CHRIS TROTTER:  Te Pāti Māori’s uncompromising threat to the status quo

  • Chris Trotter writes –

The Crown is a fickle friend. Any political movement deemed to be colourful but inconsequential is generally permitted to go about its business unmolested. The Crown’s media, RNZ and TVNZ, may even “celebrate” its existence (presumably as proof of Democracy’s broad-minded acceptance of diversity).

Should the movement’s leader(s) demonstrate a newsworthy eccentricity, then they may even find themselves transformed into political celebrities. The moment a political movement makes the transition from inconsequentiality to significance, however, then all bets are off – especially if that significance is born of a decisive rise in its parliamentary representation.

Te Pāti Māori (TPM) is currently on the cusp of making that crucial transition from political novelty to political threat. The decision of the former MP for Waiariki, Labour’s Tamati Coffey, to step away from his parliamentary career at the end of the current term will be welcome news to TPM’s male co-leader, Rawiri Waititi, who took the seat from Coffey in 2020. There is a good chance, now, for Waititi to turn the Māori seat of Waiariki into TPM’s anchor electorate.

Continue reading “CHRIS TROTTER:  Te Pāti Māori’s uncompromising threat to the status quo”

Yes, the PM did have something to say in Napier – NZ will go to the polls on 14 October (without her leading Labour’s campaign)

Buzz from the Beehive

Hard on the heels of our Buzz from the Beehive earlier today, the PM has made two announcements – the 2023 general election will be held on Saturday 14 October and she will not be campaigning to win a third term as Prime Minister.   She will be stepping down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party.

Her resignation will take effect on the appointment of a new Prime Minister.

It turns out we were remarkably prescient with the headline on our earlier post: If you are looking for the PM, try Napier – and for good measure she might have something to say.

She did have something to say – something much more momentous than (fair to say) your Point of Order team had expected.

Our earlier post noted that Jacinda Ardern had posted nothing on the Beehive website in the first 18 days of 2023 (but nor had most of her colleagues). Continue reading “Yes, the PM did have something to say in Napier – NZ will go to the polls on 14 October (without her leading Labour’s campaign)”

If you are looking for the PM, try Napier – and for good measure she might have something to say

Buzz from the Beehive

We drew another blank, when we checked the Beehive website this morning for ministerial announcements, pronouncements or denouncements.  Nothing has been posted since January 16, when Damien O’Connor announced he was travelling to Europe this week to discuss the role of agricultural trade in climate change and food security, WTO reform and New Zealand agricultural innovation.

We last heard from the PM on December 31 when  she issued two statements – Frontline workers to receive COVID-19 Response Award and New Year honours recipients highlight what makes NZ unique.

This does not mean the PM has not at least thought about her job over the holiday period.

A bundle of media reports suggest she has been busy working on how best to get her team into shape for the general election later this year and polishing her policy programme to optimise its appeal to the public. Continue reading “If you are looking for the PM, try Napier – and for good measure she might have something to say”

Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: National can’t be allowed to sleepwalk to victory


Christopher Luxon’s National Party are the odds-on favourites to win the general election this year. They have been consistently ahead of Labour in the polls in recent months, and have a firm coalition partner in Act, which is often polling about 10 per cent.

Betting agencies can’t take bets on politics in New Zealand, but in Australia the TAB is paying $1.60 on National becoming the government after the election – implying that National has a 63 per cent probability of winning. That seems to be in line with most political commentary, which sees this election as National’s to lose.

But broadcaster Duncan Garner reminds us this week that MMP mathematics are such that even a good showing doesn’t ensure victory. So, although National is sometimes polling around 40 per cent, it’s worth remembering that when Bill English lost power in 2017, his party had won 44 per cent of the vote. And in 2023, Garner says

“National could get a whopping 52 seats and Act 7 and that doesn’t govern.”

Continue reading “Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: National can’t be allowed to sleepwalk to victory”

Looking ahead to voters opting for a progressive government, a reactionary one – or maybe something in between

Cabinet ministers  obviously are enjoying   the  final days  of  their summer  break while  their desks back in Wellington are piled  high with the problems of  a  country beset with raging inflation, labour shortages and a  pandemic  that refuses to go  away.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has had  her  own set of  issues to ponder, not least  a  reshuffle  of  Cabinet and, along  with her deputy Grant Robertson, the challenge of  shaping the political agenda  for  a general election, possibly in October  but  more likely in November.

This, of  course,  is  going  to  be a  very different election from that in  2020,  when the  nation  was still afflicted  by the trauma of Covid and  Ardern  had  acquired  the  aura of  saviour.   NZ had not been afflicted  with  anything  like Covid  since the Great Flu of 1918. Continue reading “Looking ahead to voters opting for a progressive government, a reactionary one – or maybe something in between”

Bryce Edwards: Can NZ First once again fill the vacuum at the centre of politics

DR BRYCE EDWARDS,  director of the Democracy Project, looks into support for New Zealand First in opinion polls, the politicking of Winston Peters and the party’s 2023 general election prospects.  

They don’t get much media coverage at the moment, but the New Zealand First party could be central to the next year in politics and determine the shape of the next government.
The latest opinion survey out yesterday – leaked from Labour-aligned pollsters Talbot-Mills – has New Zealand First on 4.4 per cent. The party has been edging up in the polls all year. The last few Kantar-1News polls have had the party on 3 per cent.
This level of support is relatively high for the party, which tends to do poorly between election years and then have a surge of support during campaigns. So, it’s certainly not out of the question that Winston Peters’ party could soon register 5 per cent and suddenly become a real force in next year’s election.
This would change everything. Continue reading “Bryce Edwards: Can NZ First once again fill the vacuum at the centre of politics”

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”