Defence Minister Ron Mark was in ebullient form, telling Parliament this week how much he had achieved in defence since he took over the portfolio from National’s Mark Mitchell. And it does look an impressive list.
“There’s $5.2bn worth of procurement running right now. P-8s—done. Hercules—getting done. Network-enabled army—done. Protected mobility—done. The King Airs, four of them, now flying at Ōhākea—done. New simulator for the NH90s—done”.
So, when a request comes for New Zealand to help in the protection of vital shipping lanes in the Middle East, one might think the Defence Minister would relish the opportunity to deploy elements of the NZ Defence Force.
But what was Mark’s response when asked to link with Australia in its decision to commit a ship, a surveillance aircraft and defence personnel in the multilateral effort to keep the Strait of Hormuz between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman open and safe for ships to pass through? Continue reading “NZ’s Defence assets are out of action or over-burdened – so sorry, we can’t help in the Gulf”
Look deeper than the headline moves in National’s reshuffle to find the longer-term significance. Those moves included Paul Goldsmith winning the prize of being Opposition Finance spokesman and Gerry Brownlee in taking on Foreign Affairs, not just because he has the capacity to deploy a bit of humour in needling Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, but because he is signalling he is up for another term.
Insiders point to the leap through the ranks of Hutt South MP Chris Bishop from the cross benches. Still only 36, but in his second term, Bishop has converted the once traditional Labour stronghold of Hutt South into a National seat.
In Parliament as Opposition spokesman on Police he has been effective in puncturing the government’s promises on building up police numbers by 1800. Generally he has kept Police Minister Stuart Nash on his toes and kept police issues close to top of the political agenda—something that some of his seniors have been able to do in their areas of responsibility. Continue reading “Bishop is given a chance to make an impact in National’s reshuffle”
It’s rare for a politician in New Zealand to be mugged while out walking, broadcaster Barry Soper observed after Green Party co-leader James was assaulted in Wellington last week, although many had got into “skirmishes” when out doing their job.
The attack on Shaw prompted the PM to say New Zealanders should be proud of the access New Zealanders have to their politicians, whose job is to serve the people, but this assault showed they can’t take that for granted.
Soper recalled National’s Lockwood Smith once being forced to take a back door out of a university rather than face angry students as Education Minister.
But the last time a politician had been “supposedly attacked” while out walking was Keith Allen, a Minister in the Muldoon Government in 1983. Continue reading “It is much too easy to win headlines – and then be treated leniently – for assaulting MPs”
While the Greens were gurgling early this week about strengthening our democracy through a Member’s Bill, the Electoral Strengthening Democracy Bill, it seems they were musing at the same time about supporting Ngai Tahu’s push to be granted an extraordinary race-based electoral privilege.
According to a Stuff roundup of party positions on legislation with profound constitutional implications, they will vote for the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill at its first reading. This is an electoral bill crafted to enable Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu to bypass voters and appoint two representatives with full voting rights to the Canterbury Regional Council.
The Greens accordingly will be supporting an iwi organisation with no respect for the democratic way of deciding how a community should be governed – it has said restoring full democratic elections would be a “step backwards” for Canterbury.
They also will be ignoring the glaring potential for conflicts of interest which Malcolm Harbrow highlighted on No Right Turn. Continue reading “Green grandstanding about democracy in Canterbury turns out to be rhetorical pap”
What’s the piece missing from the public gaze on the Karel Sroubek scandal and what’s behind the heavy backing given to Iain Lees-Galloway by both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister?
The blunder the Immigration Minister made over the convicted criminal Sroubek is one of the most egregious by a minister in decades. He wouldn’t have survived under Helen Clark – or, for that matter, most other Prime Ministers.
In protecting Lees-Galloway, both the PM and Deputy PM stoked the fires of speculation and political tension, culminating in the stoush in Parliament where the Speaker expelled first the Leader of the Opposition, Simon Bridges, and then the Shadow Leader of the House, Gerry Brownlee.
Continue reading “Putting the Sroubek puzzle together is challenging – perhaps a key piece is missing”