Labour’s initial dismissal of escalating crime in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle is a “really bad” look for Chris Hipkins, political commentator Bryce Edwards says.
“The politics of that have been quite bad for Hipkins because he came and he has minimalised what happened, and he’s generally minimalised the threats of crime in the region,” Dr Edwards told AM Early on Thursday.
“I think there are some angry people, in Hawke’s Bay in particular.”
The palaver started after an incident where roadworkers had a gun pulled on them in Hawke’s Bay was initially played down by Hipkins. The Prime Minister apologised for this on Tuesday, saying the information “I had from the police, at that point, was clearly incorrect”.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has also since said sorry to Hipkins for the communications breakdown.
Dr Edwards said Labour and the police got that part of the cyclone rsponse wrong.
“I think that’s been a really bad look for Hipkins… and the police.”
Hipkins told reporters on Wednesday the Police Commissioner was putting extra resources into Hawke’s Bay and the pair were having “regular, ongoing” conversations.
Despite the crime ordeal, Dr Edwards believed Labour was “a very good crisis manager”.
Overall, the politics of the cyclone’s aftermath “will probably reward Chris Hipkins and the Government”, Dr Edwards said.