National Party

HoS Editorial: “Judith Collins expects to be exonerated, and probably will be”

Yeah, funny that. ¬†That’s the result of doing nothing wrong but being at the receiving end of an 8 month smear campaign that started with Oravida and ended with Dirty Politics. ¬†The ‘where there is smoke there must be fire’ effect works just as well on National as it does on Labour.

But the overzealous people that decided to call for inquiries (oh how they love to do that) never expected the result to be that nothing was actually done improperly.

When the Prime Minister left Judith Collins off a list of departing ministers who can wear the title Honourable for life, he may have made trouble for himself this term. It suggested he does not intend to bring her back into his Cabinet if she is exonerated by the inquiry into whether she was “gunning” for the head of the former Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley, when Justice Minister.

She expects to be exonerated, and probably will be. She has denied the remark attributed to her by her friend, the blogger Cameron Slater, and she would not be the first to be embarrassed by his phraseology, as John Key well knows.

My phraseology is just fine thanks Jono. ¬†It’s just that some people are trying to make something out of nothing.

Fine, the inquiry will reveal all.

If she is cleared the title will be restored to her, a spokesman for the Prime Minister says. She must fear that is all that will be restored to her. Otherwise, she would not have stamped her feet so publicly this week over being left off the list. For the first time in the life of this Government there is a crack in its ranks.

Indeed.  The powers that decide who is in government and who gets to run it have called time on John Key.  The Collins/Hon situation just is an event that focuses on this earlier than it needed to be brought out.  And ironically, only because Key did the dirty work personally and in public.  For once.

Key’s actually in quite a bit of uncertain waters inside his own caucus. ¬†Other MPs can see how spiteful and easily Collins was thrown under the bus at the behest of Bill and Steve. ¬† Read more »

From the passenger seat: Long term strategies

Lots has happened over the last few months.  Some of it needs looking back on from the perspective of a close observer and an insider.  Hope you enjoy these little insights as I get them out of my system.

One of the reasons Cameron Slater is so effective is that he doesn’t care about your opinion. ¬†And frequently he appears to go down a very unpopular path, months, sometimes even years ahead of the general population catching up with him.

Take Kim Dotcom.

Cameron Slater took the position very early on that the man was no good. ¬†This was at the time when New Zealand had fallen in love with the naughty big teddy bear from Coatesville. ¬†The way his house was raided, apparently at the behest of private companies in the USA, wasn’t the way us Kiwis do things.

He was everywhere.  On TV, in the papers, and making personal appearances at a multitude of events around the country.  He was idolised.  It was like we had our own German royal family for a while.

Against this backdrop, Slater ran a sustained campaign making fun of the media cuddling up to a convicted fraudster. ¬†At the time, he didn’t know about Mein Kampf. ¬†He didn’t know about Dotcom’s general fascination with Hitler’s Germany. ¬†He didn’t know about Dotcom’s more sinister methods and other failures – yet.

The backlash from our own readers was predictable. ¬†Cameron was told to lay off Dotcom. ¬†Why was he so obsessed with tearing at this man’s life? ¬†Why couldn’t he just leave Kim alone?

Wind the clock almost two years forward, and suddenly it is hard to find anyone that will disagree with Cameron Slater on Dotcom. ¬†Many things have been discovered and made public since, in spite of a fawning¬†media that kept pushing Dotcom’s case right up to the last few months of this election.

Cameron Slater has been consistent. ¬†He’s been factual. ¬†And he’s been telling you things for a long time you never wanted to hear about your (then) favourite jolly German.

Which brings us to today. ¬† Read more »

Ede gets a soft place to land

I’m not sure why this is even a story, but Vernon Small is trying to make something out of the fact that Jason Ede now has a job in the private sector with people that are pro-National and have direct National party links.

This is illegal?  No.

Is it immoral?  No.

Is it a ‘bad look’? ¬†No.

So what the hell is Small’s point here?

National’s former “black ops” specialist Jason Ede has resurfaced working for a listed telecommunications company with strong personal links to senior National Party figures.

Teamtalk managing director David Ware confirmed Ede, a central figure in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics, had been hired as a contractor, but denied any political influence in the move.

“We don’t do politics. We sell telecommunications services,” Ware said. “I am perfectly comfortable using him. I think he’s a great guy.”

Ware’s wife Belinda Milnes is an adviser to Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett, having quit this week as Families Commissioner, and her sister is Communications Minister Amy Adams. 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 »

Could a split in Labour really work

Earlier in the day I posted commentary from David Farrar’s arts, lifestyle and travel blog about some scenarios for Labour.

A reader comments via email:

Hi Cameron,

I am not allowed to post (ahem) so thought I would email.

Regarding your post on a split in Labour, something I have long predicted, there is something you overlook about a “New Democrats” party –

A coalition with….NATIONAL

Shearer, Goff, Cosgrove, O’Connor, Nash, Mark et al are not National solely for tribal reasons, but in terms of actual policy it is hard to see what they ‘genuinely’ oppose during the last 6 years.

Why not float the idea in a post on Whaleoil (if for no other reason than a bit of stirring haha!) of a split in Labour, a new party formed, and propping up National governments until well into the 2030s? ¬† Read more »

What the hell is Key’s game?

He really doesn’t seem capable of giving straight answers to the most basic questions when he¬†thinks it will be controversial. ¬†Instead, he ends up making a fool of himself. ¬†Check this out, from Brook Sabin

The chief of the New Zealand Defence Force has attended a meeting with US President Barack Obama and 20 other defence leaders to talk about defeating Islamic State (IS) terrorists.

Prime Minister John Key denies it’s a sign we’re about to join the fight – even though Mr Obama called the countries in attendance “the coalition”.

So everyone at the meeting calls it the coalition against IS.

Mr Obama met with 21 defence chiefs from around the world – a meeting with a clear purpose to “review coalition options to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL”.

New Zealand’s Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Tim Keating attended the meeting, and our flag was flown.

Read more »

Just exactly how lucky did National get?

It seems all the good news peaked a few weeks before the election, and it’s all downhill again now. ¬†Farmers aren’t very happy, and the Auckland housing crisis is picking up unstoppable momentum

Affordability across Auckland plunged 14.4 per cent in the last year alone, a separate report shows, as house prices rise faster than people’s wages.

And there are predictions of more pain for those struggling to get on the property ladder. Experts warn the situation is worsening inequalities across the city and risks shutting a generation out of home ownership.

“It is only going to get worse and it’s going to get worse exponentially as interest rates start to rise,” Loan Market mortgage adviser Bruce Patten said.

A new Auckland Council report maps the rise in Auckland house prices over the last 15 years and relative deterioration in affordability for first-home buyers.

“The share of sales categorised as affordable has fallen substantially during the study period, from 74 per cent in 1999 to 39 per cent in 2013,” the Auckland’s Housing Market: Spatial Trends in Dwelling Prices and Affordability for First Home Buyers report warns.

Overall, 95 per cent of Auckland areas measured in the report showed an absolute decrease in affordability over the study period.

Southern and western Auckland had proportionally more affordable house sales, which had been more widespread across Auckland in the study’s first two years.

“Many areas around the urban periphery in northern and western Auckland have experienced relative decreases in affordability when compared to Auckland as a whole.

Yep. ¬†White flight and empty brown chequebooks. ¬†These areas are browning up significantly. ¬†We’ve seen this outward ‘shock wave’ in slow motion. ¬†Not long before Otara and Mangere become the new Onehunga as house prices keep rising and areas that traditionally housed the less well off are getting to expensive for the lower socio-economic strugglers. ¬† Read more »

Labour seems happy with Key’s anti-terror law, just can’t make itself say so

One of the better qualities of David Parker is that he can’t make himself say something he doesn’t believe in. ¬†As a result, he’s dancing around the edges looking for something to argue about

Prime Minister John Key yesterday confirmed a month long review of New Zealand’s anti-terrorism laws which he said was likely to result in recommendations for urgent short term law changes that his Government would pass before Christmas.

The review in response to the rapid rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its success in recruiting foreign fighters – including some New Zealanders – to its cause will consider extending existing legal provisions for the cancellation of New Zealand foreign fighters’ passports.

Acting Labour Leader David Parker said his party would take up the Government’s offer on a briefing on the issues behind its proposed law changes.

“These are superficially attractive. If there is a gap in the law… I want to see what the Government is saying in respect of it. We’ll take some convincing, if there is a need to change passport laws, that it should be done under urgency.

In short: ¬†likes what he’s hearing, but needs to be convinced if the law has gaps in it. ¬† Read more »

Hosking: ISIS is our problem

Apparently we have new emergency laws being announced today to tighten up on all the nutters here who want to go fight for ISIS.

Presumably they’ll be the same sort of laws Australia has been dealing with Рcancelling passports, making fighting for terrorists a crime. Generally taking mad people more seriously.

Of course we should have been all over this a year back. We should have seen all this coming when Mr. Obama decided that leaving Iraq largely unprotected was a good idea and heading home was more important. And when Mr. Obama decided that Syria was someone else’s problem and they could go to hell in a hand cart as well.

All that happened was the bad guys not believing their good fortune, they got organized. Before you knew it here we are with people like Chuck Hagel testifying to Congress about how sophisticated ISIS is, how well funded, how dangerous, how organized.

This has happened before our very eyes. This has happened while we pretended it wasn’t. Worse, this was always going to happen. Vacuums, when not filled by the good guys, are filled by the bad guys.

Read more »

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Tracy Watkins needs to stop drinking the gallery Koolaid

The problem with the Press Gallery is they are generally actually out of touch with what actually happens in politics.

Preferring to talk about factions and plans and conspiracies when none actually exists. They are particularly tits at these prognostications with the National aprty.

We often see stories about faction wars inside National when none exists. We know they don;t exists because if there were factions then i’d be in one of them and if there was a war there would be bodies floating down political rivers.

Tracy Watkins embarks on another gallery fantasy…that political parties groom future leaders.

Helen Clark’s mistake in being too slow to rejuvenate her caucus left a very deep impression on Key. He has been far more proactive, creating an expectation that there is no room in the caucus for seat warmers.

The departure of a slew of National MPs at the last election is evidence of his more ruthless approach, as is his approach to Cabinet reshuffles.

For the first time that anyone can remember Key has made a practice of demoting ministers for performance issues, rather than the more traditional route of sacking minister’s only when they have transgressed.  This has given him room to constantly renew his Cabinet. Key rang the changes with a reshuffle which he hopes will mitigate the effects of third-termitis.

Elevating the likes of Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges up the Cabinet rankings also shows Key has a succession plan in place ‚Äď along with Steven Joyce, they are being looked to as the next generation of National leaders. Will the drive for renewal reach even higher to the leadership and deputy leadership?

Read more »