A lurch to the right? Not that the PM can see (or rather, not that she is willing to acknowledge)

The  thud   reverberating   around  the  country  on  Saturday – according to a raft of political commentators – was the  sound of  a  party vote  collapsing.  The Labour Party vote.

But that ominous interpretation didn’t reach the ears of Prime  Minister Jacinda Ardern, who  insisted  in  an interview on RNZ’s Morning  Report  that the  results  from  local body  elections  are  not “necessarily indicative of a shift in feeling on national politics”.


As RNZ pointed out, Labour gave endorsements to Wellington candidate Paul Eagle and Auckland mayoral hopeful Efeso Collins. Both men resoundingly lost.

Ardern nevertheless dismissed the notion that this rejection of candidates who had been given Labour’s stamp of approval could reflect dissatisfaction with her party.

Either the batteries that power her political antennae need recharging or she is saying something she does not believe.

Yet  if  Labour’s opponents  took  comfort  from  the local  body  election  results,   they  too  have  some  lessons  from it  to ponder.   And  once  the  initial  excitement  of  donning the  mayoral  robes  subsides the   victors  have hard  decisions   to  shape.

Some  of  those  victors  rode  in on the  tide  of  opposition  to the  Government’s uncompromising commitment to Three Waters  reform.    But   what   do  they  propose  in   its  place?

The  Opposition   parties  in  Parliament  won’t   have  a   bar  of  it, either, but  neither  National  nor  ACT  has offered  financially viable  solutions.

Ardern sounded a caution that might  hit  the  victors  where  it  hurts:

“… whilst there are many who have expressed a view on Three Waters, you haven’t had anyone arguing the counter factual – and that is, if we stick with the status quo that they would (have to) support rate rises, which is the inevitable outcome.

“That is the reason we are pursuing this – the alternative to Three Waters is rate rises in the thousands because of the additional water infrastructure that is required, no one’s out campaigning on that.”

The problem for Labour is  that  it has  become unpopular for reasons   much  wider  than  Three Waters (although its  policy  on  that  is  critically flawed).

Virtually  every election policy   Labour  took  to   voters in  2017,  from  resolving the  housing  crisis to  eliminating  child  poverty,  has  not  been  accomplished.  Now  everybody  is  becoming  poorer   as  inflation hits   households and  the  economy  moves  towards  recession.

Compounding  these  failures,  health  and  education  services – on  which  the  Labour  Party prides  itself  – are  under   severe  strain.

In desperation  Finance  Minister Grant Robertson  is  rubbishing  National’s  policy  of   cutting  taxes.  He  talks  of   National’s  Bermuda  triangle —  it  can’t cut  taxes without raising  debt  or  cutting  spending. Yet  it  seems  Labour’s  only  chance  of   survival  is  to  pre-empt the Nats and cut  taxes itself in  the  run -up  to  next  year’s election..

But the Nats can’t afford to be unduly cockahoop.  The  risk  for them is that  the  newly  elected  local  bodies   find  the  going  too formidable to achie much in recessionary  conditions  and voters who  pinned hopes on a  turnaround  become  politically disillusioned.

4 thoughts on “A lurch to the right? Not that the PM can see (or rather, not that she is willing to acknowledge)

  1. Clearly in denial; the refuge of those who don’t like the truth.

    Time to move on for this administration, and make way for a mature and responsible government.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hastings District Council has almost completed the total fixing of the water problems which caused the Havelock North outbreak a few years ago.

    As I understand it cost was about $200million – which is one third of the amount promulgated by the Three Waters rort.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Labour’s 3 Waters has nothing to do with addressing an infrastructure deficit and everything to do with implementing racial separatism as set out in He Puapua. Ardern has backed herself into a corner with her Maori Caucus.

    Liked by 2 people

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