Monday, November 2, 2020

Kate Hakwesby: 'We should be eternally grateful.'

Well what a relief Friday was.

The right result in the cannabis referendum – although it’s preliminary and given how this year’s gone I wouldn’t rule anything out in terms of upsets or dramatic swings... it could still tip over to a yes with specials, but it’s a very very long shot.

Chloe says she’s proud of her campaign, but critics would argue she didn’t have one – apart from her appearing on every media platform she could. For a Greens backed referendum it probably needed more Greens than just her pushing it.

I found the pro-campaign heavily one sided. It was bolstered by the Drug Foundation and Helen Clark... all of whom put out endless amounts of information, or should I say misinformation – from it being about medicinal, to it coming out of the hands of gangs -which was never going to happen. There was a lot of propaganda peddled and I worried New Zealanders would fall for it if they didn’t do their own research. The preliminary results reassuringly show Kiwis didn’t fall for it. Although Chloe argues it’s on a knife edge – 53% to 46% is not a knife edge.. it’s a gap of 7 percent. She also lashed out at Jacinda Ardern for not stating which way she’d vote, that in some way the acolytes of Jacinda would've followed her like sheep if she’d promoted a yes vote. But the PM didn’t want to alienate centrist voters, she sat on the fence with it because that’s what populists do. Jacinda wanted to win votes more than she wanted to win the cannabis referendum and that’s the result she got.

Decriminalisation may’ve worked, but I think legalization was a bridge too far. I don’t know why we’d want to rush something as serious as this, I would’ve thought waiting to see how other countries go, would be the smart move. Why would we want our little nation to be guinea pigs for something as serious as drug reform?

But the fact it got pitched in the first place as a do or die ultimatum of the Greens supporting the Coalition government last time round, shows the sort of stuff the Greens are obsessed with. It only reinforces how important it is they’re nowhere near the reins of power this time round. And Jacinda Ardern knows it. The greatest thing those soft centre voters offered the country by ticking red this year to keep the Greens out, is that we don’t have Julie Anne Genter in charge of anything. For that we should be eternally grateful.

The new cabinet line-up gets announced today and you have to wonder if Phil Twyford will remain in charge of economic development. Hopefully he doesn’t, but the PM seems to back him, even though he’s failed at pretty much everything he’s turned his hand to. And that will be the true test of this new government… how much progress actually gets made, how much delivery we actually see, how much they abandon ‘transformation’ for treading water. But also, how much hustle they put up with from the Greens… who’re still promising to push their wealth tax agenda. It’ll be an interesting 3 years. I’m just grateful there won’t be more Kiwis stoned than usual to witness it.

Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.

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