Saturday, January 21, 2023

Point of Order: The Hipkins bit of the conjecture about Labour’s leadership has been settled

Because our hard-working Ministers of the Crown are engaged in Labour Party caucus stuff in Napier, no doubt jockeying to ensure they keep their jobs or get a better one, Point of Order was not surprised to find no fresh news on the Beehive website this morning.

Nothing has been posted since January 19, when we learned –

The 2023 General Election will be held on Saturday 14 October 2023, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.


Jacinda Ardern has announced she will step down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party. Her resignation will take effect on the appointment of a new Prime Minister.

This second post led to a flurry of media scribblings and babblings about why Ardern had quit and who would succeed her.

Today we learn from a press statement emailed to us:
Chris Hipkins sole nominee for Labour Party Leader

Chris Hipkins is the sole nominee to become the Labour Party Leader, Labour Whip Duncan Webb announced this morning.

“The Labour Party caucus will meet at 1pm on Sunday to endorse the nomination and confirm Chris Hipkins as Party Leader,” Duncan Webb said.

The statement was …

Authorised by Jacinda Ardern, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

Accordingly, RNZ reported –

Live: Chris Hipkins to become New Zealand’s next Prime Minister

Chris Hipkins is the sole nominee to become the Labour Party Leader, Labour Whip Duncan Webb announced this morning.

Jacinda Ardern’s surprise resignation had sparked a Labour Party leadership contest, RNZ explained (lest any of its audience be oblivious to the antics of the past few days.

Nominations for the position of leader, and Prime Minister, had to be received by 9am today.

The nomination needed the support of at least 10 per cent of the caucus – seven MPs, not including Hipkins, RNZ noted.

It was the party’s first vote of its kind since 2017.

Hipkins still has to be formally endorsed by caucus at a meeting on Sunday.

Hipkins has been a high-profile minister in the Labour government, taking on significant portfolios – Education, Health, Covid-19 Response and Police.

This news took care of one stream of conjecture that has provided grist for the mill of the media commentariat since Thursday.

Now they can muse on who might be deputy leader.

Kiri Allen is a good bet, because Labour will want to avoid having two white males in its top two jobs and it is strong on promoting diversity. Allen happens to be Maori, a woman and a lesbian.

We can also expect the media to be telling us all about Christopher John Hipkins.

Wikipedia has been right up with the play and records:

On 20 January 2023, Hipkins became the sole candidate to succeed Jacinda Ardern as leader of the Labour Party. He will become party leader and, hence, the 41st Prime Minister of New Zealand by 7 February 2023.

Wikipedia tells us Hipkins was born in the Hutt Valley in 1978. His mother is Rosemary Hipkins, chief researcher for the New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

He has a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in politics and criminology from Victoria University of Wellington, where he was student president in 2000 and 2001.

He worked as a policy advisor for the Industry Training Federation and as a training manager for Todd Energy in Taranaki and worked in Parliament as an advisor to Trevor Mallard and Helen Clark.

He won the Rimutaka seat in the 2008 general election, following the retirement of Labour’s Paul Swain, and after the formation of a Labour – New Zealand First coalition government in 2017 he became Minister for Education.

Among his accomplishments, he supported the abolition of the country’s first charter schools – that had been established on a trial basis- before they could demonstrate whether they were a good idea or not and introduced legislation preventing the creation of new charter schools. By September 2018, all 12 charter schools had been converted into state-integrated or special character schools.

Oh – and lets not forget that in February 2019, Hipkins proposed merging the country’s 16 polytechnics into a New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology. The idea was to counter the financial drain from persistent polytechnic deficits and declining domestic enrolments.

We recall the merger hitting a few snags, including low enrolments, large deficits and resignations of senior staff. But just as charter schools should have been given time to show their worth (or otherwise), so should the polytech restructuring.

Anything else of interest?

Oh, yes.

On 31 January 2022, Hipkins in his capacity as COVID-19 Response Minister issued a statement that the Government had offered stranded New Zealand journalist Charlotte Bellis a place under the emergency allocation criteria to travel to New Zealand within a period of 14 days.

However, he also claimed that Bellis had indicated that she did not intend to travel until late February and that MIQ had advised her to consider moving her travel plans forward. He also confirmed that New Zealand consular assistance had earlier twice offered to help her return from Afghanistan in December 2021.

So far, so good, apparently, but:

In June last year, Hipkins publicly apologised for releasing personal information without Bellis’ consent and making inaccurate comments about Bellis traveling to Afghanistan and being offered consular assistance. As a result, Bellis and her partner Jim Huylebroek had received online abuse. Hipkins had earlier privately apologised to Bellis in mid-March 2022.

A few months after apologising to Bellis, Hipkins apologised to former Finance Minister and Prime Minister Bill English for suggesting he had granted his brothers favourable government contracts.

Hipkins had made those remarks during an exchange over the awarding of government contracts to Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta’s husband Gannin Ormsby.

This reminds us that Nanaia Mahuta will be among the key players who determine the nature of the new Labour leadership.

We imagine she will be fascinated to learn of a…

Clear message from Snap Poll: Hipkins must Scrap Three Waters for Labour to be competitive

The Taxpayers’ Union is congratulating incoming Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins, and says his first move should be to remove the electoral handbrakes revealed in the Taxpayers’ Union-Curia Snap Poll released this morning.

Jordan Williams, the Union’s Executive Director, said in the statement:

“We congratulate Mr Hipkips, but his election won’t be enough for Labour to win back supporters, based on the snap poll released today.”

“It is clear that a clean break from Jacinda Ardern’s controversial policies such as Three Waters is needed if Mr Hipkins is to attract back those who voted for Labour at the last election, but have since shifted.”

“Of those who voted Labour at the last election 48% told polsters they want the new PM to scrap Jacinda Ardern’s controversial water reforms. Just 21% of Labour’s 2017 voters think Three Waters should be kept.”

The poll asked whether the new leader should retain or scrap signature policies of Jacinda Ardern’s Government such as Three Waters, KiwiBuild, and merging TVNZ and RNZ.

The net retain score (percentage of people favouring retention of the policy minus percentage of those favouring scrapping the policy) for each policy is:
  1. Auckland Light Rail +18%
  2. Kiwibuild +15%
  3. Compulsory Unemployment Insurance -4%
  4. Reduction in speed limits -21%
  5. Expanding co-governance -21%
  6. TVNZ/RNZ Merger -23%
  7. Three Waters -40%
Mahuta might also care to check out her place in the pecking order of public opinion according to the results from a Curia Market Research poll on 19 and 20 January (median response was on the 20th). This sampled 1,000 New Zealanders via an online poll, weighted to reflect overall voting adult population in terms of gender, age, and area. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

Unlike the monthly Taxpayers’ Union – Curia Poll, the full report – including demographic breakdowns – has been made public.

It is available to download at

Mahuta does well when it comes to name recognition:

Prompted name recognition of the leading candidates, in order, are:Chris Hipkins 92%
  1. Grant Robertson 88%
  2. Nanaia Mahuta 77%
  3. Megan Woods 72%
  4. Michael Wood 71%
  5. Kiri Allan 67%
But it is downhill after that –


Net favourability of the leading candidates, in order, are:Chris Hipkins +15%
  1. Grant Robertson +12%
  2. Kiri Allan +7%
  3. Michael Wood -7%
  4. Megan Woods -10%
  5. Nanaia Mahuta -26%
The full polling report includes breakdowns by gender, age, geographic area, and party vote at the last election. For example, as is detailed in the report, Chris Hipkins is a more popular choice with older voters (60+) and Nanaia Mahuta with younger voters (18–39).

Net impact (more or less likely to vote Labour)

Poll participants were questioned about whether the leading candidates would make them more or less likely to vote for Labour this year. Net results:Chris Hipkins +7%
  • Grant Robertson -5%
  • Kiri Allan -6%
  • Michael Wood -16%
  • Megan Woods -19%
  • Nanaia Mahuta -28%

Other polling results can be found in a Stuff report today under the heading Polls show public backs Chris Hipkins for Labour leadership and PM as deal all but sealed.

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don’t forget that it was Hipkins that asked the question about New Zealand citizenship to Peter Dunne in question time that nearly toppled the Australian government.