Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Kate Hawkesby: " I'm As Impatient As The Next Guy"

I’m as impatient as the next guy but can we cut Luxon some slack here? He’s dealing with Winston. He’s dealing with two parties, both deeply ambitious, principled and headstrong, and one of them has Winston at the helm. 

That makes this entire negotiation of talks that he’s enduring.. all the more harder I reckon. I also don’t buy into the media’s timeline. This is not one of the longest negotiations on earth. Not by a long shot. And I don’t believe it started the day we counted votes either. That’s unfair to start the clock from there. 

 They had to wait for special votes, they needed a final number, they didn’t start in earnest until they knew they truly needed Winston. It’s been two weeks. Yes, having said that, I feel like it needs wrapping up this week too, but that’s just because we’re all bored and over it and the media is bereft of stories. They’re sick of being stationed outside hotels and chasing cars. If you think about any other corporate merger or negotiation, we would not have a clue how long those last because we’re not invested in them, we’re not breathlessly waiting outside the room every day watching the minutes tick by, it takes what it takes. 

In this case it’s a government they’re forming, and they’ve been clear they want it to be one that lasts. I accept that’s got to take a bit of time. Also we want a good deal don’t we? What if they wrapped this up too fast and the deal was crap? I mean we know from previous history and inside reports on Ardern’s negotiations with Winston that she was ‘so desperate she was prepared to sell her grandmother’ – it was reported. So nobody wants to see a deal like that. A fast deal’s not always a good one. But that’s the true test of this whole thing I reckon. 

 Not how many days it takes or how much they spent on conference rooms, but whether it’s a good deal. That’s when we can really get critical of Luxon. Once we see the deal. If he’s given away too much to NZ First or acquiesced on stuff he shouldn’t have, then that’s going to get prickly. That’s going to rark people up, the major winning party shouldn’t have to be held to ransom to a disproportionate degree by bit players. That’s when we can really start getting into the nitty gritty of whether Luxon is a good negotiator or not. But for now I’m happy to cut him some slack.. unless, and here’s the rider.. unless the tail is wagging the dog, and he is allowing Winston to get away with his usual shenanigans.  

I just don’t trust Winston Peters when he says he’s working really hard and it’s constructive.. and he tries to look urgent about it. It feels like he’s just saying all that to put us off the scent .. to make us think it’s not him being the stick in the mud. It’s part of his chameleon character.. say one thing, do another, who knows.  

I just know that when it comes to politics, David Seymour and Winston Peters are seasoned pros .. Seymour I believe would play with a straight bat, Peters not so much. But together they could really be forcing National to jump through some hoops. If that’s the case and the deal is shoddy then we can fairly criticize Luxon at that point, but this pasting he’s getting from the media now, just seems a bit premature. 

Kate Hawkesby is a journalist and broadcaster who hosts the Early Edition show on Newstalk ZB.


Terry Morrissey said...

So you, Kate would rather see Luxon, with his woke attitudes and endorsing te reo and co-governance, have everything his way. That would just mean a replay of the last six years. No thank you.

Allan said...

I too don't trust Peter's, and I cannot see a time when I will. I think that Luxon has created this situation by adopting a neutral, WOKE non-controvercial position on the Treaty etc. This left an opening in the political landscape for ACT and NZF to exploit, and we have seen over many years how Peter's loves to exploit any opportunity.
Had Luxon committed to undoing all of Labour's WOKE legislation, ACT and NZF would not have the numbers they currently have and so would not have the negotiating power.