• 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.

  • Dreaming

    Claire Trevett in today’s Herald provides us with an insight into how much the right is missing the levers of power. Their banishment from the role of government makes them sick to the gut – to the extent that they must regularly reach for their lucky charm and for a recollection of better days.

    In this morning’s piece, Claire Trevett withholds any credit from Chris Hipkins for his impressive response to the Cyclone Gabrielle disaster. The real credit, she argues, belongs to Saint John Key – Hipkins has merely copied the master’s response to the Christchurch earthquake.

    It seems to have escaped her notice that the “response to disaster” playbook is not exactly a closed book; there are some steps that cry out to be taken – and Hipkins has surely shown himself to be well up with the required play. To call the ghost of John Key into the picture is gratuitous – as well as revealing.

    It is a constant feature of the Herald’s political coverage that John Key is used as a talisman whenever (and that means often) National’s spirits need lifting. The average voter, however, is not so hopelessly enamoured – and is unlikely to be convinced that both the weather map and the political landscape would be much different and better if only John Key were still around.

    Even if Claire Trevett’s wish fulfilment were granted, there is a still a teeny-weeny problem. National are lumbered with Christopher Luxon, not John Key. Dreaming will only get you so far.

  • Tried and True

    Thank heavens we have a Labour government! No government in recent times has had more experience in dealing with crises – the mosque murders, the Whakaari eruption, the covid pandemic, the inflationary consequences of the Ukraine war. Faced with Cyclone Gabrielle, we have been fortunate, even after Jacinda’s departure, in having an experienced operator in Chris Hipkins at the helm.

    We can’t afford to entrust the management of national crises like these to those with zilch political or governmental experience. Let’s stick with the tried and true.

  • Misleading Headlines

    The Herald’s headline writers are at it again! A sensible and balanced piece by Liam Dann on the battle against inflation carries a headline that suggests that NZ is doing worse than the rest of the world. Check it out and see for yourself if I am right. Is this the kind of responsible journalism we should be able to expect?