Chris Trotter hears Jacinda Ardern calling the result a 'mandate to accelerate' but he wonders where to and what that means given her essentially conservative instincts that won over so many National voters

Chris Trotter hears Jacinda Ardern calling the result a 'mandate to accelerate' but he wonders where to and what that means given her essentially conservative instincts that won over so many National voters
Illustration by Jacky Carpenter

By Chris Trotter*

David Cunliffe, who knows a thing or two about losing big, called it a “blue blood-bath”. TV3’s Paddy Gower waxed poetical: “Red sky tonight, Labour’s delight!” The rest of us just sat staring at our screens in disbelief, as one of the most comprehensive election victories in New Zealand history unfolded before our eyes.

To provide a little perspective, the Left’s highwater mark, electorally, is generally agreed to be 1938, when Michael Joseph Savage’s Labour Government was returned to office with 55 percent of the votes cast. Last night, the Electoral Commission’s provisional count put the combined Party Votes of Labour and the Greens at 56.7 percent. Standing before her delirious supporters in a throbbing Auckland Town Hall, Jacinda Ardern called it a “mandate to accelerate”. 

But accelerate to where? And to do what?

It may have felt like the revolution had arrived last night, but if Ardern is a revolutionary, then she’s an unusually cautious one.

The acceleration she’s talking about all relates to speeding up the recovery from the Covid recession. With 49.1 percent of the Party Vote (likely to crest 50 percent when Special Votes are counted) and a minimum of 64 seats in the House of Representatives, Labour can govern alone. What it wants, it can now get. And what Labour’s leader wants is “change that sticks.”

That is necessarily a commitment to consensus-building – not to crashing on through. Ardern has seen enough progressive legislation rolled back by her National and Act opponents to know that if she simply takes her 64 votes and runs amok with them, such achievements as she is able to rack up will not long survive a change of government. She also knows that if she were to give what is now a very progressive Labour caucus its head, then that change of government will come sooner rather than later. So caution and incrementalism will remain the hallmarks of Ardern’s prime-ministership – just as they were of Helen Clark’s.

It is important to remember that Ardern served her political apprenticeship under Labour leaders who had lived through the Rogernomics Revolution of 1984-1990. She has, accordingly, learned the two great lessons of that period. The first is that unleashing radical change and implementing it at breakneck speed is a sure-fire method of tearing your party and your country apart. The second, that unpicking a settled political and economic consensus takes a huge amount of effort and a surprisingly large amount of time.

Roger Douglas’s reforms succeeded because he was pushing on an open door. Dismantling the post-war Keynesian settlement had been a project of decades. By the time Muldoon fell from power, New Zealanders had become familiar with the free market arguments, they had heard the telling anti-state anecdotes, they had been told – and had agreed – that “you can’t run a country like a Polish shipyard”. Ardern and her Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, will take some convincing that neoliberalism has arrived at the same tipping-point that Keynesianism reached in 1984. Modern Monetary Theory has yet to take over at Treasury!

What Ardern can count on, however, as she strives to forge a new political and economic consensus, is a weak and ideologically played-out National Party. The 26.8 percent disaster that overtook the National Party last night may not look as bad as the electoral nadir of 2002 (when the party received just 20.9 percent of the Party Vote) but in many ways it is worse. At 15 percent, the swing from National to Labour is the greatest ever recorded in this country. It signals a decisive rejection of both the style and the content of National’s political project.

With all due respect to Christopher Luxon, he ain’t no John Key. Neither does National possess in its savagely reduced caucus a figure like Don Brash, who, it should be remembered, lifted National from 21 percent to 39 percent in just three years – and came within a whisker of winning the 2005 election.

Unfortunately (for National) Judith Collins shows no sign of understanding the lesson the electorate has just given her. So blatant was her party’s determination to help only the “winners” of New Zealand society, and so obvious its utter disdain for the “losers”, that two of the safest of safe National seats, Ilam and Rangitata, were lost to Labour. If National wishes to live up to its name, then it must, once again, become the party that offers hope and help to all New Zealanders. Promising a $40 tax cut to the comfortable, but just $8 to the working poor, was a message that left even its comfortable targets feeling uncomfortable, and the rest of the country positively itching to get inside the nearest polling booth.

National will learn how to reconnect with New Zealand from Labour – as it always has in the past. And Labour, itself, will find many of the answers it is looking for, in terms of constructing new and innovative policy, from the Greens. In the red glow of Labour’s stunning performance, it is easy to overlook the Green Party’s remarkable achievement. Unlike so many small parties who joined MMP coalitions, the Greens have come back stronger than ever before. Not only have they claimed 7.6 percent of the Party Vote (which is likely to crest 8 percent with the Specials) but Chloe Swarbrick has a reasonable chance of holding on to her stunning election-night win in Auckland Central.

If they are smart, however, the Greens will shun all attempts to draw them into a formal coalition. Confidence and Supply they can give, but they would be most unwise to offer up the silence that comes with Collective Cabinet Responsibility. Without leverage, there is nothing to be gained by accepting ministerial warrants except personal prestige and a fatter salary. Playing the role of policy pathfinders will help not only themselves, but the whole Left – and most especially, Labour.

Act, too deserves plaudits for its impressive leap from under 1 percent in 2017, to 8 percent in 2020. National will need to keep a very close eye on its younger rival. Although most of Act’s success is attributable to National’s failure, its leader, David Seymour, has displayed a canniness that should worry his older right-wing brother. He has learned to speak the language of twenty-first century politics with a fluency entirely lacking in Judith Collins.

A tribute is also due to Winston Peters and NZ First. Few political figures in New Zealand history have been as canny, colourful and tenacious as Peters. That he kept the flag of compassionate conservatism flying is indisputable – and that was a good thing. Less good, however, was his self-destructive adherence to the cronyism that has so disfigured the conservative cause throughout New Zealand’s history. Peters in the guise of the benign and constructive Dr Jekyll did his country great service. But, in exactly the same manner as Robert Louis Stevenson’s tragic hero, he allowed himself to be transformed into Mr Hyde once too often.

In the end, of course, it was “Jacinda’s” night. Unmatched and unscarred, she bestrides her country now like a kind colossus.

We must hope that the spirits of the socialist fathers, Seddon and Savage, will help guide her, and the ship of state of which she is now in undisputed command, through the stronger seas that lie ahead, navigating safely what the New Zealand poet, James K. Baxter, called: “the rough mystery of love in the running straits of history”.


*Chris Trotter has been writing and commenting professionally about New Zealand politics for more than 30 years. He writes a weekly column for interest.co.nz. His work may also be found at http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com.

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141 Comments

Jacinda is getting good press around the world. BBC New Zealand election: Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party scores landslide win. "New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has won a landslide victory in the country's general election." https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-54519628

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I love it how Kiwis think the rest of the world knows or cares about what happens in NZ.
They don't. Just some online articles nobody reads.
But they have no idea who Cindy is or where NZ is!

That is because NZrs view the world, from far away, through a pair of binoculars, held back to front.

Yeah they do, they know NZ as that country that got the Coronvirus under control. Something that will eventually prove to be Mr Trumps undoing. Go Trump - Straight to jail for tax evasion.

name an isolated island nation that hasn't got covid under control? As for Trump, another red landslide coming and if the corruption in the DOJ and FBI is rooted out there will be jail for many.

Aussie? UK?

UK isolated? Freedom of movement allows unlimited numbers to flow in from the EU but not for much longer.

Did they not close their only border?

Greece .... Ireland .... Reunion .... Martinique .... Jamaica .... Singapore ....

Singapore is under control, yes they have mask and resticted gatherings but buisness/ schools are open. Comparing NZ to Singapore is not realistic. They have a population of NZ crammed into a small city. I would say they are doing extremely well all things considering. They were a international hub and have a land border with Malaysia. Well done to Singapore!

Hawaii, Tahiti, Borneo... there are quite a few

Oh dare ..more like you have no idea who you are and very little knowledge of NZ as you don't get out much.

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If you hate NZ so much OC, leave. Seriously tiresome. Bore off and take your relentless negativity with you.

Free country. Free to say what my views are as are you.
Don't read my posts if you are so unhappy.
Also I never said I hate NZ. Those are your words

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Well it comes across that way and I usually do skip your comments. FWIW, a UK Telegraph article had >600 comments on an Ardern article today and the Daily Mail (not that you should read it) had >5000 comments. NZ has an international profile far and away above what our size warrants and is generally held in very high regard.

And there is what 75000 kiwis in the UK.
We have such an international profile. Most in the US I come across have no idea where NZ is or who our leader is.
Your one of the ones I was referring to who thinks the world knows all about us.
I went on the Telegraph and we are not even on the home page? https://www.telegraph.co.uk/ - must be that massive profile. I did find it when i googled for it.
But nobody cares or follows NZ overseas unless you are from here....

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Most in the US I come across have no idea where NZ is or who our leader is.

You must be mingling with hometown hermits, or some other such strangely insulated sorts.

One of our sons lives there at the moment. People he meets for the first time don't recognise the accent - so ask where he is from. Not one - not a single person out of thousands he has had the conversation with has asked where's that? They all know us well - many have been here - those who haven't would love to visit someday. And almost all of them tell him he's got the most desired passport in the world!

NZ rocks.

Dallas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and Hawaii.
I suppose they all know Cindy too....
I ran a business with US listed partners and none ever mention about our passport. I think you are telling porkies...."And almost all of them tell him he's got the most desired passport in the world!"
I am sure they do say I would love to visit when hearing NZ its polite chit chat.
Get a map and ask them to point it out they dont know.

Get a map and ask them to point it out they dont know.

And that right there is everything that is wrong with 'merica, far too many of them have hardly left their state let alone their country.

They'd also be the same people that would put Hawaii out in the blue part where Bermuda is...

Funny but we are addicted to everything they create Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Apple, Twitter, McDonalds, Coca Cola the list goes on and on and on....
The ultimate capitalist country. Also a number of states are countries in themselves in terms of population and economy so why would you follow what happens in little old NZ population 5m or Inner Mongolia for that matter....

Correction. The ultimate crony capitalist country. Thanks to the 'Citizens United' Supreme Court decision a decade ago.

Agree. I spend significant time in Vegas chatting to numerous Americans. All they know about NZ is Lord of the Rings and Steven Adams. Most think we are somewhere in Europe. Was asked if we have cars once. They do love the accent though.

Incorrect, there is an editorial on the UK Telegraphs online home page. Ardern does have a global profile (not all positive) but you are just too negative to admit it. As for the average US citizen, please, 65% of them don't even own a passport. I have travelled abroad, lived abroad, and I found most people knew a hell of a lot about us. Maybe you were just hanging out in the arse end of nowhere?

Your telling porkies https://www.telegraph.co.uk/
Text search the word Adern on here and it does not feature.
Trump does a number of times....

There is no point comparing "Home" pages. Most large news sites stack the news to what you "want" to see, or at the least by region.

I log into Telegraph/BBC/CNN etc... from here I see Jacinda. I VPN from anywhere else and she dissapears.

Exactly the international coverage is just click bate for people in NZ getting geo tracked by websites. Not elsewhere as our election is the equivalent of an election of a Mayor of a small city with 5m people.
Its definitely of interest in NZ but not in bigger countries

It's "bait".

Explain how the Telegraph article received 600+ comments then, way more than average. NZ has also been voted #1 holiday destination something like 3 or 4 years in a row by their readers. I have no illusion about our economic significance but you seriously underestimate the collective goodwill towards Kiwi's. As a nation, one of our greatest exports has been our people who are generally held in very high regard by employers offshore.

Yeah typo...
We love to think we are such great workers and employers have such high regard but my experience in UK and US is its just a myth they write stories about here. When working in Oz view was hot and cold.
We have just as many good and lazy people as the next country. Nothing special.
When I was in London I initially was surprised how many hours local Brits put in where I worked.
As for the country our best industry is still farming. Without it we are screwed and I am not a farmer.

Actually I think the truth lies between what each of you are saying. One of you is underestimating our international presence, the other overestimating it.

NZ isn't that an Island state of Australia? What language do you speak there?

What I find funniest is how Ardern haters are now claiming "no one cares about NZ" after years and years of claiming stuff like "the America's Cup is putting NZ on the map" and "the whole world is watching the Rugby World Cup" and other similarly ludicrous assertions.

Jacinda/Labour has been given a strong enough mandate by the electorate to pretty much ignore rising house prices, in the grand scheme of things.

The Reserve Bank will be breathing a sigh of relief. (It does a good job anyway, under Governor Orr's robust leadership.)

TTP

Weren't you in self imposed exile for a month?

Yes - from 17th September. So the month was up yesterday.

Thanks for announcing my return.

Best wishes,

TTP

I actually missed you, I'm not sure what that says.

A good read. Thx.

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Congratulations to Jacinda & her greatly expanded team .. ..... in the wash up after election night , we can see how refreshing a rejuvenated parliament is ...

... out with some of the old or stale , Winston , Nick Smith .... out with the unpopular , Shane Jones .... Jumbo Gerry ?

And back in with the Maori Party .... plus we've gotten an expanded Greens & a resurgent ACT ...

...... big congrats to Chloe Swarbrick , just the second ever electorate win by a Greenie , OK from this boomer ....

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big Gerry on Q & A blaming his own Mp's , he cocked up christchurch, now he cocked up the campaign and still he thinks he is doing a good job, Time to go gerry your time is up and on the way out the door can you hold it open for nick smith.
its time for new national Mps to take the top jobs
https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/moment-judith-collins-leader...

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Agree. They need to get rid of all the old stale crap. They have nothing of any substance left. Rebuild the party for 2026. Hopefully by then Jacinda takes up some UN position and not contest the election. I can't see her losing ever, she is the Obama of NZ.

if you look on the bright side national now have the chance to rebuild with hand picked new candidates, when you look at the party vote against national, Mps that held the seat mostly lost the party vote in a big way, take botany national lost the party vote 45% to 38% and that is as true a blue a seat as there is. i suspect many myself included voted to make sure the greens have no real say on a CGT or wealth tax,
so those votes will come back next time especially if national can make it a two horse race
https://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electorate-details-04.html

Yes, the massive swing of National voters to Labour for their party vote is in my opinion an intention to give Labour an outright majority, so as not to have a Green tail wagging the dog, so to speak. It shows (once again) a large chunk of the electorate understands MMP.

All credit to NZers, I think it is a great election result. Smart intelligent voting.

Very sad to see NZF gone - especially after what I think will be excellent PGF outcomes for provincial NZ - but they started off on the wrong foot from day one. Attacking their coalition partner was perhaps the most failed campaign strategy of Winston Peters' amazing political career. I suspect the Brexit bother-boys are to blame. Personally, I'm glad it didn't work for them here.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/122181820/winston-peters-confi...

You don’t seriously believe Labour aren’t going to form a government with the greens do you? Labour will get the extra mandate, will getbthe experience of several MPs and will have an ally in 2023. Thru will likely bring in the Maori party too.

I think you are exaggerating the strategic voting. I know quite a few people who voted Labour who usually voted National, and most of them simply did it because they like Jacinda and how she has led us through Covid, and thought the Nats are a basket case right now.
My wife usually votes National but she voted Labour, again for all the reasons I describe above rather than strategic.
Not everyone is highly tribal in their voting! I am centre left but I voted for Key the first time around.

I'd suggest a trawl through the rural electorates which returned Blue candidates but went heavily Red party-vote. Hint - almost all of 'em. So there was a Lotta strategic voting happening - results don't lie..... for classic Blue electorates, check Selwyn, Southland, Rangitata, Kaikoura.....

It's like nobody has been listening to what she actually says. Now the handbrake is off she has no excuses for not following through. The issue is, does she realise the solutions are to be found in tax reform?

... I'd love to see the RMA completely scrapped , and something simpler & more workable , like the old Town & Country Act implemented in its place ...

no excuse now they said they will repeal the RMA and replace with two acts instead
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300069352/biggest-rma-shakeup-...

But, oh, please, No Mo' Zoneration.....effects were the intention of the RMA as originally designed, but the zones came thundering back as all the Plannerz knew were the old spatial rules. The Productivity Commish noted that land prices either side of a squiggle on a map were of the order of 8-10 times different. That's a lotta damage.....

While an obvious swing from Labour that is unprecedented, how much of that though was tactical voting to stymie a government being dependent on the Greens? The other big question, you have the PM & obviously Robertson as deputy and then Woods, Hipkins, Parker,Little and, if you think about the last three years, exactly who else of any proven calibre after those six identities?

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National voters strategically voting labour to keep the greens out? I'd say few to none.

Young people just don't like national because national doesn't like young people. Hopefully this election makes the party have a long hard look at itself.

The first thing they need to accept is that expensive houses is not a good thing. Create polices that address the issue, don't pay it lip service.

Well we know it's not 'none' as one of the commentators above has said they did vote strategically like that.

Labour's culpability for the increasing unaffordability of housing is just as great if not greater than Nationals.

Agreed with the fact labour should have acted against housing prices under the Clarke govt but failed.
Since 2008 till today not really their fault. Winston killed off CGT a couple of years back.
No excuses for Labour moving forward on the issue though. They have 3 years to address it

'To Today'? They've already had a full term. They were always going to have to govern with Winston Peters so blaming him for killing CGT isn't acceptable.

read sharetrader above comment. aware many traditional National supporters in my electorate made that voting decision. And it worked, thank god.

I'd check the rural electorate party vote before making that Sweeping Generalisation. Keeping the Greens out of any serious decision-making, and removing their leverage for inclusion in any form whatsoever, has likely played a large part in Labour's party-vote success.....

Agree with you donny. But actually Labour isn't doing anything about house prices either. Young people voted Labour, but not for reason of house prices.

labour had a lot of first time Mps last time as they finally did a big clean and replace after the helen clark era.
so you have kiri allen , michael wood, kieran mcanulty that will all be lining up for higher positions . the thing i like the most is it looks like labour will have three real doctors in parliament, for times like covid that is good
Ayesha verrall, liz craig and it looks like Gaurav sharma may get in

she actually says nothing of substance. Perhaps that is the charm?

. . oh , come on .... have a hug , and some pixie dust ... join the team of 5 million ....

Sour grapes?

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The Greens as “policy pathfinders”?. Sadly I view much of their policy as ideologically and emotionally driven rather than evidence-based. The Greens key advantage is their brand, a few popular figures, and little more.

Correct, many of their policies are actually harmful for the environment, especially on a global scale - anti-nuclear, anti-GM, pro-organic farming and the nonsense that is regenerative agriculture. Plus they are complicit with rapid population growth, the most environmentally unfriendly policy of them all.

I like their ideas on waste management and compact cities though.

Agree that being anti-GM and pro-organic while being complicit with rapid population growth is madness.

Was told by the local Labour MP that Greens are "neolibs on bikes".

The only party to have their policies independently audited was the Greens . Can you point to a specific policy that is "ideologically and emotionally driven rather than evidence-based".
Eugene sage has done huge things for the environment , James shaw has made progress on Carbon , agianst the huge vested interests in Farming and industry .
Again , can you specify a Green Party policy that is harmful to the environment?

"Can you point to a specific policy that is "ideologically and emotionally driven rather than evidence-based". - I think their Wealth Tax would fall into that. It may be costed and audited but it doesn't make it any less ideologically driven
Genter's idea of putting centre barriers down the length of our statehighway system would also fall into "emotionally driven" - uncosted or audited and totally unacheivable and impractical. Although admittedly it's not policy, it does suggest she's driven by emotion.

Independently audited and costed doesn’t mean they are emotion and ideology free. As a fervent environmentalist I cannot stand their sanctimonious attitude in regards the key environmental issue facing NZ, that being population growth. They once had a population policy stating that NZ’s carrying capacity at current rates of consumption was a little over 5 million and steps should be taken to avoid growing beyond our carrying capacity - well here we are and what has happened to that policy? It didn’t fit their woke narrative so ka kite to that.

Aye Kauri well said and where the hell are they too on our water being given free to profiteering opportunists to make a killing overseas. If the processes over the water rights are legal, then make them illegal, not one sound sensible NZ citizen would disagree with that. We elect MPs to make law, but nary a peep, it seems, out of the vaunted Green environmental holier than thou lot on this vital topic.

Banning the export of water may not be that easy. Technically a lot of our primary production also exports water indirectly - fruit, meat, logs, liquid milk, vegetables etc. There are also a number of NZ owned companies in the water bottling space and a few iwi partnerships either planned or consented. State ownership of water is a Pandora's box no one wants to open

Do believe there is quite a difference to natural water in natural product to that of tapped water, in a plastic bottle, sold at retail.

I don't disagree at all. I'm just looking at the "technical"aspects. The argument to ban water imv would be just as vexed as trying to remove GST from "fresh" produce. Once the lawyers get hold of it it'd be a nightmare. All the bottling plants are within consented takes so from a resource depletion point of view there isn't an issue. What do you then use to restrict it? Taxing it may make some feel they have extracted their "pound of flesh" but does nothing to restrict extraction and will probably hurt small locally NZ owned businesses. Placing a moratorium on it may encourage importation of replacements for the NZ market. Banning importation and export would be contrary to WTO laws.

Also in reference to your "natural water in a natural product" what if the water is exported in glass? or in bulk so there are no individual retail containers?

You might not remember but there was once a proposition to ship free sh water out of Doubtful Sound to the Middle East in homeward oil tankers. Actually don’t have a problem with that if it is not environmentally harmful but there must be some financial reward to the people of NZ just as there would be for the extract of a mineral from the earth. Nobody helps themselves to coal for nothing for elxample. And as you say it is complicated and that is well demonstrated by the situation in Christchurch where water rights given to fellmongery and scouring are being exploited so as to provide freeloading bottlers with million of gallons of clean artisan water free, to sell in China while the good people of Christchurch drink chlorinated water and at one point were to be charged for doing so. Now that is a bureaucratic absurdity that has befallen the convenience demarcation between local and regional council, but if ever we had an environmental issue for an environmental party who cares for their people to get involved in, in terms of legislation, then that is.

Is your opposition based on the fact it's "free" water (which it's not - there are consent fees/compliance monitoring charges) or that it's happening at all?

The consents were laid out when the two freezing works in Belfast began operations well over 100 years ago. The cost of reporting, reviewing and renewal are piffling compared to the worth of the product.

National aren't 'ideology free' either. Still very much believe in neoliberalism.

Absolutely agree. National are equally as bad when it comes to blindly following ideology - even if that ideology is status quo pragmatism as followed by John Key.

The Greens showed a mix of policy ambition and professional electioneering that wasn't matched by any other party expect maybe ACT. They also released a financial plan that didnt have mistakes in it, unlike Labour, Nats and ACT. This idea that they are a bunch of weed smoking ideologues is so boring. They are serious politicians and I think if they stay outside Labour's tent, and National learns to build bridges, they could do even better in 2023.

But none of them have been able to achieve anything of significance outside of the Green party. Any success in business or career? Some understanding of business?
Punishing NZ businesses for the sake of virtue signaling to ourselves when India and China are never going to stop polluting is crazy. It just penalizes the country.
Nobody cares what NZ does outside of NZ. We are not leaders in the world.

Trump does! Or at least the satirists in the US do!

https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/trump-accuses-new-zealan...

New Yorker is a puppet for the Democrats.
Read the one true news here https://www.foxnews.com/
But yes everyone in the US is following NZ and they are also following Inner Mongolia and Kazakhstan
I

What is the point in being incremental? Put punitive taxes in and match it with spending that National will be unable to cut.

Three more years of the same same, yawn. At least my Vote for ACT was not wasted. National is an utter shambles but they now have 3 years to regroup. Luxon just completed phase 1 or his 3 phase plan. National is currently leaderless, expect another change before the next election.

Before next month? JC was always going to lose I grant you but not sure she can survive this thrashing.

JC ... OMG , I am as dim as a bats bum ... her initials are the same as her guru , Jesus Christ .... and he got crucified too ....

National would be nuts to dump Judith Collins right now.

It has three years to sort out its demons.

A properly planned, strategic approach is what's called for - and that doesn't happen overnight.

TTP

Wot another....all change, no change.....Playing follow my Leader...into the doldrums....We need a set of new Policies, with no debt and penalising Savers to ensure more debt is preferred...Stupidity comes in big packages......and all Parties have proved their Worth......Nuffin worth having except a rental....which as I have said before is mental and just raises my Hackles....and will never ever vote for Labour and National waste of space ijits.....ever and ever again..Amen.

Printing money is stupid....Making it not worth ANYTHING except a shite House........a TUI.

Seymour is going to have his hands full trying to manage 10 MPs with no parliamentary experience. Let’s face it, he’s really only had to to worry about himself for the past few cycles. If his number 2 is the next cab off the rank it doesn’t say much for the rest of his caucus.

His 2IC does gaze at him longingly. What could possibly go wrong

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Every body wins!..the left has a clear mandate to implement their social engineering, and the RBNZ is making sure those with assets will prosper. Its all good. And just for some icing, lets ramp up that immigration that all sides want.

There is no 'team' in immigration, only 'i' - 3 times...

It would seem the extra publicity that:

1. Arden got from Mosque shooting, White Island, and Covid,
2. Swarbrick got from the Cannabis referendum,
3. Seymour got from gun control and Euthanasia referendum

all helped with the votes they got.

While I think it was Truman that said 'Any publicity is good as long as they spell your name right,' all three of the above did very well in front footing the issues.

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The good news:
- a solid, stable, left-of-centre government with a sound mandate from the NZ public
- NZ First is out and Winnie is finally retired
- a big, overdue wake-up call for National to redefine and rejuvenate itself
- the Greens have no leverage whatsoever and they will have to accept the crumbs from Labour
- David Seymour has been rewarded for his active work in issues such as the end of life choice bill

The bad news:
- the Greens are still in Parliament
- serious risks for Labour to become arrogant due to its big success
- the embarrassing performance by Kelvin Davis in his "speech" last night - nothing less than cringeworthy

Bad news...Seymour has to lead 10 MPs with no parliamentary experience. He’s gonna have his hands full and will keep them out of the media as much as possible.

He'll have to ask Winston for some tips on that

The Kelvin Davis intro (10 minutes, 600 looong seconds) was cut away from in large part by the TV3 crew - too excruciating. One can only feel for the Labourites stuck there - shurely it's a form of Torture, and Human Rights Practitioners and Counsellors need to be wheeled in for the victims?

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I can't help but note the irony that the place with the least amount of greenery, is the only seat that the Greens won.

the Gulf Islands are part of Auckland Central electorate

Chloe is a star, and if the Greens have any brains (??) they will see to it she is co-leader by 2023.

Yes, because being a “star” is all that seems to matter in politics these days...Aue, I feel like a cynical old bastard these days, yet I only miss out on being a classed as a millennial by a couple of years :)

She works hard man. The work required to put the cannabis thing together was huge.

She's clever and articulate.

what is for sure is NZers' disappointment 3 years later.

... yeah .... but left or right , that's the result after every election ...

At least we get the right to choose which clowns form the big top circus we call parliament .... unlike the 1400 million folks living in the PRC .... huh !

How's that genocide going?

The Greens would be dangerous in opposition. Ardern will want Shaw, Sage and Genter back at the Cabinet table I reckon. Can't for the life of me see how Twyford earned the no. 4 spot on the party list, having wasted three years with the transport and housing portfolios. Genter deserves transport perhaps with Roskill Woods as assoc, they force Twyford onto Education, Hipkins keeps health with Vanushi as assoc (and DIA) , Parker keeps environment, Little keeps Justice, Nash keeps police, Robertson to keep finance and deputy PM.

The Greens were not in cabinet in the last government and/or only when invited to discuss what ever minor portfolio involved. To suggest in the circumstances of Labour’s majority now, that the Greens need to be in cabinet, is nonsensical. Yes the Greens could be dangerous in opposition, but given their compulsion to blurt out nutty oddities, the danger will only be to themselves.

I'd like to see both Twyford and Clark spend a bit of time off the front bench - replaced by some strong Māori Ministers.

.. I'd like to see those two permanently replaced by anyone with more than half a brain and slightly more charisma than a slug .... it'd be a 100 % improvement ...

By 'those two' you're referring to Judith and Gerry?

Why 'Maori' ministers? Replace that with 'European' and it looks racist right?

As Trotter quotes LBJ: "Better for [Hoover] to be inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in"

Hey Dale, Great Barrier, Waiheke in Ak Central electorate. Paradise places.

Good point, and yes another irony of Great Barrier and to a lesser extent now Waiheke, places of density escapism, being shackled to the Auckland CBD compact city model.

This is the very schism that is the Greens. One half thinks we all should be living in cities to save the country, and the other half think we should be leaving the cities to live sustainability/growing your own food etc. with nature.

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Seems pretty simple to me.
WE elected Labour to govern on its own. That's why they can.
To do otherwise is to ignore the electorate, and that is something that it won't forget.

Totally agree but you know the old one about having someone in the tent doing something out of the tent not vice versa. Still in this election the Greens came in fourth, but according to the Herald Shaw has already demanded cabinet seats. Very presumptuous that, but par for the course, they may yet need to be tossed a bone to keep the yapping down.

Or chained to the kennel for a fortnight to teach 'em restraint....

But then the perennial question, who’s on heat.

give shaw corrections that would be interesting?

Shaw is used to demanding. The shovel ready project for a private school. He must have been blinded by the fact it was green school.

Hopefully thats the end of Jami-Lee from politics for good.

I hope him and his wife have a reliable stream of income from consulting or something. Employable isn't a word Id associate with either of them.

I enjoyed this article. Look, the Prime Minister did sound cautious but you have to appreciate that in January the Prime Minister announced they where undoing the purse strings to spend $12bn over 5 years on infrastructure. The increases in spending where projected to take the budget from $5-7bn surplus in preceding years to a $1bn deficit.

However then the Coronavirus emergency came along and massive intervention was required to freeze the economy, Treasury are now forecasting a deficit exceeding $23bn for this year alone as well as an almost doubling of the unemployment rate by next year. Unfortunately a house for every child, shiny new bridges for Auckland and electric charging stations on every corner will have to wait. What the Prime Minister is implicitly telling us is that this will be a government of re-employment and more cautious spending because the focus of government will change and tax take will reduce. It's not austerity but we need to acknowledge that times have changed.

They announced the announcement in December the previous year. Then they announced *some* of it in the following year, which was mostly canceled National road projects they campaigned on getting rid of. The intention was clearly to use the balance as an electoral war-chest and drip-feed more announcements through to the election. Is this suddenly meant to be the responsible way to run a country? And of course, now there's an excuse to not have to deliver anything at all. How convenient.

This time the first 100 days will be critical. Now is the time to announce some highly unpopular but desperately needed changes of policy. Labour can blame them on Covid-19 and by the next election they may have started working.
Mine would be generous universal child benefit paid for by an increase in income taxes. Reduced finance for tertiary education and spend it on trade apprentices. A population plan - any plan will be better than no plan. Total reform of taxes & benefits to remove all arbitrariness (for example $7999 savings and you may get $304pw accomm benefit but save $8001 and you get nothing) and encourage couples to stay together not as today split them apart. Desperately needed but massively unpopular.
I just hope Jacinda has her own 'unpopular but needed' policies and is willing to act. I'm afraid of another John Key - for example saying house prices were too high and then doing nothing about them.

What possible advantage would increasing a child benefit, paid by increased taxes have?? Your ideas are loonier than Davidsons.

It worked when I grew up. Of course in those days most mothers didn't work until their children were at school. WFF is not a bad way of investing in NZ children [the best investment the govt can make] but it leaves out those parents who are not working. However any UBI costs big money and needs taxes to be increased. Mine is a preference for a UBI for children. Whether my suggestion is wise or stupid your response makes my point that an unpopular policy has to be implemented at the beginning of a new term.

I've got one. 80% of NZTA's budget goes on fixing roads. I'd like to see the electrification of the North Island main trunk line. Rail for haulage and trucks for distribution. Give our roads, that were built from a light flexible pavement never designed for the heavy trucks in use, a chance to recover.

The Road Users Association has a great deal of clout. I cannot see them handing back any business to rail despite its members' heavy vehicles being so hard on our highways.

.. my change would be the introduction of a 0.25 % land tax ... on all land in private ownership ... no exemptions ....

Oh yeah .... and scrap the tax free status of charities ... everyone pays something towards our tax man .... no free rides .... looking squarely at you , Brian Tamaki ...

I'd agree. A pity to be taxing my favourite charities [Sallies, Hospice, Breast cancer] but removing the arbitrary decision as to what is or is not a charity would be good. Despite owning a very large section with a very cheap house on it I'd go with your 0.25% land tax. It would stop the wild investors in their tracks. House prices would drop to sanity. It would be very unpopular. It might work OK if payment for owner occupied property is only paid when it changes ownership.
Meets my definition of a really sensible but highly unpopular policy. Unpopular when implemented but two years later it will be accepted and not repealed (see similar with Thatcher's selling off nationalised phone company, etc) later.

Can ya feel it, can ya smell it change is coming brother!. Wealth tax in some form. Cullen may live long enough to see the tax working dream reimplemented. Taxinda now has a mandate.

Clear and obvious target equals clear and present danger for investor/speculator crowd. Popcorn.

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Likely another 3 years of nothing, just when we need a whole bunch of good policy. Would love to be proven wrong, but recent history shows that we definitely won't get transformative.

Prepare for house prices to dramatically increase (up 30% now since Labour started?), young people to be continuously told about the "upcoming transformation" which never seems to arrive, sugar hit economic policies and money printing ensuring the those same young people are in debt up to their eyeballs. Paying for it all by taxing productive work and opening up immigration so we can have foreign slaves doing our work for us. What a brilliant economic plan!

Spot on Bobbles but your not going to get any upvotes when nearly 2 out of every 3 votes went to either Labour or the Green. I just see an ever more divided society and even more pissed off people at the bottom of the heap trying to compete with ever more cheap imported labour. I'm leaving Auckland within a month, its buggered. Cannot imagine trying to work here now with the traffic situation.

You'll get the transformation in the form of additional, new taxes, but little to actual to show for it.

Excellent piece. As he says, and I have said many times, Ardern is conservative. I am skeptical that she will be transformative, but we will see...

Jacinda's political hero is Peter Fraser. A Labour Party insider I spoke to last night said she's more left-wing than people think. She's building a consensus. That's not the same thing as conservative.

1) "Roger Douglas’s reforms succeeded because he was pushing on an open door" - the country was also technically bankrupt in 1984 forcing the NZD float. Nothing like a crisis to move policy.

2) It feels like an undercurrent of the movement of politics to the left in NZ even leaving out covd19. Child poverty, homelessness, welfare reform, minimum wage increases, & climate change at the front.

3) National will probably have to move left in policy to find middle ground again.

4) Any swing back right will take a poor post covid19 economy and/or the effects of the debt burden NZ is building, or non delivery/self destruction by Labour.

5) I hope Jacinda has permanently changed politics in NZ. She gets it - team of 5m, optimism, humanity.

6) I also hope this government and future governments pick up and continue with the wellbeing approach started by English & Key. The true mandate for NZ is a centrist government (& local government) that undertakes socio-economic cost benefit assessment on their policies/laws/regulations to ensure they increase the net welfare (wellbeing) per capita of NZer's.

It is 'Lucky" we are not in debt now, but can call on all those rich housing investors to keep the ball rolling via never ending debt, being taxed as a means to keep the balls into the air, by moving out of work and into the inflated taxidermy where others are stuffed and moved into Hotels, Motels and shon-key built Houses.

There is a so-called movement of money, but when the music stops, bars close and people stop congregating around the Country and the cash runs out, then we may have to rely on those negative rates for negative reasons to negate, what others would call a lot of money in Banks, wasting away.

Banks will find that there are better ways to lend money, by creating it out of thin air, "Totally". instead of by the factor of 14 as they have increased it rapidly from a factor of 3....In the past few years.....Go figure, thin air, into million dollar rabbit hutches, built on top of each other and now worth a "Kings Ransom"

Oh! to become MR ORR a Capital idea, we could flog this idea to MR TRUMP...borrow into the World of make believe and pay no way forwards....the American Dream.

Tax free...naturally. Keep working slaves, your hearts desire is becoming a reality TV show of monu-mental proportions.....President of all you..survey.....except some have been Biden their times....for nearly 80 years.....and are now the factor of discontent....killing millions to save a show.....and Tell. Trillions of Dollars....in debt.

And afree round of Golf for the losers....Trump's Investors..........It is a nutty world, is it not this "Modern day Wonder."..Free munny....tax evasive....no crime intended.

Beware the echo chamber!
It's my great misfortune to share a workplace with a rabid alt-right skinhead, complete with swastika tattoo and an avowed love of the third Reich. He spends much of his time on-line in places not unlike this. Congregation points for those who think as he does, and they were all saying the same thing he does, which is that "Cindy" is hated by everyone on earth and she and her "commie Jew" party was about to be swept from power and into retribution camps of some kind. Unspecified details there.
He knew this was all a foregone conclusion because "everyone" was saying it.
Everyone being the however many other pathetic neo-Nazi losers who spend hours admiring Hitler's wardrobe and preaching to the choir of few.
Needless to say he's not a happy chappie right now, and there's a lesson there for those who excitedly assure each other they share a "silent" majority. When you choose to hang out only in places where your view is shared it's too easy to fool yourself that everyone shares the same view.

Let me guess, Christchurch?