Already it is shaping as the most challenging year for National since it lost the Treasury benches in 2017. For Simon Bridges, it’s make-or-break for his leadership.
Going head-to-head with the Jacinda phenomenon, he has little chance of monstering her in television broadcasts, and even if he did it could backfire on National.
Bridges’ task is more complex. He has to prove himself as the Prime Minister-in-waiting, clearly the underdog in a contest where he cannot be seen to be shouting down his opponent.
Yet he must win enough support to overwhelm Labour and its coalition allies combined – a feat which far more popular National leaders (John Key or Bill English) could not achieve.
He will need more than a cunning plan, or the social media wizardry of the Topham Guerin team (who were credited with a key role first in Scott Morrison’s surprise election success and then with Boris Johnson’s triumph in the UK.
So how could National frame an election-winning strategy? Continue reading “Make-or-break year for Bridges – he must prove he is PM material without shouting down Ardern”
One way to express dismay at the price being asked for the goods and services we want is to shop elsewhere. Another is to cough up, then grumble about being ripped off on social media.
Taking the second course of action may well attract the mainstream media and soon an aggrieved customer’s grouch has been turned into a newspaper headline.
An example can be found today at Stuff: Coeliac sufferer says cafe $4 gluten free surcharge is profiteering.
The report beneath the headline says cafes are charging more to cover rising costs, including wages – but a woman charged $4 extra for gluten free bread says this is profiteering.
A woman with coeliac disease who was charged $4 for gluten free bread at an Auckland cafe says the business is profiting off people’s illnesses and allergies.
Wellington woman Emma Ward said on Twitter on Sunday: “I am at a cafe in Auckland and the GF bread is $4 extra. $4! I understand it’s an extra cost but it is also super ableist.”
The 27-year-old said gluten-free bread was quite pricey, but the surcharge was usually $2.
“It’s frustrating when you can tell the bread is just a slice of Vogels from the supermarket,” she said.
The Stuff report. alas, then demonstrates a feeble grasp of economic concepts such as “free enterprise” and “competition”: Continue reading “You can shop around for an affordable gluten-free sandwich – but being sure of what’s in it is not so easy”
High-flying former New Zealand diplomat Kirsty Graham has been appointed CEO Global Public Affairs for major US public relations company, Edelmans. She takes up her duties at the end of February.
Dunedin-born Graham’s last MFAT post was deputy head of mission at the NZ Mission to the United Nations in New York. She also served in Washington DC and on the staff of former foreign minister Sir Don McKinnon.
From New York she was recruited by the US drug manufacturer Pfizer as senior vice president, corporate affairs for its Biopharmaceuticals Group and senior vice president Global Policy and International Affairs. She has also been vice president and Corporate Affairs lead for the company’s Essential Health group.
During her 10 years at Pfizer, Graham also held the title of vice president, Policy, External Affairs and Communications for the Primary Care Business unit as well as senior director, International Public Affairs for Asia-Pacific and Canada.
Graham will become a member of Edelmans’ Operating Committee, whose businesses operate in more than 125 countries and have a portfolio of more than 600 products generating about three-quarters of the company’s revenues.
The providers of public handouts are back in action and the Point of Order Trough Monitor has sounded its first alert for 2020.
Wairarapa water projects are the beneficiaries of a $7.11m boost from the Provincial Growth Fund, announced this morning by Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau.
This is a significantly greater lump of money than the PGF investment of $800,000 which Tabuteau announced in May last year for Wairarapa Water Limited to investigate the development and construction of community water storage.
The money was to help the company to review and update a 2015 pre-feasibility study which investigated six potential water schemes in the region and to align the study to recent climate change projections and current Government policies regarding small-scale water storage schemes for communities.
Today Tabuteau said two projects will receive funding:
- A $7 million investment in Wairarapa Water Limited for the pre-construction development of water storage (and associated distribution) infrastructure at the Wakamoekau site in the Wairarapa.
- $110,000 to the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency Ltd led by the Wairarapa Water Resilience Committee to develop and produce a Wairarapa Water Resilience Strategy.
Tabuteau has become fluent in speaking the language of Beehive largess: Continue reading “PGF pumps millions into Wairarapa water projects – but who will own the water?”
The so-called “silly season” isn’t a Kiwi phenomenon.
According to Wikipedia, in the United Kingdom and in some other places
” … the silly season is the period lasting for a few summer months typified by the emergence of frivolous news stories in the media.
“It is known in many languages as the cucumber time.
“The term is first attested in 1861, was listed in the second (1894) edition of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, and remains in use at the start of the 21st century. The fifteenth edition of Brewer’s expands on the second, defining the silly season as “the part of the year when Parliament and the Law Courts are not sitting (about August and September)”.
“In North America the period is often referred to prosaically as the slow news season, or less commonly with the phrase dog days of summer.
“In Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, the silly season has come to refer to the Christmas/New Year festive period (which occurs during the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere) on account of the higher than usual number of social engagements where the consumption of alcohol is typical.” Continue reading “If dollops of trivial news are the best measure, we may never know when the silly season is over”
NZ politicians have been quiet over the holiday season, perhaps in the case of the Labour team, reflecting on the “year of delivery” and where it all went wrong.
But now we are into a new decade (one authority has already labelled it “the roaring 2020s”) and New Zealand cannot stay isolated in some sort of cocoon, no matter how much this may be desired.
Even those politicians who have succeeded in finding a peaceful beach on which to sun themselves will be formulating the strategies they hope will work for them in election year.
Many on the Labour side of the fence believe Jacinda Ardern has a fan base strong enough to carry the coalition to a second term. Here at Point of Order, we have encountered sufficient adoration within that fan base to consider that they will stay loyal when they cast their ballots.
And she is regarded as one of the most admired world leaders, isn’t she?
But as elections elsewhere have shown, particularly in the UK but also in Australia, constituencies which have never deviated from being rock-solid Labour for decades can turn decisively away from the party. Continue reading “Adoration of the PM is a strong card for Labour but polls are pointing to a close-run election”
We suspect some readers – maybe many – faltered when Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced he has approved the terms of reference “for an inquiry into the economic contribution of New Zealand’s frontier firms”.
Frontier firms? What are they and give us some examples?
Robertson explained that these are the most productive firms in the domestic economy within their own industry.
“These firms are important as they diffuse new technologies and business practices into the wider New Zealand economy.
“While we do have some world-leading firms, we need them to lift performance and productivity to create a pathway for more firms to succeed on the world stage,” Grant Robertson says.
He referred to work undertaken by the Productivity Commission in 2016 which suggested that New Zealand’s firms – on average – were about one-third less productive than international firms in the same industry. Continue reading “How NZ’s productivity growth might be fostered by finding what makes “frontier firms” tick”