Q+A: Panel Discussions 20 October 2013
Q + A
PANEL DISCUSSION 1
Hosted by SUSAN WOOD
In response to BILL ENGLISH AND THE ECONOMY
SUSAN Welcome to the panel. Joining us this week, political scientist Dr Claire Robinson, Massey University; Matt McCarten from the Unite Union; and Michelle Boag, former National Party president. Good morning. Now, I did say that Winston Peters would be here at this point, and it seems— we know that he’s down at his annual conference at the moment. It does seem that there’s been some conflicting times around this, so Winston Peters has actually left our studio. We’ll let you know. Corin’s on the phone trying to ring him. We’ll let you know if we get Winston back, but I do believe, actually, he has a speech around 9.30, so it may be over that. But, yes, so we’ll get back to Winston when he gets back to us, I guess, panel, won’t we? Bill English – interesting, actually. I am wondering, Matt McCarten, New Zealand economy – star performer, three per cent growth, we’re hearing. Puts us up there as a pin-up child in the OECD.
MATT McCARTEN – National Secretary,
SUSAN There’s a big campaign for the living wage, big campaign for minimum wage to go up and a disconnect, I think, from people hearing, ‘Yay, great economy, but when’s it going to filter through? When am I going to feel good about my money?’
MATT To when does the trickle down come down?
SUSAN Or does the trickle down exist?
MATT And that’s the challenge. I mean, there is an argument from the left, and I think it’s legitimate. It’s that the economy when it does well that the wages and particularly those at the bottom have not actually gone up and has, actually, in real terms has gone backwards while those at the top have continued to do very well. Those who have got shares and properties have been doing well. So what we have now is one of the most unequal economies—
SUSAN I mean, Bill English— To be fair to Bill English, he would argue inflation has been nothing much, therefore costs haven’t gone up very much, and mortgages, which affect a lot of people, record lows, so, in fact, people are a bit better off.
MATT Well, the people who do own homes, yes, they’ve been doing very well because it’s all tax gains and doing very well, that’s right. But if you don’t have that, you’re a renter, which most poor are, that you’re going backwards. And what we’ve actually got is that we’ve got wages that are actually subsidised by the state, that what we have is Working for Families. He talks about, ‘Oh, we’ve got pay off this debt.’ What we have is Working for Families because wages are low, and what exactly— the taxpayer’s subsidising business, then you’ve got rent accommodation and some subsidies to subsidise the owners of property, but what we actually have is not a free market but, in fact, the consumer pay less, businesses being subsidised and workers are actually being underpaid. So therefore the argument for a living wage – we’ve got to say the market isn’t actually working, because the people at the bottom are not getting it.
MICHELLE BOAG – Former National
Well, it’s certainly a stretch to say that those people who are renting homes to other people are being subsidised. In fact, it’s the people who are in those homes that are getting the accommodation supplement. And if it wasn’t for that, they wouldn’t be in those homes. And there’s a lot of pressure on housing, as everybody knows, partly because of the supply issue. I think what we’ve seen with Bill English, and somebody said this to me last night – somebody completely independent – they said, ‘You know, I’ve got so much respect for Bill English. He’s doing a great job, and he just gets on quietly and does it.’ And when you look at the situation we were in when this government took over, we were already heading into depression ahead of the rest of the world, then we had the earthquake come and belt us all over the head, this government has chosen to maintain some of those very high costs, such as interest-free student loans, Working for Families—
SUSAN Well, they have to, Michelle, or else that’s an election loser.
MICHELLE Well, exactly.
SUSAN Student loans.
MICHELLE Exactly. And so it’s difficult balancing all those things, but what we’re seeing is New Zealand is coming out of this much better than other economies. And that is a tribute, quite frankly, to his financial management. And, look, there will always be demands for more money for people at the lower end, and, by the way, I’m currently renting. I probably don’t fit in with your qualific…
MICHELLE Your definition.
MATT My class definition, you mean.
SUSAN Claire, let me bring you in here about the political— because next year we’re going to see— obviously, we’re going to see Labour talking about minimum wage, talking about living wage, really hitting that quite hard. And we’re going to see this government saying, ‘No, it’s about paying down debt. It’s about preparing us. It’s about resilience.’ Do you think they’re vulnerable on that?
DR CLAIRE ROBINSON – Political
Well, I think the message has probably got about 12 months to run. I think it will last National through the next election, because while the global economy is still sluggish, I think that notion of the need to be economically conservative and to not take risks at a time when our trading partners are in a reasonably shaky position compared to us, that will last. But I think that six years of no to low wages for people will— it will run out after the next election, and so it’s going to be quite— If National gets back in, then they will have to start spending after that. The interesting issue, of course, is what Labour does next year, because the population thinks that National is quite good on the economy. Labour is clearly positioning itself to be just as good with two reasonably competent—
SUSAN And they have to convince the electorate of that.
CLAIRE And the electorate will be looking at them to see what they’re going to offer, but they’re not going to necessarily be able to offer a lot because then they’re going to be seen as being a little bit more irresponsible than National, so it’s a very difficult line that Labour will tread.
SUSAN Do you think that National will be forced to up the minimum wage next year, Matt?
MATT Well, they will. They’ve been doing it every year that they’ve been in, very modestly. But it is election year. I think they’ve held back this year. They’ve moved by 25 cents. I think they will move it substantially for next year for those reasons. I think this is going to be the issue that Labour’s going to push about the inequality, and National, if they’re smart and they are, that will move. I will not be surprised if they don’t move the minimum wage up by about 50 to 75 cents this time round in an election year, which is a big—
SUSAN Because, Michelle, I think Matt’s got a point. Inequality is going to be a big issue next year. And depending on the evidence you read, we are starting to see evidence of greater growth between the haves and the have-nots.
MICHELLE Yeah, and, of course, this is the issue. It’s all very well for any political party to promise to lift the minimum wage, but where’s it going to come from? You know, we’re still borrowing as a country. We don’t have a supply of money that we can tap into. And every promise that a political party makes to spend money is going to involve more borrowing, and this is where it’s a very careful balancing act. I think the issue about the minimum wage ignores the fact that for many of those people, they are receiving top-ups through Working for Families or accommodation supplements and especially when they’ve got children. And, you know, when you look at the tax position in New Zealand, there’s a whole lot of people who simply do not pay tax. They might be earning a low wage, but they’re getting so much subsidy—
MATT I was going to say you’ve actually put my argument, which is the state, the taxpayer is funding businesses, because businesses are not paying the market rate.
MATT Because what we’ve got is a situation—
SUSAN They’re paying the market rate, Matt, but they’re not paying it for people to live on.
MATT This market rate – and I’m trying to be really good this morning about these sorts of discussions – but, you see, the market rate is a nonsense. The market rate, say, at the top for MPs – let’s say MPs – that’s not a market rate. Thousands of people, they want to be MPs, and they put their hand up. If you paid nothing, they’d put their hand up. Who sets it? A committee which they control. We just had local body elections. Thousands of people up and down the country went for the jobs. It’s not like suddenly the market – we’ve got to create the market. We’ve got one of our bureaucrats in Auckland paid 780,000 bucks for—
SUSAN And Len Brown’s promised to jump down on that. And we’re going to be talking about Len Brown a lot more in the show a bit later on.
MATT The top are doing well; the bottom are getting screwed. That’s it. Everyone knows it.
MICHELLE But the bottom are being subsidised. Let’s be quite clear.
SUSAN By the taxpayer.
MICHELLE By the taxpayer. And I’m sure Matt wouldn’t want that to change.
MATT No, no, no, I do. I think that employers should actually pay for someone to actually pay a living wage. You shouldn’t actually run a business—
MICHELLE But employers have to stay in business.
MATT If you don’t run a business— If you can’t run a business on paying—
SUSAN Do you pay your people minimum— a living wage?
MATT Yes, yes.
CLAIRE I was just going to say I think that what this leads to is that tax will become an issue for the election next year. So Labour is already signalling that it might be wanting to raise the tax rate on the higher income earners, and that will be the mechanism by which they say, ‘Well, this is how we’re going to get a bit more money into the economy. This is how we’re going to pay for some of these things, like more— increases to the minimum wage or the living wage.
SUSAN Now let’s get on to the regions, because that was part of the interview that Corin did – and I’m looking at you, Michelle – with Bill English, and Corin jumped on him about Auckland and Christchurch, and Bill tried to make the point that it trickles down to the regions. The regions are vulnerable.
MICHELLE Yes, but when you look at that recent report on regional growth, the regions – some of the regions, that’s most of the regions – are doing incredibly well. And I think it gets back to this resilience Bill was talking about—
SUSAN But they’re not doing as well as Auckland and Christchurch, are they?
MICHELLE Yes, but people— I don’t think you can ever in our system of democracy say to people, ‘You mustn’t go to Auckland. You mustn’t go to Christchurch.’ One of the freedoms we have is to live and work where we like. And, yes, there will be pressures for people to go to Christchurch, because that’s where jobs are, and that’s what people are doing. But, in fact, there is this resilience in New Zealanders, and we do see it. When people lose jobs, they come out with their redundancy, they create new businesses, the sorts of things presumably you would like to see happen, Matt,…
MATT Of course.
MICHELLE …because they’re creating jobs. So I don’t think there’s anything like a crisis in the regions. I think what we’re seeing is everybody’s found it tough. Everybody has found it tough.
MATT Been to Rotorua lately?
MICHELLE Everybody has found it tough over the last few years, but the best way for people to get back on the horse and to be able to create some wealth for themselves is to get a job or create a job, and that’s a huge emphasis of what the Government’s been doing.
MATT Well, I just— The regions are a mess. There is the drift north, as you all know. What we’ve actually got—
SUSAN I mean, there are different regions. Some—
MATT No, no—
SUSAN Look around Queenstown. They’re doing pretty fine, but you look north – not so good. It’s a different story—
MATT Well, you speak to the hoteliers down in Queenstown – no, they’re not doing well, actually. There’s a perception they are, but they’re not. But, anyway, because Christchurch, because what’s happened there, that’s another discussion. But what you’ve got in Rotorua – you’ve lost some more jobs there. You see, there’s nothing to replace it, because we just don’t believe in it. The state say, ‘We just stay hands off, so those jobs will disappear, and they’ll all move to Auckland. We’ve got all these spare houses in Auckland. We can just put them all in.’ Look, our infrastructure’s not coping. There used to be a time we used to bond our immigrants when they came in. You’d put them into the regions. You wouldn’t just say, ‘You can come to New Zealand, but, no, you have to all come to Auckland,’ where we can’t actually manage it. But we have no plan. There’s no approach. It’s just saying, ‘We’ll cross our fingers and hope the sun shines—’
MICHELLE That’s not right. There is a plan, but the thing is when you look, for example, at north Auckland, and Shane Jones has been an exponent of this, you can’t say, ‘We’re not going to exploit our mineral resources. We’re not going to build plants.’ Dunedin chose not to build an international hotel. Now, imagine the jobs that would have created. Some of these people are their own worst enemy. They complain about not having jobs, but they are completely intolerant of projects that would create jobs, and you can’t have it both ways. If you go down the road of being the Greens, where you have no exploration, nothing happening, no activity, and you’re all going to go back to subsistence farming, we are never going to have the sort of economy—
SUSAN A quick last word from Claire on this. Claire, how vulnerable is this government in the regions?
CLAIRE Well, they’re pretty solid in the regions, so a lot of the support for the National Party comes from the regions.
MATT It’s DNA.
CLAIRE Yeah, it’s DNA. And the regions are a lot more conservative than cities. They are very loyal. They’re very—They’re more likely to stay supporting the National Party, regardless.
MATT I think they’re vulnerable in the provincial seats, as the rural will always be National. I think in New Plymouth and Palmerston North and Rotorua and Taupo, those places, I think they’re vulnerable.
MICHELLE But, Matt, over the last few years, National has won all those seats.
MATT Yes, I’m just saying—
MICHELLE There’s very few seats that Labour now hold in the provinces.
MATT I’m saying that’s one thing—
MICHELLE And in the regions, in the cities, very few.
SUSAN Very good. Thank you, panel.
MATT I did say it was in their DNA.
Q + A
PANEL DISCUSSION 2
Hosted by SUSAN WOOD
In response to IS NZ FIRST UNDER PRESSURE?
SUSAN Welcome back to the panel – Dr Claire Robinson, Matt McCarten and Michelle Boag. Interesting, Matt, isn’t it? Matt, Winston, the great survivor, and you said this to me once, actually, when he had a terrible election result, and I think his comment was he forgot to smile.
MATT McCARTEN – National
Secretary, Unite Union
That’s right, he did, and—
SUSAN He just connects with a certain electorate.
MATT He sort of needs to front too to telly.
SUSAN Oh, look, I think it’s a miscommunication. I’m not going to dump on him.
MATT No, no, no. I think when MMP was first mooted, and the others will possibly agree with me, it was probably going to shake down to about four parties. And I think that that’s what’s happening. Winston is one of them. Yes, it is about the personality, but, look, Winston is still, in his mind, a young man and he’s still a performed. I was at the Council of Trade Unions conference last week, and he turned up for the first time in 20 years, he said. But he was the star. He was sick, but he was on fire. Look, the Conservatives – I think it’s just a pretend story in the sense of their votes will only come off National anyway.
SUSAN A pretend story or polling, Michelle, and, I mean, you get a new electorate in north Auckland somewhere, Colin Craig gets it, he drags a couple more in, National have got partners then.
MATT Yeah, but it’s their vote.
MICHELLE BOAG – Former National Party
That is a very viable alternative, but there has always been a Christian conservative vote that has often been wasted.
MATT That’s right.
MICHELLE And we’ve seen in past elections it get as high as 4.5 per cent, and that didn’t necessarily come off National, so I think the Conservatives are one possibility. I think National will want ACT back in Epsom, even if it’s only one seat. They would not be silly enough to say, ‘Oh, no, we’re going to forget ACT,’ because, effectively, they are then reducing their seat count by at least one. And in my view, if ACT can get a new candidate in Epsom, and I think there will be a new candidate in Epsom, who has much broader appeal – maybe a woman would be good, because ACT seems to have trouble attracting women – there is still a chunk of New Zealand that is economically right and socially liberal, which the Conservatives aren’t.
MATT That’s what they’re going to do, isn’t it?
SUSAN Let’s bring Claire— Matt, let’s get Claire into this. Is the future of ACT Michelle is portraying with a woman, liberal socially as they’ve been, economically conservative – can ACT come back from that?
DR CLAIRE ROBINSON – Political
No, I disagree. I think that the ACT vote in Epsom is more of the National vote, and there was a time at the beginning of this MMP period where there was a space for a neoliberal economic party. Their policies have been essentially absorbed into National, and the gap at the moment is the social conservative space, and that’s the space that the Conservatives are picking up now.
SUSAN So you’re saying Colin Craig is of his time?
CLAIRE Yes, of his time, and you call them the Christian conservatives. They’re not Christian. They’re very clearly positioned—
SUSAN I did call them that, and I did that deliberately because that is certainly part of what they’re talking about.
CLAIRE But they are very clearly avoiding the word Christian, so it’s—
SUSAN But it doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about it, because that is part of what they are about. And, Michelle—
CLAIRE Huge. And in terms of the North Shore, an enormous number of conservative – socially conservative – voters, especially with the new migrant populations, so it is— in fact, I think it’s more of a new vote rather than taking National’s vote in the Conservatives. They got 2.76% of the party vote in the last election, and they’re only going to grow. So I think they are definitely the party to watch. Now, for National, they do have the option of moving into some sort of confidence and supply agreement with New Zealand First, but the brilliance of their situation with regards to the Conservatives is that they have another option. They can see what’s going to happen there, so they’re not running out of possible partners to be able to govern after the next election. It’s very interesting.
MATT Don’t believe a word of it.
PANEL DISCUSSION 3
Hosted by SUSAN WOOD
In response to THE LEN BROWN SAGA
SUSAN As we mentioned at the top of the programme, the political news of the week – the revelation Auckland mayor Len Brown had a two-year affair with a woman 25 years his junior. There is an inquiry underway, and questions about whether he received a free hotel room from Sky City, Michelle, that is the question. Now, the affair is almost yesterday’s news. Did he receive any sort of free payments from anybody, and did he provide a reference for her?
– Former National Party President
Indeed, and looking at the timeline that was published in one of the Sunday papers this morning, it appears as if she put his name on her CV as a reference, that the Art Gallery contacted his office and said did he know her, would he recommend her. According to this timeline – we’re not sure if it’s correct – the ‘relationship’ did not start in a physical sense until after that. If that is the case, then I think he’s off the hook.
SUSAN What, though, Matt, about the hotel room at Sky City?
MATT McCARTEN – National
Secretary, Unite Union
Yeah, well, that’s why the investigation’s on, and I think it’s moved from the sexual scandal, as you say, to now was there any inappropriate relationships in terms of Sky City, because of the convention centre and freebies and so on and so on. So I’m still not sure that that would take him down. I think it would be embarrassing still. My thing, which I wrote in The Herald on Sunday this morning, was that my concern was that if he had done— and the timeline up until now has been he did give the reference after the affair started – if that is not the case, I think he’s fine. As my advisor tells me this morning, he will survive, but he will not thrive.
MICHELLE There’s one issue here, though, over this conflict of interest question. If he had received a free hotel room, then he should have declared it.
MICHELLE And that’s the issue – that he failed to declare it, because every politician has to declare gifts, and that would have been a gift.
SUSAN And will this inquiry cover— one is assuming that it will cover his declarations and be—
CORIN Yeah, but what happens tomorrow? So he goes back to work. When is he going to start talking to the media again? When is he going to start answering some of these questions? This is the problem he’s got when he finally does front up. He can’t avoid them forever, especially he’s going back to work—
SUSAN I mean, Corin—
CORIN What happens when we say, ‘Well, did you take the hotel room or not?’
SUSAN ‘There’s an investigation underway, and that will answer all those questions.’
CORIN But that’s not going to suffice, and he has—
SUSAN And he’ll just keep repeating, ‘I’ve got a job to do. I’m getting on with my job now. There’s an investigation underway.’ Don’t you think that’s what he’ll hide behind, Michelle?
MICHELLE I think that he may well stand down while the investigation’s going on. I mean, really, what he should do is be sworn in, have Penny Holst as deputy, then stand aside while the investigation goes on, and then at that point, Penny Holst is acting mayor. She has the confidence of everyone. She’s done a good job. She’s got re-elected by her—
CORIN But this comes back to the issue of where it does start to become a problem for central government when they’re trying to do things like the housing accord and the actual functioning of the council.
MICHELLE But if you have an acting mayor, all that stuff can continue.
CORIN But they’re not going to be able to do anything, are they?
MICHELLE Of course they can. Of course they can.
SUSAN It also depends how long he stands down for, doesn’t it, Matt?
MATT Oh, well, it would be, I imagine, for a short period.
MICHELLE Yeah, probably only three weeks or something.
MATT You know, about whether he steps down now is a moot point. I mean, I suppose his opponents would like him to step down because it implies some wrongdoing, and his advisors might say, ‘No, you can’t.’ But what Corin is saying is right, is that, well, then he’s in the position; he’s going to have to— ‘I will answer the questions.’ But—
SUSAN But can’t—
MATT If all the revelations are now out, I don’t think there’s enough to take him down.
SUSAN What has been interesting, Claire, now, by Tuesday this thing breaks and we go, ‘Oh my goodness, who would have thought Len Brown.’ By yesterday, you’re thinking it’s a massive right-wing conspiracy, and everybody’s muddied. Everything that’s been thrown has stuck on everybody.
ROBINSON – Political Scientist
And this is the thing with sexual political scandals is that when they come out, people are outraged and they think that it’s something morally wrong. But very quickly, and they only tend to last seven to 10 days, these things, it moves through a phase where people are saying, ‘Well, actually, what is going on here?’ And it tends to be something else, like it’s either the media’s relationship with them, which was the case with Don Brash. Don Brash – it was the Labour Party that came out with the allegations. And then it moves to, in this case, the opposition. Then now we’ve got in the space of five days that it is, in fact, a conflict of interest scandal that is coming through. So— But it will only last seven—
MATT I think it’s this weeks’ news, but I think it’s what the public now focus on is something sinister has been happening.
CLAIRE Yeah, but the other thing is that what happens is the public is very empathetic and sympathetic towards people who are the victims of a sexual political scandal, so there’s no appetite for pursuing Len Brown or his family or his wife or even Bevan Chuang at this stage, actually. People really want to say, ‘No, let’s get back to business very quickly.’ The really fascinating thing is that it always tends to bounce back against the person that came out with the information in the first place. It bounced back against Labour in the Don Brash situation. And the Bill Clinton situation, it was that people didn’t like Kenneth Starr, who was pursuing him. And in this case, it’s the Slaters and it’s the Palinos and people like that that’s the focus.
SUSAN I want to get you in on that, Michelle Boag, because there seems to be certainly in the past day or two this suggestion, this right-wing conspiracy that somehow it was going to be brought out, Len was going to be made to stand down.
MICHELLE Yeah, I think the first thing to make clear is – and I as a National Party person want to make this clear – that whatever was going on with John Palino and the Slaters is nothing to do with the National Party, and I think John Key’s been very careful to distance himself from that. Now, what Matt and I were discussing earlier is is it possible that they were clever enough to be aware of this scandal, knowing that if they brought it out before the election, Len could still win and then they’ve lost all the impetus. If they wait until immediately after the election until the result— before the result is final and Len has to resign, John Palino automatically becomes the mayor.
SUSAN Do you think they’re that clever?
MATT That was the strategy.
SUSAN Do you think they’re that clever? Because no one’s that clever.
MICHELLE If you had to look—
MATT We thought of it.
SUSAN You did.
MICHELLE In hindsight, you could say, in fact, that was a potentially good strategy, because there’s a very good chance, in my view, that if this had come out before the election, Len would still have won, maybe with a reduced majority. So the issue is now, and this is why I think people want Len to stick around until the vote is final, if he decides to stand aside and let—
SUSAN There’s been no indication of that.
MICHELLE No indication, but if he does, if there’s pressure from the council, saying, ‘While this investigation’s going on, you stand aside.’ The council gets on with its business, Penny Holst would have the support of everyone to continue, and then he’s free to come back if he’s cleared of anything during the investigation. But it is possible that this whole thing was planned to hit when it did.
MATT I would just, for the viewers – we get a bit jargonised about these things – is that we understand is that the election night result, then there’s the swearing in and the confirmation. If the winner has to pull out for any reason, dies or resigns, then who comes second takes the place without a new election. And if you take that as the conspiracy, it was very clever.
SUSAN Mm, Corin, I’m not sure about that at all, and, in fact—
CORIN It’s a pretty interesting theory.
MATT Well, why did Palino meet with Chuang the day after the election result.
SUSAN In his car park and say, ‘We can’t be seen together.’
MATT ‘We can’t be seen together.’ And he said, and I believe her, ‘We have to have him out by the end of the week before he’s sworn in.’ Now, I’m not saying he’s clever, but his advisors could be.
SUSAN No, but I’m also— and I’m going to say an extraordinary thing – I believe Cameron Slater. I think he saw a great story and wanted to get it online.
MATT I think that’s true with him.
SUSAN So that’s where it all falls apart.
MATT No, no, no.
SUSAN I absolutely believe Cameron on that.
MATT There’s always conspiracies within conspiracies.
SUSAN Conspiracy or cock-up. Anyhow, it hasn’t worked, and everybody is damaged.
MICHELLE But the fact is it could’ve worked. It could well have been—
MATT If it had been run by the National Party, right, you would have made it work.
MICHELLE Wish I’d thought of it.
MATT These amateurs.
MICHELLE I tell you what, if I had thought of it—
MATT He’s one of the amateurs.
MICHELLE …there would have been a different candidate, let me assure you, to come in second.
MATT It may not be a National Party conspiracy, but half of them are in the National Party, aren’t they?
MICHELLE Yes, well, we’re a broad church.
MATT And one was the former— actually, had your job.
MICHELLE Well, yes, but I beat him.
SUSAN But you can’t mind your volunteers and all those other people around you. You can’t manage them. We know we’ve had problems with this from both sides. What happens now, Claire? It cycles out? Corin’s right – Len Brown will be out at school tomorrow morning. He’ll be asked questions. I think he’ll say, ‘There’s an investigation underway. I’m getting on with my job.’ I’ll send him my bill for that bit of PR advice. What happens? It cycles out?
CLAIRE So the last bit of the chapter will be Len Brown’s wife appearing a little bit more frequently with him in public. So we saw in the newspaper this morning that they were photographed—
SUSAN For coffee.
CLAIRE …going off for coffee. That was an important – very important – symbolic move. I think we’ll see a little bit more of her over the next few weeks. Yes, the investigation has to be quite quick. I think the longer that that’s drawn out, then it’s going to be quite damaging for him. But people just really want to get back to business and get these new councils underway and get things happening, so I think that the public interest in it will just die down.
MATT I suspect he’ll— yeah, I suspect he’ll do his term, you know, not in the way that he’d like it, but I do think it’ll raise up about whether he’ll stand again.
SUSAN But he can be a functioning mayor, can’t he?
CLAIRE Oh, look how many people who have had sexual political scandals keep standing for politics.
SUSAN And in six months we’re talking about something else, and he’ll still be the Mayor of Auckland, most likely, it seems. Quickly, Corin, we’ve got Meridian coming up.
CORIN Yeah, we do. Wednesday we should get some details on the Government’s book build – how they’ll shape it, the price that we should get. I think one thing we can be sure of – I think John Key’s made it pretty clear they’ll get that 85 per cent Kiwi ownership. So politically that’s the most important thing for them, but the price will be interesting.
SUSAN It will. Very good. Thank you, Corin and panel. Extra long panels today. Extra good.