Jacinda Ardern has issued a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do instruction to voters:
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has delivered her strongest rebuking of NZ First MP and Minister Shane Jones yet, suggesting that if he was a Labour MP, he would face demotion. . .
How strong is that strongest rebuke?:
“If I had a member within my own party making statements like that, I would have a very obvious ability and course of action that I could take,” she said.
“I could demote, I could reprimand; [there is] a range of things that I could do.”
But all those things were off the table because – although Jones is one of her ministers – he is in a different political party. . .
That is weak and it’s tosh.
She is the Prime Minister and has the power to discipline, which could include sacking, any members of her cabinet.
At least that’s what the Cabinet Manual says, but could it be that the secret collation agreement between Labour and New Zealand First holds a clause that takes that power from her?
We can’t know while the agreement remains secret and in the absence of that knowledge this looks hypocritical:
“My message to voters is this: In election year, the power now sits with you. You determine who is able to form Governments and you have it within your power to decide what you make of those remarks, as well,” she said.
“What is within other’s powers is to join in the condemnation of statements, like those we have seen made by Shane Jones.
“I asked of voters to act on their values when it comes to election time.”
She’s expecting voters to act on their values when she isn’t acting on her own.
She could, as Simon Bridges has done, and as Cat MacLennan writes she should , rule out New Zealand First as a partner in a future government.
She’s failing to discipline Jones and rule out his party next time herself but asking voters to do it for her.,
That’s very much do as she says, not as she does.
In doing that she’s sending a message to not only not vote for NZ First but to not vote for National because only with that party leading the next government can voters be sure it won’t include NZ First.