Open mike 10/06/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, June 10th, 2022 - 125 comments
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125 comments on “Open mike 10/06/2022 ”

  1. Mike the Lefty 1

    It is interesting how National opposes the appointment of two non-elected Ngahi Tahu representatives to Environment Canterbury on the grounds that it is "undemocratic" when it was National who sacked the elected EC councillors in 2010, replacing them with hand-picked commissioners (including the Rogernome David Caygill). And why did they do this? Because the council was becoming aware that the ground water resources of Canterbury could not sustain any more large dairy farming operatives and were not granting more consents – and the National government naturally couldn't bare to see their farming mates being denied the right to further plunder the water resources.

    And that was "democratic"?

    • KJT 1.1

      Their real fear is that Māori principles of kaitiakitanga will be prioritised, over a quick buck for a few landowners.

      National has absolutely no time for inconvenient "Democracy".

      Especially when it slows their mates monetising of the commons.

      • pat 1.1.1

        "Their real fear is that Māori principles of kaitiakitanga will be prioritised, over a quick buck for a few landowners."

        Well that is the complete antithesis of my fear. The expectation is (and has been shown to date) is that the outcomes will be unchanged as a result of the reforms and the addition of co governance will add nothing other than additional expense, complication and ill will.

  2. PsyclingLeft.Always 2

    New research from a University of Canterbury PhD candidate has uncovered the presence of microplastics in Antarctic snowfall, shattering the myth that the great southern continent is relatively untouched by humans.

    Microplastics, pieces of plastic smaller than grains of rice, were even found in samples taken at remote sites away from human occupation.

    Aves told Morning Report said the source of those microplastics included air carrying them, and human footprint.

    "It does look like some of the airflow did pass by those bases, and so we have established that human footprint down there. So that is one of the most likely sources.

    The Human “footprint” ….a sad indictment.

    I recently found this site :

    ” Coca-Cola, with more than 500 brands, sells more than 100 billion plastic bottles every year. This equates to 200,000 bottles a minute. Of these, an unrecoverable large part ends up in the environment, and definitely in places where waste is not collected and processed. For the fourth consecutive year, the conglomerate has been declared the world’s biggest polluter, bigger than numbers two (PepsiCo) and three (Unilever) put together. ”

    Coka Kola….polluting OUR Planet. Since ages

    • gsays 2.1

      I take yr point about the pollution and devastation wrought by plastics and micro-plastics, I agree entirely.

      For me, the inconvenient truth is that responsibility doesn't lie at the feet of Coca-Cola, it is our fault. We have bought all the fizzy, the make-up and polar fleeces that are the cause of the plastic pollution.

      Coke, supermarkets and even the pollies will follow where we go.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 2.1.1

        Well, there is, to use that analogy…."Its not the gun (assault rifle) that kills people" !.

        However, these massive plastic producing/promoting/polluting multinational corporations are definitely "providing" billions of such.

        And of COURSE its sadly : (….. Consumer driven. I know what I personally am doing to address and change/halt them. How about all of us ?

  3. Scotty 3

    Good to see David Parker call out Nicola Willis on her BS re gangs on the AM show this morning.

    He accurately labeled her as superficial .

  4. pat 4

    Seldom are Peter Dunne's musings worth the effort to read but this is the exception that proves the rule.

    • Patricia Bremner 4.1

      Peter Dunne lost all credibility with his synthetic drugs debacle. The right tend to trot out failed people and pretend they are left of centre and treat their musings with more respect than statements made by Government ministers.

      • gsays 4.1.1

        Even before he enabled the synthetics sellers, I viewed him as a having convenient, malleable political principles.

        Anyone that can trough for both National and Labour is a borderline 'political lady of the night'.

    • Nic the NZer 4.2

      This is not the exception which proves the rule that "the exception which proves the rule" is usually miss-applied as a phrase.

    • Bearded Git 5.1

      I think Winston has had his three strikes…

    • Belladonna 5.2

      In evidence now presented in court, some donors told investigators they had been determined that their donations should remain anonymous. Several sought legal advice or assurances from NZ First figures before splitting their totals of up to $50,000 into multiple donations just below the $15,000.01 threshold that would require their names to be declared to the Electoral Commission.

      So, evidence of electoral funding fraud, right there. It's illegal to regard these as separate donations, they have to be totalled together (by the party or the Foundation) and reported to the Electoral Commission.

      Most said they did not know their donations were going into an account for the NZ First Foundation rather than directly to the NZ First Party – and many did not care, as long as the money went to Winston Peters and the NZ First cause, helped promote their policies.

      Again, clear evidence that the intent was a donation to a political party – and thus covered by the Electoral Commission requirements.

      Ha! The identities of the accused are suppressed, but not those of the witnesses (despite their evident desire to remain anonymous). Another example of the way that suppression orders in court predominantly benefit the 'guilty' [I know, technically not yet established].

      It seems very clear that this money was donated in the very clear expectation that Peters would deliver on legislation/regulation which would benefit the racing industry (amongst others). Pretty blatant political promises of influence. Very much a bought and paid for MP (but an honest politician, in the sense of 'one who stays bought') [Although that element isn't on trial, except in the court of public opinion]

  5. Mike the Lefty 6

    Regarding the electoral bill currently before parliament that allows Maori voters to switch between Maori and general rolls almost at will.

    It is embarrassing to admit this but I actually agree somewhat with National's Paul Goldsmith on this one.

    To allow switching at any time could drive us towards the jerrymandering antics that go on in the US where county electoral boundaries are redrawn by the party in power (both the Democrats and Republicans do it) to maximise and vote stack.

    If an elector can switch between the Maori and general roll at will then exists the danger of political parties conducting campaigns for mass transfers shortly before elections to capture marginal seats.

    There would need to be some checks and balances, for example limiting the number of transfers a voter could do in a period of time and/or prohibiting it within a certain time before the next general or by-election.

    Compared with other democratic countries, our electoral system is pretty good and we shouldn't make such an alteration just because some intellectuals think it is fashionable.

    • RedLogix 6.1

      Nah – I am all for it. That way everyone could switch to the Maori roll …devil

    • alwyn 6.2

      The only problem I have with it is that it removes any logic for determining the number of Maori seats in the Parliament.

      This is done by using the number of people who nominate that they wish to go on the Maori Roll and then calculating the number of Maori seats that there should be so that all electorates have approximately the same number of people. It is really only feasible at a Census when the numbers are all available.

      What is an appropriate method if people can go backwards and forwards at any time?

      • gypsy 6.2.1

        You're right in that the timing of the roll choice should coincide with the determination of the number of Maori seats. But can this be done outside of a census period? Or is the electoral map only adjusted from census data?

        • alwyn

          The electorates are determined from the Census data and from the choices made in the Maori Electoral Option.

          They are only reviewed after a Census. Thus the revues were held in 2006, 2013 and 2018 because the Census planned for 2011 was postponed and the anticipated review in 2011 was not held.


          • gypsy

            Thanks. So even if a different system was used to determine the electoral map, there would still be a potential problem with anyone shifting between the Maori and General rolls between establishing the boundaries and the election. I'm also thinking of how someone switching between general electorates would impact this, but my understanding is that can only happen if the voter actually moves address.

            • Belladonna

              I think that the assumption about electoral sizing and boundaries has been, that it's only an approximation (e.g. heavy infill housing within electorates – would change the population numbers), and that people do shift between electorates – but that 'out' and 'in' are roughly equivalent.

              The 'risk' with allowing 'at will' shifts between between Maori and General rolls is that it enables deliberate electoral distortion. For example: Multiple people enrolling on the Maori roll just before the census – resulting in another 2-3 Maori seats, then those people shifting to the general roll (in areas where they could influence the outcome – e.g. Rotorua).

              Can anyone explain to me why there is a need for people to be able to shift onto and off of the Maori roll, at more frequent intervals?

              It could, of course be a personal 5 years (i.e. everyone qualified for the Maori roll can shift on or off once every 5 years) – but, in reality, that would be a huge administrative burden.

              • gypsy

                Good question. According to this guy, "A Ruapehu district councillor says allowing Māori voters to switch electoral rolls at any time would be a huge step towards removing barriers to voting." In reality nothing is stopping anyone voting, it's purely the electorate your vote is counted in that is chnaging.

                • Belladonna

                  And, with MMP, even if your candidate vote is less than useful, you can still vote for your party (with results likely to be influential on the distribution of seats in parliament).

                  Reality is that there are plenty of Kiwis who feel that their candidate vote is wasted. If, for example, you're a left-wing voter who happens to live in a National stronghold – there's little point in a 2 ticks red campaign – you're going to get a National MP in your electorate – so it's only the party vote which matters (from your perspective).

      • Belladonna 6.2.2

        What is an appropriate method if people can go backwards and forwards at any time?

        I don't know how practicable it is from an administrative perspective, but it would be technically possible to 'freeze' the Maori roll 9 months out from a general election – and distribute the Maori seats at that point.

        It would prevent the gerrymander possibility of shifts on or off the roll for electoral advantage. But would potentially create other issues (how to handle people turning 18, or shifting electorates (KeriKeri to Invercargill), timeframe required to select candidates, etc.).

        TBH, if feel as if this legislation is a solution looking for a problem.

        • gypsy

          Agreed, and if the government can't get the Nats on board, it won't pass anyway.

        • alwyn

          " 'freeze' the Maori roll 9 months out from a general election – and distribute the Maori seats at that point".

          That would mean that you wouldn't actually know how many Maori seats there would be, or what their boundaries were, until perhaps 6 months before the election. Setting the boundaries isn't as simple as it seems as it isn't just having the right number of people. It also means keeping communities of interest together.

          I agree with your last sentence whole heartedly.

    • Nic the NZer 6.3

      Paul Goldsmith has a highly skewed idea of how feasible this kind of mass political coordination is. Something to do with representing Epsom maybe?

  6. Blade 7

    Here we go again. A clash of cultures or just plain arrogance? In my opinion there are some inaccuracies in this article. It should be remembered cases like this aren't the norm.

    ''Tommy Murray, whose body was taken from Wellington to the north against his wife's wishes say they were doing what they thought was right and in accordance with their tikanga.''

    ''When Murray's whānau from Te Tai Tokerau and his daughters and mokopuna from Australia arrived in Wellington, they were concerned about plans he was being cremated.''

    Cremation is becoming much more acceptable to Maori, especially urban Maori because it's cheaper… and best of all…you can have uncle Manu resting on the mantle piece. I must say even I found this confronting when I first came upon the concept.

    ''I do want to thank Sara for loving our cousin. I really do and I do feel for her. I know it sounds strange but those whole customs around mataora, a young wife and we didn't want him to be roaming around Wellington bothering other people because he was in the wrong place.''

    That belongs to Maori spirituality and should be handled within Maoridom. It isn't appropriate as an excuse in the 21st century.

    ''Sara Murray was left distraught and in disbelief the whānau took her husband from their home without any discussion. She recalled it as a forceful and violent process.''

    Yes, I can picture it now. The women would have told Sara straight. While the men moved swiftly – hence the coffin lid not being present when the tūpāpaku was moved outside to a vehicle. They wanted to move swiftly in case police arrived.

    So, before I'm accused of going off on my usual racist rant. What can be done?

    I would suggest legislation called something like '' The Bicultural Partnership Act.

    That would be a free service, maybe run by Public Trust. Both partners would memorialise their wishes once they are deceased. They would also state what happens should the partnership dissolve. A fair point is made here:

    ''The whānau were concerned about what would happen to Tommy's ashes if Sara Murray were to remarry.''

    The proceedings could be filmed if wanted and uploaded to a data base that police could access on the spot in case of a dispute. A hard copy would also be issued.

    Would such legislation make it through parliament? LOL…no chance!! Maori would go berserk. Willy Jackson would PROBABLY call it cultural colonisation. The Maori Party dude with the tats would say it's Pakeha ignorance on display. Social media would erupt. A hikoi would descend on parliament with anti vaxxers saying this is what happens when people get the Covid jab.

    This case also highlights collectivism v Individualism. Right v Left. Western culture v tribalism. And that's the reason I'm opposed to this continual Maorification of NZ under our Labour government. There's a reason why people jump in boats and sail to Western countries. It's called Western culture, and it trumps collectivism.

    • AB 7.1

      It's called Western culture, and it trumps collectivism

      Proof again that those most enamoured of Western Culture don't know much about it, and champion it primarily as a shiny-sounding weapon to be used against something else that they dislike. If you imagine there is not a collectivist strand to the culture and thought of what we loosely call the west, then you are mistaken. Or perhaps you date the beginnings of Western Culture back to the election of John Key in 2008?

      In terms of what to do about it. First of all accept that sometimes history serves us up a sh*t sandwich in the present. It's nobody's fault and respectful acknowledgement of other people's humanity might get us through it eventually.

    • RedLogix 7.2

      I was personally involved in an identical affair during the late 80s. Only with an extra layer of the whanau wilful ignoring of both the immediate family and the deceased express and deeply held wishes.

      It was a bitter and divisive matter and one of my most unhappy memories.

      My advice to anyone caught in this scenario is to hire private security to ensure the body is protected until the funeral is over.

      • Peter 7.2.1

        There's something about this situation which reminds me of the current abortion debate in many parts of the US. A wider community in this case has the power to supersede the wishes of the wife and apparently those of the deceased.

      • Blade 7.2.2

        That's a good idea, RedLogix. People who haven't been in a situation like this cannot comprehend how, as you put it, bitter and divisive things become.

        As far as I'm concerned the wishes of the deceased should come first. Fullstop.

        • aom

          "As far as I'm concerned the wishes of the deceased should come first. Fullstop."

          Except, in this case, was there a will that specifically expressed what the deceased wanted? No. So where does one go from there? Perhaps a succession of Judges will be expected to decide on the basis of evidence presented at successive appeals. Whatever – this could be a protracted shit-fest unless some wise heads tread a fine path that will need to balance the wishes of the natural children, the partner at the time of death and realistically, cultural expectations.

          • Blade

            In this case a will may not have resolved the situation?

            I would go with ''theft of a body.'' given the circumstances.

            • aom

              Interesting what you would go with. There are certainly offences regarding a deceased person but is there such an offence as 'theft of a body'?

              How would you get around the fact that a Court might not necessarily conclude that the rights of one person should take precedence over the rights of others who share closer relationship ties – i.e. the natural children and/or extended family. Not everyone lives in your self-centred little world where everything is so simple.

              • Sabine


                150Misconduct in respect of human remains

                Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years who—


                neglects to perform any duty imposed on him or her by law or undertaken by him or her with reference to the burial or cremation of any dead human body or human remains; or


                improperly or indecently interferes with or offers any indignity to any dead human body or human remains, whether buried or not.

              • Blade

                Hence my proposed legislation above that would cut through all this angst.

                ''Not everyone lives in your self-centred little world where everything is so simple.''

                All the more reason for my type of legislation that would save so much trouble in such cases. Especially for the police.

    • Molly 7.3

      I have close connections to this rohe and whanau, although not directly to this family.

      I have been educated when a Croatian uncle of mine, grief stricken by the early death of a beloved cousin after two years of medical failure to diagnose cancer had to deal with this form of 'respect'. Perhaps it was the force of his personality and robust physical presence that prevented the planned uplifting. But the threat remained until she was buried in Auckland, where both her parents have regularly visited and maintained her grave for over 23 years now.

      It's a possible occurrence when any family member from my maternal side dies and is not taken up North for burial.

      My mother's current wishes are for cremation, and for her ashes to be interred or scattered with my father's. Her wishes are subject to change. But I know, that the threat of 'uplifting' will remain because of these connections. It is an appalling practice, and one that should result in prosecution of those who participate in it.

      • Blade 7.3.1

        ''It is an appalling practice, and one that should result in prosecution of those who participate in it.''


      • Belladonna 7.3.2

        I agree that it's utterly abhorrent.
        From my understanding it results from a cultural difference between the rights of the immediate family (wives, children) to decide these matters being pre-eminent in some cultures; over the rights of the hapu/iwi to decide in Maori culture.

        In practice, I can see that Maori whanau will end up being excluded from any access to funerals, wakes, etc – because of the 'risk' that the wishes of the immediate family will be disregarded.

        • Molly

          It's actually one of my maraes in the article. The incident I spoke of had relatives without a close connection to my cousin, coming down to do the uplift.

          Explained as a 'form of respect', to me it is a method of raising one's own prestige with little regard for others.

          I have little patience with it, as I have heard such stories all my life, and the excuses that commend such behaviour. I notice that it happens most regularly when a grieving widow is left, rather than a widower. The sex-based difference/power differential on when they try it on is noticeable.

    • Mike the Lefty 7.4

      I guess it comes down to one fundamental question: Which is the most important – the wishes of the deceased, or the wishes of his/her family/whanau?

      • Ad 7.4.1

        If you put your burial and disposal wishes into you will it gains a lot more legal force.

        • Molly

          It might have more legal force, but the practice is not about legality, it is about the imposition of personal will and force on a grieving family.

          People are loathe to involve the police, and when grieving are very vulnerable to coercion and manipulation. When your world is already recalibrating to accommodate an empty space where your loved one used to be – the legal position is often the last consideration on your mind.

          • Belladonna

            Also the police are very reluctant to become involved. And the courts are also reluctant to intervene (it also takes an unreasonably long amount of time, costs a lot, and is hugely stressful for all concerned).

        • Belladonna

          Actually, wills will almost never be probated before a funeral – (unless it's very significantly delayed for some other reason); and often haven't even been found/retrieved and read at that time. Most families are concerned more with the personal aspects, rather than the legal, financial, inheritance ones, in the run-up to a funeral.
          Lovely family story about my Mum organizing my Nana's funeral – and then finding the instructions at the lawyers with her will, when it came time for probate. Luckily, she'd got most of it right!

    • gsays 7.5

      This story has intrigued me since I heard about it and I have empathy for both sides of the issue.

      Listening to Shane Jones pontificating on RNZ, it struck me that he referred to Sara Murray, more than once, as "an Australian woman'. Deliberately diminishing her mana.

      • Blade 7.5.1

        Yep. Shane Jones. Enough said. Probably the greatest pontificator who ever graced parliament.

    • Incognito 7.6

      The Maori Party dude with the tats would say it’s Blade’s irony on display, eh Bro!

      • Blade 7.6.1

        I have no time for the man, hence my disrespect. The man has a track record in parliament of nothing except disrespecting parliament's kawa and European culture by not taking his hat off inside. My marae has no hats worn inside, Try walking into the wharenui with your shoes on and debating the issue…good luck!

        No irony here. Just honesty free from cultural imperatives. I admit it doesn't make you friends. But that's life.

        • Incognito

          But those tats …, very disrespectful of European culture.

          • Blade

            I can't see how. It's part of Maori culture, just like a white collar and tie affair is a European thing.

            • RedLogix

              Personally I think we put too much value on culture. It is nothing much more than a collection of social habits and historical narratives after all. You cannot adequately express infinite, boundless love by limited means.

            • Incognito

              Nah, you’re disrespecting disliking the Māori dude’s culture; you did not mention his hat, his boots, or his attire in Parliament before, just his tats. Do you even know his name, without looking it up?

  7. Ad 8

    Granted dyed-in-the-wool Ardern supporters might not want to hear this, but Hooten is right this morning when he says it's time to consider replacing Ardern. Paywalled, he praises her profusely for her work on the international stage for the first half. The implication is that she would make an outstanding Foreign Minister.

    Then he frames up Grant Robertson thus:

    "He's the ordinary bloke who helped us keep things reasonably steady during the pandemic, and now wants us to pay off our credit cards and overdraft, but not worry too much about the mortgage. He watches the Rugby with us the local pub, where the beer's still sold in plastic jugs.

    He's married to a bus driver and they're proud grandparents. Like English, he's much more likely to buy the family Hawaiian pizza than something exotic from the flash new pizzeria.

    He has to wear suits to work but they don't fit properly because, like most of us, he's eaten too many pies. You could imagine him at the Prime Ministers' desk with his jacket off and – yes – with his sleeves rolled up.


    If Ardern's re-election becomes unviable, this is undoubtedly Labour's best bet for a third term. Much better to get it done tidily before Christmas than panic in election year."

    Many are still grateful for so much of what Ardern has steered us through, but we are now 6 polling cycles in a row telling us there will likely be a change of government unless something major changes. Probably only Robertson (maybe Gayford) could seriously ask the question of her, and he probably won't since he's had several brutal leadership contest humiliations already.

    But Ardern is tanking Labour and it's time we faced up to the need to change.

    • Muttonbird 8.1

      Don't be naive. Hooton hardly has the best interest of the Labour Party at heart!

      • Jimmy 8.1.1

        Hooton only has his own interests at heart.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 8.1.2

        Yeah, Hooton FFS….but there is (and always has been) an element in Labour which loves this kind of shite. INfighting….somehow gives them meaning.

        • Muttonbird

          Yeah, plenty of evidence of that with some commenters here. They'd probably defend themselves by claiming it is robust self-testing but really it's simply big egos desperate to be heard.

    • Scotty 8.2

      Dosen't sound like a sound strategy to me – Ardern is still preferred PM over Luxon by 13points.

      Hooten knows Ardern can – and will eat Luxon alive during the election campaign.

    • Robert Guyton 8.3

      Hooten's strategy of praising first in order to obscure his subsequent attacks has been obvious for many years.

    • mac1 8.4

      Apart from doubts about Hooton's motivation here, he is saying that that polling can be reversed.

      What we in Labour must now do is first get the message out there that there are many good things Labour has done, with more to do, and second point out the very real concern that National have poor MPs, unannounced policy that will favour the wealthy, an unsavoury past with some of its members, an unsatisfactory record while in government from 2008-17, and dubious leadership. There! All solved!

    • Drowsy M. Kram 8.5

      Hooten Hooton and Ad singing from the same 'Ardern songbook' – whatever next?

      Hooton: Ardern 'will fail, I think she's a flake' [1 August 2017]

      We all fail eventually (no more babies!) "Reckon. Still… no hurry eh." Good onya mate.

    • Grantoc 8.6

      Some voters may still feel a sense of pride when Arden shines on the international stage and bask in the adoration she recieves by association. But this is waning I suggest.

      These days there is a weariness about Ardern and her foreign adventures. She looks more like the rich and the famous rather than the local women made good that cares about the plight of her fellow New Zealanders, and prepared to work hard to address their concerns.

      She is not around to 'roll up her sleeves' and to put in the unglamorous hard yards to resolve the issues that are bothering New Zealanders. As Hooten says, this is left to Robertson to deal with.

      Should this pattern strengthen, her poll ratings in my opinion will continue to decline and the gap between Labour and National will increase and Labour will be voted out in 2023.

      There was a hint of this in the recent Tauranga by election Newshub poll. This suggested that Labour will lose the by election by a larger margin than anticipated and that the party vote will be strongly in favour of National. Translate this into the wider electorate and my pick is that all of the seats that Labour won at the 2020 election in the regions will revert back to National.

      We'll see in a couple of weeks. And if the result is along these lines Labour will be panicked into considering the proposition that Hooton has put forward.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 8.6.1

        And if the result is along these lines Labour will be panicked into considering the proposition that Hooton has put forward.

        Well, Labour was panicked into elevating Ardern to leader, and look how that turned out. Imho it's common sense to be very wary of any proposition of Hooton's that purports to be in the best interests of Labour.

        I trust Hooton's motives and judgement about as much as I do the National party's – wasn’r Hooton Muller’s advisor at one point? Don’t Panic!

      • Muttonbird 8.6.2

        Wow. The pm has been on two catch up foreign trips for the first time in well over two years. Trade and tourism, it’s all there. She's currently meeting with Anthony Albanese, the newly elected left wing pm of Australia which, for you, must really sting. Hopefully while there meeting face to face, she will be able to stem the massive damage from the defeated coalition’s 501 policy.

        Yet these important work trips in the wake of a 1 in 100 year pandemic are, according to you, that of the rich and famous. She is doing it to bask in adoration, apparently, and we are all weary of how much she doesn't work.

        I can assure you Jacinda Ardern (I know how much her full name in print annoys you) works extremely hard for the benefit of New Zealand, most of it unglamorous.

        Still, there's no convincing the unhinged!

    • Bearded Git 8.7

      Hooton today……

      Jacinda Ardern remains Labour's greatest asset. But if your best asset is heading towards certain insolvency, aren't you best to dump it and invest in something else? Ardern's visit to the US was a triumph. So, too, will be today's to Australia, especially if a compromise is negotiated with Anthony Albanese over the 501s. The Prime Minister will then host Samoa's Fiamē Naomi Mata'afa in New Zealand, before strutting her new cold-war warrior credentials at the Nato Summit in Madrid. Kiwi officials hope her global brand will help liberal European leaders sell their voters a more pro-American foreign policy and higher defence spending. In return, Ardern needs to report back home that our free-trade agreement with the EU is nearing completion. This is all great stuff for New Zealand. The problem is that Labour strategists want to move on from the old St Jacinda brand to a more sleeves-rolled-up version, concerned primarily about your grocery bills, mortgage payments and the cost of kids' shoes. They judge, rightly, that after two years of lockdowns and the associated economic and personal pain — and with prices, rents and mortgage payments now rising faster than wages — voters want a more prosaic Prime Minister. But Ardern can't quite play the new role. She is too obviously more in her element talking geopolitics, hate speech or climate change in Washington, Sydney or Madrid than inflation, interest rates and housing costs in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch. As a student leader, junior diplomat and influential staffer in Helen Clark's office, Grant Robertson seemed destined to make history as New Zealand's first openly gay Prime Minister. Since then, New Zealand has progressed so that milestone would now attract only fleeting interest. At least as surprising as that social evolution, the notoriously Machiavellian Robertson has reinvented himself as an utterly loyal deputy to Ardern and a down-to-earth, no-nonsense Finance Minister. In that sense, Robertson has followed Bill English, also picked early as a future Prime Minister. Like English, Robertson's career then included brutal humiliations. English could at least content himself that his defeats were at the hands of Helen Clark and Don Brash. Robertson had to endure being beaten by David Cunliffe and then Andrew Little for the Labour leadership. To their credit, both Robertson and English picked themselves up to become highly successful wingmen to leaders better suited to lead their parties to power under the circumstances that prevailed. As Finance Minister, English was undoubtedly more careful with the taxpayer's wallet than Robertson. Yet both accepted massive borrowing after the Christchurch earthquakes and Covid outbreak rather than raise tax or cut spending. While on a slower repayment schedule than English and now with a less ambitious target, Robertson at least talks about paying his debt down before the next shock. Of greatest relevance to Labour's current plight, English was the perfect safe-pair-of-hands and old-pair-of-socks candidate when median voters started tiring of John Key's more cloud-bouncing style. Key's 2016 resignation followed focus groups beginning to describe him as arrogant, the failing he would cite when asked Proust's question of the trait he most deplored in others. Whether that hurt the right side of Key's brain, the left side knew that negative focus-group feedback presages falling polls. He judged National would have a better chance in 2017 under a new leader. So it transpired. With National seeking its first fourth term since 1969, English won 44 per cent of the party vote, miles ahead of Clark's 34 per cent in 2008 or Jenny Shipley's 31 per cent in 1999. A fall of only 3 per cent over National's 2014 result, it is extremely unlikely that Key would have done as well. Labour's difficulties are much worse than when Key calculated it was in National's best interests for him to hand over the top job. Since its failure to buy the vaccine on time led to last year's four-month lockdown, Labour has been on a steep slide. In the most recent polls it now averages just 35 per cent, well down from the mid-40s or higher it routinely scored before August's avoidable lockdown. If Labour's polling drops much more, it's time to confront the unthinkable and replace Jacinda Ardern. The Budget didn't help. The 1News-Kantar poll, taken since then, has Labour down two more points to 35. According to Roy Morgan, the Australian pollsters whose 2020 work most closely picked Ardern's 50 per cent triumph and National's 26 per cent disaster, Labour is at just 31.5 per cent and still heading south. That was the second poll in a month showing National-Act able to govern alone. The others suggest either a hung Parliament requiring new elections, or Labour-Green relying on Te Pāti Māori. If interest rates and grocery bills keep rising faster than wages, there will soon be a poll with Labour in the 20s, putting Ardern in Judith Collins, Little, Cunliffe or English 1.0 territory. Ardern's globetrotting risks bringing that fateful day forward. In the circumstances that now prevail, Labour's recovery and the jobs of at least 25 MPs depend on successfully shifting to the more everyday Kiwi brand to which Ardern has this year proven unsuited. For his part, Robertson has transformed himself into almost a caricature of a family accountant operating above the Te Atatū shops. He's the ordinary bloke who helped us keep things reasonably steady during the pandemic, and now wants us to pay off our credit cards and overdraft, but not worry so much about the mortgage. He watches the rugby with us at the local pub, where the beer's still sold in plastic jugs. He's married to a bus driver and they're proud grandparents. Like English, he's much more likely to buy the family Hawaiian pizza than something exotic from the flash new pizzeria. He has to wear suits to work but they don't fit properly because, like most of us, he's eaten too many pies. You could imagine him at the Prime Minister's desk, with his jacket and tie off and — yes — with his sleeves literally rolled up. As Prime Minister, Robertson could declare his predecessor the greatest since Michael Joseph Savage and arrange for her to receive every honour a grateful nation could bestow. He would claim not even to aspire to such greatness but to just do the job, to help you stay afloat during the recession and be safe from Christopher Luxon's dastardly plans. If Ardern's re-election becomes unviable, this is undoubtedly Labour's best bet for a third term. Much better to get it done tidily before Christmas than panic in election year.

      From Me:
      I think that Robertson will replace Ardern AFTER the election whether Labour win or not. Hooton’s call on the polls is a bit OTT-they show coalitions pretty much 50/50 at the moment. He talks crap on Covid-NZ’s response is still one of the best in the world and the 4-month Akl lockdown was needed to keep cases under control while we got to 95% vaxxed. And under Key/English government debt went up massively due to tax cuts rather than the earthquake which was largely paid for by reinsurance.

      • Mike the Lefty 8.7.1

        Did Hooton actually write it like that? It would be a lot more readable if broken down into a few paragraphs.

      • Belladonna 8.7.2

        Really not OK (from a legal perspective) to copy entire restricted access articles, and paste elsewhere (i.e. from The Herald onto TS).

        A sentence or paragraph or two – interspersed with commentary is fine – but not the whole thing.

    • Belladonna 8.8

      Ardern still has a majority of support as leader – Robertson is nowhere in those stakes. And a substantial (if dwindling) tail of people (looking at the recent poll stats, predominantly younger women) 'voting Labour because of Ardern'

      I don't believe that Robertson has anything like the popular appeal to that voting group.

      So, if Labour followed Hooten's advice, they'd be trading a solid(ish) group of supporters, for the 'possibility' of the 'Waitakere Man' vote (the ones in the pub, drinking beer with their sleeves rolled up). And, I don't really think that Robertson is an ideal match for that crowd either.

      Looking (probably a long way) down the track, Labour should be considering who in the current caucus is a potential leader, and giving them the opportunity to demonstrate capacity. This would absolutely mean some 'churn' in the Labour ministerial roles (which would be a good thing for a number of unrelated reasons).

      Who are the (youngish) rising stars? I'd put 3 names out there: Kieran McAnulty, Kiri Allen, Michael Wood. I could certainly see the first 2 as having potential 'Waitakere Man' voter attraction (don't really know enough about Wood)

      Any others to contribute?

      There may be others in the 2020 intake – but TBH, none of them have been outstanding so far (difficult as a new MP, I do acknowledge), and many of them are highly vulnerable to losing their seats and/or list placings in the 2023 election (even if Labour wins, it's going to be with a heavily reduced majority)

      Of course, all this is predicated on the 'if' factor. If Labour loses in 2023, will Ardern stay in parliament (or indeed in NZ). There must be temptations for her on a wider stage (a la Clark). Or, will she see her job as 'uncompleted' and work to reverse the result in 2026?

    • Patricia Bremner 8.9

      She has held the group together as no other has. Robertson is doing well, however Jacinda Ardern is admired for her genuine warmth. She has been hounded by the press, who are lauding Christopher Luxon on very ephemeral grounds.

      Hooton's view that people are tired of Ardern's "Do nothing" is based on what?

      Ad you have been white anting her here for ages. We noticed the "bum note" It jars.

      The poll that counts is the election…. over 12 months away.

      • Ad 8.9.1

        Multiple polls in a row saying Labour will not be in government, Ardern in charge, and it's me that's jarring. Give yourself a break from your feelings.

        Wake up to reality.

        Ardern has no more than 6 months to turn Labour's fortunes around.

        • Patricia Bremner

          My "Feelings" Lol You are the one crying in your beer. Being divisive and insulting. laugh

          The right want her gone. We will see. You are helping them with your wails. There is one poll alone that matters Nov? next year. A great deal of water and Hooten rubbish to flow yet. Oh and I notice you did not refute the partisan behaviour of many a journalist in support of a "nonperforming" Luxon.

          Far more intelligent people than Hooten rate her. Her party rates her.

          People are tired and feeling the global fall out of covid's effects, so some are playing the blame game while Christopher Luxon plays the dance of the seven veils. "We will produce Policy later"

          4 of those veils

          Climate change…."I believe it"… Oh really? in what way? Waiting….?

          Bottom Feeders…"we don't want them" Oh really.. top feeders then?

          Air NZ… "I ran an Airline…..I am treating this country as a company that needs turning round…'. by tax cuts ? by reversing all current legislation?

          "Nicola Willis will be treasurer." Act said "Oh really"

          What will he do about Climate change/farming?

          What will he do about Covid?

          What will he do about Russia/China?

          Waiting waiting.

          You say Jacinda Ardern has 6 months…. so does Luxon. He is no where as convincing, and your pick is not agitating to take over.

        • Robert Guyton

          6 months?

          More than she needs.

    • newsense 8.10

      The guy who was all in on Todd Muller?

    • Patricia Bremner 8.11

      Ardern is tanking Labour.


      • Belladonna 8.11.1

        I don't think she is.

        But I do think that much of the 2020 vote swing was voting for Ardern rather than voting for Labour.

        And that the emphasis on her as the strongest card to play to the public has a downside (for lots of reasons, including the strain that it puts on her).

        I can't see any reason for Labour to switch leaders before the election (and the speculation is, I agree, mischievous). However, Labour do need to be looking to put a really strong team of ministers in behind her.

        I know that there are Labour supporters here, who believe that the whole team is strong – but the public don't exactly agree – and, even the most ardent supporter would agree that there are some stand-outs (Woods, for example is doing a sterling job, both in her portfolio and with the media).

        I think a mid-term cabinet shuffle (which is almost expected from most governments – so not, in any way, a panic response), would allow Labour to refresh the front-bench, rotate ministers into areas which might play better to their strengths, and put the fire-suppressant strong-guns where the opposition and media are playing the spotlight.

    • swordfish 8.12


      But Ardern is tanking Labour and it’s time we faced up to the need to change

      Ardern is one of Labour's very few assets (albeit a less valuable one than previously).

      She remains marginally more popular (Preferred PM ratings) than Labour itself (Party Support ratings).

      [Note: When analysing polling data, bear in mind Party Support polling excludes the Undecideds whereas Preferred PM includes the entire sample … do the appropriate recalculations to compare like with like & you'll find Ardern is still one or two points more popular than her Party]. She’s certainly more polarising than she used to be … but that’s pretty much par for the course in a Govt’s 2nd term.

      Cost of Living / anti-democratic arrogance of He Puapua – Three Waters / End of Covid shine = are responsible for tanking Labour, not Ardern herself … although they certainly have shaken faith in Ardern. A move to Robertson is guaranteed to send Labour support into freefall.

  8. Jenny how to get there 9

    Putin the Great?

    In his most revealing comments to date Vladimir Putin compares the war in Ukraine to Peter the Great's war on Sweden. Peter the Great expanded the Russian empire by occupying territory previously part of Sweden, where he founded his new imperial capital St. Petersburg.

    Some choice quotes of Vladimir Putin's that lay out his reasoning for invading Ukraine.
    No mention of Nato, or neo-nazis

    “When he [Peter the Great] founded the new capital, no European country recognized it as Russia. Everybody recognized it as Sweden,”

    “What was he doing? Taking back and reinforcing. That’s what he did. And it looks like it fell on us to take back and reinforce as well,”

    “There is no state in between. A country is either sovereign or a colony,”

    “It’s impossible — do you understand — impossible to build a fence around a country like Russia. And we do not intend to build that fence,”

  9. Peter 10

    The Chairman of the Jan 6 Commitee is Bennie Thompson, a representative from Tennessee. A black man. All over America the racists will be seething, his presence and role being a stab to their horrible hearts.

    • DB Brown 10.1

      Compelling viewing.

      Surely this committee has now fashioned the noose the department of justice must then slip around Trumps oily orange neck?

      I guess we shall see.

      • Nic the NZer 10.1.1

        As far as I am aware the DoJ is conducting their own investigation, with stronger legal backing. These hearings are more likely about the show than collecting evidence.

  10. Puckish Rogue 11

    Cricket, cricket, cricket!

    Well shit..

    My XI would be (let the arguments flow)












    Its a three test series, we're down one and we've lost our captain and best batter.

    Win the toss and attack from ball one, no respite and let the experienced bowlers, hopefully, win the game

    • Patricia Bremner 11.1

      Yes we cricket tragics will be glued!!

    • Anker 11.2
      • No Kane! Bloody hell,

      Latham, Conway, Mitchellet al …come on, you can do it

      [Please check and correct your user name in the next comment, thanks]

    • gsays 11.3

      When I heard the news that Captain Kane was out, I was strangely unmoved.

      His form, for a while now, has been patchy at best. Sure, he is arguably the greatest batsman and captain we have produced. We have some depth in the squad and his inavailability(?) may be the spur his fellow top order batsmen require.

    • Anker 11.4

      Agree PR!

    • Bearded Git 11.5

      I am on record on TS that Mitchell was not a test match batsmen.

      Did I ever get that wrong!

      • Puckish Rogue 11.5.1

        If he can just work on drying the runs up at one end with his bowling he'll be an able replacement for CDG

        • Bearded Git

          I like CDG…he would have won us the first test but for over-stepping. He makes things happen.

          And of course Mitchell did it again today…its never felt so good to be wrong.

  11. Patricia Bremner 12

    Yes we cricket tragics will be glued!!

    • Peter 12.1

      If only the batters could stick as solidly as the fans.

      We've lost or "best batter." The nature of cricket is such that the "best batter" scored a total of 17 runs in the first test.

    • Puckish Rogue 12.2

      There are worse addictions…imagine being a Warriors fan!

  12. roblogic 13

    I wouldn't waste my time on Hooton's bad faith dirty politics reckons. He will say anything that his sponsors require. He knows the game and a few insiders, but his overall mission is to poison the well and sabotage Labour. Best to ignore insane yapping dogs who randomly bark at anything, they are just useless

    • rod 13.1

      He just had a brain fart, nothing to see here.

    • gsays 13.2

      Is the trend (is it too soon to call it a trend?) in the polls surprising to you? Definitely surprised me. I was sure the hoi-polloi would still be tugging their forelocks considering our Covid reponse.

      Or maybe it is the over-reach in the response to Covid that is the source of dissatisfaction.

      The bribe 'Cost of Living Support' wasn't enough, maybe $500 each might have shifted the polls…

      • Maurice 13.2.1

        The problem with bribing Kiwis is that they do not stay 'bought' but need constant and increasing amounts to remain 'on side' ….. something to do with inflation?

      • roblogic 13.2.2

        It's so nice that Matthew Hooton gets a page in the NZ Herald, seemingly every single day, to try to come up with a new criticism of Jacinda Ardern, fails every day and still gets another go the next day.

        I think we are seeing a hangover from the extended Auckland lockdown and people tired of pandemic mandates. They wish Covid would magically disappear. Perhaps that is why the govt has stopped talking about it, even though the health system is now in crisis and we are seeing record deaths.

        There is also the cynical race baiting engaged by RW media and the usual NACToid suspects.

        • newsense

          Crosby Textor still around?

          Two track strategy or whatever you call it. Sainted leaders Te Reo FB page, coincides with this flood of dog whistling and blatant racism bubbling up all over the right elsewhere.

    • Anne 13.3

      roblogic @ 13

  13. newsense 14

    Vast difference on the reporting at least the headlines on Ardern’s trip to Australia.

    Nothing yet on stuff.

    Herald doing a Murdoch impression: ‘Failure, words no action’

    RNZ quotes the PM as a headline.

    • newsense 14.1

      ABC- Shift signal. Albanese signals he may soften deportation policy after meeting with Jacinda Ardern.

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