John Armstrong says that the lack of protest shows the government can re-find its testicles:
National’s annual conference was not short of protests. But the protests were embarrassingly short of protesters.
Contrary to the impression given by some accounts, the 400 or so party faithful did not spend their weekend cowering inside Auckland’s SkyCity Convention Centre behind a not-so-thin blue line of police.
The police showed up in significant number; the protesters did not. Yesterday morning’s all-comers rally against everything National stands for drew a total of 79 people – it may well have been counter-productive.
It was incredibly counter-productive…the protests can be safely scoffed at…there isn’t the mass outrage that Labour and the Greens have claimed…in fact Labour MPs at the weekend were rather more pointedly worried about the launch of a catamaran or actually staying at SkyCity when the National Party conference was underway, rather than manning the protest frontlines. One MP even thought harassing people enjoying the footy was better than actually protesting.
John Key and his senior ministers will take the paucity of protesters as confirming National is on side with majority public opinion in pushing ahead with controversial policies such as more welfare reform and much more oil and mineral exploration.
National believes – or rather its polling is telling it – that most voters are now desperately hungry for serious economic growth. The environment has become very much a secondary concern.
Absolutely…Nation needs to adopt the mantra of Mine it, Drill it, Sell it.