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 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”
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.
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 “
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”