Rocking feel-good factor and Fat Freddy’s Drop
Voters still questioning the legitimacy of the MMP grand coalition will be starting to realise that the nation’s new leader is looking as charismatic a prime minister as Helen Clark and John Key.
And those two prime ministers were voted in three times.
If Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lasts their great distances, she will be a youthful 46-year-old by the end of her nine-year stint. Perhaps by that time Ardern’s partner, the shell-shocked Clarke Gayford, will finally have got his head around his de facto’s rapid elevation through the ranks to top of the heap.
Interestingly, Ardern, who grew up in and left the Mormon church, is New Zealand’s first Prime Minister who isn’t wed to her partner. Her deputy, Winston Peters, too is living happily in sin with his long-term other half, Jan Trotman.
Yes, she’s a broad secular church the new Government. You didn’t need to listen to the beats of Fat Freddy’s Drop playing on Parliament’s steps last Thursday, heralding in the new Prime Minister and her coalition Government, to twig to the change in vibe.
If ousted former Prime Minister Bill English stays on (if wife Mary so decrees it), the veteran politician and his fellow old lags will look not, so last year, or, so last decade, but, so last generation. Pushed forward to show they still have some taut skin in the game will be Nikki Kaye and Simon Bridges, the latter who, during his roads of national importance hey days, looked like a lost Member for the Village People.
It will be hard for English, if he has the appetite to go another round, to achieve the impressive vote he managed last election. Those who see English as a nice guy who somehow came last were recently reminded of the negative campaign the Nats ran, not only in 2017, but also back in 2014.
National being court-ordered to pay $600,000 in damages for ripping off Eminem’s Lose Yourself, which they used in their campaign ad, was a reminder of the relentless negativity of that particular campaign repeated in this last cycle.
The new Government might be a potential three-headed monster, but they have a positive feel-good factor to them. Peters got done over by someone in National leaking the details of his superannuation, which must have been one of the contributing factors in his choice to go with the left.
The new Opposition has 56 seats out of 120 in the House and a lethal lion-share eight out of 12 of questions every time Parliament sits.
The good faith bargaining that exists between Labour and the Greens, and the friendship between the Prime Minister and Greens leader James Shaw, will come to be tested. But their Memorandum of Understanding is now deeply ingrained, a habit-forming act of faith.
Plotting Nats strategist Steven Joyce seems to want to stick around to stick it to the coalition, but who will believe his fiscal assertions after his campaign attack on Labour that they had an $11.7 billion fiscal hole in their budget? At the time Joyce’s claim was disputed by an overwhelming majority of leading economists, but Joyce refused to back down, believing the oft-repeated porky would make mud stick.
It may have worked, with National getting the largest block of votes, but the secret life of MMP has delivered Joyce a karmic comeuppance. The new Government, with its base note of the Greens and common goals with New Zealand First, is committed to healing this part of the natural world and this is where it has to keep its unified gaze.
Out-of-control immigration and tourism numbers have left the country feeling ridden hard and left out wet. With the Maori seats all in Labour’s pocket and those seats safe from Peter’s former dismantling intent, creating cultural touchstones and protecting taonga across the divide is where it’s at.
The new Forestry Service, with NZ First minister Shane Jones at its head, is tasked with planting 100 million trees a year. This regeneration contributes to the empowerment required to make New Zealanders feel legitimately clean and green again.
Speaking of green, the Prime Minister’s choice of an emerald green dress worn when she had a sit-down with the President of Ireland, and her flamboyant floral frock on swear-in day, is a welcome relief from the strange power jackets usually favoured by female MPs.
No dour, she-wears-the-trousers pant suits as worn by Hillary Clinton and Helen Clark for Ardern. The new Prime Minister could lend herself well as an eye-catching clothes horse rocking Kiwi designers as she trots the globe. Her first sartorial challenge in her ongoing project runway will be how she struts Apec’s shirts-of-shame.
Out-of-control immigration and tourism numbers have left the country feeling ridden hard and left out wet.
Exit, stage left. National leader Bill English is making noises about hanging around until the next election, but the party is more likely to be led by one of its more youthful, charismatic members.