National, through Steven Joyce’s strategic stupidity, have created an electoral environment that will make it very, very difficult for them to win power. Joyce choosing to protect his own power in 2011 means that 2014 onwards will be very, very difficult for National.
The saving grace for National is as the country works out that it has huge unfunded superannuation liabilities it will be forced to look at who can reduce the deficit the quickest, or who can save the most to put aside to fund entitlements for the old. Newer members of National’s caucus grew up admiring Roger Douglas and the changes he bought to New Zealand, releasing its potential through allowing the market to play a more important role.
National MPs currently in the house and likely to be around in 10 years time are fiscally a lot more conservative than the current group of wets, and ideologically driven more than poll driven. They will have credible, cogent solutions to the major problem of how we fund the state sector, especially if the next government is a weak Labour/ Greens one, where the Greens hare-brained schemes matched with a small Labour caucus over spend and alienate the population.
Leadership will be crucial. Ten years out it is hard to predict who will be leader, as they may not yet be in parliament. In a future post I will cover off potential leaders. Needless to say though the current lot who have their enforcers whisper idle threats into the ears of people who will outlive them politically by a considerable margin isn’t really doing anything to help. Threats of harming your career prospects in the future are only valid if you are going to be there int he future to deliver on those threats. List MPs only have an average political life expectancy of 6 years and so they can safely be ignored.
True leader design career paths for their MPs, and identify logical successors and nurture and mentor them.