How a non-congratulatory PM’s speech has us wondering about knighthoods for kindness and a profusion of new pubs

Latest from the Beehive –

According to the blare from the Beehive, the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme will be further extended to 31 December, a new $162 million package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs, and the PM has delivered a speech to the party faithful.

Here at Point of Order, we first got a whiff of the  speech when Jacinda Ardern was questioned about it on RNZ’s Morning Report. She refuted any suggestion it was self-congratulatory.

Then we read the speech and early on found Ardern declared she was

” … very proud to be part of our parliamentary team.

“Each and every one of them work so hard, and while I am loathe to single any one person out, I feel safe in doing so for … “

The PM did not dramatically halt for a drum roll at this juncture.  Nor did she teasingly  pause, giving a moment or two of time to imagine who might be named.

Had we been given those moments for conjecture, we would have put good money first on Grant Robertson, and then (not necessarily in this order) on David Parker, Megan Woods and  Chris Hipkins.

Had we been smarter, our form guide would have extended to a search for a minister whose duties actually involve him in picking winners.  A recent newspaper report headed Picking winners? Govt has to decide which tourism operators ‘important’ names such a person:

Most of the Government’s $400m tourism rescue package will be devoted to the strategic assets protection programme, and there will be stiff competition for the money.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website said about 50 operators would get support, but [the Minister in charge] recently said the final number would depend on how many applied and what help they needed.

A few weeks earlier this person was given the support of his boss,  despite being criticised for not doing enough to help the tourism sector badly impacted by Covid-19.

Another strong guide to form was the Labour Party list.

As expected, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is number 1, followed by Kelvin Davis then Grant Robertson – all three are electorate MPs expected to win their seats.

And yes, the bloke given special mention by the PM at the party conference at the weekend was the number two man in her party lineup, Kelvin Davis.

So what has he done to deserve a special mention?

The PM explained:

“I saw who Kelvin is captured perfectly recently by one of our amazing new candidates, Ibrahim Omer who wrote recently on Facebook “Hon Kelvin Davis was kind enough to invite me to his office today. As well as warmly hosting me and giving me good advice, he told me that when he first became a Labour candidate he didn’t have a suit and had to borrow one from his mate. He then reached into his wardrobe, pulled out this collection of his suits and handed them to me. What a bro.”

Ah – kindness.

Now we have been put straight about Davis’ contribution to the nation’s wellbeing, we have opened a book on when we can expect his knighthood for kindness to be announced.

Among other features of her non-congratulatory speech, Ardern noted:

    • The government’s strong health response – it “gives us an economic head start, the ability to move from responding to Covid-19, to recovering and rebuilding”.
    • Labour is the party that puts people first.  “It is in our DNA.”
    • Thanks to his foresight, Grant Robertson has been the Finance Minister New Zealand needs at this time.
    • The government has doubled the winter energy payment, increased main benefit rates by $25 a week, made changes to the In Work Tax Credit to reach more families, and introduced the Covid income relief payment.
    • It is marshalling the nation’s resources to ensure not only that jobs are available but that they are in areas which address long-term challenges – the under investment in infrastructure, housing and protecting our environment.
    • The Big New Zealand Upgrade Programme, designed to tackle the core infrastructure deficit and amounting to $12 billion of road, rail, public transport, school and health capital funding, “could not have come at a better time”.
    • Labour campaigned on cleaning up our waterways. David Parker, alongside ministers like Damien O’Connor, “has worked tirelessly on delivering on that promise, and we have”.
    • Funding is being provided for an additional 8000 “public houses”, bringing the total number of state and transitional houses to be built by this Government to over 18,000 by 2024. “It is the largest house building programme of any Government in decades, and I’m proud of it”.

    As we said earlier, we were alerted to the speech when RNZ reported:

    Pundits were quick to criticise Ardern for taking a ‘self-congratulatory tone’ in her remarks, but Ardern told Morning Report that was not her intent at all.  

    “You will not find that at all in any of the remarks I’ve made… if anyone listened to the speeches that were made, that is exactly the opposite of what we were doing.”

    If the PM says it was not self-congratulatory,  then it was not self-congratulatory.

    Accordingly we will focus on just one aspect of the speech and ask about all those public houses that are being built by the government.

    We consulted the online Collins dictionary:

    Definition of ’public house’

    public house is the same as a pub.

    For a second opinion we tried the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

    Public house, byname pub, an establishment providing alcoholic beverages to be consumed on the premises. The traditional pub is an establishment found primarily in Britain and regions of British influence

    So when (we wonder) did the “state houses” that were first built by a Labour government become unfashionable?


    5 JULY 2020

    Extended loan scheme keeps business afloat

    Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year.

    Hon Stuart Nash


    Small Business


    5 JULY 2020

    New investment creates over 2000 jobs to clean up waterways

    A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today.

    Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern Hon David Parker

    Prime Minister



    5 JULY 2020

    Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020

    Tena koutou katoa

    Nga tangata whenua o tenei rohe o Pōneke, tena koutou

    Nau mai, haere mai ki te hui a tau mo te roopu reipa

    Ko tatou!

    Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

    Prime Minister

One thought on “How a non-congratulatory PM’s speech has us wondering about knighthoods for kindness and a profusion of new pubs

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