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What's up with Chris Bishop?

The right wing Hutt South MP has always been a smooth tongued corporate lobbyist, but is he the right man to lead the way for New Zealand?
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Chris Bishop is the smartest man in any room. If you don’t believe me, just ask him. There is no answer he can’t give. There is no logic he won’t compute to dazzle you and at the same time belittle you in his chosen field of mastery - talk.

For his goals, he is impeccably committed.

The son of the founder of the tobacco backed Taxpayers Union and a loyal fomer tobacco lobbyist himself, Bishop is a devotee of corporations and big money, judging from his history and policies.

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There is nothing he can’t do - when he can make it seem like he’s working for you.

The key there is “seem.”

Bishop has recently been on record crowing on about how he would like house prices to fall.

Never mind that this is the same man who crawled all over New Zealand last year with David Seymour promising landlords and property investors that they were going to do everything they could to help make prices better, and “investors” happier.

If you want to know why this Govt committed to $2.9bn of tax cuts for landlords before it committed any other spend, you can thank “Bish,” and Dave Seymour.

The reason why he said that he wanted prices to fall is two-fold.

  1. House prices are falling, and will continue to fall, as I opined a month ago (before Bishop made his announcement). And as Housing Minister, Bishop is getting in front of the story and positioning himself as Mr Beneficient (Spoiler: It’s an act.) Just today we’ve seen Core Logic come out to say that prices have been falling for 3 months and the increase this year was a “dead cat bounce.” In fact it was clear to me from last year this would be an inevitable unintended consequence of this Govt’s policies - despite their intentions to pump it with foreign buyers flooding our market, and policies aimed to keep investors and speculators in the market. Investors are the ones that have traditionally lead to significant price accelerations as they compete for projected capital gains.

  2. It’s the pretext via which he needs to use to develop over our greenfields, approve mass development without supporting infrastructure and rates - and ignore opposition and criticism to it.

Pull the other one, Bishop - your plan has been obvious for a while.

But no-one has ever said that he isn’t good at his job - marketing, PR, spin. The whole Cabinet is full of them. Seymour arguing for the Koch brothers that public transport is bad. Nicola Willis advocating for Fonterra. Bishop sucking up to the cigarette companies.

They are lobbyists. And they are good at that job.

Here’s Bish in action.

It’s the year 2012 and New Zealand has a grand vision to implement a Smoke Free Generation by 2025.

To the left, we have Chris Bishop, a loyal Philip Morris tobacco lobbyist, and to the right we have a Q&A interviewer asking if the tobacco industry will bring their wrath (and legal largesse) onto New Zealand if NZ makes good on its goal to protect children from smoking.

Bishop parries and swerves with smatterings of big words like “product differentiation,” “treaty obligations,” and “anti-competitive” to make his points.

The journalist follows admirably: “If you don’t think product packaging matters, why are you trying so hard to threaten New Zealand to not use it?”

Today, Chris Bishop is National’s leader of the House, a Hutt South MP who won his electorate in 2023.

What better comeuppance for pesky New Zealand than the guy on the other end of the stick shuttling New Zealand’s plans just before it reached the finish line?

Imagine the mirth in the Bishop household at that.

There is a reason why companies realised they need their own plants in Government.


Hey guys, it’s just business.

Welcome to the corporatisation of Aotearoa New Zealand.

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