National Party

The advantage for National if they win Mt Roskill

Rob Hosking explains how National would gain an advantage in the extremely unlikely event they won Mt Roskill in the by-election.

National has one large advantage in the byelection – well, two, perhaps. There are significant benefits from what is still, despite a fairly lacklustre run since re-election at the end of 2014, an aura of success – or at least of not being as pratfall-prone as Labour.

And National, unlike Labour, is not struggling to get donations for next year’s general election, let alone for a byelection.

The biggest advantage is much the same as Hillary Clinton has in making a fight of Arizona. No one is going to be all that cut up if the party loses.

But a win would be the equivalent of an intercept try in rugby: a large psychological blow to the opposition.

In fact to some degree the psychological blow has already been struck: Labour in Mt Roskill, like the Republicans in Arizona, is being forced into defending home territory, territory it should be able to take for granted, at least to some degree.   Read more »

Does Jenna Lynch even know what she is talking about?

Jenna Lynch has done a spiteful and stupid little piece at Newshub accusing National of a jack up in candidate selection in Mt Roskill.

Here’s some advice – don’t waste your time tuning into National’s announcement of their Mt Roskill candidate.

Spoiler alert: it is Parmjeet Parmar. That was decided long ago by the National Party bosses.

There was no point in any other candidate putting their name forward for Mt Roskill – it was always going to be Parmar.

National is adamant they haven’t chosen their candidate – but the hoardings for Parmar are already flying out of the printing room.

National is adamant they haven’t chosen their candidate – but John Key is posting high-production videos all over social media of himself and Parmar on building sites and celebrating Diwali.

National is adamant they haven’t chosen their candidate – but National has already organised a $250 a head fundraiser with the Prime Minister at Eden Park for her.

That’s three strikes – it is a jack-up.    Read more »

Use-by dates for politicians

Tracy Watkins looks at the use-by date of politicians.

Goff’s valedictory was typically warm and funny – qualities which, if he had managed to harness them as leader, might have made all the difference (if not to Labour’s result in 2011, then to Goff’s political legacy).

Because while his reputation as one of Labour’s smartest and most diligent MPs is hard earned, those qualities did not resonate with the public during his leadership.

Which is why Labour won’t mourn his departure – much.

Which makes it even more astonishing that National couldn’t find a candidate to beat him for the role of Auckland Mayor.

Goff will leave a big hole in Labour’s ranks. But his resignation gives the party an opportunity to meet a much bigger imperative of filling that hole with a  fresh face and new talent.

In contrast to US politics, where two post-pension age candidates are duking it out for the presidency, MPs here are increasingly under pressure to recognise their use-by date.

The youngest MP elected at the 2014 election was 24 and for the first time Parliament also had a representative of Generation Y, those born from 1986 to 2005. Meanwhile, 54 per cent of the current Parliament are baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, so not overwhelmingly old, but not young either.

But it’s not so much age that counts against MPs, as time served in Parliament. The idea of a safe seat being a sinecure is slowly disappearing.

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Hooton on de-risking to win MMP elections

Matthew Hooton explains the risk averse nature of MMP politics.

All MMP elections have been horrendously close.

Just tens of thousands of votes stood in the way of prime ministers Phil Goff and David Cunliffe being real possibilities, and David Shearer would almost certainly have become prime minister in 2014 had the unions and the Labour left allowed him to lead the party to the election.

In 2005, the numbers existed for Don Brash to form a National-Act-United Future-New Zealand First-Maori Party hybrid. Even in 2002 a National-Act-United Future-New Zealand First government under Bill English was just four seats short of being a possibility.

Today, according to John Key’s pollster David Farrar’s weighted average of polls, the Labour-Green axis is just 1.6% behind National, with Winston Peters clearly the kingmaker. This is why the union bosses and far-left activists who surround Andrew Little remain relatively chipper, even as Labour’s more mainstream staff continue to walk out the door. With any deterioration in National’s support, they are confident they will be able to manoeuvre either their man into the prime minister’s office or Mr Peters on their behalf.

The electoral maths is also why Mr Key’s government appears so lazy and visionless as we enter what is best seen as the 18th year of the Helen Clark regime. Nevertheless, until a future Labour leader recognises that the easiest way to beat Mr Key is by outbidding him on economic ambition rather than playing to the gallery of left-wing Wellington social justice warriors, Mr Key’s lot is as good as it gets.

What’s more, right now Mr Key’s government is perfectly adequate as reasonable growth, low inflation, rising wages, low unemployment and improving surpluses suggest. All things considered, its default do-nothing political strategy targeted at the median voter makes sense.

Moreover, a few of the things it actually is doing at the edges – such as Mr English’s social investment strategy, Anne Tolley’s complete reform of Child, Youth and Family and Simon Bridges’ policy work on Auckland congestion pricing – are even worthwhile. While she will ultimately be forced to back down, Hekia Parata’s attempts to improve the school funding system are also commendable.

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The knives are out…as they should be

The National party, in the past, has been very effective at cutting out cancer. After the 2002 debacle the board moved very quickly to cut cancer out and Boag and English were knifed.

Now one of those fools is back meddling and it cost Auckland a centre-right council. Michelle Boag is a cancer in National. Maurice Williamson once described her as a boil that needed lancing. That has not changed.

The knives are out in the National Party after the centre-right’s disastrous result at last weekend’s local elections in Auckland.

Mayoral candidate Vic Crone trailed Labour Phil Goff from start to finish.

Goff’s name recognition and political experience were too much of a mountain to climb for Crone in 10 months. Having two other centre-right contenders, John Palino and Mark Thomas, confused voters and made matters worse.

The immediate post mortem is focused on National’s de facto ticket Auckland Future, which bombed horribly.

Auckland Future set out to create a citywide ticket and secure a majority of centre-right councillors on Auckland Council. It stood seven council candidates and endorsed media personality Bill Ralston in Waitemata and Gulf. It came away with one seat. Of the 25 candidates who stood for a Local Board, six were elected.

On the North Shore, where National holds every electorate seat, Auckland Future was taken to the cleaners by four centre-left, liberal candidates. From a base in Parnell, Auckland Future nobbled the sitting centre-right North Shore councillor George Wood, who could have won.

On election day, not a single National MP turned up at Crone’s function at the Cav tavern in Freemans Bay. Act leader David Seymour was the only MP in attendance. Seven National MPs, including junior cabinet ministers Maggie Barry, Paul Goldsmith and Nikki Kaye, were at her campaign launch.

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Observations of Auckland’s centre-right clusterf*ck election

Nick K stood for office on the North Shore.

He makes some observations of the campaign at No Minister:

Like a lot of people, I watched the clusterf**k unfold last Saturday, but my sentiment was more of amusement rather than disappointment.  And that’s because I saw this coming about 6 months ago, or maybe even longer.  I was involved in the campaign at a candidate level for a local board, and tried to distance myself from Auckland Future as best I could.  Stevie Wonder could have seen what was coming for them.

The political right in local body politics in Auckland exhibit the same attitude and make the same mistakes that Labour does at central politics level at the moment.  Both sets of players talk at voters, rather than to them.  They both believe they are right (as in correct) and soon the dumb voters will wake up and realise it.  But critically, they both utterly fail in their political messaging and strategy.  Both Labour and the centre right in Auckland local body politics believe if they keep doing the same things – the very things that have failed Labour and the centre right in Auckland local body politics since 2010 – eventually they will succeed as the voters will inevitably see sense.

Of course, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of stupidity.   Read more »

Richard Harman on National’s Auckland cock-up

Richard Harman gets right down to tin tacks in assessing National’s Auckland debacle.

The centre-left have now won control of the Auckland and Wellington Councils.

This will be a major morale booster for the Labour Party though Andrew Little was quick to say that it did not necessarily translate into improved chances for the party at the next election.

For National the result is more troubling.

There will now be a debate about why the centre right candidates so comprehensively lost.

In short, how did the centre right blow it.

And there will be a debate (again) about whether, like Labour, the party should become more involved in local body elections.

That may be particularly relevant in Wellington where two centre-right candidates with National Party connections stood for Mayor.

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National’s cunning strategy


Just like the “housing crisis” is a problem that can’t be solved, and provides Labour with a stick to beat National with, family violence will be a topic that can’t be easily solved and Labour can hardly be “against” it.  The best they can do is disagree with National’s ideas.   But they must be “for” reduction of violence in society, and “for” measures to assist that.

From the perspective of the opposition, this is a damn slippery topic to get any serious hits in on, while National can continue to flood the media with heroic stories of how they are not happy and how things will improve. Read more »

Why elect a National government that taxes and spends like a Labour one?

On Facebook, David Seymour asks why we should elect a National government that taxes and spends like a Labour one.  In order to hold onto power and to gain the middle vote,  John Key has been unashamed to keep old labour policies and to steal new labour policies. What really is there left in National to differentiate it from the Labour Party?  There are charter schools but that is an Act policy. I think National has lost sight of its Conservative roots.

The National Party has quit hiding its socialist streak – it’s now boasting about it.

When Steven Joyce literally puts out press releases (see below) boasting about increased income redistribution, it’s easy to see why National needs ACT to put the right back into centre-right.

With Bill English safely overseas, Steven Joyce announced that the top 10 per cent of households now pay 37.7 per cent of taxes – more than when National were accusing the opposition of ‘communism by stealth’. Are taxpayers meant to think this is a good thing?

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Raw feedback for John Key

Caution:  unedited feedback:



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