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

"Losers take power."

Fri, 20 Oct 2017

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