Wasting the Win

Andrew Bolt looks at something that New Zealanders will be familiar with…a government that has won, and won handsomely wasting the win.

Tony Abbott’s biggest danger now is not losing the September election, but wasting the win.

The Opposition Leader has long worried his contest with Julia Gillard will get very tight. He’s a fretter.

So he’s been risk averse, making few promises to end what shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey called the “Age of Entitlement”, with an astonishing six million Australians living off benefits or state salaries.

He does not dare risk the fear campaign Labor would wage among public servants and pensioners.

Nor is he promising big changes to Labor’s controls over workplaces which are strangling productivity. He’s stuck mainly to promising a crackdown on rogue unions, fearing another union scare campaign if he went much further. 

He is even sticking to the expensive renewable energy target that jacks up power prices without cutting the global temperature, which hasn’t risen in 16 years anyway.

Worse, he’s still promising to waste billions on green schemes, including a whacky plan to close “dirty” coal fired power stations, for fear of further enraging green voters.

Fear has kept Abbott from promising all the cuts and workplace freedoms this country badly needs.

That may be clever politics in a tight contest. But it means Abbott is not winning a mandate for change. He is not getting a “to do” list with the voters’ tick of approval.

Yep very familiar. John Key in 2008 was ever so cautious and the following 3 years even more so. 2011 was more bold promising asset sales, fighting the election on that ans winning.

On The Bolt Report yesterday, he argued voters want a “no surprises” government, and he is right if he means voters truly hate politicians promising one thing but giving another.

Remember the “no carbon tax” promise?

But Labor is now so dysfunctional, and the Prime Minister so despised, that chances are Abbott won’t simply win, but win big.

It would be a shame, a waste, for Abbott to be Prime Minister with a huge majority in Parliament but a tiny mandate for change.

Few Governments get braver in their second term than they were in their first. So Abbott’s first term is his chance to make big changes – changes he needs, too, if he is to galvanise this sluggish economy and make the savings he will need.

True, six months is still a long time. It may be wise for Abbott to be cautious for a few more opinion polls.

But Australia desperately needs reform.  Unless Abbott tells us soon what that reform will be, we won’t get the government to do all that needs doing.

If you win big never waste the win…Jim Bolger was like that. While voters still despise the exited party the new government should make changes before the winds of politics change.


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  • StupidDisqus

    Abbott – like Rodger Douglas and Ruth Richardson – knows that it’s not what you promise before you win that matters. It’s what you do afterwards.

    Given Labour shooting themselves in the head, and the Coalition look at over 60% two party preferred, a Coalition majority in the Senate, and Labour could be hacked down to a rump of 30 seats, leaving the Coalition with 120 MPs Abbott is mad if he says anything at all

    But it means Abbott is not winning a mandate for change. He is not getting a “to do” list with the voters’ tick of approval.

    Fuck mandates. What matters is having power. Then you follow Roger and Ruth’s example (and I think Ruth has done some advising of the Coalition) — move so fast the opposition can’t stop you, go for the biggest and most important changes first, and don’t give a fuck about getting re-elected: because once the benefits, the unions, the state schools/hospitals/health insurance are gone, they’re not coming back.

    • cows4me

      Well said StupidDisqus, Jk could have made a real difference if he had had the balls and had struck early, it’s all being pissed away now. What will the National legacy be, who knows, they might have done enough to make a paragraph on Wikipedia. Big ears has a real chance to advance Australia, perhaps we should hope he fails as a resurgent Australia will just about sound the death knell for this little socialist paradise.

      • StupidDisqus

        What will the National legacy be

        6 more years of Hellen

        followed by Shearer – 6 more years of Hellen…

        followed by Joyce? – 6 more years of Hellen!

    • chopsuey

      Does using bold make you feel special, little guy?

      • Mediaan

        It’s italic, and did you actually have any contribution to make to the discussion?

    • Mediaan

      Like, “get power somehow then do what you like”? That’s tyranny.

  • StupidDisqus

    And as for “Smile & Wave”

    2011 was more bold promising asset sales, fighting the election on that ans winning.

    49% asset sales aren’t bold. They’re pathetic. I’m Cullen actually solder more assets than Key has managed so far, and certainly cut taxes more!

    Stopping welfare – that’s bold. Selling all state schools – that’s bold.

    49% of 4 “assets”. That’s just – sad.

    • BJ

      You might be a shoot yourself in the foot or commit hari-kari sort of fellow so you underestimate John Key. Come the next election he will have warmed a lot of people up that have previously been cold to his government. That is because they are already now warm to him. Best to aim for the heart and then the head usually follows.

      • StupidDisqus

        Let’s get one thing clear: the hard decisions that need to be taken, there’s no way 50% or even 40% of the current electorate will support:
        – ending welfare, including super
        – ending state schools, make ’em all private or Charter
        – ending state hospitals
        – banning unions

        that’s about the top 4. Look at how Ruth (in particular) didn’t give a shit about heads or hearts: knew what needed to be done and did it.

        It too 20 years for Socialist governments of all creeds, National as well as Labour – to under every single reform Ruth did – but that’s what happened.
        Because Ruth wasn’t allowed to finish the job!

        What needs to be done: the entire Ruthanasia agenda, the 10% that was enacted, the 90% Bolger was to scared to do – do it all in a single budget, devil take the hindmost.

        Then it won’t matter if the communists are elected. Once you’ve sold the railway you can buy it back again: when it’s been scrapped and the land sold you can’t!. If benefits are cut, you can put them up again; but once benefits are cancelled and there are no tax surpluses plus a constitutional spending cap – you can’t. If schools are bulk funded and the teacher unions allowed to exist well you can be sure we’ll go back to 1930s soviet education (as happened in NZ – and lets’ face it, Soviet education was good at many things, notably teaching Russian, maths, and communism :-) But once the schools have been privatized or sold overseas, and there are no more teacher unions, you can’t started building ten thousand new state schools.

        • Mediaan

          My own feelings and your own feelings about these things don’t matter.

          We have a democracy here. If we could razz up the teachers to create actual literacy, and razz up the media to give out actual news and information, and razz up the local councils to discourage supermarkets so little shops could come back in with their more diverse ranges of actual food, our democracy could even get it right.

  • blokeintakapuna

    Lets put some context into things shall we…

    When National won back in 2008′ the GFC was really starting to bite and the huge amounts of uncertainty around the World was a very real and scary prospect for not only commerce and business but for entire countries. That risk is still largely there… Quietly waiting for an appropriate target. Cyprus is the current target weighing on Europe and the worlds stock exchanges.

    As individuals concerned about our neighbourhood, we forget about the larger issues PMs and governments need to consider and this was the biggest issue of the day when National absolutely wiped the floor with Labour. That, plus the thousands of other issues us public don’t ever get to hear about is also a factor in the decision making process a government needs to consider.

    Then Labour handed National the largest ever hospital pass by squandering a $20bn surplus during the best of all commerce times, just as the GFC hit NZ.

    Then the finance companies fell over… En masse. I’m sure National would have loved to let SCF fail – however at the time, the risk for all of the rest of the South Island failing was just too great… Especially as the earthquakes had recently hit, greatest natural disaster in all of NZ’s history costing untold in future Billions.

    Considering the huge headwinds and the starting point National found the economy, they had little wriggle room to move initially considering the unprecedented disaster and social upheaval it had on the entire country…. But especially those in Canterbury, so like it or not, National had to operate in the straight-jacket they were handed by Labour.

    Thankfully for NZinc we had a credible PM that can run a country. Imagine if 4-headed Taniwha had won? God save us!

    Next election will see some room for much needed and long overdue readjustments of entitlement attitudes me hopes.

    • StupidDisqus

      When National won back in 2008′ the GFC was really starting to bite and

      the risk for all of the rest of the South Island failing was just too great.

      In other words: National squandered the best conditions for real, deep reform since 1991, if not 1984.

      • Mediaan

        Nobody squandered, except the pals of foreign ideologues in Labour, on their way out, and Bloke said it.
        You are an extremist, SD, and there are about quarter of a million other extremists with differing views from yours. Governments manage all of these.

    • Mediaan

      Well said, bloke. And in my opinion Labour’s squandering of vast cash sums at the last minute was deliberate. They knew they would lose, didn’t care about New Zealand’s future well-being, and wanted to hand National a bucket of worms.

  • Mediaan

    We currently have the most capable leader in the English speaking world.

    John Key is not only the most qualified leader that has been seen anywhere for decades, he is also extremely popular and has stayed popular, year in and year out.

    The ordinary New Zealand voter has got it right.

    We should assume leaders and leadership groups around the globe, including people in Australia, will be watching John Key closely.

    As a manager, as a leader, as a chairman, our man is superbly talented.

    Others will be trying to work out how he does it.