And McConnell shows how Republicans are likely to play the post-impeachment game

There’s been good coverage of the impeachment case against Donald Trump.  If you found it a little harder to get a sense of why the Republican-leaning half of America has seemed less impressed by it, listen to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s statement of the case for dismissing the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress (despite the old saw that the latter is one of President’s main duties).

McConnell cast the impeachment exercise as a case of partisan fever in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives – with the Senate’s job being to break the fever, before it breaks the country. Continue reading “And McConnell shows how Republicans are likely to play the post-impeachment game”

NZ First pumps PGF millions into Maori projects in Northland – then accuses Bridges of politicking at Waitangi

No-one  should have been astonished to learn from a Newsroom headline that  Political sparks fly at Waitangi as PM promises ‘more mahi’

The report began by noting

There was a sharper, election-year edge to proceedings at this year’s Waitangi pōwhiri. Simon Bridges and Winston Peters clashed, while Jacinda Ardern made the case for why Māori should have patience with her Government

The report observed that National leader Simon Bridges’ speech seemed to be addressed not to those on the paepae, but for the New Zealanders who would be following events at Waitangi from home.

After a glancing reference to National’s record on Treaty of Waitangi settlements, Whānau Ora and partnership schools, he moved swiftly to attacking Ardern as he referenced her speech at Waitangi last year.

“She said there would be less poverty, she said that she would reduce inequality between Māori and Pākehā, sadly the Government has failed to deliver on these promises.” Continue reading “NZ First pumps PGF millions into Maori projects in Northland – then accuses Bridges of politicking at Waitangi”

How centre right parties win and lose elections these days

As New Zealand’s politicians contemplate a September election, are there lessons for them from the successes of right of centre parties in Australia, the US and UK – and their failure in Canada?

Caution is needed in drawing conclusions, given a few well-placed ballots can be the margin between radiant success and crushing failure.  Reference the election of Donald Trump with fewer votes than Hilary Clinton in 2016, and last year’s defeat of Andrew Scheer’s Canadian Conservatives despite winning more votes than Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party.

But one thing to reflect on is what right of centre parties stand for – and what the median voter thinks they stand for. Continue reading “How centre right parties win and lose elections these days”

Faafoi’s folly – his confession to saying dumb things should put focus on his portfolio and the future of fuel prices

Back  in  September,  when the  NZ  Herald  issued  its   supplement  “Mood of  the  Boardroom”,  Commerce  Minister  Kris Faafoi  featured as the  politician who most impressed  top  chief  executives  on ministerial  performance.

The newspaper  reported  it  was the first  time  in the history of the Mood of the Boardroom  survey  that a  minister  ranked towards the tail-end of Cabinet (at  17th) and who  had  been in the position only since   January, had substantially  outranked  his  colleagues.

Faafoi  headed not only the PM, Jacinda  Ardern,  and  deputy PM  Winston  Peters,  but other senior ministers  Grant Robertson, Andrew Little and  David Parker.

Really?

Last week  Faafoi  was  engaged in a  rather  different  exercise, receiving  what he  described  as  a  “stern talking to”  from the  Prime  Minister after  it  was disclosed   he had promised to “speed things up” in an immigration case for Opshop singer Jason Kerrison. Continue reading “Faafoi’s folly – his confession to saying dumb things should put focus on his portfolio and the future of fuel prices”

He’s business bosses’ favourite politician but broadcasting challenge will put Faafoi’s mettle to the test

Kris  Faafoi, ranked   17th  in  Cabinet, emerged  as  the  politician who most  impressed  top  chief  executives for ministerial performance in this year’s  NZ  Herald  CEOs survey.

It  is  the  first time in the history  of the  Mood of the Boardroom survey  that a  minister  ranked towards the tailend  of  Cabinet, and who had been in the position  only  since  January,  had  substantially outranked his colleagues.

Fran  O’Sullivan  reported   Faafoi  is  seen as  an engaging   politician  with a  safe pair of hands.  She  quoted  one  business leader   finding Faafoi displaying  “real understanding, energy  and  integrity”.

Faafoi’s  key portfolio,  so far  as  the business leaders   are concerned,   is  Commerce,  but he    also holds  Broadcasting, Communications,  and Digital  Media As  well he carries the  Associate Housing  responsibility.

And  it  is  in one of those  portfolios   where  Faafoi’s  mettle  as a  minister  is  being seriously tested. Continue reading “He’s business bosses’ favourite politician but broadcasting challenge will put Faafoi’s mettle to the test”

Political philosopher John Gray is often wrong but sometimes very right

The views of political philosopher John Gray can defy description.  His Wikipedia entry notes – with a touch of his own elegance – Gray’s political thought is noted for its mobility across the political spectrum over the years”.

But few suggest that the author of ‘The Delusions of Global Capitalism’ is boring.  And there is much to be gained from his latest essay in the New Statesman.  Curiously, while entitled ‘The Closing of the Conservative Mind: Politics and the Art of War’, by the end it appears to justify a somewhat different conclusion. Continue reading “Political philosopher John Gray is often wrong but sometimes very right”