Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Housing New Zealand hypocracy! Not to mention Dear Leader's

The Housing New Zealand scandal is deliciously rich in irony.
There was Dear Leader way back in 1999, attacking the former National government and WINZ chief Christine Rankin over the spending of $165,000 on chartering aircraft in order to transport 140 managers to a conference at the exclusive Wairakei Resort Hotel.
Liarbour attacked WINZ for having a culture of extravagance. Dear Leader promised to 'clean up' the public sector.
However, such extravagance continues in Housing New Zealand and with Minister Maryann Street with the allegations $65,000 was spent on a similar Housing NZ conferenace at Tongariro Lodge.
National's Housing spokesman Phil Heatley has revealed 94 Housing New Zealand managers spent two days at a conference at the luxury Tongariro Lodge.
Now, it maybe that vital work was achieved, but when a government attacks the so-called WINZ excesses of the past and indulges in such practices today, it is surely guilty of the most rank hypocracy, especially when times are hard and we see activities that are ripe for the chopping!
UPDATE: So $250 a night is cheap! Delicious comments from Housing Minister Maryann Street. The NZ Herald looks back to 1999 when Christine Ranking of Winz was in the frame..
UPDATE "2: More luxury weekend retreats for Housing NZ. Who isleaking this stuff and why?


Adolf Fiinkensein said...

The Wairakei Resort is nor exclusive. It's no more than a glorified.somewhat tired motel.


Indeed Adolf.
I have stayed there myself.
Its pleasant though.
And if you have a shop a docket voucher from your shopping bill you can stay for $105pn.
I plan to return sometime this winter.

Inventory2 said...

I've also blogged about this - after being made to look like a prat in the House this arvo, you'd think Street would be lying low - but no, she fronted on Campbell Live, where she was made to look like a prat again! Oh dear. How sad. Never mind!!


Anonymous said...

HCNZ is not a state asset - it's a liability.

Fire everyone, evict every tennant, put every house up on trademe with a zero reserve and a deadline of a week!

The idea is not try and screw some money out of this sinkhole - it is just to get shot of the assets as quick as possible so the ongoing tax drain is flushed!

(something the socialists, who whine about capitalists making money, will never understand)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is right about the need for Housing NZ to onsell as much of its housing stock as it can.
I would prefer the model of the Thatcher government of the UK as a model though.
Letting tenants own their own homes did wonders as they were suddenly keen to look after their homes and make them look presentable.
Let's face it, you always look after something better if you have paid for it yourself.
Thatcher also received a political benefit from her 'right to buy' policy as given the right to buy their homes, a right then opposed by Liarbore UK, many new homeowners discovered the joy of voting Conservative.
National needs a mass advertising campaign to encourage such sales, topped off with some generous discounts.
Some funds can be raised for the state coffers and some can be reinvested back into new housing stock.
A win-win for us all.

But back to the issue of the conference.
Once more Liarbour is guilty of absolute hypocricy. It should have learnt from the lessons of 1999.
For that it is guilty of political incompetence which matters far more than the money spent.
How could Dear Leader berate National so much in the election campaign of 1999 when a few years later, her own ministers are guilty of the same sins, and show no shame at all in parlimament.

Liarbore's double standards are breathtaking.


I can confirm that the sale of council houses was a great success in Britain.
UK-born, I can vouch for the transformation of the actual houses and the prospects of conservative councillors and MPs in areas where there were many council houses.
The Right to Buy was an amazing success and even though I understand such a right exists here in New Zealand, I feel that publicising it more would do wonders for homeownership.

And while this is a lovely side issue, we must not forget how Liarbour has being caught bang-to-rights with a most amazing act of hypocracy.

There is also an amazing difference between a luxury lodge like Tongariro and a fairly standard business conferecne centre that WINZ used way back in 1999.

Liarbour is guilty of frittering public cash in the most extreme, in a department where such waste should embarass it even more, as it is a department that aims to help the poor.

Yes, I bet Christine Rankin had a good laugh on seeing the papers today and one can only wonder if Maryann Street and whoever authorised the expenditure faces further public ridicule, contempt and criticism.

Socrates said...

I am a bit torn on this one.

Having taken the time to look around and ring some venues in the region, the price paid by Housing NZ is actually quite good (You try getting a venue that can house 100 and provide conference facilities and food for less). This leaves me thinking that the problem with the venue is the perceived luxury nature of it.

So what are we complaining about here? That HNZ sent people to what could be a productive meeting?

Is the problem that HNZ managers did not think of the POLITICAL implications of their venue choice? And if so, do we actually want our supposedly political neutral civil service having to pass any decision through a political ramifications test?

Psycho Milt said...

So what are we complaining about here? That HNZ sent people to what could be a productive meeting?

Basically, yes. It's election year, and you've got to sling what mud you can find. It's worth noting that the last big beat-up about "culture of extravagance" was by Labour in 1999.

PS: interesting range of spellings of hypocrisy on this thread...


I must check the correct spelling of hypocracy/ hypocrisy.
To me the issue is one of double standards.
Liarbour kicked up such a fuss with the Rankin case, it is only just desserts that they find a similar case bitin them in the bum.
I see there was more about it on TV 1 news tonight.
Housing NZ has been using Hotel Du Vin just outside Auckland, another posh place.
Such retreats probably do offer value, but you do have to question the appropriateness of suc luxury settings.
But what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
If Labour sees outrage in the Warakei caise in 1999, it should be be surprised if National sees outrage today, especially when Liarbour should have learnt from the affair.
It is interesting to note- who is leaking the stuff to TVNZ?
Are the government departments now leaking like a sieve?
What other scandals are yet top follow?

One final comment- perhaps I use the word hypocracy, because we are less of a democracy under the EFA, and under Helengrad that is what we have become :)