The real coalition of chaos

Written By: - Date published: 8:52 am, May 23rd, 2023 - 22 comments
Categories: budget 2023, Christopher Luxon, climate change, Economy, ETS, national, nicola willis, poverty, same old national - Tags:

National has hatched on its attack line which we will hear about a lot over the next few months.

But it may have a problem.

Because the phrase “coalition of chaos” clearly applies to its leadership team.

Recent events suggest that National is rather chaotic.

As an example it appears that National’s announcement that it was ruling out a deal with the Maori Party was not a case of finely honed and timed racist dog whistling.  The announcement was more akin to Keystone Cops than five dimensional chess.

As reported by RNZ’s Mediawatch Luxon’s announcement on Morning Report on May 10 appears to have been a misspeak by him.  The conclusive proof is National’s urgently asking Mike Hosking to provide space on Newstalk ZB that morning so that Luxon could confirm National’s position, a request that Hosking was more than happy to allow.

I can only imagine what Judith Collins said at the time.

Then there were reports that a group of Auckland businessmen had approached Nicola Willis to roll Luxon as leader.  She said there was no basis for the claim but she also pointedly refused to respond to questions asking if it was true that they had approached her with concerns about Luxon’s ability to become prime minister.

Then she amazingly asked this question in Parliament that afternoon and received a very predictable response:

Nicola Willis: Is he aware that Auckland business leaders are concerned that the economy is going downhill fast—[Interruption]

SPEAKER: Order! Order! Silence, please. I ask the member to ask it again.

Nicola Willis: —that New Zealand has the biggest current account deficit in the developed world, he’s run the books into the red, inflation’s out of control, and interest rates have climbed higher and faster than in our history?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: I do spend a bit of my time with Auckland business leaders—possibly not quite as much as the member does—and they have expressed some concerns to me. One of those concerns was about the leadership of the National Party—I do admit that. I presume that’s the same concern they expressed to the member.

Why would you ask this question when everyone could see that the topic was laden with kryptonite.

But for some strange reason Willis chose to go to town on the issue.  Surely she understood that this would give a story about Auckland businessmen’s concern about Luxon extra legs.

Then there was National’s preemptory ruling out continuation of free Pharmaceuticals for kiwis, a policy that has a significant rationale behind it.  This one was led by Willis.  Luxon had to walk her rhetoric back fairly quickly.  I wonder if he was smiling quietly as he did so.

Some people think this was a carefully laid trap by Grant Robertson.  I think it only emphasizes how completely out of touch National is.

The latest example is National’s opposing the Government’s grant to NZ Steel to ensure that the Government saves a lot of money in the future when it has to buy international carbon credits.

National’s response is lazy rhetoric.  Especially their claim that this is corporate welfare.

How a party that provided the Warner Brothers tax break valued at $25 million should now complain about a grant to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions is beyond me.

And also because this is a really good deal for the Government.  As noted by James Shaw:

The economics of this really stack up, especially compared to current carbon prices. The lifetime abatement cost is forecast at $16.20 per tonne. Current carbon prices are around $55 per tonne. In the long term this saves the Government and the country money.

The total price payable has some conditions that will improve further benefits from the deal.  The base funding is up to $110 million.  There is an additional $10m commissioning funding incentive paid if NZ Steel can get the furnace up and running by January 2027.  And there is a further $20m of performance funding paid upfront if NZ Steel can achieve a further 800,000 tonnes of emissions reductions by 31 December 2030 over and above the base amount committed to in the agreement.

I hope that National keeps this performance up.  Because everyone can see that at this stage put to one side its policy platform it has no ability to be a competent governor of the country.  Luxon and Willis are the real coalition of chaos.

22 comments on “The real coalition of chaos ”

  1. Ad 1

    Hipkins dealt with Mike Hoskins gracefully and evenly this morning.

    The way Hipkins has shaped his ship there are quite limited lines of attack available.

    The big Achilles heel for Hipkins is crime, and Anderson needs to reign her optimism waaaay back.

  2. Mac1 2

    I had a read of the 20 June 2019 "National's next leader? " from The Standard above. Interesting prescience from some contributors.

    For me it raised the issue of what options National has when Luxon goes for there are not many at the moment.

    It goes back to selection.

    And will National try and do another Luxon by drafting in another leadership candidate, touted as such, and risk failing again?

    It is a terribly bad look for a party to so openly and willingly espouse such a poor candidate for such a role.

    It means that they have a poor idea of what makes a leader and how to identify those traits in a person.

    I have always been impressed by the wisdom that the best leaders are those who are reluctant, who see themselves as servants, who are learners.

    Ardern and Hipkins both seem to fit this model. The article talks about risk which is part of the initial reluctance.

    How many potential leaders will have seen the intolerable pressure put upon Jacinda Ardern and the risk her assumption of the leadership contained.

    Good leaders also know when to go. Will Luxon and Willis demonstrate that?

    • Adrian 2.1

      An ex- AirNZ engineer told me the other day that in his time there Luxon's nickname was "The Bible-Bashing-Bully ". Quite telling.

      • Incognito 2.1.1

        Why is it ‘telling’? What is it supposed to be telling you and us?

        Do you have any political points to make here or do you rather spread innuendo based on hear-say of snide comments and personal insults that play the man? If the latter, please take it to OM, thanks.

  3. ianmac 3

    Is NZ in an out of control crime wave? I read somewhere recently that of a dozen countries, NZ was second best on the list of law-abiding countries. Media is hyping up the National/Act claims of lawlessness. "Labour is soft on crime they say repeatably. People no longer feel safe." So the people say, "We don't feel safe!"

    I don't remember where I read the table but someone might find it for me.

    • arkie 3.1

      Depends how you measure it.

      Victoria University criminologist Trevor Bradley says it’s important not to think of police-recorded crime data as a neutral count of crime, because it can often be influenced by changing reporting patterns and behaviour.

      This makes them “endlessly contestable and manipulable”, Bradley says (and as Stuff’s various analyses show) – and politicians might make opposing claims based on their interpretation of the same set of data.

      • ianmac 3.1.1

        Thanks Arkie. On QanA the Minister of Police pointed out the issues of trying to draw comparisons. And it seems that there is a World wide trend towards lawlessness. Look at the USA for instance.

    • RedLogix 3.2

      Most people would probably give an answer based not so much on an absolute comparison on crime stats with other countries – but a relative comparison over time in their own communities, Which is what after all matters to most people.

      The question they're asking themselves is "do I feel more or less safer now than say five years ago?"

      And in that respect relatively rare crimes like homicides and other crimes of major violence have less psychological impact than say vandalism, petty theft, dairy robberies and brazen ram raids in their own communities, that are definitely more common than they used to be.

    • Ad 3.3

      Hipkins can fully see how far Labour has lost the crime issue – shopowners since they are mostly subcontinent Indian used to be core Labour base.

      And there's no assurance of that now. That's a lot of votes to lose.

      Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the closure of a West Auckland NZ Post shop due to increasing crime was “heartbreaking” and the level of retail crime is “unacceptable”.

      The owners of Titirangi Lotto and Post Shop told the Herald yesterday they were quitting after decades of running their business – frustrated by repeat destructive raids targeting their store.

      Hipkins told the AM Show this morning that the news was “absolutely heartbreaking and totally unacceptable.

      “I absolutely acknowledge that the situation we are facing around retail crime at the moment with ram raids and with aggravated robberies. It is utterly unacceptable,” Hipkins said.

      [Quotation marks added to make clear what text is quoted for NZH – Incognito]

    • gsays 3.4

      As arkie says, it depends how you measure it.

      Bob Dylan observed that he had been robbed by more people with a pen than a knife.

      (Something along those lines.)

      Supermarkets and banks making big profits. Trucking industry not bearing the cost of the damage they do to our roads…

  4. Anne 4

    And your assumption mickysavage that the real 'coalition of chaos" presently applies to the National Party was further confirmed by Sue Moroney on Q&A last Sunday. At the bitter end of a panel interview she said in response to a question about Luxon:

    "When Nicola was a new MP I took her and others on a parliamentary trip (I think it was Britain) and one thing I picked up was that Nicola was ambitious – very ambitious" (with an emphasis on the 'very ambitious’)

    She said it with a wicked grin. Beautifully timed Sue.

  5. Incognito 5

    Luxon is lying when he asserts or implies that $140m of taxpayer money was ‘wasted’ in the deal with NZ Steel and that it could be ‘better’ spent on other things – the government money didn’t just come from the general government coffers.

    The deal is funded through the GIDI Fund.

    Here’s an overview of the GIDI Fund:

    The Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) Fund was expanded in May 2022, as part of the government’s Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The programme will see around $650M of capital grants co-investment made available to support valuable decarbonisation projects.

    The CERF is made up of cash from ETS proceeds.

    At its establishment, the CERF was set up with funding equivalent to the available cash proceeds from the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) over the period from 2022/23 to 2025/26. In the Budget Economic and Fiscal Update, Treasury has revised up its forecasts of ETS cash proceeds, indicating that another $800 million will be available over that same forecast period. [pg. 4]

    ETS, of course, receives its monies from polluters such as NZ Steel.

    You get the picture unless you’re a tribal Nat voter.

  6. Thinker 6

    Given the moniker refers to a coalition, one presumes ACT is also happy with it.

    At best, it has the ring of a superhero movie (Fantastic Four, Invincibles, etc). At worst, well, it's all been said in the article.

    Koalition of Keystone Kops might have been a front-runner but pipped by this one.

    I would have recommended Coalition of Clouseaus

  7. observer 7

    Coalition of Cons?

    National will need ACT, obviously.

    ACT want a top income tax rate of 28%, to scrap the Zero Carbon Act and the bright line test and much else.

    While Hipkins (and Ardern) have often been asked about Green Party policies, Luxon is rarely if ever challenged to rule out ACT policies.

    ACT are at least upfront and specific about the drastic cuts they demand. National just say "bureaucrats" a lot. And Mr Luxon really, really cares about climate change. Really, really. You can trust him on that.

    It would be Bolger and Richardson and the mother of Budgets all over again. Vote for painless, vacuous "change", get a very different kind of change.

  8. Corey 8

    A nat/act government would be brutal and hellish for poor people, renters and anyone with mental or physical health problems.

    While the alternative is better, a labour/green minority govt relying on support from a nationalist/separatist party in the cross bench is not ideal either.

    Weve never really had the balance of power sit in the cross bench, our confidence agreements have so far been more like coalition agreements, inside the tent pissing out.

    I genuinely hope (at the expense of Nat/act seats) NZf and TOP get representation in parliament and join the Maori party in the cross bench, therefore if the Maori party doesn't wanna support a bill they could go to top or NZf.

    And if we have to have a national govt, tell me you wouldn't prefer NZf or top being a handbrake on act.

    I feel like there should always be a lib dem style centerist party and regional centerist party in parliament to balance out the crazys. Labour and National should do deals to ensure they both get in parliament.

    I feel like we do MMP, incredibly immaturely, other proportional countries have parties from across the spectrum talking to each other, in Germany they have a coalition of basically labour, act and the greens, act won't talk to labour and the greens won't talk to national, and national and labour? Forget about it.

    it concerns me because nz has a unicameral parliament and relies mostly on convention, if we do get some truly crazy ferals in parliament, would our leaders be mature enough to work together ie lab/nat or nat/green or lab/act to keep out the truly dangerous or would we negotiate with the Looney's?

    I honestly feel like our leaders in labour and national would negotiate with the Looney's rather than compromise with mainstream parties on the other side of the house.

  9. Personally I prefer the name Mean Team for these two. Micro expressions are a dead giveaway.

    Luxon's glare and Willis' sneer are often caught by photographers. They are very revealing as was "Bottom feeders", a slip by Luxon, plus "targeted help" by Willis.(Who picks the targets?)

    For me all but one of their selections show a failure of representative choice, and an acceptance of personal flaws and bad behaviour as "ok".

    Further the coalition of National/ Act is plain scary!! The Roll Back Team.!!

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 9.1

      Aye Patricia. The "Mean Team" (like ! ) Include Seymour and the roll back time machine would go RIGHT the late 80/90's . And NZ ? Screwed again.

      Stiil…Im optimistic with the way Labour is fighting back.

      Must do !

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