COMMENT

The Prime Minister has addressed her falling popularity by suggesting, in an interview, it's because her Government is tackling the difficult issues. Depending on what poll you're looking at, depending on whether you believe reportage of internal polling, she has fallen from 51 per cent to 41 per cent or even further - some suggestions are she is down 16 per cent.

Now, a couple of things about the numbers: there are two glass half-full scenarios. One, we don't elect presidents, we support parties. So you don't have to be wildly popular to be a prime minister, ask Helen Clark or Bill English. And two, the slip can be partially explained by the fact Jacinda Ardern's halcyon days were post-Christchurch, where she excelled and people responded. However, where she is today is down, and it looks bad. Which, ironically, is where Simon Bridges might just be in luck.

His performance and party of late are looking better and better. More stable, more consistent, more reliable. The numbers for the party are up, so I would be surprised if he didn't start to follow. Even if he went to 8 per cent from 5 per cent, it's a positive story.

Advertisement

Ardern falling 16 per cent can't really be seen as anything other than an issue. But then, to her rationale as to why, she is tackling the difficult issues. She defines them as abortion, climate change and mental health. She also tosses in the CGT as a possible. And in that excuse or rationale is her great weakness: failing to understand what's really going on.

Why is climate change hard? According to her lot, it's the issue of our time. Everyone agrees the planet is dying, we need to ban plastic immediately and drive an EV if we are not on a train. According to their rhetoric and beliefs, this should be popular, and wildly so. This is her nuclear moment. Why has she chosen a nuclear moment she now seems to think isn't popular? She'll presumably be campaigning on it. Does she not expect to get votes?

As for abortion, it's not her issue. It's a conscience vote. It's not different to any other time it's been tackled and governments haven't worn it previously. Mental health? People according to her are crying out for help. Don't they vote? Aren't they grateful? Is this not another issue we all agree on? Or is she really confessing she knows she's off-side with most New Zealanders.

Does she know she's part of a cabal of thought-bubblers who have bandwagons and agendas and this is their time to make as much change as they can before they're booted out?

But here is the real answer to her question, and it's not in the aforementioned subjects, as much as it is in KiwiBuild, Labour law reform and infrastructure or lack of it. They've tanked the economy, and they've cocked up policy and they've spent two years angsting over stuff that doesn't need angsting about, like Ihumatao.

A lot of red tape, ideologically-driven bans and rules, roads that aren't being built, trains that are, more unions, confidence through the floor and a sense they look like a government that never expected to actually be running the place, and they looked spooked and out of their depth.

She can't say that of course, so she blames climate change. Which is ironic because we seem to blame it for everything don't we, so why not her falling popularity.