- Date published:
5:34 pm, August 21st, 2022 - 64 comments
Categories: Christopher Luxon, feminism, jacinda ardern, labour, national, Politics, polls - Tags:
The most important recent political news in my opinion are two opinion poll results. The first the Kantar poll from last week suggested that 65% of kiwis opposed National’s plan to reverse Labour’s tax on those earning over $180,000. National needs to proceed with this policy with a great deal of caution. Make it election policy and they risk losing support. Back away from it and they look weak and their base will not be pleased.
The second poll result was the recent Curia poll result. The Government has faced a perfect storm recently, high inflation, Covid biting, major pressure on businesses and a cold, wet winter.
Despite this Labour and National are level pegging. And perhaps most importantly Jacinda Ardern’s support is double that of Christopher Luxon’s and Luxon’s support is in decline, having dropped 2.9% in a month. And the commentary is that Ardern’s support declined but it has actually strengthened over the past few months.
No doubt this is why Luxon has been so quiet lately. He and National’s brains trust are trying to work out what to do.
But the past week has been a week of sideshows.
One international example involves Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin. She is a young woman comparable to Jacinda Ardern who is also in the receiving end of some pretty misogynist comments and attacks based on the fact she is a young woman in charge.
What did Marin do? Was she caught out misleading the electorate? Did she appoint herself to multiple ministries without telling anyone or enrich herself through her position? Did she breach local laws and then lie to Parliament about what happened?
Nope. Her sin was to go to a nightclub and be filmed dancing. The video was obtained by right wing social media and then splashed out with allegations she had taken drugs. She has since taken a drug test to disprove the allegation. The whole incident has a stench about it. Why shouldn’t Prime Ministers be able to let their hair down occasionally.
And the other sideshow clearly is the never ending episode involving Gaurav Sharma. I sense his credibility with media is in decline. They are now asking him to come up with proof to back up his allegations.
I have covered his situation previously. My basic conclusion is that I would not like to work for him and his relationships with staff was appalling. And his hyped up claims of being bullied, something that he reflected on twice in his maiden speech, suggests a hyper sensitivity that is not healthy.
I agree in part with what Tracy Watkins said this morning in Stuff particularly this:
Like many new MPs, Sharma seems to have been unprepared and unsuited for a life in politics. Many come from careers where they are relatively senior and largely respected. They discover when they arrive at Parliament that they are neither of these things.
Few of them will shine bright in their time on the back benches; most will lead short and largely anonymous political careers before disappearing back into private life.
Problems like Sharma occur because some of them also happen to be hugely ambitious, and entered politics believing they were destined for higher things – i.e. a ministerial limo, Beehive office and a Government department or two to boss around.
Few of them will ever achieve such heights.
The job of the whip is to keep these competing forces in check to make sure overly ambitious backbenchers don’t do or say anything stupid to derail the party. There’s a fairly big clue as to how they achieve this in their name – they are whips not just in name, but by nature.
As for the claim that the outcome of the caucus meeting was predetermined – of course it was.
Publicly bad-mouthing the leader and party hierarchy was only ever going to have one outcome and it didn’t need a secret caucus meeting to decide that. There’s no walking back from calling the leader a liar.
I would disagree with Watkins about the decision to suspend Sharma being premeditated nor am I surprised that Caucus met without him. The suspension, given the circumstances and the extraordinary amount of shitfuckery shown by Sharma, the absolute least that he could have expected.
And if he is right there is a second Labour MP who may be feeling uncomfortable right now.
The extent of the change in media attitude is shown by Newshub deleting a reference to Neale Jones and tweeting “[t]his interview has been edited to remove an unsubstantiated statement about Neale Jones”. The defamation threshold involving someone who is not an MP is much lower than that involving an MP.
#WATCH Gaurav Sharma joins @ConorWhittenTV live in studio and reveals new details of a letter he sent to the PM's chief of staff alleging bullying in Parliament
*This interview has been edited to remove an unsubstantiated statement about Neale Jones https://t.co/dYuMg26HY7
— Newshub Nation (@NewshubNationNZ) August 19, 2022
As speculated by Watkins the whole incident appears to be one involving unrequited ambition. Hence Sharma’s fixation with Kieran McNulty and repeated references to his being promoted into Cabinet.
Caucus is due to review the matter on Tuesday. Given Sharma’s repeated accusations against Ardern and Labour I am very, very confident what the result will be.
And there will be some thought given to the Waka Jumping law if matters continue to deteriorate although as pointed out by Andrew Geddis use of this power would have considerable implications.
Well qualified Labour MPs who suck it up and will likely leave in 2023 because Ardern is so shit at Cabinet renewals:
– Dr Deborah Russel, tax expert
– Dr Duncan Webb, legislative expert
– Vanushi Walters, human rights specialist
– Marija Lubeck, lawyer and labour relations expert
– Dr Liz Craig, professional epidemiologist
– Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki, Oranga Tamariki senior manager
– Rachel Brooking, environmental and local government expert
– Helen White, employment law specialist
– Dr Tracey McLellan, psychology and nursing specialist
– Dan Rosewarne, only Labour MP with substantive military service and knowledge
– Dr Emily Henderson, expert in criminal law reform
– Greg O'Connor, 20+ veteran policing expert
So if Dr Sharma has a promotion issue, one might expect a whole bunch of others would as well. Dr Sharma's outburst is on Ardern.
Of course the rest of them will do the Omerta, such it up and waste their lives as cannon fodder on select committees. And sure, power is an 'up=or=out' game. Problem is when you consistently fail to deliver on policy promises, you need a strong bench to refresh.
Ardern is a pretty poor political manager of her own team.
will likely leave in 2023 because Ardern is so shit at Cabinet renewals
Do you mean choose to leave? The vast majority won't, and you've simply plucked that prediction out of nowhere, with Sharma-like levels of evidence.
If you mean "be voted out because of the swing" then after 50% of the vote it was always inevitable that some MPs would. I expect Dan Rosewarne is a good guy but he was so low on the list it's amazing he became an MP at all.
If you're judging MPs by their CV then 2 weeks ago then Gaurav Sharma would have been at the top. Impressive CV – but it turns out, a really hopeless, self-destructive, dishonest politician. Ardern didn't make him that.
…and we can expect a cabinet reshuffle next year along with list rankings to protect the talent that might otherwise be at risk. Expect the most promising of this terms' new crop to get a nod.
It's too late.
At 32-33% the Cabinet reshuffle is the 2023 election.
Ardern won't care who makes it, whether she's in or out: it will be mere survival.
So you didn't mean "choose to leave".
You've simply predicted a percentage vote, and then allocated places on a party list that nobody will know for another year.
After retirements, then even with 32-33% most of those MPs you name will stay in Parliament, unless they are leapfrogged by brand new candidates, which is the opposite of the claim you make.
Take the top 40 on the 2020 list, then remove retirements (Wall, Mallard, others) and check the names.
Leave. Push. Fired. Deselected. Shunted. Shifted. Sunk. Swiped. Knifed. Redeployed. "Family reasons".
You could do a post on who is likely to go at 30-31%.
It's not too hard to go through the electorates one by one, then the list.
It makes for grim reading, and MPs can generally count.
Interesting and thought provoking views, Ad. Will the current lot of sitting MPs be motivated (hungry) and energised enough to campaign hard for their existence (as if their political lives depend on it) or will they be(come) disenfranchised and disengage? List rankings could be the deciding factor, so do you know when these are decided and announced in 2023?
The Labour list conferences are now close to meaningless.
If you've ever been to one, the sweet smell of desperation and rapid-fire betrayals is exhausting.
When the next one happens with polls heading for 30% the level of fictional projection will resemble a pentecostal church service.
If the morale below deck is that low then the officers should have a Ruby to map a course to safe harbour for repairs and restocking.
A nice open Conference with some actual remits. Or even a whole-caucus retreat for a few days.
The whole team have to decide if they want to win power again.
I'm sorry to have to say it Ad but you are starting to sound like Martin Bradbury on The Daily Blog.
Please don't go that way!
Fat chance! Ad hasn’t even mentioned the dreaded w-word yet! What happened to having robust debate here on TS?? Many here seem to be too scared to let go of old habits & beliefs (BTW, all NZ parties suffer from this to a more or lesser degree – it correlates with how progressive they are).
If he’s even a little correct, then the internal structure of the LP could be weakened and ready to fold like a house of cards. So far, Sharma-gate has not made the Party implode and it has shown remarkable unity under pressure and a very constraint (public) response, which would argue against internal hairline fractures cracking further.
I find it ironic, if true, that the LP is advocating for Co-Governance (whatever that might mean in practice) and apparently reluctant to re-arrange its own deckchairs, of which there are plenty good ones. Is it timidity, fear, or something else? The arrangement with the Green Party seems to be symptomatic of the state of the LP.
Ad's playing Beelzebub's advocate – hey! What!?!
Love or hate her, if JA had declined the opportunity to lead Lab in 2017 then the Gnats would now be exploiting an unprecedented 5th consecutive term in Govt.
We are doomed ! Ha, bullshit. IMO You have white-anted Jacinda for ..a long time.
Jacinda…is THE best PM for NZ. End of.
So many so qualified.
What is the solution to them simply being select committee cannon fodder? Not have so many to start with?
Make them all ministers or associates?
Or have them all as drones, happy to simply be there as fodder?
Or do you suggest we radically reorganise things so there are less MPs so none will feel they're down the back, ignored, just making up the numbers?
You assume that:
a) they’re not contributing a lot already
b) increased prominence and power is always a motive ahead of service
c) coming from a skilled profession outside politics always provides transferable skills or all of the necessary transferable skills. It’s obvious that the MP for Hamilton West has some definite knowledge and skills well ahead of the general populace, but not all of those required to succeed in this parliament.
d) people are able to work for the party in a number of ways outside of parliament, including formulating policy or advocating strongly for causes they are passionate about.
e) as observer observes your language is a bit loose and your maths doesn’t entirely add up
f) the main opposition party has promoted and demoted a lot of people in the last few years. If you promote someone you have to move someone else on and then the accusation becomes instability.
g) you have a valid point to make about renewal. But in my opinion have overegged it. I suspect the attack on Kieran McAnulty may be motivated by his role with local government and the vigor he’s shown in getting around the country in that role. He’s an engaging new talent emerging in key roles and this seems like an attempt to attack him as he’s establishing himself.
After 5 years, there is one disaffected bump in the road, who became unhappy with his staff and the assistance he received 6 months after being elected.
People who were elected, some on the PM's coat tails in 2020 with the swing are in shaky seats. and that is her poor team management?
This is a unified caucus, and yes, we were never going to get 65 elected in 2023, for a third term, and some fine people will go.
She has demoted or moved Ministers who did not cope, and has the backing of the majority of her 65 members. The realisation of political dreams happens to few.
You are on record as not personally valuing her, and your charge of mismanagement by the PM is on thin ice. The selections for 2023 are not finite, and yes there may be further murmurs, but generally "the greater good" will decide the course.
number 8 Ardern "tanking". Well, to some….
The performance of this government is most certainly on Ardern.
The performance of the caucus and of Cabinet is also on Ardern.
It's on the label.
Labour has now gone from 50% of seats to a likely 30% of seats within 2 years.
From enormous political capital and 50% of Parliament she has delivered:
Housing crisis continues. Education system collapsing. Health system in crisis. Gang crime exploding. No economic direction. Nothing “transformed”. A climate mitigation system based on carbon trading. Weaker in Defence. Local government gutted. Huge government debt.
You may well see that as doing a good job, but you are in an increasingly small group.
Thanks for listing the achievements.
Labour's shortcomings are nothing compared to National's calculated malevolence
Housing crisis continues.
WORLDWIDE housing crisis continues
Education system collapsing.
Eh? I guess I missed that one.
Health system in crisis.
WORLDWIDE health systems crisis
Gang crime exploding.
Yeah Thanks Aussie for all those 501's you created and exported.
No economic direction.
What like tax cuts and roads? There are many initiatives out there but there isn't a simple slogan for you to see a 'direction'.
Alchemy has been getting a bad rap since the middle ages.
A climate mitigation system based on carbon trading.
I'm not a fan of it do you have any constructive ideas? Maybe Three Waters should be Four Waters and give them responsibility for flooding and drought mitigation?
Weaker in Defence.
Where do you suggest the money is taken from to have stronger defence? How much do you want to spend? I think NZ's defence is primarily it's standing in the international community – to have any real military strength? I don't know if 10 times the military budget could achieve it.
Local government gutted.
Are you talking about three waters? To paraphrase the great Jack Nicholson "They can't handle it"
Huge government debt.
Jeez mate did you you hear about the one in a hundred year pandemic that humped lots of countries economies – go have a look at the debt increases in places like the UK, USA Australia et cetera
Often very clever and usually reasonable people make an emotional decision – such as a dislike of a certain individual and then sadly use their intelligence and reasoning to construct attacks against that person. Is this the case here?
I think Ad is acting as "Devil's advocate". He has blamed the PM for all the problems.
He does not count the over all management of the evolving pandemic, and ongoing general implementation of other plans.
Low covid deaths per million, compared with other countries. High Vaccination and booster take up, as well as mask wearing compliance.
Trade opportunities increased in spite of the Pandemic.
Standardisation of polytechnic experiences underway with a huge increase in trades training.
Low unemployment, rising wages and high adaptation through tech.
Comparatively low "pandemic inflation" compared with USA and UK, near double ours, and similar to Australia's.
Debt levels also low by world standards.
This Government has put climate squarely on the radar, and has provided Councils with a clear picture of where their housing stock could be at risk from sea level rise and land subsidence. Rivers in the sky causing floods which makes our soils likely to slip is now bringing the future changes home to more people.
Every problem which has arisen has been managed well, with the exception of the protest at Parliament. Sadly Mallard showed his petty side. He was in charge of that under our system.
We have more social housing, improved material supplies and more co-operation among the building fraternity. Fletcher's were playing "We are too big to worry" game, until Megan Wood and her Committee demanded some assistance. Changing laws so Maori build on their own land is a huge plus.
Infrastructure funding has been put in place to give security of forward planning.
The RMA has been made more responsive to housing needs, and all Council's are finding land for Social housing, and making some areas available for density planning. Plus Three Waters removes their liability for water quality, which in some cases was 3rd world. Management of water stops the rorts of buying up businesses with water rights for exploitation of water.
Health deficits from DHB's have been cleared, funding put in place for new Hospitals and wage claims. Health has been streamlined, as much as possible during an ongoing crisis of 10 or 11 people dying daily from covid. As in every country, elective surgery has been impacted, staff are tired and catching the current virulent type. It is not over. Rules are being relaxed to help with staffing.
Three years of covid has stretched every world system, and the Russian attacks on Ukraine has added to the uncertainties of supply chains.
When a Government is faced with ongoing major problems, keeping the Wellbeing of people becomes even more important.
If National win, it will be "Individual action and every person for themselves" literally.
Closer to the election, people will make their call. What may cloud the issue is endless carping and a failure to really examine the offerings by the Press.
However, Ad I understand you see me as a "blind' follower of Ardern. Ardern at her worst is better than Luxon at his best, and comparing their teams… well even 34% of the 65 would be superior to National’s offering.. (and they come with Act attached.) imo.
Quite right Patricia.
A Natz government full of fascist fundies (Victorian attitudes on women's rights) and immoral adventurers (I'm looking at Bishop here!) would be a disaster for this country.
We have little enough time to stave of climate disaster as it is, but Natz full of climate deniers, (like Stuart Smith) would retard any efforts we have made.
God knows, this Labour government is far from perfect (speaking as a socialist) but light years better than a re-run of the Key years!
I know it's a long shot but I wouldn't be at all surprised if Sharma isn't being manipulated by National with a promise of a seat in 2023.
Bearing in mind that he took a safe National seat to get in
Surely those enthusiastic players of dirty politics, having neither credible policies nor a shred of charisma to thaw their poikilothermic personalities would never stoop so low /sarc.
I can hear their theme music now: Limbo song – YouTube
It's cute in axolotls – but I cannot help wishing the Opposition were a little more evolved.
Why would National want him?
It doesn't sound like he'd ever be competent as a MP after his short career as one so far. Nor does it sound like he has gained any personal support within the electorate. Certainly the LEC support appears underwhelming. I haven't seen any signs of voter support in the Ham West electorate.
Doesn't even look viable as a publicity stunt. He would be such an easy target as a National candidate.
Why would National want him?
I think National is aware of their lack of intellectual heft, and Finlayson's recent effort evidently belabours the point for any of his hard-of-thinking former colleagues that may have missed it.
Sharma's shortcomings – a tenuous grasp of reality and a Copernican weltanschauung centred on himself are pretty standard fare for the party of Judithulhu and The Egg Man – they struggle to perceive extreme egocentrism as a character flaw.
They'll take anyone about now, and anyone that can score on Ardern, or appear to score sufficiently for an uncritical press, will do.
Wondered about that myself.With Woodhouse on his shoulder!
That has crossed my mind too… Also I have had first hand experience of a young Indian who, while claiming to be christian, knew very well he was from the Brahmin caste. He was extremely arrogant and condescending about others intellectual capacities ( but otherwise he was fine ! )
Really this is reaching.
Why would they bother?
Hamilton West will be a National seat at the next election on current polling – unless there is a massive and so-far-unpredicted swing to the Left.
Sharma may have won it in 2020 – but, just like all of the other 'safe' National seats which swung to Labour, it was entirely a vote of confidence on Ardern's handling of the Covid crisis to date. It had nothing to do with either the local candidate or the party policies (which were pretty much a non-event in any campaigning). Most will drift back to National in 2023 – although some with a really strong local candidate might stay Labour.
And, National have sufficient experience over the last little while, of 'flaky' candidates – to shy away from anyone self-destructing as spectacularly as Sharma is.
The attack on the Finnish Prime Minister is insane. She's not allowed to be happy and young and be an ordinary person having a good time.
So you accuse her of being on drugs. If having a good time and dancing is to be the marker of taking drugs I guess a lot of people every week in Finland (and here) are in line to be accused of being on something.
When accusations happen here to someone like the PM dancing at her wedding, I hope she doesn't do what Sanna Martin did and have a drug test. I hope she says to anyone making the charge, "Get fucked."
It seems like the most desperate of moves by the Finnish Right. If they're not careful, her constituency will demand she prove she's tripping out like they would. They elected her, FFS.
Bryan Gould on the Sharma Saga.
Made me wonder how much Ayesha Verrall and her path straight into Cabinet would have rankled with Sharma. Same intake as him, not even a surgeon! or a Fulbright scholar!, female etc etc
Dr Ayesha Verrall- a physician, student association president, senior lecturer at Otago Uni, gained a PhD and also was a member of the Capital and Coast Health Board. Impressive.
Absolutely – Dr Verrall is an impressive physician with impressive public health credentials.
As for Sharma, and maybe others of the same 2020 intake, Bryan Gould says (linked in my comment above):
Yes she is a lot more qualified than Andrew Little and should be health minister.
Jimmy, are the essential skills required for a health minister medical skills or are they other, such as political, administrative, advocacy, leadership?
She is impressive, though. I have heard her address a Grey Power meetings as the Minister for Seniors.
"such as political, administrative, advocacy, leadership"
Little has none of those – although arguably some could say that he has (minimal) personal skills
You seem to be suggesting that the required skills are "political, administrative, advocacy, leadership".
After doing a quick check of these against Little's display in the job I would suggest that none of these skills are required. After all Andrew Little gets a fail in every one of them and they still gave him the job.
Against the two ready reckoners above, I reply with a few facts extracted from Wikipedia regarding leadership. political, administrative and advocacy skills.
Andrew Little is Minister of Health, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and Minister for the GCSB and NZSIS.
He was the national secretary of the EPMU, New Zealand's largest trade union, and President of the Labour Party from 2009 to 2011. He was leader of the NZLP, resigning in favour of Ms Ardern.
At Victoria Uni he was active in the campaign against the student scheme, and president of Vic's Student Association and later of NZUSA.
After graduating Little was a lawyer with the Engineers' Union becoming the union's general counsel. He then was elected national secretary.
In 2007 Little was ranked at number 40 on the NZ Listener Power list, becoming a list MP in 2011.
An important extra-parliamentary figure within the Labour Party and one of the main advisors from the trade unions, he was elected unopposed as President of the NZLP.
All evidence of the four skills I listed.
Leadership? Did he quit as leader of the Labour Party because he was successful at the job?
Political? He ran as a candidate in New Plymouth. It had been predominately a Labour held seat for years by Harry Duynhoven and he managed to collapse the Labour vote. Was that showing political nouse?
" EPMU, New Zealand's largest trade union,". Really? I can think of one that was twice the size.
Health? Are you seriously suggesting that the public health sector has got better under his reign?
The Sharma debacle will soon fade away and be dumped with the rest of the week's fish and chip wrappers. Sharma is following the path of MPs like John Tamihere.
The more interesting issue is who will win the 2023 election, My pick is a National/ACT coalition (even though both the main parties seem intent on self-destruction).
Labour built up political capital with its handling of the COVID crisis, but threw that away. Inflation, floods and losses by the ABs haven't helped.
Not so sure. I think Sanctuary on today's OM @ 3 is a lot more plausible than some might think. An excerpt:
Sounds plausible to me. He doesn't come across as someone who is losing much sleep over the stoush. In fact, he looks like he's relishing all the publicity which would come in handy if that is his goal.
In the event it is:
after tomorrow's expulsion there will be more thunder and lightening. Then in a few week's time (or sooner) he will announce he has been pressured by many people to start a new party. He has agreed to be its leader.
If Sharma did lead a new party, it wouldn't last long before it imploded, if his behaviour is anything to go by.
High inflation is a global phenomenon, due to Covid19, the Ukrainian war. NZ's rate is lower than what some other countries are experiencing and how is Labour responsible for the weather and the AB's?
"NZ's rate is lower than what some other countries are experiencing".
That is certainly true. I imagine that the people of Lebanon or Turkey would be only to happy to be like us. On the other hand there are lots of countries where the rate is much lower than us because they haven't gone as far over the top as Robertson and Orr did with the money printing press did and they stopped when it was apparent that it wasn't necessary to keep going.
Is it really the best we can say that some other countries are worse than we are?
"lots of countries where the rate is much lower than us"
Not that many.
"Massey University associate professor Matt Roskruge says, in hindsight, it’s easy to say the Reserve Bank was wrong. “It’s easy to say inflation is a problem – it is – but we have no idea what the counterfactual would have been. If we had been busy raising interest rates while the rest of the world was at historic lows, what would that have done to the dollar? There would have been flow-on effects on dairy, export sectors, tourism.” He said New Zealand was a small country that was vulnerable to international pressures"
“I regret that the committee and society at large has been confronted with the Covid-19 pandemic, and other recent events that have caused food and energy price spikes.
Well, there are quite a few.
NZ hits around the bottom of the top third internationally, and equivalent to the middle of the OECD group (we're worst in Australasia)
There are a fair few ‘usual comparison’ countries which have lower inflation, and probably an equal number which have higher inflation.
Now, how much of that is driven by local policies, and how much by accidents of geography or realpolitik – is up for debate.
No, not quite a few
“Orr said global inflation and supply constraints played a much bigger role in inflation than the Government’s recent spending”
Alwhinge, I'd rather the All Blacks were the best, but I'll settle for better than most.
Do we need an inquiry into whether Corin Dann shags goats? We know there are goats, so we need a full inquiry!
The media want to drag out Sharma's bullcrap as long as possible.
National's secrecy and contempt of Uffindell's victims is not questioned.
Has anyone in a position to know accused him of doing so?
No. Thought not.
Not exactly analogy of the week, here….
Can you categorically say he isn’t shagging goats? You’re obviously a goat shagger apologist. If there’s no inquiry how will we ever know? The drums are beating as interest in Dann’s goat history ramps up and into Belladonna’s protection of goat shagging. Why don’t you want an inquiry? Would you be willing to give evidence at the inquiry?
JA sounded rather ticked off to get an idiotic series of questions about Sharma when she was in Nelson taking an interview about the flood destruction.
A sideshow indeed. She rightly pointed out that we need to focus on helping the flood victims not beltway gossip.
Labour MP Gaurav Sharma's fate: Jacinda Ardern says time to get on with meeting | RNZ News