An analysis of Section 59

Having had the enforced chance over the last few days to spend quite a bit of time with my Dad we have talked about Key's tactics over Section 59.

I have also read the wailing and gnashing from the conservative right and the silly name calling without any clear thought about the politics of the move.

Therefore here is my 10 cents worth.

John Key is actually playing brilliant politics. National is a true broad spectrum party and appeals right across the the centre divide. It is actually the only place that all can co-exist really rather happily. Having been a member for over 15 years with some actually quite close insights to the party, I can certainly say that this the case of the modern National Party.

You see the rabid right will either vote for him or for ACT, either way the vote is the same and National still wins. Even though they may be pissed off they will NOT vote for Labour and they will NOT "not vote".

The centre however is where it is at. At he centre perception IS reality. Reality for Labour is that it looks to have lost the initiative, they are still perceived as having rammed a law through against the public wish, Key is perceived as having softened it, plus promised to change it if anyone get's it. The law was going to pass anyway, nothing he did could have stopped it. He has however improved what remains poorly written law.

The centre voting mums in Mt Eden and Mt Albert and Mt Roskill will now look at Key as someone who they can genuinely vote for who is not at all like what Helen Clark and Michael Cullen have described how nasty national leaders are….he really looks like a decent chap. Further he looks like a Prime Minister standing on the podium essentially calling th shots as Labour bled out its support. Helen Clark and lickspittles like Jordan Carter and his acolyte pretender Tony Milne can hardly call National the "nasty party", well they can, but not without looking incredibly stupid while the do it. Clark will also find it nigh on impossible from now on to play dirty with comments like "cancerous and corrisive" against Key again without looking like a Prime minister who has lost complete touch with reality.

The fact that Labour and Bradford went from "no way Jose" to "please come and talk to us about you little amendment" in leass than a week shows that they were copping an absolute flogging in their internal polling. They had to staunch the bleeding and this was the best way that they could think they weredoing so. In fact it has shown that the previously invincible Clark is no longer bullet proof and does in fact bleed when shot at.

Of course right now the very conservative right are wailing, but they still have little option other than to vote National or ACT either way the vote stays on the right so there is no loss for Key in annoying them. Further even more from the centre will abandon Labour and move to the right.

Ironically those wailing the most stand to benefit the most also from Key's strategy as it will surely increase ACT's standing at the same time as increasing National's.

But hey what the fuck would I know.


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  • Andy

    Dunne's name may have been on the paperwork – that is her indoors way of being 'inclusive' to her partners in crime. Most punters, apart from youself, recognise that Key seriously upstaged the game, ever looking like the mediator, forcing Sue to backdown and swallow a dead rat. He is now the conciliatory dealmaker and punters will look forward to the upcoming season. Game On!

  • I think you're the closest anyone on the right has come to nailing exactly what this means for National – and while I'll put a Labour slant on it, in essence I agree with almost everything you've said.

  • Andrew Davies

    The inquisition has already started as predicted. Check out

     Someone needs to collect details of these incidents so they can be used at the next election.

  • Spam*

    The other point is that Key has shown that he's prepared to move from first-past-the-post to MMP.  He has shown that he will work with other parties. 

  • PaulM

    I think the fallout for Key will be worse than you are predicting. Check out the comments at

  • AndyMoore

    Ahah, well quite apart from that, komrads, Key has ignored the majority of New Zealanders.

    Say whatever the heck you like, but you can't get away from the fact that Larry Baldock's got 160,000 signatures (they changed daylight saving with 42,000), has 36,000 votes (78% of which against the bill), and then theres the other polls which average out at 83%.

    The ammendment really doesn't change the bill.  Otherwise Bradford wouldn't have been happy about it would she.

  • Dowotsright

    I agree with PaulM & Andy on this one.  Key may have put politics at the door but Clark NEVER does!  He also didnt bother to see what the public felt about the amendment he just wipped his party to support it according to Rodney Hide. May  2007 Exhange with Chester Borrows from article goes:

    I ask Mr Borrows whether it is true that the police have a decision not to prosecute.

    Chester Borrows: Yes.

    RODNEY HIDE: So this does nothing to Sue Bradford’s bill?

    Chester Borrows: No.

    So there you have it from Borrows himself! 

    Bob Clarkson for one wanted to leave Labour to hang out to dry.  If you go to you will find headlines like:- John Key's Disastrous U-'Turn Re Sec. 59, Direct Democracy Party Disappointed in support for smacking Bill & Politicians Party over parental Sellout.  If you listened to both Radio Live & 1ZB talk back shows Micheal Laws, Linsey Perigo, John Tamihere and others fielded many angry calls talking about Key's stupid move & how they had lost faith in him because the amendment was a Sell Out. The mother from Fielding rang up to read out her letter to Key saying she felt betrayed and angry because she has put her life on hold for 2mths fighting the Bill and Key blew all her and other peoples hard work in one foul swoop.  People were calling for a new party to be formed & saying they dont know who to vote for anymore.  Im changing to ACT as the only party still against the amendment & the only ones listening to the public? Key needs someone to keep him in line on social issues.

    Want more proof the amendment is crap? How about Eye to Eye with Willie Jackson (Sat 5th May) debating (Maori never smacked before Settlers) with Hone Harawira where he states his parents never smacked him but that he grew up to bash his own kids & feels guilty about it now.  So much for being brought up in an anti-smacking environment ay? Hmmm… Anti smacking can breed violence one could argue. Anyway Hone stated which I have copied word for word "The Amendment was just so that all of the liberals will feel that they had a say in impacting on the Bill.  They've had no say whatsoever! Section 59 is gone. The police powers are exactly the powers in every other situation" end quote. Willie Jacksons response "They've just conned everyone thats what Hone is saying"  end quote. So thats why Bradford is claiming smacking is still not allowed and as Andy put it she is still happy and didnt pull her Bill.  Now with all that evidence can you still say Key is the smart one?  What is smart about stopping an issue that is killing Labour & then taking much of the heat for Labour from the angry parents etc who now feel betrayed by him.  The average Kiwi has already figured out the amendment is only slightly better than worthless.  Children are already saying to parents the teacher said you cant smack me now because its against the Law, CYFS are already threatening parents with regards to smacking.  So I ask you, since those were the very things parents were frightened of about this Bill then what has Key's amendment really achieved for parents? Nothing Really they still will have police around asking questions. Perhaps saying  "May we see your childs butt Mr Jones to see if there is any red mark which we can deem inconsequential or not? Oh and since this is your third smacking offence reported by the local teacher  CYFS will be around to interview your child about the pain level of the so called smack." Yikes! CFYS are a law unto themselves, a mate of mine went through hell with them, they have bugger all discretion its always guilty until proven innocent.  So since that will all still take place I cant be any happier about the amendment. We will have the same problems for the next 18mths with or without Keys amendment. However this kind of social engineering takes years to really hurt society to the point it is obvious but by then it is too late.  Labour banks on that.  Key should have let us vote him in and then had a Referendum on the matter.  Now thats what I would call a real democratic leader.