Without brakes there should be no holding back Ardern – and the lobbyists are signalling their great expectations

Huge  expectations     now    rest   on  the    newly  re-elected   Ardern    government.  Just  as the  pioneering  Labour    government   did in the  1930s   under  Michael  Joseph  Savage  and the fourth  Labour  government   did under  David  Lange  in the  1980’s,  it  has  won a  stronger  mandate   to  fulfill  its  programme.   

So  will  it  become    truly  transformational  – as it   first promised  in  2017 – or  will  the  economic  recession  threatening    NZ  overwhelm   the  new  ministry? 

Election   night  delivered a fairy-tale  outcome   for   the  politician  dubbed  by The   Economist  as   “Jacindarella” ,    but  will  the   second term  not  only  restore    NZ  to  full  employment  and prosperity    but  confirm   the  Ardern   government    as   the  most progressive  since the  days of  its  founding prime minister?   

Already  lobby  groups   are hammering    at the  door.

Working people and their unions have expectations that a new government without a handbrake will move faster and further to support people and the environment,  says    the  CTU’s  Richard   Wagstaff. Continue reading “Without brakes there should be no holding back Ardern – and the lobbyists are signalling their great expectations”

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.

 

Shh! There are some things we can’t discuss today (but Trump and Biden are not among them)

Other bloggers have already said what we aimed to emphasise in this morning’s post.

It’s Election Day and much that we would like to say must not be said – at least, not in public.

At Homepaddock, some justifiable bemusement is expressed:

“The law that all electioneering must stop at midnight yesterday may seem silly when we’ve been able to vote for a couple of weeks, but it is the law.

“That means no comments on New Zealand politics are permitted until 7pm when polling booths close.”

Counting of early votes starts before booths close so results should be earlier than in the past when there were much fewer early votes and counting didn’t start until 7pm.

At Kiwiblog, readers similarly are reminded that no posts or comments on New Zealand politics are allowed. Continue reading “Shh! There are some things we can’t discuss today (but Trump and Biden are not among them)”

Parties are given more time to persuade us they have the best plan to restore NZ’s post-Covid economy

So  the   election  date  is settled:  PM  Jacinda  Ardern  says  she  won’t  change  her  mind  again.

Implicit  in that is  the  assumption   the  current   Covid-19  outbreak  will  be  brought  under control  well before  then.  Didn’t  we  hear  Winston Peters   say:

Holding an election during a COVID outbreak has the risk of serious interference in our democracy”?).

At   least, with  the  delay  until  October  17,  there  may  be   a  chance   the more  persuasive influences  on  voters’  minds will be  re-weighted as they enter  the  electoral  booths.

The halo enveloping  the  prime minister  could have ensured  a  50%-plus  party  vote  for  Labour,  had  the  election been  held  on  the original  date.

Now  Opposition   parties,  if  they  have the  political  smarts  to do so   (and  Point of  Order concedes  there  have been  few signs  so far they actually  exist)    can  give  the  electoral  tree  a  good shake. Continue reading “Parties are given more time to persuade us they have the best plan to restore NZ’s post-Covid economy”

Before the PM had sent us her statement on the election date, Peters advised us he welcomed her decision

Latest from the Beehive

Yes, we were listening to RNZ around 10am when the Prime Minister announced the General Election will be delayed until October 17.

Moving the date by four weeks

” … gives all parties a fair shot to campaign and delivers New Zealanders certainty without unnecessarily long delays”, she said.

The delay gives all parties nine weeks to campaign and the Electoral Commission enough time to ensure an election can go ahead, she explained.

Key dates

  • Today: Business committee meets this afternoon to agree a parliament timetable
  • 6 September: Parliament dissolves
  • 13 September: Writ Day, nominations close 18 September
  • 3 October: Advance voting begins, last day for return of the writ is 12 November
  • 17 October: Election day

Jacinda Ardern said the Electoral Commission advised her a safe and accessible election is achievable on October 17.

This short delay gives the Commission more time to prepare including freeing up facilities for early voting during school holidays,” Jacinda Ardern said.

She said she spoke with all party leaders to seek their views, too.

She also said:

“I will not change the election date again.”

The measure of New Zealand First’s approval is that Point of Order received a press statement from Winston Peters

(a) before the PM’s press conference had finished, and

(b) before we received the statement from the PM which advised us of her decision.

Peters said:

“New Zealand First is pleased that common sense has prevailed. We were concerned that the Covid outbreak had the effect of limiting campaigns to an unacceptably short period until overseas and advance voting begin if the General Election was held on September 19.

“As I said yesterday, voters are sovereign. Holding an election during a COVID outbreak has the risk of serious interference in our democracy. Voters would be expected to exercise their electoral rights with a dearth of information and that is unacceptable.”

New Zealand First will now be looking at its campaign strategy to ensure it gets back on the campaign trail as soon as safely possible, Peters said.

He had better make the most of this extra time, bearing in mind his party’s lowly poll ratings.

The PM’s press statement was followed by statements of approval from the Greens and ACT.

We had not heard from the Nats when we posted this item.  Anyone want to bet they would rather stick to September 19, the date supported by 40% of people recorded in a New Zealand Herald poll?    

Release

17 AUGUST 2020

Election to be held on 17 October

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed the General Election will be held on 17 October.

 

 

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”

Acclaim for the PM boosts Labour in the polls – but voters may not be so kind as the recession bites

Reports   have been   circulating in Wellington  of  sampling  by  pollsters    which  show   support  for  Labour climbing   into  the 49-51%   range  and  for  National  slumping to  the  low 30’s.

To those enraptured by the  “kindness”  of the  Prime  Minister    and  impressed  by  the government’s  performance  during  the  Covid-19 pandemic, a  result like that would be  no   surprise.  Many  New Zealanders rejoice in the plaudits which overseas media heap on Jacinda  Ardern  as a  “world leader”   who  is  outperforming  her  peers in other countries.

An influential American magazine, The  Atlantic,  described Ardern as maybe the  most  effective  leader  on  the  planet.

In contrast, there is consistent criticism  of  Opposition   Leader  Simon  Bridges  from some  media   figures.   Left-wing  blogs come alive with speculation  of  a  coup   any   day   within the  National  caucus.

So is the forthcoming  election  one  that  an  Opposition  party   might  want to lose? Continue reading “Acclaim for the PM boosts Labour in the polls – but voters may not be so kind as the recession bites”

Some Labour strategists may agree with Peters that the election should be delayed

NZ First leader Winston Peters today said he wants the election held on November 21,  Radio  NZ   reported.  He says he believes  the health system would be under the pump in September with the winter flu season and the country potentially still dealing with the impacts of Covid-19.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the September election date before the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Peters said he had fought for the November date originally, because his party believed summer elections were better, but given the pressures of Covid-19 he will again raise delaying it by two months.

“Having a good look at it now and with the compounding problems of coronavirus and all the distractions and efforts going in elsewhere, perhaps the sound thing is to say November 21 is the right date and we should go ahead then,” he said. Continue reading “Some Labour strategists may agree with Peters that the election should be delayed”

Election date may be determined by progress in defeating virus and ending the lockdown

As  the  Covid-19  hits  NZ  hard,  and  the  country   may have to be held  in lockdown longer than originally intended, the  issue   whether  the  general  election   on  September  19   should be   postponed   looms  larger.  It has  already been canvassed  in  some  media, but the  PM,  Jacinda Ardern,   last week insisted  there is no plan to postpone the election “at this stage”.

As  well as the general election  two referendums are due to be held on September 19.

There have  been  calls  for the formation of a  government  of  national  unity, as  well  as  calls  for the  general election to  be postponed.  Opposition Leader Simon Bridges instructed all of his MPs to put their election campaign on hold.

Ardern was  reported  on  Radio   NZ  as    saying:

“As you can imagine we take everything into account as we’re moving through. But at this stage obviously, my immediate focus is what’s happening in the next four to eight weeks rather than that far down the track.

While  ministers    are  preoccupied   hour-by-hour  with  dealing with the  Covid-19 crisis,  others  within  the  coalition  almost certainly   will  be  canvassing  the election options. Continue reading “Election date may be determined by progress in defeating virus and ending the lockdown”

The PM disapproves of politicking when it questions Covid-19 policies – but not (it seems) if it supports them

Kiwiblog drew our attention to Labour’s politicking to exploit its response to the Covid-19 virus.

National – on the other hand – has announced it supports the government’s decision to move the country towards Level 4 of the Covid-19 alert system over the next 48 hours and to extend the economic package for all businesses.

Opposition leader Simon Bridges said:

“This is an unprecedented situation and we support any measures that will protect the health and safety of New Zealanders.

“I understand that this will be a worrying and stressful time for New Zealanders. I encourage everyone to stay calm and follow the rules that are now in place.

“We will work in a supportive and constructive way with the Government in the interests of bringing New Zealand through this crisis together.

“I have offered the Government the services of our MPs and staff to assist where we can.”

More significantly, Bridges said in a separate statement he has asked all MPs and candidates to put campaigning on hold. Continue reading “The PM disapproves of politicking when it questions Covid-19 policies – but not (it seems) if it supports them”