Why we are puzzled by the polls and what they are telling us about prospects of the Nats and ACT forming a government

Here’s a  political  conundrum:   why  aren’t   Opposition  parties  doing better in the  opinion polls?

National’s  leadership  has  settled  in, and it’s fair to say support for the Nats has increased since Christopher Luxon replaced Judith Collins.  But the gains have been at the expense of ACT.

And  together,  the two parties  are not  polling  well  enough  to  form a  government on  their own.

It will be worth watching to see if ACT does better after  holding an upbeat  conference last weekend,  oozing confidence levels which  party leader  David  Seymour  might  not  have  recognised  just  five or  so years  ago.

But meanwhile it might take only the suggestion of  a  success  or  two  for  the  government to  turn  around  the  slump  in its  fortunes.

So  far  there  is  no  sign  of that turnaround.

A  government   which began with a  show  of  capability,  if  not in a  blaze  of  glory, is  now finding  that  almost everything  it  touches   fades  into  ashes  so  quickly that   there  is  nothing, or  very little, to see. Continue reading “Why we are puzzled by the polls and what they are telling us about prospects of the Nats and ACT forming a government”

Guns and the gangs – Govt responds with a package of crackdown measures after ACT championed a taxing approach

Buzz from the Beehive

Voters are bound to wonder about the Government’s determination to crack down on gangs when official data show more than one firearm offence a day, on average, has been committed by gang members since 2019.

This has happened on the Ardern government’s watch, in other words (although it would be helpful to have figures going further back to cover the period of National-led governments).

But before Point of Order had digested the data and the implications for law-and-order policy, Police Minister Chris Hipkins and Justice Minister Kiri Allan had popped up  to announce a package of measures to help reduce the harm caused by gangs and make communities safer.

The crackdown on gangs was posted on the Beehive website along with news of

  • Two sustainable manufacturing businesses in the Manawatu dipping into a government trough – the Regional Strategic Partnership Fund – and being rewarded to the tune of $1.75 million in one case and up to $2 million in the other.
  • New Zealand and Australia investing a further NZ$1.1 million between them in a new desalination plant to support Kiribati to maintain drinking water supplies. This is in addition to $1.19 million in drought support initiatives already rolled out in Kiribati by New Zealand.
  • New Zealand making “a significant contribution” to support the implementation of the Fiji Gender Action Programme to advance women’s empowerment and social protection. A $12.6 million contribution, to be specific.
  • The Thompsons Creek projects, part of the wider Manuherekia catchment programme in Central Otago, being granted $2.9 million in Jobs for Nature funding to help improve water quality and restore freshwater habitats.

All this will be carefully considered and essential spending, of course, because Finance Minister Grant Robertson is keeping a tight rein on fiscal policy.  Continue reading “Guns and the gangs – Govt responds with a package of crackdown measures after ACT championed a taxing approach”

Karl du Fresne on virtue signalling, Kiri Allan, Three Waters and secret donations

This article was published today on Karl du Fresne’s blog (HERE).

Newly promoted minister Kiritapu Allan has said what a lot of people think but feel unable to say. 

She lashed out in a tweet against “tokenistic” use of te reo by employees of DOC “as an attempt to show govt depts are culturally competent”. She told Stuff she encouraged the use of the Maori language, but wanted it used “with integrity”.

“You want to use te reo, you use it with integrity and use it responsibly,” Stuff quoted Allan as saying. “This isn’t a ‘everybody go out and use mahi and kaupapa’ and say you have a deep and enduring relationship with te ao Māori.”

Of course this shouldn’t apply only to DOC, where Allan was in charge before this week’s cabinet reshuffle resulted in her elevation to the justice portfolio. The same message could be directed at all government agencies where middle-class Pakeha public servants, eager to demonstrate their solidarity with the tangata whenua, indulge in an ostentatious display of virtue-signalling by using token Maori words and phrases.

I wonder whether Radio New Zealand also got the memo.  Continue reading “Karl du Fresne on virtue signalling, Kiri Allan, Three Waters and secret donations”

Buzz from the Beehive: Budget announcements are still flowing but criminals will pay for Poto’s new law and order initiative

Ministers continue to beat the drum for the goodies dispensed in the Budget, a week after Finance Minister Grant Robertson delivered his Budget speech and the Government published a raft of documents and press statements to tell the nation who got how much. 

Some of the ministerial post-Budget announcements relate to services that are being provided for all who need them.  Or rather, all who need them until the money runs out, presumably.

In addition to the $15.5 million spent each year to help people battling with eating disorders, for example, $3.9 million in extra funding over four years has been secured as part of Budget 2022.

“This will help increase the capacity of eating disorder services and reinforces our continued focus and commitment to improve mental health and addictions support in Aotearoa,” Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: Budget announcements are still flowing but criminals will pay for Poto’s new law and order initiative”

Buzz from the Beehive: greenhouse gases are in the govt’s gunsights – and (good grief!) so are the gangs

Climate Change Minister James Shaw today announced New Zealand’s first three emissions budgets, describing this as another milestone on of the journey toward a zero-carbon future.

Having these binding budgets in place was a critical part of the government’s strategy to rapidly eliminate the pollution that causes climate change, he said.

Shaw also confirmed the Emissions Reduction Plan will be released on Monday 16 May, setting out exactly how the Government plans to deliver on the first emissions budget. The Minister of Finance will outline the first investments from the Climate Emergency Response Fund on the same day.

But despite the importance of the government’s assault on pollution, we were more fascinated by a pre-Budget announcement from  Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis, Justice Minister Kris Faafoi and  Police Minister Poto Williams. 

The law-and-order package further increases Police numbers, addresses gang violence and extends successful rehabilitation programmes to break the cycle of offending and entering a life of crime.

The budget number that matters is that the Government is investing over $562 million over four years into Police (“so they continue to have the resources they need to keep our communities safe”), which “is in addition to our already-record investment in Police.”

More cops are promised but the government also will invest $94 million in tackling gangs and organised crime while working with communities to address the social factors that lead to people joining gangs in the first place.

The timing is fascinating:  just a few days earlier a Newshub-Reid Research poll found most Kiwis think Police Minister Poto Williams is too soft on crime.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is standing by her beleaguered colleague and Williams described the poll respondents’ judgement of her as unfair, saying:

“For me, you’re either soft or you’re a thug or you’re smart and I choose to be smart.”

National Party Police spokesperson Mark Mitchell (what did you expect him to say?) sees it differently.

“I think the result of your poll clearly shows that the public has lost confidence in this Government,” he told Newshub. “They are soft on crime.”

Point of Order remains puzzled that when the PM appointed her ministers after the 2020 general election, she bypassed Greg O’Connor, a former police officer who rose to the rank of Senior Sergeant but was more widely known as President of the New Zealand Police Association.     

Wikipedia provides a quick rundown on his career.

What would we learn if Newshub– or any other journalist, come to think of it – asked him what he thinks of the government’s performance on the law-and-order front and the public’s opinion of Poto Williams.

Latest from the Beehive

9 MAY 2022

Aotearoa sets course to net-zero with first three emissions budgets

Climate Change Minister James Shaw today announced New Zealand’s first three emissions budgets, another milestone on of the journey toward a zero-carbon future.

Speech

Building a low-carbon future

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

Safety front of mind as new cycleway opens

As Road Safety Week officially commences, Auckland’s busiest cycling route has just received a $14.4 million upgrade, paving the way to get more Aucklanders out of their cars and onto their bikes.

Budget 2022: More police to target gangs

The Government has announced a major package of law and order measures that further increases Police numbers, addresses gang violence and extends successful rehabilitation programmes to break the cycle of offending and entering a life of crime.

8 MAY 2022

Rotuman’s strongly support their language revival in Aotearoa

Vetḁkia ‘os Fäega ma Ag fak hanua – Sustaining our Language and Culture is showcased in this year’s Rotuman Language Week – the first of nine Pacific Language Weeks.

New poll (does the mainstream media know about it?) affirms Ardern govt is on the back foot

The Ardern government  may  feel  pleased it  hasn’t  fallen lower  in  the   latest  Roy Morgan poll,  but  there  wasn’t much to   cheer  about,  particularly  for those  MPs  who it  indicates face  being  banished to the political wilderness come  election day.

The  key  element in the  poll – the  fourth in a  row  in the Roy  Morgan sampling to  show  a  change of  government, were there to be  an election now – is  the decline in net country direction from -5% to  -12.5%, as  has  been  pointed  out  by  another pollster,  David  Farrar.

The gender breakdown of the direction question is  also pertinent: in February women were + 8% but are now -6%.

Of  course,  Covid   is  still  dominating  the  headlines  in  the  mainstream media, few  of which level  any  kind of  criticism at  the Prime  Minister – and  there  was  barely  a  mention to  be  found  in the media of  the  Roy Morgan  poll.

Strangely,  too,  the  NZ  Herald’s percipient political  editor, Claire Trevett, defended  the  Prime Minister  for her  choice of  Poto Williams  as  Police  Minister,  even after  the  newspaper  had earlier given  her front-page  headlines  “Williams  slated, over  police response  times”.   Continue reading “New poll (does the mainstream media know about it?) affirms Ardern govt is on the back foot”

And on the 11th day, the govt moved with a sanctions package to show the world what we think of Putin’s war in Ukraine

The flow of news from The Beehive in recent days seems to have been aimed largely at enabling ministers to remind voters of their portfolio responsibilities and duties.

On International Women’s Day, for example, the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Sexual Violence, Marama Davidson, joined with other women “to reinforce the need for collective action to address gender-based violence”.

The Minister for Children, Kelvin Davis, drew attention to the celebration of Children’s Day/ Te Rā o Ngā Tamariki by asking everyone to continue with crucial support for our young people as the fight with Covid continues.

 Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio announced the 2022 Pacific Language Weeks series, highlighting the contribution of those who have provided life-saving Covid-19 messages in the nine Pacific Island languages over the past two years.

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi reassured us the Government is “progressing” legislation to ensure that courts can continue operating safely and effectively as COVID-19 spreads in the community.

And Finance Minister Grant Robertson issued a ministerial statement to serve what looks like the  purpose of putting  down National Party leader Christopher Luxon, who had called for the government to give struggling Kiwis tax relief as the cost of living soars. Robertson rejoined that Kiwis had heard “the same tired old story” from Luxon that “fails to give any new ideas for our future”.

Then came something with a bit more heft. Continue reading “And on the 11th day, the govt moved with a sanctions package to show the world what we think of Putin’s war in Ukraine”

Sepuloni tackles a matter of gender imbalance – but do women really want a bigger share of payments from the ACC?

 Monitoring the Ministers

We suspect women don’t aspire to gain equality with men in all measures of gender disparities.

Prison musters provide an obvious example.

In September this year males accounted for 94.3% of the prison population. 

This clearly means women were far behind with just 5.7% – and that percentage was lower than the 7% recorded in September 2018.

Elsewhere in our criminal justice system, changes to help women are being effected through the passage of the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill, which will:

  • entitle sexual violence complainants to use alternative ways of giving evidence, including by pre-recording their cross-examination evidence in appropriate cases;
  • ensure evidence about a complainant’s past sex life is off limits, unless it is clearly highly relevant; and
  • require judges to talk to the jury to dispel any misconceptions relating to sexual violence (often called ‘rape myths’) that might be brought into a case.

Mind you, Justice  Minister Kris Faafoi dispelled any impression there is a gender bias in the  legislation.  It includes changes to benefit all witnesses, not just those in sexual cases, he said. Continue reading “Sepuloni tackles a matter of gender imbalance – but do women really want a bigger share of payments from the ACC?”

Aucklanders (many of them, anyway) are to be freed from Covid curbs soon – but the rest of NZ has cause for anxiety

More than one announcement from the Beehive yesterday has the potential to affect the country’s health and general wellbeing in one way or another.

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi – for example – was chuffed about the the Three Strikes Legislation Repeal Bill passing its first reading in Parliament.

But critics fear this legislation  will put several of the worst criminals in New Zealand back on our streets over the next four years.

ACT Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee said:

“Three Strikes offenders make up just one per cent of all convictions, they have an average of 75 convictions, they are the worst and most violent offenders New Zealand has seen. They aren’t behind bars for petty theft or minor crimes. They have beaten, raped and murdered people.

“For every offence carried out by these people, there is a victim…” Continue reading “Aucklanders (many of them, anyway) are to be freed from Covid curbs soon – but the rest of NZ has cause for anxiety”

Nash presses on with tourism transformation plan – but DOC rocks some operators by restoring concession charges

The government giveth, by backing industry restructuring (or transformation) plans – and the government taketh away, by imposing (or reimposing) imposts on Covid-beleaguered businesses.

Another word for this is meddling.

In the case of the tourism industry, the government today announced that skills shortages and career progression in the tourism and hospitality sector are the first priorities of a restructuring  plan (with a whiff of social engineering) being drawn up for tourism.

The plan involves the government in forging a “partnership” between the industry and Maoridom.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash revealed this when he outlined the next steps in the Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) for the sector, originally foreshadowed in May as part of the $200 million Tourism Communities Support, Recovery and Re-set package.

Continue reading “Nash presses on with tourism transformation plan – but DOC rocks some operators by restoring concession charges”