The Governor General will deliver the speech today, pressing play on a hectic three weeks of work for MPs, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin, The Spinoff’s morning news round-up. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday, sign up here.
The speech from the throne
Another day of ceremony today before work begins in earnest on the new government’s agenda. Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro will deliver the speech from the throne (usually written by the prime minister’s office) and lay out the new government’s agenda. We’ve already had strong signals via the 100-day plan, so it’s unlikely to contain any real surprises. The 2020 speech, delivered by then Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, focused on Covid, economic recovery, housing, climate change, economic inequality, and Crown-Māori relations. As The Post’s Luke Malpass notes on what today’s is likely to cover, the speech “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.”
Brownlee sworn in as speaker
Gerry Brownlee was sworn in as speaker yesterday. “What a surprise,” he said. Brownlee acknowledged the seven speakers he had served under during his parliament. “Many of them at some point or another have come under some approbium from parts of the House, quite often from me. And I think that is unfortunately the lot of the speaker, but I’ll do my best to be fair and even across the House.” Brownlee also acknowledged outgoing speaker, Labour’s Adrian Rurawhe, who now returns to the opposition benches. “You, Sir, brought a calm and a dignity to this House at a time that it was needed, and I know that many members who are here today very much appreciate that.”
If you’re on Instagram Stuff’s Robert Kitchin, as always, has great shots from yesterday.
Willis seeking advice on halting extra pay for public servants fluent in te reo Māori
Andrew Geddis has delivered his verdict on yesterday’s swearing in and Te Pāti Māori’s approach to it. “The opening of parliament is suffused with symbolism and performative meaning. So seeking to challenge, or to subvert, that symbolic meaning is entirely apt for a party elected precisely to upend the status quo,” he writes. “Democratic dissensus and contestation doesn’t end once the places in parliament are filled.” On yesterday’s protests, as Newshub’s Jenna Lynch said last night, they were “peaceful and largely not too disruptive, but many are looking at it as the entree to the hikoi to come. Willie Jackson is picking protests 20 times the size of it when all the iwi leaders organise.” RNZ’s Phil Pennington reports this morning that public service minister Nicola Willis is seeking advice on halting extra pay for public servants fluent in te reo Māori but concedes she might not have a lot of luck as they are contained in binding collective agreements. The allowances range from $500 and $3500 a year.
An early start to the political year and the PM’s summer reading list
Kiingi Tuheitia, the Māori King, has issued Te Paki o Matariki, the highest form of proclamation, calling for a national hui for Māori to unite to ensure “all voices are heard when holding the new coalition government to account”. It will be held on January 20 at Tūrangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia, providing an earlier-than-usual scene setter and direction of travel for the Ratana celebrations and Waitangi day. A shorter summer break for MPs and parliamentary staff and an earlier start to the political year was already on the cards. At Monday’s post cabinet press conference, prime minister Christopher Luxon indicated that cabinet is likely to be back on January 15, with parliament returning after Wellington anniversary weekend, on or near January 23. The final sitting day, as it was set down at the beginning of the year, is December 22. For Luxon, the shorter break could still contain a lot of reading if he follows the recommendations laid out in the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research’s annual summer reading list for the prime minister. This year’s includes End State: 9 Ways Society is Broken & How we fix it, (James Plunkett), How Big Things Get Done (Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner) and the General Non-Fiction winner at this year’s Ockham Awards, The English Version of the Treaty of Waitangi (Ned Fletcher).