PM Jacinda Ardern heads into a world that has become more challenging, divisive and complex when she jets off to the World Economic Forum in Davos and a round of European calls. Rarely has a NZ PM been confronted by such a confusing global situation.
First, Europe is convulsed by two major challenges, the future of Brexit and the slow-down in the European economy which has given nationalists fresh ammunition.
Second, China and the US are inching towards an economic and strategic confrontation.
At home US President Donald Trump is facing incoming tides of confusion and uncertainty. The New York Times has put the focus on his five meetings with Russia’s Vladimir Putin of which no substantial record exists. Continue reading “Confusion and complexity characterise the world into which our PM is headed”
Hard on the heels of our previous post about political globe-trotting, let the record show Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to visit the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, at the end of the month.
She’s a tyro in global economics, sure, but the conference should be worthwhile for her, particularly given its focus this year on aspects of globalisation and their consequences. Moreover, she will move among the major global economic and foreign policy players, including (probably) President Donald Trump.
Her attendance would also reinforce her policy platform against some of the less global trade-minded and economically illiterate members of the Coalition government. Continue reading “Globalisation focus at Davos (among other things) should lure Ardern to Europe”
After a year in which the Labour-NZ First coalition settled into office and those who had never expected to sight the inside of the Cabinet room were adjusting to their new riding instructions, the mood of the country is now anticipatory.
The government has generated a sense of change, if only by its ministers harping on about “ nine years of neglect”. It’s a theme that may come back to haunt them.
For change itself can be unsettling. Politically, New Zealanders prefer stability. They are not revolutionaries.
That’s why Grant Robertson has kept a steady hand on the tiller, eschewing the drastic economic reform those on the fringes call for. Continue reading “A mood of anticipation has been created – Ardern now must deliver”
The Labour-NZ First coalition must have been agreeably surprised on completing the year with so many encomiums from the pundits on its performance. And with the economy chugging along at a useful, though uneven, pace the government could look back on 2018 with a great deal of satisfaction (as the NZ Herald contended).
But will 2019 be as easily navigated?
For this is the year of decision. The reports from the scores of reviews the government has ordered will be piling up on ministerial desks. How well equipped is the coalition to deal with them?
Some insights might be found in how Cabinet operated in the year past. Every ministry has its duds and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s team is no exception, with Clare Curran and Meka Whatiri leading the way and Iain Lees-Galloway deserving, but escaping, the drop-kick.
But Ardern herself starred both at home and abroad. Her ratings in political polls stayed astonishingly high. Across the Tasman, she stirred envy in Canberra where there is a revolving door into the prime minister’s office. And there were accolades at home: Tracy Watkins in the Dominion-Post wrote “The Prime Minister is at the height of her powers… her international cachet is huge”. Continue reading “It’s the year for all those reports to demand decisions”
With the Black Caps in magnificent record-setting form is there any need to worry about 2019? Well, yes there is and we have harnessed the resources of our world-wide network of correspondents to assess prospects for the next 12 months.
In a three part series Point of Order pushes up its periscope to scan the horizon.
First, how does it look internationally?
Global trade, European security, China-US relations all cloud the scene. Continue reading “Up periscope – and let’s take a peep at the 2019 global outlook”
Deputy PM Winston Peters has lit a firestorm in his own support base over the government’s decision to sign the controversial UN Migration Compact—a move National says it will overturn.
NZ First’s Facebook page went into overdrive as one-time NZ First voters voiced their anger. After all, NZ First campaigned strongly against the previous government’s immigration policies and stood out in demanding stricter controls on migration.
Now the party appears willing to adopt the UN’s rules on open, regular migration.
So did Peters miscalculate? In Parliament he had been using the UN compact to bait National, because it was the government in 2016 when offering support as the compact was being initiated. Continue reading “UN compact: Peters’ supporters fear he hasn’t put NZ First”
Chris Seed has been confirmed as Secretary of Foreign Affairs & Trade, as Point of Order earlier foreshadowed. An experienced diplomat, he succeeds Brook Barrington who the State Services Commission named as CEO of the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet.
Seed, who recently returned to NZ after serving a five-year term as High Commissioner to Canberra, is expected to work closely with Foreign Minister Winston Peters on his Pacific Reset policies.
His appointment is understood to have been extremely well received by senior staff in MFAT, whose morale was severely bruised during the era of John Allen as CEO. It is known that Peters has been keen to return MFAT to the slot it enjoyed before the Allen era as one of the key sources of advice to Cabinet, not just on foreign and trade policies but in other areas of national security. Continue reading “MFAT’s prestige is expected to bloom again, now the ministry has gone to Seed”