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Fran O’Sullivan: Too much left unsaid as Jacinda Ardern faces business – #1/7 in a series – What she failed to do

16/02/2019

From NZ Herald, Fran O’Sullivan takes a look at the nonsense Jacinda Ardern spouted on Friday, last week, to a business audience. (This speech can be read here, and Michael Reddell’s excellent post here)

Ms O’Sullivan began:

Jacinda Ardern mentioned the term “Coalition Government” just twice in an address yesterday as she reassured business her “Government” had a plan to deal with the obvious global economic slowdown.

Here Adam must part company with O’Sullivan. Ardern sought to reassure was the phrase Ardern used by MS O’Sullivan, he very much doubts that business was reassured. Business Confidence Surveys have suggested for months that business is not happy with this government.

This government has a plan, well that will be news to many people.

Unless Ardern means she intends to tax you more and more or in the phrase often  attributed to Denis Healey, a former senior British Labour politician  ‘ until the pips squeak’.

Notably, none of the bevy of Cabinet Ministers who accompanied Ardern to BusinessNZ’s economic update breakfast in Auckland was from New Zealand First.

While Ardern and her deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters have seriously taken issue with journalists’ characterisation of her administration as “the Government” or the “Labour-led Government”, such niceties appeared to fall by the wayside in the PM’s own speech.

This lends credence to Matthew Hooton’s claims in his recent NZ Herald column about relationships in the coalition. Particularly, as Winston Peters has in the past been very prickly with media over this issue.

O’Sullivan adds to this with the following observations:

New Zealand First may shrug this off. But when it comes to managing the economy in slowing times, it is pertinent to recall that NZ First has not only extracted key economic policies as part of its coalition agreement with Labour, but its ministers also preside over some powerful portfolios like Foreign Affairs, State-Owned Enterprises, Regional Development and Infrastructure.

They should have been present to hose down current claims that NZ First’s ministers are simply running their own race, and respond that they are part of a coherent Government that will go the distance.

The idea this government is coherent, is a fantasy. Peters and Jones do and say whatever they fancy.

We will break off here, as when Adam considers the rest of the piece, it is clear that this analysis is better considered in chunks.

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