John Key

Rodney Hide on the travesty of MMP

Come September we could be watching the most popular political leader in the Western world, and the most popular party sitting on the sidelines as a coalition of the losers forms a government because of MMP.

Rodney Hide examines this with his column at NBR.

John Key is the most popular prime minister since polling began. It’s an extraordinary achievement. More remarkably, he’s the Western world’s most popular elected leader.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama must look on Mr Key’s numbers with envious eyes and considerable wonder.

His popularity drives support for his party. National consistently polls a third higher than Labour. And so Mr Key’s a shoe-in this election, right? No. It’s looking like a very close thing. That’s because we persist with a mongrel electoral system.

It’s not the party with the most votes that wins with MMP but the one that cobbles the support needed to govern. Mr Key and National could easily find themselves out in the cold.

I owe my entire parliamentary career to MMP, so I suppose I should be thankful. But I was never a fan of the system. My first serious political involvement was in opposing it. It was the first of my many political losses. Read more »

Key is “a twenty-first century Holyoake” – Chris Trotter

Chris Trotter has written a very good post about why he thinks John Key may well go on to become NZ longest serving Prime Minister…but for the foibles of MMP.

IN HIS MEMORABLE holiday-home encounter with the host of Campbell Live, the Prime Minister, John Key, did not rule out running for a fourth term. Were he to be successful, the long-standing record of Sir Keith Holyoake (11 years and 2 months) would be surpassed and the title of longest-serving National Party Prime Minister would pass to the incumbent. How tempting it would then be for John Key to set his sights on “King Dick’s” (Prime Minister Richard John Seddon’s) crown of 13 years and 2 months. Just imagine that – a fifth term! By then the youthful Jacinda Ardern would be 41 years old!

Some will dismiss Key’s musings as yet another example of his celebrated political bravado. But there is another message to be drawn from his speculations concerning a fourth (or even a fifth) term. The Prime Minister’s suggestion that he and the National Party are good for another two or three election wins may also be read as his pledge to the electorate that any government he leads will be moderate and restrained in its policies.

Sir Keith Holyoake could not have governed New Zealand from November 1960 until February 1972 as anything other than a consensus-seeking prime minister. By indicating that he is not adverse to such a lengthy term of office, John Key is signalling to us that he, too, is a consensus politician.  Read more »

Looks like Winston’s, David’s and Grant’s nasty smears have backfired

Yesterday Winston Peters, Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe all accused Judith Collins of corruption without a shred of evidence to support their claims.

Now someone who was at the dinner has confirmed the minister’s account and their smears are in tatters.

A senior Beehive adviser has taken the unusual step of going public to back her minister, Judith Collins, over what took place at a dinner with Oravida executives and a senior Chinese Government official.

Margaret Malcolm was one of five guests at the dinner in Beijing which has embroiled Collins in allegations of corruption.

Malcolm, who travelled with Collins to China as her senior adviser, backed the minister’s claim that they did not discuss Oravida’s business over the dinner and that they talked mostly tourism.

“The dinner was very short and discussion was restricted due to some participants having limited English. The conversation centred around New Zealand as a tourist destination.”

She had not taken any notes in her capacity as adviser.

Like Collins, Malcolm also refused to name the Chinese official who Opposition MPs claim was in a position to help milk exporter Oravida overcome export issues following the botulism scare.

Collins has been under fire over allegations she used her ministerial position to benefit her husband’s business interests, though she told The Dominion Post last night that this was not true.

“[NZ First leader] Winston Peters . . . misled the media, he misled the public and actually there is no evidence of it and it’s utterly untrue.”

She had no influence over the $6000 received by Oravida from a pool of government funding for businesses which had been affected by the botulism scare, which turned out to be a false alarm.

Forty-one exporters had received advice and help from the Government relating to the incident and 39 of them received some form of payment, she said.  Read more »

Mitchell Muscles up on Dodgy Dotcom

Mark Mitchell has accused Kim Dotcom  of meddling in our parliament under parliamentary privilege today.

He outlines an altercation last year where  Kim Dotcom made threats against the Prime Minister. Mark is no sook, he’s stood up to scumbags like Joseph Kony, Victor Bout, Muqtada al-Sadr, all of whom came off second best. The incident in An Nasiriyah was perhaps the most brutal:

The closest Mitchell and his men came to being killed was in 2004, during a five-day siege of the An Nasiriyah compound, home to diplomats, officials, coalition forces and security staff.

The uprising Shi’a militia, led by Muqtada al-Sadr, was putting coalition forces under pressure across the country. The Italian-controlled compound was surrounded and under sustained attack. Mitchell was charged with defending it.

“They’d hit us during the day with mortar fire, and at night mount a physical attack. My team’s responsibility was the roof. We were very exposed. It was hot, dusty. We didn’t get much sleep and we had to ration our food. I saw every human emotion over those days.”

Armed with AK47s and two 50-calibre machine guns, they kept the militia at bay until coalition forces regained control. Their efforts would later be rewarded with a commendation from the Italian government.

The compound was evacuated and within 48 hours, Mitchell was having a barbecue and talking to his neighbours in Taupo. “That was surreal. I couldn’t really talk to people about it, as it was hard to comprehend.”

Did he kill anyone? “We were fighting for our lives, and the lives of the diplomats. There were casualties on both sides.” That’s all he’ll say on the matter.

During the siege, Mitchell worked closely with British Governor Rory Stewart, who headed the compound’s diplomat contingent. Stewart has made the leap into politics, and is a Conservative MP for Penrith, England. Stewart wrote a book on his time in Iraq, and Brad Pitt’s production company has bought the rights to his story.

So who’ll play Mitchell in the movie? “I’m hoping George Clooney, rather than Danny de Vito.’

He’s certainly not afraid of an overweight sour Kraut.

Read more »

Is Simon Bridges really a future National leader? Ctd

If there’s one thing a Prime Minister has to be recognised for, it is being on top of their portfolios.

Helen Clark and Heather Simpson were all over ministerial portfolios like a rash. John Key is likewise at the top of the game, and while preferring a more managerial style, he certainly expects his Ministers to deliver on the workload expected of someone earning over $260,000 a year.

Leadership candidates need that sort of reputation to come through strongly right from the start.

In this ongoing series, we explore the push to have Simon Bridges positioned as a future leader of the National Party, and look at some of the criticisms coming through about Bridges, including the view that he’s captured by officials and close to the unions.

Let’s put aside for the moment the 200,000 acres of parkland that’s now got the Green Taliban’s puppet-masters Greenpeace calling for his sacking.   Read more »

The most boring Budget ever?

Credit:  Emmerson

Credit: Emmerson

We’ve already been told not to expect anything drastic.  Another steady-as-she-goes budget from Bill English is on the way.

Some would argue that it is yet another opportunity let slip for genuine reform, but while National has a death grip on the center left voter by essentially perpetuating most of the Helen Clark social services, health and education frameworks, the ‘don’t scare the horses’ approach looks like a 3rd term winner for National.

Finance Minister Bill English is about to present a preview of his May 15 Budget.   Read more »

No news today – just Labour continuing to be hypocritical

Labour, and particularly Shane Jones, are shameless with the brouhaha over a fundraising dinner John Key attended organised by the Maori Party.

Back in October, wasn’t it Labour selling access to MPs at its party conference?

Their conference material offered:

 An opportunity to meet 1:1 in a short meeting with your choice (subject to availability) of Members of Parliament and senior Party officials (further information regarding this will be sent to you on payment).

I think we need to step back and consider very carefully Labour’s stance on this.

Paying to go for a dinner where you’ll likely  get some face time with John Key = bad/evil

Paying to meet one-on-one Labour MPs = just fine.  Read more »

It’s a challenge, let’s have at it

There is some debate over who is challenging whom, with John Key challenging David Cunliffe to a debate on housing.

Labour says the Housing Minister’s asleep at the wheel.

“In my own electorate of New Lynn housing is the number one electorate issue facing people, there are not enough affordable homes,” says Mr Cunliffe.

In a bid to dampen price hikes, the Government is putting most of its effort into boosting supply and making it cheaper to build homes.

But opposition parties say they are ignoring rising demand and need to crack down on foreign buyers and speculators.

Mr Key is hitting back at his critics and has challenged Mr Cunliffe to a debate.

“David Cunliffe wants to have a bit of chat on nationwide TV about it, more than happy to do so, we can call it the first debate, more than happy to do so,” says Mr Key.  Read more »

Wanting to find oil isn’t a sacking offence, but cuddling unions is

Greenpeace, the dodgy ratbags who expatriate most of their money and avoid paying taxes here want to run a campaign to sack Simon Bridges.

They want Simon Bridges sacked for wanting to explore our countryside for signs of oil and other minerals…explore mind you not actually mine for them. They consider this to be a sacking offence.

The NZ Herald reports:

Greenpeace has launched a campaign calling for the sacking of Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges, saying “he doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing”.

“On April 2, New Zealand’s largest forest park was offered up for possible drilling and mining. Then a few days later Simon Bridges admitted that he didn’t even know it existed,” says the campaign press release.

At the time of going to press, almost 5000 emails had been sent to Prime Minister John Key, calling for him to sack his minister.   Read more »

Cunliffe the Coward

incapible

David Cunliffe has turned into a coward after a no show on Campbell Live.

Word on the street is that Matt McCarten pulled the pin late on Friday for the show to do a follow up of the successful BBQ at John Key’s beach house.

David Cunliffe is starting to look like a man under siege and on the run, just flinging out one liners that subsequently are proven to be false or misleading and not fronting for a more indepth look at his life.

If the man wants to be Prime Minister then he needs to start acting like one and not running from pre-organised and booked media appearances.

Perhaps though my commenters from last night are right, David Cunliffe has realised that a show inside his mansion would burst the bubble of carefully crafted hubris surrounding him as the every man down with the bros socialist, and the reality of voters seeing such a fake and obviously wealthy tosspot lording over us all while being frowned upon from afar by his stern and somewhat frumpy wife might have been a step too far.  Read more »