Where is Nick Smith and What Have You Done With Him?

National should have fired Nick Smith from cabinet a long time before now – it seems to have woken him up, dried him out and turned him into a right winger!

“Parliament was ‘‘losing the plot’’ with a focus on gay marriage, Mondayising public holidays, and arguing about the minimum wage, Nelson MP Nick Smith told the Contractors’ Federation annual conference in Blenheim.

Dr Smith, who was standing in for Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee, on Thursday said listening to proposals debated in Parliament last week was ‘‘like being in another planet’’.

‘‘The problem I have is that Parliament is losing the plot and losing perspective on the challenges our country faces.

We are in the worst economic downturn in my lifetime … running deficits.

‘‘There is a hell of a challenge over the next three years to halve that and get the government books back into balance by 2014. We need to be focused on the challenge, encouraging growth, lifting exports, and improving our financial standing.’’

The old Nick Smith never seemed to have much urgency on these matters, so I don’t know what sort of Damascene conversion he has now had. There was a small hint of it when he put things in motion to get rid of the power of general competence for local government. Now he is making even more positive noises, even if it is only rhetoric. I can only hope he continues to journey towards the light. Who knows, maybe one of these days he will start calling for the RMA to be abolished!

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