Wednesday, July 26, 2023

John MacDonald: Football Ferns have more of a chance than Labour

Is Chris Hipkins in the Beehive? Or is he in la-la land?

Because, after everything that’s happened with his government since he took over at the start of the year, he seems to think Labour can still win this year’s election.

Even after the most-recent calamity, with now-former minister Kiri Allan being over the legal alcohol limit, crashing a car and failing to accompany a police officer on Sunday night.

She’s the fourth government minister to go in less than four months. There’s also been Stuart Nash, Michael Wood and Meka Whaitiri.

David Parker has obviously spat the dummy too - giving up the Revenue portfolio after all his work coming up with a wealth tax and a capital gains tax ended up on Chippy’s bonfire pretty much as soon as it came off the printer.

Hipkins said as much this morning when Mike Hosking asked him whether David Parker had broken Cabinet rules by speaking publicly about his disappointment his new taxes weren’t going anywhere.

Hipkins said not every Cabinet minister personally agrees with every decision and sometimes, when that happens, they decide to move onto other things. Which Parker has done. Apparently, so he can focus his attention on the Transport portfolio.

Which is code for one brassed-off Cabinet minister. I reckon we can include Grant Robertson in the list of brassed-off Cabinet ministers too. Again, because of the tax ideas getting the heave-ho from the boss.

But, despite all the rumblings behind the scenes, Chris Hipkins is putting on the happy face - putting on the brave face - and saying that he still thinks Labour is in a good position to win the election.

Which of course he’s going to do. Because he’s the leader and it’s his job to fire everyone up and make sure they give it their all. It's not as if he’s ever going to say publicly that he thinks their time in government is coming to an end.

He was asked this morning if he ever imagined, when he took over the job of Labour leader and Prime Minister at the start of the year, whether things would have gone the way they have.

Straight away, he was banging on about pretty much everything except the cock-ups within his government.

The only thing he didn’t do was blame previous governments. That probably wasn’t far from his lips, though.

But to go on about cyclones and economic recessions, maybe shows that he really is in la-la land.

Maybe he really does think he’s got a good shot at winning the election. Maybe he really does think the only reason his party might be down the gurgler is because of cyclones and storms and economies going pear-shaped.

But that won’t be the case. He’ll know that his government is looking tired and stale. That’s it’s looking like a government at the end of its third term, not its second term. And a lot of that will probably be because of the pandemic.

Because, let’s face it, everyone is knackered after the Covid storm of the last few years. And the Government is no different.

But what can’t be blamed on Covid is another symptom of governments that, generally, doesn’t show through until the third term - and that’s arrogance. All governments - whatever colour they are - become arrogant. Because they think they’ve been around long enough, that they are the only ones with the experience to run a country.

And that sense of self-importance is probably worse after something like a global pandemic. I reckon we saw it in John Key’s government too. You know, “we dealt with New Zealand’s biggest earthquakes, we know what to do when things hit the fan” blah blah blah.

And that is exactly what we’ve been seeing from Labour for quite some time now. It is tired, it is stale and it is arrogant. And if Chris Hipkins really thinks they can win the election, then he is well and truly in la-la land.

Because I reckon the Football Ferns have more chance of winning the women's world cup, than Labour has of winning the election in October.

John MacDonald is the Canterbury Mornings host on Newstalk ZB Christchurch. This article was first published HERE

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