Confusion and complexity characterise the world into which our PM is headed

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”

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Globalisation focus at Davos (among other things) should lure Ardern to Europe

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”

Our flyaway MPs should grab the opportunity to promote the welfare of a runaway Saudi teeneager

If they are not hard at work in their Beehive offices, as we regularly observe at Point of Order, our Ministers will be busy with engagements here and there around the country – or engaged in very important business overseas.

But the Point of Order monitor of Beehive press statements over the past week or so suggests ministerial globetrotting has been on hold during the Christmas-New Year holiday period.

This doesn’t mean taxpayers are being spared the cost of political jet-setting. Look what we found in a statement from the office of the Speaker, Trevor Mallard.

Yep.  Mallard has announced a junket for a select few back-benchers. Continue reading “Our flyaway MPs should grab the opportunity to promote the welfare of a runaway Saudi teeneager”

Up periscope – and let’s take a peep at the 2019 global outlook

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”

MFAT’s prestige is expected to bloom again, now the ministry has gone to Seed

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”

Pacific Reset – what Labour really thinks about it will be seen when US ships arrive

Left-wing  blogger Chris Trotter,  in  one of his  recent essays, questions whether PM Jacinda Ardern is really running the government or is merely its figurehead.

He  cited  several  examples of the PM  appearing to be unaware  of  key policy decisions  and  questioned  whether allowing her leading Cabinet Ministers to simply get on with the job is a central feature of her management style.

I hope  not.  It would suggest that Ardern has chosen the role of figurehead rather than leader. That her job is to supply the warm and sympathetic face of the Coalition Government while the heavy-hitters of her Cabinet – Winston Peters, Grant Robertson, David Parker, Phil Twyford, Meagan Woods and Shane Jones – carry out the day-to-day business of governing the country”. Continue reading “Pacific Reset – what Labour really thinks about it will be seen when US ships arrive”

NZ’s role in missile control gives Peters a boost on US mission

Before   flying out  on his  Washington  mission,  Deputy PM Winston Peters  announced  (in his  role  as Disarmament and Arms Control Minister) that NZ will take up the chair of the Missile Technology Control Regime later next year.

Peters  says NZ’s emerging space industry makes it particularly relevant at this time that it  works on effective international control of sensitive missile-related technologies. NZ will host the annual plenary meeting in Auckland in October 2019, which is expected to attract over 200 delegates.

The  issue  may be  high  on  the agenda  for his talks in  Washington,  where  Peters  has  appointments with  key figures of the  Trump  administration, including  Vice-president   Mike Pence,  Secretary of  State  Michael R Pompeo, National Security Adviser  John Bolton and  Director of National  Intelligence  Dan Coats. Continue reading “NZ’s role in missile control gives Peters a boost on US mission”