Hayden Wilson and Linda Clark of Dentons Kensington Swan assess what the weekend's election result means from a range of perspectives, and for the key protagonists

Hayden Wilson and Linda Clark of Dentons Kensington Swan assess what the weekend's election result means from a range of perspectives, and for the key protagonists
Jacinda Ardern fights Covid-19. Cartoon by Ross Payne.

By Hayden Wilson and Linda Clark*

“We will govern for all New Zealanders”

Jacinda Ardern.

A year full of unprecedented events has delivered one more: for the first time since MMP was introduced in 1996, one party has won a Parliamentary majority. Labour was expected to dominate, but few, even in Labour, would have predicted the extent of the red-wash. Once the special votes are counted Labour is expected to have the third largest vote in its history, and the largest since 1946. Jacinda Ardern and Labour can govern alone for the next three years. Anyone worried that the Greens will hold a disproportionate sway can rest easy. This is going to be a Labour Government led by a careful thinker who wants a third term.

Labour’s mandate

Saturday night’s election result was a ringing endorsement of Labour’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. In some ways it is a vote of thanks but also a show of trust in Jacinda Ardern’s ability to lead through tough and testing times.

With a tick over 49 percent of the vote (and expected to lift one or two percent more once special votes are counted) Labour now has a massive mandate from the New Zealand public. It also has a herculean task in front of it and no minor parties to blame for lack of pace or delivery.

Labour’s voters will have high expectations: many will see this weekend as a huge tilt towards their much longed for progressive (transformational) agenda. Side by side with the Greens (who also had a strong showing with Chloe Swarbrick barnstorming Auckland Central and the party vote holding up better than many expected), the centre-left bloc is now certainly dominant.

But, as Jacinda Ardern readily recognised on election night, Labour’s historic vote is swollen by many voters who don’t usually vote Labour. These voters aren’t progressives, they’re pragmatists. What they want is stability, sure judgment and solid progress as the country faces the profound economic and social uncertainties generated by Covid-19. Ardern is committed to keeping these voters on-side.

Thanks to those ‘new’ voters, Labour’s dominance means that the Greens, despite their own strong turn-out, may find themselves excluded from any meaningful power. On election night Greens coleader Marama Davidson was talking up her own preference to serve as a Cabinet Minister in an Ardern-led Government. But Davidson is getting ahead of herself. Ardern is being coy about doing any deal with the Greens. It remains likely Labour may form an ‘understanding’ of sorts on some issues where Labour and the Greens align, but Labour does not need to do so and as Ardern is making clear she wants to ‘crack on’ without complications.

Ardern’s confirmation that Kelvin Davis will be Labour’s deputy and deputy prime minister, despite his long and tone-deaf victory speech, was an early signal to the Greens to take a breath. This is not your usual MMP government.

But the pieces are still moving into place. Labour’s MPs, 18 of them new, were on planes to Wellington Sunday night and this morning will meet for the first time in Parliament.

What they’ll hear from their leader is that Labour’s agenda will be to ‘govern for everyone’ but also that, without the complication of having to wrangle support from coalition partners, they now have ‘a mandate to accelerate’. It sounds easy enough. In fact, it’s going to be very hard.

With the wage subsidy at an end, an expected rise in unemployment just around the corner, and a closed border that has decimated two of New Zealand’s major industries (tourism and export education) and is likely to cause a shortage of skilled workers for many others, economic pain looms large.

The pressure will be on Ardern to lead New Zealand into Covid economic recovery, as well as continuing to manage the still unpredictable health issues related to the pandemic. At the same time, on election night she has re-pledged to deliver on those stubborn pre-Covid challenges – access to housing, inequality, climate change. It’s a testing, full agenda of hard to manage and (so far) impossible to solve issues.

To make headway, and Labour has no time to waste, Ardern will look to her trusted core group of ministers to deliver. Grant Robertson, David Parker, Megan Woods and Chris Hipkins will be at the front of the queue when Ardern hands out the big roles within Cabinet. But, given that poverty, housing shortages and the threats of climate change have not disappeared with the virus, Ardern will need to reach beyond her kitchen cabinet and include some new talent.

As National licks its wounds and Labour sips on a celebratory beverage, the magnitude of their respective tasks will be becoming clear: one needs to rebuild a party, the other a nation.

Winners and losers

Winners

Jacinda Ardern and Labour – Ardern single-handedly rescued Labour from annihilation in 2017 and last night was crowned New Zealand’s most successful politician in a generation, surpassing even the popularity of Sir John Key. Ardern will now be under pressure to use her political capital to make some significant changes, but her cautious instincts are likely to win out, at least in the short term. Ardern is determined to introduce polices that ‘stick’ (ie. are politically durable). Her pace is likely to be slower than the activists in her party would like. But the test will be how long she can keep the confidence of the ‘new to Labour’ voters who delivered her a landslide.

ACT and David Seymour – After spending six years in a caucus of one, David Seymour finally gets some colleagues – seven of them. For the first time since 2002 ACT last night polled above five percent, registering a very respectable eight percent. Covid was good for Seymour, with his performance on the Emergency Response Committee overshadowing that of then-National leader Simon Bridges. His leadership of the Euthanasia bill has also given him national profile and gravitas.

No one doubts Seymour’s work ethic or grasp of policy: his biggest challenge now will be to manage his new and hitherto unknown MPs, some of whom have ideas that could be described as being on the political fringe. Arriving to Parliament full of big ideas and super confidence, the new Act MPs may find life in opposition is not quite what they expected.

Chlöe Swarbrick and the Greens – In one of the night’s biggest boilovers, the Auckland Central seat was lost by National, but not to Labour. Chlöe Swarbrick has won an electorate seat for the Greens for the first time since Jeanette Fitzsimons won Coromandel in 1999, and the Greens have become the first minor party to increase its share of the vote after being part of the previous term’s Government. The Greens could find this term challenging, especially if Labour decides to keep the smaller party at a long arm’s length. Also, Chlöe’s personal brand – already high – will be further strengthened by victory in Auckland Central. That strong position might cause tensions within the Greens as the term progresses.

Rawiri Waititi and the Maori Party – Frankly, no one expected the Maori Party to be back but on election night results Waititi defeated Labour’s Tamati Coffey in the Waiariki seat by 415 votes in one of the upsets of the election. Waititi’s success still hangs in the balance but if this result is confirmed he brings the Maori Party back from the brink after the party was kicked out in 2017.

Losers

National and Judith Collins – Judith Collins took over a party in chaos. Three leaders in quick succession, a diminished war chest and a caucus that – for once – lacked all discipline. Collins was always up against it. In the end, she wasn’t able to unify the team, and constant leaks, missteps over policy calculations, a tone that clanged rather than connected and the lack of a clear strategy killed any remaining hope National may have had. Collins’ continued leadership is surely out of the question, given the scale of National’s loss, her pitch to stay on as leader in the aftermath of Saturday’s drubbing feels flat and unrealistic. Party members have been working against her in the lead-up to the election, and the sniping is already out in the open. She is tough though. Her quick decision to hold a thorough review of the campaign and all its failings may buy her time in the job to rally the numbers to allow her to continue. The National Party is now at a cross-roads: it can try and hold the centrist ground it made its own for more than a decade under Sir John and Bill English or it can lurch to the right and try to recapture the ACT party vote. It now has a very small caucus and the previous gains National had made to diversify its ranks have taken a huge leap backwards; this term two thirds of its MPs are male and just two of its MPs are Maori. National has no option but to look at itself for the next few months; at what went so wrong and how it can rebuild and reconnect with voters.

New Zealand First – New Zealand First’s $3 billion provincial growth fund was not enough to convince rural and provincial voters to vote for it. Like National, New Zealand First ran a poor campaign. Winston Peters began the campaign suffering from a mystery ailment and he never quite regained the kind of energy and fire that has served him well in the past. Peters has been an MP since 1979 and NZ First has been an intriguing phenomenon since 1993. But this appears to be the end of the road. Jacinda Ardern was gracious towards the old war-horse on Sunday, suggesting he will be invited to give a proper valedictory in Parliament (he is not entitled to one). If so, it will be something to see! With serious fraud charges hanging over the New Zealand First Foundation and a leader who has surely reached the end of the road, New Zealand First looks to be a spent force in New Zealand politics. Probably.

The Greens – Yes, winning a seat and increasing their share of the vote made it a historic night for the Greens. However, they have also lost all their bargaining power. Labour no longer needs the Greens to govern: any deal Ardern might offer will be with an eye to the 2023 election, and the Greens will have no alternative but to accept whatever scraps are tossed their way in the interim. The precariousness of their position will undoubtedly trigger further tension within the party between those who will want to try to work with Labour and those who will want to attack. One to watch.

Now the real work begins

To paraphrase Hamilton, “winning was easy, governing is harder”. All winning political parties find this to some extent, but the task ahead of Labour is larger than most. Labour was very careful to promise little in the way of anything big, or new, on the campaign’s long trail. In the absence of detailed plans people project what they want.

In reality this means Labour will need to manage some lofty expectations . At the same time, in order to avoid scaring the horses in the centre, Labour has hemmed itself in on taxation and fiscal policy. Its room to manoeuvre is very limited.

In its favour, this time most of Labour’s ministers have some experience in Cabinet and will be better for it. The New Zealand First handbrake has been released and Labour is in a position to set the agenda, while its overwhelming victory also means Labour will dominate the select committees, giving its bills an easier ride through the legislative process.

The Team

Jacinda Ardern, like a number of her top ministers, spent a considerable amount of time in the Beehive before she became an MP, working as an advisor to various ministers including then-Prime Minister Helen Clark. Clark’s style of governance had her very much at the centre, keeping a watchful eye over everything. Ardern, too, is keen on centralised control, and it is no surprise that her most trusted ministers - Robertson, Hipkins, Woods and Parker- were also either political advisors with her or ministers in Clark’s government.

Ardern’s kitchen cabinet has been entrusted with the big roles: when other ministers have failed to perform Ardern invariably turns to one of them to step in. In the wake of Covid-19, portfolios such as health, border control and infrastructure have suddenly become more significant – but perennials such as education and housing remain as politically and fiscally difficult as ever.

Ardern can’t divide all of the difficult portfolios between her kitchen cabinet, so she is going to have to trust other ministers to step up. Kris Faafoi and Carmel Sepuloni are two who are likely to be given greater responsibility in the second term. Andrew Little is another expected to be given some heavy lifting.

Ardern is also going to have to reallocate portfolios that were previously held by New Zealand First, allowing her to promote some junior ministers as well as MPs who have performed well previously.

Of the ministers currently outside of cabinet Peeni Henare looks set for a promotion. The Prime Minister has been impressed with him in his Civil Defence role and his connections within Maoridom are highly valued.

From the class of 2017 (regarded by some senior MPs as a mixed crop) the front runners are Kiri Allen, Kieran McAnulty, Jan Tinetti and Deborah Russell. Senior whip Michael Wood would appear a certainty for promotion as well.

Ardern is unlikely to promote new MPs straight into Cabinet, meaning she will need to rehabilitate some former ministers as well as retain others who are viewed to have underperformed. It is probable former health minister David Clark and Meka Whaitiri will return to Cabinet, and Phil Twyford, associated with some of Labour’s big failures in its first term, will stay on. Party discipline is going to be important for Labour. With such a large and inexperienced caucus, keeping everyone busy, focused and feeling like they have a job worthy of their perceived worth will be a challenge. Inexperienced and potentially idle MPs with little ability to affect policy but plenty of ambition to do so could be a combustible mix. Ardern will therefore have to take just as much care in balancing her team outside of Cabinet as she does in forming the Cabinet itself.

The Challenges

Ardern billed the 2020 election as the Covid election and, as much as National criticised her for politicising Covid, the reality remains that the election was about Covid, and was always going to be. The biggest challenges facing this Government are also related to the pandemic.

The wage subsidy has smoothed some of the economic impacts of the pandemic , but with the subsidy already fading out and finishing at the beginning of September unemployment rates will rise. Trying to keep unemployment in check will be a major focus for Labour, particularly as any increase would disproportionately affect Maori, Pasifika and the young, all of whom have just voted for Labour in large numbers.

While keeping the economy open and movement as free as possible has allowed most businesses to keep operating, Labour still needs to find a replacement for the missing foreign dollars that tourists and overseas students previously provided.

Labour has said all along that the most effective economic response is a strong public health response. But New Zealand’s borders can’t remain closed indefinitely. Now that the election is over, apart from the final tallying-up of votes to decide a few electorate races still a bit too close to call Labour may have more of an appetite to open up to rest of the world – Sunday’s community case notwithstanding. The first two items on the list are likely to be entry for specialist foreign workers needed to help the economic recovery, particularly in the agriculture and infrastructure sectors, and establishing a trans-Tasman bubble with Australia or parts of Australia.

Massive infrastructure builds will be one of the main features of the Government’s programme over the next three years. Labour’s track record of delivery during the past three years was less than stellar, and it will need to do much better this term.

So far, more than $12 billion worth of infrastructure projects have been announced and Labour will want to progress these as soon as possible to get money flowing back into the economy and to realise the associated economic benefits. How comfortable the Greens will be with some of the roading projects is unclear, but how concerned Labour will be about the Greens’ views is also in doubt.

Central to making progress on the infrastructure projects will be overhauling the Resource Management Act, which Labour has promised to completely rewrite.

RMA reform was a major stumbling block for the previous National Government, which was never able to strike a deal with its coalition partners. During the previous term the Greens threatened to walk away from the Government over a number of infrastructure projects they saw as having poor environmental outcomes, and they are unlikely to support environmental considerations being watered down in any reformed RMA. However, as already noted, Labour’s outright majority means the Greens’ concerns need not be Ardern’s. Labour’s big challenge with the RMA will be keeping the reforms simple enough to execute on their plans.

Reforms to the health sector and workplace relations will also be high on the agenda. In between Covid outbreaks the Labour Government received a report into the health sector penned by Helen Clark’s former chief of staff, Heather Simpson. The Simpson Report calls for a major overhaul of the health sector and is likely to be a key piece of work for the upcoming Labour government.

Chris Hipkins, fresh from his restructuring of the nation’s polytechnics, seems likely to remain health minister. Not because he wants the role necessarily, but because there are limited other options that the Prime Minister can trust to deliver in such a central portfolio at such a critical time. He will find reforming the health sector a much more complex task than tinkering with tertiary education, and with much higher political stakes. Look to see him cede (reluctantly) the education portfolio to ensure that he has the bandwidth to manage.

With New Zealand First gone from Government, Labour will also look to advance its workplace relations reforms. This is likely to include the end of 90-day work trials, strengthened positions for unions, and sector-wide workplace agreements. Labour will need to balance its desire for reform with the concerns of the business lobby, particularly as it looks for collaboration in rebuilding a New Zealand economy whacked by the global pandemic and limping along behind closed borders.

What next for the vanquished?

The election result was worse than National expected. It will want to move swiftly on from 2020, and that could well mean moving swiftly on from Judith Collins. National’s biggest challenge may be to accept it has been beaten not because Labour got lucky but because National wasn’t offering what the voters wanted, and that something needs to change within the party.

The trouncing National received in regional New Zealand, hitherto a party stronghold, underlines the party’s deep problems. To give some context to how poorly National did in the heartland, it is now possible to drive from Wellington to the East Cape without once driving through a National held electorate.

Last term National wasted too much time bemoaning the legitimacy of Winston Peters’ decision to go with Labour rather than the higher polling National. Likewise, this term, waiting for the public to “wise up to Jacinda” is likely to be as effective a strategy for National as waiting for the shine to come off John Key was for Labour between 2008 and 2016.

The party needs to learn from Labour’s mistakes. The slower it does, the longer its internal problems are likely to last.

There is also the vexed leadership issue. Who leads National if (when) Collins is toppled will be telling. Will MPs trust someone from within their depleted ranks with experience, or will they roll the dice on the untested, newly arrived ex-Air NZ CEO Christopher Luxon?

Next steps

Ardern and Labour have won a historic mandate from the people of New Zealand, who have embraced her leadership and empathetic communications style, and endorsed her government’s approach to fighting Covid-19.

At Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre, at Whakaari/White Island, and in the 1pm daily televised briefings, Ardern has established her crisis management credentials. Now, she needs to prove she can lead the country through less dramatic, but potentially equally trying, times. Her challenges are as huge as Saturday night’s victory.


*Hayden Wilson is chairman and a partner at law firm Dentons Kensington Swan, and Linda Clark is a partner at Dentons Kensington Swan. This article first appeared here and is used with permission.

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129 Comments

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"These voters aren’t progressives, they’re pragmatists. What they want is stability, sure judgment and solid progress as the country faces the profound economic and social uncertainties"
I'm one of them.
My last 3 elections I voted National, TOP and now Labour. Pragmatism at its best, and I can tell you I didn't vote for 'stability' I voted for Change. Transformational Change and if it isn't forthcoming, I'll be back off to ...well, no one actually. I'll just give up.
And therein lies the risk for all Parties - New Zealanders just give up.
Old market saying, Jacinda "No pain, no gain"

"Old market saying, Jacinda "No pain, no gain" - true, but who wears the pain and who gets the gain? A very good article which condenses the main points Ardern has to deal with. Another old saying - "the proof of the pudding is in the eating". I think the next year will be interesting, hopefully not an unmitigated debacle.

Fully correct, the govt & RBNZ ideally should be a good balanced manager of every resources, take & give, give & take, be a just ruler every kids need to be feed, favoritism will cause a disconnection.. apathy, then.. oh well? some of those imported to this country for special skill sets, being paid more than enough... have decided to leave this property mad nation - good luck managing your waiting list... see us in OZ.

Already given up by not voting this general election. I want change but not transformational and its possible without upsetting the economic apple cart. Labour or anyone else for that matter will be unable to sort the serious housing problem in Auckland or Wellington, both affordability and quantity. Affordability being the bigger issue. For any of the other large cities as well where house prices are out of control. RBNZ by dropping LVR has had a major influence on its own notwithstanding the low interest rate. An OCR of 0.5% would be quite adequate with 0.75% being better so as not to be too far out of kilter withe rest of the main OECD countries.
I think Nationals developer mates will soon become Labour's developer mates if they are not already. Ready to build 175m2 plus house "mansions"
I don't like the wealth tax but prefer a balanced CGT. I have not seen a summary of the differences between CGT and wealth tax but know that wealth tax is on going annually whereas CGT does not have to be (realised vs unrealised gains)

It's a shame you abdicated your democratic duty to vote.

Why waste fuel if you're only going to submit a vote of no confidence?

People in some countries have died for that right.

Once the PM said no capital gains tax while she was PM, the next best option was a wealth tax.

Any wealth tax has to be tortured to serve as a quasi-tax on capital income, as well as its function of reducing inequality.

Another option would be to "adjust" the bright line test into a more extensive tax on capital gain.

Ahh transformational change. We went through that in the 80s and it was heartless transformation. A slower pace to those changes could have reduced some of that societal pain. I don't think any other country emulated the NZ experiment with the same degree of haste and squandering of intergenerational built national wealth of core infrastructure - rail, national grid, etc, etc).
To be transformational it has to redistribute and rebalance wealth distribution across society. It also has to increase national resilience. I reckon re-introducing strategic tarriffs, ban on foreign ownership of land (provide a fixed term license to occupy), establish compulsory acquisition of strong wool with a single desk seller (look at the phoenix effect of Zespri), and public private investment in timber processing onshore that captures market benefits of the r&d investment here in NZ should be on the agenda.

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Now with a caring govt in power with a mandate we will see the govt work hard to improve boys educational attainment which is way being girls in both secondary and tertiary level. Also male suicide rates are scandalous as are men's deaths at work. Look for that too change as labour and the greens are passionate about this...

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My daughter had to write an essay on the gender pay gap. When I suggested that, in the interest of being Socratic, she consider work place deaths and whether dangerous work may explain some (not all) of the pay gap she replied that if she argued against it her (Female obviously) teacher would fail her.

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Exactly so society does not care about boys because Labour does not. In regards to gender pay all I hear is single women complaining that there is a lack of men who earn the same as them to marry..

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This is the 21st century Ponzi - they can always go marry another single woman. Problem solved, equal opportunity, equal pay, no gender bias and they can split the cleaning duties

I'm all for that hook really I am. But the professional left wing women I know have 1950s attitudes when it comes to marriage.

haha.. I'm hearing ya!! Want equal treatment but still expect you to hold the door open and vacate a seat in the bus lol

Happens in China too, which is another reason China is importing brides from Viet Nam. The other reasons being one child = boy for many old Chinese

What a lot of tosh! Sorry to break it to you PK, but globally girls do far better then boys in education (When given the opportunity). I doubt that any political party can do anything about that, perhaps you should move to the Middle East where misogyny is more acceptable. But don't worry you can feel smug about the pay gender gap that still favors men!

Again women aged between 20 and 37 outearn males all across the board in Western societies. I'm making a complaint to the moderator. You don't know me or my life's story. So you think advocating for boys means I want women in the kitchen. Shows that you can't debate rationally and resort to name calling.

No you're just spouting misogyny mate by blaming women. You know full well that there's a gender pay gap both here and in most of the rest of the Western world. And you have no proof that women out earn men. According to NZ Stats "The gender pay gap was 9.3 percent in the June 2019 quarter. Since 2017, the gender pay gap has remained relatively static."

OK then CJ what about the dating and marriage market.? Women not wanting to date down economically? Something men have done for thousands of years. It's Bigoted to write off a truck driver or Manuel worker as not being a great husband or supportive partner. I'm just pointing out issues low income men face and guess what many low income men are not mysoginists as you imply.

It's up to her who she wants to date or not. And it's not about the money. What's really running through her mind is: "Is this guy likely to harm me, when he gets upset that I'm earning more than him".

That's what she's weighing up NOT the money! Money become pretty insignificant when you're dead. Take a look at American as an example, here's a stat for you. Did you know at on average "3 American women are murdered every day by their husband or boyfriend." Bet you never considered that of that point of view before did you.

Yes I agree completely Cj099 I'm all about self empowerment. Likewise guys can judge women by weight and looks. Although I don't. I wish the media would stop denigrating types of people and occupations. But I am not a Mysogynist I find this offensive. If guys don't want to have a female doctor or personal trainer then that's fine too as a women should have access to female doctors. As should pasifika and Maori with health issues.

Are you seriously implying that women are judging prospective partners based on a probability that because the male earns less than her he's more likely to harm her than a male earning more than her??? REALLY??? Or are you actually implying that because the male is earning less he is perhaps less intelligent and thus less able to control his emotions? You are a disgrace!!
BTW - your logic leads to the conclusion that as long as the gender pay gap is maintained women will be safer in relationships!! obviously outright BS

Yes really, sorry is this a revelation for you because statistically it's often been the case.

Really?? Statistically? Last I looked income disparity wasn't a factor in legal cases. Provide your figures. Your comment above that started this thread is one of the worst clangers I've seen here - and that's a pretty high bar

Sadly there's all too many cases and examples out there. Here's one for you: American Murder: The Family Next Door https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ep8iKiQNSrY&feature=emb_title

Maybe you should give some NZ examples rather than drawing on a dysfunctional basket case country that votes actors and reality TV stars as their President. US - the Land of the Free=US the Land of the Free to die by your neighbors hand.

I'd rather not. If I looked in to the NZ ones I probably won't be able to sleep at night.

Yeah best not look at male worker fatality rate either.
"The majority of worker deaths were male (89%)"
https://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/early/2020/03/24/injuryprev-202...

Hmmm... careful with that profile - might just prove that a lot of NZ males are dumb gungho types who think they're bulletproof and learn the hard way they aren't.

It is global and is a result of occupation preference. You don't get many female tree fallers for instance. But remember it is women who are the real victims here - just ask Hillary Clinton - "Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat."

Well yeah, she's right, because they have to go on living. The dead are dead and don't suffer any further.

Right - the voteless Tommy's who died in the trenchs were the secondary victims while the primary victims were the emancipated women left at home to remarry having never seen a trench, gas, barbed wire or a machine gun.
What do they teach in schools these days?

So you'd rather not confront reality in the form of your claims being absolute hogwash?? Thought so

NZ Stats: About half of all homicides in New Zealand are committed by an offender who is identified as family.

76% of family violence incidents are NOT reported to Police.

1 in 3 women experience physical and/or sexual violence from a partner in their lifetime.

76% of recorded assaults against females are committed by an offender that is identified as family.

Police investigated 118,910 incidents of family violence in 2016 or about one every 5 minutes. This was an increase of more than 8,000 on 2015. There were more than 101,955 investigations in 2014 and 95,101 in 2013. It is not clear whether the increase is due to an increase in violence or an increase in people reporting family violence incidents.

The list goes on......

I don't deny we have gender issues in NZ and around the world. Further i don't disagree with most of what you are trying to represent. However, where is the correlation to income which was the central the of your thesis? To quote:: "What's really running through her mind is: "Is this guy likely to harm me, when he gets upset that I'm earning more than him" "

So true. When my lovely beautiful wife got an immense bonus the other day for doing an amazing job, all I wanted to do was punch her in the face. And I represent 99% of the way guys think.

You do not represent me or the way I think that's for sure. What presumptuous nonsense.

Calm the farm Gareth...I was being sarcastic. But I'm glad you also think that it is nonsense.

I'm not blaming women.. Women often blame men for not stepping up or reaching high enough standards. That's laughable mate. It shows your ideology blinds you from seeing it from all perspectives. Do you blame pakeha for Maori and pasifika under achievement?

I think I called you out. So if I want the govt to help boys then I'm blaming women? Lol lol...

Offensive and groundless; "Women often blame men for not stepping up or reaching high enough standards". Just your own personal assumptions. You can't even see it can you? Sorry mate but you are a misogynist, look at what you are writing.

CJ, is there a gender pay gap because women are discriminated against or because they, on balance, choose professions that pay less than men? If we want to close the pay gap (and ignore things like maternity leave etc), why don't we give primary school teachers a 25% pay rise for example?

Pay gaps are quantified across sectors. It's relative in the same job, e.g do female primary school teachers earn less than there male counterparts all other things being equal? I think you are referring to Occupational Segregation

That wasn't the point I was making. 72% of primary school teachers are female, ergo increasing the pay of all primary school teachers will close the gender pay gap. I'm skeptical a male teacher is paid more than a female teacher of the same subject with the same qualifications and experience, but I don't really know.

Here's a deep thought provoking question - if the view of many misogynistic and "stuck in a timewarp males" is that a woman's place is in the kitchen how come the majority of 5 star Michelin chefs and restaurateurs are male?? Seems an oxymoron to me.

I am guessing some chose to start a family..

So, you're saying that it's great that boys are being disadvantaged but misogynistic when girls are being disadvantaged? You know what that's called, right?

Another feminist crap statement.

Caring government....as Regan said; the nine most terrifying words in the English language is: ‘I’m from the government, how can I help you’.

I am very happy about the election results - Labour being able to govern alone for 3 years or even more.

This offers a perfect opportunity to manifest the pure incapability and inability of Labour party in leading a country by fulfilling what they promised, as well as to prove irrefutably that NZ's dependence on agriculture, foreign tourists and students, immigrants with either human and financial capitals, and China regardless of political parties.

Let's wait and see in 3 years time.

I am so excited.

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Congratulations, you have earned this month bonus of 64,500 social credit points. Keep it up Xing, not long to claim your the spare kidney.

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did you get permission from the CCP to make up your own mind

Have you exited? Stage left or stage right?

This offers a perfect opportunity to manifest the pure incapability and inability of Labour party in leading a country by fulfilling what they promised, as well as to prove irrefutably that NZ's dependence on agriculture, foreign tourists and students, immigrants with either human and financial capitals, and China regardless of political parties

Is NZ in a different space to the UK in respect of China?

"Over the next 12 to 15 months, China is probably going to create the equivalent of another Australia"

Economist Jim O'Neill says boosting trade with China will be crucial to Britain's post-Brexit economic future Link

.

Unfortunately, apart from you, Hook, Keith Woodford and a handful of others, all people here seems to believe that NZ would do better without trading that much to China and should keep pointing fingers at China on many China's domestic issues to demonstrate NZ's higher moral ground.

So what 'many China's domestic issues" are those? Care to list them or would it take too long?

Before you indirectly denigrate China's internal issues - which arguably are no one else's business but China's, you should look more closely at NZ's own woeful statistics. I didn't see China get a dressing down from the UN over child abuse or family violence stats - unlike NZ. Maybe you should find a new hobbyhorse to flog? And while you're at it, research who our major market is.

That's disingenuous in the extreme.
What's happening with the Uigyars, for example, is coordinated evil by the CCP.
The things you are referring to are domestic evil. Not good, but individual responsibility rather than coordinated government evil.

Alright Fritz.. tell me how your life would be materially improved if the Uighur issue never happened?

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That's a totally ridiculous logical fallacy. Irrelevant.
So you think crimes against humanity are fine if they don't affect anyone other than those directly affected? That's certainly what you are implying.
Sorry, but you are a total idiot whom I for one will not engage with any further.

@Hook. You really have no idea about the world do you. To quote you: "I didn't see China get a dressing down from the UN over child abuse or family violence stats". So example, you don't even know about Chinas 62 million “missing” women and girls in China from sex-selective abortion and neglect.
Here's an article for Scientific American: China's New Birth Rule Can't Restore Missing Women and Fix a Population.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/china-s-new-birth-rule-can-t-...

Haha. The proof was already evident at the end of the National Parties last stand in govt in '17. Why do you think we voted them out?

At last MMP the way the people want it. Labour no performance gone burger. BUT why wait another three years no improvement 12 months outskie

good to see labour bringing in three real doctors and a midwife under the next intake, it will interesting to see which ones get rewarded with a place on the health select committee.
it will also be interesting to see if they can effect change

If I remember correctly, National also had a doctor as Health Minister and he definitely had some effect on the system.

Then when they lost he scurried off like a rat up a drainpipe and cost the country another few million in a by-election.

Yes Jonathan Colemen, we'll remember you, for all the wrong reasons.

So the Green co-leader, before the ballot boxes were even hardly packed away, claimed her right to now be in cabinet even though the Greens were not even fully in cabinet last term in entirely different circumstances. It is strange too that the Greens are posturing that if they are not heeded and rewarded now, then that will likely not bode well for Labour in 2023. Excuse me, exactly who will need who? What other partner options do the Greens think they will have in three years time if they seriously expect to to be in government again. This is about the most presumptuous conceited lot I can ever remember since I read Beau Brummel.

The Greens may well rue putting Davidson in as co-leader. That sort of posturing (as opposed to Shaw's more measured stance) is a great way to paint Ardern into a corner that she knows her own MPs won't tolerate. Davidson is quite polarising imo, not something the Greens can afford at this stage

Haven't voted Green to date, but looking forward to Chloe rolling Marama before next election. Sooner the better if they have any sense.

A Swarbrick/Shaw co-leadership would be interesting. Probably more attractive than the current arrangement, Davidson is a little too extreme on social issues but Swarbrick/Shaw could be a moderate but incremental gain - much more palatable to centrist green voters

You could join the Greens and advocate a change in co-leader.

Or ........

Shhh. Given that many Gubmint types read Interest, your advice goes against that old saying - 'never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake'....attributed to Napoleon.

The saying is pertinent - unfortunately it didn't go well for Napoleon because he ignored his own advice

Like my history, but Wellington wasn’t making a mistake, so what particular incident are you referring to? Not having a go, always interested to learn something, even in the senior years.

Battle of Berginion - didn't take his own advice and got smoked

Book on my shelf lists eight main defeats, once he was the big guy of course, but not that one. Can you post a link? Tks.

Some good observations but some of them are a bit weak.
The recommendations on RMA reform actually strengthen environmental and climate change bottom lines, things The Greens would support.

how long before an ACT MP gets in trouble
out of 13 members two got in trouble with the law, and whom can remember the perk buster leader taking perks.

Before xmas.

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I'm hoping that Labour will learn from the Covid experience. That Labour will learn to find a practical solution and just do it. The wage subsidy was simple, non-bureaucratic and it worked. Loans through the banks were complex, bureaucratic and didn't work. Loans through the IRD were simple, non-bureaucratic and worked.

The secret to good change is to find solutions that are honest, straightforward and that do the job. Then just do the job required without including any other agenda.

Here's one Labour could try.

Pay farmers and landowners to fence off their rivers and creeks. Don't just subsidise it, pay for it. Pay for the fence and the hotwire. Allow it to be done without reference to the local councils, just have someone prepare a rough plan, fence creeks off at 5 metres, rivers off at 10 metres and then have one inspection to tick off the plan and see that the fences exist and that they are working. Allow for crossings across the creeks where the cows can cross over but have gates either side of the crossing to keep livestock out the rest of the time.

Pay to plant up the fenced off areas in native plants.

Don't include any other policy in this, no public access quid pro quo, no you must do this you must do that, no you must fence of every drain and gutter - just fence off the creeks and the rivers. Pay a set starting amount/percentage then the final amount on completion.

It's a very simple thing to get done, if you do it by itself. There would be major, major benefits to the waterway ecosystems. It would be a good trust building exercise with the rural and provincial voters who have just given their votes to Labour. Labour could build itself another voting bloc.

It would provide a 'shovel-ready' project in the rural areas that would employ fencers and nursery plants people.

I've done this myself recently and it is transformative for the streams on the block I did. But it was a bureaucratic mission and very expensive. It is something that could be done simply and effectively but as soon as officialdom arrives can very easily turn into a nightmare of epic proportions.

NL I agree wholeheartedly. I recently submitted to our regional council that they apply for funding for exactly what you describe but they elected to not proceed. They have got a process that is all tangled up with local Maori and access to mahinga kai amongst other things. I agree that no other policy should be included - just do it. However, there are issues. Many lowland streams are choked with willows. These need to be removed before fencing and native planting can proceed and the environmental lobby hates diggers, so would oppose stream clearance in case it threatened native fish species. Also, in the South Island high country the streams and rivers are the only available supply of water for stock, especially during winter when any system of pipes and troughs would freeze. I agree about the bureaucratic mission - I too have recently fenced and planted a waterway, and the resource consent process was more costly than the actual work.

Re vegetation removal. It's certainly not a problem for our regional council to go in and remove All vegetation from local rivers, literally stripping it bare of willows natives and all. Then putting in rock walls and in the case of the river at the end off the farm shifting 300 metres of river bed 50m to one side, and repeated numerous times over the next 10km. I simply can't believe or comprehend what they get away with and the spend is in the millons, lucky I guess that the port of Tauranga shares pay well.

That sounds like a really solid idea. How to get it on front of a select commitee/team with power to make it happen becomes the next question.

5 m/10 m width is inadequate. Think 20-50 m wide riparian margins - at least if we want to base riparian widths on good science and higher benefit-cost ratios.

what do you do for the grandfather clause a lot of farmers have for discharge,
have a look on the map at the mangatawhiri river and you will see all the canals of runoff that run from adjoining farms that get discharged once weekly into it , which eventually flows to the waikato, upstream of where auckland takes it water for drinking, yum yum

"Anyone worried that the Greens will hold a disproportionate sway can rest easy. This is going to be a Labour Government led by a careful thinker who wants a third term".

On RNZ, I thought Clark might be an intellect. She isn't. She's part of the temporary.

Pity.

Two good things came out of this election. ACT delivering a strong result and Labour being able to govern without the Greens (read communists).

This is a great opportunity for Labour to demonstrate their incompetence. No excuses now, they have a strong mandate to deliver.

Agreed, this has now become a high stakes game for Labour. Another three years of non-delivery, missteps and "aspirational targets" will sink them.

Labour have been very proactive before 'Foreign Buyers Ban' and seeing through anti money laundering measures. I'd like to see them bring in an Empty Homes Tax in our larger inner city areas aimed at offshore property owners. Central Auckland would be a good place to start.

Labour haven't really shifted the dial on much. True the FBB was one but the AML measures were in place before 2017. According to Ardern there won't be any more taxes so it would be up to Auckland Council to introduce a levy on empty homes. Ardern is in a tight spot now - unions want to wind back the clock re: collective agreements, repeal the 90 day trial - Greens will push benefit increases and enviro gains, Round Table will will want stability and no surprises and Joe public want lower house prices, jobs and lower immigration. Talk about grabbing the Tiger by the Tail. She can't please all demands but risks pleasing none

Actually AML restriction didn't fully kick in until 2019 especially with Real Estate Agents. National tried to claim credit for them to look less corrupt in the few week before the 2017 election. https://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector-policy/key-initiatives/aml-cf...

Yes Key slowed bringing in AML for 2 years but his hand was forced in the end. Straight from PM job to ANZ board..smile

I agree that this term will be make or break for Labour, as you say no excuses vis a vis the 'NZ First Hand brake'.
I am not convinced they will succeed with the incompetence apparent through much of their senior team.
But time will tell.

My fear is that as our economy falls apart, Labour will use COVID as the excuse. The majority of the media are obviously in the tank for the left, so they'll allow that to go unchallenged.

What will show them up is other countries returning to strong growth, while we struggle under over regulation, taxation and other anti-business nonsense. Interesting times ahead. We got the government we deserve.

Strongly disagree re media. Many of the biggest names are clearly centre right.
Overall, fairly well split between left and right.

Check this out Fritz. I'm indifferent of Jamie-Lee Ross but this interview is frightening. Differing opinions are not allowed. Tova O'Brien reminds me of Mao's zealous revolutionary guard.

https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/123132433/savage-tova-obrien-int...

Or maybe strong women frighten you?

Not at all. When dissenting voices are stamped out, and that's cheered on then we should all be worried. Chris Finlayson recently wrote a relevant article on the topic.

https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/11-10-2020/we-are-not-a-nation-of-diss...

Yes, I thought it was a bit strange to be invited in to be interviewed, but you can only say things the interviewer agrees with.

After all, the only way we know Ross is a Knob is we get to hear what he is thinking.

npc - you must be very old. Communism was a spin-word in the 50's.

As I recall, McCarthy drank himself to death.

Considering there has never been a pure Communist nation yet... strong Socialism trends though!
It’s unfortunate we so readily abdicate autonomy for fanciful ideals of being looked after and told what to do - crazy

Yet there you are tapping away all warm and safe.

Unlike you I expect no one to look after me, nor do they

Ok ..lets take away your free health care for a couple of years...

She's got incalculably higher intellect than you bud, as obviously displayed by that comment of yours

If stability largely means maintaining the status quo along with worsening inequality, and true transformation is continually brushed aside - then like Obama, rather than unifying, she is likely to succeed at leaving this country very divided and polarized.

Reckon Labour has moved a long way to the right, leaving National with no room.So not so red.The Greens are what Labour used to be, not really green but red, nothing to do with green issues really, just shamming.

What makes you think Labour have moved to the right?

House prices?,borrowing massively to prop up these,and share prices,leaving massive privatized profits and socialized debt?

So just asking,are the Nats / ACT officially the COL ?

Always have been.

national has now turned into a white male party 91 % european 69% male 80% over 40
time for massive refresh
all the other parties are more diverse (even act) and younger

So is it fair to say white males are more likely to advocate for less govt and more free markets and personal responsibilities. And ethnic communities what less freedom more govt and more affirmative action? Most leftwingers I know drive flash cars and live in ponsonby.

It's okay to be a white male.

White Lives Matter too!!

that's racist

Hook the new troll in the hood, dont bother

The comment deserved trolling - stop throwing irrelevant age, race & gender pejoratives.

If the hat fits..

My point exactly.

very funny would love if she does this
Minister Jacinda Ardern has made a forceful appeal to the electorate not to be afraid of any Green Party influence on the next government, promising that a wealth tax would “absolutely not” be on the negotiating table in a Labour-Green coalition, and that the negotiating table itself would be tiny, humiliating, and have chairs made for children.
When you are the big partner, you get the most say in what we do. You get normal size chairs, water to drink, and lunch. If you are the small partner, you simply must accept that.”
Green Party co-leader James Shaw said that though his party would prefer not to sit in tiny people chairs made for children and eat a Le Snak each, while those on the other side sat in big people chairs and enjoyed a full lunch, it was “not a bottom line.”
http://www.thecivilian.co.nz/ardern-reassures-voters-that-greens-negotia...

Hahahaha.. you are so going to get flayed by the self righteous zealots. Nice comment - 100 points

You missed the best part...

"A number of people close to Ardern say she was “authentically upset” at Collins’ suggestion that her government would genuinely attempt “to do something."

"...Jacinda has given up so much energy and time to talk about poverty, and to talk about wealth inequality, to talk about housing, to talk about, you know, affordability and the rental situation, to talk about climate change, to talk about all of these things, and so the suggestion from Judith that she would then turn around and do something about some of those things was truly a bit much.”

Australian media highlighting danger to five eye on China influence in NZ without Winston Peter :

https://m.youtube.com/watch?V=uJdSQTLYEsL

So will it be CPP Red = Labour Red.

This website seems to be getting worryingly infiltrated by people with some quite scary right wing views. Is is Q Anon at work here in NZ?
Disturbing.

You think this is bad. Try reading the comments to the articles of major Auckland newspaper (if it can still be called that) on a certain well known social media site.

Even more disturbing...

Just out of curiosity why do you refer to Chlöe Swarbrick as Chlöe and not Swarbrick or the MP for Auckland Central? I noted that Judith Collins never gets referred to as Judith. Come on, it's borderline pejorative and she deserves the respect of all the cast in this story.

Yes. What I find interesting about her win: nothing whatsoever to do with Covid. The times are a-changing.

I refer to her as Chloe out of partial endearment, I guess, in the same way Boris Johnson is Boris and Jacinda Ardern is Jacinda. It's not always malicious.

Great summary article.

I am so looking forward to an FPP government again. In my opinion, if there ever was a time, it is now for what Geoffrey Palmer described as "the fastest legislature in the West".