Robert Muldoon

Tweets of the Day

Judith Collins is back in the country:

Understandably some people are concerned.

and Judith’s reply channels Paul Keating’s quip.

Plunket on Key vs Campbell

Sean Plunket tried to get fellow Mediaworks employee onto his radio show last week to explain his tumble from grace, but to no avail.

Instead Plunket has written an opinion piece for the Dompost about the interview.

I wasn’t even a working journalist when Sir Robert Muldoon uttered the famous line, “I love you, Mr Lange“.

It was July 1984 and Ian Johnstone was moderating the final televised leaders’ debate of the snap election between just two party leaders, incumbent prime minister Sir Robert and ebullient Labour leader David Lange.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet 30 years on I could watch the whole thing again this week. Not so I could get all dewy eyed about my lost youth but rather because this week I saw for the first time in three decades a television encounter which matched that debate in terms of utter dominance for one participant and defeat for another.

I’m talking, of course, about the mighty John-off on TV3 last Wednesday night, Campbell v Key on the GCSB.  Read more »

Affordable Homes 1984 styles

via the tipline

A 1984 Listener advertisement for an ‘Affordable Home’. This edition came out on election day, and so technically it was an Affordable Home under a National government led by Muldoon.

1061063_10152133892154488_1171371024_n Read more »

Rodney Hide on Norman on Key vs Muldoon

Rodney Hide had a great column Sunday about Russel Norman. I was away most of Sunday and so have only got to it now.

Norman was safe and secure in launching a personal attack on Key. It is Key’s style and strategy not to fire back. But Muldoon would not have sat quietly by. Muldoon would have eaten him up and spat him out.

Muldoon also would never have shared his leadership as Norman does. He wasn’t a touchy-feely, let’s-sit-around-the-table-holding-hands sort of guy. He was leader and that was that. Muldoon would never have tolerated a co-leader.

And then there was Norman crying, “Give me back my flag. Give me back my flag.” That was when he was attempting to stick the Tibetan flag in the face of Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping. Muldoon would never have done that. He was polite and respectful to our guests, whatever he thought of their domestic politics.

And if Muldoon did get into a scuffle, he would not have come out second. Once a rowdy group of young protesters shouting “Heil Hitler” attacked Muldoon as he was leaving a meeting. They hit him in the face, kicked his leg and shoved him against his car.

The then Leader of the Opposition decked one and chased the others down the street shouting, “One at a time and you’re welcome”.

Muldoon was condemned for brawling in the streets. But everyday Kiwis liked the guy for his belligerence. They saw in him a man who would get on with the business and who could stick up for himself.

It’s hard to imagine Norman, (a) bare-fisted defending himself, and, (b) not having a whinge about it afterwards.  Read more »

Shearer: Key is like Muldoon

We all know David Shearer’s bloody awful at answering questions, but the popular view has been that he’s getting better.

But, here is the full video of today’s media Stand-Up on the way to Caucus.

Among other things he agrees with the OECD view that there needs to be a ‘comprehensive’ Capital Gains Tax (including the family home), then goes on to suggest that he never saw Russel Norman attack John Key, so couldn’t judge whether he was being ‘shrill’.

This is despite the fact that Norman’s attack on John Key has been in the news all weekend.

So do we now assume that Shearer doesn’t read blogs, and doesn’t watch the news either?  Read more »

Armstrong on Norman’s claims

John Armstrong discusses Russel Norman’s wonky comparison of John Key with Robert Muldoon.

Muldoonist? John Key? Russel Norman cannot be serious.

The Green Party co-leader’s assertion that the “divisive and corrosive” behaviour exhibited by the leader of the National Party is akin to that of his most notorious of predecessors is certainly headline-grabbing. It also verges on the ludicrous. Sir Robert Muldoon was without question our most belligerent, abrasive, polarising, dictatorial and vindictive politician.

The fear and loathing he was capable of generating within his own ranks – let alone in the wider world of politics – was summed up by a caucus colleague who said he went to Muldoon’s funeral only so he could be assured the lid on the coffin had been nailed down properly.

The MP was only partly joking. Norman appears not to be in claiming Key is likewise behaving like a “schoolyard bully” in becoming noticeably undemocratic, hostile to rational debate and intolerant of opposition.  Read more »

Karl du Fresne calls out Norman on his Muldoon comaprison

Russel Norman likened John Key to Robert Muldoon, but how would he know…he is Australian and arrived here long after we all put a spike through the cold dead corpse of Muldoon.

Karl du Fresne calls Norman on his bullshit.

Russel Norman’s speech to the annual conference of the Greens, in which he compared John Key with Robert Muldoon, rated a 10 for desperation and a zero for credibility.

I’m no cheerleader for Key, but even to mention him in the same breath as Muldoon is laughable.

Norman arrived in New Zealand from Australia in 1997, and on the basis of his speech I would guess that’s about as far back as his knowledge of our political history extends.

None of the prime ministers we’ve had since Muldoon could be compared with him, for which we should be grateful. He was a vindictive bully who cleverly exploited the politics of fear and division, and never more so than during the 1981 Springbok tour.  Read more »

Are the Greens now the Nasty party?

Russel Norman in his best whiny Australian voice has attacked John Key comparing him to Muldoon.

And he launched an astonishing personal attack on Prime Minister John Key, who he says is “divisive and corrosive” and “irritated if we are not all grateful for him generously agreeing to be PM.”   Read more »

Chris Finlayson is the perfect Arts Minister

Chris Finalyson is perhaps the best Arts Minister one could find in the world. He loathes pretentious art.

The Parliamentary Art Collection, value $12 million, includes an artwork in shagpile that can only be described as a piece of its time.

That time is 1981 – the year of the underarm bowling scandal, the Springbok Tour, and the first hints of the trend that shoulder pads and big hair will become. The piece, Variation in Apricot, is considered ‘textile art’. It reportedly feels like touching a dirty dog.

Arts Minister Chris Finlayson’s immediate reaction is sotto voce: “S***, that’s awful.”

Then he gets closer and sees the plaque that says it was donated by the National Party caucus wives in 1981 – when Robert Muldoon was the Prime Minister.

“Oh my God,” he says, shamefaced at slighting the taste of such a group of women. He slams into reverse and hunts for a more diplomatic adjective than ‘awful.’

“It certainly is a unique contribution to the art collection in Parliament.

I couldn’t think of better lighting for it. It has been very carefully thought through.”

It is in a dark corridor of Parliament, in an area where no members of the public and few MPs would go.

There are other insults:  Read more »

Labour’s leadership woes – Guest Post

What a shambles.  What a disgrace.

Labour’s circular firing squad reveals many things about the state of that party.  Firstly it reveals a lack of character on the part of its leader, a man incapable of leading by example, by stature, or by design.  Secondly it reveals a lack of cohesion between the caucus and its wider constituent bodies.  Thirdly it reveals the jealousies that exist at all levels of the party.

Shearer’s ritual dismissal of Cunliffe is not a new strategy.  Shearer and his lieutenants Trevor Mallard and David Parker have taken a leaf out of Julia Gillard’s book.  When faced with destabilisation from Kevin Rudd, Gillard wheeled out her caucus surrogates to denounce Rudd as a demagogue unfit to lead his party or his country.  Whereas Gillard had Wayne Swan, Simon Crean and Nicola Roxon, Shearer had Hipkins and Faafoi front the media to denounce Cunliffe as a destabilising force within the caucus.

Next Shearer demanded endorsement at the point of a gun, no debate, no dissent.  Having achieved ‘unanimous’ endorsement from his colleague, Shearer then dismissed Cunliffe to the back bench.  In effect Cunliffe is now the excuse for low opinion polls, a man who is to serve as toilet paper for Shearer’s failed leadership, languishing at the bottom of the Labour Party’s political long-drop.

The problem with this scenario however is Cunliffe alone is not to blame.  Labour has yet to move to a level of political support it realised when it lost office in 2008.  This is extraordinary.  Students of history will know Bill Rowling lost the 1975 election, but outpolled Robert Muldoon in 1978.  Mike Moore led Labour to a landslide defeat in 1990, but he came within one seat of winning in 1993.

Shearer leads a party approaching its fifth year in opposition and he shows no sign of leading a recovery.  Relying of a coalition of friends based on Russel Norman and Hone Harawira is a declaration of defeat, the conclusion of a failure of leadership that he Shearer’s responsibility and Shearer’s alone.

The leader of the Labour Party is incompetent, mangles his words, struggles with basic policy concepts, and has little or no feel for human behaviour.  How does he expect his diminishing band of party members to raise money and knock on doors when he has just thrown their preferred candidate for leader under the wheel of a bus?

And Shearer need not think his so-called KiwiBuild policy will make a blind bit of difference.  Communism-meets-lotto housing based on cheap homes situated on cheap land around train stations is hardly going to motivated 200,000 mortgage-paying voters to switch their party vote from National to Labour.

Cunliffe is no better off today than he was last week.  Yes he has been demoted off the front bench, but in a caucus of 34 led by David Shearer, it was never likely that Cunliffe was going to feature in a government any time soon.  Once Shearer accommodates Norman, Turei, Harawira, Sue Bradford, and a mandatory quota of feminist unionists and others from the Rainbow sector, what role would a white heterosexual male possibly have in a future Labour-led government?

However Cunliffe alone deserves the odium that he is coping.  A weak-kneed to Shearer’s ultimatum is a disappointing end.  Yes, Cunliffe should not have hedged at the weekend conference; the smart thing would have been to publicly endorse Shearer there and then.  But having been called on to front up, Cunliffe should have done just that and tested the resolve of the Labour caucus.  Having lost, he could have then resigned and moved to the back bench rather than being dumped by a political featherweight.

Cunliffe has been unwise to rely upon the likes of Charles Chauvel, Moana Mackey and Louisa Wall.  None of his core supporters represent the aspirations of mortgageville New Zealand, and none of them were likely to have the fortitude to go through the fire on behalf of their candidate.

Cunliffe is a vain and flawed man, and someone who is deserves to be disliked by his colleagues.  But Shearer is ten times worse, a leader who seeks strategic direction from Trevor Mallard.

Well might Labour members throw up their hands in horror.  As John Key rightly points out, how can they run the country if they can’t even run a conference?

The correct response now is for Labour’s rank and file to force all MPs to face selection contests.  A contest of ideas is the only way to force its caucus to align with the party that carries it.