Monday, February 19, 2024

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 19/2/24

The PM spoke of the need for tough choices – and then opted to beat a retreat when gays and Gaza agitators became hostile

The PM’s State of the Nation speech – according to a Newshub headline – was a ‘buffet of buzzwords’ and full of ‘nonsense’.

Fair to say, the quoted words were attributed to Opposition politicians, who were unlikely to say the speech was visionary and inspiring:

PM Luxon’s State of the Nation speech a ‘buffet of buzzwords’ 
and full of ‘nonsense’ – Opposition

But full of nonsense?

“Full” is the headline writer’s word.

That’s not quite what the reporter wrote:

The Opposition has labelled Prime Minister Christopher Luxon’s first State of the Nation speech as a “buffet of buzzwords” and one claim in particular as “nonsense”.

Further to the left, on The Daily Blog Martyn Bradbury linked the speech to Luxon’s attendance – but not for long – at a festival where he obviously wanted to portray himself as a new-age bloke:

Luxon chased from Big Gay Out after speech promising cruelty: 
The ‘Tough Love’ of someone with 7 properties

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has abruptly left the Big Gay Out festival in Auckland’s Point Chevalier after being confronted by Gaza protesters.

Bradbury described Luxon’s speech as “an absurd obscenity”.

But regardless of the extent to which the speech agitated the crowd, Luxon was met with hostility at the Big Gay Out in Auckland as pro-Palestine and trans rights protesters confronted him with signs and chants.

As Christopher Luxon walked around taking in the festivities, about 50 protesters followed behind bearing signs reading “there is no pride in genocide”.

RNZ political reporter Katie Scotcher said the exchanges became quite heated, with at least one attendee shouting directly in Luxon’s face.

The Spinoff‘s headline focused on the PM’s conditioning us to brace for a tough budget:

Luxon promises ‘tough love’ in bleak State of the Nation speech

Contributing writer Catherine McGregor noted that in the US,

… it’s near unthinkable for a president to end their annual address to Congress without a firm declaration that the state of the union is “strong”. What a contrast with yesterday’s State of the Nation speech here in New Zealand. The state of the nation is “fragile”, PM Christopher Luxon said, thanks largely to a series of financial blunders by the previous government which would necessitate “tough choices” and “tough love”.

No doubt we will learn on Budget Day what “tough love” entails.

McGregor continued:

Among the alleged missteps highlighted in the speech was a more than $200 billion shortfall in the last government’s budget for transport projects first raised by Nicola Willis in December.

As the Herald’s Thomas Coughlan points out (paywalled), $200b is a breathtaking amount, ​​worth about half of New Zealand’s entire GDP. Luxon’s predecessor Chris Hipkins says the figure is “absolute nonsense”. Coughlan has run the numbers and finds – surprise! – both sides are fudging the facts.

At Stuff, Andrea Vance asked:

Who de-programmed Chris Luxon?

She reported that, until now, the former CEO has clung to management speak: drab, robotic prose complemented with a lifeless delivery.

Sunday’s speech was good. Better still was the presentation Luxon sounded like a normal person. He was speaking informally, taking the audience by the shoulder and inviting them to see what he sees…

Point of Order suggests our readers decide for themselves.

The speech was the only new item posted on the government’s official website when we checked early this afternoon.

Latest from the Beehive


18 FEBRUARY 2024

The Prime Minister’s State of the Nation Speech

Read the full speech HERE

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

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