Suspended Sharma sparks more suspense – will he quit as an MP and pave the path for National to reclaim Hamilton West?

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 caucus is not alone in asking for an explanation from the MP for 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”

Caucus neophytes may be keeping the govt from knowing what Kiwis in their electorates are wanting

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”

The Martinborough message to ministers must be ‘lift your game’

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’”