top of page

Subscribe Form

Thanks for submitting!

Search

MICHAEL BASSETT: Chris Hipkins

At first sight, Chris Hipkins looks like a better potential Prime Minister than Jacinda Ardern. Where she had acquired skills only in communication, and in other respects had been poorly educated, possessing little knowledge of New Zealand’s political history, Hipkins was a top student at Victoria University where he graduated in politics and criminology, chairing the students’ association along the way. His teachers speak of a good temperament and a pleasant personality. He comes across as himself, and not scripted like Ardern by those in the back office. And he has a formidable capacity for shouldering huge ministerial loads, albeit sometimes showing signs of overload.


However, closer examination of Hipkins’ record doesn’t provide much cause for optimism. In my day in Parliament, Labour MPs had read whatever had been written about the party’s history. We endlessly discussed the reasons why our predecessors had taken the actions they had. What had worked, and what didn’t? Why had some long-standing Labour policies not stood the test of time, while others had?


None of that political curiosity seems to have motivated Chris Hipkins, or his colleagues in this ministry. Coming into Parliament in 2008 as a 30-year-old, his maiden speech revealed a huge level of ignorance about the crisis faced by the Fourth Labour Government, and he seemed little moved by the considerable skills shown by Helen Clark’s Fifth Labour ministry which he’d seen at closer quarters. If anything, his maiden speech indicated a romantic hope that Labour could return to its ancient dogma. He wasn’t as dreamy as his weaker colleague, Michael Wood, whose immigration and employment policies sound alarmingly like the 1930s visions of Michael Joseph Savage that finally crashed in a train wreck under Robert Muldoon in 1984. Like it or not, today New Zealand is part of a globalized economy. Trade and employment policies based on centralised social engineering down here in the South Seas behind tight rules and regulations are bound to fail. Unless Hipkins quickly grasps this fundamental reality, economic progress under him will be very slow. It’s because of centralization and over regulation that we have so many skills shortages under this government and can’t find enough people for our health and educational services. Our globalized economy limits New Zealand’s economic options, but provides exciting opportunities for those who are prepared to get an education and to explore them. The new government needs to help, not hinder.


Hipkins’ early speeches in Parliament stressed education and the need to keep improving standards and opportunities. It wasn’t surprising that he emerged as Labour’s spokesman on education; eventually, more than five years back, he became the Minister. But name me any substantial achievement of his during those years? Educational standards achieved by school leavers have dropped this last five years; school attendance figures are the worst they have ever been, and it’s not all just due to Covid. The weakest educational bureaucracy in decades is part of Hipkins’ problem. Making matters much worse has been his and Jacinda’s determination to re-design school curricula, introducing a demonstrably false history syllabus for schools. Ardern, Hipkins and the rest of the Labour ministry went much further when they proceeded with a complete restructuring of the Ministry of Health during a pandemic. For a time, after the goofy David Clark was dropped as Minister of Health in 2020, Hipkins was in charge. He managed to keep the show on the road, but careful monitoring of major decisions was beyond him. He was directly involved with policies that contributed to the current staff shortages in hospitals. He put a smiley face on his public Covid briefings, but careful analytical back-up assistance never seemed available to him. Same with his role as Minister of Police. Neither Hipkins, nor any of his colleagues has shown the slightest inclination to hold parents to account for the disastrous juvenile crime wave that has been allowed to develop in recent years. It’s under Hipkins’ roles as Minister of Education and Minister of Police that tens of thousands of children are wagging schools, many of them preferring to join gangs and engage in the excitement of ram-raiding. His colleagues, meantime, talk about easier penalties for misbehavior amongst teenagers. Quite often, no one seems in charge.


Sad to say, Chris Hipkins has been a key figure in an incompetent government that has pushed up almost every bad social statistic. And I haven’t mentioned this government’s very destructive racial policies that might well do more than any of the failures listed above to finish off his time as Prime Minister on 14 October. A few hardy souls think he could pull Labour up, but after a probable momentary blip in the polls, I suspect that six years of a mostly dead-loss administrative record will sink the Hipkins Ministry. It’s a pity. With more able, less dogmatic colleagues, he might have had better prospects.



8,154 views118 comments

댓글 118개


I hope you're right Mr Bassett, I hope you are right. God help us if NZ voters are so blind as to vote Labour or NZ First back in.

좋아요

Some voters will vote like this: "I'm going to think carefully about the policies being put forward by all the parties, and consider which best fits my vision for NZ." And some will vote like this: "Oh isn't he cute and endearing? And he even has a nickname. Chippie! All the journalists call him that. They must think he's great. How cool. Look at his down-to-earth boganesque sunglasses and his tracksuit. How relatable. He'll do." I have a niggling concern that the second group of voters is disappointingly large.

좋아요
zespritz
zespritz
2023년 2월 10일
답글 상대:

Think of it like a pyramid and morons are the large dense blocks on the bottom half, naturally they number twice as many as the leaner brighter blocks in the top half now imagine each block gets to vote, who do you think votes to settle at the bottom.

좋아요

No way Jose
No way Jose
2023년 1월 24일

When your political party relies so much on identity politics because, in the case of Labour, it holds none of the pre-requisite attributes of a good government and no palatable policies either, you need to have appealing people to get any political traction at all. This is why Labour is destined to remain in the doldrums while those unimpressive, self-serving, water asset thieving control everything freaks are still pursuing thier own agendas. Thanks to this, National and ACT will wipe the floor with Labour at the next election. Thank you Willie, Nanaia, Kelvin et al. You have shown all of NZ how treacherous and devious your intentions are and you have extinguished your own and your parties futures. Haere ra…

좋아요

The puppet has a new face, but it's still the same puppeteer pulling the strings.

좋아요
Aaron Shanahan
Aaron Shanahan
2023년 1월 23일
답글 상대:

It may well be a different puppet, but the strings are pulled from the person in front of the Harley, brilliantly illustrated by garrick tremains excellent cartoon.

Aaron

좋아요

The brainless voters who switched to Labour at the last election may decide to vote Green this year - and that is one of the dangers of MMP. Greens and ACT are polling neck and neck, so it wouldn't take a huge change to allow a coalition of idiots to form a disastrous 'government'.

A government guided by ACT policies is the only way this country is going to survive.

좋아요
winder44
winder44
2023년 1월 22일
답글 상대:

Very true. If the ACT party does not get the votes it deserves, this country is going to be in a whole lot of trouble.

In the next months' beware the carrots being dangled in front of the politically naïve, and of course the young indoctrinated, particularly if they get the voting age down to sixteen.

좋아요
bottom of page