Variety of insults as Aussie media reacts to New Zealand's new government

A variety of reactions came from Australian media to New Zealand's new government — most of them insulting in one way or another.

The Australian delivered the heaviest coverage. Its night editor seemed something of a fanboy, with stories late Thursday night headlined "Maverick seals NZ stunner" and "Who is Jacinda Ardern," and beginning with descriptions of Ms Ardern's recent meteoric rise.

But with the new day came a new angle: "NZ shocker: losers take over," and Ms Ardern now branded "socialist-leaning" by the Murdoch-owned paper.

It seems The Australian is not a fan of MMP, and the way a party with 44.4% of the vote could lose out to one with 36.9% (Ms Ardern and Winston Peters, of course, argue that the combined red-green-black vote of 50.4% is the real majority under a proportional system).

In a front-page editorial, The Australian's foreign editor Greg Sheridan gives us a good talking down to. He writes, "The rise of celebrity politicians, the fall of good governments, the terror of the populists – in its mild, vanilla way, this weird New Zealand election outcome has it all."

He adds, "Trust the Kiwis. The thought of perhaps 10 years of good government was ultimately unbearable for them."

Centre-left votes might not appreciate its tone but at least The Australian  made New Zealand's change of government its headline story.

Elsewhere, on the likes of the Fairfax-owned Sydney Morning Herald and other major media sites, the main insult was that events barely rated a mention. The SMH does carry an article in which foreign minister Julie Bishop downplays speculation of damage to Kiwi-Aussie relations over the Barnaby Joyce affair (in which NZ Labour's Chris Hipkins played a role tipping off Australian media). Her own comments at the time notwithstanding, Ms Bishop calls it a media beat-up.


The Australian's home page on Thursday night (above) and Friday morning (below)

You have to scroll way, far down the Financial Review's website to find any mention of the change of government. A straightforward account headlined "NZ's Brexit: Ardern is new PM," highlights Winston Peters' comment that "New Zealanders have come to view today's capitalism to be their foe, not friend."

In a separate article, "NZ dollar seen extending retreat," the Financial Review says "The NZ dollar tumbled overnight, in what could be the initial phase of a major retreat amid uncertainty about the nation's new government and a potentially expanded mandate for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand."

It also quotes Capital Economics' Paul Dales saying he awaits more details on what the new government plans.

"We are not yet changing our forecasts for GDP growth, inflation, interest rates or the dollar. But the less growth-friendly policies mean the risks to our forecasts are on the downside," Mr Dales says

It's sobering reading ... at least, for anyone who scrolls far down enough to find it.

State broadcaster ABC offers a pithy summary of Mr Peters' likely demands (which won't be revealed until early next week) in a piece titled "New Zealand election: Jacinda Ardern is indebted to Winston Peters and he won't let her forget it."

In the UK, The Guardian has a predictably welcoming effort: "How reluctant leader Jacinda Ardern charmed New Zealand" but the new PM's anointing does not make the epically long Daily Mail home page at all.

And while The New York Times has a Kiwi front and centre, it's the suddenly notorious Taika Waititi, not our prime minister-elect (and no, he does not say anything untoward about our rivers).


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33 Comments & Questions

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Greg Sheridan is a complete fool, I am not surprised he is anti-MMP - but, Greg, how many Prime Ministers has Australia gone through in the same ten years?

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Australians - Can not decide on marriage equality and have gone through 3 prime ministers in quick succession. Easy to write articles, from the outside.

For better or for worse, NZ elected their prime minister through an election process instead of overthrowing sitting prime ministers.

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Well, NZ didn't elect their PM, Winston did.

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We never get to elect our PM - we don't have a presidential system

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Nope - majority voted to reject the evil of socialism.

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In the election process 36% voted for Jacinta Arden to be PM, and 44% voted for Bill English to be. So by no stretch of imagination (or the truth) can it be said that NZ elected Jacinta Arden as PM. Yes the majority of National voters will get on with life doing their best and hoping that their fears won't be realised, but don't try to paint this as something it isn't - a democratic vote for PM.

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Winston Peters allocated the NZ Prime Minister job to the woman known as Comrade Ardern. She is the NZ PM "select" by A sad old man who suffers from self loathing.Ardern will never be the PM" elect". Also a sad sad day for true democracy in NZ.

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Anyone dissatisfied with the result can move to Australia and "raise the IQs of both countries".....

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Does you boss know you are using his paid time to comment on the NBR rather than concentrating on your job of flogging jap imports? BTW, the price of which is rapidly rising with the new change in government.

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I have to say that is a fabulous headline in the Australian. Well called, Australia.

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Given the Aussies energy problems deficits social problems even with the Coalition of Losers from Hell IMHO we are still going to better off here than in OZ.
We better be looking for new markets given the OZ market is going to tank and not recovery for at least a decade. Digging stuff outta the ground when the same stuff can be dug outta the ground in Africa a whole lot cheaper aint gonna work for the Aussies.

And unlike us they dont export food to a growing and wealthier middle cals world as we do.

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This is the Coalition of the Losers. The NZ media must be delighted as they invested heavily in a Jacinda-led outcome, except this was Winston-led. More than half the NZ First Caucus have Cabinet positions and they only got 7.2% of the vote. This is legal but undemocratic and not remotely meritocratic. The arrogant, self indulgent, Winston Peters has won the day at what will be great cost to the taxpayer as the months go by. As a voter, like many, I now see less reason to bother voting in future.

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Excellent news re you not voting

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Oh, my non-vote comes with an inevitable reduction in tax revenue for the Loser Coalition. Everything comes with a price, especially when nobody would hire NZ First/Labour people for a normal job.

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Seems that it's not just some Australians who don't have a blinding clue about how New Zealand's electoral system of MMP actually works?

Under MMP in NZ a lawful and legitimate new Govt has been formed.

IMO becoming a new Govt is NOT losing.

National - now being relegated to the Opposition - is losing.

IMO - the 'coalition of losers' is arguably the 56 National and 1 ACT MPs who are now no longer in Government.

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That is a whacky interpretation. However, easily solved as Labour will undoubtedly spend big on wellness officers!

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The point [correctly] here is that our MMP is an ass - and this election has made that loud & clear - hear the penny drop ?

Let's get this campaign underway now to fix that big mistake.

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Australians are brilliant in their deliberate ignorance of their own political mess, good on ya cobber

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Any Randy. GregbSheridan is a brilliant political analyst

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I love the Aussies now because they speak the truth and the truth is obvious.

The losing parties Labour NZ First and Greens are now running the country.

Mugabe will be laughing and would consider closer economic relations with Winston and our Communist state of New Zealand or is it now New Zimbabland.
Everyone will get a pay rise and pay a billion rand for a loaf of Tip Top bread!

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Or Venzuala

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It is all pretty embarrassing stuff really.... Comrades

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In breaking news, Murdoch doesn't like the Left....

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The Aussies are understandably puzzled as they saw a Labour government take Australia from a superstar economy to an also ran. They have envied the NZ economy to the point Australian investors now own much of our share market ( as well as our banks, insurance companies etc etc).

I’m more optimistic and see positives in the change. National ran a great economy but they ignored the young, the first home buyers, those concerned about water quality and people trying to save for retirement. They maintained a tax system that rewards speculation and asset accumulation over productive investment and prudent savings. They allowed excessive immigration which strained infrastructure and housing. If the coalition can alter course while not killing the economy in the process it will be a good thing. But it’s not without risk.

If they don’t succeed we will have a new (less arrogant?) National government in 3 years or less in an election that won’t be simply a 2 party system pretending to be MMP. I’m sure if this coalition fails, NZF and Greens won’t reach 5% next election and we will be back to a 2 party system that is effectively FPP. Until the NZ voter matures I’m not sure we are ready for true MMP.

It’s the voters lack of Understanding of MMP that is at fault not the system. In true MMP we could see a National coalition with the Greens or Labour. Parties with differing views find compromise for the greater good. The Maori party played the MMP game properly and got destroyed in the next election for it despite getting major concessions from a znationsl government for Maori interests. Greens pretend to be MMP but really use the enviromental conscience to garner Centre leaning votes for an otherwise far left party. They are not prepared to compromise their left wing values to try to get even major concessions from a Centre right government. If they did they would be destroyed in the next election.

NZF are the only true MMP party and hence get to call the shots because no other minor party is prepared to negotiate a coalition with parties other than their preordained partner. That’s not how MMP should work.

Finally I don’t like Bill English being portrayed a Loser. In my mind he’s a winner. He won more votes than any other party. He showed enough integrity not to give Winston everything he asked for despite NZF winning only 7% of the vote. He also had the sense to sit back and give the Coalition of the unwilling a chance to destroy itself so in 3 years National come back with a clear mandate to govern. Hopefully he will use the time to reflect on what National can do better and remove alot of the dinosaur deadwood from the National front benches.

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Grant, I agree that Kiwi's aren't ready for MMP - which is in concept a good political system - but with the FPP mentality we still see 20+ years after its introduction, you have to wonder when the concept will be grasped.

As far as the 'dinosaur deadwood' on National's front bench is concerned, sadly Bill is still referering to them as 'talent'. That's worrying!

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No, I think, Bill English lost and failed as leader, PM and senior minister. For the second time he failed to lead his party into power. In the election he did almost as well as Theresa May but like her it was embarrassing given expectations and the fact the opposition parties simply promised jam and Christmas. Effectively he had the first chance to persuaded Winston and his own party. He promised he had Km and Todd B issues under control. Hey big spender. Corporate dosh. Queenstown Yachts.

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Failing to do a deal with NZF will probably go down as the smartest political decision this century. I think Theresa May would envy Bills 44% of the public vote - and would comfortably govern in UK with such numbers. Finally I think Bill showed integrity and intelligence walking away from NZF. I’m glad the coalition have a chance to make a positive change to NZ. But I’m also glad we have Bill in the wings waiting to pick up the prices should they fail.

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Iron Ore going from $130/t to $40/t might have also impacted the Australian political environment at the time...

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Yes, although that designation could be similarly leveled at the highly dysfunctional Liberal National Coalition across the ditch. For those of us who thought that the Australian Labor Party was the only one afflicted with byzantine factionalism, one need only cast an eye in the direction of Messrs Abbott and Turnbull, which has already cost their party two state governments (Queensland and Western Australia). Witness the ridiculous shenanigans afoot with the current postal plebiscite on same-sex marriage equality, something we resolved quickly and thoroughly here in 2012-13. Given that Bill Shorten's ALP routinely leads the Coalition in most opinion polls, it may not be long before Australia joins us in renewed social democratic government. As a matter of fact, Theresa May's Conservatives don't look particularly healthy either due to the self-inflicted damage of Brexit caused by their own arcane Eurosceptic and Europhile factionalism. This could be the beginning of a trend...

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Many Australian political commentators always praised John Key and English for the successful political and financial management of Cabinet and Government they conducted compared with Abbott and Turnbull
However beyond the superficial similarities that both nations are in the Southern Hemisphere and formed out of British colonies and over the last 40 years experienced a massive exodus of talent to the US and UK, they have far less in common than most imagine
Since WW2 , Australia has developed on American and European ideas, structures and contacts where NZ remained driven by British ideas and lost social causes and mostly diluted Methodism. The differences in scale make comparisons irrelevant. Australia is a country built on huge cities, heavy industry and huge sophisticated public transport.Key budgetary issues in Australia are much more defence and public transport and as in the US and UK quality education has increasingly become a matter of going private and the desirability of public health services and their expansion remains a matter for debate. In NZ the departure of the talented and educated and the expectation of those who remain that there going to Europe, is not really revealed or admitted partly because much of the talent that drove NZ in the second half of the 20C were British and Sth African and they and there offsprings have often gone back to Brightly. Put bluntly the departure of intelligence from NZ and the limited media resources of a press and television working on old outdated ideas of journalism about giving a Government a chance, and supposed rules about, journal of record, fact not opinion and obligation to support our short term export trade mean that Clark, Key, English and their economic immigration and social and sexual policies were never subject to real analysis or debate, the idea of respecting, Donald Trump, Pauline Hanson or Enoch Powell would not receive a hearing here.

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I agree with your analysis of differences between Australia and New Zealand, but perhaps their overdependence on US trade, investment and foreign policy alignment may help to explain Australia's current economic malaise and woeful political leadership. I am somewhat puzzled about your references to Pauline Hanson and Donald Trump, given their protectionist and economic nationalist ideologies- surely their closest equivalent within New Zealand is New Zealand First? Given that they are now Labour's coalition partner, that suggests your argument about such political philosophies not being canvassed or aired in this country is highly questionable.

In terms of the questioning of immigration policies, again, there is New Zealand First. Furthermore, New Zealand's political culture still has more in common with the United Kingdom than with Australia and the United States as well. There was a visible Clark/Blair axis, just as there was an identical Key/Cameron philosophical influence, and the same may be true of Jacinda Ardern and Jeremy Corbyn, as well as Bill Shorten.

To be frank, the current malaise of Australia appears attributable to several factors- the populist right antics of the Murdoch chain, its dysfunctional federalism, internal party factionalism (whether the Liberal/National Coalition or ALP), and an absence of foreign policy realism when it comes to the need to maintain equidistant stances from the great powers in a multipolar world. We need to take greater interest in Chinese politics, society and culture if we are to fully comprehend its economic development, needs and requirements as a lucrative and expanding export market for our goods, products and services.

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"the combined red-green-black vote" - what is that? No-one who voted green expected them to team up with black, or vice versa...

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