Robert Muldoon

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 »

Armstrong on Joyce and Cunliffe

John Armstrong critiques Steven Joyce’s virtuoso performance in the house where he rinsed Cunliffe.

Joyce took the first call in Wednesday afternoon’s general debate — long a platform for Parliament’s better orators — to parody Labour’s under-the-weather David Cunliffe in a fashion that was as clever as it was cruel as it was funny.

Within the space of a five-minute speech, Joyce had revealed another weapon in his armoury — the ability to cut an opponent down by sheer wit — and thereby further enhanced his credentials as the frontrunner for National’s leadership when Key finally moves on.

There was, however, another interesting outcome from his contribution — its impact on those sitting opposite him.

Cunliffe was not in the chamber. But those Labour MPs who were initially tried to ignore what was a virtuoso performance. But their barely suppressed smiles gave the game away.

If any group of people could do with a bit of a laugh it is Cunliffe’s colleagues.They have watched in increasing despair as their leader of just 10 months has virtually self-destructed and taken the party’s support down with him from the mid-30s to the mid-20s in percentage terms. Cunliffe is now very much marooned in a malaise from which it is almost impossible for a Leader of the Opposition to drag himself or herself out.

You can do nothing right. Every opinion poll just brings even more bad news. No one takes you seriously. You become the target of every cheap joke and jibe. The media spit on what remains of your dignity. The public write you off. In short, you are deemed to be terminal. You then wait for the firing squad — the knock on the door from a delegation of your MPs who have determined your use-by date has long passed and your ability to resuscitate your party’s flagging support is seen as likely as a squadron of pigs gliding past the Beehive.

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The far left say Cunliffe is no Bill Rowling…in a bad way

You know things are bad when you are being compared to Bill Rowling…the man Robert Muldoon once described as ‘a shiver looking for a spine to run down’.

The hard left are saying that David Cunliffe is no Bill Rowling…and they aren’t being positive.

HIS SUPPORTERS say that David Cunliffe is the man to lead Labour  away from neoliberalism. According to The Daily Blog’s  Martyn Bradbury, for instance,  ‘the establishment have gone romper stomper on Cunliffe’s desire to break with 30 years of neoliberalism.’

And, like Bradbury, blogger and columnist Chris Trotter  is of the opinion that ‘left wing’ Cunliffe is a target of right wing conspiratorial forces within Labour. Bradbury calls them the ABC’s (Anyone But Cunliffe).

The problem for Bradbury and Trotter though is two fold. First of all they have actually have no concrete evidence there is a conspiracy and are seemingly  hell bent in engaging in endless speculation where the facts are few and far between.

The second problem with this view is that David Cunliffe isn’t the left wing politician that Bradbury and Trotter keep on insisting that he is.

The reality is that David Cunliffe  is not so much the ‘change’ candidate, but a politician who will deliver more of the same neoliberal policies that both National  and Labour governments have followed over the past 30 years.

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Compare and Contrast

14 June, 30 years ago a drunk Robert Muldoon calls a snap election…euphemistically called the “schnapps” election.

13 May 2014, a slurring Winston Peters makes a dick of himself in the house:

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Beware the power of the slogan

A reader emails their thoughts on David Cunliffe.

Politicians are rarely remembered for their years of self sacrifice and good deeds. It doesn’t matter that you single handedly saved the planet from a Klingon invasion, you’ll be remembered for a silly act or a catchy slogan. I’ve been around long enough to recall several of them – Norman Kirk and the popular song ‘Big Norm’, Piggy Muldoon and ‘Think Big’, David Lange’s ‘You can smell the uranium on his breath’, Rogernomics, Shipley’s ‘Mother of all Budgets, Winston Peters’ ‘Wine Box Enquiry’, Shane Jones and his porn-friendly credit card, and more recently John Banks’ and his cup of tea.

The samples above show that this is not a new phenomenon and as a Politician you would have to be careful how you tread lest you become immortalised by a silly catch phrase or random act of stupidity.

And now there’s David Cunliffe. Almost daily he offers us new opportunities to forever remember him by his brainless and/or ill-informed statements and amateurish pretence at Perception Management (crisis ? what crisis?).

Ever since he cockroach-crawled his way into the Labour Party hierarchy, and subsequently onto our TV screens with cringing regularity, I have struggled to think of something other than Butthead (from Beavis & Butthead) every time I see him. You’d think that someone who could be a Prime Minister, and who already resembles half of a comedy cartoon, would put just a little bit more thought into the ramifications of voluntarily offering us the tag line ‘Big Tool’.

Butthead, what were you thinking?

[Name withheld by request]

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Herald on Sunday editorial – Labour is deluded

The Herald on Sunday editorial is blunt and to the point.

However I doubt Labour will heed a word they say, because they are so deluded as to think the Herald is a tory rag.

Labour has done a poor job of refreshing its caucus. There are MPs who have been there so long that they eyeballed Robert Muldoon across the House. It is in desperate need of new blood, leaders of the future like [Kelvin] Davis. Yet last election, Davis was relegated down the list below a clutch of faceless union apparatchiks.

It was outrageous that Labour thought that decidedly less than average Carol Beaumont, Sue Moroney and Rajen Prasad were all better possible MPs and deserved higher list ranking above people like Kelvin Davis and Stuart Nash.

In the long-term, Labour needs people like Davis. But in the short-term (the only terms in which most senior MPs think) Labour may want Harawira.

Because of MMP’s derided coat-tails rule, Harawira can win just the one seat and bring in another MP from the Mana Party, perhaps a couple more from the Internet Party when they formalise their ragtag alliance in two week’s time. This would provide Cunliffe with a real prospect of toppling John Key from power – despite the fact that Labour is trailing about 17 poll points behind National.

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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.

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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 »