Too close to call
Politik
by Richard Harman
5d ago
National will be buoyed, and Labour possibly slightly depressed after last night’s One News Kantar poll. National and ACT on 48 per cent with 62 seats between them, enough to form a Government. Meanwhile, Labour was down one per cent to 35, and the Greens dropped four per cent to seven per cent. That total of 42 per cent would give the centre-left only 55 seats, well shy of National’s 62. Even with Te Pati Maori’s two per cent and three seats, the left would have only 58 seats. However, National was not claiming victory. Within minutes of the poll being broadcast, an email from party headquart ..read more
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Orr v Willis; a credibility battle
Politik
by Richard Harman
6d ago
The Reserve Bank Governor and the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee yesterday ended up at odds with National’s Finance spokesperson, Nicola Willis, over whether the Budget was inflationary. Willis said it was. The exchange is looking like a significant test of Willis’s economic credibility. The MPS statement and the Governor’s media briefing yesterday afternoon went to some lengths to explain why the Bank believed Government spending was not inflationary, as Willis kept claiming, but the opposite; contractionary. She, however, pointed her finger squarely at the Budget as fuelling inflation. The ..read more
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Yoga diplomacy
Politik
by Richard Harman
1w ago
Thirty-six years ago, almost to the day, after he launched Fiji’s first military coup in 1987, the now-elected Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, yesterday awarded the Prime Minister of India Fiji’s highest honour. That 1987 coup was targeted against a Labour government which contained Indian Ministers and led to fears within Fiji’s Indian population that they too would be hit, so thousands fled to Australia and New Zealand. But in Port Moresby at a Pacific summit yesterday, all that was consigned to ancient history. Instead India arrived with a substantial aid package for the Pacific — includin ..read more
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Robertson dares National to cut deeper
Politik
by Richard Harman
1w ago
What is most surprising about yesterday’s Budget is how apparently painless it was to find $4 billion in reprioritisation savings. That begs the question as to whether a tougher approach might have found more. But that might have meant cutting programs which Finance Minister Grant Robertson resolutely refuses to do. Instead, he has picked all the low-hanging fiscal fruit. In doing that, he has dared National to propose further cuts which would slice into the bones of the welfare state. That Labour’s campaign chair Megan Woods walked alongside Robertson and Prime Minister Chris Hipkins for the ..read more
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Today’s Budget is only Part One
Politik
by Richard Harman
1w ago
Today’s Budget will be only Part One of Labour’s two-part pitch for re-election. Robertson is calling it a “no frills” Budget with the big vote winners yet to come. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has repeatedly said any changes to taxation will not be in the Budget but in the party’s election manifesto. And it seems there will be other new initiatives there too. “I think we’ve got a lot of investments we’ve put in in recent times that you’ll see more and hear more about post-budget when we get into the election campaign, and we change hats,” he said yesterday. “And it will be the Labour Part ..read more
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Bureaucrats spend $50 million on consultants and hold meetings for three years and find no solution
Politik
by Richard Harman
2w ago
The Ministry of Health has now spent $50 million on consultants and held three years of meetings while it watched its liability for an unpaid holiday pay increase for health workers by $150 million a year. The Ministry has not paid the correct holiday pay to 260,000 current and former health workers since 2015. It is estimated the pay error could now cost the Ministry $1.8 billion. Even now, after all the meetings and all the comnsultants, Whatu Ora does not have a pay IT system that can calculate holiday pay. Committee chair, Dr David Clark, said there was “a degree of impatience” from all of ..read more
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Defence spending on the march
Politik
by Richard Harman
3w ago
The Government finally moved yesterday to deal with the Defence force pay crisis, which has seen Navy vessels put into mothballs, aircraft grounded, and doubts about whether the Defence force had enough technical staff to service new equipment. At the same time, it signalled there might be more spending on equipment later this year. Setting the scene, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, in an apparent reference to the growing tension between the United States and China, said geostrategic competition, both within our own region and further afield, was intensifying. That seems to have added urgency to ..read more
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The reality after the resignations
Politik
by Richard Harman
3w ago
The grim faces on the Greens leadership as they arrived in Parliament’s foyer for a media briefing on Saturday morning said it all. On Friday night Green MP Dr Elizabeth Kerekere had joined Labour MP Meka Whaitiri to become the second Maori MP to resign from a party in the Government block in Parliament in the space of four days. History suggests that the Greens will take a hit in the polls as a consequence of Kerekere’s move; however, the potential impact of Whaitiri’s resignation on Labour might be more complex. The worry for Labour will be that the two resignations together give an impressi ..read more
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Meka’s waka sails through loophole
Politik
by Richard Harman
3w ago
In public, Meka Whatiri’s departure from Labour sparked constitutional confusion and widespread claims of surprise. Standing back — which Labour MPs were not quite ready to do yesterday —it looks likely to be a positive for the centre-left block in Parliament with a stronger Maori Party ready to go into a future Labour-led government. But first, the confusion needed to be sorted out, and the bruised egos soothed. The confusion has been sorted with the discovery of a loophole which renders the waka-jumping legislation virtually redundant. The egos have not been so quickly assuaged with even the ..read more
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The Maori Party and Labour’s chances increase
Politik
by Richard Harman
3w ago
The news last night that Meka Whaitiri, the MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti and Minister of Customs and Veterans, is to announce today that she will leave Labour for the Maori Party reinforces Labour’s chances of leading the next Government. Unless she is proposing to drop a bombshell today, there is no indication that her move is one driven by outright opposition to the current Government. She has had a long association with Labour, having been electorate manager for her predecessor in the seat, Parekura Horomia. As a consequence, she has a web of connections in the seat, which stretches from East Cape ..read more
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