Are National and John Key really “out of touch”

Liam Hehir outlines National’s shocker of a year….month by awful month.

In January, the first public poll of the year showed National with 49.8 per cent support, Labour on 29.1, the Greens on 9.3, and New Zealand First on 6.9. That looked pretty good for National. Unfortunately for the party, it all went downhill from there.

In February, the Government came under attack over the possibility of taxpayer funds for SkyCity’s new convention centre. TV3’s Patrick Gower declared that Andrew Little had hit “the political jackpot” and the prime minister’s trouble with the deal was a “a great issue to attack the Government on.”

To make matters worse, Jacinda Ardern accused the Government of being “out of touch” on paid parental leave.

In March, a by-election was held in the safe National seat of Northland and Winston Peters managed to beat out the government’s candidate. Dr Bryce Edwards asked whether this represented “some sort of tipping point” against National. Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the result was proof of an “an increasingly out of touch Government”.

A dreadful start to the year.

In April, we had “Ponytail-gate”, with the prime minister admitting to having upset a waitress by repeatedly yanking her hair. It was a failed attempt at a”bit of banter” said the Prime Minister but Metiria Turei pointed to it as “a sign of how out of touch John Key has become.” Leftwing columnist Dita DeBoni was already cross with the prime minister about other things, but questioned whether this could be “the straw that broke the back of John Key’s popularity.”

In May, we saw the election of James Shaw as a new Green Party co-leader. This was the Government’s worst nightmare, because Shaw’s private sector experience, open attitude towards business and ability to tap into the public’s frustration with politics-as-usual was just what the Greens needed to break out of their leftwing cul-de-sac. In her speech to the party conference, Metiria Turei stated that the Government is “out of touch” no fewer than three times.

In June, senior government minister Stephen Joyce was rocked by revelations of truly extravagant expenditure by MBIE. Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars were wasted on things like high-tech screens, signs and even hair straighteners. According to Labour MP David Clark, this kind of spending showed “just how out of touch the Minister has become.”

That is six months of appalling scandal and proof, surely, that National is out of touch. But it gets worse.

In July, the Labour Party ruffled feathers by releasing analysis that it claimed showed too many people with Chinese-sounding names were buying property in Auckland. Press gallery veteran John Armstrong reported that the controversy was “just what the doctor ordered” for Labour. The Greens weren’t exactly comfortable with the tactic, but Metiria Turei did at least announce that the prime minister was “painfully out of touch” on the subject of housing.

In August, the Trans Pacific Partnership reared its ugly head. There were protests about New Zealand’s involvement and the prime minister was too dismissive of these for the taste of The Dominion Post, which declare him “badly out of touch” on aspects of the deal. James Shaw showed he was up to the task by decreeing the Government “out of touch” on economic sovereignty. Not to be left behind, Metiria Turei declared John Key to be “out of touch” for not expanding Māori Language Week to a full month.

In September, the media spotlight fell on the Government’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Duncan Garner slammed the prime minister for not keeping with public opinion on the issue. “The longer the PM digs his heels in the longer he looks out of touch,” he warned. This was also the month when the Government had to do an embarrassing u-turn on including Red Peak flag in the flag referendum, after Andrew Little declared it to be “totally out of touch” on the matter.

That’s nine months of being completely “out of touch” with voters.

In October, the Government should have had a pretty easy month – we won the World Cup! Unfortunately, the Government was revealed to be paying consultant Paula Rebstock $2,000 a day for her work in overhauling CYFs. Andrew Little declared that this illustrated how “out of touch” the Government is.

In November, there was outrage in Parliament over John Key claiming that Labour was supporting rapists, child molesters and murderers in the Australian detainee row. When several female MPs stormed out of the debating chamber in protest, Rob Hosking of the National Business Review informed us that would “hurt National” given that “a huge part of Mr Key’s success has been his appeal to women voters”

This was also the month that Labour had its conference in Palmerston North. According to blogger Martyn Bradbury, Annette King and Grant Robertson both gave amazing speeches that “made National look out of touch.”

So dreadful, how does John Key even survive.?

Surely the polls would reflect that reality…that the government is hopelessly out of touch with society and voters.

And in December, the last public poll of 2015 was released. Out of touch National had 51.3 per cent support, Labour 31.1, the Greens 8.2, and New Zealand First were on 5.7.

Yeah, it looks like the only people “out of touch” are the Green Party, Labour Party and Martyn Bradbury aka Wrongly Wrongson the most wrong person in NZ politics.

A better narrative would be “Polls show Media Party continue to fail to get voters to accept a lie”.

 

– Manawatu Standard


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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