Verdicts on Labour

Where to start? We’ll start with Mike Hosking:

Then we come to Marcroft, a woman Winston Peters would have us believe of her own volition simply got out of bed, rang Mark Mitchell, called a meeting, invented a minister she was representing, and then proceeded in said meeting to heavy him over the regional fund, as overseen by the aforementioned Jones.

Panicking, she texts Mitchell telling him to forget everything. That of course was her biggest mistake because in doing so she created a paper trail she can’t hide from.

Peters issues a statement that says no minister was involved, so Jenny just did it all by herself.

Ask your 10 best friends if any of them believe that and come back to me if you find more than two.

Yet the Prime Minister insists nothing to see here.

The government that has more headlines around mess than policy is not a government that lasts long.

And once the rot sets in, it’s nigh on impossible to shake — ask Malcolm Turnbull or Theresa May.

For a Government that started out with such a sparkling honeymoon, it has managed to put it so far in the distance you could almost call it the good old days. But we’re only five months in, and if the wheels aren’t coming off, they are loose, and it isn’t even winter yet.

So Hosking says from honeymoon to wheels off.

Then Matthew Hooton:

It’s early days, but Jacinda Ardern risks being the first one-term Prime Minister since Walter Nash. …

Still, the speed with which stuff-ups, miscommunications and genuine scandals are now piling up against Jacinda Ardern’s Government is unprecedented.

In just two weeks, there have been at least eight, all either woefully mishandled by Ardern or reflecting the inherent instability of the first Government reliant on both NZ First and the Greens.

Hooton lists the eight issues:

  1. Labour camp sexual abuse allegations
  2. Dithering after the Salisbury attack
  3. Mixed messages on oil exploration
  4. Jones calling for Air NZ Board to be sacked
  5. Twyford’s announcement of a housing development with a population density of Mumbai
  6. Marcroft threatening Mark Mitchell of behalf of an unknown Minister
  7. The Clare Curran and Carol Hirschfeld affair
  8. Getting involved in the nurses’ pay dispute

Then Barry Soper:

Curran’s boss Jacinda Ardern’s backing her minister, essentially saying everyone makes mistakes but acknowledging she should have been more transparent.

A bit of an irony for the associate Minister for Open Government!

Ardern used the ministerial behaviour bible to reinforce her support for her sheepish minister, the Cabinet Manual, that sets out the line that must be toed when interacting with the bureaucracy.

There’s one clause in the manual that could make the Prime Minister’s claim that the rules weren’t breached highly debatable.

It says “if an employee wishes to communicate privately with a Minister about a matter concerning the agency by which he or she is employed, the Minister should ensure that the employee has first raised the matter with the agency’s chief executive.”

The fact that the minister sought the meeting – without first informing the RNZ boss – just makes matters worse.

So the PM is ignoring the Cabinet Manual.

Also Kate Hawkesby:

Here’s the trick to being a minister in trouble – pray for another minister to take the heat off you.

Luckily for Labour, this hasn’t been a problem in recent weeks.

Yep it is one after another.

But what we’ve seen instead is a government with its training wheels on, skating through the first few months at high speed, riding roughshod over any rule in its path, wobbling right past us in a blaze of glory… only to land in a heap of wheels and bolts on the front page of every newspaper.

The PM, who by now is probably desperate to vanish and have her baby, must be hoping that in her absence, things get tidied up a bit.

Yes having Winston as PM will make everything so much better.

From the left Gordon Campbell comments:

For Jacinda Ardern the more pressing question is whether Curran should keep her job. Having seen her broadcasting minister improperly initiate a tactical encounter with RNZ staff who might further a policy mix that RNZ leadership appears to resist – can Ardern continue to allow Curran to remain at her post? In other contexts, ministers cite ad nauseam their inability to intervene in operational matters, and their abiding respect for those who call the shots at the helm of the public service. On this occasion, Curran knew full well RNZ’s chain of command. Yet there is every appearance that she was initiating communications with sympathetic staff who might be in a position to influence the decisions being made by the RNZ leadership.

If so, that kind of thing is surely a sackable offence. 

It’s a breach of the Cabinet Manual, but the PM says its fine, and Curran says she is able to meet whomever she wants.

And finally Hamish Rutherford:

But Curran, the enigmatic MP for Dunedin South, has made herself a type of cocktail party joke that she will probably never shake, for reasons which have little to do with RNZ, but her other title.

The Minister of Open Government.

When your very job title is the punchline of the joke, you are doomed.

Yep, the Government being committed to Open Government has become a punchline. It’s like having Barnaby Joyce as Minister for family values.

If Jacinda Ardern is determined not to sack her, she cannot possibly escape the fact that a plank of her Government – to be more transparent than National – is utterly comic while Curran is its figurehead.

Of course there are also all the other actions they have done, to be less transparent.

National finds itself in a strange position. Not unlike in club cricket, when a batsman is scoring so slowly that the captain or bowler instructs team-mates not to appeal under any circumstances, because the next batsman is probably better.

Simon Bridges told Stuff on Wednesday that he did not want to be the type of leader constantly calling for resignations. That lofty claim will only be put to the test in the future. National do not want Curran going anywhere.

Too right.


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