Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Audrey Young: Two months to get a grip on Donald Trump

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Alex Bult and his mother, Maria Bult, mask up  at a New Orleans Pelicans v Sacramento Kings game. Photo / AP
Alex Bult and his mother, Maria Bult, mask up at a New Orleans Pelicans v Sacramento Kings game. Photo / AP

Perhaps the best feature of the American electoral system is that it gives us two and a half months to recover our composure before the new president takes office.

At press time, Trump was on course to win the presidency in the style to which we have become accustomed - shockingly.

While plenty of Americans will be celebrating the Trump victory, Hillary Clinton was undoubtedly the international favourite, including that of New Zealand.

She was known to New Zealanders as a former Secretary of State and took a leading role in repairing the diplomatic rift over the nuclear policy.

She was not vulgar or uncouth.

It made it easy to believe the polls this week that extended Clinton's lead and assurances that Trump didn't have a path to the White House through the blue "firewall" and the swing states.

In fact, in the 18 months since Donald Trump declared, there hasn't been a single New Zealand politician who publicly supported Trump.

Not even Winston Peters, the populist New Zealand First leader, who shares a similar style of political belligerence that has been so successful for Trump.

To give Peters his due, however, he predicted in a recent speech that Trump would win.
He associated himself, not with Trump personally, but with his "guts" to talk about immigration.

Exactly what Trump will do with immigration is not known.

Between now and January 20 when Trump is sworn in, Government advisers all over the world will be trying to decipher his promises from just one of those things you say on the campaign.

On the campaign, for example, he said he would deport 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States.

Trump's official website, however, comprises only 16 policy positions and his position on immigration is less clear. He does commit to building a wall on the border with Mexico but mass deportation is not spelled out.

Rather it says "all immigration laws will be enforced".

The immediate big issues for the New Zealand Government will be trade and ISIS.

On the issue of trade, the concern is not just whether the Trans Pacific Partnership can be given the kiss of life but Trump's threat of trade hostilities with China and the potential to spark a new era of protectionism.

Trump's views on defence and the Middle East where 143 New Zealand Defence Force troops are part of the coalition in the fight against ISIS will be of major and early concern to the Government.

Again what he has said on the hustings is different to what his formal promise says.
The answers to these and many questions may not be some time off but at least we have more than two months to work out the questions.

- NZ Herald

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Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor, a job she has held since 2003. She is responsible for the Herald’s Press Gallery team. She first joined the New Zealand Herald in 1988 as a sub-editor after the closure of its tabloid rival, the Auckland Sun. She switched to reporting in 1991 as social welfare and housing reporter. She joined the Herald’s Press Gallery office in 1994. She has previously worked as a journalism tutor at Manukau Technical Institute, as member of the Newspapers in Education unit at Wellington Newspapers and as a teacher in Wellington. She was a union nominee on the Press Council for six years.

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