One Question Quiz


Dec 6 2023

Labour caucus should have ‘survivors guilt’ – PM Luxon

Christopher Luxon speaks at adjournment debate. Photo: Toby Manhire

Christopher Luxon has hit back at the opposition during his first speech in the House as prime minister, comparing Chris Hipkins to an “arsonist” who set fire to his party.

According to the new PM, Hipkins should have quit after the election result but was instead “loitering around” at the “scene of the crime”, and described him as being “bitter, and twisted, and negative”.

“Why is he still here when so little was achieved?” Luxon said. The Labour MPs that remained after the election had “survivors guilt”, said Luxon, naming Grant Robertson and Ayesha Verrall.

The new prime minister said Labour had “squandered” its historic majority, crashing down to one of its worst results this year. “They started the last term with everything they needed to set up a political dynasty for the next decade but they squandered it,” Luxon said.

But while Hipkins said the new government’s beginnings had been shambolic, Luxon claimed New Zealand was now under “new management”.

Government buying into conspiracies, embarrassing NZ on world stage – Hipkins

Chris Hipkins at his first Question Time as prime minister. Photo: Toby Manhire

Labour leader Chris Hipkins has taken aim at the new government during a debate to respond to this morning’s speech from the throne.

Addressing the 123 MPs of the 54th parliament for the first time, Chris Hipkins said all he had heard from the government was a “plan to take New Zealand backwards”.

He said he was hoping to hear “some shred of vision, some sign of hope for the future” but instead heard repeated use of words like “stop, repeal, reverse, disestablish”.

“This could well be the most shambolic beginning of any government in New Zealand’s history,” said Hipkins, referencing the moment during coalition talks when Winston Peters didn’t show up in Wellington, prompting Christopher Luxon and David Seymour to get on a plan to Auckland.

“Winston Peters and David Seymour are running circles around Christopher Luxon,” said Hipkins. The prime minister had repeatedly been upstaged by Peters in the early days of the government, he added.

The new government had a “confused sense of priorities”, said Hipkins, and was going to advantage “mega landlords”, the tobacco lobby, oil and gas companies, millionaires and conspiracy theorists.

On that last point, Hipkins accused the government of buying into vaccine scepticism through its decision to launch a new Covid-19 inquiry.

While New Zealanders had clearly voted for change, Hipkins said “I don’t think the change they’re getting is the change they were voting for”.

He added: “When we look through the coalition documents that the form the basis for this incoming government we see a mish mash of confused priorities.”

The decision to walk back smokefree rules to pay for tax cuts was “morally reprehensible”, said Hipkins, and the new government was “embarrassing” New Zealand on the global stage.

Hipkins concluded his speech by saying that for the first time in history, “this will be a one-term National government”. He received a rousing round of applause from his side of the debating chamber.

Earlier, the first two maiden speeches of the new parliament were delivered by National’s James Meager and Katie Nimon. A number of new MPs were elected on October 14 and will have the opportunity to deliver a maiden speech over the next two weeks and into the new year.

Greens want to make National coalition a ‘one-term government’

The Greens have responded to this morning’s speech from the throne with a simple message to their followers: “Make this a one-term government”.

The formalities at parliament today included the governor-general, Dame Cindy Kiro, laying out the priorities of the incoming government via a lengthy speech provided by the prime minister’s office.

In that, the government reiterated its pledges to scrap the Māori Health Authority, increase infrastructure builds and cut public spending.

In a tweet, the Greens – potentially sharing an early 2026 campaign slogan – said “Let’s get to it” and criticised National’s “bleak vision” for New Zealand.

“Our 15 Green MPs are ready. Ready to work with you. Ready to fight alongside you.”

The opposition will have their first chance to go face-to-face with National during this afternoon’s debate responding to the speech from the throne.

‘People outside parliament’ the focus of new government

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Addressing all MPs of the 54th parliament, the speech from the throne delivered by Dame Cindy Kiro, the governor-general, noted that New Zealanders had “voted for change” on October 14. “The government enjoys the confidence of a clear majority of members in the 123-seat House of Representatives, but it is the people outside parliament who will be the government’s priority in decisions made over the next three years,” said Kiro, reading from the speech.

“The new government is committed to delivering; to getting things done. It wants people to see demonstrable, measurable results that make their lives easier, and help them to get ahead.”

Much of the speech was devoted to lines and themes similar to what was heard on the campaign trail, across subjects like the cost of living, health and law and order. The government was committed to working for “all New Zealanders” and would spend public money safely. “[It] has many priorities and among them are rebuilding the economy to ease the cost of living, delivering tax relief and increasing prosperity for all New Zealanders.”

The government would achieve its spending promises by “restoring discipline to government spending”, Kiro said.

The performance of Kāinga Ora was noted as a “concern” for the government. “There will be a review of its finances, procurement, development and asset management practices,” said Kiro.

“The lives of some neighbours of some Kāinga Ora properties are being made miserable because of inadequate action against anti-social behaviour by some Kāinga Ora tenants. Under the new government, there will be appropriate consequences for tenants who engage in repeated anti-social behaviour.”

On transport, the speech reiterated the government’s pledge to cancel planned fuel tax increases, remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax and build a four-lane highway alternative for the Brynderwyns in Northland.

The decision to repeal the pseudoephedrine ban was also given a shout out as part of a commitment to health, as was the removal of the Māori Health Authority. “There will be no co-governance of public services and emphasis will shift to the frontline rather than the back office. Services will be delivered on need, using a range of effective providers, including iwi and community groups who have the best reach into the communities they serve.”

The transition from Labour to National was also recognised. “Perhaps New Zealand’s strong sporting traditions help New Zealanders to be generous in defeat, and humble in victory. Whatever the reasons, few countries in the world change governments as smoothly as New Zealand does. It is something of which New Zealand, as a nation, can be justifiably proud,” the speech said.

“It has put the government in a good position to start on its 100-day plan of action. The 100-day plan is a forerunner of three years of action because New Zealanders voted for change, and the government will be tireless in executing it.”

Today’s proceedings will also include the first debate of this parliamentary term, with the opposition given the opportunity to respond to the substance of the speech from the throne.

Tomorrow will be the first time Labour leader Chris Hipkins goes directly up against PM Christopher Luxon, with question time resuming at 2pm.

Government priorities to be laid out in speech from the throne

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The governor-general Dame Cindy Kiro is about to deliver the official speech from the throne at this morning’s state opening of parliament.

Written by the incoming government, the speech lays out priorities and policies for the term ahead. As noted by Luke Malpass in The Post this morning, as the speech is not actually written by the governor-general, it often feels slightly at odds to hear them speaking it.

“The speech from the throne is an overtly political document, and usually has the governor-general, sitting in the old legislative council chamber, reading out some pretty classic political lines and soundbites which don’t quite gel with the person delivering it,” he wrote. The governor-general never enters the debating chamber of parliament, owing to Westminster tradition.

Before the speech, the usher of the black rod knocked on the doors of the debating chamber to alert MPs to the speech, who then filed out to the legislative chamber. Here’s how that looked – note the marks on the door from previous black rod whacking. As one YouTube commenter remarked, “she’s breaking in”.

Watch live: The state opening of parliament

The pomp and ceremony continues at parliament today, with the official state opening of parliament.

It includes the ceremonial speech from the throne, written by the government and delivered by the governor-general, along with the first debate of the 54th parliament.

You can tune into the live stream below:

COP28: A room fit for a King. Or not?

King Charles meets with PM Chris Hipkins

Laura Gemmell, chief executive of Eco Choice Aotearoa, writes:

The organisers of COP28 (the Conference of the Parties) have billed it as the most inclusive yet; and there’s certainly a huge number of countries represented and a technicolor of cultural dress amid the boring suits.

But getting an invite, and being given the floor, are two very different things. King Charles gave an address at COP’s opening ceremony to a massive audience and said all the things you’d expect he would. Quotes like “The world does not belong to us” were
picked up by media outlets around the world, with his speechwriter no doubt giving themselves a quiet pat on the back.

It’s clear King Charles genuinely cares about the environment, but the fact is, he’s from a country which is yet to truly bear the brunt of climate change and it seemed like a missed opportunity to hear from someone on the frontline.

A day later, King Tupou the 6th from Tonga gave two speeches. He joined a long list of speakers during a high-level plenary on climate action, and in stark contrast to his royal peer, spoke to a cramped room of no more than 30 people. He spoke calmly and eloquently about the climate impacts his kingdom was facing through no fault of its own, but due to the “unscrupulous actions of others”.

Tonga is extremely low-lying and its people are reliant on tourism and agriculture. However, those livelihoods are being destroyed by drought, flooding, ocean acidification, erosion, and soil salination.

In the 2021 World Risk Report, Tonga was ranked the third most at-risk country for natural disasters and sea level rise. Vanuatu and Solomon Islands took first and second place, respectively.

The point is, this was a man with something of real substance to say, beyond pithy soundbites. He has lived experience, and a justifiable axe to grind with nations who’ve failed to fulfil climate finance pledges and commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You could understand if he was sceptical about whether any of the money promised to kickstart a new loss and damage fund (effectively compensation for developing nations experiencing the worst effects of climate change) will make it to his shores.

This King spoke for his people, urging the global community to recognise its moral imperative to do better and (I’m paraphrasing here) get its sh*t together. And maybe that’s precisely why he was relegated to a small room hardly fit for a King. Or maybe COP isn’t so inclusive after all?

Read more from Laura on COP28 here.

The Bulletin: Young people in NZ strongly support smokefree measures

New research released this morning via the Science Media Centre and reported by RNZ this morning, shows that most New Zealanders aged 16-29 support the law to progressively ban smoking. As we know, the new coalition government plans to repeal changes to the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act that would have barred the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2009, among other restricted measures.

The Canadian-based international study shows 79% of that age group wanted the ban. The University of Otago’s Dr Jude Ball, one of the study’s co-authors, says that even the majority of the young people who do smoke still support the scrapped policies. “This fits in with previous research both here and overseas which shows the large majority of people who smoke regret starting and most want to quit,” she said.

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New government has ‘anti-Māori bias’ – Hipkins

Chrises Hipkins and Luxon (Image: Archi Banal)

Chris Hipkins says the new government has an “anti-Māori bias” and thinks it was totally acceptable for those concerned to march in the streets yesterday.

Led by Te Pāti Māori, thousands protested the reopening of parliament yesterday across the country, taking aim at the government’s plans to, among other things, remove te reo from public offices and take references to the Treaty out of legislation.

The opposition leader told Newshub’s AM he understood why Māori wanted to have a say. “I think we’re seeing now probably for the first time in decades a government that wants to wind back progress [on race relations],” said Hipkins. “I think it’s very fair that [the government] be subject to scrutiny.”

Hipkins said that it was just like when farmers drove their tractors through main centres in opposition to the former government, which was also acceptable, he said.

On the decision in the House yesterday for members of Te Pāti Māori to have sworn allegiance to the King in a – possibly – offensive way, Hipkins said that wasn’t for him to criticise. However, he welcomed the decision by many, including Pakeha MPs, to take the oath in te reo.

Meanwhile, Stuff’s Tova O’Brien has taken a closer look at yesterday’s proceedings, which included asking the new Māori development minister Tama Potaka if he was aligned with his party’s planned policies. Six times he “skirted the question”, wrote O’Brien, with Potaka simply replying: “We have robust debates.”

Today will see more of the pomp and ceremony in parliament as the speech from the throne is delivered. The Post’s Luke Malpass explains what we’re likely to see, and why the speech itself is “usually a pretty dry document”.