The Right Talk - From Bill English's Desk

Published: Fri 11 Oct 2002 07:12 PM
The Right Talk
From the Office of Bill English – 11th October
Where does the buck stop?
National continues to front-foot the rotting homes crisis. This week Bill English was calling for heads to roll over the crisis with news out that the Building Industry Authority has known about the problem for at least three years.
The Minister of Internal Affairs has a lot to answer for as well. First, George Hawkins claims he wasn’t told until April 30th this year and then yesterday said it was “several months ago”. But letters were sent to him in June 2001 warning him and the BIA of the problem.
It was about this time last year that the BIA dismissed talk of a rotting home crisis as just media hype. It, and the Minister, had a perfect opportunity to inform homeowners what was really going on, but chose not to.
The behaviour of the BIA gives no confidence to homeowners, or to the building industry it’s now trying to blame for the crisis.
National believes the only way for public confidence in the BIA to be restored is for it to be held accountable, and for heads to roll.
The Week In Politics…
*National was ahead of everyone again this week on looming energy problems. Two major reports came out backing up Gerry Brownlee’s warnings that New Zealand is heading towards an energy crisis by 2005 unless steps are taken now. *So whatever happened to Helen Clark’s claim of running a frugal operation? National Leader Bill English revealed this week that there has been a 22% increase in staff working in Ministerial offices since 1999, and the Clark administration has managed to keep much of this hidden.
Many of the extra staff have been seconded from government departments. This means that Ministers get more staff, the departments pay the salaries, and Government is able to hide the true cost.
*National MPs are organising more public meetings on the leaky homes crisis, this time in Hamilton and Dunedin.
The Hamilton meeting is this Sunday, 2pm at the Celebrating Age Centre, 30 Victoria Street, Hamilton. Dunedin’s meeting is Monday 12.30pm at the Federated Farmers meeting room, 218 George St, Dunedin.
*The Minister of Maori Affairs Parekura Horomia is going to be under the spotlight next week during the debate on the Maori Television Service. National is looking for answers on what has really been going on with the set-up of the station, which has cost the taxpayer millions of dollars but has yet to actually broadcast anything.
*The number of strikes has skyrocketed over the last year – figures show that workers have lost nearly $8 million in wages and salaries as a result. National MP Roger Sowry says that as well as the bitter secondary teachers’ dispute, the Employment Relations Act is largely to blame.
*Remember the story a few weeks ago, exposed by Murray McCully, about the endangered frogs where DOC paid thousands of dollars for kaumatua to escort them to Christchurch? Sadly, it seems all the political correctness in the world couldn’t help the poor frogs – apparently they have died.
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