National’s Caucus Issues

Tau Henare telling the PM that he has the votes to be speaker is the first sign of unruliness in caucus. The tipline has been running hot in the last few weeks with stories of other backbenchers fed up with the high handed way they are treated by the leadership, and Tau is just the first to have a go.

John Key and Steven Joyce have had a charmed existence. They haven’t had to deal with many shit fights, and are not experienced or particularly good at low bastardry, so if things get unruly they are in trouble. Their big problem is while JK was almost a popular as Jesus, National only have a one seat majority. This gives a disgruntled backbencher a lot of scope to cause problems.

Back benchers seeing no path to promotion are starting to think “Fuck it, why would I prop up this government ”. They fit into two camps, one camp is disillusioned at being passed over, and just out for some utu, and the other realise that their path to the front bench is being blocked by the current lot, and if National lose they will get a promotion.

The disrespect that the back bench have been treated with goes beyond ministers ignoring them and staff being horrible to them. What is really hurting is being part of a party that is so wet that they don’t know why they are there. More spending, more debt, more regulation, more social engineering, and increasing union membership are not what National MPs go to parliament for.

Taken in context of having nothing to lose, a back bencher like Tau is probably thinking “F*** it I will have a go because I have nothing to lose. I’ll explain more in future posts.

Meanwhile I must make room for the truck load of popcorn I have ordered. There is nothing like blood and guts to excite a pundit.


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  • Phar Lap

    Good keep the pot boiling,just a matter of time that Tau will go to **** knows where.Why would any Nat voter care.

  • Random66

    Based on the above article it would seem back benchers are treated as second class citizens in government, is this normal? Also back on the 30th of August you reported that backbenchers were not being allowed to put members bills in, to the extent some ministers were blocking them. Why would they do that? What is the advantage, because I can’t see any when the opposition keep getting their wish lists pulled out of the hat instead. Just wondering if you can enlighten the uninformed like me :) Thanks.

    • They don;t want to rock the boat or upset the unions in the mistaken belief that if they go easy on them then the unions won;t go to war against National….how’d that work out with the teachers this week?

      • Random66

        Thanks for that :)

  • Redbaiter

    “What is really hurting is being part of a party that is so wet that they
    don’t know why they are there. More spending, more debt, more
    regulation, more social engineering, and increasing union membership are
    not what National MPs go to parliament for.”

    Damn right, and that is the state that the spineless Progressive John Key has brought the party to.

    Why is it useful or even helpful to be “popular” with a bunch of dummies, racists and welfare recipients?

    John Key’s popularity isn’t worth the sacrifice, and his popularity
    rests to a large extent upon the fact that National’s unwillingness to
    be different from Labour has driven most people with a brain offshore.

    National either stand for something or they don’t.

    National have to start sending a message, and speaking about their founding principles, and doing something to change the country or there is just no point to them being there.

    If John Key won’t allow this to happen then he has to go, and to hell with his “popularity”.

    • 2ndAmendment

      Why is it useful or even helpful to be “popular” with a bunch of dummies, racists and welfare recipients?

      that “one person, one vote” philosophy has an awful lot to do with it.

      Getting to a taxpayer franchise, or going back to FPP (with geographic proportionality) would both address this problem.

      Alternatively, Don Brash’s 2025 taskforce idea of a “fiscal council” that would set tax and benefit rates and enforce a balanced budget – leaving parliament with the task of spending the difference – could also do the job.

      • parorchestia

        I much prefer my Constitutional Council elected at large whose job would be twofold: to rule on each new bill as to whether or not it’s a constitutional matter, hence would require either an entrenched majority to pass into law, or a binding referendum, or to be deferred unto the next election when it can become an election policy plank.
        Their other job would be to assemble a suitable constitution over a ten-year time frame with extensive public consultation which would be presented to parliament (as a constitutional bill!).
        Only 3 people would do, chaired by the GG, and assisted by a good, but small staff.
        This would stop the malarkey of constitutional matters being rammed through with a bare majority that all recent governments have done.

  • Jase

    Bloody wet government alright! Now I see Chris Finlayson has made the Wanganui River its own ‘living’ entity! What a disgrace!

  • kowtow

    Indeed ,a very wet party. Proven by not cutting deep enough,kowtowing to Maori,failling to repeal the disgraceful smacking bill and a large proportion voting to redefine marriage.
    If Key goes the wet female swing vote that seemed to get them in will be lost and then what?
    MPs are not in parliament to get promoted or for their own interests,I thought they were representing their constituents?

    • 2ndAmendment

      Proven by not cutting deep enough

      cuts? what cuts? there weren’t even any tax cuts

      • Tony

        Shipley tried to cut to fit the budget realities – her reward was to get kicked out. I do think that a reformation (vice revolution) is what is required. To me, we can quantify our society as follows:

        a. Have Done. Already successful and mobile. Get out of their way, take their tax-payments and be grateful. Remember that if you try to make them pay too-much then the Have Done will depart.

        b. Will Do. As above. They will get there.

        c. Can Do. They need some encouragement to move forward and take risk. Stability in laws and confidence (not certainty) that they will be better off if they try to go forward rather than stay where they are.

        d. Could Do. This group is a little behind the Can Do and needs more encouragement – not welfare. The last thing that this group needs is WFF.

      • Tony

        e. Won’t Do. This group is able but not willing. This group needs a good kicking and should be the focus of benefit reform.

        f. Can’t Do. This should be the focus for state assistance. Whether the limitation is b/c of education or mental/physical impairment, this group needs help from society.

        Overall – kill WFF and lower tax.

        Institute 20/20/20 tax policy. 20K tax free, 20% PAYE, 20%GST

  • Tony

    There certainly seems to be something wrong where there no party that obviously supports and encourages individual achievement as well as protecting the ‘one-man, one-vote’ philosophy. While there is a slow and steady movement towards getting the ‘could-work’ group into the ‘do-work’ group and of this is nullified by the apparent maintenance of a pro-Maori, anti-equal rights perspective.

    While it is arguable that National cannot afford to scare the horses, I would submit as they will find it very difficult to govern next time without a significant change in minor-party fortunes, they need to do somethings very soon. My off the cuff suggestion is:

    a. Acknowledge the no coat-tailing and 4% MMP recommendations and put them into law. I think that this will reduce Mana/Maori party influence while enhancing the Conservative/ACT opportunities.

    b. maintain a strong central-ground position which responds to public opinion. This is causing Labour all sorts of problems. Labour currently has to fight on two-fronts (Nat/Green) and are turning themselves inside out. Let more personal-responsibility and business-friendly policies come from ACT/Con.

    c. find a hot-button (possibly social) topic which divides the country and put it as a referendum question during the next election. This should get people out to vote and while they are in the booth they might vote for the same party that advocates the same position. One possibility is “Should the Waitangi Tribunal be disestablished”?

    d. Talk to the Con and advance their perspective that they are socially conservative – not Christian. I know that ‘d’ will cause angst but don’t kill the entire idea jus ’cause you don’t like ‘d’!

    • Tony

      yes Jase – another referendum question could be ‘should the anti-smacking legislation be repealed?”

    • Redbaiter

      “b. maintain a strong central-ground position which responds to public opinion.”

      Agree with a lot of what you say Tony but this point needs responding to as it touches on my main beef with John Key and National.

      I think they should lead public opinion, not respond to it.

      They need to put their founding principles out there and sell them. Not hide them away and be something the party was never meant to be.

      Margaret Thatcher did it. She talked the talk and she walked the walk. She argued and she articulated her ideas and drew people to her POV.

      National are not doing that.

      Could that be because National nowadays don’t really have any POV that is substantially different from Labour?

      Have they really moved that far from their founding principles?

      Under JK, it certainly looks that way.

      • Tony

        No issues with that. My personal belief is that there are times when a leader leads and times when they follow. International policy is a time to lead where social policy is a time to follow.

        Why not have a four-year election cycle, for both local and national government, so that the people vote every two years. Each election contains one or more national referendum questions, and the same question has to be asked twice with a 60% pass on both occasions for the question to pass. This deals with the problems of referenda and may increase the turn out for local body elections.

        • Redbaiter

          One of the solutions I’d like to see applied is term limits.

          I used to think two terms was enough for any politician, but nowadays I’m leaning towards one.

          • Tony

            I have toyed with this. Considering how hard it is to find quality people currently won’t it be even harder with limits? Would there have to be a redundancy / superannuation type arrangement?

          • Redbaiter

            Well, I don’t want “good” government you see. I want government that does SFA. You don’t need the best people for that.

            All of the west’s current economic problems stem from too much government, and a belief that government has a role outside of its basic functions, like levelling the playing field and providing equal rights and all that garbage.

            Its a syndrome that has to reach the end of its run.

          • Tony

            Fair enough – I tend to agree. The real issue is two-fold:

            a. how do we get the right politicians who will limit to role of the public service (the real power) and;
            b. how do we get the public to not demand that our politicians become all-seeing, all-powerful mini-Kings and Queens

          • Redbaiter

            Dunno the complete answer to those excellent questions, but forcing National to return to their founding principles is I good start I reckon.

            “To promote good citizenship and self-reliance; to combat communism and
            socialism; to maintain freedom of contract; to encourage private
            enterprise; to safeguard individual rights and the privilege of
            ownership; to oppose interference by the State in business, and State
            control of industry”

          • parorchestia

            Having the Conservatives as a partner in government would do that. Party vote Conservative!

          • parorchestia

            Yes, agreed. As a test of one of the best governments around – name the Swiss PM. Cabinet members take this job in one year turns. The power is in referenda, and Cantons.

    • 2bdAmendment

      protecting the ‘one-man, one-vote’ philosophy

      National doesn’t have a ‘one-man, one-vote’ philosophy. At best it has a ‘one adult resident, one vote’ philosophy – and they are very different.

      Both “philosophies” of course can only lead to economic ruin. NZ needs to return to its founding principle: no representation without taxation

      Unless a household, say, has an income over $500,000 (or assets over say $3.000,000) then no vote. For ever multiple, another vote.

      At the very least, bludgers, codgers, & state “employees” should certainly not be permitted to vote, on conflict-of-interest grounds.

      • Tony

        What about the rest?

        no representation without taxation was not a founding principle of NZ (am happy to be proved wrong), it was the reason for the American Revolution.

        Pse define ‘state “employees”‘ police?, fire-fighters?, Defence Force? low paid admin worker? Which ones do not deserve to have a voice? At first glance yr perspective is sound, right up to the point where you realise that to progress down that path will lead to the rise of another elite group.

        Normally I would agree with yr perspective but you’ve moved a little far to the extreme for me this time!

      • AnonWgtn

        Surely you mean no representation without “positive” taxation.
        Or New ZeaLand citizenship, or Ratepayer identification in Local Government.

        • parorchestia

          In the US case it was no taxation without representation, not the other way round. They were protesting at the high levels of taxation imposed by the British government. Ironically, within a very few years of independence taxation rates were higher than under the British!
          I, like all my friends, will die in the ditch to preserve universal suffrage. The rich have no monopoly on wisdom.

  • Auto_Immune

    The next cabinet reshuffle is probably going to exacerbate things too:
    It seems likely that Nick Smith will be welcomed back to the fold, and poor-performing incumbents will retain their seats instead of allowing rising stars (who are generally more ideologically pure) to have a go.

  • Troy

    JK should call a snap election tomorrow. Would put to rest a lot of issues swirling around – would also be really interesting to see who got voted back in. If the Nats don’t get back in again, well, what’s the best of two not so good things?