One of New Zealand ’s great construction projects will soon be open for traffic. It is the Transmission Gully expressway over 27km north of Wellington from Porirua to connect with the expressway south of Paraparaumu through to Otaki.
Wellingtonians familiar with the Centennial Highway (the sole highway at present to the north out of the capital) that dates back to the days of Labour’s great roadbuilder, Bob Semple, have been frustrated with the delays stretching the construction period far beyond the original timeline.
Yet the blame game for the delays cannot disguise this project is an engineering marvel that will alleviate the traffic bottleneck that often chokes traffic moving to and from the capital.
The four-lane expressway will be a particular boon for the heavy traffic vehicles that have become an essential element in the supply chain. It cuts through what was extremely difficult terrain and those who have seen it from the air say it is a spectacular achievement for the roadbuilders. Continue reading “Yes, we could play the blame game, but look on the bright side – Transmission Gully expressway will soon be open for traffic”
Reports have been circulating in Wellington of sampling by pollsters which show support for Labour climbing into the 49-51% range and for National slumping to the low 30’s.
To those enraptured by the “kindness” of the Prime Minister and impressed by the government’s performance during the Covid-19 pandemic, a result like that would be no surprise. Many New Zealanders rejoice in the plaudits which overseas media heap on Jacinda Ardern as a “world leader” who is outperforming her peers in other countries.
An influential American magazine, The Atlantic, described Ardern as maybe the most effective leader on the planet.
In contrast, there is consistent criticism of Opposition Leader Simon Bridges from some media figures. Left-wing blogs come alive with speculation of a coup any day within the National caucus.
So is the forthcoming election one that an Opposition party might want to lose? Continue reading “Acclaim for the PM boosts Labour in the polls – but voters may not be so kind as the recession bites”
NZ First leader Winston Peters today said he wants the election held on November 21, Radio NZ reported. He says he believes the health system would be under the pump in September with the winter flu season and the country potentially still dealing with the impacts of Covid-19.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the September election date before the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Peters said he had fought for the November date originally, because his party believed summer elections were better, but given the pressures of Covid-19 he will again raise delaying it by two months.
“Having a good look at it now and with the compounding problems of coronavirus and all the distractions and efforts going in elsewhere, perhaps the sound thing is to say November 21 is the right date and we should go ahead then,” he said. Continue reading “Some Labour strategists may agree with Peters that the election should be delayed”
Are ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s coalition beginning to live in a dreamworld of their own, distant from the one where ordinary New Zealanders live?
In Parliament, in answer to patsy questions from their own backbenchers, they congratulate themselves on their extraordinary ( as it seems to them) achievements. They appear supremely unconscious of or oblivious to the world most New Zealanders inhabit. And this week they were doing their best to ignore the raging furnace torching NZ First.
It’s possible they were yawning because they had heard it all before.
But other NZers found the allegations of financial shenanigans inside the structure of NZ First disturbing.
Stuff reports the NZ First Foundation received 26 donations of $325,900 in just a five month period, adding:
“Donors to the foundation include food manufacturers, racing interests, forestry owners and wealthy property developers.” Continue reading “The PM dances on a pin about funding furore – but she can’t waltz away from the question of her govt’s integrity”
Cabinet Minister Shane Jones is under fire for promising utu against the whistleblower who told the NZ Herald about his comments at the forestry awards evening.
Jones, adopting Donald Trump’s technique, says he knows who went to the Herald and he’s going to “deal to them”.
“When the election comes around and the Cabinet restrictions have been loosened, then I am personally going to deal to these National Party sympathisers who thought that it was a smart idea to try and have me quivering in a corner by racing to the media.At the appropriate time, I will deal to them as a big-time, NZ First wrestler.”
Commentators as diverse as Peter Dunne and Heather du Plessis-Allan reckon he has over-stepped the mark. Continue reading “The Nats won’t want Jones fired – not when voters would be robbed of the chance to bridle at being wooed with public funds”
A fresh wave of jacindamania swept through the media as the Prime Minister returned from maternity leave. The event stirred headlines round the world – the BBC rated it up there with the post-election riots in Harare and Donald Trump’s latest tweet, while at home Radio NZ’s John Campbell let fly with one of his effusive gushes.
NZ, it is clear, has a political phenomenon to reckon with: no other leader of our country has commanded such global attention. The style with which Ardern manages governing with motherhood is indeed remarkable.
She comes back to the Beehive at a testing time. The mood of the country has changed sharply in the six weeks she has been absent. Continue reading “Oh, mother – another dose of jacindamania, but things have changed since the first bout”
When Labour went into coalition with NZ First, it seemed astute on the part of the Greens to back it on confidence and supply in exchange for ministerial positions. The Greens believed they would be able to achieve several of their major policy goals, without suffering the fate of other small parties suffocated in the embrace of a major party in the process of governing the country.
So how is it looking less than nine months into the term? The assessment is far from favourable: the Greens have scored enough own-goals to dismay even onetime champions like Sue Bradford.
Any government starts losing votes from the day it takes office. For the Greens, as polls show, leakage of support has been on a scale which could threaten the party’s survival at the next election. Continue reading “Why the Greenies may be browned off with their party of principle”