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Magic Beans and Rodeo Clowns.
Is now the right time to have a cow?
This is a strange period to be writing in, the lull before the storm. There’s so little political news, other than the daily clips of people arriving or departing meetings which have failed to reach the desired quorum of leaders. It’s making me a bit nervous.
The last thing you want to do is write a big spiel about how long negotiations are going on, press send, then find out there is a press conference in five minutes time announcing the new coalition agreement. It’d be as bad as that time I wrote a newsletter about Efeso Collins winning the Auckland mayoralty.
True story. I figured a lot of people weren’t that interested in local politics, even if it was going to be our first Pasifika mayor in a city we refer to, inaccurately, as the “Largest Polynesian City in the World”. So I thought my best bet was to write anticipating the result, so I could send it out as Breaking News, which was going just fine until the votes were announced.
Some of you might recall the column which talked about the strong role of Pacific people in Tamaki Makaurau, in terms of history, culture, the arts, sports, and every facet of life that is so much richer as a result. It’s fair to say I was proudly anticipating that result as a step forward, given in this beautiful city of so much diversity the portraits of the previous mayors are about the whitest bunch of people you could hope to assemble. Outside of a National Party conference, obviously.
So I rapidly changed the article. Midway through there was now a giant record scratch, as we jumped from an alternate reality to the sad one that saw voters elect the magic beans candidate. Note, not a possessor of said beans, but the seller of beans. Who a depressing number of people believed.
Yes, just like Luxon, the analogy is not lost.
A few readers got confused but most seemed to go with it as a sane response to an insane result. So as we contemplate the future delivery of Luxon’s promises how did old Wayne Brown’s magic beans go?
Pretty badly really. Although quite why anyone would believe he was really going to sort out all the problems, while cutting taxes (rates), is beyond me.
So far old Wayne has cut a bunch of funding, flogged off the family silver in the form of airport shares, and given us a massive tax increase. To top it all off we had a natural disaster, to which the mayor said “don’t have a cow”.
We know Wayne, that’s because you sold us these useless magic beans!
Needless to say if Mayor Brown was a leftie, failing to fix the problems and yet still putting up taxes, the people who voted for him, and our business leaders, would be screaming blue murder.
But he’s not, Mayor Brown is their man, so instead of applying the cautionary lesson of not hiring the guy with promises that sound too good to be true, at the general election, they doubled down and hired another purveyor of magical musical fruit.
Hmm, perhaps Winston’s reluctance to get a room indicates he’s worried about emissions after all. Despite his Climate Change policies, that could best be described as agnostic.
Sorry that’s a bit juvenile. I don’t actually think Peters’ concerns over flatulence from the PM-elect is an impediment to progress. For goodness sake, with Shane Jones and Chris Bishop in the room Luxon will be the least of his worries!
I doubt Christopher Luxon has ever actually eaten tinned beans, although no doubt if asked he’d claim to have loved them since he was a small boy. Whereas I’m pretty sure Chris Bishop will have had a bath in the things at some point, probably without even having lost a bet.
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Anyway, back to Wellington, or will they try for Auckland this time? They really don’t seem to be very good at following through on plans.
I can’t help thinking, that despite the forced smile for Jessica on the news last night, Luxon really isn’t enjoying having discussions with those who are not yes-men, simply giving him his own way. And I’m not the only one…
I’m guessing not much. That was a pretty blatant snub by Winston yesterday, not even turning up in Wellington for the meeting Luxon thought was taking place. It was almost as if to say - you’re not in charge Sonny Jim, we’ll make any announcements when I’m good and ready. Do you really think I’m going to let you steal my thunder?
So this morning we’re told once again that today is the day of the great coming together. Although as reported in Stuff this morning, it appears some people may already be having buyer’s remorse.
Do bear in mind that this is a survey, and not a poll. Still it’s hardly a ringing endorsement that people believe the new lot will make things any better. It really does suggest the election was about change for the sake of change, and not because people believed in the growth potential of the beans on offer.
While some of us might be enjoying the comical lack of progress in coalition arrangements, as the Spinoff highlighted this morning, problems continue to pile up:
State Highway 1 to Northland over the Brynderwyn Hills may be closed for months to repair storm damage, business leaders continue to ask for a long-term solution. In Invercargill, they want funding for an emergency water supply. Auckland councillor Richard Hills says Auckland must be a top priority for the new government. Christchurch wants clarity on water regulation, among other things.
Federated Farmers is asking for fairly immediate action on a range of issues. At the same time, retirement village residents went to Wellington yesterday to ask for an end to what they see as “exploitation” of the elderly by village owners. Broadly, businesses want a business-friendly government, while most of us want to pay less for food, petrol, power, and flights.
Clearly the time is approaching when we need to stop mocking the coalition for not being able to make any progress, and actually hold them accountable - for not being able to make any progress.
Come on guys, you’ve got a cost of living crisis, an infrastructure crisis, a climate change crisis, and a water management crisis, all to sort out. Crime continues, so you need to sort this out. If for no other reason than being able to tell the perpetrators that you’re in charge now, so they’ll just stop. That was the plan, wasn’t it?
But still a little boy waits. “Not everyone showed up but hey what can you do”, Seymour said yesterday. He said it was “highly likely” he'd meet with Peters on Wednesday, and we'd have to “see what happens tomorrow”.
Maybe it’s worth reminding the three participants that this is their honeymoon phase? This is the relationship at it’s high point, as good as it’s ever going to get. With all the promises intact, before it’s inevitable, and probably rapid, decline.
Nah - I suspect the old rodeo clown is having way too much fun seeing the newbies learn a lesson or two.
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