- Date published:
8:22 am, March 18th, 2020 - 57 comments
Categories: grant robertson, health, jacinda ardern, national, same old national, Simon Bridges, uncategorized, winston peters - Tags: coronavirus
Twelve years ago I recall the moment that I thought the fifth Labour Government’s chicken was cooked.
It was when Key managed to front a change to the anti smacking bill.
The bill was in a difficult situation. On one side was Sue Bradford with her private member’s bill wanting to remove a legal anomaly that allowed kids to be brutally beaten. On the other side was an array of conservative forces thinking that such brutality was justified by the bible and it was all PC gone mad.
National’s then leader John Key seized the initiative and proposed an amendment that attracted overwhelming parliamentary support. He burned some conservative political capital by doing it. But he seized the opportunity. And he looked like a leader.
Simon Bridges had a chance yesterday to do something similar. A national crisis and an urgent need for political leadership to unite us all. In fact the circumstances were far more urgent.
I watched Bridges’ speech in Parliament yesterday and was overwhelmed with a feeling of Meh. And I was not the only one.
Jacinda and Winston Peters chided him for his approach. From Jo Moir at Radio New Zealand:
“But I want to refer to the speech we heard from the leader of the opposition – frankly, I do have to because it was shallow and it was graceless and the New Zealand people will judge him for it.”
[Peters] wasn’t alone with Jacinda Ardern joining in too.
“There are moments in our history where it’s not business as usual. Where New Zealanders expect us to come together. Where we need unity – not politics as usual.
“And today Mr Bridges is one of those days,” she said.
Sam Sachdeva at Newsroom said this:
Robertson’s announcement was broadly well received by most, with the notable exception of National leader Simon Bridges.
For better and (in this case) for worse, Bridges has only one speed – relentless negativity, an attack-dog approach that pulled his leadership out of the mire last year but is now entirely inadequate for the job at hand.
Barry Soper at the Herald said this:
The package is also about cushioning the blow with most of the money going into wage subsidies for struggling businesses. That had Simon Bridges beating the drum saying it’d only pay 20 fulltime workers for twelve weeks before the $150,000 cap’s reached and he reckons it’s going to last much longer than that.
By the time he had finished, the drum sounded more like a grating cymbal. He ignored the fact that the vast majority of businesses in New Zealand have fewer than 20 people.
And Audrey Young thought the same:
“There are moments in our history where it’s not business as usual,” Ardern began her speech. “When we need unity, not politics as usual and today is one of those days.”
It makes criticism of the “war effort” almost seem unpatriotic. That didn’t stop National leader Simon Bridges.
National actually supports most of the package but Bridges struggled to find the right tone or words for the parts he supported or questioned.
Bridges seized on it as an example of “confused priorities” and “taking the opportunity to prioritise beneficiaries over business.”
Bridges was beneficiary bashing with all his strength and saying some pretty outlandish things, even for him. Like claiming that beneficiaries are being supported over businesses.
The claim is not only wrong but also ignores the direct Kensyan effects of the increases in benefits and winter payments.
Things are that bizarre that Paul Goldsmith is looking like a potential future leader.
Can I urge the National Party in the country’s interests to keep Simon Bridges in the leader’s position?
And if you want to see real leadership check this out.