Woods scores a new portfolio (apparently) while the Govt gives Wallabies a free pass through our Covid defences

We were reminded yesterday of an article published by The Spinoff on 1 August last year headed Megan Woods, the minister for everything.

The article referred to her “slew of portfolios”.

It kicked off by saying Woods’ public profile

“… has exploded thanks to her new role as the minister in charge of border isolation and quarantine, but Megan Woods has long been known as the most reliable pair of hands in government.”

After the election Woods was appointed Minister of Housing, Minister of Energy and Resources, and Minister of Research, Science and Innovation, as well as Associate Minister of Finance.

As Housing Minister, she was keen to inform us yesterday about how she and her government are keeping people warm.  And today she made an announcement as Minister of …

Well, see for yourself: Continue reading “Woods scores a new portfolio (apparently) while the Govt gives Wallabies a free pass through our Covid defences”

The new Cabinet: PM is focused on beating Covid-19 and rejuvenating the economy as she names her team

The Prime Minister’s press statement announcing her new Cabinet (400 or so words) has been posted on The Beehive website.  The speech she delivered when naming the cabinet (1780 words) has not.

Indeed, no ministerial speeches have been posted on the website since October 10, when David Parker posted the speech he delivered to a global audience as Minister of Trade and Export Growth.  (New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020).

Because of the press statement’s comparative brevity, it mentions many fewer names than were mentioned in the speech (although it does provide a link to the full ministerial list).

The press statement most notably does not include the names of Kelvin Davis (or the explanation in the speech about why he won’t be deputy prime minster) or Phil Twyford (but there is no mention in the speech, either, about his slippage to the rank of minister outside of cabinet).

As Ardern impressed in her speech:

“The Cabinet will have two overarching priorities: to continue our health response to keep New Zealanders safe from COVID-19, and to drive our economic recovery and ensure we take the opportunity we have in front of us to build back better.” Continue reading “The new Cabinet: PM is focused on beating Covid-19 and rejuvenating the economy as she names her team”

For the record – Winston will be missed as Minister of Foreign Affairs

Just for the record, our Latest from the Beehive Monitor has nothing to report this morning.

Actually, it has had nothing to report since October 15, when Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker announced that the Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days after it had been ratified by the required eight countries. 

We imagine the occupants of the Beehive have been busy electioneering or some such, at least until Election Day, which explains the lack of Beehive announcements over the past week.And since Saturday night they will have been celebrating (if they are Labour or Green Ministers) or commiserating if not sulking (if they are New Zealand First Ministers).

The New Zealand First lot must return to Wellington, of course, but only to clear out their offices.   The pundits meanwhile are busy speculating on who will get what job in the new ministry.

Whoever gets Foreign Affairs – let us declare – will have a hard act to follow.  Winston Peters has done a splendid job in that portfolio and will be missed.

On the other  hand, the Point of Order Trough Monitor will not be kept quite so busy after Shane Jones is replaced as Minister of Regional Economic Development. 

The Provincial Growth Fund is being replaced by something with much less money in it, if we recall Jacinda Ardern’s policy pronouncements correctly.  And Labour doesn’t have to throw big bucks around to win the support of the regions because it won that support – with a vengeance – at the weekend.

A final thought for now.  Couldn’t we simply have a Minister of Trade, rather than a Minister of Trade and Export Growth?

The Minister of Education isn’t the Minister of Education and Brighter Students and the Minister of Health isn’t the Minister of Health and Improved Wellbeing.

 

Jacindarella – the challenges include reconciling an urge for radical change while keeping centrist voters happy  

In  an insightful  essay   on the New Zealand  elections,  the  London  Economist  noted  polls  suggested  a  fairy tale  outcome  for the  incumbent  prime  minister.  It  carried  the  simple heading  “Jacindarella”.

The article recounts  how  Jacinda  Ardern’s staff ran   into  a  problem   after she  declared NZ  free of the coronavirus in June.  It  was  impossible  to keep   the prime minister  on   schedule, they  griped,  because she was  constantly  mobbed  by supporters.  One eulogizer   at the  party’s convention declared her  “our  nation’s  saviour”.

Even  after a  modest  resurgence  of the  disease, New Zealanders  continued to  commend Ardern for  averting the worst.  She  closed  their borders  to  foreigners  and  rallied  “a  team of 5m”  to  support one of the toughest  lockdowns  in the  world.  As  a  result NZ  has recorded only  25 deaths  from Covid-19.

All  this  puts the prime minister on  track  for a   big  victory  in an election  on  October  17….What makes this  all the  more striking  is that  before the  pandemic,  Ardern  was  on  track  to lose the election.  She  came into  office with  lofty  plans to build a fairer,  better  NZ  by  reducing  child poverty, ending  homelessness  and erecting  100,000  cheap houses,  none of  which  she managed to do” . Continue reading “Jacindarella – the challenges include reconciling an urge for radical change while keeping centrist voters happy  “

Cabinet’s challenge is to strike the right balance between halting contagion and getting Kiwis back to work

Finance Minister Grant Robertson trots out the phrase “go hard, go early”  in the battle against  Covid-19,  as  often as he used to declare  the  underlying fundamentals of  the  NZ  economy  are  “strong”.

Meanwhile   Health Minister  David  Clark   says   responding to  Covid-19   is a  “marathon,  not a  sprint”.

But  New Zealand  didn’t  “go early”.   The  Ministry  of   Health  on  January  24,  the  day after China  locked down  the  huge  city of  Wuhan because of the  outbreak of the disease,  said the  likelihood of a  sustained outbreak in  NZ  is  “low”.

It maintained that  line for  a month.  There was no  visible sign of the  ministry calling on ministers to scale up  stocks of relevant equipment, take precautions in retirement  homes,   or   increase the  number of Intensive Care Unit beds  and ventilators. Continue reading “Cabinet’s challenge is to strike the right balance between halting contagion and getting Kiwis back to work”