Mrs Fixit has a new task: can she work a miracle?

Housing Minister Megan Woods this week eased herself  past the KiwiBuild fiasco to   announce a fresh range of housing policies. She conceded the commitment to specific KiwiBuild targets had been a “mistake”: others have labelled KiwiBuild as a “political humiliation”. Woods exuded confidence the new bundle of policies has what it takes to deliver on the government’s housing goals.

As for Greens co-leader Marama Davidson who appeared alongside Woods as the government’s housing policies were “reset”, she exclaimed that it was one of the best days in her political career. “I want to say to those NZers today who have given up hope on their dream of owning a home we have opened the door to you”.

Pardon?

Continue reading “Mrs Fixit has a new task: can she work a miracle?”

The Ihumatao saga could have a far-reaching impact on NZ politics

Is the government digging itself into a hole as it awaits a solution to the problem of contested land at Ihumatao?

For two days in a row, PM Jacinda Ardern has backed away from questions over a   Crown loan being used to purchase the land where a housing development has been held up because of a long-running protest.

Continue reading “The Ihumatao saga could have a far-reaching impact on NZ politics”

Is PM Ardern’s halo beginning to slip?

Is the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at risk of losing the halo she has worn so gracefully for so long?

No way, say her legions of supporters.

Just look at the reaction when Sydney radio veteran Alan Jones called on Australian PM Scott Morrison to “shove a sock down her throat”.

Continue reading “Is PM Ardern’s halo beginning to slip?”

A Pacific sojourn for the PM should be relaxing, compared with other burning issues on NZ’s foreign policy agenda

Thank heavens for the Pacific!  PM Jacinda Ardern is off again, radiating good cheer and best wishes on her colleagues to the north.

She is headed for Tuvalu for the 50th Pacific Islands Forum, where climate change is expected to dominate discussions.

But this makes a change from her otherwise tedious round of foreign engagements.

Check: a wonderful ‘phone call with Boris Johnson, Britain’s most recent prime minister, promising priority for an NZ-UK free trade agreement.

Problem: US National Security Adviser John Bolton had just left the room promising Boris the UK would be “first off the rank” in a cracking US-UK free trade agreement, managed perhaps sector by sector (don’t mind World Trade Organisation strictures on such processes). Continue reading “A Pacific sojourn for the PM should be relaxing, compared with other burning issues on NZ’s foreign policy agenda”

PM states the obvious about flagging Fonterra but RNZ fails to press her on the “what if” matter of a foreign takeover

The most important bit of government policy we gleaned from a Morning Report interview with the PM today is that  the government will not intervene to ensure the financial wellbeing of Fonterra and its 10,000 or so farmer suppliers because there’s no suggestion of it failing.

But if it does fail – what then?

A big dollop from the Provincial Growth Fund, perhaps.

After all, the PGF became the prospective source of financial help for the crippled Westland Milk before China’s Yili dairy company came to the rescue by taking it over.

Except that Shane Jones, the Minister in Charge of PGF Handouts, makes no secret of his unkind thoughts about Fonterra’s managers.

But Radio New Zealand’s Susie Ferguson did not press Jacinda Ardern on the question of what the Government would do if the country’s biggest company DID teeter on the brink of collapse – or was about to be sold to a foreign company. Continue reading “PM states the obvious about flagging Fonterra but RNZ fails to press her on the “what if” matter of a foreign takeover”

Mass shootings in US could trigger softening of Trump’s position on the Christchurch Call

Might the US now sign up to PM Jacinda Ardern’s call to  action after President  Donald Trump trenchantly denounced white supremacy in the wake of the mass shootings over the weekend in Texas and Ohio and cited the threat of “racist hate”?

The language was unequivocal:

In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated,” he said at the White House.

Trump avoided endorsing the kind of broad gun control measures Democrats and gun-control activists have sought for years, instead calling for stronger action to address mental illness, violence in the media and violent video games and warned  of the perils of the internet and social media. Continue reading “Mass shootings in US could trigger softening of Trump’s position on the Christchurch Call”

Sure, the PM made the Vogue cover – but polls suggest some of the lustre has been lost

PM Jacinda Ardern has been flying her government’s flag in the  Tokelaus,  as  well  as  featuring on the cover  of  Vogue,  achievements  few of  her  predecessors   have managed.

Such  events   have almost  certainly  strengthened  the  conviction of  those  who believe   she has  focussed  the eyes of the world as never before   on this country.

In  any case, when  Opposition  Leader  Simon Bridges  attacked Ardern  for  being  a  “part-time prime minister”  it  was almost  as if he had committed  some  kind of  sacrilege.  The  NZ Herald’s cartoonist reacted  with what he no doubt thought was a  clever  drawing  showing Bridges scraping  the bottom of the barrel.

Ardern’s  mate  Grant  Robertson  was  hot under the collar, too.  He raged that Bridges  had  been  “disrespectful to the office of  prime minister”  and was engaging  in  “dirty politics”.  Not  only that, but there  were  “sexist overtones”   in   what Bridges  was  saying. Continue reading “Sure, the PM made the Vogue cover – but polls suggest some of the lustre has been lost”