Who might replace Stuart Nash as police minister?
A couple of names have cropped up as replacements for Nash following his resignation yesterday as the opposition calls for him to be sacked from all his portfolios
Mōrena and welcome to The Bulletin for Thursday, March 16, by Anna Rawhiti-Connell. Presented in partnership with Z Energy.
In today’s edition: GDP numbers due today; government denies interest in health public-private partnerships; US official says New Zealand won’t be shut out following Aukus submarine deal; but first, who might replace Stuart Nash as police minister and will he retain his remaining portfolios?
Kieran McAnulty and Andrew Little could be possible replacements for Stuart Nash as police minister
Gone by (late) lunchtime
It was possibly a tad late in the day for Stuart’s Nash’s resignation as police minister to be a true “gone by lunchtime” moment but I did return from lunch yesterday to the news. Nash was initially defiant in the face of calls for him to resign after telling Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB that he’d called Police Commissioner Andrew Coster to discuss whether a sentence would be appealed. Stuff’s Glenn McConnell and Thomas Manch write that it was Nash’s “bravado” in calling Coster, admitting this on air, and then doubling down, that worried prime minister Chris Hipkins the most. Technically Nash had to resign because the government is expected to remain independent from judicial and police prosecutorial decisions.
The dangers of tough on crime rhetoric and Nash’s bravado
You have to wonder if it’s slightly galling for former police minister Poto Williams, who lost the portfolio for seemingly being “soft on crime”, to watch Nash’s bravado and need to sound very tough on crime, lead to his undoing. Stuff’s Luke Malpass writes that the interview with Hosking was “a case of my tough on crime outrage is bigger than yours”. Malpass says that the “interesting and depressing thing about this case, however, is how much it shows the dangers of enthusiastically ramping up the rhetoric on law and order.” Nash, he writes, was reappointed to the job as police minister “so he could go around and chest-beat about being tough on crime and backing the police.”
Opposition calls for Nash to be sacked from all his portfolios
Nash is well-liked and affable. He’s the kind of politician who will speak with Spinoff editor Madeleine Chapman not once, but twice about why he is not wearing a shirt in a photo of him getting his Covid vaccination. But he’s also known as a “controversial minister” and has shown very poor judgement. The opposition is calling for Nash to be sacked from his remaining portfolios. He remains economic development, forestry and oceans and fisheries minister for now. Newsroom’s Jo Moir writes that his instinct to fight back and defend, rather than take time to reflect and consider, raises serious questions about what he understands to be acceptable for a cabinet minister.
Who will replace Nash as police minister?
For now, Megan Woods is acting police minister. Newshub’s Jenna Lynch thinks Kieran McAnulty or Andrew Little could be in line to pick up the police portfolio permanently. Little already has six portfolios, while McAnulty has four. Jo Moir thinks McAnulty could be the right pick if Hipkins is looking for another “no-nonsense guy from the regions who says it like it is” like Nash, but with less of the bluster.
Five tips to help you get on top of your home loan
With interest rates and the cost of living rising, many homeowners are wondering how they can best keep up with their finances. ANZ shared some advice to help combat the rise of mortgage anxiety, and prepare homeowners for a turbulent year ahead. From utilising online tools like mortgage repayment calculators, to optimising your home loan package and talking to a home loan coach, learn how to get the most out of your bank and the resources they have available to you, on The Spinoff now (sponsored)
How useful is GDP?
GDP data will be released today. Most economists are picking it will show a contraction with economic growth slowing in the fourth quarter of last year. Another period of that and we’ll be in a technical recession. The next round of GDP data is out in June. The Herald’s Liam Dann (paywalled) has spoken to ANZ’s Sharon Zollner and the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research’s Christina Leung about how useful GDP data actually is. Leung says GDP data still matters, but with some big caveats. ANZ’s Sharon Zollner agrees and points to the fact that the data is revised. For the June quarter last year, the GDP number that grabbed headlines was 1.7%. That was then revised to 1.9%. Leung and Zollner acknowledge that GDP is also inadequate in that it doesn’t count work done in the home or on a voluntary basis. Zollner says GDP data is particularly problematic at times of volatility and doesn’t take into account artificially created economic strength via stimulus or spending to repair damage after a disaster.
Government denies interest in health public-private partnerships
Internal documents from Te Whatu Ora show it was aiming to consider “lessons” from public-private partnerships (PPPs), from a wide range of projects of size and complexity. Health minister Ayesha Verrall said yesterday that work was going on into alternative financing arrangements for health infrastructure projects, but a report due back in July will not reference PPPs. The use of PPPs in health, education and prisons was banned in 2018. As RNZ’s Phil Pennington writes, the health budget is under intense pressure. A cost blowout of $200m on the $1.5b Dunedin Hospital rebuild prompted ministers to ask “for advice on alternate financing options because there is no funding to allocate to the project.” Officials cut back on beds and imaging equipment to save about $90m instead.
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US official says New Zealand won’t be shut out following submarine deal
A US official has offered an assurance that the $400b deal for the US and UK to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines won’t lead to New Zealand being shut out of defence discussions in the region. However, as Newsroom’s Sam Sacheva writes, Victoria University of Wellington’s David Capie warns that we risk being left on the sidelines of critical discussions if it can't find a way into the trilateral Aukus alliance. Meanwhile former Australian prime minister Paul Keating has unleashed scathing condemnation of the deal, dismissing the work of Australian foreign minister Penny Wong by saying that “running around the Pacific Islands with a lei around your neck handing out money, which is what Penny does, is not foreign policy.” The Melbourne Age’s Tony Wright writes that “Keating has taken a step so far forward, lashing out at just about everyone in his path, including the leaders of his own party, that there may be no going back for him.”
Click and collect
“People would be shocked if they knew how under-resourced schools were” —teachers explain why they’re striking today
Auckland's City Rail Link will be finished a year late and cost an extra $1 billion
The weather pattern partially responsible for so much rain is officially over
Judge imposes stringent secrecy provisions to protect geckos and skinks at centre of court case
Toby Manhire, Annabelle Lee-Mather and Ben Thomas wade through Chris Hipkins’ policy “reprioritisation” in a new episode of Gone By Lunchtime (recorded just hours before Stuart Nash resigned)
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