Confusion and complexity characterise the world into which our PM is headed

PM Jacinda Ardern heads  into a world that has become more challenging, divisive and complex when she jets off to the World Economic Forum in Davos and a round of European calls. Rarely has a NZ PM been confronted by such a confusing global situation.

First, Europe is convulsed by two major challenges, the future of Brexit and the slow-down in the European economy which has given nationalists fresh ammunition.

Second, China and the US are inching towards an  economic and strategic confrontation.

At home US President Donald Trump is facing incoming tides of confusion and uncertainty.  The New York Times has put the focus on his five meetings with Russia’s Vladimir Putin of which no substantial record exists. Continue reading “Confusion and complexity characterise the world into which our PM is headed”

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Globalisation focus at Davos (among other things) should lure Ardern to Europe

Hard on the heels of our previous post about political globe-trotting, let the record show Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to visit the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, at the end of the month.

She’s a tyro in global economics, sure, but the conference should be worthwhile for her,  particularly  given   its focus this year on aspects of globalisation and their consequences.  Moreover, she will move among the major global economic and foreign policy players, including (probably) President Donald Trump.

Her attendance would also reinforce her policy platform against some of the less global trade-minded and economically illiterate members of the Coalition government. Continue reading “Globalisation focus at Davos (among other things) should lure Ardern to Europe”

A mood of anticipation has been created – Ardern now must deliver

After  a  year  in  which  the  Labour-NZ  First  coalition  settled into  office  and  those  who had never  expected  to  sight the  inside of the Cabinet room were adjusting to  their new riding instructions,  the mood of the country  is  now anticipatory. 

The   government  has  generated a  sense  of change,  if  only   by its  ministers  harping on  about  “ nine years of  neglect”.  It’s a theme  that  may come back to  haunt  them.

For  change  itself   can be  unsettling.  Politically,  New  Zealanders prefer stability. They are  not  revolutionaries.

That’s why  Grant Robertson has  kept a   steady  hand on the   tiller,  eschewing  the  drastic  economic  reform   those  on the fringes  call  for.  Continue reading “A mood of anticipation has been created – Ardern now must deliver”

How MPs can unleash the furies by throwing barbs like ‘stupid’

Describe the leader of the Opposition as “Simple Simon”, and it’s all a bit of a lark. Yes, Jacinda Ardern did have to withdraw and apologise in Parliament after she responded to a question from Opposition leader Simon Bridges with reference to a character in a childhood nursery rhyme.

Ardern was elected on a promise to bring a kinder and nicer face to politics, of course,   as a scribe at Stuff pointed out.

So is it kind and nice to respond to Bridges’ question: ” It’s quite simple…..Simon”

Ardern might have been paying Bridges a compliment, of course, saying he is uncomplicated, clear, plain and understandable (yeah,right!).  Those happen to be among the several meanings of “simple”  – but:

“If you say that someone is simple, you mean that they are not very intelligent and have difficulty learning things.”   Continue reading “How MPs can unleash the furies by throwing barbs like ‘stupid’”

Pacific Reset – what Labour really thinks about it will be seen when US ships arrive

Left-wing  blogger Chris Trotter,  in  one of his  recent essays, questions whether PM Jacinda Ardern is really running the government or is merely its figurehead.

He  cited  several  examples of the PM  appearing to be unaware  of  key policy decisions  and  questioned  whether allowing her leading Cabinet Ministers to simply get on with the job is a central feature of her management style.

I hope  not.  It would suggest that Ardern has chosen the role of figurehead rather than leader. That her job is to supply the warm and sympathetic face of the Coalition Government while the heavy-hitters of her Cabinet – Winston Peters, Grant Robertson, David Parker, Phil Twyford, Meagan Woods and Shane Jones – carry out the day-to-day business of governing the country”. Continue reading “Pacific Reset – what Labour really thinks about it will be seen when US ships arrive”

The Trough Monitor: $100m investment fund established to pick green winners

The Point of Order Trough Monitor sounded another alert today, this time drawing attention to the official launch of the $100 million New Zealand Green Investment Finance Ltd.

The launch was announced in a joint press statement from the PM and Climate Change Minister James Shaw.

Business and the Government will jointly tackle climate change with the launch of New Zealand Green Investment Finance Ltd; a $100 million fund to reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and Climate Change Minister, James Shaw, announced today.

The fund is a central plank in the Government’s plan to transition to a clean, green, carbon-neutral New Zealand and it delivers on a Green Party Confidence and Supply Agreement commitment. Continue reading “The Trough Monitor: $100m investment fund established to pick green winners”

Jacindamania may fade – but not necessarily before the Nats rediscover their mojo

Although  the  rest of the  country may  still be fingering the  results  of  their  Black  Friday  shopping,   no  such  luck  for the   politicians  as  they  move into the  final phase of the  parliamentary  year.

Each of  the  main parties  is  desperate  for a spark  to lift  performance  (and perhaps polling).

PM  Jacinda  Ardern  is taking a shellacking  for   her silence on  China, its  human rights  offences, its cyber-bullying and in particular the  Professor Anne-Marie  Brady  affair. And then,  for  reasons no-one can guess at, she has turned a blind eye  to the disgraceful performance   of   Immigration Minister  Iain Lees-Galloway in  handling  the  issue of  deporting  Czech  drug smuggler   Karel Sroubek.

Is  Jacindamania  fading?  Perhaps not  yet,  but  it soon  will, at this rate. Continue reading “Jacindamania may fade – but not necessarily before the Nats rediscover their mojo”