Peters and Mark remind us they still have ministerial work to do as governmental caretakers

Hey – look whose names appeared on the only press statement to be posted on The Beehive website yesterday, two days after Election Day and the first statement to be posted on the site since October 15.

The names are those of Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark.

And no, they don’t have to pack their bags just yet despite their trouncing at the polls.  The rules that apply in the immediate period after election day are spelled out on the website of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet: 

During the government formation process, the current government remains in office, as it is still the lawful executive authority, with all the powers and responsibilities that go with executive office.

But don’t expect anything radical to happen: Continue reading “Peters and Mark remind us they still have ministerial work to do as governmental caretakers”

US law officials brace for the contingency of Trump refusing to accept election defeat

US law enforcement agencies from the FBI down are preparing contingency plans in case of violence after the November 3 presidential elections. These have been triggered by President Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful exit from office, arguing the election results will be “rigged” because of his opposition to postal voting.

Ironically, he voted by mail because he will be in Washington DC rather than at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, now his home.

Trump has shocked even hardened Republicans during the campaigning with his language and easy facility with “factual inexactitudes”.   He maintains the coronavirus pandemic is “turning the corner” despite rising infection rates in most of the 50 US states.   He consistently undermines public health measures recommended by his own officials. He dog-whistles the white supremacists and branded Democrat vice presidential hopeful Senator Kamala Harris a “monster”. Continue reading “US law officials brace for the contingency of Trump refusing to accept election defeat”

What is Turkey’s President Erdogan up to in Armenia?

The recent flare-up of fighting in the south Caucasus is nasty.  After the break up of the Soviet Union, Armenians and Azerbaijanis fought an unpleasant war over the Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh with casualties of around 100,000 and one million displaced.

Armenia prevailed then. Now Azerbaijan, with the help of Turkey, is having another go. And this is not just your regular military-supplies-and-observers assistance.  It looks like unemployed jihadists from the Syrian wars have been bought in as mercenaries.

Of course there is more history to this than can be dealt with in 700 words (try The History of Armenia by Simon Payaslian if interested). Turkey’s tensions with Armenia and its support for Turkic neighbour Azerbaijan are longstanding; ditto for difficulties in its relationship with Russia, to whom Armenia is most likely to turn in extremis.

But even as a ceasefire is being patched together, it still leaves open the prior question of ‘why this and why now’?

Continue reading “What is Turkey’s President Erdogan up to in Armenia?”

Without brakes there should be no holding back Ardern – and the lobbyists are signalling their great expectations

Huge  expectations     now    rest   on  the    newly  re-elected   Ardern    government.  Just  as the  pioneering  Labour    government   did in the  1930s   under  Michael  Joseph  Savage  and the fourth  Labour  government   did under  David  Lange  in the  1980’s,  it  has  won a  stronger  mandate   to  fulfill  its  programme.   

So  will  it  become    truly  transformational  – as it   first promised  in  2017 – or  will  the  economic  recession  threatening    NZ  overwhelm   the  new  ministry? 

Election   night  delivered a fairy-tale  outcome   for   the  politician  dubbed  by The   Economist  as   “Jacindarella” ,    but  will  the   second term  not  only  restore    NZ  to  full  employment  and prosperity    but  confirm   the  Ardern   government    as   the  most progressive  since the  days of  its  founding prime minister?   

Already  lobby  groups   are hammering    at the  door.

Working people and their unions have expectations that a new government without a handbrake will move faster and further to support people and the environment,  says    the  CTU’s  Richard   Wagstaff. Continue reading “Without brakes there should be no holding back Ardern – and the lobbyists are signalling their great expectations”

For the record – Winston will be missed as Minister of Foreign Affairs

Just for the record, our Latest from the Beehive Monitor has nothing to report this morning.

Actually, it has had nothing to report since October 15, when Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker announced that the Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days after it had been ratified by the required eight countries. 

We imagine the occupants of the Beehive have been busy electioneering or some such, at least until Election Day, which explains the lack of Beehive announcements over the past week.And since Saturday night they will have been celebrating (if they are Labour or Green Ministers) or commiserating if not sulking (if they are New Zealand First Ministers).

The New Zealand First lot must return to Wellington, of course, but only to clear out their offices.   The pundits meanwhile are busy speculating on who will get what job in the new ministry.

Whoever gets Foreign Affairs – let us declare – will have a hard act to follow.  Winston Peters has done a splendid job in that portfolio and will be missed.

On the other  hand, the Point of Order Trough Monitor will not be kept quite so busy after Shane Jones is replaced as Minister of Regional Economic Development. 

The Provincial Growth Fund is being replaced by something with much less money in it, if we recall Jacinda Ardern’s policy pronouncements correctly.  And Labour doesn’t have to throw big bucks around to win the support of the regions because it won that support – with a vengeance – at the weekend.

A final thought for now.  Couldn’t we simply have a Minister of Trade, rather than a Minister of Trade and Export Growth?

The Minister of Education isn’t the Minister of Education and Brighter Students and the Minister of Health isn’t the Minister of Health and Improved Wellbeing.

 

NZ chooses hope over fear – we’ll find out which was the wiser choice

Viewed from the far side of the world, Jacinda Ardern’s triumphant re-election suggests an extraordinary level of hope and expectation behind the voters’ decision.  If it can’t be managed down, it’s hard to see how it can be met.

The opposition National Party were singularly unsuccessful in tapping into voters’ fears for the future and selling themselves as the safer option.  Instead, they appear to have leaked voters predisposed to such fears to the ACT party.  

Given that their signature tune in recent years has been the argument we can finesse the ‘hard choices’ more realistically and efficiently than the Labour party, they should not be altogether surprised that middling voters grasped at the government’s suggestion that some hard choices might be avoided altogether (for you and your family, and maybe even for the country).

Continue reading “NZ chooses hope over fear – we’ll find out which was the wiser choice”

Shh! There are some things we can’t discuss today (but Trump and Biden are not among them)

Other bloggers have already said what we aimed to emphasise in this morning’s post.

It’s Election Day and much that we would like to say must not be said – at least, not in public.

At Homepaddock, some justifiable bemusement is expressed:

“The law that all electioneering must stop at midnight yesterday may seem silly when we’ve been able to vote for a couple of weeks, but it is the law.

“That means no comments on New Zealand politics are permitted until 7pm when polling booths close.”

Counting of early votes starts before booths close so results should be earlier than in the past when there were much fewer early votes and counting didn’t start until 7pm.

At Kiwiblog, readers similarly are reminded that no posts or comments on New Zealand politics are allowed. Continue reading “Shh! There are some things we can’t discuss today (but Trump and Biden are not among them)”

PACER Plus to take effect in 60 days after Cook Islands ratifies it

The Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify PACER Plus, enabling the Pacific regional trade and development agreement to enter into force in 60 days.

Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker has welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands ratified the agreement, which required eight ratifications to take effect.

Australia, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and New Zealand are the eight signatories.  The remaining signatories that have not yet ratified the agreement are Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

PACER Plus will make trade easier for signatories to the agreement, which will grow jobs, boost sustainable economic growth and contribute to a safer and more prosperous Pacific, Parker said. Continue reading “PACER Plus to take effect in 60 days after Cook Islands ratifies it”

Upholding the constitution – how armed militia are defending their rights during US election campaign

One of the most disturbing and contentious elements in the US presidential elections has been the appearance of armed militias in several states. Six men have been arrested and charged federally with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, as part of a plan to overthrow elements of the government and attack law-enforcement personnel.

The FBI says the men also discussed abducting Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. 

Seven other men involved in the plot are part of a self-styled militia known as the Wolverine Watchmen and were charged under Michigan’s anti-terrorism act.

Northam, a Democrat, has faced criticism from gun-rights supporters for backing a series of gun laws passed by the state parliament earlier this year. The governor also experienced some resistance to shutdown orders he imposed last spring in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Continue reading “Upholding the constitution – how armed militia are defending their rights during US election campaign”

NZ economy gets a shot in the arm (if all goes well) from Fonterra’s revised milk price forecast

Dairy giant Fonterra  has  lifted  the mid-point of its forecast farmgate milk price range to $6.80kg/MS, up from $6.40,while retaining its current +/-50c per kgMS range.

It’s  a  shot  in the  arm   not  just  for  the   co-op’s  farmer-suppliers  and the  country’s  rural  regions  but also for  the national  economy  as   it   strives  to  recover  from the impact  of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At  a  $6.80  milk price    more than $10bn  will flow   into regional  NZ.

Fonterra  has  found  stronger  demand from  China,  particularly  for  wholemilk powder   which  is a big  driver  of the  milk  price.    

This   will  be  encouraging for    other    milk processors    including  A2 Milk    whose  shareprice has been marked down  by investors  worried  about  demand  for  infant   formula  in  China. Continue reading “NZ economy gets a shot in the arm (if all goes well) from Fonterra’s revised milk price forecast”