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Shaw demonstrates his innate nastiness again; plus disregard for reality


Following up on my earlier post on James Shaw’s ducking and diving re the Census stuff-up,

In that post I commented

Note Shaw’s spinning, and his attempts to trash Bridges. Yet again he personally attacks Bridges. Corin Dann ran up against a stonewall of obfuscation and deflection from Shaw.

Shaw’s default position in recent days seems to be to traduce Simon Bridges at every opportunity – so much for Green values

So then I came across this article at the RNZ website, by Craig McCulloch – Deputy Political Editor for RNZ,

Statistics Minister James Shaw has fired a blistering broadside at the Opposition leader, accusing Simon Bridges of undermining public trust in statistics in a win-at-all-costs “burn-the-house-down” approach to politics.

This seems to build upon Shaw’s  recent attitude towards Simon Bridges, because this opening comment closely follows the line taken by Shaw in a recent Newshub Nation interview which I included in this post – James Shaw reveals himself as just another nasty, vicious Green

Simon Shepherd was the interviewer this is from the transcript

All right. So I’m looking forward to your housing announcement tomorrow, but I’ve got one quick question, and that is to both of you – James, I guess. Working with National after the election – is that completely off the table? Can you say that now?

Shaw: Yes, absolutely. Look, I would never empower someone with as little personal integrity as Simon Bridges to become prime minister. And we’re making huge progress as part of this government, and we want this government to be returned.

Clearly,Shaw has decided to take his prior attacks further.

However as McCulloch notes:

But Mr Bridges is doubling-down on his questioning of Statistics New Zealand’s figures and says Mr Shaw – who’s also Green Party co-leader – is lashing out under pressure.

The National leader yesterday told RNZ’s Morning Report he questioned the credibility of Stats NZ and its work after a damning review laid bare significant data gaps in the 2018 census and, separately, migration and growth figures had to be revised.

This segment from Morning Report – 14082019 contains Bridge’s comments to which Shaw is taking exception.

Shaw went on

Mr Shaw said Mr Bridges’ position was “desperate” and “completely irresponsible”.

Shaw then went into some of his reasoning, which was essentially detailed in my post – James Shaw in deflection and damage control over Census debacle.

Shaw went on:

The Opposition had a strategy to undermine public confidence in statistics in a bid to retake power “at any cost”, Mr Shaw said.

“The lessons of Trump, the lessons of Brexit, and the lessons of the Australian election seem to have gone to Simon Bridges’ head and this ‘burn-the-house-down’ in order to win approach … is a very, very bad turn for New Zealand politics.

“He doesn’t really care what the collateral damage is along the way … and I don’t know how he expects to govern if he totally destroys public confidence in the basis of evidence-based decision making.”

These remarks seem really bizarre in several respects.

Simon Bridges is the Leader of the Opposition, as such he is required to hold the government to account and to ask questions. In fact he would be failing as Leader of the Opposition if he did not.

Then for Shaw who has been impugning Bridges personal integrity and whose party recently ran a nasty attack ad specifically targeting Bridges personally, to complain about Bridges criticising the shoddy and lets be very clear  extremely shoddy performance of the Statistics Ministry is just so stupid. It demonstrates as well how nasty and vindictive the NZ Greens are.

Then there was this silly claim from Shaw

“He doesn’t really care what the collateral damage is along the way … and I don’t know how he expects to govern if he totally destroys public confidence in the basis of evidence-based decision making.”

Evidence based, a claim from a NZ Green. Has he been smoking with Chloe?

Since when did NZ Greens worry about evidence. Much of their image has been built on fantasy. For a Green to ask for evidence , is akin to the selection process at Auschwitz.

Let us turn for a moment to Shaw’s claim that Statistics NZ has in some way weathered the storm. In the report from consultants they saidScreenshot_2019-08-15 independentreviewreport pdf

Their conclusion was reached without any sight or testing of outputs. Furthermore they give no opinion on whether Statistics NZ 2018 results are accurate. Yet Shaw claims everything is OK and attacks Bridges.

Mr Bridges told RNZ he stood by his comments and said it was his duty as Opposition leader to ask tough questions on behalf of the public.

“After a botched Budget – which there’s no denying – and after we’ve had wild variation in a number of statistics, I think these are things for [Mr Shaw] to satisfy the public on.”

Mr Bridges said the minister’s personal attack showed the pressure was getting to him.

“James Shaw was asleep at the wheel and we had a botched census delivered,” Mr Bridges said.

“What you’ve got is a co-leader who’s lashing out in a pretty bizarre way, because he’s rattled, and he – and his coalition partners – are under pressure.”

Shaw has recently given all the signs of a politician under pressure. His statements and approach make me wonder whether his so called leadership is under threat.

Mr Bridges told RNZ he did not accept Stats NZ’s assurances that the figures used to determine electorate boundaries would be robust.

“We’ve got significant numbers of New Zealanders – hundreds of thousands in fact – who weren’t counted. It seems to me on that basis, it would be hard to run new electoral boundaries.”

But Mr Shaw said the census work had been overseen and approved by “an independent data quality review panel”.

“Experts from all over the country – including someone from the UK Statistical Office as well to provide that international view – and they have put the gold stamp on this.”

And Mr Shaw challenged Mr Bridges to test the results in court: “He can take it into a court of law if he likes, but he’s going to lose.”

Really,I just do not think that many people will accept electoral boundaries where there are major questions over the census. Any election result based on boundaries resulting from the 2018 census is open to the challenge that any result is invalid.

One Comment
  1. 16/08/2019 13:17

    Short should not have tried to turn a sinecure appointment into a serious job


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