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Posts Tagged ‘National Party


This post has gone through several iterations and much of what needs to be said has already been said both here and in the media. Can I especially thank Wayne Mapp for his thoughtful contribution.

Those of us who hold pilot licenses well know that it’s seldom that a serious incident is the result of just one error. It’s error on error on error compounded. Take that analogy a step further and by the time Denise Lee’s e-mail was leaked by whoever in caucus National was in an inverted stall, 300 feet from the ground, and unable to pull up.

And right now National MP’s are running for cover, engaged in ‘off the record’ conversations with journos, and pointing fingers. Well listen here people, and I say this as a Party loyalist and activist with a certain pedigree, I hold each and every one of you jointly and severally responsible for what happened last Saturday night.

Put bluntly. You had collectively forfeited the right to govern and we (the Party) paid the price.

And it started well before 2017 when the Board failed to take action against an MP who failed to disclose his association with the CCP but who, once that information had been made public, should have been deselected by the Board. And then came the 2017 election where ‘we’ fooled ourselves that we had won and acted as though we had. I can well remember the 2018 Conference and being ‘preached’ at by various Party worthies as if we were still in power, buoyed up by opinion polls and a coalition government still finding its feet.

National lost it’s way with the gun legislation trying to be woke. And all the while egos were in play so by the time Covid-19 arrived on the scene the seeds had well and truly been sown for the catastrophe that was to follow.

The country went into Covid-19 with some very real advantages … we were able to pull up the drawbridge. You can argue the response around the edges but Labour got it about 80% right and reaped considerable kudos with voters from that … voters who compared what happened here with what was happening (and is still happening) overseas. And loose talk by Gerry Brownlie (and others) went down like a cup of warm sick. Yes, there was/is an economic price to play but voters focused on the here and now.

I’m not going to dwell on the leadership change(s) except to say while the Party could have possibly gotten away with one, the circumstances surrounding Muller’s resignation meant that Collins was well and truly handed a hospital pass. And for those of you who say ‘she’ ran a bad campaign my response … she inherited a campaign designed first by Bridges/Bennett and tweaked by Muller/Brownlie. Three months out and you don’t redesign a campaign from scratch. I note Collins has acknowledged she might have done certain things better. Pity some of erstwhile colleagues weren’t so forthcoming.

But I make this point … Collins was starting from behind the eight ball and she knew it and when Goldsmith trashed our economic credentials it was pretty much all over rover.

So, where to from here. Well, first of all the caucus needs to have a real ‘Come to Jesus’ moment because until it does, recognising their collective responsibility for what happened, then nothing much will change. Above all, the leaking must stop, but that’s easier said than done … one hopes and expects caucus members are ambitious but personal ambition has to take second place to being a contributing and effective team member. A caucus that leaks is not and never can be an effective opposition.

As for the leadership and right now Collins must remain as leader. She has said she wants to keep the job. Whether she still wants it twelve months hence is for the future to decide. But right now the caucus, wounded as it is, does not need a leadership contest. For the next little while the phone will be off the hook for National. The caucus should instead concentrate its effort on exposing Government failings (and there will be some/many remembering always that Oppositions seldom win elections; Governments lose them). But, having said that, it does need to signal its not mired in the past. Gerry Brownlie represents the past. A new Deputy Leader is called for. Were I to have any say in that I would be arguing for Dr Shane Reti for a whole variety of reasons … he has cross-aisle respect; is a policy wonk; is an accomplished backroom operator.

But there needs to be changes at the National Party Board level too and they will be voted on later next month. Peter Goodfellow, the President, should do himself a favor and stand-down from re-election. His leadership in the the last little while has been put to the test and he has been found wanting. There is a mood for change and its far better that he retires on his own terms. Right now there are four candidates standing for three positions including Northland’s Grant McCallum who has gathered significant support for his candidature. Grant is a successful farmer with strong connections into the business community. He has previously served on the Board but above all he knows the importance of listening to the grassroots of the Party. He’s tough and not afraid to rock the boat in order to make it happen. Grant is the type of person we need as President.

I could talk about policy but that’s for another time. Right now it’s the caucus and the Board that need to sort themselves out.

Written by The Veteran

October 25, 2020 at 3:51 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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A historic defeat, in some respects worse than that of 2002, should result in the deepest reflection of the state of National for the last twenty years.

What went wrong? How can it be fixed? Or is National staring at the prospect that it will wither away in the same way the Liberal’s did one hundred years ago?

To deal with the withering away first. Although some on the Left are already fantasizing about this, it is not credible. Just twelve months ago, National led in the polls. Then Covid struck. The PM’s sure footed response, in contrast to National’s ever changing positions, assured many National voters that Labour was the safe choice. Labour understood this and went out of its way to reassure these National converts that Labour would not be embarking on any crazy socialist experiments. Labour knows they have a temporary lien on these National voters. At some stage they will lose them. But obviously Labour will seek to delay the inevitable for as long as possible. Labour will already be planning how to win the 2023 election, and probably even the 2026 election.

The return of erstwhile National voters back to National is no sure thing. That is why, in my view, the defeat is worse than in 2002. In that election, National votes went to ACT, New Zealand First and to United Fiuture (remember the worm?). They didn’t go directly to our main opponent. This time they have. In addition, the Greens have 8%. The Left block has 57% and the Right Block only has 35%. It is an enormous gap.

National might find it hard to win back its erstwhile voters. Although 12 and 15 year governments are not the norm in New Zealand, they do happen. Labour, 1935 to 1949 and National, 1960 to 1972. There is a real risk, if Labour is moderately competent, that the newly won Labour voters might stay for a while.

So what is to be done? Make a six year plan, not a three year plan. Obviously National is going to seriously contest the 2023 election, but the plan needs to be more forward looking than just the next three years, both in terms of policy and in terms of candidates. To take the latter point. Having the top end of the List entirely composed of sitting MP’s is a mistake. National has to recruit top talent through the List as well as through the electorates. It is how Don Brash, Hekia Parata, Chris Finlayson, Tim Groser and Katherine Rich got into Parliament. The List Standing Committee needs to take its role of selecting new talent more seriously, especially when National is not in government. It is not there just to rank MP’s.

The policy challenge will be substantial. During this election, National looked seriously out of touch, with tired old policies, more suited to a generation ago. There was no new thinking, and apparently no real awareness of how society is changing. Just to take a relatively minor issue in my own area. Based on the hostility of a few elderly activists, National decided to oppose the Sky Path across the Auckland Harbour Bridge. There was zero awareness of the mood of younger people, and a growing move to different types of transport. By opposing Sky Path, National was seen to be on the wrong side of history.​

Designing policy for the 2030’s will not be easy. It requires making an estimate as to how both the society and the economy will develop in the future. But it is necessary to make bold judgements. Fibre to the Home was a big decision for National early this century at a time when full spectrum internet had barely emerged. The decision by National to back fibre was a bold decision and was seen as such by the wider community. It captured the sense of National looking forward. Roads, albeit an essential part of infrastructure, simply do not have the same cachet.

A clearly understood, easy to explain “Plan for The Future” will be an essential requirement to win office. So will the right team to carry that message. Judith can rightly claim she was given something of a hospital pass and will be given time. Maybe she has another election in her. However, when you look beyond 2025 it seems inevitable a new top team will be necessary. That means starting to position those already in caucus who could fulfill that role and looking to the selections of 2023 and 2026 to recruit able new talent, including with high list positions for the right people. No-one should underestimate the challenge ahead. It will require an enormous rebuilding effort to get National match fit again. The thinking and the planning needs to start now.​

Written by The Veteran

October 24, 2020 at 1:33 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Will Todd Muller emulate SCOMO?

I have been pondering this since Muller ousted Bridges from the National Leaders seat based on the following similarities:
* Both are tall strongly built men.
* Both are known to be devout church goers.
* Both were relatively unknown when they came to the fore as leadership contenders
* Both won their parties leadership vote narrowly – as I understand it.

Unfotunately for Muller the comparisons end there as I can only recall SCOMO making one serious mistake since taking leadership of his party and that was at the time of the bush fires while Muller has shown every indication of being gaffe prone in a number of areas ever since assuming the leadership. Hiding the Make America Great Cap and his failure to support his MP Hamish Walker being but two examples.

At election time SCOMO had the advantage of taking on the increasingly unpopular Bill Shorten who seemed to have a knack of alienating even his most ardent supporters. On the other hand Muller has to contend with the still very popular Jacinda Ardern who is supported by an adoring and compliant media despite the many failings of both she and the Government she leads. Although some of the gloss is slowly being eroded.

Can Muller be Prime Minister?
I am doubtful. At the moment he is exhibiting all the traits of a follower as he tries to out `woke’ Ardern. In my view he needs to harden up and differentiate himself from the `Labour Lite’ model that National has followed in recent times. Come on Todd bite the bullet, get some good old fashioned National Party policy out there and take it to an inept, Coalition Government and to Jacinda Ardern in particular.

Written by pdm1946

July 5, 2020 at 9:24 pm

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Welcome to the big league Todd.    Not sure you needed telling but the MAGA hat issue (and we won’t talk about the Michelle Obama flag) sez more about the sad state of media journalism than anything else.   You have attracted some criticism for not saying FU to the media.   On balance I think you were right in your observation that it was an unnecessary distraction.   You pick the fights that you can win.   This was not one of those … it has become an article of faith for many in the media that Trump is the devil incarnate.   You can’t win against that. 

On a much more positive note and I applaud your firm commitment to overturn Jacinda’s ban on oil and gas extraction/exploration.   Her announcement was policy on the hoof bereft of any analysis designed solely to burnish her climate change credentials among the unthinking and gullable  … virtue signalling at its worst.   It mattered not that the ban does nothing to reduce our Co2 emissions and costs jobs.   Our oil and gas requirements are what they are and will remain so.   What we can’t produce locally will have to be imported from overseas at a cost.    I’m sure you’re aware that the exploration companies will require some assurance that a future Labour/Greens administration won’t just reinstate the ban before they commit to reinvesting in the industry.   That can be achieved by structuring permits that indemnify the holder against such action.

And kudos too for restating National’s commitment to progressively raise the age of entitlement to NZ Superannuation.   This is being honest with the country in contrast to the ostrich like approach of the  CoL that we can carry on with NZS as is with no change.    If it were a moot before Covid-19 it certainly isn’t now with the country in about to go into recession and the government having to borrow to fund operating costs.   Superannuates are one of the few cohorts to come through the pandemic relatively unscathed.  Many of us own are own homes, many of those homes are mortgage free, many of us still work, many of us have other income streams.    Put simply we are a protected species.   NZL can’t stand aloof from what is happening around the world in respect of old age pension entitlements and pretend that NZS, as it is presently structured, is sustainable.  With people living and working longer it make sense to push out the retirement age in graduated steps well signaled in advance.    Others might argue for the imposition of means testing but that is political suicide on steroids.

You have announced help for small and medium size business to expand and take on new staff and that is entirely in accord with National Party philosophy of hand-ups over hand-outs.    Of course there are the purist Actoids who will cry foul … their catch cry ‘let them eat cake’.    They of course enjoy the advantage of being able to talk in slogans.    National has the responsibility to articulate detailed policy.   My attitude to ACT is probably akin to the RC view of other christian faiths … described as ‘separated brethren’ with their hearts in the right place.

And good too your announcement that adjustments to the minimum wage will be put on hold as long as the country remains in recession.    That is being responsible.    You could actually make a case for pension/benefit payments to be frozen across the board as long as the country experiences minimal inflation but that might just be a bridge too far.   Nevertheless you can argue there should be no sacred cows as you work to get the books back into surplus and that has to be the focus.   We owe it to our future generations that they are not saddled with crippling debt.

And finally, forget any thought of a dalliance with a WRP led NZF Party.   Doing that you are playing his game and breathing oxygen into a corpse.   Post WRP and with a new leader in place some sort of accommodation might be possible but not now and certainly not for the September election.


Written by The Veteran

June 1, 2020 at 1:24 am

Posted in New Zealand

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History never repeats?

Oh yes it bloody well does, and with more than rhyming Mr Twain.

In The Vet’s post the other day, What Has Louisa Wall Done To Offend?, he made the point that her being challenged for her seat from within the Labour Party was a mystery given that she ticks so many boxes for them: Maori, Female, Lesbian, smart, high achiever in sport, academia and now politics…

Amidst much discussion some points were made about Chris Trotter’s constant raging against the Identity Politics Warriors like Wall messing up his beloved Class Warfare purity that he thinks Labour should return to. I was reminded of a piece of satire that Danyl McLauchlan wrote a few years ago on his old blog, The DimPost. Once he started writing serious stuff for places like The Spinoff he made his blog private, but thanks to The Wayback Machine, a commentator’s suggestion, and more searching than I usually care to do, I found it: Chris Trotter on Party Central (2010):

So “Party Central” is no longer central to the party that is central to the party at the centre of our party politics. 

Am I the only Kiwi who experiences tightness in my jaw and a numb feeling in my left-arm when I contemplate the disarray that has befallen Auckland governance?

we have all supped from the golden poison chalice of satanic robot run regional and local government only to find ourselves regaining conciousness yet again in our neighbour’s toolshed with our clothes drenched in urine.

Danyl really should try satire again, although it may be that he can find no one to pay for it. But it was the next section that I remembered the best:

It was the radical right-wing feminist government of William Massey that spread open the labile pink floodgates of change and swept away the egalitarian order in a wave of capitalist frenzy, separatist Maori entitlement and so-called-women who threaten to press charges because that is what their liberal puppetmasters at our elitist universities have brainwashed them to do. 

Like most real New Zealanders I yearn for the days when our great little country was ruled by stocky, moustached trade-unionists but I fear that those days are gone forever, swept away by a great wave that swept everything away like a wave.

During my history search I found a 2014 article by Trotter advocating pretty much the treatment that Wall is getting, Labour’s Caucus Still In Charge, where he admiringly quotes Matt McCarten from 1988:

“So we should call a special conference of the party and expel them … The Labour Party made a mistake selecting these people so sack them. Throw them out and let them stand against us. They’ll lose and the Labour Party can rebuild itself.”

To be fair, Chris appears to now be in total thrall to “the labile pink floodgates of change“. Funny how  winning elections and obtaining a measure of power can do that.

Speaking of which, during my search I also found an old comment of mine from Kiwiblog in 2011, in a thread which dealt with us losing people to a more successful Australia and DPF’s lament that we need to boost productivity and lift wages.

Shorter message: Vote for us because we suck less than the other guys.

Actually that’s the entire National message as NZ slowly reverses into the 21st century. And it’s an effective one as they undoubtedly know; the smug, cynical response being who else are you going to vote for? 

And they’re correct.

As far as the media coverage is concerned I say to all lefties, welcome to our world circa 2000-2005. The shallow, pathetic coverage of stories combined with gushing over various aspects of [PM Key] is really very little different than in Clark’s time. Sure, there are the blogs but they aren’t there yet in supporting a narrative the way the old MSM still can. 

But don’t worry. National and Key will tire sooner or later, Labour will find some “new” material as candidates and even a fresh leader, the pendulum will swing and you will find yourselves benefiting from exactly the same uselessness of media coverage. 

Yeah. History repeats all right.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 26, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Make New Zealand Great Again

My Photo

Old Trottsky has been hammering away again on his dream of New Zealand retreating back to the Golden Weather of his childhood – sans all the social conservatism that was actually a key part of making that socialism possible, starting with social shaming.

Like Marx himself Trott’s has very few specific ideas of what exactly is needed to make New Zealand Great Again but like his compatriot Bradbury and others it seems to involve the rebirth of huge government-owned businesses like the Ministry of Works, in concert with government approved private corporations like the old Fletcher Challenge, all bound together with massive unionisation and lots of regulations to keep an eye on the greedy seekers of profit. Not so strangely – if you understand anything about Old Lefties like Trott’s – is the accompanying fantasy of a strong military than can kick some butt when needed by “The People’s Dictatorship“.

As far as the rest of the private sector is concerned – yes Virginia, we’re not talking Communism here, let’s give him credit for that – his suggestions are based on this key assumption:

That strange combination of creativity, thrill-seeking and greed, which propels the entrepreneur towards new ventures will soon respond to new incentives and new opportunities.

Gosh! Greed is good, as they say. Who knew?

As always with Leftists, other key factors for entrepreneurs are ignored in Trotter’s world of a government that only does good, huge, positive things as it dominates the landscape.

What he misses in his ode to Big Government is the most basic thing desired by entrepreneurs from government:

a high degree of certainty in government plans, at least in the near future, and a willingness to leave them the fuck alone.

It’s tough enough coping with and balancing all the things that go into a business – all the carefully laid plans that have to be modified quickly, sometimes drastically, or even scrapped in the face of market changes. All the things both little and big that change almost daily.

But it becomes so much tougher when, in the back of your mind, you have no idea what’s coming down the road from government in terms of rules and regulations, taxes, interest rates and general bureaucracy, that last often based more on some local official’s whims than the black-letter law that government thought it had passed.

And like any eco-system, these effects often take years or decades to become apparent. I would suggest that NZ’s hopeless lack of productivity over the decades – which shows up in us working more hours per year just to keep up with the Aussies – is down to the fact that, for all our politicians bloviating about entrepreneurs and the like, we simply have not provided an environment of government laws and regulations that’s stable enough to compensate for all those other market factors.

As a result our entrepreneurial class has steadily dwindled as such people have given up and fled overseas over the decades.

And that’s before we get to the current disaster. What trust has any entrepreneur got that this won’t happen again soon, with COVID-25 or whatever? And there is no hope that a National government would be different. They may be picking away now at various scabs of technical failure, but they supported it all from the start, craven cowards that they are.

So perhaps we will see a return to the world Trotter so loves: the NZ of 1935-1984 where one slogged along to a dull, boring job in some great government approved corporation like Fletchers or some godforsaken government department like the MOW or NZ Rail, all of it enabled by government micro-management whose final exemplar was RD Muldoon.

I vividly recall those end days in the early 1980s, before Rogernomics. I and every one of my varsity peers hated it all; we hated it even more when we got summer jobs in those places and saw our futures laid out before us in promotions from Level PL6 (Programmer Learner) to Level PL7. And time and again, when asked why we would not turn those summer jobs into permanent positions, they could never understand our responses. In fact they looked at us with incomprehension. It’s one of the reasons so many of us fled on the big OE and never returned, or did so only when we were married with kids and had piled up enough money that we could be somewhat shielded from the Kiwi disease.

And we can see all this in just one of Trotter’s ideas, this for tourism-replacement:

Let’s invest in movies, television series, plays, music, novels, computer games. Encourage the world to partake of New Zealand’s unique creativity

What? 21st century re-boots of 1970’s Public TV cringe-fests like Buck House and other equally unfunny comedies that totally lack in “unique creativity”. I saw nothing funny about it and others like it as a child and assumed it was because I was too young to get it. But over a decade later I would sit in a NZ History class viewing such period gems and finding that not only was I not laughing but neither was anyone else in the room. And this at a time when we were laughing our heads off at the distinctly NZ humour of Bad Taste.

And who was behind that? An unknown, no-account movie maker named Peter Jackson. Bad Taste was held to be “appalling” for it’s combination of black humour and splatter-horror. And nothing changed in the next few years.

I can still vividly recall some ponce at the Wellington Movie Festival sniffily telling a TV interviewer that they were not going to list Jackson’s next movie Meet The Feebles because “nobody wants to see puppets farting and covered with gore“.

And that guy was no 60 year old Christian Conservative but a trendy, arty type in his 40’s or so who perfectly represented the NZ “ART” scene. It was no surprise that Jackson basically got kicked in the teeth by that community and hence by related government “support” for years before making it big thanks to US investors.

And that’s the New Zealand attitude towards entrepreneurs in a nutshell. That’s why they have to make it overseas first, and we have to hope to god that they bring the talent and the money back to NZ, as Jackson has done with this huge Weta Workshops company sprawled amidst the old abandoned commercial and industrial warehouses of Mirimar.

I don’t see anything concrete in the suggestions of Trotter or any other Lefty, let alone their idols, Robertson and St Jacinda of Corona (h/t PM of NZ), that would have helped Jackson then or a similar person now. In fact Jackson has become something of a hate figure on the NZ Left over the issue of unions, a facet of our current government that its supporters are drooling to strengthen.

Not doing so many government things is the key: things not to be done, before any possible positive things, like incentives around venture capitalists and investment, can be discussed. Things not to be done by direct government investment or “R&D incentives” and the sort of subsidy schemes and government-sponsored awards and stuff that was around when Jackson started but which he barely saw because they always get captured by special interest groups whose Group Think is anathema to the likes of Jackson.

Trotter himself tripped over the reality of this several years ago when he bemoaned the fall of John Campbell on TV3:

It is one of the great ironies of New Zealand’s (relatively) recent cultural history that the impetus towards free and open airways has, to a startling degree, come from freewheeling cultural entrepreneurs like Colin Scrimgeour, Gordon Dryden, George Andrews, Marcia Russell and Rod Pedersen. Not forgetting that madcap piratical quartet who, in 1966, launched Radio Hauraki.

Oh it’s an IRONY is it Chris? That TV3, the private-sector network driven by greed would actually end up being the one that pushed progressive news and themes the hardest. And this:

One of the strangest aspects of New Zealand’s deeply conformist society is the way it drives so many of its non-conforming citizens into the private sector. Not, it must be said, in the spirit of avarice that makes true capitalists rich, but because it seemed to them about the only place where it was possible to set up an institution capable of saying “Yes”.

That’s the final joke arising from Trotter’s suggestions about the Great Things Government Can Do for entrepreneurs in the wake of the Sino Sinus Disease, and what is really the only lesson and thing they actually need to do for all the talk of “new incentives and new opportunities.

Stop saying “No” and get out of the fucking way.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 10, 2020 at 1:47 am

David Farrar is awfully triumphant!

Over on Kiwiblog, David Farrar gloats:

Winston lawsuit fails entirely

My God. How exciting. The National Party proves triumphant.

In all honesty why is DPF gloating? Why are any of us gloating over this farce?

Winston doesn’t care. He’s been through shit like this many times before. It’s like Trump waking up to people hating his guts, the MSM filled with denunciations of his awful character, lawsuits and being under investigation for everything by a Congress led by his political enemies.

A day ending in “Y”.

Beyond everything else is the simple fact that when he was being buried by Jacindamania in 2017 he found an out in his classic style:

  • Dirty work behind the scenes.
  • By the National Party.
  • And their rich cronies frightened of Brave Winston.
  • And bureaucrats frightened of Brave Winston.
  • He’s a victim…

… and yada, yada, yada.


Media coverage!

That growly voice on RNZ and every other media channel that would have him.

Oxygen for a dying campaign, leader and Party.

And a few months later? A wonderful coalition government built by Winston, who knows his marks, especially 37 year old woman with little or no experience in life. And a fork in the eye of the old enemy, National, especially English, Joyce, and all else who sail in her and got him booted in the early 90’s and then trashed him as the scum of the earth in 2008.

Deputy Prime Minister – and all the whiskey, money, perks and privileges you can get.


For the umpteenth time.

You think Winston felt this terrible blow in court? That he’s wounded perhaps?

Winston probably laughed his ass off on the phone with Henry, cracked another excellent Red, and settled down for a quiet few hours fishing…

La Dolce Vita
… with something to admire that is of good breeding, good looking, and tax deductible to boot.

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?

And then people wonder why I am both cynical about politics and humoured by it.

Written by Tom Hunter

April 20, 2020 at 11:59 am

Oh FFS! NO. Just…NO!

Over on Kiwiblog it would seem that David Farrar (DPF) has finally lost the plot:

Is it time for a Government of National Unity?

He insists that this is not a satirical post:

This is a serious post. 

I think consideration should be given to forming a Government of National Unity, as was the case in WWII. Around 2,000 NZers a year died in WWII and we could see the same or higher here. Plus the economic and system shocks will be like nothing we have seen since WWII.

Alrighty then. The hysteria continues…

Who would be my pick for the “COVID Cabinet” 

  1. Jacinda Ardern, PM
  2. Simon Bridges, Deputy PM
  3. Winston Peters, Foreign Minister
  4. Grant Robertson, Finance
  5. Paula Bennett, Economic Development & Recovery
  6. James Shaw, Defence & Civil Defence
  7. David Parker, Attorney-General
  8. Michael Woodhouse, Health 

So three from Labour, three from National and one each Greens and NZ First.

Ummmm… No. Just NO!

COVID-19 is not a pandemic like the Spanish Flu or even more recent ones like SARS. The death toll and mortality rate in places like Italy and Iran is at least as much due to special conditions that have applied to each country, such as an older population with poorer health (smoking especially) and poor health care system.

The main impact will be economic as things are ground to a halt.

None of these things are going to be dealt with better by a coalition government. The main reason such are formed in war-time is that everybody knows that tough decisions will have to be made that could be argued either way and it’s vital that an enemy not be able to exploit political differences.

This is not that situation. Even a response involving a national “lock down” would be unlikely to see National in Opposition arguing against it, since such responses are what any government would do in a worst-case pandemic scenario.

In any case, can you really imagine Winston accepting this? Sitting beside his Tauranga nemesis, Bridges?


Written by Tom Hunter

March 16, 2020 at 6:31 pm


On the latest Colmar-Brunton poll Winston First will not be back in parliament and National and ACT could form the next government.

On the back of that result the Fairy Princess was at pains this morning to argue that it would be a mistake to write Winston First off … in one sense she was right, you should never do that … but the subtext to her remarks is that Labour and Winston First are joined at the hip … vote Winston First and you get a Labour led gummit.

I urge National to seize the opportunity and make it clear that National will, under no circumstances, go into coalition with NZ First as long as WRP remains their leader.      Winston would rather the question be left hanging … it’s to his advantage.     National can and should act to neutralize that advantage. 

Written by The Veteran

December 3, 2019 at 2:41 am

Posted in New Zealand

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This is number four of four looking at the state of the major players in the lead up to next years election.  Today it’s National’s turn.    My involvement with the Party at virtually all levels stretching back 56 years to when I fronted up at the dog dosing strip at Dunsandel (I kid you not) and handed over ten bob to the electorate chairman is fairly well known.   Paradoxically it has made this post harder to write.

My good friend Psycho Milt and I will agree to disagree on many things but he was 100% on the money when he said in a comment on the post that I did on the Laboour Party that no-one outside National gives a s**t that they scored more votes and won more seats than Labour last time round.   But many in the Party did and it dominated their thinking, so much so that their 2018 conference was run as if National still occupied the treasury benches.   Much of that year was wasted.    They did score a minor victory with Melissa Lee doing the hard yards that led to the sacking of Clare Curran while the Labour Party Youth Camp scandal which led to the resignation of their General Secretary gave some heart to National as did the Sroubek affair.  Then along came JLR who went feral in a spectacular fashion when confronted with allegations of sexual misconduct and bullying.   It was not a brilliant first year by any means.

But all through that year and since National kept polling in the low to mid 40s.   Put simply, the jury is out and remains out on the ability of the CoL (read Labour) to manage the economy.   People remember that Labour in 2008 ‘gifted’ the incoming Key government a ‘decade of deficits’ (Treasury briefing papers) then along came a couple of earthquakes … the rest is history.   National bequeathed Labour a set of books that incoming governments die for.   And now the economy is in downturn and predicted to contract further.    Just how far it contracts will have a large bearing on the outcome of the election.

This year has seen the demise of Kiwiflop with Minister Twyford losing his Housing portfolio and the ongoing second Labour Party sex scandal which has already claimed the scalp of the Labour Party President with perhaps more to follow.    Meanwhile the antics of Ministers Genter and Jones continues to attract comment as does the conduct of the Speaker who has done a stellar job of running interference for the government.

In the meantime National has invested considerable time and effort into policy development with a number of discussion documents in play or about to be released.    National will go into the election with developed policy.   It won’t be relying on working parties in government as a substitute for doing the hard yards in opposition.

Simon Bridges has struggled to achieve cut through with the general public (as do most opposition leaders) although clearly he enjoys solid caucus support.   He will remain leader as long as National’s poll numbers hold up. Judith Collins remains a distraction for him as clearly she enjoys wide Party grassroots support.

National does not have an effective coalition partner.  ACT is there but for the grace of God (read National) but is hampered because it is brand damaged.  On a good day and with a following wind it might be good for two seats but those additional votes won’t be coming from the government side of the fence.    The New Conservatives, so called, are a busted flush and a repository for wasted votes.

But what some may consider to be a weakness can be turned into a positive.  Consider this.  MMP is predicated on compromise … promises can be abandoned on the alter of compromise.  National OTOH can campaign on the basis of promises made are promises to be kept and held accountable to three years hence … a powerful message measured against the cop-out inherent in MMP.

Having said all that and right now I assess National to have, at best, only a 30% chance of regaining the treasury benches post the election.   It is predicated on them maintaining their vote in the mid 40s with ACT picking up at least one additional seat and with NZF failing to make it back.    Big ask but not impossible and always with the caveat that a week is a long time in politics and 51 weeks an eternity.

Written by The Veteran

September 29, 2019 at 7:06 am

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with ,