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Mike's Minute: Plenty of warning signs for the Govt from Tauranga

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 Jun 2022, 10:32am

Mike's Minute: Plenty of warning signs for the Govt from Tauranga

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 Jun 2022, 10:32am

I think we have broad agreement that by-elections are a story unto themselves. They are never good for the government of the day. And what happens in a one-off vote is not automatically to be repeated on a national stage.

But a couple of notable things happened in Tauranga that tell a story. The National and ACT votes went up significantly. Both parties gained.

And Labour not only lost, but lost badly. They lost badly because the tide generally has gone out on the Government and this merely confirmed it. They also gave up from the start, they never even tried. Not even trying is defeatist.

The gains they got last election have not been held onto, but Labour haven't even tried to hold onto them. David Seymour campaigned, Chris Luxon campaigned, but Jacinda Ardern never went near the place.

The mistake in making that decision will haunt the Prime Minister. It makes you look like you are in it for yourself. It makes you look like you don't like bad news or you can't face it. It makes you look like you only deal with the good days, and that is not leadership.

The trouble with that is Ardern already had that reputation. It's now in serious trouble. Her one trick, the love fest that was Covid, is now well past its used by date.

These days she presides over a government that is immersed in an economic mess and in an ideological battle they are not winning with the likes of Three Waters, Co-Governance, and Fair Pay Agreements.

With a lack of confidence among virtually every sector and business out there, with a talent pool so shallow that when the reshuffle came the only talent to get work was Chris Hipkins, who was overburdened anyway, National were always going to win Tauranga. But they won this well.

Yes, Labour was always going to lose, but they didn’t have to lose this badly. They lost as a result of not even trying.

That is an insult. If you can't be bothered, why did you want the job? If you can't be bothered, why would anyone bother to vote for you?