National Party

Well bugger me, I agree with Brian Rudman

Brian Rudman is almost never right, and he still doesn’t have his council/state-subsidised theatre.

But occasionally, about once a year, he does get something right.

It bemuses me the way the major political parties go to so much trouble to disguise their interest in running Auckland Council. Why wouldn’t they want to control the powerhouse city of the New Zealand economy, home to a third of the population?

This week we learn a triumvirate of National Party presidents – past and present – have joined forces with two Auckland-based junior Cabinet ministers, Nikki Kaye and Paul Goldsmith, to mastermind a new front group, Auckland Future, set up to contest next year’s local elections.

The presidents include sitting party boss Peter Goodfellow, long-time party Svengali Michelle Boag, and Sue Wood, who headed the party during Sir Robert Muldoon’s tumultuous prime ministership.

Last month they hosted Prime Minister John Key at a fundraising event for the new ticket.

But when fronted by my colleague Bernard Orsman, they ducked for cover. It is as though they’re ashamed of Brand National. Scared it will turn voters off.

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Who is Joe Davis?


National Party Deputy Regional Chair Joe Davis has been in the media over his Auckland Future project.

Word on the street is that Davis is not finding much support within National, with many in caucus opposed to his efforts because they think he is far more of a pinko than David “Pinko” Farrar.

Joe Davis, a Browns Bay business consultant and National Party volunteer chairing Auckland Future, said the organisation was incorporated in September.

He said there had been a lot of conversation across the centre-right, including the National Party, about wanting to see Auckland run well, and with a vision.

“There is real widespread dissatisfaction with the current state of Auckland,” Mr Davis said.

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$1B surplus expected – Bill will be giddy [UPDATED]

The year ended on June 30, and the final accounts will be released around 1pm today.

Finance Minister Bill English said when he presented the Budget there could be a turnaround.

In Parliament yesterday he wasn’t giving anything away.

“A return to surplus was always a stretch target,” he said.

“Regardless of whether the annual accounts show a small surplus or a small deficit, the overall trend is in the right direction.”

Labour’s finance spokesman, Grant Robertson, expects the accounts will show a small surplus.

“It’s almost certain the Government will announce a surplus for the last financial year … that they only just managed to scrape it together is poor financial management,” he said.

Mr Robertson is forecasting deficits for the current financial year and the next, contrary to the May Budget’s projections for modest surpluses.

“National’s financial management will go down in history as one small surplus out of nine budget deficits,” he said.

Apart from the fact that having a surplus is better than a deficit, National are desperate for one to fund their 2017 election bribes policy initiatives.  Expect the purse strings to be finally released somewhat with announcements along the lines of “police will get an extra $500m over years starting in 2018”, and other inspiring stuff.

The budget squeeze has been on everyone, well, mostly everyone.  So teachers, nurses, police and the like are somewhat overdue for some relief, if not directly, than at least by the public sector getting a little more money to adjust for inflationary and demand pressures.

And crime, health and education on the back of a strong economy has 4th term written all over it.  Chuck in a few tax cuts, ACC reductions and some feel-good stuff, and the Left are going to need something Bigger than Dirty Politics and something even less probable than Kim Dotcom to upset National’s chances.



The reported budget surplus $414M.  

While the ACC account is in surplus by $1.6B.   It’s another smoke and mirror job.


Talks of bringing tax cuts forward are similarly a joke.  But you’ll have them.  It’s been part of the 2017 campaign strategy since the beginning.


– Peter Wilson, NZN via 3 News


Losing your religion

Over the last 12 months, I’ve had emails from you about John Key.  Twelve months ago, the major tone was “leave him alone, stop being so churlish, what’s the alternative?”.

I have indeed been treated poorly by John Key.  And he’s also treated some of my friends poorly.  At first, that anger showed, and people were right to tell me to take that out of it.   But hey, just have a think as to what sort of a year I had.  When friends had lost jobs, people lost relationships, and I was dragged through formal inquiries that ultimately proved that everything I was involved with was above board.

Through this period, John Key had cut me off and thrown me under the bus.   Fair call.  I have no problem with that personally.  Can’t say I would have done the same, but I can understand it was one of the strategies in front of him, and here we are.

As the year progressed, we all have seen John Key be less of a leader and less of an effective politician.  And now, when I write about that, people can finally see past their fear, past their idea that any and all criticism of John Key is simply because there is some revenge agenda, and they can see what I’ve been saying all along:  that ever since the election, National is without direction, making poor decisions, and having flagship policy controlled by the media and Peter Dunne.

All I do is point you to the facts as they exist.  And now, whenever I criticise John Key and National the emails I get are completely different in tone. Read more »

Could Winston Peters be PM after 2017?

It is possible, especially the way National is governing at the moment.

I really can’t see Winston Peters wanting to dance with the Greens and Labour. He’s a conservative in his core.

The only thing stopping any meaningful accommodation with Winston Peters is personalities at play. John Key doesn’t like him and the feeling is mutual from Winston.

But, if National slides and centrist voters can’t stomach a Labour Party run by a union boss there is really only one place for those votes to go…to Winston Peters.

He is flying a kite right now that he could be PM, a position he has never had despite having the Right Honourable title already. NBR reports:

Winston Peters refuses to rule out wanting to share the Prime Ministership after the 2017 election, should a Labour-Greens-NZ First coalition government win power.

He says there’s precedent for a Prime Minister coming from a second biggest party in a coalition — in 1932 when the Prime Minister during the 24th Parliament was George Forbes, leader of the smaller United Party in a United-Reform coalition (the two parties merged a few years later to form the National Party). The coalition was demolished by Labour at the 1935 election.

The Northland MP believes NZ First has led the opposition on many issues this year. “In many ways we have led the Opposition, and there’s no doubt about it,” he says.

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Losing my religion

I had an interesting Saturday, and it sort of confirmed for me other observations that have been nagging me for some time.

This post isn’t about religion but it sort of is…the religion of politics…and how things change and why.

For some time I have been making obvious observations about the state of play inside National and inside parliament. I have been ridiculed, abused, accused of being a traitor. I prefer to think of myself as the proverbial canary in the mine.

On a superficial level National is trucking along nicely. Just yesterday the Auckland Region AGM was full to the brim, so much so that the doors had to be closed as the venue was over capacity…and they weren’t holding their meeting in a phone box like Labour does these days.

I have lunch every Monday with a group of Christian businessmen, who since the election have been counselling me to bite my tongue, to not speak my mind about what is wrong inside National. These people have money, a lot of it…they donate an awful lot to National…and some are members of several cabinet clubs.

However something has changed in recent weeks. There is no longer the slavish attitude that John Key is right, and can do no wrong. Sure they state that there is no alternative, the classic TINA argument. This is the argument that frequently pops up on the blog when ever I am critical of silly decisions by National. To certain extent they’re right, but wrong also, as in politics there is always an alternative, sometimes you just don’t know it’s there until it manifests itself. Logic dictates that this attitude is silly. If John Key was run over by a bus tomorrow someone else would take over. They always do.   Read more »

National, controls 50% of the votes, is beholden to one man for the last 1%

The Maori Party often votes against the Government, and Dunne is in the middle, usually predictable but occasionally digging in.

The latest reforms to the Resource Management Act are in limbo while Dunne waits for a draft bill to be produced.

Environment Minister Nick Smith may have problems producing a draft bill yet because he doesn’t know what parts of it Dunne will oppose.

Dunne is opposing National on another measure – its plans to delay having a fully elected regional council in Canterbury from next year until 2019 – and National will need the Maori Party to pass it.

On a lot of issues, the numbers are finely balanced. That includes issues that probably will not be tested in a vote.

It is sobering to think that right now, there would not be enough parliamentary support to send training troops to Iraq – although a vote wasn’t required to do so.

And there would be enough parliamentary support to get rid of section 70 of the Social Welfare Act, which requires the elderly to forfeit overseas annuities and retirement funds by the amount of New Zealand superannuation they are getting.

If such a measure were to pass in a private member’s bill, Finance Minister Bill English would veto it, as he has promised to do on Sue Moroney’s bill to extend paid parental leave to six months.

It is in the area of private members’ bills that the support parties, and Dunne in particular, can affect the gains of the Opposition.

He supported Moroney’s bill which, despite being headed to a dead end, will give Labour opportunities to campaign on the issue for months. Read more »

Winston Peters in box seat as Key’s chickens come home to roost in latest Roy Morgan

National’s lacklustre performance is coming home to roost and Winston Peters is the beneficiary of the poor showing.

Now, sure it is the Roy Morgan poll which is up and down like a whore’s drawers, but National has slipped below the halfway point of the 40s. Winston Peters is still the King maker.

During September support for National fell 6% to 44.5% now just behind a potential Labour/Greens alliance 46% (up 8%) according to the latest Roy Morgan New Zealand Poll. If a NZ Election were held now the latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows that the Election would be too close to call with fourth party New Zealand First in a position to pick New Zealand’s next Government.

Support for the National partners was little changed with the Maori Party 1.5% (unchanged), Act NZ 0.5% (unchanged) and United Future 0.5% (up 0.5%).

Of the three Parliamentary Opposition parties – Labour’s support is now at 31% (up 4%), Greens 15% (up 4%) although support for NZ First decreased to 5.5% (down 2.5%) – the lowest level of support for New Zealand First since last year’s New Zealand Election. Of the parties outside Parliament the Conservative Party of NZ is 1% (up 1%), the Internet-Mana Party alliance is at 0.5% (unchanged) and support for Independent/ Others is 0% (down 1%).

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Those who are named a bit Chinky are feeling a bit stinky

The OIO said there were no impediments to Chinese ownership according to the rules, but National have decided to not hand the Media Party and Labour another stick to beat them with.

It may appear good strategy, but it is yet another example that National is operating with less principles and are now a mad poll driven bunch of fruitcakes.

After a 14-month wait for Government approval, the $88 million sale of Lochinver Station to Chinese buyers has been blocked.

“We will not be approving that application,” Associate Finance Minister Paula Bennett said today.

Government ministers overruling the Overseas Investment Office refused to sign off, instead stamping “consent declined” on the deal.

Lochinver is a massive 13,800 hectares, but the sale to Shanghai Pengxin may have provided just three new jobs and Ms Bennett said that didn’t pass the test.

“[It’s] 35 times bigger than your average farm, and to turn around and think – potentially one job and a couple of contractors, is that an identifiable and substantial benefit to New Zealand?”

The decision is a big call against powerful China but Ms Bennett isn’t worried.

“I’ve got no idea how the Chinese government will feel,” she said.

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Key cleared, but maybe I could assist

Oh look a text from the PM

Oh look a text from the PM

John Key has been cleared of deleting the numerous texts between us both.

Prime Minister John Key broke no rules in deleting text messages, the guardian of the country’s public records says.

Chief Archivist Marilyn Little has published a review of Key’s record keeping. She began the probe in November after Key revealed he binned texts from Dirty Politics blogger Cameron Slater.

Little says Key received poor advice from officials. But his practice of routinely deleting messages for “security purposes” is  “pragmatic” and unlikely to break laws surrounding public records.

She added: “The Prime Minister’s current approach does not indicate any wilful or negligent disposal of records without authority.”   Read more »