Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Claire Trevett: Ministers in the firing line as Little takes aim

Labour Party leader Andrew Little. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Labour Party leader Andrew Little. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Labour leader Andrew Little's first move on the first day back at Parliament after a month's recess was to announce he had found the silver bullet to solve the housing crisis.

It was a very simple policy, and cheap, too. It consisted of sacking Housing Minister Nick Smith.

Smith's sins are apparently so egregious Little has even stolen a trick from Donald Trump's playbook to counter him. He has taken to calling him Bumbling Nick Smith in much the same way Trump refers to Hillary Clinton as "Crooked Hillary".

Little had done his due diligence and the research apparently showed sacking Smith would result in a lot more houses being built in Auckland.

It is not the first time Little has put this policy up for consideration. He did it in June 2015, when he said Smith should be sacked for his Christ-like ability to turn things into custard.

"Everything that Nick Smith has done to address the Auckland housing problem has turned to custard," Little alleged.

But Smith is not the only minister Little believes the political version of Whack-A-Mole could work for.

In July, he applied his Sack-A-Minister theory to Trade Minister Todd McClay. That was after reports China had threatened trade sanctions if New Zealand pursued a complaint about Chinese steel. Suspiciously, soon after it became harder to sell Chinese gooseberries to China.

In April last year, Little called for Transport Minister Simon Bridges to be sacked for his use of officials' advice to formulate National's Northland one-way-bridges policy.

Then in June last year, he moved on to Foreign Minister Murray McCully, who Little declared should be sacked over the "agri-hub" New Zealand so kindly donated to a Saudi businessman.

Thus far Prime Minister John Key has declined to adopt Little's Sack-A-Minister policy. Perhaps he should give it greater consideration.

The possibilities are endless. Sack Transport Minister Simon Bridges and say goodbye to traffic jams. Sack Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye to prevent natural disasters. Sack Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett to save the world.

But Key should start by sacking Sports Minister Jonathan Coleman to solve our greatest national crisis of all: coming second to Australia.

At the time of writing, New Zealand had only two medals. Both were silver and both were in events in which Australians won the gold - clay shooting and women's sevens. The equestrian provided a glorious moment of believing we could beat them, but we still ended up one place below them - they got a bronze while we got nothing.

Nor have they stinted from rubbing things in. By now we have learned the hard way that the one event Australia is incapable of winning a medal in is Winning Graciously. Australia's Daily Mail even accused the New Zealand women's hockey team of being "soft" for putting on face masks to face a penalty in their match against Germany. At least the New Zealanders have not sparked an international incident at the Olympics, as Australia did when swimmer Mack Horton accused Chinese swimmer Sun Yang of being a "drug cheat".

China's Global Times even wrote an editorial about the "smug Aussie swimmer". It contained gems such as "tinge of barbarism" and compared Australia's attitude to sport to that of "a young and brash kid". It described Australia as "a second-class citizen in the West" which European countries "feel condescension" towards.

"Australia used to be a land populated by the UK's unwanted criminals and this remains a stigma attached to Australian culture."

Those who have woken in the wee small hours only to watch Australia beat us may well agree with the Global Times, although there is some concern Australia is now seeking to turn New Zealand into a land populated by its unwanted criminals with its deportation policy.

- NZ Herald

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Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor and joined the Press Gallery in 2007. She began with the Herald in 2003 as the Northland reporter before moving to Auckland where her rounds included education and media. A graduate of AUT's post-graduate diploma in journalism, Claire began her journalism career in 2002 at the Northern Advocate in Whangarei. Claire has conjoint Bachelor of Law/ Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Canterbury.

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