The Budget-smugglers fallout, Brian Tamaki’s well-timed promise and the winners of the mid-year gong show. James Elliott on the news of the week. 

It was a short week following on from Queen’s Birthday Weekend, aka the last long weekend for ages and also aka the mid-year gong show for the handing out of honours, mainly in the form of various NZM-based acronyms.

You’re unlikely to see Brian Tamaki in an honours list but I’m happy to bestow some acronyms on him for his weekend revelation. In case you missed it, Brian Tamaki WTF apologised to the rainbow community for his anti-gay hate speech and promised never to do it again. He then went on to say that the timing of his apology had nothing to do with the formation of his new political party just nine days earlier. That’s because it had everything to do with the formation of his new political party just nine days earlier. 

And while he’s promised not to make anti-gay comments in the future, Tamaki FFS should probably be called upon to clarify some of his past slew of slurs against the rainbow community. For example, does he now believe that homosexuals are not to blame for natural disasters such as the Christchurch earthquakes as he claimed in 2016? And if not homosexuals, then who is to be blamed? Because someone has to be blamed – the book of Leviticus that Tamaki likes to quote so much is fairly clear on this. Mind you, Leviticus is also pro-slavery, anti-tattoo and very prescriptive as to the slaughter and barbecuing of animals as offerings to a supreme and vengeful deity, so it pays to be selective in your quotes. It’s also probably not a good idea to have a quote from Leviticus tattooed on your anywhere.     

And Tamaki LMFAO is not the only one dipping his toe back into the political shark tank. Former Labour cabinet minister and former lots of other things as well John Tamihere is in the race for the Auckland mayoralty which is to be decided on October 12. I know this because a promoted tweet from @JohnTamihere announcing his mayoral campaign has become a regular feature in my Twitter timeline this week.       

What I’ve noticed about Tamihere’s Twitter profile, because it’s at the top of the page and I haven’t got further than that, is that his profile photo is set against a red white and blue background. I assume it’s red white and blue and not blue white and red to avoid any confusion with the French flag. However as any vexillophile will tell you, red white and blue (as opposed to blue white and red) was in fact the design of the French flag during the First French Republic from 1790 to 1794. Surely Tamihere couldn’t be literally flagging a reference to French history as a theme for his campaign. But then again it is a race for the mayoralty, in which case there have been wackier campaign platforms than ones based on French revolutionary history. So if Tamihere does indeed intend to campaign based on the prevailing political issues in France in the late 1700s we can expect to see the fall of the monarchy, counter-revolution and a widespread reign of terror. Either way it should make for a lively mayoral campaign.

Meanwhile in Wellington the fallout over the Budget-hack continued. There was a lot of finger pointing, mainly as to who had the best analogy for how easy it was to access the Budget documents on the Treasury website. And kudos to whoever came up with the “Budget smugglers” moniker.       

Having called for the resignations of Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf and Finance Minister Grant Robertson, Simon Bridges faced the accusation that the Budget-hack was orchestrated by National to distract from its own bad news over the report into its party culture and Alfred Ngaro’s “Yeah, nah” political party. Bridges said he wasn’t cunning enough to orchestrate such a distraction. I believe him.

Grant Robertson won’t be resigning but Gabriel Makhlouf’s position is somewhat more precarious. He faces an investigation by the State Services Commissioner into the actions he took, the advice he gave and the basis for making a police complaint about “systemic hacking”. And he leaves his role on June 27 to take up the role of Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland. The State Services Commission’s report is due before then and if there’s to be a negative outcome for Makhlouf it could very well be one that warrants its own analogy to the swift sanctions so popular during the French revolution.                  

And with Simon Bridges resolutely fixated on trying to wring as much political capital as possible out of Budget-hack, it fell to the leader of the opposition, Mike Hosking, to take the Government to task on the more substantive issues of the day. If you synthesised his editorial headlines this week you’d be forgiven for thinking we have a car-hating, out of touch Government of bullies led by a weak Prime Minister that is butchering both motorists and the economy. There’s bound to be an acronym for that. 

Have a peaceful weekend.

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