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Prime Ministerial

Written By: - Date published: 11:38 am, February 17th, 2023 - 31 comments
Categories: act, chris hipkins, Christopher Luxon, climate change, labour, maori party, national - Tags:

Chris Hipkins has so far not put a foot wrong.  Since he became PM he has quickly and competently reformed the Cabinet and jettisoned policies that were for one reason or another causing problems.

And he has quickly asserted control over two massive storms, the first which pummeled the country’s major city and the second which has caused massive floods to much of the East Coast of the North Island.

He has the benefit of being contrasted with Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown.  The Auckland Mayor made a number of bad calls, he was late in responding, the initial response resembled Keystone Cops more than Strike Force Raptor, and his subsequent public statements were extraordinarily defensive and completely lacking in compassion at a time where compassion was urgently required.

By comparison Hipkins has been deft, reassuring and totally in control.

National must be seething.  Christopher Luxon is reacting negatively and his minders must be in despair.  His latest public utterance was to say that the Government should not be writing a blank cheque at a time where many will be wanting the Government to stand up and sort things out.  It is no wonder his trust levels are so low.  Everything he says is subject to the most intense political calibration

The impression of right wing intransigence was highlighted in Parliament this week where MPs turned up for a short period but Parliament then agreed to suspend proceedings for a week.

This could have been completed by a zoom meeting with the agreement of all parties.  But Act held out.

National should have forced its junior partner to back down.  If ever there was a time for no political games it was now.

There are rumours that Luxon’s leadership are under threat.

The next round of polls will be interesting.  Chris Hipkins is not Jacinda Ardern but in these times he appears to be the right person in the right place.

31 comments on “Prime Ministerial ”

  1. Anne 1

    His latest public utterance was to say that the Government should not be writing a blank cheque at a time where many will be wanting the Government to stand up and sort things out.

    If that is what he said then it doesn't even make sense. How can you not write out some cheques when the people want you to "stand up and sort things out". Yeah we know what he means but really… he needs to go back to school and learn how to speak the language properly. 🙄

    • roy cartland 1.1

      Not write a blank check. That's a double negative, even. What an egg.

    • RosieLee 1.2

      "Not writing a blank cheque" is a perfectly well known expression which means that there is no licence to print and spend uncontrolled money. Standing up and sorting things out is completely different.

      • Anne 1.2.1

        We know what he meant but who is talking about "printing money" and how can you "sort things out" without writing some cheques (as the expression goes) in the process.

        NAct is readying itself to start howling about government wastage – spending voter's money right, left and centre – and causing inflation to rise for all us hard-working NZers?

        Totally ignoring the fact we are seeing an horrific disaster unfold before our eyes and only the government has the wherewithal to 'sort things out'.

        As roy cartland says "What an egg".

  2. Ad 2

    Early election say August. Carpe diem.

  3. weka 3

    We are incredibly fortunate. Full kudos to Labour for Little standing aside and the rise of Ardern in 2017, and now Ardern standing aside and Hipkins stepping up and being competent. We don't need another hero, what we needed right now was a bloke who would get on with things, had the social intelligence to both connect with the issues that matter to people and manage the pragmatics of the daily grind and the emergencies.

    I'm starting to think we might even end up with a bloody good government this year. Labour led, with a good showing of Green MPs and Te Pati Māori holding the keys to forming government. There's an opportunity here for the left, to really get behind an MMP election campaign.

  4. tsmithfield 4

    I actually think Hipkins is doing a great job. It wouldn't surpise me at all if Labour win now.

    I would be a bit disappointed if Labour gets back in. But, overall, I wouldn't be too bothered because I think the current Labour iteration is much more centrist, which is not too far away from where I place myself.

  5. Tony Veitch 5

    The electorate rewarded Jacinda Ardern and Labour for a strong showing during the covid pandemic, and

    the electorate will reward Chippy and Labour for a strong response to this crisis!

    And there's nothing, nothing I tells ya, Act/Natz can do about that!

    • roblogic 5.1

      Wayne Brown was propelled into the Mayor's office by the Right and probably residual resentment against Jacinda. But now Luxon is copping the blowback of resentment against Wayne Brown and closer examination of National's "policies" (vague bullet points) that don't help anyone

  6. PsyclingLeft.Always 6

    Seymour :

    He said the sequence of events this morning "only reinforces that, just like under Jacinda, Labour loves disaster politics".


    What..a fkn jerk. Jacinda had him summed up. Who could possibly think he was worth voting for ?

    And Chris Hipkins…comes the hour, comes the man

  7. Thinker 7

    No disagreements to anything in this article, but a few additional points, all of which my opinion and not based on any facts:

    1. I think people are less likely to vote for change while it's perceived we are not out of a crisis. That's in Chris Hipkins' favour. George W Bush's popularity was boosted by 9/11, for example. I always thought that might have been part of the reason for Labour's massive win in 2020.

    2. National must be seething because Wayne Brown is seen by most people as a right-wing politician. I don't know if National had any skin in Brown's game, but perceptions are what counts in politics, I think.

    3. Yes, indeed, Chris Hipkins not only did a great job of showing leadership when a leadership vacuum presented itself, but he seems to have done equally well in his choice of Ministers, most of whom are also presenting equally as well. I think one can tell how the media perceive someone (on behalf of us all, because they write what they think we want to read) by the tone and intellectual level of questions they ask. If that's true, it's all Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows for Hipkins.

    4. Agree that Luxon is not a great frontperson for National. Been trying to work out why. I think he answers questions based on a limited view of the question being asked. In doing so, he forgets there is a big picture that he risks damaging and so when he says something to excite one group he ends up offending a load more people.

    5. Plus, he's in the trap of saying things to appeal to people who are already likely to vote National, which does nothing to help National's chances. Anyone in his shoes needs to appeal to swinging voters who, by definition, have DNA that is both right and left. Hipkins is cleverly appealing to that DNA type. Luxon appears to be trying to appeal to the National Party leadership, not the swinging voters.

    6. For a third of New Zealand's population (Auckland), National's worst problem is not Wayne Brown (who appears to have arms-length alignment to National) but Desley Simpson, who is about as close to the core of National as one can get. No disrespect to Simpson, she's a consummate local politician and, I reckon, if her politics were left she would be a jewel in the left's crown. She is a problem because she's the Deputy Mayor to a Mayor who's becoming increasingly unpopular. That gives her two options, neither of which help National:

    Option 1: If she distances herself from the train wreck and aligns with the popular opinion of Wayne Brown, she (aka National) risks looking disloyal and possibly even undemocratic, given that, however they might feel now, the majority voted for Wayne Brown. Or,

    Option 2: If she behaves like a professional local politician, she must stand by Wayne Brown and either endorse what he says and does or at least attempt damage control. This seems to be the approach she is taking and who could blame her. But she (aka National) risks looking like she endorses what Wayne Brown is doing and saying. Part of me wonders if Gerry Brownlee, who had experience in the Christchurch crises, was a safe pair of hands to appear a bit critical of Wayne Brown and help National distance themselves from the downside risk. Not being from Auckland, he could criticise from afar.

    I began this year wondering if Labour could squeeze a third term, but I'm becoming increasingly hopeful (though not complacent).

  8. I feel Jacinda Ardern gave Chris Hipkins three large roles to ready him for the task of leadership.

    He has moved seamlessly from a "Fix-it" role to Prime Minister, complete with his own style.

    Yes, he has coped well and chosen well in his team, but remaining upbeat in the face of this utter destruction is going to be a huge test.

    We are still in the discovery and rescue stage, and already there are voices claiming Napier has been "neglected" in a couple of Stuff articles where the author's name was hard to find.

    The recovery is going to be very hard, as some areas will never recover from the slips and silt deposits. Food production in the area is disrupted badly and recovery may not happen in some cases.

    For Seymour to claim "Labour loves disaster politics" when he himself is doing disaster politics by being crass and quite detached from the tragedy unfolding, may cause some to consider him inadequate for any meaningful role. I predict a drop in ACT support.

    Luxon has been given some lines of gravitas to quote by his superiors, but his heart is not in it and it shows. He too appears detached and his talk of tens of years is not what people need now. It is so obviously about the money with him and his business support buddies.

    Stuff has asked business to stump up donations. Yes!! Yes!! They should give at least what they put in National's war chest for the Election.

    If they don't… what does that tell the rest of us?

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 8.1

      Hi Patricia…Hope you and family all good? Oh was article this one?

      Cyclone Gabrielle showed Napier has been 'abandoned' by central government, says deputy mayor


      and apparently Ol' Depity Mayor Annette has gone "rouge"

      I’m sorry, I’m going rouge


      Might be more "bleu" ……or blehhh : )

      Edit….Maybe..just maybe, mind..she has also been critical of the nats?

      And, All the best to Napier…and ALL flood affected

      • Tony Veitch 8.1.1

        It might be better for all concerned if she didn't go "rogue!"
        Seriously, where do we get local body politicians?

        • Obtrectator

          From the locality, of course. So sometimes a very small talent-pool.

          • Patricia Bremner

            Thin talent pool imo. After all where things are built is a Council decision.

            Also loud cries of "no interference" from groups has been off putting. No matter what the calamity, some would stand on strange principles.

      • observer 8.1.2

        I don't think we should have a knee-jerk reaction of "local councillor criticises central governments (plural, note), therefore must be right-wing and wrong".

        The lack of infrastructure investment has been holding us back for years. Even though Labour has done more than National, who would rather sell than build (except roads). Who now remembers Bill English's "Future Investment Fund"? Almost nobody, I'd guess. It was a slogan, little else.

        Luxon is repeating the rhetoric now. Invest, invest, but don't spend, spend. It's a con, and he isn't called out on it nearly enough.

        • georgecom

          the time now for a capital gains tax I think. Allocate some of the funds to raising tax thresholds for low and middle income kiwis – address the inflation issue. The rest of the income tagged into rebuilding infrastructure. Cannot see many people moaning about CGT income being used in those areas, or moaning with much sympathy given to them. Tap a new income stream to fund what we desperately need.

      • heartyes All good, and thank you PSA. sorry this did not attach at 8.1

      • dvT 8.1.4

        Maybe the Govt SHOULD abandon them, to serve them right!!

        OK your on your own Sort it yourself.

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