ZB

An arduous year for Newstalk ZB Political Editor, Barry Soper

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Wed, 15 Dec 2021, 2:02pm

An arduous year for Newstalk ZB Political Editor, Barry Soper

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Wed, 15 Dec 2021, 2:02pm

For Parliament's longest serving press gallery journalist it's been challenging as he deals with the Prime Minister. 

Still Jacinda Ardern sat down with Newstalk ZB's political editor Barry Soper for an end of the year interview, and not surprisingly, he didn't look at her upcoming wedding in Gisborne, nor did he look at what she was planning to do for Christmas. 

Ardern's personal opinion poll rating as preferred Prime Minister's dropped close to 20 percent over the past year as Covid fatigue kicks in and he talked to her about what was going wrong. 

The big issues that have largely gone under the radar were also discussed with her, issues that during Labour's first term had the New Zealand First handbrake applied to them. 

The He Puapua report, commissioned by Labour wasn't shown to their coalition partners, some would say for good reason. 

After the election last year, the Government passed under urgency a law bringing in Māori Wards for next year's local body elections, taking away the veto right of ratepayers to object to them. 

The significant influence of Labour's Māori caucus was also discussed along with the abolition of the District Health Boards, making way for a Māori Health Authority, giving them the power to reject spending proposals they don't like.   

There was also the Three Waters legislation which again gives Māori equal governance of water and there was the disputed land at Ihumātao, near Auckland's airport, successfully occupied by land protesters who eventually saw the Government at year ago pay out $30 million to Fletcher Building to buy the land back.

A year on, the Kingitanga Movement, which helped broker the deal, still hasn't appointed anyone to the Government body overseeing it. 

These issues and of course Covid and the Government's response to it were also canvassed.