• Ridiculous Mike

    The Herald is usually keen to promote Mike Hosking. But, in today’s issue, they could hardly have made him look more ridiculous.

  • Matthew Hooton

    Matthew Hooton is that rare commodity – a right-wing commentator who is worth reading.

    His article in today’s Herald is a case in point. Apart from a somewhat tendentious definition of “wokery” – a pejorative term often unthinkingly applied to attitudes best described as “concern for others” – his piece is a triumph of good sense. It is a salutary experience for everyone to read someone they expect to disagree with and to discover that they can find common ground.

  • A Royal Correspondent?

    One of the most eccentric of the regular contributions to the Herald is the item written by one, Daniela Elser, an Australia-based and self-described “royal correspondent.”

    A “royal correspondent” would normally be thought of as one who has particular links with the royal family and with particular sources of information and insights not available to the ordinary on-looker.

    Daniela Elser, however, professes no such qualifications. Her stock-in-trade is a commentary that might be made by anyone, but that, in her case, drips with scorn, bile and derision. Week after week, we are treated to this one-woman demolition job of anything to do with the royal family. Just why her evident animus against the royals should be thought worth publishing by the Herald is never made clear – her report certainly offers no explanation.

    “One” (to offer a usage that is used by many English-speakers but draws particular scorn from Elser) does not need to be royalist or even a republican to wonder at the depth and savagery of her animus. But we are entitled to wonder why the rest of us have to put up with it on such a boringly repetitive scale.

  • Poor Old Mike Hosking

    Poor old Mike Hosking! In today’s Herald, such is his visceral antipathy to our current government, that he is reduced to wrestling with himself in trying to understand how it is that despite its many failings – in his eyes at least – the Labour government is somehow ahead in the polls.

    He comes up with two answers. The first is that large numbers of people – pensioners, working families, parents with children, the low-paid, among others – are about to receive increased financial support from the government. In his jaundiced eyes, this is the government trying to “buy” electoral support.

    He does not see that the alleviation of hard times is at the essence of the government’s responsibilities, a perspective entirely missed by those who resent this generosity of action and spirit. A government that refused to help in this way would be justifiably lambasted for its hardness of heart.

    His second explanation is that the polls are in any case wrong. This is surely the last refuge of a scoundrel. The polls are supposedly an unerring guide to public opinion when they produce results that are congenial to Hosking but are to be dismissed if they have the temerity to suggest an electoral outcome that is not to his liking.

    Have to do better, Mike!

  • National’s Problem

    It is becoming increasingly clear that National, under Christopher Luxon’s leadership, cannot win the next election.

    A Labour government, having recently brought about a smooth change of leadership, and currently being confronted with a series of unprecedented challenges – the impact on the economy and health services of the covid pandemic, the damage wreaked by cyclone Gabrielle, and the inflationary consequences of the Ukraine war, to name but three – has nevertheless moved ahead of National in the polls.

    Those same polls offer some indication of why Labour’s polling, despite the problems Labour has faced, has remained ahead of National. Chris Hipkins is shown as significantly ahead of Luxon as preferred Prime Minister; Luxon, sadly for National, is neither liked nor trusted.

    It is part of the accepted wisdom of democratic politics that voters decide which party they support according to whom they wish to see leading the country. On that basis, National will continue to face an uphill struggle for as long as Christopher Luxon is their leader.

    The problem for National is that it is not clear that there is any risk-free means of resolving the question of leadership. The repeated shambles that National got itself into with its leadership merry-go-round of recent times is still fresh in the public mind – and contrasts unfavourably with Labour’s smooth transition.

    They can hardly risk another disastrous flirtation with unsuitable candidates and a divided caucus (Judith Collins, anyone?). National are, in other words, seemingly stuck with a leader who is not acceptable to New Zealand voters as their Prime Minister.