Yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern faced the music and outlined the coalition's plans and priorities as she attempts to move on from a tough week. Ardern announced that her cabinet had been restructured, appointing an inner cabinet that looks as though it will be the powerhouse driving the Government.
The new roles are a response to criticism that her coalition Government lacked a unified objective and that her deputy Winston Peters was actually running the show. The inner cabinet should consolidate her power as it means most decisions will be be filtered through her own hand-picked committee before reaching the wider cabinet.
But the speech didn’t actually contain any new policy and has since come under fire. The Taxpayers' Union was unimpressed by Ardern’s address, comparing it to a TED Talk, and not in a good way. It was criticised for splitting up the economic cake rather than investing in its growth, and the group was also disappointed that New Zealand’s diminishing business confidence was not mentioned at all.
Unsurprisingly, National Party leader Simon Bridges was also not a fan. Bridges called Ardern’s outline a “rah-rah” speech, saying she was "desperate to show a united Government after the shambles of the past few weeks".
Bridges also went on to say the speech showed a "Trump-like attempt to avoid tough questions with a stage-managed pep rally and carefully vetted questions. This is a Government in damage control trying desperately to get itself together."
But Ardern seemed to have won over the Council of Trade Unions. President Richard Wagstaff said "compassion is at the heart of the Coalition Government," and the “commitment to lifting living standards for all” had already made a difference to the lives of New Zealanders.