TLDR: Jacinda Ardern shocked almost everyone by returning from a summer break this week and resigning as Prime Minister because she said had “nothing left in the tank.”
Perhaps even more surprising, Deputy PM and Finance Minister Grant Robertson said he did not want the top job, having tried and failed twice to become Labour Leader in 2011 and 2014.
Within 48 hours, the Labour Caucus settled on Chris Hipkins as the sole candidate to be Ardern’s replacement as Prime Minister. The caucus is expected to confirm him as the new Labour Leader and next Prime Minister shortly after 1pm. He is then expected to give his first news conference in the Beehive Theatrette at 3pm and confirm expectations his deputy will be current Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni. I’ll be there to ask questions and welcome suggestions in the comments below.
The podcast above for all subscribers is a recording of the weekly live ‘hoon’1 webinar for paying subscribers we had on Friday evening at 5pm. This week’s edition is the first for 2023. I co-hosted the webinar from a car at the Queen Elizabeth Park on the Kapiti Coast, while fellow co-hostwas north of Auckland overlooking Kawau Island. University of Otago International Relations Professor Robert Patman was in Dunedin and former Labour MP and current Community Law Centres of Aotearoa CEO Sue Moroney was in Auckland. The recorded version reproduced here is shorter than the original live version because we had some technical problems and I’ve cut out the boring bits. Many thanks to 100 or so paying subscribers on the webinar for your patience.
We spoke almost exclusively about the resignation of Jacinda Ardern and its meaning for Aotearoa, the Labour Party and future policy.
Briefly elsewhere in the news in our political economy, the global economy and geo-politics this week:
The US Government hit its US$31.4 trillion debt ceiling and was forced to start cash preservation measures that will extend its runway to avoid a financially catastrophic default until June, with the hope the Republicans who control the House of Representatives will allow a debt ceiling increase before then;
The Bank of Japan surprised markets by sticking with its loose monetary policy of bond buying to hold down its long-term interest rates below 0.5%, but most expect it to relent some time after a new Governor is appointed in April;
China reported GDP growth in 2022 of less than half the 5.5% it had been targeting because of a slump in its apartment development market and repeated lockdowns until its December opening up; and,
China also reported its population fell in 2022, which was its first fall in almost 60 years and an indicator of the beginning of a longer-term decline that may have already seen China surpassed as the world’s most populous nation.
Ka kit ano
PS:now has his own substack and I’d recommend you all sign up. It’s over here
A ‘hoon’ is the collective term for Kākā.