Worried about Winston

After the negative publicity over Simon Bridges’ travel expense fiasco (which can only ever be described as a trumped up bit of nasty political backstabbing), Jacinda Ardern? must have known she was heading into a storm of criticism for insisting on a special plane to travel to Nauru, because she can’t leave baby Neve for more than 36 hours.

She also risks a lot of criticism that she clearly cannot do the job of prime minister while being a new mother, and she must be aware of that too.

Maybe she is just arrogant and thinks that she is perfectly entitled to command Air Force planes as she sees fit. If she really does think that, then the media will start giving her a hard time fairly soon.

But what if there is more to it than that?

This article from?Stuff?might shine some light on the situation. quote:

Shaped like a peanut and smaller than some big-city airports, this tropical Pacific island has an unusual history.

In recent years it found an answer by becoming a holding station for hundreds of refugees who tried to reach Australia by boat. Australia designed a policy of keeping boat refugees and asylum seekers far from its shores to deter more of them from trying to make the voyage, but many critics say the policy violates human rights.

The fate of those refugees, including a growing number of children who advocates say are suffering from life-threatening medical conditions, is casting a shadow over the Pacific Islands Forum conference that starts in Nauru on Monday night. The forum brings together 18 members including Australia and New Zealand to discuss regional issues. end quote.

Jacinda can’t make it. She has to look after her 2-month-old baby. Then again, she doesn’t actually need to go. She can send anyone from her government, and it just so happens that Winston Peters was always going to the conference anyway.

So why is she insisting on wasting over $100,000 of taxpayers’ money to spend only one day at the conference, when she has competent government ministers who can handle the situation perfectly well?

The answer to that problem probably lies with Winston.

Now many of you will know that I am not a particular fan of our foreign minister.

He campaigned on reducing immigration, and although he has done very little to back up his electoral promises, this has given him an opportunity to state his case. quote:

Many of the more than 600 refugees on the island describe the hopelessness and depression they feel after being stuck in limbo for up to five years. They say they’re not accepted by the locals, and that many of their children don’t attend island schools because they are bullied or made to feel unwelcome.

A series of Australian court cases have described how some of the 120 or so refugee children on Nauru have been evacuated because they are suffering from resignation syndrome, a medical condition in which they withdraw socially and stop eating and drinking. end quote.

Unfortunately, there is anecdotal evidence that parents are actively exploiting their children’s issues, in an attempt to gain refugee status in either New Zealand or the USA. quote:

Ahead of the forum, Nauru has hit back at the findings.

“Sadly some refugee children on Nauru are being manipulated into self-harm by some of their families (supported by activists) in a disgusting & tragic political game,” the government wrote on Twitter. “The end goal is to make international headlines & get to Australia. This is the real child abuse.” end quote.

But Jacinda’s problem is that Winston Peters thinks we should look after our own backyard first. quote:

“We’ve got 50,000 people who are homeless back home,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters in Nauru, adding “we have to help fix their lives up as well before we start taking on new obligations of the level that some people would like.” end quote.

In the middle of a housing crisis, it would be very hard to argue with that. For those who voted for Winston on the basis of his immigration policy, they would feel completely sold out if Winston just simply went over there and came back with hundreds of refugees.?After all, the party’s platform is characterised by its strongly restrictive immigration policies, as well as its emphasis on law and order. Winston’s policy is to have no more than 15,000 immigrants a year. We are already well over that.? So he can’t go to Nauru and come back with a boatload of refugees, can he?

But, as we all know, Jacinda has been determined to bring some of these refugees home with her. She was seen on the news on Monday, saying that she wants to bring at least 150 of the Nauru refugees to New Zealand.

So… is that the real reason she is insisting on going? Even though she is spending an inordinate amount of taxpayers’ money to do it?

Yes. I think it just might be.

What do you think?