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The tale of two Facebook fan clubs

If the Facebook community is anything to go by then Helen Clark is goneburgers.

In the head to head between the fan clubs;

Helen Clark – 1100 supporters
John Key – 3009 supporters

Audrey rubbishs Labour, EPMU spin

NZ Herald Blogs Corrections, retractions and rubbish

Audrey Young add some clarity to the rather pathetic attack by Labour and the EPMU as well as their client-blogs on John Key.

There is a certain amount of rubbish being pedalled by the Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union about the Herald’s involvement in the saga over whether or not John Key told the Bay Report in Northland he wanted wages to drop.

National secretary Andrew Little is entitled to ask questions but they should be based on facts.

Amid many questions in a press statement today headed “Has National muzzled the press?” he asks why the Herald is publishing a “correction” ahead of a Bay Report “correction” on the story.

That is false.

Whoopsy there goes The Stranded’s attack, popped like the air-filled balloon the accusation always was. Then she gets into labour for worse behaviour with the Broadcasting Minister at the time Steve Maharey actually breaking the law by remonstrating with the Chief Executive of Radio New Zealand.

There wouldn’t be a journalist or news outlet in the country that has not been lobbied by politicians about a story they have taken exception to. Labour does it too.

I have it on very good authority that Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey rang the chief executive of Radio New Zealand (yes, management) last year because he was so pissed off at an interview conducted by Sean Plunket.

But then again Labour Ministers actually breaking the law is kind of usual behaviour thee behaviour and hardly causes a ripple. A bigger scandal would be a Labour minister acting ethically for a change.

Bugs Bunny vs. Daffy Duck – Why Bugs wins with voters

Why voters pick Bugs Bunny over Daffy Duck. – By Jeff Greenfield – Slate Magazine

Slate has a brilliant article about the Bugs Bunny vs. Daffy Duck principle in politics. It is largely about US politics but as I read it I thought that it echoed remarkably the situation we have right now in New Zealand Politics. But first what is the principle all about.

And here’s another explanation for this remarkable reversal of fortune, one that represents for me one of the few really reliable rules of presidential political warfare: Bugs Bunny always beats Daffy Duck.

As shaped by genius animator Chuck Jones?he didn’t create the Warner Bros. icons, but he gave them their later looks and personalities?Bugs and Daffy represent polar opposites in how to deal with the world. Bugs is at ease, laid back, secure, confident. His lidded eyes and sly smile suggest a sense that he knows the way things work. He’s onto the cons of his adversaries. Sometimes he is glimpsed with his elbow on the fireplace mantel of his remarkably well-appointed lair, clad in a smoking jacket. (Jones once said Cary Grant was his inspiration for Bugs. Today it would be George Clooney.) Bugs never raises his voice, never flails at his opponents or at the world. He is rarely an aggressor. When he is pushed too far and must respond, he borrows a quip from Groucho Marx: “Of course, you realize this means war.” And then, whether his foe is hapless hunter Elmer Fudd, varmint-shooting Yosemite Sam, or a raging bull, Bugs always prevails.

Daffy Duck, by contrast, is ever at war with a hostile world. He fumes, he clenches his fists, his eyes bulge, and his entire body tenses with fury. His response to bad news is a sibilant sneer (“Thanks for the sour persimmons, cousin!”). Daffy is constantly frustrated, sometimes by outside forces, sometimes by his own overwrought response to them. In one classic duel with Bugs, the two try to persuade Elmer Fudd to shoot the other?until Daffy, tricked by Bugs’ wordplay, screams, “Shoot me now!”

“Hmmm,” he adds a moment later in a rare bit of self-scrutiny. “Pronoun trouble.”

Do you recognise those descriptions? I sure do. Right now in NZ Politics Bugs Bunny is John Key, at ease, laid back, secure, confident. His lidded eyes and sly smile suggest a sense that he knows the way things work. He’s onto the cons of his adversaries. Helen Clark displays all the traits of Daffy Duck, ever at war with a hostile world. She fumes, she clenches her fists, her eyes bulge, and her entire body tenses with fury. Her response to bad news is almost always a sibilant sneer. Helen is constantly frustrated, sometimes by outside forces, sometimes by her own overwrought response to them.

Waitangi is a classic Bugs vs. Daffy moment. John Key was relaxed and comfortable on the lower marae, he was so laid back he even thought nothing of a hongi with an alleged terrorist who has been alleged to have plotted to assassinate him. Clark in contrast was cosseted away surrounded by lackeys and lickspittles railing about slights of the past, fuming and sneering as though she was more important than the even and the commemorations.

According to the principle though it is possible to change, usually from Bugs into Daffy. Clinton (Bill) used to be Bugs but is now Daffy “as Hillary’s surrogate, with his red-faced battling, his assaults on the electoral process in Nevada and now in Texas, his warning of “Don’t let them take it away in the dark!”

So is John Keys Bugs Bunny and Clark Daffy Duck? I think so.

Fran on Key

Fran O’Sullivan: Key running into verbal danger – 01 Mar 2008 – Politics: New Zealand Political News, Analysis and Comment including 2008 election coverage – NZ Herald

Fran O’Sullivan discusses Key and warning him not to sleepwalk to victory. I don’t think he will, but Fran does give the warning.

National Party leader John Key gives all the appearances of being in cruise control, coasting down towards the election on the back of a huge poll lead.

He is not known as the smiling assassin for nothing. But he earned his stripes in the cut-throat world of international forex dealing, not politics.

Labour might still be able to trip him up if it is of a mind to ditch Helen Clark and convincingly sell its policies while Key stays immersed in “me-too-ism” mode; persuade voters that Key’s “George Bush-style” verbal mishaps are not gaffes at all but evidence of a hidden “New Right” policy agenda.

Or trick Key into mishandling the planned “neutron bomb” Labour is telling “the beltway” it will disclose – just which senior National MP allegedly conspired to bring Don Brash’s leadership down by leaking his private emails to Nicky Hager at the 2005 election.

Personally, I don’t think Key is that dumb to allow Labour to play silly cards like those. The “neutron bomb” will be a damp squib against National and will only be a neutron bomb for Labour’s poll ratings. Labour unbelievably, along with their client-blogs still think that personal attacks and smears will wash it with the public at large. i would have thought they would have learned by now. Alas they haven’t.

Right now Key’s greatest ally is Helen Clark. It is the Prime Minister’s successive political misjudgments which have cost Clark her position as New Zealand’s “most preferred prime minister” and sent Labour’s own ratings into a death spiral.

It was Clark’s inner circle, particularly her chief of staff Heather Simpson, who combined with the party central to plunder some $800,000 of taxpayers’ funds to help Labour win in 2005. Labour was ultimately forced to pay the funds back after a damning auditor-general’s report. The party has been on the back foot ever since.

But Clark didn’t learn. Her kitchen cabinet then put up the hapless former minister Mark Burton to introduce the obnoxious Electoral Finance Act which the Herald rightly labels “an assault on democracy”. It was another politically inept step which will continue to dog Labour right through this election year.

Last week’s surreal run of events illustrated just how far she has become detached from the bedrock common sense which characterised her earlier years as prime minister. The events included Clark publicly shunning Labour’s major financial donor Owen Glenn at the opening of the University of Auckland’s new business school and subsequent labelling the Herald as a “Tory paper which had shown no charity to Labour during its 91 years of existence”.

It has become a truism in the Wellington beltway that Labour will never roll the woman who has successfully won them three elections. But the Cabinet Ministers who were ruthlessly dispatched by Clark for minor misdeeds and the backbenchers who face the prospect of losing their jobs following an election defeat will make their own calculations.

In 1996, Michael Cullen – now deputy to Clark – led a deputation asking her to stand down to ensure an orderly leadership transition. Clark refused and went on to triumph in 1999. But that was then and this is now.

If Clark’s miscalculations continue the odds that she will face a second deputation will increase.

And now for the warnings about the inherent nastiness of Labour.

But if Cullen, with his superior management skills, took on a caretaker role the electoral focus would sharpen.

He is the politician Clark sends in to handle the tough jobs when inferior ministers fail. He has defused the foreshore and seabed issue and is now backstopping David Parker whose pig-headedness on climate change issues is paving the way for a major dust-up with New Zealand business.

Importantly, Cullen has Key’s measure. This was evident in Parliament where Key sat like a stunned mullet when Cullen took him to task over a newspaper report that quoted the National leader saying “we would love to see wages drop” during a conversation he held in Northland about the gaping wage differences between New Zealand and Australia.

Key’s comment does not make logical sense. But his propensity to mangle his syntax or wrong word himself gets him into trouble. This was evidenced at last year’s National Party conference with his embarrassing reference to a “Labour Government that I lead”.

If Labour had not been immersed in the Owen Glenn affair, courtesy of a misjudgment by party president Mike Williams, Cullen would have got much greater purchase with his claim that Key has a hidden agenda.

Cullen will continue to ruthlessly mine Key’s lapses of brain-mouth co-ordination. These won’t matter too much if and when Key gets to be prime minister. Political journalists will just laugh with and at him, as they did with former National Prime Minister Jim Bolger when he came back from each foreign tour with a new accent. But in the crucible of an election year the stakes are much higher.

It will not have escaped Key’s notice that Cullen will also try to snooker National by unveiling costly but popular policies in his forthcoming budget.

Key needs a gameplan to deal with Labour’s dirt agenda and much more discipline on the verbal front. If he can get on top of his weaknesses the election is his. If not, Labour may yet have a chance.

John Key needs to say this

Kiwiblog ? Blog Archive ? The first score

Brilliant comment by Insolent Prick at Kiwiblog;
[quote]Insolent Prick Says:
January 30th, 2008 at 4:13 pm

That?s a good idea, Michaels. Actually, I think John Key should go one step further, and say: ?A government I lead will not blame the previous Labour Government for the issues facing New Zealand, as Labour consistently tries to blame National for events of nine years ago. Instead, we?re going to look ahead and build constructive solutions to today?s problems.?

Take the pinkos out of the discourse entirely.[/quote]

Yep, I agree, he should say it often and long.

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Ambitious for New Zealand

John Key is ambitious for New Zealand rather than ambitious for himself somewhere at the UN.


Colin James: A Key to change without breaking down the door?

Colin James: A Key to change without breaking down the door?The rise of John Key and Kevin Rudd are eerily alike – even, now, to owning up to an out-of-character strip joint jaunt. Shock, horror. The traders in the Alex cartoon, chronicle of life in Key's London financial markets, seem… [NZ Politics]

The wise man of NZ Political Commentary Colin James has a thoughtful piece on the rise and rise of John Key.

He opines that voters now see Key as the logical successor to Clark and that Labour's attacks are futile as the voters minds have shifted.

His best lines are the last.

[quote]But National's shift is also a consequence of this nascent nation's independent state of mind. Forelock-tugging doesn't wash now.

Will National also take independence on a step? Maybe. Quietly, some National MPs are preparing a plan to ditch the monarchy on Queen Elizabeth's death.

Clark doesn't dare go there and most Nationalists are not ready for it. But if Key gets to be Prime Minister and lasts as long as Clark, he may well install our first president. That's independence.[/quote]

President Key anyone?


John Key makes brilliant speech against Electoral Finance Bill

Kiwiblog ? Blog Archive ? John Key on Electoral Finance Bill

David Farrar has a fantastic summary of John Key’s Kill the Bill speech today. The entire speech can be found online here.

This bill must be fought to the death it is that important. i sat down with someone today and went over it with them, they were left spluttering and frothing mouthing things like “They can’t….” they won’t….” To which I replied, They have and they will. If this bill passes mark my words, people will go to jail for daring to oppose this government.

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Key plans to reward performers

Leader ready to consider newcomers if they perform well – 04 Aug 2007 – Political News – New Zealand Herald

Like all pragmatic businessmen John Key has signalled to his caucus that if they perform well they will do well and that tenure is not necessarily a guarantee of promotion.

This is excellent news and a position I have long held that politics should be no different from the real world where performance matters. This of course is in stark contrast to greying ranks of Labour’s caucus where not a one has ever had to really perform to get a position. Over there it is blind allegiance and toadying that gets you places.

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Greens could get seat in Cabinet under National – Key

Greens could get seat in Cabinet under National – KeyNational Party leader John Key has floated the possibility of offering the Greens a post in Cabinet if he is in a position to form a government after the next election.Mr Key today said he did not see big barriers in the two parties… [NZ Politics]

Watch National go meteoric in the polls after John Key's latest initiative, offering the Greens something. I kid you not, this is exactly what middle NZ wants, politicians to work together and Key has again out manouvred Clark.?