Has ‘Johnsonism’ arrived?

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?”

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”. 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”

Climate could provide Peters and his party with a platform for warming voters and bouncing back at the next election

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”

How the Nats have opted to invest in the future with small change

A post on the left-wing The Standard blog expresses bemusement at National’s re-election of its party president.

MickySavage writes:

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”

NZPP leaders decide the best way to make progress politically is to step back from Advance NZ

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”

It might be a rogue poll but the Nats must offer alluring policies – and get back to championing our rural regions

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”

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  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”

Muller’s resignation has election implications for the smaller parties as well as for the Nats

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”

Perhaps we need Peters to temper the adulation and prevent the landslide re-election of the Ardern government

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”

Part 2: The economics and politics of coronavirus are hard to discern but may surprise

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”