Parliament in the 2017 election is calling for a citizens’ referendum on whether Auckland’s North Shore should become an independent city state. She’s proposing that the North Shore state would have its own Reserve Bank and currency, and function as a city state like Singapore, presumably without section 27A of Singapore’s Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act which makes it a technical offence for you to walk around your own house naked.

Clements' independence referendum might gain support were she to propose that pokie-machines be banned in the North Shore State following the example of Rawene’s Masonic Hotel which banned them this week after a woman was found gambling while her baby was left outside. In fact there really should be a national referendum on banning the pokies. I’m picking the result would definitely be a game-changer.

Have a peaceful weekend.

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