Duncan Garner anoints the next PM: Paula Bennett

I’m not sure why we are picking the next leader of the National Party at this point, we still have an election to get past. ¬†This, to some degree is why the media is broken. ¬†Take a look:

¬†I reckon this dirty politics saga has hurt him. Throw enough mud and some of it sticks. While Key wasn’t poor in the first TV leaders’ debate on Thursday, I thought he came second.

He lacked cut-through and confidence. You can guarantee he’ll be better next time.

But for now it’s hard not to think that the teflon is wearing off.

Yes, he may well win this election – but the Dirty Politics book will hurt him long-term. It’s the beginning of the end. It happens to all long-serving leaders.

Helen Clark’s former top press secretary used to say the tread goes from the tyres over time – and Key has lost a lot of tread this election campaign.

So who might replace him one day as National’s leader? Let’s rule out some non-starters. Judith Collins had designs on the job but her poor judgment, lack of composure and temperament and underhand tactics rule her out.

Steven Joyce is an option, but he’s likely to be seen as not warm or politically attractive enough.

So what about Social Development Minister Paula Bennett? Read more »

Cullen coached Cunliffe

I called the Leaders debate a marginal win for David Cunliffe. ¬†Certainly, the TVNZ results weren’t representative of how the debate unfolded. ¬† Key was over prepared. ¬†He was driving hard to get get the messages out, and instead of being relaxed and showing us John Key, he appeared forced.

I bet the hand in his pocket was a fist most of the time.

But it turns out that John Key wasn’t just debating David Cunliffe

He spent much of his career taunting National’s front bench, famously dismissing John Key as a “rich prick” and developing a reputation as the sharpest politician of his generation.

So Sir Michael Cullen can scarcely have imagined he would later play the role of Key, charged with winding up and unsettling Labour’s leader in a hostile debate.

While critics are split on the outcome of Thursday night’s TVNZ leaders’ debate, most seemed surprised at how polished David Cunliffe was.

This was no accident. Labour viewed the importance of the first televised debate as second only to election day. It had half a million viewers, most seeing Cunliffe on an equal footing with the prime minister for the first time. Read more »

Mental Health Break

John Roughan: “Dotcom is a blowhard, like Slater”

If this election is different from any before, the reason might be that politics has only just come of age on the internet. The internet permits words and songs to be published to a wide audience without the costs of printed or broadcast media and without the professional editing that those costs require. It means that unfair and outrageous material can more easily contaminate an election.

Politicians and journalists have been told they have to have an online presence these days if they are to reach the widest possible audience.

I’m not so sure. “Social media” is good for friends and family to keep in touch, not so good for politics.

When I look down the pipe I usually see composed work being decomposed by bile and bad language. It’s a sewer. Nothing that happens down there seems to have much political impact unless the mainstream media picks it up.

Which they do, so it’s easy to understand why every political leader these days wants press attaches to keep in touch with potential allies in the wildly partisan blogosphere.

But the risks are high, not only from what these characters publish but from invasions of private communications that the net cannot keep secure.

This election has shown how damaging those can be if they are taken out of their intended environment and published on television or a printed page.

Like a devilish chant or black rap humour, the email can be made into something more nasty than it probably was.

Read more »

Map of the Day


Incarceration rates per country per 100,000 people.


Armstrong on Dirty Politics v Economics

If – as the participants keep insisting – this election is really about “the things that matter”, then the question of which of the two major parties has the economic agenda with the most foresight would be dominating the campaign.

That question should, in fact, be dominating the campaign. But it is not the case. The campaign has instead been consumed with the Dirty Politics farrago. Just about everything else has been shut out.

That has hindered Labour by drawing attention away from its policy releases. But it has also forced National to delay what it must surely have been planning – an all-out assault on Labour’s planned capital gains tax.

It might surprise some voters, but Labour has no intention of relaunching that policy which first appeared in its 2011 manifesto.

Labour is not stupid. It can claim to be winning the theoretical argument for such a tax. But that could easily unravel if the argument shifts to the detail of how the tax will be applied in practice – and to what extent dollars-wise. Read more »

Fran O’ on David Cunliffe rising from the ashes

David Cunliffe finally injected himself into the election race this week with a confident – if not triumphal – performance in the first television leaders’ debate.

For long-time Cunliffe watchers this was hardly a surprise.

He has always excelled as a debater and did not (for once) overlay his performance with that occasional smirking hint of moral superiority which can make the bile rise.

That he managed to win the debate – despite Labour having been comprehensively knocked in two political polls in a row – was a triumph of discipline and will.

A lesser politician would have found it very difficult indeed to come off the back foot under the full glare of the cameras against New Zealand’s most popular Prime Minister.

What was a surprise – and again shouldn’t have been – was the lack-lustre performance of John Key.

Key has been knocked by the Dirty Politics revelations. Read more »

Judith Collins resigns

judith-collins-1200 (2)

Tough game, this Dirty Politics. ¬†Especially when you’re in the middle of it.

First using leaks from MFaT over Oravida, and then using my personal and private emails, Judith Collins has been taken down by a 1000 cuts. ¬† ¬†As Judith and I are friends, I am gutted for her. ¬†John Key has said it many times: ¬†she’s worked hard, very hard, and been a very good minister. ¬†So good in fact, that she’s been the focus of a sustained 6 month campaign by the left to take her out. ¬†They know the danger she poses. ¬† Read more »

The effect of Dirty Politics so far

Labour cheerleader, former party president and analog Dirty Politics dinosaur Mike Williams is saying it has affected about 6% of the voters, and that’s all they need to get within shouting distance of an election victory. ¬† The Whaleoil Poll, incidentally our highest rating one to date, returned this:


Read more »

Photo Of The Day

¬© Anelia Loubser  ‚ÄúAlienation‚ÄĚ is a collection of portraits that challenges the viewer by using creative tactics based on the concept, ‚ÄúIf you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change‚ÄĚ - Wayne Dyer.

© Anelia Loubser
‚ÄúAlienation‚ÄĚ is a collection of portraits that challenges the viewer by using creative tactics based on the concept, ‚ÄúIf you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change‚ÄĚ – Wayne Dyer.

Photo Proves That Upside-Down Faces Look A Lot Like Aliens

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