Yesterday’s press conference from Chris Hipkins sent some very clear signals as New Zealand’s new prime minister hits the ground running this week, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday morning, sign up here.
Chris Hipkins, prime minister
And just like that, it was done. Well almost. The Labour party caucus confirmed Chris Hipkins as new leader of the Labour party and prime minister, and Carmel Sepuloni as deputy prime minister yesterday afternoon. On Wednesday, just six days after the resignation of Jacinda Ardern, Hipkins will be sworn in as prime minister. This morning, Toby Manhire zones in on the clear signalling during Hipkins’ first press conference and what we can expect him to focus on.
- A brief refresher on Chris Hipkins
- A beginners guide to Carmel Sepuloni
- Hipkins’ street style in Napier last week got labelled bad fashion but I think it’s just a grizzly Gen X-er doing his thing. The Labour party are now auctioning off Chris Hipkins’ cap and wrap-around sunnies
- The Spinoff’s Toby Morris offers up his first rendering of New Zealand’s incoming prime minister
Other matters of hygiene
Kelvin Davis will remain deputy leader of the Labour party. Hipkins will do a round of media this morning and meet with ministers in Auckland to discuss policy priority adjustments. He will lead his first caucus meeting on Wednesday and meet business and community leaders in Auckland on Thursday. Cabinet reshuffles will be announced next week, although Hipkins will resign his current roles when he is sworn in as prime minister with acting ministers put in place for his education and police portfolios. Policies will be jettisoned. The Herald’s Thomas Coughlan (paywalled) looks at what’s safe and what’s not.
Ardern’s last call as prime minister
Ardern’s last engagement as prime minister will be attending the Rātana celebrations tomorrow. Hipkins will also attend. Ardern will remain the MP for Mount Albert until April. Andrew Geddis explains the in and outs of that situation to Newsroom’s Bonnie Harrison. It’s not quite as neat and tidy as the seamless transition to new leadership we’ve just witnessed. As Newsroom’s Marc Daalder writes, we’ve seen none of the drama we’ve come to associate with leadership changes.
What we’ve lost with the undoing of Ardern
There are two pieces about Ardern that I’d like to highlight. One is by Simon Wilson (paywalled) who questions what we’ve lost with the undoing of Jacinda Ardern. The other is by Duncan Greive. Read it all but the last two paragraphs underscore something that I think needs further untangling. Hipkins spoke about his family in yesterday’s press conference and the toll his role in the Covid response had taken. I am wishing on a star here, but my sincere hope is that while the news rushes on, we all hit a reset button on our toleration of the way those in the public eye are spoken about. As it stands, political scientist and former intelligence worker Paul Buchanan thinks Ardern will need more ongoing security and protection than any former prime minister.