The signals were clear enough before the on-line Labour caucus meeting this week and – sure enough – Hamilton West Dr Guarav Sharma was suspended.
No surprises, then – except did it also mark the formal burial of the Prime Minister’s “be kind” policy?
Sharma had been labelled a “rogue” MP by some political journalists, although how he qualified for that disparaging epithet was far from clear.
It is true, of course, he had levelled accusations of bullying against government whips, the Parliamentary Service and the PM’s Office without any substantive evidence being put forward.
Yet, for the general public, it might have appeared straightforward enough for the caucus to give him the chance to discuss whatever problems were troubling him.
Instead, the party had its own preliminary session on Monday night, ahead of the hastily summoned Tuesday caucus meeting. Continue reading “Suspended Sharma sparks more suspense – will he quit as an MP and pave the path for National to reclaim Hamilton West?”
Labour MPs may well be determining the fate of Hamilton West MP Gaurav Sharma at a special caucus meeting, as this post is being written.
According to Stuff, the party’s MPs will enter a virtual meeting at 2.30pm on Tuesday and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was expected to speak to reporters afterward, at about 4pm.
Stuff explained that:
Sharma, the MP for Hamilton West, has repeatedly alleged he had been bullied by the party’s whips, Parliamentary Service, and the prime minister’s office in the past week.
Sharma has so far produced no substantive evidence to back up his claims of bullying. Ardern has said the claims appear to be prompted by the party working to resolve issues between himself and employees, and a “hiring freeze” that had been placed on his office.
Point of Order noted that Sharma’s bullying allegations were recorded in a social media post on Friday night. Continue reading “Labour caucus is not alone in asking for an explanation from the MP for Hamilton West”
Labour backbenchers, conscious that recent polling shows their political futures could be cut short, will be looking to this week’s budget to replenish their party’s popularity with handouts to swing votes.
They could be disappointed, if the Budget’s programme does not tackle voters’ concerns.
BNZ economists last week warned that the chances of a recession are “increasing by the day”. Economist Cameron Bagrie says controlling government spending to tamp down the factors causing high inflation should be a priority for the government, but a big-spending budget is already locked in.
Meanwhile investors in the local sharemarket, taking a gloomy view of NZ’s economic prospects, are already reeling from the downward trend in the local indices. Similarly the NZ dollar has dipped sharply against both the greenback and the Australian dollar, as New Zealand’s main export market in China suffers from a severe Covid lockdown.
This then could be the moment for Finance Minister Grant Robertson to produce the proverbial from his hat.
Certainly his opponents have been generous with their advice, urging him to offer tax relief and in particular to reverse the tax bracket creep which is adding to the bruising from the wage-price spiral. Continue reading “Caucus neophytes may be keeping the govt from knowing what Kiwis in their electorates are wanting”
As the Labour caucus suns itself at Martinborough, and members savour one or two of the local products, it may seem like a golden summer for the party.
PM Jacinda Ardern is just back from Europe where some of New Zealand’s finest journalists modestly recorded how she bedazzled the elites.
And although some commentators on the Left, notably Chris Trotter, have rather carpingly been critical of Ardern because there is little to show for the “transformation” which the PM promised New Zealanders, caucus members are unshaken in their conviction transformation will happen.
Never mind the own goals scored by Clare Curran and Meka Whaitiri, not to mention Iain Lee-Galloway on the Karel Sroubek affair, or Phil Twyford with his KiwiBuild fiasco: the Ardern government will soon be tackling education reform, introducing a capital gains tax to make the system “fairer”, and giving trade unions greater powers in wage bargaining. Continue reading “The Martinborough message to ministers must be ‘lift your game’”