Minister of Energy Simon Bridges was just the other day branded the “Justin Bieber of the cabinet”. One can only guess that’s either because of his crooning at the Parliamentary karaoke nights, or that he wants to see his “name up in lights in the big city”.

It seems it was the latter and Simon, your dream has come true.

Yesterday we plastered ‘Simon Bridges Pants on Fire’ on a central Wellington billboard, measuring almost 300 square metres and seen by tens of thousands of people every day. It is a direct challenge to him to clear his name by releasing full details of a meeting he had with Shell oil executives. Simon has so far denied, in Parliament, having contact with oil companies about a controversial Crown Minerals Bill amendment, concerning protests at sea.

So far he has failed to clear his name.

The law change was slammed by legal experts as breaching international law, human rights, and undermining our democracy and quickly opposed by almost 45,000 kiwis, including New Zealander of the year Dame Anne Salmond and former PM Sir Geoffrey Palmer.

But when it emerged that he had met Shell just weeks before announcing the amendment, the Labour Party said it ‘appears that Mr Bridges misled Parliament’.

So, alarmed at these revelations, we wrote to the minister asking him to release full, uncensored details of the meeting he admits to having with Shell on 14 February 2013 in order to clear his name and restore public confidence that he is serving the interests of ordinary New Zealanders, not overseas oil companies. But so far Simon has refused to do so.

And this isn’t the only time Simon’s appeared to be less than entirely open with the public. He’s rattled on before about how an oil spill can be dealt with. But Maritime NZ, the folks responsible for handling such a disaster, say something a little different. They say that they do ‘not have a subsea response capability’. You know what that means? It means that we can’t deal with an oil spill. And it also explains why Simon has his very own enormo-billboard in the centre of the capital saying Pants on Fire.

So come on Simon, it’s simple. Release all details of that meeting you had with Shell. It’s the only way anyone can ‘Belieb’ in you again.


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