Jan 22, 2023·edited Jan 22, 2023

I listen to the USA PBS Newshour, Democracy Now, and Colbert online. All spent a significant amount of time reporting on Jacinda's "retirement". That has never happened before her time as PM. Not even John Key or Helen Clarke. NZ elections were rarely reported on. Before Clarke (and the Lord of the Rings), few with less than a graduate degree even knew where NZ was. (When my mom in the USA tried to send packages here after we moved here in 95, the postal people rarely knew where she was sending it to...many thought it was in Europe. Seriously.) Jacinda is an international superstar – more than any leader that I know of bar Volodymyr Zelenskyy. I have seen nothing like it.

She had death threats against her family - tripling in the last few years. She had a 4th estate harassing her (in my "study" 2:1 all Herald-syndicated political op-ed pieces attacked Labour). The business community (and perhaps the Reserve Bank) have appeared to have possibly engaged in a capital strike to get rid of her. Who could withstand that?

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Sad about the personal vitriol, but since her ascendancy, she had a very Compliant and unchallenging media. Add a vicious online group of acolytes who jointly attacked every person who spoke against Ardern, and while I accept that recently the worm has turned, she had a dream run, untroubled by a critical media for several years.

She had a great way with public speaking and had lots of slogans that weren’t always reflective of outcomes. She really struggled as a leader to get key programmes done, if that was her governments fault then she did not address the poor performances.

She didn’t spend any personal political capital to achieve those policies, and a great leader would have used their place to do so.

Opinion had turned on Ardern, you can’t just blame the business community - lol at the polls. Her utterings weren’t respected because even supporters I know had turned off, when nothing got done. That affected supporters and emboldened detractors.

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Jan 22, 2023·edited Jan 22, 2023

My view of this has been quite different. And I’m not just blaming the business community. We had the black shirt online conspiracy theorists, perhaps 10% of the population who caused havoc and convinced some of their friends that she was evil. (Many being played by Bannon and associates in the USA)

I never felt that she had a very compliant and unchallenging media! The opposite. Jadern had been in power only 2.5 years since NZ1 left. Most of that was overwhelmed with Covid (with the best response by far in the developed world if deaths are considered the prime criteria).

I would turn on TV One or Newshub and see consistent attacks against her from day one of her new term, mostly to do with Labour’s handling of the quarantine and related issues - night after night (It got so bad that I wrote this down with my wife). Few mentioned how many deaths they had saved as compared to other nations. And then the business community and their wealthy contributors (who were fuming about her bright line extension and the upper-income tax raises) took action with absurdly unrealistically low business confidence and nightly rants on TV.

Then 3 Waters arrived, not a terrible policy in my view (we do need safe water) and completely misunderstood by the public - thanks in my view to how poorly the gatekeepers in the media explained it, or failed to explain it ...while they gave an inordinate amount of time to the opposition. By last winter the consistent chiselling had an effect on the polls so that 3 months ago Labour was fallign behind...“losing”. Many in the media were incredulously declaring Labour as finished (no matter that a week is a long time in politics, much less a year…just look at the last two elections!)

In November I kept a written record of all Herald-syndicated op-ed pieces and political cartoons, with links to all that I could. After a month my suspicions were confirmed (for that month at least) there were 2:1 attacks against the government as opposed to those who supported their policies.

The media gave the impression that “nothing was being done”, and what was, was very poor. It was not. In a way, this was a very Kiwi “coup”…not a coordinated conspiracy but dirty politics at play with the assistance by the conspiracy crowd, the business community and as usual those in the 4th estate. But of course the main culprit that is hard to pin a balme on soicen it is gloabl - inflation.

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Thank you so positive about the future. Sue Moroney inclusion was a bonus, not least as it provides a gender balance. However so far in my reading/listening the 'blokes' have shown they understand how to be unbiased.

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I thought Sue was great. And I still would have agreed with what she said even if she were male.

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The big question is whether Chris Hipkins will change the course of the Labour Government to steer it to victory. Clearly the identitarianism must go, and that sack of divisive policies that have angered large sections of the population: 'Three Waters', ill-defined co-governance, 'hate speech' legislation, income insurance and the rest.

But that won't be enough. We learn from the NZ Election Study 2020 that the typical swinging voter is a 52-year-old woman (probably European) who owns her own home and has an income between $102,000 and $149,000 a year; is a National voter who swung to Labour in 2020 but this year will return to National, her true home; she may think herself 'centrist', but is much more likely to be right-wing; she does not strongly agree that income differences are too large, but may somewhat agree, though is just as likely to disagree; she may sort of think the Government is responsible for providing a decent living for the unemployed, but is much more likely to think the Government definitely should not, than definitely should; she either thinks the Government spend on welfare benefits is about right, or thinks it should be reduced, and definitely doesn't want it to spend more.

In short, forget the swinging voter.

Instead, look to the 700,000 who didn't vote in 2020 because they saw no one who spoke for them.

Will Labour under Hipkins begin immediately to do the things it ought to have done in the past five years but hasn't:

Bring in land tax, and lower the threshold for the top tax rate of 39% to $130,000 a year, just above double the median fulltime income. Apply the 39% rate to all trusts and closely-held companies.

Use that revenue to make the first $25,000 of everyone's income tax-free.

Or better, introduce a UBI, an unconditional basic income for everyone.

Make NZ Superannuation a tax-free benefit, boost it to $800 a week to meet the renting retired person's cost of living, but put everyone who signs up for it on a special tax rate of 50% on all other income, so that Super is better for those who need it and worse for those who don't.

Make early-childhood care and education free for all.

Make medical care and dental care free, accessible, timely, and effective.

Restore unemployment and other benefits to the levels they were before Ruth Richardson trashed them in 1991, so that people can live in dignity.

And for everyone's sake, forget promising to help people to buy their own wildly overpriced home: instead, build 100,000 state houses for secure, lifetime income-moderated rent by all who want them.

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I agree, John. These are the types of policies people expected from Labour, not the Reverse Robin Hood policies they actually did. But, a different version of 3 Waters does need to happen before the situation gets so bad that the rich live on bottled water and the poor get sick. Will Hipkins save us from getting stuck in the 3rd world country rut?

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Yes please to having Sue Moroney another time.

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