John Armstrong: No room for sentiment - King knew she had to move aside for Ardern

So much for Labour's complete and utter insistence that talk of Jacinda Ardern becoming deputy leader of the party at Annette King's expense was nothing more than media-driven speculation.

So much for Andrew Little's declaration early this week that there would be no change in who held that crucial post for the simple reason that there was no vacancy to fill.

The Labour veteran says Ardern just needed a home base - which she now has in Mt Albert - to take the next step. Source: 1 NEWS

A week may be a long time in politics. When it comes to Labour, a couple of days can feel like a millennium.

Or that is how it might seem in the wake of King's resignation today from the parliamentary party's second most important position.

On the face of it, it appeared that Labour's leader had given very  straightforward and very public assurances to King that she would not be dumped from the role in order to reward Ardern for pulling off an emphatic victory in last Saturday's Mt Albert byelection.

These were not assurances, however. They amounted to a very big warning to King to quit the post. Otherwise, the rug would be pulled from under her.

Source: 1 NEWS

Little chose his words very carefully. True, he made the point that the "no vacancy'" sign remained illuminated outside the deputy leader's office, thus ipso facto there would not be any change.

By employing this obviously pre-rehearsed patter, Little was able to  deflect media demands, than he categorically rule out any change.

What he was really saying, however, was that there was no vacancy at the current time.

It did not mean there would not be a vacancy some time in the future, be it within the next three hours, the next three days, the next three weeks or the next three months.

Having previously missed out to National in Auckland Central, Labour's Ardern romped to victory in Saturday's Mt Albert by-election. Source: Breakfast

Little did not want to be seen to be pressuring King to give up the post. He did not want to be seen as even hinting that she should do so.

She should be grateful for that. It gave her the chance make her standing down look more like her decision.

Little gave her time - though not too much time - to think hard about reconciling her self-interest with that of the wider party.

Despite King being in high dudgeon regarding the post-byelection "speculation" surrounding her future and her blunt assertions that Ardern would bring nothing new to the role, few would know better than her that there is a fundamental rule of politics: no-one is bigger than the party.

She would also be acutely conscious that sentimentality in politics is the first turn-off on the road to defeat.

King has received a taste of just how short is the supply of that commodity under Little's regime. But she is Labour loyal to the absolute core and well understands why she had to go.

That was always going to happen just as night follows day.

Regardless of whether or not Ardern is deserving of her so-called "star quality", Little needs her standing alongside him on election platforms, hoardings, advertisements and posters.

She has the capacity to reach out to Aucklanders, more specifically the thousands aged between 18 and 30 who cannot be bothered voting and who find Little's dour trade unionist persona about as inspiring as the tired homilies found in the cheapest Christmas crackers.

The 10,000 majority Ardern secured in Mt Albert last Saturday only hastened something which was already inevitable.

The Labour candidate celebrated her Mt Albert by-election victory in the Auckland electorate last night. Source: 1 NEWS

Likewise King 's decision to quit Parliament altogether. King is not the kind of MP who is happy to waste the next three years sitting on Parliament's backbenches be it in Government or Opposition.

Her retirement from politics carries elements of the tragic, however.

She was adamant that she never, ever wanted to be leader. Having found happiness in her private life, she did not want to risk the frequently impossible-to-meet demands of a political party's top job to jeopardise that happiness.

How different things might have been had she relented. King is arguably the best leader the Labour Party never had.



Don Brash says Massey's Vice Chancellor should consider resigning after email dump

Former National Party leader Don Brash is calling for Massey University's vice-chancellor to consider her position, saying it's "almost untenable".

The university prevented Dr Brash from speaking at its Manawatū campus last month.

He was due to give a speech about his time in politics, but vice-chancellor Jan Thomas cancelled the talk for security reasons.

The university had cited a Facebook post on 3 August that linked to the event page and included the comment "take a gun".

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act contain correspondence to and from Ms Thomas in the run-up to the cancellation.

In one email, on 9 July, the vice-chancellor said she did not want a "te tiriti led university to be seen to be endorsing racist behaviours".

On 10 July, Ms Thomas emailed to say she would like to know the options for banning the politics club from holding events on campus.

She said the "racist behaviour of Dr Brash - given te reo is an official language of NZ and we are a tiriti-led university - can't be ignored".

Speaking from China, Dr Brash said he considered Ms Thomas' position almost untenable and told RNZ that he believes she was "totally misleading".

"Quite frankly, I don't know if she can stay in her position."

Dr Brash has previously said he believed it was his views, rather than safety concerns, that led to him being banned from the publicly-funded university.

The documents also contain many emails sent to the university objecting to its cancellation decision.

- By Amy Williams

rnz.co.nz

Massey University vice-chancellor Jan Thomas and Don Brash Source: rnz.co.nz


New Zealand's refugee quota jumps to 1500 per year from July 2020, Government announces

New Zealand’s refugee quota will be raised to 1500, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. 

It was previously 1000, after being increased by the National-led Government from 750 in 2016.

"It is the right thing to do," said Ms Ardern. 

"It puts New Zealand much more in line with the humanitarian policies of other developed countries."

Deputy PM Winston Peters said the increase was "about people, not about politics and controversy". 

The NZ First leader said the increase was “always on the cards”. Source: 1 NEWS

The new quota will take effect from July 2020. 

Major points

- There will be six new settlement locations, on top of re-establishing Christchurch as a settlement location.

- Expanding the public housing supply for 150 extra refugee families is expected to cost $32.5 million over three years. 

- Budget 2018 included money to build new accommodation blocks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre 

Background

Yesterday, Ms Ardern told media she wanted to see the current quota increased but a sticking point has been the vastly different policy positions of Labour's Government partners. 

Labour pledged to raise the quota to 1500 and the Green Party aimed for a quota of 5000.

Earlier this month NZ First's Winston Peters told media in Nauru that the focus needed to be on New Zealanders struggling at home.

"We have 50,000 people who are homeless back home and I can show you parts of Northland where people are living in degradation," Mr Peters said, while being questioned at the Pacific Islands' Forum.

National's Simon Bridges said yesterday if the refugee quota was lower than 1500 it would be a demonstration of "Winston Peters undermining the Prime Minister".

"If you look at the Prime Minister's rhetoric she's made great play about being a globalist, a progressive with soaring rhetoric on these issues.

"It's all very well to do the photo ops, the international pieces, but when you've got important questions like this back home that... [are] now are up in the air because of a lack of unanimity and cohesion."

PM Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today. Source: 1 NEWS

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Government moves to make pay equity claims easier - 'We must continue to close gap'

The Government want to make it easier for workers to lodge pay equity claims, introducing a proposed law on the 125th anniversary women first got the vote in New Zealand. 

Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees Galloway said today he was proud to take "the next step to address historic inequities in pay for women". 

He said The Equal Pay Amendment Bill was intended to make the process of making pay equity claims simplified and more accessible.

Acting Women's Minister Eugenie Sage said the bill was "one piece of the puzzle" in striving to close the gender pay gap. 

"Discrimination has led to lower pay for many female-dominated industries, despite having similar working conditions and skill requirements to comparable male-dominated occupations."

Earlier this year, National MP Denise Lee's Members' Bill on pay equity was voted down.

It intended to "eliminate and prevent discrimination on the basis of sex" in employment pay, and to also "promote enduring settlement of claims relating to sex discrimination on pay equity grounds". 

Labour MP Megan Woods saying there were "some very simple mechanistic reasons contained within this legislation why that would not occur", and fellow MP Jan Tinetti saying "this bill does put things backwards for pay equity". Labour, National and NZ First voted against it. 

Shot of New Zealand twenty dollars.
New Zealand $20 notes (file picture). Source: istock.com


Watch: 'Cantankerous old' rescue dog's escape down Bay of Island thoroughfare prompts laughter around the world

A rescue dog named Lily from the Bay of Islands has become an overnight internet sensation after her wily escape down Kawakawa’s main street – with a giant flag in tow — put smiles on tens of thousands of Facebook users' faces.

CCTV footage of the freedom-seeking furball's runner — accompanied by Yakety Sax, the song made famous by the Benny Hill Show — has been viewed more than 320,000 times in the first 16 hours since it was posted last night.

Lucie Green, a volunteer with Bay of Islands Animal Rescue, was taking the basset hound for a walk last week when she decided to stop at a local business to buy Lily a treat.

But the dog wasn't interested in waiting to see what surprise might be in store, instead bolting despite being tied to the large Coca-Cola flag.

"It wasn't until I saw the video that I realised I had charged into oncoming traffic, which is quite alarming, but I just wanted to get hold of her before someone hit her," Ms Green told the New Zealand Herald today, describing the nine-year-old as a "cantankerous old lady".

"After taking her home I realised I still had to return the flag and pay for my sausage," she added. "I couldn't believe it."

Ms Green changed her Facebook profile picture to show Lilly late last night as the video, posted by user James Mcdonald, quickly started to take on a life of its own.

Thousands of people have since commented on the video, with many of them admiring the dog’s spirit.

"I'm laughing my guts out it's so funny," wrote Facebook user Annie Hicks.

"Crack up go doggie," added user Katie Bennett.

The basset hound, named Lily, was tied to a large flag outside a dairy. So she took the flag with her on her wild escape. Source: Facebook/James Mcdonald