The panel this morning is that awful Dr Claire Robinson and the excellent Bernard Hickey of interest.co.nz and former Green Party MP Keith Locke. Good to see Q+A following Citizen A's panelist selections. First up is an interview with the Minister for Managed Declines, Bill English. If they don't point out the looming war between him and Joyce now Joyce has created an alternative to Treasury with his Soviet Super Ministry, I will throw the remote at the TV. Robert Fisk has been conned into talking to Holmes, Paul's previous contribution on Syria was a bizarre commentary piece about what the Syrian protesters would do to the face of the First Lady. Creepy.
The one thing I can salute q+a over is that they have cut back on the number of stories and focus more on fewer things. Makes for more depth. The News bulletin still clunks, and the opening monologue is still the best part of the show.
I am betting it will take English less than 5 seconds to blame the Christchurch Earthquake for his inability to get into surplus, Bill does it in 3 seconds. As far as Dr Optimistic is concerned, the surplus he's promised that no one else believes will be met are still just around the corner. The credibility gap between Bill's words and the reality seem almost delusional, we are not going to be in surplus by 2014. He's blaming welfare dependency and uses the debt bogeyman to justify more austerity. Shane is a new interviewer and he's getting bounced all over the place by English. Guyon Espiner used to glad hand National Party MPs because he loved the right wing, Shane does it because he's a lot slower in the ring.
English is going to close down 3 prisons, not 2 prisons and he's trying to justify it from a 'safety' point of view. He's closing down these prisons to re-house the prisoners into the private prisons and is aiming to hack out about 400 Corrections staff. This will mean NZ will have the highest % of prisoners in private prisons than any other country on the planet.
The joke explanation as to the debt bogeyman is just so untrue and fear mongering to justify austerity.
Shane lifts his game focusing on the Auckland property bubble. Bill seems genuinely concerned about that and his claim the banks won't fund a bubble is pointed out as plainly untrue with banks now offering 90% mortgages.
Bill has the audacity to claim a mandate to use asset sales to fund infrastructure when Government should be funding that infrastructure through taxation, not flogging off our assets. His explanation that we will all gain because kiwisaver accounts will buy into them is such a desperate stretch that it seems difficult coming from the lips of an adult.
Disappointingly weak interview, no wonder Bill English ended the interview with a grin the size of Greek debt.
Bernard points out how tough making that surplus is going to be. Keith notes all the Government will do is cut expenditure to get to surplus. The National Party representative Dr Claire murmurs something none committal. Bernard keeps pointing out how mythical the surplus will be. Everyone except Dr Claire criticizes asset sales, she immediately claims National has every mandate under the sun to sell assets. What she misses is that 68% of the enrolled electorate didn't vote for this Government. The mandate is a technical one, not an ethical mandate.
Fisk is on. He is a current affairs God. Paul should bow in his presence. Fisk provides the kind of political commentary this country could only dream of generating.
Keith and Bernard earn their fee on the panel and make erudite points, Dr Claire flounders. She's not actually very good is she?