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Kate Hawkesby: Cabinet reshuffle was confirmation this is the same old govt doing the same old stuff

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Wed, 1 Feb 2023, 7:43am
Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

Kate Hawkesby: Cabinet reshuffle was confirmation this is the same old govt doing the same old stuff

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Wed, 1 Feb 2023, 7:43am

The Cabinet reshuffle yesterday was all the confirmation we needed, as I said yesterday, that this is the same old government doing the same old stuff. 

Which is to be expected because they were never going to be able to just bring in fresh new experienced faces to shake everything up, because they don’t have any. 

So Police Minister Stuart Nash is back for another round, the very likeable but politically inexperienced Ayesha Verrall is now Health minister, I feel for her.

That’s got to be the worst portfolio ever to be handed out. You’re never going to win with that one – and she seems like a nice person – which is possibly why they gave it to her – maybe she seemed less edgy and prickly than Andrew Little. Maybe they hope she’ll be a bit smoother in the role and rub up against the media in a less combative way. I don’t know, I just know Health is fraught, and I’m not sure she’s up for the political jousting that comes with being Health Minister. 

But here’s the biggest scandal in the whole thing, the most absurd, bizarre and inexplicable thing out of yesterday – well actually there’s two. But let’s start with the first one, the main one.

Michael Wood being made Minister for Auckland. 

On what planet did Chris Hipkins look at the what Michael Wood’s been doing and go.. you know what? Awesome for Auckland. Let’s give him that.

I mean, come on, this is the guy that Aucklanders hate. And I mean loathe. And it smacks of a Wellington-based politician not to know that and be so disconnected from the real Auckland that he went so far as to put this guy in charge of it. 

This is the guy whose genius idea was to build a cycle way across the Harbour bridge, which could not have attracted more protest and fall out before it got so unceremoniously canned. He’s also the guy who wants to lower the speed limits on all our roads. Thus grinding to a halt any productivity left in Auckland at all. 

He’s also the guy wanting to dig up Auckland for light rail. As Transport Minister he’s done absolutely nothing about the woeful state of the roads, the potholes, the public transport, all of it’s a shambles. 

Not only that – to make matters even worse, he’s also Immigration Minister. The very guy who has kept workers that very sector has been crying out for out of this country.

Same guy. 

The greatest irony of all was Hipkins comment on it which bordered on farce when he said, “When Auckland succeeds the country succeeds.” And yet, inexplicably, he thinks the guy who can help make that happen is the biggest impediment to success and productivity that Auckland’s ever seen. It beggars belief, doesn’t it? 

Which leads me to the second most absurd, bizarre inexplicable decision – to keep Willy Jackson. He keeps Broadcasting and Media, but even more inexplicable, he gets promoted. He’s actually climbed Cabinet rankings.

How is this possible? What is Hipkins seeing in these guys that we are not? Or is it, as I said at the start, that the Labour party just doesn’t have any talent and that’s now been laid bare for us all to see.

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