The government this week continued to struggle to wrest the narrative on rising crime, despite prioritising firearm prohibition orders to reduce gun harm. National Party was less than impressive to hit on the government's overall performance on economy.

This week witnessed some spirited attempts from both – the government and the opposition – to seize the centre stage of the news cycle, yet both have abysmally fallen short, despite clear opportunities to take a hit on the other.

Early in the week, the police minister came out with a press release announcing that the Firearms Prohibition Order Legislation Bill would be passed through all remaining stages by the end of next week.

The bill aims to give the courts the power to impose an order on gang members wielding guns in public and indulging in serious gun-related violence.

The bill (on firearms prohibition order), according to the government's own admission, is a significant step forward after being first considered under the previous National government in 2014, when the idea failed to get traction in the parliament. A Select Committee also recommended change in early 2017. Other proposals in a Members Bill were rejected in 2018 and 2021 because they were too narrow.

Yet, despite this seeming progress, the overall perception remained unchanged, with the perception of a currently ongoing "crime crisis" in NZ continuing to gain traction.

The number of audacious ram raids on dairy store operators across the country and the accompanying stories of fear, sense of violation and frustration experienced by hapless retailers did little to improve the government's image on law and order.

To be fair to the government, though, the government has acted with much-exalted sense of decisiveness and clarity on law and order and rising crime in the last month and a half, including changing the Minister of Police.

The new Police Minister Chris Hipkins, who is arguably one of the most efficient and the go-to Minister in the cabinet, has demonstrated far more energy, urgency and clarity of mind than his predecessors in the key portfolio.

Yet the law-and-order situation continues to remain the government's Achilles' heel.

The National Party was equally lacklustre in making a mark on this week's politics.

Party leader Chris Luxon, coming out fresh from previous weeks of social media gaffes and speaking with media ahead of the then anticipated Stats NZ report on unemployment rates, did not have a clear and new vision about the future direction of the NZ economy.

The line of attack on the government that it was running a constrained economy and constrained immigration was responsible for huge staff shortages was stale, without any vigour.

The Minister of Social Development and Employment, Carmel Sepuloni was quick to claim that the record low level of unemployment (3.3 per cent for the June quarter) was a result of "the Government's economic plan to support households and businesses through the challenging global environment, resulting in more people in work and wages rising."

In the absence of any believable counterargument from the opposition, the government's claim of record low unemployment levels remains unchallenged.

The story of the pain of the hospitality and the tourism sector, struggling for both – the visitors and travellers and the workers to support the sector – remained unattended.

Even the much-awaited news of the complete border opening on midnight of July 31 failed to give any impetus to the struggling sectors as the numbers arriving on the borders are expected to trickle down slowly rather than appearing in the form of a deluge.

To give a perspective, on the first day of border opening (August 1), Immigration New Zealand received 2863 visitor visa applications and 696 student visa applications.

Indeed, this is nowhere near the pre-Covid numbers of incoming travellers, visitors and workers coming into the NZ economy.

Since then, the government has brought in an "immigration reset" with the ambitious aim of reducing the reliance on temporary migrants from overseas. It is now the beginning of how that immigration reset will unfold and help the economy grow as NZ reconnects with the rest of the world.

In all, this week in politics witnessed less than impressive performance from both the government and the opposition.