Barry Soper: Reading between the lines of Jacinda Ardern's answers

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Thu, 5 Mar 2020, 3:50PM
Photo / File
Photo / File

Barry Soper: Reading between the lines of Jacinda Ardern's answers

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Thu, 5 Mar 2020, 3:50PM

COMMENT:

Jacinda Ardern has in the past invited us to read between the lines, so with prime ministerial permission it was worth applying the exercise to a series of questions she was asked in Parliament's bear pit by Simon Bridges.

National's leader wanted to know, as we all do, about some big ticket items promoted by this Government - which of course promised to be the most transparent and transformational we've ever experienced.

Bridges began: When will we see a light rail announcement from her Government?

Ardern: As soon as we're ready to announce one.

Bridges: When will we see an announcement on a resolution for Ihumātao?

Ardern: Again, when an announcement is ready to be made.

Bridges: Has a deal in fact been struck and if so why isn't it being announced?

Ardern: Because there's no resolution to be announced at this stage.

Bridges: What's the Government's position on the electric vehicle feebate. Is it dead or not?

Ardern: Obviously we consulted on proposals around clean car standards and once we've finalised that work, we'll make an announcement.

Bridges: So was her Deputy Prime Minister wrong when he said, quote, it's dead?

Ardern: I think what the Deputy Prime Minister pointed out was that the Opposition's continually claiming that they had achieved particular outcomes from the Opposition benches was farcical.

That last answer was a little difficult to follow, but you get the picture.

Reading between those lines, though, and it was as plain as the smirk on Winston Peters' face: We haven't been able to persuade Winston yet.

If the man himself is under pressure, and there's plenty for Peters to feel pressured about, he wasn't showing it during the cut and thrust of debate over his sidekick Shane Jones' latest outburst over Indian students ruining our academic institutions.

Peters gave a detailed account of racism to the bombastic Gerry Brownlee, who by taking it to Peters managed to score something of an own goal.

He was reminded of the time eight years ago when he caused an uproar by having a go at Finnish people, describing them as uneducated, unemployed murderers who don't respect women.

Brownlee claimed they were comical statements. The Finns didn't quite see it that way.

And just as Bridges was having a chortle, Peters wiped the smile off his face by reminding him of the secretly taped conversation he had with Jami-Lee Ross when he appeared to agree that two Chinese MPs were more valuable than two Indians.

Ouch.