Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Point of Order: Twin blows dent confidence in ministerial ranks..... will they affect morale among party faithful?

Is the government imploding?

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has had to sack one of his more effective (and likeable) ministers, while another (from the Green Party) has insulted many of the adult population.

For his part, Hipkins had appeared to be shaping up well since he took over the top job. Furthermore, he has been succeeding in turning around Labour’s plunging poll ratings.

But now with the Nash disaster and the Davidson insult, alongside the nationwide strikes of teachers, plus the cost-of-living crisis, it may take something of a political miracle to recover.

Stuart Nash was already on a final warning, when Stuff revealed he had emailed business figures, including donors, detailing private Cabinet discussions. Hipkins said the most recent scandal was “inexcusable” and this incident alone would have seen Nash sacked.

He described the call as “black and white”, but he was still “gutted” to see Nash go.

“I’ve worked with Stuart for a long time. I’m absolutely gutted, to be quite frank,” Hipkins said.

Those comments suggest that the Nash disaster will have punctured morale not only among his erstwhile Cabinet colleagues but also within the Labour caucus.

As others have noted, Nash was one of the few Labour ministers who related easily to the business sector. Hipkins will have to think hard where to allocate the portfolios Nash had held, including Economic Development, Oceans and Fisheries, and Forestry, all of which have been in the spotlight in election year.

Meanwhile, another embarrassment for Hipkins came from Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson who following a transgender protest in Auckland shared on social media the comment “I know who causes violence in the world. It is white cis men…who cause violence”.

Hipkins found an excuse for her choice of words in the fact she had been struck by a motor cycle as she was leaving.

Though Hipkins found an excuse for Davidson, and she apologised to him, it seemed she did not retreat much from the key sentence.

And that raises the issue of her performance as a minister, in charge of a $114m programme to eliminate family violence and sexual violence.

As the NZ Herald said in an editorial: “Few would concur that violence is solely the product of straight, white men…Davidson was wide of ministerial convention as well as offside with fellow New Zealanders”.

So Hipkins may have eliminated one ministerial embarrassment but is still saddled with another.

He may be praying that there are no more on the horizon.

After all, he has had a torrid introduction to the role of being prime minister.

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


Anonymous said...

The government is imploding? It is NZ that is imploding, Hopkins et al both the cause and a consequence.

Anonymous said...

Yep, the shits piling up at the doors of the beehive. The ship is rudder less and we’re about to hit the roughest seas when the recession really starts to bite.
The polls will really be interesting after the disgrace of the Greens and the Posie Parker protest. The Women of NZ have an axe to grind and the Greens are for the chop.
What a bunch of dunderheads, you couldn’t get much worse.

Anonymous said...

Davidson has got to be sacked. Her Ministerial warrant revoked. She has bought Parliament into disrepute. End of. Like Nash, this was not her first diatribe it has happened several times before as well as her foul mouth. She is a total disgrace and Hipkins needs to grow a pair and sack her, after all you cannot have Nash being sacked for more than one 'mistake' and then allow another to stay for the same thing. It screams hypocrisy.

Robert Arthur said...

But Anonymous 11.31 she is maori so colonist rules and conventions do not apply, any more than will be the case when through co governance maori are in total control.