Britain’s new health minister, Sajid Javid, says he will keep wearing a mask after formal restrictions are removed in the next fortnight. It’s a more political than public health gesture. Unless perhaps he’s meeting unvaccinated ministerial visitors from Australia or New Zealand.
Britain’s Covid debate is morphing faster than the virus. Thanks to the fast spreading Delta variant and a super-charged vaccination programme it’s plausible that pretty much everyone bar Scottish lighthouse keepers will have had Covid antibodies delivered to them by the end of the year via neighbours or needle.
Continue reading “Has ‘Johnsonism’ arrived?”
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”. Continue reading “Peters found much to scorn (and the Nats should be finding fault with the govt too) but Ardern’s popularity is hard to puncture”
Peters is back, the headlines shouted.
Well, not quite. Winston Peters may have stepped into the political limelight again, after a spell in political darkness – but he and his party are a long way from Parliament. And even though he looks fit and well, can he – at the age of 76 – find the spark which will fire up the NZ First engine again?
His disciple, Shane Jones, is firmly convinced he can. Furthermore, Jones believes the party can forge a new crusade out of the “perfidy” of what the Climate Change Commission is doing to NZ.
Jones sees the commissioners as “ideological termites”, who hold sway over the government with “mad ideas” of the sort that could required us all as if we are all going to ride bikes
Jones cites the example of 10,000 bikers in Birkenhead exerting their power on the government to build a bridge for them over the Auckland harbour.
Continue reading “Climate could provide Peters and his party with a platform for warming voters and bouncing back at the next election”
A post on the left-wing The Standard blog expresses bemusement at National’s re-election of its party president.
You would think that the conference held immediately after National suffered one of its worst drubbings in its history National would take the opportunity to refresh its leadership and change its direction.
If you did you will be disappointed.
May we suppose this means he was disappointed?
Surprised, perhaps, but Labour and its supporters surely should be delighted at National’s disinclination to overhaul the party leadership after a disastrous general election result.
In his report on the party elections, Stuff’s Thomas Coughlan noted there was some change. But it was small change. Continue reading “How the Nats have opted to invest in the future with small change”
Browsing through items of political news published on Labour Day, we came across a statement from the New Zealand Public Party (NZPP) and Reset New Zealand which declared they were retreating from Jami-Lee Ross’s Advance New Zealand party.
Not a full retreat, necessarily. Rather, they
“ … have moved away from their election alliance with Advance NZ to reform back into the intended party”.
The intended party?
An amalgamated party without Ross and his supporters, we imagine.
“We recognise the importance of this movement continuing to improve itself in many ways, and at the same time staying true to its core”, said NZPP’s leader, Billy Te Kahika.
“That means NZPP will continue to call things out on behalf of the public, hold this government up to scrutiny, demand its accountability, and defend our rights and freedoms.
“We will also be a watchdog of the New Zealand media that continues to be hostile towards the organisation that is rightfully questioning the Government’s COVID-19 narrative and educating the public about the patently dishonest actions of this sector towards us and the persistent slanting of facts and misinformation”. Continue reading “NZPP leaders decide the best way to make progress politically is to step back from Advance NZ”
Latest political polling puts Labour at 60.9%, which – if carried through to the election – would give it 77 seats in the next Parliament. Is anyone (apart from the most fervent National supporter) surprised?
National’s campaign manager, Gerry Brownlee, dismisses the Newshub Reid Research sampling as a “rogue” poll. This begs the question whether he would have done so, if it had shown his own party a bit higher than 25.1%.
Other polls (even one suspects National’s own private polling) have had Labour above the 50% mark.
With the Covid-19 pandemic raging around the world, New Zealanders are comforted their government has got it right: they only have to look as far as Victoria to see what happens when the governing authorities make a mess of it. Continue reading “It might be a rogue poll but the Nats must offer alluring policies – and get back to championing our rural regions”
So what’s the wily old master up to now? In his opening campaign speech, Winston Peters attacked his coalition partners. His party, he says, is sick of “woke pixie dust” from them:
“New Zealanders need to know what’s out there, and what they have been saved from.”
Surely he is not talking about Jacinda Ardern and her party? Haven’t they been our saviours from the coronovirus pandemic?
Peters then spells out what he has saved us from: NZ First has been the handbrake on the “nanny state”.
“We’ve used commonsense to hold Labour and the Greens to account. We’ve opposed woke pixie dust. We’ve defended socially conservative values, like the right to believe in God. We’ve focussed on the wisdom of sound economics”.
Will voters on September 19 show their gratitude? Continue reading “Peters abjures pixie dust (while saving us from the nanny state) but he might need some to win seats at this year’s election”
So is the election now a foregone conclusion? With Jacindamania still raging, and the National Party shattered by its own shambolic performance, it looks like a walk in the park for the Labour Party and its coalition partners.
Certainly NZ First leader Winston Peters wasn’t slow to rub salt into the wounded Nats.
After a cursory nod to National’s departed leader Todd Muller (“ a good man”), Peters said:
“National has demonstrated to voters as clearly as it is able that it cannot govern itself. During a time of crisis, when stability and real experience is what the country needs from its politicians and their parties, National’s instability and hubris takes it out of the running for the coming General Election.”
Swinging the boot a bit harder, Peters went on:
“Leading a divided and incompetent caucus would have tested even the best leader. Continue reading “Muller’s resignation has election implications for the smaller parties as well as for the Nats”
Jacinda Ardern and her government have won global admiration for vanquishing the coronavirus. At home their ratings have soared. Polls show more than 80% of those sampled support the way the government handled the pandemic crisis.
New Zealanders accept without a blink the virus is universal and ubiquitous, a threat to all humankind. They celebrate how as part of a team of 5 million led by Ardern (and Ashley Bloomfield – whoever thought a public servants would become such a cult figure?) they repulsed Covid-19.
There is adulation of the kindness and compassion displayed by the Prime Minister.
Other governments, by comparison, have been condemned for their bungling and incompetence, the failures of their public health systems, and death tolls criticised as needless.
Foreign affairs commentator Simon Tisdall in The Guardian says a new age of revolution is dawning — but just what kind of revolution it may be will rest on how the pandemic’s shock waves and after-effects are directed and shaped. Continue reading “Perhaps we need Peters to temper the adulation and prevent the landslide re-election of the Ardern government”
So to be clear, at this stage not much is clear. But it’s surely possible to draw out a few facts and try to isolate what might emerge as significant.
Point one: We can be reasonably sure that there will be a large fall in measured economic output.
This will capture the changes in our collective economic behaviour, both voluntary changes in response to events, and those mandated by governments. Think restaurant meals uneaten, movies not watched, flights not taken, bungees not jumped, houses not painted, and so forth. Some things postponed, some gone for ever. Continue reading “Part 2: The economics and politics of coronavirus are hard to discern but may surprise”