Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Frank Newman: Labour is back in the game, thanks to National

Chris Luxon has been in the job long enough to show what sort of leader he is.  

He appears weak, and there are now murmurings from some commentators about his continued leadership of the party. Removing him from the leadership is unlikely, but the mere fact that it’s being talked about is bad news for National.

It seems Luxon lacks the decisiveness required of the leader of the opposition. All too often he is endorsing the policies of the parties he should be opposing. The current state of emergency is an example. 

Radio NZ reported he supported the state of emergency that had been declared. While that is a given, it’s his follow-up comments that fell short. He simply parroted what everyone else has been saying - that emergency responders and community groups have been doing an incredible job and people should follow Civil Defence advice and warnings.

That touchy-feely response is all well and good, but what he appears to have not appreciated is that opposition politics is more than back-slapping and reading stories to a Kindy class. 

Why on earth did Chris Luxon not deal with the very real issues that cyclone Gabrielle has exposed?

Is he not concerned that much of the country was without cell phone coverage? Clearly there was a failure with cell phone towers and their backup power systems.  Some lost coverage as soon as the power went out and for many, it remained out for three days and longer. That is totally unacceptable. Chris Luxon should be all over that issue. Why not say National would fix that problem by requiring cell phone tower owners to have robust power backup systems? (As a matter of interest, last year Vodafone sold its cell towers in a $1 billion deal to overseas interests.)  

Why didn’t he talk about the incredible damage forestry waste (slash) has caused to public infrastructure and private property? It is simply not acceptable that pine logs and branches take out bridges and isolate communities. Not only is that a cost to councils and property owners, but lives are at risk and businesses suffer. Why doesn’t Chris Luxon say the government has turned a blind eye to this issue and that forestry owners must take responsibility for the damage their by-product is causing? 

And why not attack the government’s carbon farming policy that is likely to exacerbate the problem when the never-to-be-harvested pine trees eventually collapse? 

Why did he not talk about the inability of stormwater infrastructure to cope. Why didn’t he say that’s a significant issue National would fix. 

Surely a competent opposition would have hastily prepared an action plan that highlighted the shortcomings and developed policy around each of the action points? Instead, Chris Luxon pats Labour on the back for declaring a state of emergency?

Then there’s climate change. National has elevated Todd Muller to the climate change shadow portfolio and has offered cross-party support on a climate adaptation plan. By elevating the pro-climate change Muller and supporting the net carbon zero 2050 goals, National may as well just say it is endorsing the Green Party’s extremism. Does National not realise that being a party in opposition means it is their job to offer better policy? If they can’t offer anything better than the status quo, why vote for National?

And co-governance. Chris Luxon says we New Zealanders don't have a good idea of what Māori co-governance means. He offers a nuanced position that it’s OK sometimes, but sometimes it’s not OK. Clearly National does not understand that the electorate wants a yes or no response to co-governance. 

National no longer has the advantage of the hated Ardern as their alternative. Now they must win on their own merits and to do that National has to think and act more like the main opposition party


Robert Arhur said...

At Ratana Luxon endorsed co governance for local body affairs. Clearly he has not monitored the unfolding Tupuna Maunga Aithority saga in Auckland. The cost of managing the maunga must be several fold what the Council spent. Representatives of self determined mana whenua, many of whom probably rarely cisited the maunga in a private capacity, dictate terms to the myriad users, both "others" and trace maori.A court ordered recent request for submissions drew 1500 responses. The time to read and summarise and consideration of these must cost very many thousands.The Regional Parks Management Plan, as with many Council policies, requires extensive co management, consultation etc, all recipes for huge inefficency and public dissatisfaction. but a cushy income stream for the aspiring master trace race.

Ray S said...

Quite true.
If he doesnt get on board with what NZ want then it will be more of the same but more overt.
If Labour dont make capital on Luxons apparent ineptitude, then their judgement is worse than their performance.

Anonymous said...

Quite right - some excellent points, Frank. It seems the invertebrate clearly wanted to sleepwalk to victory - surely he must be starting to worry? Yet despite his fence sitting and lack of policy, incredibly I see he most recently lost less in the polls in terms of preferred Prime Minister than David Seymour. It just goes to show - either the polls are utter bs or, how intellectually challenged NZ has truly become.

Mudbayripper said...

It appears simple to me. The Labour party and the National party are one in the same. There only point of difference are there titles. Playing tag through the election cycles, seemingly intent on a common goal.

Anonymous said...

If Mr Luxon cannot comment himself, at least he should have minders who can feed him relevant notes.
A disaster is unfolding - Hipkins will choose a snap election if the timing is likely to bring victory.
Luxon is on the back foot.

DeeM said...

Luxon is not PM material. He thought being an ex-CEO would automatically qualify him for the job. He's just another woke twit who says all the things he thinks the media will want to hear.

As things stand, what should have been a clear win for the centre-right with an organised and well-led National Party is turning in to a down-to-the-wire nailbiter with Luxon & Co.

Assuming Labour don't make any bad errors in the next 6 months, Hipkins will probably run rings around him in the leaders debates and that will probably be enough to sink him...and us.

It's a reflection on NZ that ACT can only muster 10%. That tells me most Kiwis are pretty woke to one degree or another and are now hooked on the myth that government can run your life for you.
Look how that's worked out for the past 5 years!

Ken S said...

From what I have seen and heard I can only conclude that whatever heights Luxon reached in business were achieved by playing office politics better than the rest. A long-standing Air New Zealand employee who has worked under 4 CEOs described him to me, without prompting, as "slimy". The man is pea-brained and has feet of clay and bricks for hands.

greg dervan said...

Do we need a New party ? NZ National?Winston is the only' Statesman politician' that i can see. Where is the Bob Hawke style politician in this country?One that can understand and work with business and can also support the[the Aust super scheme a roaring success!]A Bob Hawke would not allow this carry on with Maorification that is rife in NZ.If Bob sat down to watch the 6pm news on tv and had a clown speaking English laced with something else which cannot be understood, he would be on to the Tv proprietor to have it stopped or the presenter removed .Kerry Packer at Channel 9 would have done the same.

greg dervan said...

Is luxon really taking this situation in New Zealand seriously?Does he not realise the situation the country is in,/ with maorifiation/co -governance/ the mahutas/the Willie Jacksons,The MSN situation,and all these radical so called maori [mainly female] all with european features, and surnames, creating hell in New Zealand.

Anonymous said...

Frank Newman is very pro labor. Nothing labour has changed just the person at the top, same lack of policy and still following up anything with a heap of lies.Thank god the election is getting closer, the country is virtually broke.

5th generation Kiwi said...

The way National is performing or should that be not performing is a frightening senerio for this country.
Hipkins will call an election April or May based on a new mandate because of the cyclone.
Hipkins will be riding high because most of NZ is too ignorant to realise what sort of country we will become under a Labour, Green and possibly Maori party government.
National and ACT must launch an all out campaign now and let's elevate NZ First as a potential 3rd partner in a centre right government.
If Hipkins wins I and many other non Maori will simply sell up and leave rather than become second class citizens in our own country.
No doubt that would please the Maori elite Marxists.

Geoffrey said...

We do not have time to pussyfoot around, Luxon was a mistake: get rid of him. ACT, NNP et al have some sound policies and collectively could put together a better team than National alone.

CGee said...

Does anyone recognise the repetition of the 2020 playbook in all this? Natural disaster (pandemic>Gabrielle) with PM (Ardern>Hipkins) taking total control of the narrative with regular press conferences, photo-ops, policy-rejigs, soundbites etc. An absolute gift to Hipkins and a tragedy for the centre-right.

I still think Luxon/National remains the best bet for unseating the corrosive ideology and incompetence and skulduggery which is Labour/Greens. Simple poll mathematics tells you that minor parties can't do it without National, and there is no time left now for a new centre-right party to get up and running (especially if there is an early election).

But Luxon will need to wake his brain up and start representing the views of middle NZ if there is to be any hope. It's as much what he's NOT saying as what he IS saying, that bothers me. He seems disconnected, flat-footed, and unaware of the real issues or the depth of feeling.

If Labour get back in for a 3rd term, NZ is undoubtedly sunk for decades to come. As much as Luxon seems a waste of space right now, he is our only tangible means to the end we all want.

I suggest that everyone who blogs here actually writes to Luxon personally - right now - and tells him point-blank what they think. I'm doing so. It's called 'our democratic right'. Let's use it while we still can.