Winston Peters rules the roost and New Zealanders are starting to wake up to the fact that NZ First is leading the coalition government and not Labour, according to National leader Simon Bridges.
Mr Bridges said Ms Ardern’s announcement yesterday of the Government’s priorities for NZ over the next 30 years was devoid of substance.
“They’ve had a shambolic few weeks, so they wanted to all come together and show unity, have a sort of pep rally, Kumbaya session, the problem I think was ultimately there was nothing there,” he told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.
“There was nothing in it basically, that I or any MP in Parliament couldn’t go along with, it was so high level.”
The opposition leader said the reason for that was that Mr Peters had to approve of everything done by the Government.
“The reason for that is the Prime Minister knows she can’t get a lot of agreement on a lot of things, so she has to be airy-fairy, in the clouds on stuff,” he said.
“The reason for that ultimately, which New Zealanders are waking up to, is that Winston Peters runs the roost on this stuff.”
"Unless he agrees, and there’s a lot he won’t agree to, most of it actually, then it doesn’t happen, we’re starting to see a NZ First-led coalition rather than a Labour-led one."
Mr Bridges categorically rejected the notion that this was an MMP government in action, with partners working through the issues in cabinet.
"It is insulting to the MMP governments that have gone before, they were MMP governments, they had to manage these things, they were always Labour-led or National-led, that’s not what we’ve got here.
"I think the real tragedy is ultimately, nearly a year in, past the platitudes, where is the seriously detailed plan and actions for New Zealanders on things that matter?
"Like an economic downturn, like cost of living going up more than wages, and petrol prices and rents and so on, we didn’t see any real stuff there."
Asked what he would have as priorities for New Zealand over the next three decades, Mr Bridges highlighted changes to industrial laws and dealing with overseas investment.
“Reversing the ones (taxes) they have done because that’s putting up petrol prices that are hurting Kiwi families, that’s affecting on rental prices, all these things that Kiwis are starting to really feel.”
Mr Bridges accused unions of “clipping the ticket” to no real benefit for the workers.