Peters found much to scorn (and the Nats should be finding fault with the govt too) but Ardern’s popularity is hard to puncture

The country’s politics  are  in  an  interesting   phase. Labour,  despite  a  litany of policy disasters, is  still  riding the  top  of its  wave, buoyed  by  the  incandescent  popularity  of  Jacinda  Ardern.

National  is  plumbing  the  depths, as  it  has  done  before  when  it  has  suffered  a  massive defeat.  ACT, in contrast,  believes  it  is  climbing  out of  the  shadows   to  win  broader, and more  permanent, support. And  Winston  Peters  has emerged, once  more,   from  the political  wilderness and  struck the  themes  which could propel  NZ  First   back  into  the  role  which it has  played  so  often  before.

Peters  scored  direct  hits  on  the  kind of “woke” politics and policies currently in the ascendancy under the Ardern government, delighting in  verbal sprays on the “woke elite” or “Ngati Woke”, cancel culture, the Auckland cycle bridge, the He Puapua report, ditching referendas on Māori wards, the decision to buy the land at Ihumātao, increased state usage of te reo Māori and especially “Aotearoa”.

On the last he asked:

“Who signed up to this plan to change New Zealand’s name? Who was asked. When were you asked?”.

He pointed out, for example, that the recent Climate Change report, titled “Ināia tonu nei“, used the word “Aotearoa” over 1300 times but “New Zealand” only 161 times.

On what he calls “racial separatism”, Peters complained

“Everything in 2021 is now rights-based – or indigenous-rights based – demanding co-governance”.

He said Labour was “enabling a wave of rights-based activism in-and-outside of government”.

Peters   also  scorned  the recently announced rebate for electric vehicles:,

“How many working-class people, regardless of their ethnic background, are going to  be  able  to  afford  the electric  alternative?

But  even  a politician  as  wily as  Peters  hasn’t  got the  firepower   for   the  sustained onslaught  which it  seems will  be required  to puncture  the  balloon  in   which  Ardern  has  floated into  the  political  stratosphere.

Nowhere has the Ardern star shone  more spectacularly  than  it  did   at  Field  Days at  Mystery  Creek.

As  Jamie Mackay, a  veteran  commentator,  wrote   in  the  NZ  Herald:

“The  Nats  owned Mystery Creek. It  was  their Turangawaewae. Which makes Ardern’s  Fieldays all the  more perplexing.  Farmers  don’t  love  Labour. And  there’s  plenty  of reasons   for  farmers to not feel the  love  from  Jacinda’s  lot. Not  the  least, the  latest  slap in  the  face  in the form  of  the tone-deaf  Ute  Tax.

 “Then there’s the prospect of  overly-penal  reforms  around zero-carbon, fresh water, winter grazing  and livestock numbers. Farming,  which is  doing  all the  heavy lifting in  the  economy, is  fast  becoming the  sacrificial  lamb on  the    altar of  climate change.

 “And therein  lies  the problem  for  Judith Collins  and the  Nats. With all  the fodder they have to  feast on, they should be having a  field day. The only  thing  they are  feasting on is  themselves”.

Clearly  there  is  plenty  of  scope  for  Opposition  parties – and  Winston  Peters –  to  attack  the  government.  But  they  have  yet  to  find  the  formula   which   will  dispel  the  clouds  on  which  Ardern   and her  cohorts  are  floating.

As  Point  of  Order   sees  it,  the  government’s   frailities   are  obscured    because    the  Covid  pandemic     is   still   front   and  centre   in  the  public  mind. The  anxiety, even  fear,  it  arouses   has   pushed  aside    the policy  bungles   which  are  mounting  by  the  week.

The Covid  scares  such as  that  which  enveloped  the  capital  this  week  obscures  even  how  shambolic the Covid vaccination programme  has been.   NZ    ranks120th in the world,  the poorest-performing of all the OECD countries with which we like to compare ourselves.

But  that  doesn’t  deflate  Jacinda. She rolls  serenely  on.

2 thoughts on “Peters found much to scorn (and the Nats should be finding fault with the govt too) but Ardern’s popularity is hard to puncture

  1. Can’t disagree. It points up just how much notice many take of politics day-to-day…hardly any. Ardern can probably rule the roost as long as she chooses…as depressing as that is to me.


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