As expected, Chris Hipkins has become the presumptive Prime Minister. I'll blog in more detail on him, but for now will share this analysis at Radio NZ by Brigitte Morton who reminds us he has often been an attack dog for Labour, and a different style will be needed as PM. She covers:
- In October 2021, Northland was sent in to an 11-day lockdown after three allegedly “sex workers” with possible gang connections crossed the Auckland border. Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins accused them of using “false information to travel across the border”. But it was later revealed through OIAs that Hipkins knew at the time that a blunder by officials had been the reason and the women were at no fault at all. He has never apologised or corrected the record, nor has he bothered to even correct the reports that these were gang-related sex workers.
- In the case of Charlotte Bellis, he was forced to apologise and correct the record. But only because the Kiwi journalist, then pregnant and stuck in Afghanistan took legal action. Hipkins, in his defence of the government's MIQ system used Bellis' personal information as a political weapon and made incorrect statements about her circumstances, including that she ignore consular assistance.
- Late last year, in defence of the Minister for Local Government Nanaia Mahuta and government contracts awarded to her husband, Hipkins dragged Bill english and his family in to the response. He later made an apology to Parliament withdrawing his comments.
- In 2017, in what was perhaps the most concerning case of questionable judgment, Hipkins used Parliament to dig up dirt for the australian labor Party. At the time, the Australian federal government was rocked by citizenship sagas. A number of MPs and senators were forced to resign after it was discovered they unconstitutionally held dual citizenships. Hipkins used parliamentary questions to get information on the status of then Australian deputy prime minister.
This is not entirely surprising as his first job in politics was three years as a senior advisor to Trevor Mallard!
Chris is a likeable nice guy, but he is also willing to play the man, not the ball, and I suspect we will see Labour get more aggressive in trying to smear Luxon.