Whineston Peters not going to let ‘5 minute’ female journalists criticise Ardern

Peters has a big whine, especially against female journalists and shows himself as a sexist old shit who is intolerant of criticism.

“And we’re not going to stand by whilst a critique or a cabal of commentators, many who are women, bitterly lecture her .when they don’t know anything about her role or job or how well she’s doing.”

Peters has attacked and ridiculed journalists for as long as I can remember. He comes across as a cantankerous old shit who avoids answering questions when being interviewed. But his political successes are unlikely to have happened without the attention the media has given him.

In his opening remarks to the ‘Government Priorities Launch’ last Sunday one of his priorities was attacking the media.

The reason we retain the confidence of New Zealanders is because they see what the media filter seemingly cannot: we are a unified government determined to lead change to lift all New Zealanders’ prospects. Speaking on behalf of New Zealand First, we remain as committed as ever to making this coalition and government work. We also know what the political media does not.

This is highly ironic given that he is the main reason that then issue of disunity in the Government has come up, and it seems to be a primary thrust of Jacinda Ardern’s ‘Government Priorities’ PR party promotion last weekend.

A politician who things they know best should be scrutinised by the media. Peters seems to expect the media to be subservient to his vanity project and whines when they aren’t – he’s a lot like Trump in this.

Yesterday he went into whine overdrive: Winston Peters berates female critics of the Government.

Winston Peters:

What I’m not going to be prepared to stand by though, and is have pretty inexperienced, untrained political commentators who’ve been here 5 minutes lauding it over people that of course have got the bully pulpit of the pen and media.

They’re not going to win this battle.

Our job is to have, provide really sound government.

Our job is to ensure the Prime Minister gets all the backing in the world and she’s going to get that, and she’s getting that.

And we’re not going to let…stand by whilst a critique or a cabal of commentators, many who are women, bitterly lecture her…

Talking of bitter sounding lectures…

…when they don’t know anything about her role or job or how well she’s doing.

No word from Peters on what he might do about it, apart from whine.

He seems to have a problem with female journalists who don’t laud over him and Ardern.


How is he not going to let journalists critique the jobs he and Ardern are doing?



Refugee quota to lift just before next election

Jacinda Ardern, with Winston Peters at her side, has announced that the refugee quota will be increased from 1000 to 1500 in July 2020, just before the next election. This year’s budget has already allowed for enlarging refugee facilities.

After Peters’ recent grandstanding on refugees the timing of the increase is curious.

The official announcement:

New Zealand will lift the refugee quota from 1000 to 1500 within this political term, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.

“I’m proud that the Coalition Government has today agreed to make such a significant and historic increase to the annual quota of refugees,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“This is the right thing to do. It fulfils New Zealand’s obligation to do our bit and provide a small number of people, displaced by war and disaster each year, a place to call home.

“The quota increase will take place from July 2020. In the meantime, we will work to increase the number and spread of refugee resettlement and support services.  We need to make sure we’re prepared for this change in policy.”

“This will change lives and not just for refugee families. Refugees become great citizens, who bring valuable skills and experience to New Zealand and help make our country a more diverse and vibrant place.”

For 30 years New Zealand’s refugee quota sat at 750 people per year, leading to calls to double the quota. In 2016 the previous government announced an increase to the quota to 1000, which took effect in 2018. All three parties in the government had policies to increase the number of refugees New Zealand accepts.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said the quota increase was made possible through a significant boost in funding for refugee services in Budget 2018.

This included money to build and operate two new accommodation blocks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre to extend the lifespan of the complex, meet the demands of the current intake of 1000 and help enable an increase in the refugee intake.

“An additional six settlement locations will also be needed around New Zealand on top of the recent re-establishment of Christchurch as a settlement location.

“The number of intakes of refugees and the size of each intake will also be changed from July 2020 while the current six-week reception programme at Mangere will be shortened to five weeks.

“Additional resources will also be provided to ensure that quota refugees are able to live in safe, secure, healthy and affordable homes which best suit their assessed needs.

“The Government will fund the expansion of public housing supply for around 150 extra refugee families at an estimated total cost of $32.5 million over three years,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.

Refugee details

  • The Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment forecasts annual net migration to New Zealand to decline by 22 per cent to 51,000 in the June 2020 year when the increase in the refugee quota will take effect.
  • Budget 2018 provided $6.2 million of new operating funding over the next four years, and $7.7 million of new capital to build and operate two new accommodation blocks at the Centre.
  • There are now eight settlement locations in New Zealand where quota refugees are settled after they have completed the reception programme at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre: Auckland region, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington region, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill.

This increase was Labour policy for last year’s election, and they indicated they wanted to implement it but Peters appeared to put a spoke in the wheel last month.

Peters now says “this is about people, not about politics”.

Stuff: Refugee quota lifting to 1500 by 2020

The announcement ends several weeks of speculation that NZ First would shoot down any attempt by the Government to raise the quota, and fulfils a Labour campaign promise to raise the quota within their first term of Government.

Labour campaigned on doubling the quota from 750 to 1500 in their first term of Government, and seemed confident that this policy would make it through Cabinet as recently as August.

But early this month Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters cast doubt on this, saying he wanted the Government to help Kiwis in strife before raising the quota.

“We never made a commitment to double the refugee quota,” Peters said when questioned by reporters.

When it was suggested Labour had, Peters said: “Labour’s not the government.”

“We’ve got 50,000 people who are homeless back home, and I can show you parts of the Hokianga and elsewhere, parts of Northland, where people are living in degradation.

Peters, who appeared alongside Ardern at the announcement on Wednesday, said he was now sure the Government was already addressing the issues in New Zealand, pointing specifically to Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s “explosion in house-building.”

There hasn’t been a sudden change in how housing issues are being addressed, so this looks like a sudden change in Peters’ position of refugees.

The decision was made in a cabinet subcommittee on Wednesday.

Ardern said there had been no “quid pro quo” to get NZ First to agree to the deal, while Peters rejected the idea that his party had ever horse traded on any policy in its history.

This looks like a win for Labour and a backdown from Peters, unless he was just playing politics when he upstaged Ardern at Nauru.

The timing of this announcement looks to be convenient for Ardern’s visit to the United Nations in New York soon.

What’s the problem with ‘Labour-led Government’?

I think it’s been fairly normal to describe Governments in New Zealand under MMP as led by the largest party, and led by the party of the Prime Minister. It has been common to hear of the Labour-led Clark Government, or the National-led Key Government. Actually it was common for the last lot to be referred to as ;the National Government.

So it is odd to see such a big deal being made over the term ‘Labour-led Government’. Or the Ardern Government.

National have recently been needling Winston Peters in particular on this lately – see The most pure form of MMP?

On Sunday while most of the focus and speech making was on Ardern and Labour, Ardern only sort of said she was in charge in her speech:

It’s a bit like a road trip that tells you who’s in the car, where you’ll be stopping, but doesn’t tell you where you’re going.

I can tell you, that as the person driving that car, that wasn’t enough for me.

She referred to ‘government’ 33 times, coalition 5 times and Labour just once:

This is our Cabinet mandated, Coalition Government work plan.

This plan represents our shared vision and priorities; Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens.

She even mention ‘green’ 5 times.

Ardern is going out of her way to appease Peters on this. NZH: PM’s verdict on the three words guaranteed to annoy NZ First leader Winston Peters

In New Zealand, we now have a Government which looks like a Labour-led Government called the I Can’t Believe It’s Not a Labour-led Government.

NZ First leader Winston Peters has expended some energy trying to eradicate the pesky phrase “Labour-led Government,” claiming it is not a true reflection of the coalition arrangement.

Instead, he has instructed media, MPs and anybody else in earshot to refer to “the Coalition Government” or the Labour-NZ First coalition government.

He will tolerate the addition of “with confidence and supply from the Greens” but only three times a year and only if uttered in a dark windowless room with no audience.

Antagonising Peters probably won’t change anything, he does cantankerous without any provocation.

Even Ardern gets jittery when the three words are uttered in her presence.

Asked if she had asked ministers to stop using the term, she replied “ah, I’ve never used that phrase, I don’t believe I’ve used that phrase.

“I tend not to and I’d expect [ministers] to refer to us as a coalition Government or a Government with a coalition partner and a confidence and supply partner.”

Peters has had some success with his eradication campaign.

The offending term has now been removed from the Beehive website and replaced with Coalition Government.

Ardern said that was not her doing.

“If you’re questioning whether or not because there was a change whether or not because there was a change on the website that I’m ceding power, the answer is no.”

Nor did the outlawing of the words “Labour-led Government” mean the Government was not led by Labour.

“I am a Labour Prime Minister, I am leader of the Labour Party and I am in a coalition Government. There is no doubt I don’t think that I am the Prime Minister and leading this Government.”

Sounds like talking around the issue. Someone in Labour seems to have been busy ensuring compliance with Winston’s descriptive demands.

Doing a search on site:labour.org.nz labour-led shows no hits in the last month, but there are still some references remain going further back, with 8 in October/November last year when the new Government took over.

For this year I can find three:

Not surprisingly the media are rebelling against instructions on how to describe the Government.

The media merrily ignore Peters’ edict and some may use the term in front of him just to annoy him.

Tova O’Brien (Newshub) leads with the term in Jacinda Ardern’s U-turn on pulling troops out of Iraq

“The Labour-led Government is extending New Zealand’s deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan”, which may grate given this is a NZ First leaning decision.

Brigitte Morton (RNZ): A SuperGold move from the coalition

What it didn’t address was the issues that the Labour-led Government has been having over the last fortnight. Simply changing it from being called the Labour-led government to the Coalition government didn’t address any of the differences that are emerging between the three parties.

Tim Murphy (Newsroom): The Push-me-Pull-you Government

It was an invite only affair, in a university lecture theatre darkened to permit viewing of a skite-video of the first, well, 11 months and featuring a scrolling, too-fast-to-read list of the achievements of this Labour-led Government. Or the Labour-New Zealand First Coalition. Or the Labour-New Zealand First Coalition with support on confidence and supply from the Green Party.

Looks like the Streisand effect in action.

1 News from yesterday’s Ardern media conference: ‘No’ – Jacinda Ardern says change in wording on Labour’s website doesn’t mean she’s ‘ceding power’

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told media a change of text on the Labour Party’s website doesn’t mean she will be “ceding power” anytime soon.

A reporter asked Ms Ardern if she has asked her ministers to stop using the term Labour led Government at her post-Cabinet address today.

“I don’t believe I’ve ever used that phrase and I expect them to refer to us as a coalition Government that’s the truth of our arrangement,” Ms Ardern said.

Another reporter then pointed out Labour’s official website used to have the phrase “to get the latest from the Labour led Government click here” on it’s homepage and that has now been changed to read “to get the latest from the Coalition Government, click here.”

“I can’t say I have noticed it or that it’s ever been raised with me.

“If you’re questioning whether or not because there was a change on the website if I’m ceding power the answer is no,” the Prime Minister answered.



This may seem quite petty and unimportant, but it is a further sign of how much the Government is intent on massaging their messages, including trying to dictate descriptions.

The official website of the New Zealand Government refers to “Labour led government 2017-2020”




Iraq, Afghanistan ‘peacekeeping’ and the realities of international ‘leadership’

Jacinda Ardern has been promoted (or has promoted herself) as one of a radical new breed of young progressive wanting to lead the world in a new direction. But the realities for a small distant nation is that the leader largely has to follow along with allies, even in war situations.

So despite in Opposition promising to pull the troops out the Government has just announced an extension of New Zealand’s deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Greens remain opposed.

Official announcement: New Zealand to extend NZDF deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and 3 peacekeeping missions

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, and Defence Minister Ron Mark have announced an extension of the New Zealand Defence Force military training deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a renewal of three peacekeeping missions in the Middle East and Africa.

“The decision to deploy defence force personnel overseas is one of the hardest for any government to take, especially when these deployments are to challenging and dangerous environments,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“The Government has weighed a number of factors, including carefully considering the risks to our servicemen and women based on advice from the New Zealand Defence Force. The decisions themselves were taken following careful Cabinet deliberations.”

The Iraq deployment will be extended until June 2019, and the Afghanistan deployment will be extended until September 2019.  This allows New Zealand to fulfil its current commitment to both missions.

In the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan the Government will be using the coming year to consider all options for New Zealand’s future contributions.

The three peacekeeping missions are to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) in the Golan Heights and Lebanon and the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) mission in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt.

“The Government has decided to continue with our current commitments to three peacekeeping missions in the Middle East and Africa, where we have an established presence and proven track record,” Winston Peters said.

A quite length explanation of all the deployments and their histories then followed.

This would normally be seen as a pragmatic decision with New Zealand being seen to contributing to international peacekeeping obligations, which it is. But this is a reversal of Labour’s position. National found themselves in a similar position.

Labour press release (June 2016): Iraq mission extension case not made

The Prime Minister has not made the case for extending the Iraq deployment another 18 months nor the expansion of their mission, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.

“Labour originally opposed the deployment because the Iraqi Army’s track record was poor, even after years of training by the American and other armies. Having visited Camp Taji, my view on this has not changed.

“It was always obvious that the Iraq deployment would not be complete within the two years originally set for the mission, and the Prime Minister has not been open with the public about the demands being made on our troops by Coalition allies.

“Today in his post cabinet briefing Key could not even confirm the troops would be home in 18 months. He has not been straight with New Zealanders, nor has he made the case for mission creep. He owes it New Zealanders to explain why we’re committing our forces to an ongoing volatile theatre of war.

The Government has announced an extension to the two-year deployment, keeping up to 143 personnel in Iraq for an extra 18 months.

John Key admits it’s a change from the initial promise, but said there’s still work to do. He said the other options are to “do nothing”, or do “something that in hindsight may be more dangerous”.

Labour leader Andrew Little…

“We can be a good global citizen by looking after the civilians who are displaced. What we don’t want to be is caught up in a conflict that goes way out of control.”

“The fact that he’s now completely indefinite about how long we might be there – we could be there for a long, long time. The real threat then is of civil war and who knows where that will go.”

Green co-leader James Shaw…

…said we shouldn’t have our military in Iraq at all

“This is mission creep, and it’s extremely dangerous. He’s broken a promise about how long we were going to be there in the first place, it could easily get extended again, both in terms of the length of time we’re over there and also in terms of the scope of the mission.’

“Our good global citizenship role would be much better deployed as part of the humanitarian effort, rather than part of the military effort. We’ve got a lot more skill in humanitarian aid.”

SBS News/Reuters (November 2017 just after Ardern became Prime Minister): NZ could pull out of Iraq deployment

Australia may lose New Zealand as a partner training Iraqi security forces to fight Islamic State militants next year.

Ms Ardern said her government will review NZ’s commitment of just under 150 military personnel in November next year.

“We will look again at the circumstances when that mandate comes up again,” she told reporters at Sydney airport before her departure.

“It’s a complex conflict and things could change dramatically between now and then.”

Former NZ Labour leader Andrew Little, who Ms Ardern replaced, has previously cast doubt on the benefits the country’s role in Iraq and had vowed to bring the troops home.

Incline (February 2018): Groundhog Day for New Zealand’s Iraq Deployment?

National’s decision might have been broadly predictable, but the same cannot be said for Jacinda Ardern’s Labour-led coalition. What the Prime Minister and her Cabinet colleagues choose to do on Iraq presents a series of challenges in the weighing of international and domestic expectations.

For New Zealand First, which holds both the Defence and Foreign Affairs portfolios, the shift in position is a slightly easier one. Ron Mark prides himself on his commitment to a Defence Force that is ready to undertake missions in difficult conflict zones. At a time when his portfolio is not among the government’s top spending priorities, he needs a win for his view of the Defence Force. That Mr. Mark has been in Iraq, and has reported that the New Zealanders are doing “vital tasks” in the national interest, says all we need to know about his position on the issue.

His New Zealand First boss also seems a very likely supporter of extension. As Foreign Minister, Peters will be keenly aware of Australia’s interest in seeing New Zealand commit to a further six months and more.

We can be certain that if Jacinda Ardern announces that New Zealand will extend its mission she will not use the “price of the club” argument which landed John Key in political hot water. Explaining New Zealand’s involvement as a consequence of its five eyes connections would be exactly the message that would fire up opposition from the Greens and the Labour left.

…the Iraq decision is a more difficult test. Unlike the TPP, where significant parts of New Zealand’s business community have been strong supporters, there is no comparable domestic constituency for the Iraq deployment.

This raises an obvious challenge for the government if it does choose to extend. How does it show this choice is consistent with an independent foreign policy? Labour may think it owns that concept by virtue of its nuclear free push in the 1980s. Will Ardern be tempted to repeat the Key-English argument that New Zealand has made its own (i.e. “independent”) choice to work with traditional partners in Iraq? That will hardly convince many of the people who brought her to office.

Newshub (yesterday): Jacinda Ardern’s U-turn on pulling troops out of Iraq

The Labour-led Government is extending New Zealand’s deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan despite promising in Opposition to pull troops out.

The Prime Minister is refusing to comment on whether New Zealand’s elite soldiers, the SAS, will or have joined them.

This is another example of Labour leaning towards NZ First preferences, with Greens opposed. The Green Party doesen’t seem to have put out an official statement, but…

In the context of the ‘War of Terror’ & ‘peace in the Mid East’, one thing we know is more foreign military presence is not working, has never worked, & has made things far worse. Bring on the sustainable, non-military led humanitarian, conservation, restoration focus.

Stop spending Mills$ joining failed military campaigns that only help weapons manufacturing nations/corporates. Instead invest in helping victims access medicine, rebuild schools, roads…And flex our diplomatic muscle to tell everyone we won’t stand for them profiting from war.

She has a point – Iraq and Aghanistan seem to be bottomless pits and graveyards when it comes to military involvement, and perhaps futile: Seventeen years after September 11, al-Qaeda may be stronger than ever

In the days after September 11, 2001, the United States set out to destroy al-Qaeda. US President George W Bush vowed to “starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest.”

Seventeen years later, al-Qaeda may be stronger than ever. Far from vanquishing the extremist group and its associated “franchises,” critics say, US policies in the Middle East appear to have encouraged its spread.

New Zealand is now extending support of US policie.

What US officials didn’t grasp, said Rita Katz, director of the Site Intelligence Group, in a recent phone interview, is that al-Qaeda is more than a group of individuals. “It’s an idea, and an idea cannot be destroyed using sophisticated weapons and killing leaders and bombing training camps,” she said.

The group has amassed the largest fighting force in its existence.

It is a dilemma. Pacifism would also not have contained Al Qaeda nor ISIS. But a seventeen year military approach hasn’t solved Middle East problems either.

Ardern, Peters and their Government are doing their bit, but it’s very debatable whether that is going to help anything other than their standing in the US and it’s military industrial complex.

Party leaders on the election campaign

Chapters on a Victoria University book reviewing the 2017 election by each of the party leaders.

Newshub – Stardust and Substance: the 2017 election through politicians’ eyes

Accounts of political events by politicians themselves can be worse than useless and should be read with great caution. Politicians are simply too close to what happened to really give any insights into events. They’re also often just too practiced in their own spin to be able to reveal any truly interesting or new information. Too often, politician accounts of election campaigns are simply their attempts to assert their own version of history for the record.

Nonetheless, the accounts of the 2017 election by the political party leaders in Stardust and Substance are all well worth reading. Some are more self-serving than others, and they vary greatly in how much they reveal that is new or useful. But all seven chapters from the party leaders help the reader understand what went on in 2017 to make it such an extraordinary election.

They are generally more self promotional than analytical.

Jacinda Ardern – ‘I remember the crunch point’: Jacinda Ardern looks back on the 2017 election

There is no doubt that 2017 will remain the most extraordinary year of my life. But a statement like that doesn’t quite capture the fact that what happened this year had layers that extended well beyond me. In that sense, before I go any further I want to acknowledge three people in particular. The first two are Andrew Kirton and Nigel Haworth. I see the president and especially the general secretary of our party as often the unsung heroes. Their work is unrelenting. They manage and motivate thousands of volunteers, manage our governing body, and ensure we have the funds to run our campaigns in the first place. I salute them.

Bill English: ‘Confident but paranoid’: Bill English reflects on election 2017

Coming into 2017 I was often asked how National, as the incumbent government, felt about the election. My standard answer was “confident but paranoid”, which, as it turned out, proved to be the right mental setting. One had only to look around the world to see that political events had become a bit more unpredictable. The fact that you couldn’t predict where the unpredictable would occur didn’t mean that it wasn’t going to happen, and of course it did.

I want to give some personal reflections on my involvement in the campaign as a leader. I think that the overriding impression for me was just how much I enjoyed it. As someone who had been unavoidably characterised in a certain way because of my finance role, it did take some time to adjust, and for public expectations to adjust, to my new role as a leader in a campaign. There are a number of reasons that I enjoyed it. First was that there was plenty to campaign for, again unusually for a party that had been in government for nine years. I had been personally strongly invested in many of the issues which were debated in the campaign – the economy, obviously, but also all the social issues, poverty, housing, water quality, and the environment, where we had done much intensive work over many years.

Winston Peters: ‘We chose the harder path’: Winston Peters on election 2017

Eight weeks out from the general election, New Zealand First was poised to challenge Labour’s status as the second largest political party – this was a sign: when things are going great you should be worried most. Polling revealed that we were statistically tied with Labour. From our perspective that day would have been a good one for the country to have voted.

It was not to be.

Labour were sagging badly but I think it is very unlikely NZ First would have overtaken them. Greens were picking uop more of Labour’s losses than NZ First.

James Shaw: When the wheels came off: James Shaw on Election 2017

My worst moment of the 2017 election came the day parliament rose to kick off the formal part of the campaign, about six weeks before election day.

Roughly 10 minutes before I had to give the Adjournment Debate speech on behalf of the Green Party, I received that evening’s Colmar Brunton poll results. We were on 4%, the first time during the campaign that we had dipped below the threshold which would see us return to parliament. And because, in many ways, the adjournment speech kicked off the formal election campaign period, it wasn’t a great way to start.

I finished the speech and my colleague Gareth Hughes came and sat down in the seat next to me. He looked at me and said, “Way to go, giving that speech, knowing what you know.” It was a really tough moment, because at that point it seemed probable that I was about to become the last leader of the Green Party and that I had just given the last speech in parliament by a Green Party MP.

David Seymour: ‘We didn’t pay enough attention to the brand’: David Seymour on Election 2017.

As a rookie MP and the sole elected member of ACT, I became the party leader and also entered the executive (as parliamentary under-secretary to the minister of education and to the minister of regulatory reform). I am told that nobody has entered parliament this way since the 19th century, when governments typically lasted only a year or two. The task of carrying off these roles as well as serving the Epsom electorate was always going to be large. In the final analysis it was too large.

Winston Peters on Morning Report

An interesting interview on Morning Report. Kim Hill is a rarity amongst interviewers, she gave at least as good as she got.

Yes, he did hear correctly.

The interview:

The most pure form of MMP?

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern claimed ‘pure MMP’ in her speech at the Government’s PR rally in Auckland yesterday:

Next month marks the first anniversary of this Government. Not only have we achieved a huge amount, we’ve done it as the most pure form of MMP government New Zealand has ever had.

Perhaps the lady doth claim purity too much.

I really don’t know what she means by that. “Pure MMP” sounds like pure nonsense.

We have had eight elections under MMP, the first in 1996. After each of those elections we have had varying governing arrangements, all involving more than two parties. Each of those governments have involved negotiations and agreements and compromises between parties.

What is different about the current MMP government?

Winston Peters in his opening speech yesterday:

Because we are a unique government, the first true MMP Government since 1996, there are issues we regularly confront that requires consultation and negotiation. These can be robust discussions but that is not a sign of division or weakness. It is rather a manifestation of our shared commitment to create enduring solutions that reflect a coming together of the different values and beliefs that each party brings to each and every issue. There is strength in our diversity because it reflects the majority will of the country.

“The first true MMP Government” is just as nonsensical.

“It reflects the majority will of the country” is questionable, especially in a situation where Peters seems to be using far more power than NZ First’s 7% justifies.

Patrick Smellie at Scoop BusinessDesk:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has used an invitation-only political rally involving all three government parties to reassert both her leadership and to re-establish the government’s political agenda after a fractious few weeks in relations between coalition partners Labour and New Zealand First.

…amid recent indications that NZ First leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is seeking a more equal footing with her and between the two parties, despite NZ First having nine seats in Parliament to Labour’s 46.


National, ACT United and Maori managed to get on with it without cancelling pre-arranged interviews in order to do TedTalks to hand-picked supporters asking vetted questions. The idea today was remarkable is just ludicrous


Actually, Labour and UnitedFuture worked well together 2002-05 and Labour, UnitedFuture, and NZFirst did likewise between 2005-08 without any need for this type of event.

Patrick Smellie:

While the framework for organising government policy-making had been in development since March, Ardern used the speech to subtly assert her primacy, describing herself as being “in the driving seat” for the metaphorical car ride the government is taking the country on…

Peters opened his speech with:

Eleven months ago we in New Zealand First faced a choice between perpetuating a modified status quo or in joining with other parties to effect positive change. The Labour-New Zealand First Coalition was formed out of that choice, with confidence and supply provided by the Green Party.

He strongly implies here that the governing arrangement was his choice. That fits with his playing the media during negotiations last October, and him being the party leader who announced what form the government would take, as it was his decision.

That doesn’t look like pure MMP or true MMP. It looks like you can’t teach an old dog not to wag the Government tail.

The PR rally seems to have been an attempt to paint a rosy picture of a thorny power struggle.

The MMP claims are likely to be an attempt to fool some of the people some of the time about the governing relationship. perceptions of Government leadership seems to be bugging Peters.He seems to see himself as the senior politician, and has struggled to adjust to being Ardern’s deputy since he had a few weeks in charge.

The MMP references may well be in response to some exchanges in Parliament last Thursday. In question 1:

Hon Paula Bennett: Will the Labour-led Government support the Employment Relations Amendment Bill that was approved by Cabinet as it is currently written?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, after 25 years of MMP we expect members of Parliament to come here understanding the lexicon and language of MMP. That’s number one—it’s a coalition between the Labour Party and New Zealand First with support agreement from the Green Party.

That question and answer was repeated. And this was repeated four times in question 6:

Hon Scott Simpson: Will the Labour-led Government consider changes to its Employment Relations Amendment Bill that allow more businesses to use the 90-day trial period when taking on new staff?

Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: The member has been here long enough to know how the parliamentary process works.

In question 9 Chris Hipkins was baited twice with ‘Labour-led’ but didn’t bite. However in question 3 David Clark missed the script:

But a return to the conditions found under the previous Labour-led Government…

And Peters rose to the bait in question 12:

Hon Todd McClay: Can he therefore confirm media speculation that he is considering appointing a member of the Labour-led Government as a head of mission to a New Zealand post overseas?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Can I just say to that member that while he and his colleagues deliberately seek to get the lexicon of MMP Government wrong, they’re not going to get an answer out of me. Behave and you’ll get it.

Peters and Ardern still seemed to be playing with their positions of power in their speeches, Peters with his “The Labour-New Zealand First Coalition”, but  Ardern slipping in:

It’s a bit like a road trip that tells you who’s in the car, where you’ll be stopping, but doesn’t tell you where you’re going.

I can tell you, that as the person driving that car, that wasn’t enough for me.

Despite their attempts to paint a rosy (but confused) picture, it looks obvious that Peters is not content to be a back seat driver.

With James shaw riding a bike behind.

Audrey Young in Show of unity by Peters was important at Jacinda Ardern’s speech:

Not quite unified enough for Peters to share the stage with the Greens after Ardern’s speech, to take questions from the audience.

Instead questions were left to Ardern, Green Party co-leader James Shaw, New Zealand First minister Tracey Martin and Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

Peters later allowed himself to share a platform with Shaw, along with Ardern at the press conference after the speech. It looked like things might be changing.

But in the end Ardern seems to have used her authority:

But Ardern ended the press conference when Peters started getting belligerent with the media, and it looked liked not much had changed.

That may be why most of the event was carefully orchestrated PR.

Spin winds up as Labour battles

Labour have had a bad week, on top of bad weeks before it. They have been widely criticised for conceding power to Winston Peters, and have been dogged by problems, especially the Clare Curran/Derek Handley saga that continues to cause them embarrassment.

The weekend commentary continues to challenge Labour’s credibility.

Audrey Young: Failings in Coalition Government become glaringly apparent

Illustration / Guy Body

In March, the honeymoon between the new Coalition Government and the public ended after the mishandling of Labour’s summer school complaints and the bumbling around New Zealand’s position on Russia.

September marks the end of another honeymoon – between the partners in the Coalition Government, Labour and New Zealand First.

This week also marks another milestone: Peters finally came clean about how he sees his party’s status in the relationship, as an equal partner to Jacinda Ardern’s Labour which explains a lot.

This week has been more like the first falling-out rather than a crisis in the relationship but both parties behaved very badly to the other.

Young details a plethora of problems.

Duncan Garner:  Don’t write this fumbling coalition off just yet

It’s been a messy, incoherent and rudderless 12 months. The winner has been the surplus National left behind. It has given Labour options. The loser has many names. Clare Curran, and all those average jocks posing as ministers, and those using the “c” word.

Peters prefers to describe criticism of this governing hybrid with a turn-of-the-century word, “balderdash” which is ultimately a pretentious gum movement meaning utter nonsense. The use of such a silly word should be a warning to voters to stay well clear, but you simply can’t save all the conspiracy theorists all the time.

If you wanted a trainer wheel Government, this is it. Yes, there are a few policy scraps and differences right now. That’s because there are three partners and the tail does wag the dog more often than it should. That’s called MMP in action. They’ll sort it. It’s the only option.

So what do they do to try and improve things? It seems like they are spinning up their PR department to try and look better (or at least less bad).

I have noticed a change in attitude at The Standard recently, back to being very sensitive about any criticism of Labour.

MickySavage has kept plugging away with post attacks on National, nothing much new there. (And he puts up some good posts on less party orientated subjects as well).

But some with close Labour (and Green) ties have started to pop up in the mix.

Mike Smith (ex Labour general secretary): Is Politik a propaganda mouthpiece for the UK Embassy?

It very much looks as though Richard Harman would have been one of the selected journalists. I know Richard well, like and respect him, but I think he is barking up the wrong tree on this issue.

Winston Peters is and deserves to be treated as a substantial politician and diplomat. One doesn’t have to agree with everything he says, but he is no fool. On this issue, for our country’s sake, I am very glad he is not knee-jerk following the “western” group.

Curious to see a Labourite supporting Peters, who copped more criticism than from Harman.

Simon Louisson (former journalist who reported for The Wall Street Journal, AP Dow Jones Newswires, the New Zealand Press Association and Reuters and has been a political and media adviser to the Green Party): What does it take for bosses not to get their bonus?

Fonterra’s $196 million loss for the June year – the first loss in the co-op’s 17-year history and a staggering reversal of last year’s $745m profit – failed to seriously dent the remuneration of its former CEO Theo Spierings.

Part of the trouble lies in the fact that people on very high salaries get the same employment protection that ordinary workers receive. I would argue that the law should be changed so that once an employee receives remuneration of over ten times, or even five times, the average income, he/she should be prepared to take the responsibility that they live or die by their performance.

As a former businesses reporter, time and again I would see bosses fired for incompetence but paid enormous “golden parachutes”.

Louisson is back posting at The Standard after a break of six month break, since authoring a flurry of posts (six) at the start of the year).

Te Reo Putake (an active Labour member and activist and seems to be close to some Labour MPs): Coalition Problems? Tell ’em they’re Dreaming!

The National Party and their paid stooges have been promoting the narrative that NZ First is the party that’s really in control of the new government. That’s bollocks.

“Their paid stooges” is a dirty politics type allegation. Trying to blame critics for Labour’s run of incompetence is not going to fix or even paper over the bad press they have been getting.

What’s actually happening is that we have an MMP Government that is functioning in exactly the way it was envisaged to work. The three parties negotiate, they argue for their positions, they seek consensus and then they enact legislation. And, yes, it is a three way deal. The Greens have managed to find ways to build a relationship with NZ First that must be annoying the hell out of the Nats.

It’s not ‘the Nats’ who seem annoyed as hell by Labour’s bad media coverage.

And that’s because the strength of this coalition is respect for different opinions and a way of working that emphasises consensus.

Consensus as long as Peters approves? That is how it is being portrayed, with some justification.

How very different from the undemocratic FPP when a one seat majority ensured an effective dictatorship over legislation.

Inseat there’s a growing perception of one MP who dictates what goes in a small party now dictating to a party with five times as many seats.

No, this is the modern way. No wonder the right can’t understand why they lost the last election.

They’re dinosaurs, watching the comets fall.

It’s not National who look to be in danger of falling at the moment. As self inflicted comets fall around labour their PR dinosaurs try to patch up yesterday’s mess. Too late as the rapid news cycle continues to steam roll them.

A comment on that thread: from Incognito:

Very good post! Bryan Gould wrote a similar post: http://www.bryangould.com/coalition-government-working-as-it-should/

Gould often trots out pro Labour pieces, and plays a similar tune to TRP:

It is increasingly clear that some supposedly expert commentators on the political scene have a poor understanding of how a parliamentary democracy actually works.

When the coalition partners occasionally do not agree on a particular issue, here is no reason, in other words, no reason to froth at the mouth, or bemoan the fact that National, with the largest number of seats but not a majority, is not in government, or to ask, who is running the government. A coalition government that has to muster a parliamentary majority to get its measures passed is what both our constitutional principles and the will of the people as represented by the outcome of the election both dictate; it is called democracy at work.

So, when New Zealand First declines to support a particular proposal put forward by Labour, or if the roles are reversed so that Labour fails support something New Zealand First wants, we should celebrate, not fulminate. We have the best of all worlds – a more representative parliament, a government that has to take account of a wider range of opinion than just its own, and a coalition government that provides stability and a consistent strategic direction.

Perhaps some of our commentators should pause to reflect for a moment before going into print.

Jacinda Ardern has often batted away suggestions of dysfunction by saying it is just how MMP works. In a just released book on the 2017 election (see ‘I remember the crunch point’: Jacinda Ardern looks back on the 2017 election) she says:

The rest really is history, and now with the most genuine MMP government we’ve ever had, it’s also up to us to make history.

What makes the current government any more ‘genuine’ than past ones?

Tracy Watkins: Is Winston Peters Labour’s dud Lotto win?

There might have been lots of calming words spoken about  MMP in action – but that’s just Labour putting on a brave face.

Seems like a few brave faces are being trundled out by Labour’s PR department.

Ardern, Labour and their mouthpieces can claim as often as they like that ‘MMP is working as it should be’, but they currently look like they are insisting the seats look comfortable as the wheels get very wobbly.

‘Labour has been outsmarted and outmanoeuvred’

Discussion on the Labour versus NZ First power struggle in Government continues.

John Armstrong: ‘Labour has been outsmarted and outmanoeuvred’ by Winston Peters

Don’t listen to those who dismiss the current muscle-flexing by Winston Peters as nothing more than the standard fare of MMP politics.

It is anything but.

Were there a handbook covering the mechanics of forming and running a coalition government, the New Zealand First leader would currently be writing a new chapter—one which would be without a happy ending for Jacinda Ardern, her coalition managers and the rest of the Labour Party.

The latter should be worried — very worried.

What began as an isolated case of New Zealand First thwarting Labour’s desire to eradicate a hardline law and order statute — namely the three-strikes law — has become what looks suspiciously like a carefully orchestrated campaign which has the junior partner in the coalition making ever more frequent raids deep into territory where Labour would insist it has the right to call the shots.

Labour can tolerate having to keep living with the three-strikes law. It can tolerate not being able to raise the annual refugee quota.

After all, prior to a National government-instigated rise in the quota which took effect this year, the quota had been held at 750 for the previous 30 years, believe it or not.

What Labour cannot accept is its coalition partner blocking its long-promised legislation rolling back some of National’s so-called “reforms” in the industrial relations arena.

If Labour is not seething over that, it should be. The dominant partner has to bite its tongue, however.

Laura O’Connell Rapira (from ActionStation) has concerns about the lack of action.


Is Labour failing to deliver, or is Winston not letting them?

There has been a flurry of news and commentary lately on what the Labour led Government seems to be reneging on, and what Winston Peters’ influence may be in preventing Labour from doing what they ‘promised’ (election ‘promises’ are selling points that I think most people know may never be delivered due to governing arrangements or reality).

Labour (Andrew Little) had already three strikes repeal rug pulled from under them by NZ First, and then last week Winston Peters pulled the refugee quota rug out from under Jacinda Ardern.

I don’t know if this is just Tax Working Group being luke warm on a Capital Gains Tax, or not able to recommend one within the limitations Labour put on it, or whatever, but Cullen confirms CGT will not be addressed in interim TWG report.

Also yesterday (Newshub): Unions worried by NZ First’s ‘dominance’ in Jacinda Ardern’s Government

Labour is under fire from the most unlikely of critics – its staunch allies, the unions, are raising concerns about the rising dominance of New Zealand First.

Two of the biggest unions, FIRST Union and the Council of Trade Unions (CTU), fear the Government’s employment law reforms could be hijacked by Winston Peters.

The Labour Party and the unions were bedfellows from the beginning, which is why Wednesday’s comments from FIRST Union’s Robert Reid are so surprisingly scathing.

“We are a bit worried in the union that the dominance on a number of issues that is coming from New Zealand First,” he told The AM Show.

CTU is also worried, concerned New Zealand First will hijack planned employment law changes.

“It’s a real concern if Labour, who stand for working people, are having trouble with their coalition partner on this,” president Richard Wagstaff told Newshub.

That clearly shows “worried” and “concern”. Reid did respond via twitter:

Reid can think that the sun shines out of Ardern’s magazine style coverage and at the same time be “a bit worried” that “the dominance on a number of issues that is coming from New Zealand First”.

Also yesterday (RNZ):  NZ First pull support for Labour-led initiatives at last minute

The government was forced to halt a planned announcement about its Crown/Māori Relations portfolio after New Zealand First raised last minute objections.

Media were briefed and invited to attend an announcement by Crown/Māori Relations Minister Kelvin Davis and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday, where the new agency was set to be unveiled following sign-off at Cabinet.

But Ms Ardern and Mr Davis had to roll back the announcement after NZ First refused to support it.

Instead it was used as a symbolic display of the consultation process and brought together Māori leaders who would be pivotal in helping shape the partnership between Māori and the Crown in the future.

NZ First was not at the watered-down announcement with its ministers all claiming to be busy with other meetings.

It’s the latest disagreement between the coalition partners.

Ardern can claim this is just coalition government in action, but there is a risk that she be seen as a puppet leader doing the  fluff stuff with Peters calling the serious shots.

Ardern and her PR team can promote all the soppy celebrity coverage they like, but there is a growing perception that Ardern is lacking in the real leadership department. She seems to be losing credibility with political journalists, and also in social media.

No Right Turn (left leaning but willing to be critical of the left): Labour isn’t delivering

Labour was elected on a platform of hope and change. But in office it doesn’t seem to be delivering much of either. In addition to the two backdowns highlighted above, its also refusing to eliminate 90 day trial periods and may not even abolish youth rates. Its dawdling on doubling the refugee quota and looks like it will keep on grovelling to farmers on climate change.

But if they’re not going to change anything, then people might just decide to vote for the other lot – because at least that way they won’t suffer the bitter taste of disappointment.

Comment on this at Reddit: Labour was elected on a platform of hope and change. But in office it doesn’t seem to be delivering much of either.


NRT makes a good point, Labour are if anything pragmatic and vastly more conservative than those like myself would like – this isn’t a national lite govt its a Clark lite one – saying that I still have hope that things will be at worst slightly better for a shitload of kiwis thanks to the change of govt

Left wing neoliberals.

Rather than push for actual social and economic change they used the good economic times to subsidise business with stuff like working for families – which while helpful to those that get it doesn’t address the problems – problems like underpaid teachers


It’s full National, but with a bit of of soft side, a bit more social responsibility. Hated by the left, hated by the right, but exactly what the voters that count wanted.

That’s a bold claim. Ardern has had a difficult return to the Prime Minister’s office, and Peters seems reluctant to let go of the power he had when in charge for six weeks.

Some like ElSavo say that good things take time:

It certainly doesn’t help that NZF are forcing them to drag their feet a bit and the Greens are seemingly tagging along for the ride.

I mean, change does take time but if people we’re expecting MAJOR change in one or two terms then they’ll be sorely mistaken.

The problem is if the first term isn’t seen as good enough Labour may get dumped before they can make significant changes.


It’s too soon for any real change, but we’re not getting any indication that change is even being considered. That’s Labours failing to date. I know they’re doing stuff, like tea and scones and gas-bagging. But if anything meaningful is going on there (capital gains tax?) then they’re doing a piss poor job of communicating it.

Ardern needs to step up on substance or she will keep being seen as subservient to Peters, who seems to think she should be  in her kitchen away from his Parliament.

Image result for ardern kitchen









Image result for winston peters