Matthew Hooton’s column this week in the NBR is right on the mark.
Aside from making some of the Nat’s throw up in the mouth a little over the prospect of Winston Peters and Colin Craig both having positions in the next National-lead government, Hooton identifies a rather interesting move from those close to Joyce.
It appears that Ohariu will be the Nat’s next fighting ground. On one side we have Hekia’s supporters attempting to line her up for the seat, and on the other side we have Joyce’s supporters attempting to line up someone very close to him, and indeed Simon Power. Everyone with a quarter of a brain knows that Katrina Shanks is dead in the water. The poor wee thing can’t even decide which way she is voting on Louisa Wall’s marriage equality bill – despite Ohariu being a largely liberal seat filled with gays, public servants and liberal upper-middle class housewives.
Hooton identifies that Joyce may have pushed close friend (and former Key deputy Chief of Staff) out into the real world so that he can seem like a man of the people… and can challenge Shanks (and perhaps Hekia) for the Ohariu seat. The murmurings around Wellington are that Joyce thinks that de Joux has the intellectual grunt (he doesn’t) and strategic mind (he doesn’t) to get, not just the Ohariu seat, but also a direct route to the Cabinet table. Well, you can just imagine how the back bench and the up and coming feel about this. They do the real work, the hours in their electorates, and maintain relationships. Meanwhile de Joux spends more time burning bridges and telling MPs what they aren’t allowed to do. It’ll be interesting how de Joux goes in the real without the cover of Eagleson’s expert management skills.
Joyce needs to have a rethink. Does he want one vote or several when Key finally moves on.