So who will head up the New Year’s honours list? Speculation in the Wellington Beltway has centred on whether it will feature Winston Peters.
On one side there are those who contend his long career in politics culminating in his term as deputy Prime Minister should be recognised with a knighthood. Others ridicule the idea. There is, too, all that mysterious finanacial business involving the NZ First Foundation, which somehow bypassed the attention of the NZ First leader.
Besides, there is a school which contends politics runs so strongly in his blood he can’t resist thinking of a comeback. Continue reading “The prospect of Peters being dubbed Sir Winston is raised – but maybe he would rather plan another comeback”
Media attention since the general election has focused largely on the shape of any formal relationship between Labour and the Greens in the formation of the next government.
But the need for party leaders to negotiate, talk or whatever with other party leaders to forge a government partnership is very different from three years ago.
The 2017 election on September 23 was followed by a prolonged bout of negotiations which ultimately resulted in the announcement on October 19 that New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and his party had chosen to put Labour into power.
Peters landed the jobs of deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister in the new government.
At this year’s election Labour won an outright majority on election night and does not need a coalition partner to form a government. Continue reading “After we learn the Greens’ role in the new government, the focus should turn to who gets jobs such as Foreign Affairs”
Hey – look whose names appeared on the only press statement to be posted on The Beehive website yesterday, two days after Election Day and the first statement to be posted on the site since October 15.
The names are those of Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark.
And no, they don’t have to pack their bags just yet despite their trouncing at the polls. The rules that apply in the immediate period after election day are spelled out on the website of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet:
During the government formation process, the current government remains in office, as it is still the lawful executive authority, with all the powers and responsibilities that go with executive office.
But don’t expect anything radical to happen: Continue reading “Peters and Mark remind us they still have ministerial work to do as governmental caretakers”
Will we miss him when he is gone?
Love him or loathe him, Winston Peters is one of the extraordinary characters on the NZ political stage. Through his remarkable career, he has registered the highs — and lows — of politics.
But now after his latest stint as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, the latest opinion polling show he is facing political oblivion. NZ First’s support has shrunk to just 1%.
This perhaps comes as no surprise after the financial shenanigans involving the NZ First Foundation, despite Peters asserting the party and MPs have been “exonerated”.
The Serious Fraud Office announced last week that two people are being charged after a probe into the foundation.
The SFO investigation discovered credible evidence of criminal wrongdoing at the foundation, which has no other purpose than to serve the NZ First Party.
No matter how Peters rails against the SFO, the hard truth is that one of the country’s major law enforcement agencies is charging two people with connections to the NZ First Party, even if they are not current members of it. Continue reading “Polls portend the toppling of Peters and his extraordinary political career – replacing him in Foreign Affairs won’t be easy”
The team at Point of Order – proudly comprising veteran journalists – had been blissfully unaware that yesterday was a special day for us.
It was International Older Persons Day, a matter of huge import drawn to our attention by Seniors Minister Tracey Martin.
Martin’s statement included some fascinating data:
- By 2027 it is expected there will be a million seniors and by 2034, more than a fifth (21.4%) – 1.2 million New Zealanders – will be aged 65+.
- As at June 2020 there were 88,000 people 85 or older – 11% of the senior population. That number is predicted to rise to 179,000 in 2034.
- The senior population is increasingly diverse. By 2034 the number of Māori aged 65+ will more than double from 2018 figures (from 48,500 to 109,400) the senior Pacific population will also do this (from 21,300 to 46,700), and there will be nearly three times as many Asian NZers aged 65+ (from 59,500 to 171,900).
- Seniors currently make up around 6.7% of the workforce (in the June 2020 quarter). By 2033 the number of seniors at work will increase by more than 50% and make up 9.5% of the workforce.
We were just as interested in – and hopeful about – Martin’s declaration that International Older Persons Day had been a chance to think about the individual older New Zealanders we know and to confront ageism.
“On the International Day of Older Persons, let’s remind ourselves that older people are our parents and grandparents and move away from casual ageism.”
We would like to suppose ageism will be confronted far beyond the 24 hours of International Older Persons Day.
And we trust Martin took time to have a chat with Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter about her odious attitude to oldies. Continue reading “Tracey Martin strikes a blow against ageism – here’s hoping the sentiment lasts more than a day (and that Genter was listening)”
Latest from the Beehive
We drew a blank, when we paid our morning visit to the Beehive website. Nothing had been posted since Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced the Government’s plans to phase out more single-use and problem plastics to reduce waste and protect the environment.
Hmm. Let’s check our email in-tray.
This contained advice about the PM’s next media conference – in tandem with the DG of Health – on the virus thing that has thrown politics and politicking into a bit of a tizz. The conference is at 1pm today.
Our email also brought statements (all Covid-related) headed – Continue reading “When the Greens press party leaders to continue commitment to science, we wonder if they include themselves”
So what’s the wily old master up to now? In his opening campaign speech, Winston Peters attacked his coalition partners. His party, he says, is sick of “woke pixie dust” from them:
“New Zealanders need to know what’s out there, and what they have been saved from.”
Surely he is not talking about Jacinda Ardern and her party? Haven’t they been our saviours from the coronovirus pandemic?
Peters then spells out what he has saved us from: NZ First has been the handbrake on the “nanny state”.
“We’ve used commonsense to hold Labour and the Greens to account. We’ve opposed woke pixie dust. We’ve defended socially conservative values, like the right to believe in God. We’ve focussed on the wisdom of sound economics”.
Will voters on September 19 show their gratitude? Continue reading “Peters abjures pixie dust (while saving us from the nanny state) but he might need some to win seats at this year’s election”
So is the election now a foregone conclusion? With Jacindamania still raging, and the National Party shattered by its own shambolic performance, it looks like a walk in the park for the Labour Party and its coalition partners.
Certainly NZ First leader Winston Peters wasn’t slow to rub salt into the wounded Nats.
After a cursory nod to National’s departed leader Todd Muller (“ a good man”), Peters said:
“National has demonstrated to voters as clearly as it is able that it cannot govern itself. During a time of crisis, when stability and real experience is what the country needs from its politicians and their parties, National’s instability and hubris takes it out of the running for the coming General Election.”
Swinging the boot a bit harder, Peters went on:
“Leading a divided and incompetent caucus would have tested even the best leader. Continue reading “Muller’s resignation has election implications for the smaller parties as well as for the Nats”
Around the world, western governments are re-calibrating their foreign policy, strategic and economic settings to China. Tomorrow the British Cabinet will review and probably revoke an earlier decision to allow Huawei Technologies Co into the next 5G network over security concerns. NZ and Australia have already taken this step.
Over the weekend President Donald Trump says he doesn’t even think about a phase two of China-US trade policy. Washington has been angered by the new China-Iran trade and economic agreement, although critics say US embargoes are strangling much of Iran’s economic life and this has driven Tehran into Beijing’s embrace.
Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said the government is reviewing relationships over a wide range with Hong Kong in response to Beijing’s latest restrictions. Canberra is almost apoplectic, according to our correspondent, and its new defence strategic study paints a challenging picture of rising tensions requiring massive spending on new weapons, but doesn’t say from whom. No prizes for guessing. Continue reading “Jian Yang is mentioned in despatches to the WSJ as policies on China are re-calibrated in the West”
Latest from the Beehive –
Hard on the heels of the government promising help for the Southland economy in the wake of Rio Tinto’s decision to close the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, it was announcing the delivery of more money to the North, at the other end of the country.
Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced a somewhat modest $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) for waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones (we suspect he wouldn’t bother getting out of bed to announce a sum of that size) more grandly announced a multi-million-dollar investment in Whangārei for infrastructure projects:
“More than 200 jobs are expected to be created through the $26 million investment from the Government’s rejuvenation package aimed at kick-starting the post COVID-19 economic rebuild.
“The funding is an investment in the wellbeing infrastructure of Whangārei, covering a group of projects identified by the region as priorities. They include a cultural centre, new mixed transport pathways and sports and trades training facilities.
“Building infrastructure is a key component of our economic recovery plan. It creates jobs and provides much-needed economic stimulus. Money invested now will reap rewards later as we take care of our communities.”
Another big announcement came from Housing Minister Megan Woods in connection with her job in charge of Covid-19 quarantine management. Continue reading “Woods calls in the cops, Peters calls in the doctors and – is this news any more? – millions are pumped into Northland”