A mood of anticipation has been created – Ardern now must deliver

After  a  year  in  which  the  Labour-NZ  First  coalition  settled into  office  and  those  who had never  expected  to  sight the  inside of the Cabinet room were adjusting to  their new riding instructions,  the mood of the country  is  now anticipatory. 

The   government  has  generated a  sense  of change,  if  only   by its  ministers  harping on  about  “ nine years of  neglect”.  It’s a theme  that  may come back to  haunt  them.

For  change  itself   can be  unsettling.  Politically,  New  Zealanders prefer stability. They are  not  revolutionaries.

That’s why  Grant Robertson has  kept a   steady  hand on the   tiller,  eschewing  the  drastic  economic  reform   those  on the fringes  call  for.  Continue reading “A mood of anticipation has been created – Ardern now must deliver”

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UN compact: Peters’ supporters fear he hasn’t put NZ First

Deputy PM Winston Peters has lit  a firestorm  in his own support base  over  the government’s decision to sign the controversial UN Migration Compact—a  move  National   says  it  will overturn.

NZ First’s  Facebook  page  went into overdrive as  one-time NZ  First voters voiced their anger.  After all, NZ  First  campaigned strongly   against  the previous  government’s  immigration policies  and  stood  out in demanding  stricter controls on  migration.

Now the party appears willing to  adopt the UN’s  rules on open, regular migration.

So  did  Peters  miscalculate?  In  Parliament   he had been using the UN compact to  bait  National,  because it  was the government  in 2016 when offering support as the compact was being initiated. Continue reading “UN compact: Peters’ supporters fear he hasn’t put NZ First”

MFAT’s prestige is expected to bloom again, now the ministry has gone to Seed

Chris  Seed  has been  confirmed  as  Secretary  of  Foreign Affairs  & Trade,  as Point of Order   earlier foreshadowed.  An experienced diplomat, he succeeds  Brook Barrington  who  the State Services  Commission named as CEO of the  Department of  Prime Minister &  Cabinet.

Seed,  who  recently  returned to NZ  after  serving  a  five-year term  as High Commissioner to  Canberra,   is  expected  to   work  closely   with  Foreign  Minister   Winston Peters on his Pacific Reset   policies.

His  appointment  is  understood  to  have been  extremely  well received  by  senior staff  in MFAT, whose  morale  was  severely bruised    during the era of  John Allen   as  CEO.     It is  known  that Peters   has been   keen  to  return  MFAT   to  the   slot   it  enjoyed   before the Allen era    as one of the  key  sources of   advice  to  Cabinet, not  just  on   foreign and trade  policies but  in other   areas  of   national  security. Continue reading “MFAT’s prestige is expected to bloom again, now the ministry has gone to Seed”

Pacific Reset – what Labour really thinks about it will be seen when US ships arrive

Left-wing  blogger Chris Trotter,  in  one of his  recent essays, questions whether PM Jacinda Ardern is really running the government or is merely its figurehead.

He  cited  several  examples of the PM  appearing to be unaware  of  key policy decisions  and  questioned  whether allowing her leading Cabinet Ministers to simply get on with the job is a central feature of her management style.

I hope  not.  It would suggest that Ardern has chosen the role of figurehead rather than leader. That her job is to supply the warm and sympathetic face of the Coalition Government while the heavy-hitters of her Cabinet – Winston Peters, Grant Robertson, David Parker, Phil Twyford, Meagan Woods and Shane Jones – carry out the day-to-day business of governing the country”. Continue reading “Pacific Reset – what Labour really thinks about it will be seen when US ships arrive”

NZ’s role in missile control gives Peters a boost on US mission

Before   flying out  on his  Washington  mission,  Deputy PM Winston Peters  announced  (in his  role  as Disarmament and Arms Control Minister) that NZ will take up the chair of the Missile Technology Control Regime later next year.

Peters  says NZ’s emerging space industry makes it particularly relevant at this time that it  works on effective international control of sensitive missile-related technologies. NZ will host the annual plenary meeting in Auckland in October 2019, which is expected to attract over 200 delegates.

The  issue  may be  high  on  the agenda  for his talks in  Washington,  where  Peters  has  appointments with  key figures of the  Trump  administration, including  Vice-president   Mike Pence,  Secretary of  State  Michael R Pompeo, National Security Adviser  John Bolton and  Director of National  Intelligence  Dan Coats. Continue reading “NZ’s role in missile control gives Peters a boost on US mission”

Greenpeace gets heated over decision to protect exports and keep farming out of ETS

Greenpeace  has  got its  knickers  in a  twist  over the government’s decision   not to include  agriculture  within  the emissions trading scheme  as part of   reforms   which the government  says  will  help  improve the  operation of  the  scheme.

But  Greenpeace registers  “disbelief”   that what it calls  the country’s biggest polluter  is  still being excluded from the  scheme.

Point of Order,  noting the  increasing   stridency  of Greenpeace lobbying  on  climate change, believes it  reflects the organisation’s dismay  that the  Green  Party  is  not  doing its  job  (as Greenpeace  sees it) on  climate  change.

Almost  certainly  Winston Peters, as  leader of NZ  First,  put the   kibosh on  bringing  agriculture into the ETS. He  knows it would  not only  choke  the country’s leading export industries   but   kill  off  any support  NZ First  has tried to  win by  portraying itself  as  the “saviour”  of  failing provincial  economies. Continue reading “Greenpeace gets heated over decision to protect exports and keep farming out of ETS”

The Trough Monitor: $1m up for grabs for racing industry safety initiatives

The Point of Order Trough Monitor was triggered today when the Deputy PM sent out a press statement to record his beneficence as Minister of (ha!) Racing.

It was headed Government allocates $610,649 to racecourse safety

Racing Minister Rt Hon. Winston Peters announced today that the Government has invested $610,649 in 25 projects to improve safety at racecourses.

The grants are made available from the Racing Safety Development Fund which provides $1 million annually to racecourse safety across two funding rounds. Continue reading “The Trough Monitor: $1m up for grabs for racing industry safety initiatives”