Lloyd Burr: Is the Hipkins honeymoon over?

Lloyd Burr: Is the Hipkins honeymoon over?

OPINION: As I listened to Chris Hipkins at his post-Cabinet press conference on Monday - I found myself asking if his Prime Ministerial honeymoon is over.

Then again on Tuesday morning, on his weekly media rounds, when he was again having to defend his embattled Domestic Violence Reduction Minister Marama Davidson, I found myself asking it again.

Is Hipkins' honeymoon over? 

And the more I think about it, the more I think the answer is yes - that the shine is starting to wear off. 

It started with his double standards on public servant impartiality. 

Hardly anyone would disagree with the motives for Nash's banish-worthy crimes: wanting tougher sentences and lobbying on behalf of a constituent regarding an immigration matter. 

But they broke the rules, Hipkins had to look tough, and demoted Nash to number 20 in the Cabinet rankings. 

It's an astonishing statement from his Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence Minister - mainly because it was inaccurate. 

All it's done is inflame an already simmering race debate, encouraging people to ask, If a white minister said a generalisation like that about Maori, they'd almost certainly be sacked. 

But Hipkins has swallowed Davidson's lacklustre excuse hook, line, and sinker. She was in shock after being hit by a motorbike, and was being accosted by a mad conspiracy theorist. 

She hasn't apologised or back-tracked or even come out with stats that help explain what she was talking about. 

Is it stubbornness from her? Is it weakness from Hipkins? Is it a bit of both? 

Regardless, it's cemented that the Hipkins administration isn't that different from the Ardern administration.