The long wait – dithering, inexperience and wreckers

Written By: - Date published: 8:58 am, December 4th, 2023 - 48 comments
Categories: act, national, nz first, political parties, Politics - Tags:

After 59 days after election day, parliament will finally sit again todaywith a new government. The process has mostly been notable for its incoherent dithering, inexperience, and general stupidity. It is a coalition based on chaos, a lack of usable policy and based on wrecking rather than work. The delay was directly due to the 25 days from final results to the swearing in of the executive council by the governor general due to wishful and muddy thinking by National.

The eventual results were obvious to anyone with a political brain on election night. The day after showed a underwhelming and inconclusive election night result. National + Act didn’t have a working majority.

That was mostly because National managed its worst largest party vote since 1996 when they won 33.84% and formed a chaotic coalition government with NZ First in the first MMP election. Sure there were overhangs and a by-election to come. But the special results were always going to give seats going to parties other than Act and National. Offhand I can’t think of an occasion when National or Act picked up a extra seat in the final count after special votes.

It was obvious that they would need another party to form a working parliamentary majority. It was also pretty obvious that the only viable alternative would be NZ First.

Yet for the three weeks mandated by parliament to audit a clear and final result, National dithered and self-indulged in quite obvious wishful thinking hoping for an improbable result that they would prefer. Instead, while sitting around doing nothing, they seem to have spent most of their time whining about the Electoral Commission, who were doing their job as mandated by parliament.

The final results dropped on the 3rd of November 20 days after the election. That involved the real work of counting and recounting 2.8+ million votes made locally and internationally for the election to get a clear and very very close to accurate result. Remember that this has to be to a very high judicial standard. When challenged and recounted for electorates the changes are a few tens of votes over tens of thousands of votes cast. That is a lot of work.

Clearly National would be incapable of doing that. They are good at being critics. But this current crop are clearly incompetent at doing any detailed work.

The process of coalition forming with NZ First under Winston Peters has had a pattern since 1996. They wait for the final results. They strongly favour legalistic and clearly written coalition agreements. They always try to become the dominant coalition partner of the dominant party in whatever arrangement is formed (ask the Greens 🙂 ). Any coalition formed is sped up if the main party forming the coalition did even a little bit of work prior to possible negotiations. Labour has done this process multiple times with NZ First.

Clearly National’s negotiating team were incompetent at anticipating any of this. How else can you explain the second longest government formation since MMP? National barely managed to actually get negotiators talking to each other during the first week. Primarily because it appeared that they were doing the dick tactic of not actually scheduling formal meetings on Winston Peters calendar and just assuming that he’d turn up in Wellington by osmosis as a supplicant.

We all know how that worked out. Waiting journalists staked out at Wellington airport were ecstatic as Luxon, Seymour and Bishop dragged their tails back up to Auckland to the grey kingmaker.

The coalition arrangements that eventually got signed 21 days after the final results were by comparison a work of incoherent mishmashes of policy. Mostly unfunded spending. Most was just a list of what the legislation and policies that were to be removed.

It was also notable for the massive holes of what would replace those bits of legislation and policies. National and Act have spent the decades damning things like the Resource Management Act, Three Waters (designed to stop people dying from bad water and councils going bankrupt fixing it), the battery backup for the electricity grid during dry years, freshwater policies, and a multitude of other thing things that a government is responsible to dealing with.

Yet coming into government, it is clear that they have no policy that they plan to implement in any of these matters. Instead they can only do what they are competent to do. An orgy of urgency removing legislation and planned work.

We finally have a new government in parliament. It is a government determined to prove that they are incompetent wreckers and useless at doing anything positive as a government.

48 comments on “The long wait – dithering, inexperience and wreckers ”

  1. Luxon and his CoC!!!!

    And just incase any readers jump to the wrong conclusion, that stands for Coalition of Chaos!

    • Grey Area 1.1

      Also equates to Coalition of Cruelty. How about COCC?

      It's oversimplifying things I know, but Labour-led governments (however timidly) try to build things up, but National-led governments default to being wreckers. It's what they do.

      It's just so painfully obvious with this talent-less, incompetent crew.

      A big reason Labour got thumped was they didn't offer us any hope or a clear vision. But like Lprent says the COCC has nothing to replace everything they are ripping up.

      It's like we’re driving into a tunnel with the headlights off.

      • adam 1.1.1

        I wonder if feminists and the queer community would agree?

        But I call them the coalition of corporate cocksuckers

  2. Just two years and ten months until this useless lot are on their bikes.

    Incompetent Baboons they are

  3. The COC seem to want to change things for the sake of changing things, God only knows how much it is going to cost to change all the Maaori Signage, like the old saying goes in the Marketing World "There is money in change" ?

    Winston always goes on about common sense, appears to be thrown out the window with the COC.

  4. To gain power Luxon has given in to the base policies of Act and NZ First. There is no country wide plan except to destroy all policies implemented by Labour.

    Further, National have not budgeted correctly for their tax cuts, as they have had to give up their main plank of foreign buyers.

    Austerity is on its way, caused by a vacuum of replacement plans and even destruction of income streams for Auckland. Where Auckland goes…

    The result will be less for benefits pensions and government health and education coffers in general.
    Those small businesses celebrating vapes and smokes may find there is no coin in the pockets of their buyers.

    Those who run "Charities" for profit, may find austerity pinches them, as everyone including the "comfortable with buyers remorse" retreat to lick unexpected wounds.

    I predict the resulting climate of anxiety and uncertainty will overtake any anger.

    Like a snowball these policies will quickly cause unintended results which this current lot have no experience to face. So they will become dangerous to our societies fabric as they patch blame and scheme.

    Get ready for a really bumpy ride.

    • I meant to add that Landlords may briefly celebrate tax gains until they realise councils are raising rates at a gallop to replace three waters, and gains will go out of government coffers to them and into councils to deal with the failure to be able to borrow… another set of unintended consequences. surprise

      • Calm down Patricia ! Go for a cup of tea and a few deep breaths! We are worried about your constitution! It is not the end of the world….yet !

      • Pat 4.1.2

        As was frequently pointed out 3 Waters does not (didnt) decrease the cost of the required infrastructure….indeed due to its duplicate governance structure it likely increased it.

        We will have to pay (one way or another) for improved water quality and infrastructure….or accept a lower standard….there is no easy way out.

        And I may add that out of control immigration dosnt make the problem any easier.

        • bwaghorn

          Shouldn't migrants have to contribute to nzs infrastructure an amount equal to what a comparable aged nzer has based on their age at entry,

          • Pat

            And how would that be calculated?

            Would we discount the cost of their education?

            Is the resident contribution to infrastructure equal and measurable?

            How do we measure their life expectancy and projected future costs to public expenditure?

            Assuming we could do that, would it discourage any potential migrant?

            The fact of the matter is, IF we want to improve our water quality/supply we will have to make significant investment AND substantial changes to how our economy functions.

            Frankly, I doubt most are prepared to do what is required and there will be special pleading all over the place.

        • Pat, Three Waters would have enabled borrowing to alleviate issues Councils face now, and ratepayers will get increased bills.

          Yes we would still pay, but over a longer period in a more manageable way. Some wealthy well organised areas have managed, many have not.

          • Pat

            No Patricia it would not have enabled any more borrowing….indeed the way to reduce borrowing cost was for the central government to directly fund it….something 3 Waters sought to avoid.

            Yes we would still pay, and pay for more than was necessary under the 3 waters model.

            The fact is few are prepared to accept the fundamental change required to provide that which they all claim to desire.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          As was frequently pointed out 3 Waters does not (didnt) decrease the cost of the required infrastructure….indeed due to its duplicate governance structure it likely increased it.

          More "duplicate governance" was step too far for many, but not for cost, imho.

          The amalgamation aspects of 3Waters might have generated economies of scale, but we'll never know.

          Six year wait for three waters reforms far too long, says Scottish expert [27 June 2022]
          The Water Industry Commission of Scotland had succeeded because it had created economies of scale in areas of high-cost expertise and senior management but had recognised that the delivery of water services remained “intensely local”. He believed this was not well understood or believed by New Zealanders opposed to the reforms. “You need to have a professional responsive staff in place, like professional hydrologists, professional asset planners, professional people for dealing with procurement, professional people for dealing with finances and bond markets. To do that you need real scale. Because if you don't, you can't afford the top specialists because (they) are typically quite well-paid individuals.” Sharing their costs over a community of 50,000 to 100,000 people was very different from sharing their costs over a million people.

          Three waters rebrand insufficient [13 April 2023]
          The Green Party also remains concerned that the Government continues to leave the door open to future privatisation of water services. Stronger safeguards to guarantee public ownership now and for future generations is essential.

          Hope I'm long gone before Kiwi water infrastructure is privatised in another wretched neoliberal wealth transfer.

          Water Privatisation – Pros and Cons [13 December 2022]
          So we have all the drawbacks of privatisation without any of the benefits. It seems the average householder is getting the worst of high bills, poor service and disregard for the environment. With global warming causing extreme weather, there is likely to be increasing pressure on water infrastructure in the coming years, but the system of private ownership and weak government regulation seems poorly equipped to deal with the challenges of the coming years.

          The wretched state of Thames Water is one of the best arguments for public ownership we have [28 June 2023]
          Water privatisation in England and Wales has achieved just one thing: the enrichment of executives and overseas shareholders

          • Pat

            "More "duplicate governance" was step too far for many, but not for cost, imho."

            The racism claim was overstated imo….the fact there was no advantage, and several potential disadvantages (costs/risks) made many have a second take…and then the flaws were evident.

            As stated, few are prepared to accept what would be required for the stated goal so irrespective of the method instigated or administration driving it we are unlikely to achieve the stated outcome.

            Somewhat like our climate change challenge.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              Somewhat like our climate change challenge.

              yes As years whiz by, long-term planning will become a luxury fewer people can afford – a preserve of the 'winners' of our doomed neoliberal game.

        • Tricledrown

          Pat most poor potable Water is in rural areas under labour everybody would have paid now it will be low population low rate paying areas will have to find the money themselves making it more expensive for rural residents.Which will make it harder on the farming sector.Then Auckland and Wellington will have to find huge sums of money to fix aging and inadequate infrastructure. User pays . But National will kick the can down the road. You will be able to buy bottled water with your $10 a week tax cut. Then go swimming in the overflows.

          • Pat

            "Pat most poor potable Water is in rural areas "

            Thats certainly true of nitrate contamination, however nitrate contamination was not part of the 3 waters proposal…and most water infrastructure is in urban areas, hence the exemption of small rural schemes from the proposal.

            It is difficult to regulate infrastructure that dosnt exist.

            There appears a rush to ignore the (im) practicalities of 3waters in the rush to support 'our' team…all of the same problems exist with or without 3 waters and the (real) solutions will be the same.

            The can will be kicked regardless.

  5. , it is clear that they have no policy that they plan to

    key got 9 years doing just that, easiest why to avoid the odd failure is to do nothing.

  6. Darien Fenton 6

    The last two sitting weeks of parliament will be repeal, repeal, repeal under urgency, led by removing Fair Pay Agreements – you know those horrific instruments that Business have been whining about, while meantime also grizzling they have to pay workers too much or they can't get anyone to work for them, so they need more migrants. Brooke van Velden hasn't wasted any time. She had a Cabinet paper in early. It says they don't have time to consult with the "social partners" ; in other words, the CTU and Business NZ (of course didn't need to consult with BIZNZ and bugger the workers). The only thing to look forward to this week with the Commission opening of Parliament is the "Sheriff of the Court" – who knew? and whether Gerry Brownlee will be dragged into parliament to show his faux reluctance to being Speaker.

  7. Foreign waka 7

    Gobsmacked really, as the coalition talks were lasting about 3 weeks after the last votes were counted. Just to reiterate, the majority of votes called for a change of government as we have seen at the ballot box. To see this decision by said majority being undermined and made difficult by the minority makes me really wonder whether NZ has grown up enough to call their country a democracy. Those who fought and lost their lives in the wars past for a NZ that seems to give way to the American culture of doing politics, must be turning in their graves.

    • observer 7.1

      "Those who fought and lost their lives in the wars … must be turning in their graves."

      There are always some weird comments on here, but that one goes beyond hyperbole and off into outer space, leaving Planet Earth far behind.

      • roblogic 7.1.1

        People died fighting tyranny, so that we can live in a peaceful democracy.

        A flawed narrative no doubt. But democracy is much preferable to what the Nactoids are doing.

        • observer

          I think FW was saying the government = majority, and those who criticise its decisions are "undermining" democracy. Obviously that would be nonsense.

          But it was a bit of a ramble so who knows?

    • Descendant Of Smith 7.2

      You confuse democracy with the evils of the rule of the majority.

      In a democracy you elect people to do a specialist role – govern for all of the people. That we use a system of majority voting in some way shape or form to decide who will run parliament is a way of bringing some structure and leadership.

      This doesn't remove the responsibility of the government of the day to gather information and weigh things up in a considered way – particularly when if in opposition you do not have access to all the information.

      It is the role of the opposition to ensure that these things are well researched and debated and that the public have input. It is why we have select committees and so on.

      Doing stuff under urgency by all sides just is annoyingly ideological by all sides and in my view very poor governance. I dislike it when Labour do it and equally so when National do. You might campaign on something but that doesn't give you carte blanche to put it in place without doing due diligence.

      Anyway no one had a majority to do anything. It is why they have to form a coalition so there is no mandate to do anything.

      • Pat 7.2.1

        "Anyway no one had a majority to do anything. It is why they have to form a coalition so there is no mandate to do anything."

        A Government disallowed from doing anything?

        Why have a Government at all?

        • roblogic

          They could try and govern cautiously and by consensus instead of ramming through radical changes that Labour took years to embed, that went through proper processes, and we all paid for. Labour had a far great mandate than NAF can imagine, but took things carefully.

          • Pat

            Some would say Labour took things too carefully.

            We live in a democracy and under our system the Government has the ability to make policy IF it can get the votes in the house.

            We may not agree with all those policies but I for one prefer the ability to vote them in or out (even if they depowered themselves decades ago)….what alternative would you prefer?

            Its flawed but I can see no better alternative.

    • Tricledrown 7.3

      The Americans saved us in both Wars! Foreign Waka.

  8. Kat 8

    National have the born to rule mentality well ingrained. Somehow they think they have a clear mandate to wreck everything Labour put in place and then do whatever they like…….they are not very good with numbers and eventually are bound to pay the price….. when all the dopey sleepy hobbits (Sir Ian Taylor take note) that didn't like Labour finally wake up.

  9. adam 9

    My problem is the attack on three waters by the far right was race based.

    So it could not take apart the problems with three waters, ( I and others had a few, but they could be fixed) or explain why it is necessary to fix water in the first place.

    Effectively the radical right are left with destroying three waters or going back on their word to their base.

    So once again rural/small town NZ gets in the neck.

    • Tricledrown 9.1

      Rural NZ largely vote National and that means user pays .Nitrates in water lead to high rates of bowel cancer .Farmers don't want water reform. But are happy to overload the Health system then complain because of no doctors no specialists in rural hospitals now with Cigarettes even more money wasted on preventable diseases.

      • adam 9.1.1

        Was thinking Shear croppers and the people who do work for those who own the land will suffer for these policies.

        Not farmers per se.

    • roblogic 9.2

      It was also based on lies.

      "Labour is going to steal the water and give it to the Māori elite"

      "Co-governance equals apartheid"

      "Co-governance is undemocratic"

      Just brainless stuff. That right-wing blogger/X-er Thomas Cranmer covered up the essential racism on the right with all kinds of legalese and clever arguments. But fundamentally it was a fear campaign against the Left, and it worked.

      The right has fucked the future of Aotearoa for the sake of power.

  10. John 10

    After 6 years of complete chaos we can now look to a brighter future with the new coalition government.

  11. John 11

    Coalition of Clever.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 11.1

      Don't know about clever – time will tell.

      Let's Get Our Country Smoking and Inequality Back on Track.

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