Beehive Diaries: The National Party’s awkward couples and PM’s property call

Beehive Diaries looks at the week in politics, including some awkward pairings for the National Party’s road show, and the Greens calling out the PM on the wealth tax.

Bad weather:

A seemingly never-ending period of grotty weather in Wellington provided the first spot of tension between the PM and her new deputy, Grant Robertson, who is also Wellington Central MP.

As she arrived in Wellington on Monday, Ardern posted a screenshot of the weather reports for Auckland and Wellington with the quip: “Arrived in Wellington to chair Cabinet …. And to remind @grantrobertsonMP that it’s summer in other places.”

Auckland was at 20 degrees, Wellington a miserable, miserable 9 degrees. Fix it, Grant.

The Odd Couples:

After its caucus meeting on Tuesday, National MPs were sent off in pairs to hear some home truths from party members and volunteers about the election result.

Whoever decided on the pairings is clearly a fan of the absurd, resulting in some odd couples forced to spend some quality time with each other.

Nicola Willis and Christopher Luxon, the two MPs pegged as potential future leaders by Sir John Key, were dispatched around the Canterbury region together, while Collins’ supporter Maureen Pugh and Bridges’ supporter Paul Goldsmith were sent around the Wellington region.

Mark Mitchell and Todd Muller drove up the Kapiti Coast and to Wairarapa.

The two are half of the “Four Amigos” (the other two are Chris Bishop and Alf Ngaro) but Mitchell backed Simon Bridges for Muller’s leadership coup, and then had a tilt at the job himself after Muller fell.

Perhaps National’s people decided Muller could need a bodyguard, and Mitchell’s experience as a cop and in security in the Middle East fitted the bill.

Meanwhile the Bill and Ted pairing of new Southland MP Joseph Mooney and Simon Bridges sauntered around the deep south.

Flogging Dead Horse:

The Green Party’s wealth tax proposal was whacked out of the field by PM Jacinda Ardern before it even made it to the post-election negotiating table, but it takes more than that to keep the Greens down.

Within hours of the Reserve Bank saying it would provide $28 million for banks to lend to their customers at low interest rates and predictions it would further boost the property market, the Greens sent out a statement calling for a wealth tax as one mechanism to cool things down.

Ardern’s response was to say that the property price increases were not sustainable. “It just cannot keep increasing at the rate that it has been.”

It remains to be seen how she will stop it. She is not the first King Canute on this particular beach.

Quote of the week:

“Interestingly enough, I lost by 163 votes and I heard there were about 200 votes came out of Ngawha Prison. I put a few of those guys in there, so probably none of those are mine.”Former Northland MP Matt King’s police officer past catches up on him.

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