Keith Holyoake

The problem with St Helen…she isn’t

Helen Clark wants the top UN job

I’ve noticed a few things about Labour, but the one thing that sticks out is the absolute deference they all hold towards Helen Clark.

I despise her politics, but am mature enough to recognise a superb politician.

Helen Clark took over the labour party when it was in disarray, she withstood a coup attempt and ruled the party with an iron fist for 15 years.

She moulded the party into her likeness and the two became synonymous.

The labour party was Helen Clark and Helen Clark was the Labour party.

That was Labour’s strength and it was also its Achilles heel.

Eventually the voters tired of her and Labour lost to John Key’s National party.

Now this is where it gets interesting.  Read more »

Armstrong: John Key’s hidden objective

There is some life in John left – he’s seen right through John Key’s plan

Today’s Speech from the Throne outlining the new National minority Government’s legislative and policy programme is unusually non-contentious. So non-contentious that it seems rather bland.

And that is just the way the Prime Minister would like the speech to be viewed – solid, if unspectacular.

You had to wait until the Governor-General had read the last paragraph of the speech for a definitive statement on John Key’s real agenda behind his Government’s agenda.

That final sentence notes that National is “privileged” to have won the trust and goodwill of New Zealand voters for a third time and will seek to re-earn that trust and goodwill “every day” over the next three years.

In other words, Key’s mind is already intently focussed on how his Government avoids the third-term blues and matches Sir Keith Holyoake’s 1960s achievement of winning four straight elections – something which is even more difficult under a proportional electoral system like MMP compared to the previous first-past-the-post system which had a built-in bias favouring National. Read more »

Beware the cult of personality, and the legacy they leave

Over the past few days I have received more than a few random emails about a couple of posts where I dared to criticise John Key. I have also had some personal approaches.

Apparently my audience will be affected negatively by criticising John Key. He also is the saviour of the National party and without him National would be stuffed.

Ignore the fact that he shamelessly used one of my private emails to conduct a personal hit on a friend, and ignore the fact that he thinks I should just accept it as “mo hard hard feelings”. I say ignore those because they have absolutely no bearing on my criticism of John Key.

I criticise him because I am alarmed that National is falling into the same traps that Helen Clark fell into.

The trap of creating a cult of personality.

Let me explain.

Labour’s current predicament has come about as a result of 15 years of a cult of personality in Helen Clark. Where she was the labour party and the Labour party was her. She purged the party of those who thought even a little differently. She populated caucus with sycophants, and she sacked good honest brokers in her office and replaced them with forelock tugging apparatchiks. She created the party in her image, the photoshopped one not the real you can break bottles on her face image.

When the public saw behind the photoshop they they recoiled. The party was destroyed in the 2008 election and she promptly departed for greener pastures.

But her legacy remains. Decidedly average MPs, middle manager types who were already promoted beyond their abilities. She left a caucus highly factionalised so there was no dominant faction unable to topple her. But the worst aspect was she left the party in the hands of hard left organisers who bizarrely think that the path to salvation is to be more hard left.

The funniest thing of all is there is still no one inside Labour who will ever hear a bad word said about Helen Clark.  Read more »

Four terms or Five?

David Farrar didn’t believe that National could entertain winning four terms, but the scale of the defeat of the left has forced him to re-evaluate this thinking.

I had even mentally drafted a blog post intended for the day after the election, in case of a National victory, in which somewhat somberly I would have stated that while it is great National got a third term, MPs should realise that this is probably their last term in Government. The post would have been about how they need to secure the policy gains of the last six years, so as many of them as possible can’t be reversed, and also how if they can go into opposition with a relatively solid vote, then maybe there will be just two terms in opposition.

The nature of the election result has changed that. A fourth, or even a fifth term, is now a very credible possibility. I’m not saying a probability, but definitely a credible possibility. Here’s why:

  1. National’s 48% is the sort of result you get in your first term, not your last term
  2. The left vote totalled just 36%, and they need to grow this by 12% if they want to be able to govern, without being dependent on what Winston may decide
  3. The Conservatives could well make 5% in 2017, giving National an extra buffer
  4. John Key is now very likely to contest the 2017 election. Previously I would have said it was 60/40 at best.
  5. Labour’s leadership battle is turning off the public, and may leave the party divided and wrecked

I thought like Farrar.

If National won it was likely to be a narrow victory, with few partners and  the left on the rise I though John Key would jack it in and go out as a winning PM rather than risk being turfed out. Now I am certain that the next election is a certain victory for National, perhaps with some support partners. John Key will now look to best Keith Holyoake’s record and win a fourth term and cement his place in history. Holyoake served just under 12 years as PM therefore the winning of a fourth term means that John Key would easily pass that record. Key is now fast approaching the records of Helen Clark (8 years, 350 days ),Edward Stafford (8 years, 326 days), Robert Muldoon (8 years, 227 days ), Sid Holland (7 years, 281 days), Joseph Ward (7 years, 38 days), and Jim Bolger (7 years, 36 days), which will all fall this term.  Read more »

Looks like Labour will be able to continue their plan for a 4th term

Labour’s only plan has been to attack John Key and hope that voters will see him as they do…a reptilian, baby eating, demagogue.

Unfortunately the public see him as “that nice Mr Key” who is just like me…and Labours smears anda ttacks fall on deaf ears.

No matter, they have tried for three electoral terms to smear him that way, and now it appears they will get a fourth term to keep on trying.

John Key has moved to silence speculation he could quit in his third term if National looked like losing, after admitting he considered stepping down when things got tough in 2012.

Key has said he intends to serve a full third term, and yesterday said he would like to win a rare fourth term too, although that would be tough.

“I would like to, but in reality I’ve got to win a third term and the party has got to win a third term and elections are really difficult to win.”   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 »

Garner on the muppet show of minor parties

Duncan Garner writes about the idiot, the crook and the rooter.

There’s a reason why Kim Dotcom, Brendan Horan and Colin Craig are getting so many headlines right now: All the other politicians are on holiday, and simply don’t give a stuff.

They’re either at their beach houses or overseas, and politics is the last thing on their mind. This has happened for years.

The political year kicks off when politicians pretend to care about the Ratana Church celebrations at the end of January and when the first Cabinet meeting takes place. Parliament doesn’t actually sit until February.

So, right now those three are taking their chances with the media, but they will soon have to compete with the big boys and girls for space. It will get that much harder.

Duncan is dead right…most MPS I know are still away or in shorts and jandals. If there is a vacuum it will be filled.

Colin Craig can only say so many crazy things and may have shot his load already. But I’m picking he’ll get into Parliament under some kind of deal with National and John Key.

Read more »

Was this wise?

I don’t know what the board of the National party were thinking in authorising this little purchase.

Today Fairfax Media revealed that the National Party had paid more than $2 million for a 41 Pipitea St, mansion in Thorndon which was previously home to a string of prime ministers. The house will become the party’s headquarters.

Party president Peter Goodfellow said the red-brick house was “perfect” for the party.

“It’s very appropriate. It’s got historic places designation on it . . . and it’ll be the perfect home for the party for the next 78 years,” Goodfellow said.

The sale price was $2,156,000, some $256,000 more than the property’s rateable value.

It was the former residence of Sir Sidney Holland, National’s first prime minister, and Sir Keith Holyoake, the party’s longest-serving prime minister and New Zealand’s third longest.

It has also been home to Labour prime ministers Sir Walter Nash and Sir Geoffrey Palmer. More recently it was lived in by Cabinet ministers, including Nick Smith.  Read more »

Sir Brian Talboys, RIP

ᔥ Stuff.co.nz

Sir Brian Talboys has died aged 91. I think I actually met Sir Brian at one time in the 80s.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Brian Talboys has died at the age of 91.

Sir Brian, who represented the Southland electorate of Wallace for eight elections from 1957, served as a Minister in the National Governments of Sir Keith Holyoake and Sir Robert Muldoon. He was Deputy Prime Minister under Muldoon from 1975 to 1981.

Born in Whanganui in 1921, Sir Brian served in the air force during World War II. After the war, he settled in Southland as a farmer and entered politics, winning the Wallace seat in 1957.

He was agriculture minister, science minister and then education minister under Holyoake, before becoming deputy leader of the National Party in Opposition in 1974, under Muldoon.

After National’s victory in the 1975 election, he became deputy prime minister and served in that role for the first two terms of the Muldoon Government, retiring in 1981.

Holmes on the tragedy of Phil Goff

Paul Holmes outlines Phil Goff’s tragedy:

You can talk about policy until you’re blue in the face, but in the end I wonder if people vote on policy. I don’t think they do. Most people don’t give a rats about policy. If we like the leader we vote for him.

Except of course Phil Goff hasn’t talked policy at all, he has only shown us the nasty.

When Holyoake was National leader, we voted for Holyoake. When Kirk came along we voted for Kirk. When Muldoon came along, we voted for Muldoon.

Rowling had a silly voice, so people continued to vote for Muldoon.

The tragedy for Phil Goff was that when his time came, he’d been around too long and he’d been too many different things, projected too many hues depending on the vogue.

It’s not his fault. It’s the price of longevity. He does have a tendency to sound like the talking-book version of the documents he has to read, and there is a preachiness about him that the country has no time for.

Yep, no time at all. See ya Phil. The people will vote for a John Key led government.