Bridges, pork barrels and Winston’s new found interest in the North

The by-election is well underway and Winston Peters has professed an undying love for the north, except his party hasn’t stood a candidate there for three elections, and he used to be real happy being the MP for Tauranga, which is hardly in the North.

Meanwhile the National party has rolled out the pork barrels.

Prime Minister John Key is unapologetic about rolling out multi-million-dollar promises during the Northland byelection and says more is to come as rivals claim it is simply pork barrelling to try to hold on to the seat.

In a clear bid to outflank NZ First leader Winston Peters, National’s candidate Mark Osborne and Transport Minister Simon Bridges yesterday announced a $69 million upgrade to 10 of the 15 one-way bridges on Northland state highways. The announcement followed two polls showing National could struggle to hold the seat against Mr Peters.

Labour leader Andrew Little described it as desperate pork barrelling. Mr Peters said his entry to the race had clearly been effective at pushing National into action, but Northlanders would not fall for such a blatant and belated bribe.

Little can talk, his promises are likely to be even bigger, but I await with interest any sign that Labour wants to spend on roads. After a decade of calling State Highway One the “Holiday Highway” any improvement on roading will be a welcome change. ??

Mr Key said National “unashamedly” wanted to win the byelection. He said it was standard practice to release policies during byelections, although he could not recall instances of National doing so in previous byelections.

A further announcement is due this week, possibly on the rollout of rural broadband. That is likely to be on Thursday when Mr Key will make his next visit to support Mr Osborne’s campaign.

The bridges were not included in National’s big regional roading announcement before the 2014 election and Mr Key said the party decided to put it forward last week. He dismissed Mr Peters’ objections as sour grapes. “We are in Government and we can do things. He’s in Opposition and he can just yap on about things.”

You have to ask why Key is rolling out the pork barrels and why bridges are the first barrels rolled out.

Well you don’t have to look very far, Winston Peters has found a new love for the North and been bombarding ministers with written questions…about…you guessed it…single lane bridges in Northland.



Want to know why there is a need to upgrade 10 bridges? …ask Winston, he thinks they need them too, after all why did he ask all those questions about them.

National can’t be faulted for being responsive to Winston’s new found interest in?the?North.

Winston is just annoyed that Ministers bother to read written parliamentary questions and roll out announcements ahead of him. The wily old fox just got out-foxed.


– NZ Herald