Grant Robertson, Prime Minister? – Policy Leadership

Grant Robertson

Grant Robertson has been in parliament as an MP since 2008, and worked for Helen Clark before that. His background in politics seemed to suggest he would be one of the leaders of policy formation in the current Labour administration, but it is hard to think of a single policy success attributable to Grant.

This may be unfair on Grant, he may have had policy successes, but he has not been any good at selling them. If he had been any good we would know about them, and we would have had his podgy visage on the 6 o’clock news for weeks on end.  

Grant has been near anonymous in the Environment portfolio. He has done bugger all to hold National to account, and has ceded massive ground to the Greens through his inaction. This is despite the environment being one of the easiest areas to rinse National because no one really trusts National on the Environment.

The urban voter could well believe that National is going to give farmers huge amounts of money to pollute our waterways, ruining some of New Zealanders most cherished possessions. Yet we havent heard a peep out of Grant on this.

Grant has also been negligent in his understanding of the National Party budget. National has set aside nearly $500m for irrigation projects, projects that will cement New Zealand as a low value commodity producer and give National’s backbone, farmers, a big increase in wealth. It is crony capitalism at its worst. Or that’s how a competent Labour spokesman would be spinning it.

The limitations of Grant’s policy thought are not only his inability to explain why intensive farming is bad for New Zealand. He has lacked the strategic thought needed to be able to see that $500m is a good amount of money Labour can piss away on its own voters. He can do this without much blow back because there are never any farmers that vote Labour, and very few voters who will not vote Labour if they take back the $500m for irrigation.

Labour got nailed at the last election when John Key asked Phil Goff to show him the money. Grant can easily show National $500m by stopping irrigation funding, but has not done so. Grant’s judgment seems lacking.


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  • Troy

    Robertson has ceded ground to the Greens because he knows he’ll have to cocksuck them at the next election in order for the coalition to come together. Why else would he be sitting in the shadows saying fuck all about the environment?

  • BJ

    As I said a few days ago I believe Grant Robertson is a life long student – but may never feel he knows fully enough what to put it into practice that that he’s observed and learnt is the role of the leader.

  • cows4me

    Perhaps even he has come to the realisation that spending $500 million on irrigation has to be better then giving it to bludging fucks that will simply piss it up against the wall.

    • Patrick

      Or that the farming industries are our biggest earner of foreign currency – money sorely needed to finance the debt to rebuild ChCh, fund WFF, free student loans, the dole, the DPB and all the other bludger payments that are made to the idle masses. Attacking farmers is the tactic of Robert Mugabe, the politics of envy – we know where that has got the Zimbabweans don’t we.

      • parorchestia

        And look at what happens when you do irrigate. The North Canterbury irrigated areas now has superb wineries, great olives (oliveries?), small berry fruiteries, etc, as well as dairy. It is now home to some great little restaurants and coffee shops – one of which sells magnificent fruit teas, such as coconut tea – I kid you not, it is great.
        Once it was bleak with run down towns, sheep farms and a few arable farms.

        • Hazards001

          Sounds like the Latte swilling crowds idea of heaven. Maybe we could export some of the Ponsonby cafe crowd there and get their useless Remeura tractors off our roads and put them some place useful. At least it snows there.

  • Goldie

    “National has set aside nearly $500m for irrigation projects, projects that will cement New Zealand as a low value commodity producer”
    IIRC, the $500m is over several years and is keystone investment – once the projects are being paid for by users, the Govt. sells its shareholding. A key purpose of the irrigation projects is to reduce environmental damage.
    The reason for the irrigation projects is precisely the opposite of cementing in NZ as a low value commodity producer – it will allow land use to shift to higher value meat, dairy and specialist horticulture. Contrary to popoular misconcption, most of Fonterra shifts is processed ingredient, not just WMP. NZ exports very little frozen carcass – it is mostly chilled premium meat for restaurants or processed burger patties.

    • Anonymouse Coward

      So can I outbid farmers for these irrigation projects, or will the sale be a cozy stitch-up between the National Government and the landed gentry?

      • cows4me

        Why not have a go.

      • Gazzaw

        You can bid by all means AC – it’s a free country. ‘Landed gentry’ ? I’d laugh if it wasn’t such a sad, envious and ill-informed comment to make.

        What do you do for a crust AC? Whatever it is you’re not likely to be coining as much foreign currency for the country as the farming sector. Me? I’m totally dependent on the discretionary dollar spend for my income and I’m forever grateful whenever the international price of dairy product or beef or wool goes up because I know that I’m going to have a good year.