Monday, July 31, 2023

Francesca Rudkin: Is Grant Robertson being undermined by Labour?

Mike Hosking said something interesting to me on Friday, when I was hosting Early Edition. He told me Labour probably needs Grant Robertson to quit now- because how does a Finance Minister sell something he doesn’t believe in? This is of course a result of the Prime Minister making all the calls on the Labour Government’s tax policies.

It may make sense, but can Labour afford to have Robertson, the politician regarded as most likely to succeed Jacinda Ardern if he’d wanted the role, to make a move at this point? How much more destabilising would it be for an already wobbly Labour Government to lose one of their few competent ministers?

Grant Robertson, being a seasoned professional, won’t go rogue and tell us how he really feels about the Prime Minister’s calls, but it’s unlikely he’s enjoyed it. What will be particularly galling is that these calls override seeming solid Labour ideas, like offering a tax cut for everyone earning over $10,000 a year. Kindly paid for by a wealth tax on families with net assets of $10 million.

It must also be testing for Robertson to stand by and see a policy he previously said the Government wouldn‘t put in place as it was ineffective- such as removing GST from fresh food- apparently now at the heart of Labour’s tax policy.

It was as recently as May when Grant Robertson told Newshub Nation there are better ways of delivering support to low and middle-income earners than removing GST from fresh food.

Surely Labour has already lost the election due to its competency issues, but reported friction within caucus over tax and other issues isn’t helping their campaign. Hipkins has been dealing with a lot of messes which should have been sorted out before he took on the leadership role.

It’s bad enough to be firing and accepting the resignations of ministers for mistakes that should have been dealt with earlier, it’s even worse when 13 weeks out from an election there are rumblings and leaks coming from the caucus.

This is not the time for Labour to fall apart and Grant Robertson, regardless of how he feels about the direction of the party and its revenue policy, must feel stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Hipkins isn’t making things easy for himself and his leadership skills will be put to the test over the coming weeks. It will be interesting to see if he can hold the team together enough to credibly contest the coming election.

Francesca is a well known film reviewer, writes for NZ Herald's Timeout magazine, and contributes to Jack Tame's Newstalk show. This article was first published HERE

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This Grant Robertson.

Why did Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson denounce WEF as a conspiracy theory? “It's a giant conspiracy theory that’s got no credit whatsoever,” Robertson said after broadcaster Peter Williams referenced the WEF. Yet both Robertson and Ardern attended the Jan 2019 conference in Davos when Klaus Schwab discussed his fourth industrial revolution plans.