From Davos to cold water


From being feted as the Davos darling by the world’s media, ’s return to New Zealand must have felt like a bucket of cold water in her face.
Ardern arrived back to a KiwiBuild shambles,  an unsettled back office, cancer waiting times, cost of living gripes, state sector strikes, (another) employer backlash over industrial relations reforms, fresh NZ First rumblings, tensions with China, and a bunch of political headaches that are about to land on her desk – chief among them how to sell a capital gains tax, but also a raft of reports and inquiries on problems that Labour kicked down the road after getting into office.
No wonder Ardern looked like she’d rather be anywhere but here when she fronted her first Beehive press conference after Cabinet on Tuesday.

A number of media commented on how irritable the PM was at that press conference. One said it was the sort of behaviour you normally get from a PM after seven or eight year, not one.

There are now serious questions within her Government over whether the policy is still fit for purpose.  There are even more serious questions about whether Housing Minister Phil Twyford is the person who can fix it.

To be fair to Twyford he inherited the draft policy. Some of what he wants to do such as abolish the Auckland rural boundary is very sensible. He should get on with it.

Some immediate tweaks will help.  It seems that only now are the scheme’s architects planning on surveying the tens of thousands of people who registered for KiwiBuild to find out what they want. The big question is why that never happened in the first place.

Hmmn, basic market research.

Her back office is in a state of flux, with a number of key staff leaving and others forced to reapply for their jobs as a result of restructuring.

I’ve never heard of a PMs office restructure where people reapply for their jobs. That is so 1980s. Restructures are quite common, but you basically just decide who is and is not working out, and implement it. Forcing press secretaries to reapply for their jobs is the worst thing you can do, as it tells them you think you can do better than them.

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