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Politicians make most of airtime

Opinion Piece

It has been a big week for political junkies, with a number of fascinating developments and announcements in the past seven days and more to come this week.

Probably the most significant development was National expressing serious doubts about the new gun laws and whether to support the second tranche of legislation. Details of that, including plans for a national gun register, were leaked to the party, prompting leader Simon Bridges to say they appeared to target good law-abiding people rather than criminals, guns or extremists.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was disappointed the unity fostered after the Christchurch atrocity had not continued, while Police Association president Chris Cahill urged MPs not to descend into a US-style debate on gun laws.

National also has doubts about the Government’s climate change legislation, which it supported at the first reading. The most obvious point of contention is agricultural emissions and the rate at which they should be reduced. National has always enjoyed strong support from farmers and is reported to have been under pressure behind the scenes on this issue.

Judith Collins is reported to have said she will definitely vote against the legislation. The crusher is also writing a book that will be eagerly awaited by the political junkies.

National also announced its financial strategy for the 2020 election, including a gradual raising of the superannuation eligibility age to 67. Bridges says the party would scrap 100 regulations in its first six months in power.

There is more to come this week, with the Government due to announce its plans to revise the disastrous KiwiBuild project. It will also release its freshwater legislation, another subject that will undoubtedly provoke debate.

You could almost believe that politicians are trying to get maximum exposure before another event, starting later this month in Japan, swamps them for coverage.

But like the immortal Sir Humphrey Appleby of Yes Minister, I could not possibly say that.