The new coalition Government of Jacinda Ardern began with a great honeymoon driven largely by the charisma of the Prime Minister.
But, as happens in politics, the cracks are now appearing. Some issues have been noted in New Zealand’s mainstream media over utterances and actions by some Government ministers including Labour’s Clare Curran, the Green Party’s Eugenie Sage, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones of NZ First and NZ First Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.
While Peters would not agree that he has lost some brownie points in Parliament by using bluster instead of tact, it has become a scenario not helped by some commentators already pondering what will the governing be like when the PM goes on leave to deliver a baby with Peters potentially in charge.
One of the recent articles was from Radio New Zealand which quoted the PM as saying the Government will do its best to weed out mistakes and correct those it does make quickly.
The Radio NZ report cited associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage admitting to misleading Parliament when she said she had discussed the Environmental Protection Authority's chief scientist Jacqueline Rowarth with the authority's chief executive. The chief scientist resigned.
Ms Sage's new story evolved after she was accused of ministerial interference and shortly before the chief executive, Allan Freeth, reappeared before a Parliamentary Select Committee.
Radio NZ said officials also contradicted Shane Jones, saying he had been fully aware experts believed a project he was about to fund “was a lemon.” And, Radio NZ said, Jones conceded he had been made aware of the advice but it had slipped his mind.
Ardern commented: “With all of these cases they are, within context, issues that easily occur when you have an extraordinary amount of workflow coming through. We will try to weed out mistakes wherever they may occur and prevent them from happening.”
She pointed out that with the previous National Government there were, with written Parliamentary questions, 900 of them that were corrected, with 80 answers in Parliament corrected.
Sources: radionz.co.nz; newstalkzb.co.nz, skynews.com.au, nzherald.co.nz