The bung's been popped on the pork barrel and the filthy lucre's flowing.

A couple of days ago in the now winnable seat for National of Hutt South an almost $80 million dollar housing package was unveiled by this week's Miss Piggy, the Minister in charge of state houses Amy Adams, ably assisted by her Muppet dance partner Pepe the Prawn Chris Bishop.

She was again rolling out the barrel in Wellington yesterday, assisted by the city's wannabe MP Nicola Willis, who hopes to knock Labour's Grant Robertson off his perch in September. That'll be helped with a spend of almost $50 million on 145 one-bedroom social housing units across the city.

Labour's squealing like stuck porkers, reminding National of the protests earlier this year in the Hutt where Housing NZ land has been lying vacant and the same goes for Wellington. The timing of the announcements is pure coincidence, Adams claims, saying these things don't just happen overnight, they've been a long time in the planning.


Yeah well, part of that planning is undoubtedly the looming election date.

But that's the advantage of being in Government, you're firmly in control of the barrel's bung. In opposition you can only promise stuff will be done if you vote for them, while the Beehive can actually deliver.

Put aside the housing announcements, given that social housing is desperately needed throughout the country, and we probably haven't heard the last on that score this side of the election, and think about the value of the pork barrel to those who are in charge of rolling it.

The Miss Piggy crown in recent years still rests firmly on the head of Helen Clark with her decision to scrap interest on student loans weeks out from the 2005 election, which she ran a real risk of losing to Don Brash.

More than three quarters of a million Kiwis today have student loans and they can still thank Clark, even though the taxpayer's missed out on more than $6 billion in interest payments, meaning the value was very much her own, given she won the election.

But the barrel can also roll back on you as Jim Bolger discovered when he promised on a no-ifs no-buts no-maybes platform to scrap the loathed super surcharge in 1990, which was effectively an income test for the pension. Having won the election, which he was never going to lose anyway against a shambolic Labour Government, he went back on the promise because the BNZ needed bailing out.

So the moral of the story is, see the barrel for what it is.