In a desperate bid for “Understatement of the Year”, Bill English fesses up that, “I didn’t choose my words well.”
As we know, English was recorded clandestinely at the Nats’ Conference on the weekend telling an anxious delegate that the party would flog off Kiwibank “eventually”, and that neither Don Brash or John Key fully understood the tax implications of Working for Families. Last night, on TVNZ, he failed to confirm that Key does understand WfF. Repeatedly.
Now he has issued a statement that:
- “With respect to Kiwibank, I shouldn’t have made the comments I made. National has had no discussions about Kiwibank and has no plans to sell it.”
- “Comments I made regarding the complexity of WFF have been construed as criticism of John Key. That is wrong. My repeated responses to this question yesterday reflected my determination not to widen the debate – not an attempt to criticise John Key.”
The Standard has called this a “meltdown“, debacle, major scandal, and so on. It looks more like the sort of loose talk that you might get at a party conference where things are said that wouldn’t be said in public.
It confirms that the Nats do indeed intend to sell off Kiwibank, and undoubtedly many other things as well. If they’re going to have to legislate to do so, as Key confirmed on the weekend, the list of things to be privatised or privately provided includes prisons, roads, water and waste water services. Kiwibank and the like is for the second term.
There’s no denying this now, really.
One really interesting point that everybody seems to have overlooked is the identity of the man who recorded the conversation with English. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it looks like yet another inside job.