Water, water everywhere, cancelling tennis, and cabinet reshuffles.
Another night of heavy rain, flooding, damage to homes, and people worried about where the hell all this water is going to go as we enter day twenty two of rain this year.
Honestly if the government can’t sell Three Waters on the back of what has happened with storm water in Auckland, and other places, this week - then they should never have raised it.
The communication has been very poor - seriously how do you not manage to sell the idea of streets not flooding, beaches being safe to swim at, and reliable healthy drinking water across the motu? Was Wayne Brown in charge of messaging? How does water management become all about race?
Obviously having a pool of people who don’t like Māori but can hide their racism behind a cloak of “One rule for all” nonsense helps. As does having politicians like Seymour and Luxon who will play that “don’t take away my white privilege - I like it” card, use the message of New Zealand (yay!) vs Aotearoa (boo!), to divide Kiwis and get them complaining, bizarrely, about division.
Wayne Brown’s legacy should be everyone agreeing - Yeah OK then, we need Three Waters. If I was Labour, sure as heck if National were Labour, they’d be using this to their advantage. There would be advertising heavily featuring Wayne Brown and asking - “Is this who you want running your water? Stuff that - time for Three Waters!”
Don’t get me wrong, as with any organisation there are competent people and less competent people in local government. At one end we have Wayne Brown, out of his depth in a teacup, a cantankerous old fool used by the right as a puppet to run Auckland. A man utterly lacking in empathy for the people of the city he leads.
At the other end you have good people who are in local politics for the right reasons. People who have been working their guts out to help people. Without a camera crew following them to record their every action like we have seen from Christopher Luxon and the absurd staged photo opportunities National have focussed on. Good people like Shane Henderson - remember that name.
“I've been out volunteering in Massey with the Fire and Police services helping keep people safe from the dangerous flooding. Have seen some truly terrifying things and my heart goes out to those that have lost so much.” - Shane Henderson councillor for Waitakere.
Shane is the sort of person you want in local government. He takes on the concerns of the people he represents and tries to help them. He doesn’t over promise or bullshit people by saying he can do things that are out of his control. But he works away quietly trying to find solutions to problems. And when bad things happen like this week in Tamaki Makaurau he rolls his sleeves up and does every thing he can to help.
I don’t know what his ambitions are, he has a young family which I’m sure is a priority. But down the line if he was to end up as mayor, or a senior figure in central government, that would be a good thing for people in my opinion. But back to the guy running the show.
Browny’s Unforced Error
Yesterday saw the revelation that Brown texted friends moaning that he couldn’t play tennis because he had to talk to the media “drongos”. It was the day Wayne Brown went from "OMG, who elected this clown?", to being the laughing stock of the nation.
A laughing stock, along with people who supported him, and voted for him, knowing he was exactly like this. There is no way back from this, go back to Northland Wayne. And please take Hooton with you.
Sinead Boucher, CEO of Stuff, summed up the feeling of many in this popular Tweet.
I was delighted with many of the cabinet changes announced yesterday by Chris Hipkins. But I couldn’t help feeling a sense of capitulation to the racists in Nanaia Mahuta being replaced in the Local Government role by Kieran McAnulty.
We’ve seen the horrible way Jacinda Ardern has been targeted and abused by, for want of a better term, the “haters”. I prefer the term “pigs” - sexist, racist, horrible pigs.
If there is one thing these pigs don’t like it is a woman in charge. Something they like even less is a Māori in charge. You can probably imagine what they think of having a Māori woman in charge! Now times that by a million by putting a Tā moko on them, or what they grotesquely call a “bar code” as they snigger and snort.
I hate the idea that some of them would have been celebrating the change yesterday to having a white guy in charge. Sure he might sound Australian - but at least he is “one of them”.
Now I know the argument that having both Local Government and Foreign Affairs was too much for any one person to do. That is true. And that Nanaia being able to focus on the Foreign Affairs role, a very senior role in cabinet - one of the big ones along side Finance, Health, and Education, is sensible. It frees her up for the travel necessary for that role, which would have been difficult with her other responsibilities.
But there is no getting away from the political expediency involved in the change. The fact that in election year Three Waters progressing will be more palatable to some people fronted by a white man than a Wāhine Toa - and I think that is incredibly sad.
Other than that change, which does make sense in terms of workload, I was absolutely delighted by the changes announced yesterday.
Jan Tinetti has a huge passion for, and knowledge of, the Education sector. As a former teacher and school Principal, it is no doubt the job she got into politics for. I can't think of a better person for the role.
Ayesha Verrall as Minister of Health is an excellent call. Not the most confident speaker but she comes across as deeply caring and brings huge credibility with her medical career to a very tough portfolio.
Nick's Kōrero is a reader funded publication. To support my work please subscribe.
Good to see promotions for Kiri Allan, Michael Wood, and Willie Jackson, and first cabinet roles for Ginny Anderson and Barbara Edmonds.
I didn't doubt it would happen but it was great to see Grant Robertson remain in Finance. Overall an excellent reshuffle. Chippy is clearly planning to win, and I think he is in with a much better chance than I thought the day he started.
It has been a spectacular start, Chippy hasn’t put a foot wrong and has charmed many people who probably didn’t think of him as a likely PM a few months ago - certainly not one in this term. In my decades of following politics the only leader I can recall making such an excellent start to the leadership role was a certain J Ardern.
Meanwhile Christopher Luxon goes from photo op to photo op probably hoping that when the public think of an uninspiring leader. One lacking empathy, with no vision beyond cutting costs, essentially a puppet of those who don’t want government getting in the way of business. The sort of right wing leader that would be hopeless in a crisis, that they only think of Wayne Brown.
Stay dry and safe all you lovely people of Aotearoa, and next time you vote think about who you would want in charge in the event of a crisis.
This is one of my favourite songs, certainly the best one written about February. I have a vivid memory of sheltering in a doorway in London in the pissing rain, at a very low point, listening to this louder than was sensible.
"...out of his depth in a teacup".
Poor old Browny. Having to cancel his tennis for a day just because the homes of the hoi poloi of Auckland , are under water. Next thing they'll be expecting the council to fix their broken pipes, drains, and sections. Don't they know he is a "showman Mayor" being paid three hundred dollars a year for his tennis playing, and intention to cull the budget so his rich supporters can keep more of their money. So far Mr Fixit has failed to even respond in a timely way to the approaching weather crisis that has battered Auckland. I wonder what his string puller Mathew Hooton is paid?? The photo of Wayne Brown with Prime Minister Chippy, Michael Wood,and Kieran McNaulty is very telling. The frozen expressions on the faces of the three MPs while Brown jostles with media questions is classic. Then all of a sudden we have a new Minister for Auckland. Not the first time. Judith Tizard had a similar role in the Helen Clark government, and Luxon has already assigned young Simeon Brown to a similar role in his forever shadow cabinet. It's clear PM Chippy realises Auckland does not have good leadership, and has a contingency plan, so that Browny can get back to his tennis.