The Dim-Post

April 28, 2011

I know him so well

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:39 am

Don Brash appears to have the numbers to roll Rodney Hide as ACT leader. He met with Hilary Calvert yesterday, presumably to explain to her slowly, and in a loud clear voice, using charts, diagrams and anatomically correct dolls, that she won’t get back into Parliament if nobody votes for her party.

This was a really terrible way to take over ACT. There’s no reason Brash couldn’t have done the numbers quietly, then presented Hide with a fait accompli and given him the option to stand down with dignity. Instead it was all done as publicly and clumsily as possible.  Hide (who, Brash claims, has been his personal friend for fifteen years) has been humiliated. He will, presumably, want revenge. He may stand in Epsom as an independent, or leak damaging material about Brash or the traitors in his party to the media. The ACT Party president launched a vicious public attack on Brash when it appeared his coup failed; now Brash will have to replace him six months out from an election. ACT activists who are loyal to Hide (incredibly, there are such people) will hesitate to campaign for their party in the wake of its hostile takeover.

In terms of the election, Brash will campaign on a white supremacy racial equality platform. He’s decided that this is endorsed by article three of the Treaty of Waitangi (I’d love to hear someone ask him where articles one and two fit into this framework). He’ll make various racist speeches and deny – angrily and with apparent sincerity – that he’s a racist. I’m really not sure how many votes this will be worth. In 2005 it fed into a latent fear about the Clark government, and I’m not sure if voters have the same apprehension about Key.

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52 Comments »

  1. Danyl you seem to be getting more hysterical by the day, pushing the “Don Brash is a racist because I cherry picked some phrases from his Orewa speeches” meme on an almost daily basis is a sure sign you hate the guy and all he stands for, and that will never change. Fine. Move on.

    Comment by Bed Rater — April 28, 2011 @ 8:51 am

  2. Well Labour, here’s your chance. They need to ask Key whether he’ll rule out the possibility of Deputy PM Brash. If not, start the scaremongering.

    Comment by bradluen — April 28, 2011 @ 8:56 am

  3. More effective to ask Key to rule out Brash as Finance Minister

    Comment by danylmc — April 28, 2011 @ 9:04 am

  4. I suspect the real losers out of this will be the Maori Party – only a matter of time before Harawira and Brash engage in a mutually beneficial war of words.

    On another note, has Brash ever actually succeeded in the private sector? Huljich doesn’t count.

    Comment by Fuzzy Dunlop — April 28, 2011 @ 9:21 am

  5. I wouldn’t under-estimate Brash’s cunning and ability, nor would I over-estimate the intelligence of the red-neck vote he’ll hold some appeal for.

    He does come across on TV as old, doddery and grumpy. I just wanted to give him a cup of tea and a biscuit last night watching him on Campbell live – and tell him that his hair was sticking up.

    And what a fun train-crash it has been to watch.

    Comment by Michael Stevens — April 28, 2011 @ 10:01 am

  6. A question to Key about having Brash as Finance Minister in charge of Kiwisaver would be an interesting one, given he was chair of a firm that is now being charged for falsifying Kiwisaver contributions and returns…

    Comment by garethw — April 28, 2011 @ 10:05 am

  7. He’s also advised the government to scrap Kiwisaver. And the Cullen fund. Our economy should be just like Singapores, except for policies like those that are almost identical to Singapore’s.

    Comment by danylmc — April 28, 2011 @ 10:09 am

  8. Sadly there’s probably quite a few votes in the Pakeha backlash against National’s replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act. Brash is the obvious person to pick them up. *sigh*

    Comment by helenalex — April 28, 2011 @ 10:10 am

  9. Define how Huljich Wealth Management was successful? I think I missed that.

    But notwithstanding that mess, I’d argue he was an extremely good RBNZ Governor. Any criticism of his tenure should actually be criticism of the Reserve Bank Act, not of the competent way that Brash delivered the outcomes defined by that act. His changes to the disclosure regime around banks were also very good.

    I think he was also GM of Trustbank during a very successful period for that bank.

    Comment by nadis — April 28, 2011 @ 10:10 am

  10. I’m never sure why people hold Singapore up as a great example of freshwater economics. In my experience it is one of the most highly managed economies in the world, with more central planning than you’d find in China’s 30 year plan.

    Comment by nadis — April 28, 2011 @ 10:23 am

  11. There’s no reason Brash couldn’t have done the numbers quietly, then presented Hide with a fait accompli and given him the option to stand down with dignity. Instead it was all done as publicly and clumsily as possible.

    Actually there was a reason. Brash needs to build a public impression of him as a mover and shaker, and that his moves in taking over a party, that is polling around 2% and likely to vanish in November, is worth the public’s attention. And if this drama is worth the public’s attention, the impression will be a Brash lead ACT is worth the public’s votes. If that means publicly kneecapping Rodney Hide, then so be it. It’s kind of like ‘Survivor’ in the first stage with votes being gathered from a frightened group of unstable personalities, and ‘American Idol’ at the end, with the public picking their favourite performer.

    I believe Brash has succeeded. John Key’s multiple photo opportunities around the Royal Wedding and gadding Westminister has really been overshadowed by this story. As photo opportunities are a KPI for John Key, this is a major blow against the current government. At least, should be Brash successful, he can be open about his agenda leading the ACT party, unlike the deceptions he conducted back when he was leading the National party.

    Comment by Shaun — April 28, 2011 @ 10:23 am

  12. If Brash succeeds he’ll be pushing, almost word for word, the policies of these far right nut jobs:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10721788

    JC

    Comment by JC — April 28, 2011 @ 10:27 am

  13. @Bed Rater: None of that precludes Danyl being right, though.

    Comment by Ataahua — April 28, 2011 @ 10:31 am

  14. JC: “If Brash succeeds he’ll be pushing, almost word for word, the policies of these far right nut jobs…”

    You mean the views of “far right nut jobs” supported by the Greens?
    http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/oecd-report-supports-shift-green-economy

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — April 28, 2011 @ 10:34 am

  15. The most charming thing about scrapping Kiwisaver is that we actually know how Kiwis saved before that – they made mortgage payments. They didn’t invest in companies that grew the economy and employed Kiwis or whatever it is that scrapping Kiwisaver is supposed to achieve.

    At least when one suggests dismantling the public health system or destroying welfare it’s not instantly obvious what will happen.

    Comment by Trouble Man — April 28, 2011 @ 10:47 am

  16. @ Trouble Man

    “At least when one suggests dismantling the public health system or destroying welfare it’s not instantly obvious what will happen.”

    Can you explain what you mean by this?

    Comment by TBwood — April 28, 2011 @ 10:51 am

  17. Andrew @ 14

    “You mean the views of “far right nut jobs” supported by the Greens?”

    Thats the one. Our model of socialism is about 40 years out of date.

    JC

    Comment by JC — April 28, 2011 @ 10:56 am

  18. Just some of the things that don’t get mentioned any more, thanks to Don Brash …

    - the “outrage” at the “undemocratic” leap-frogging on Labour’s list. At least those names given a push or a nod were wearing a red rosette on election day. As opposed to not even joining the party yet.

    - a bunch of lines on Winston Peters: he’s too old, yesterday’s man, racially divisive, doesn’t play nice with others, and irrelevant because he’s not in Parliament anyway. True, but … say hello to Wins-don.

    - the claim by John Key that the coalition deal with ACT specified the leader and deputy leader. That’s why Heather Roy lost her portfolios to Boscawen. Tear that one up.

    and so on …

    Comment by sammy — April 28, 2011 @ 11:02 am

  19. TBWood: You and I know very well that it will be disastrous and terrible, but we can’t point to a country which has done this (because no country would do this because it is obvious that it would be disastrous and terrible).

    But to a certain sort of bleep-bleep-bloop-bloop economist, this just shows there’s no evidence that it would be disastrous and terrible.

    Comment by Trouble Man — April 28, 2011 @ 11:03 am

  20. Given that most western governments are insolvent Brash’s success (or someone like Brash) is going to be inevitable. It is only a matter of time and maths.

    Comment by Simon — April 28, 2011 @ 11:13 am

  21. w/r/t the OECD report, I think everyone backed it, but nobody agreed about what it said.

    Comment by lyndon — April 28, 2011 @ 11:28 am

  22. ACT showing Labour how to clean out the deadwod before an election campaign.

    Comment by will — April 28, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  23. “ACT showing Labour how to clean out the deadwod before an election campaign.”

    By replacing it with fossilised timber? A … brave ploy.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — April 28, 2011 @ 11:45 am

  24. “There’s no reason Brash couldn’t have done the numbers quietly, then presented Hide with a fait accompli and given him the option to stand down with dignity”

    Do we actually know that this didn’t happen? Maybe Brash tried a non-public approach, was rebuffed, and this is Plan B?

    Regardless, Brash has form. His takeover of National was done publically and attracted a lot of criticism for it at the time, too. This approach may hurt politicians’ egoes but is certainly much more open to the public and arguably more democratic for it.

    Comment by Hugh — April 28, 2011 @ 11:54 am

  25. lol, very true Geddis old chap. At least there is some courage and leadership being shown; note to Phil, don’t worry no-one in Labour is going to sackup and roll you.

    Comment by will — April 28, 2011 @ 11:54 am

  26. This is good for Labour (but not Phil Goff). I believe Brash will lead a resurgent ACT, and thus force (or perhaps allow) Key to take a harder right wing line next term. There will be a backlash from National’s centrist core, delivering a Labour-led govt in the following election.

    There is, however, the potential for the Maori Party/ies to realise the obvious and go left in post election negotiations, perhaps making the election outcome much closer than anyone anticipated…

    Comment by Sam — April 28, 2011 @ 11:54 am

  27. Question for the group: Brash was on the radio saying that he ran on his policies in 2005 and got a whole pile of votes. Didn’t he actually run on not-his policies, accompanied by assertions that anyone saying he had a hidden agenda of his-policies was a wild conspiracist? Or am I remembering wrong?

    Comment by lyndon — April 28, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  28. Brash supports a CGT and raising the age of superannuation?

    Comment by garethw — April 28, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  29. Trying to imagine Bill English’s response when told that Don Quite Frankly Brash will take over as deputy and Finance Minister should NAct win the next election.

    Comment by Ianmac — April 28, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  30. Brash spent the 2005 election calling for tax cuts and for the govenrment to massively increase borrowing to fund infrastructure.

    Hindsight and all, but what an appalling error of judgement that was.

    Comment by taranaki — April 28, 2011 @ 11:57 am

  31. There is no way Brash gets significant portfolios out of this unless Key wants him to. He has no bargaining power to demand it

    Comment by garethw — April 28, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

  32. In 2005 Brash ran on -

    a) a lolly scramble (as an expert economist, he knew the surplus was here to stay, and global capitalism was safe)

    b) Mowrees

    c) Helen Clark, painting, speeding, nannying, witching

    If anyone doubts this, I understand there are e-mails, conveniently collated and bound. Maybe due for a reprint?

    Comment by sammy — April 28, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  33. I’m anticipating that Don’s success will galvanise Winston into action.

    I just don’t know if he’ll try to take leadership of the Greens or the Maori party, but I suppose he could try and wrest control of any party that he’s not a member of, possibly including his own.

    Comment by Bruce Hamilton — April 28, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  34. “There is no way Brash gets significant portfolios out of this unless Key wants him to. He has no bargaining power to demand it”

    Wait until coalition negotiations…

    Comment by Sam — April 28, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

  35. …post-election I mean…

    Comment by Sam — April 28, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

  36. Surely ACT has the same problem with National that the Greens had with Labour. They can be taken for granted because they are not going to support the other side in forming a government.

    Comment by Tinakori — April 28, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

  37. “Surely ACT has the same problem with National that the Greens had with Labour. They can be taken for granted because they are not going to support the other side in forming a government.”

    That depends entirely upon how much of the vote the minor centrist parties absorb – and Key has already ruled out Winston, leaving him MP and Dunne’s single seat. ACT could be very important for National in a way that the Greens have not been thus far for Labour.

    Comment by Sam — April 28, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

  38. Brash has shown a willingness to indulge in brinkmanship, so it will be interesting to see if that is how he continues, and how the electorate and National react to that.
    Considering how he got in and his excited backers he may see himself having a mandate to play hard ball.

    Comment by Michael — April 28, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

  39. But what’s Brash going to do when Key sits down with his bullshit grin and says “mate, who the fuck else are you going to vote for?”

    Comment by Trouble Man — April 28, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

  40. @Hugh This approach may hurt politicians’ egoes but is certainly much more open to the public and arguably more democratic for it.

    It’s more pyrotechnic than democratic.

    There’s absolutely nothing about Brash’s coup that is democratic. I wouldn’t say it was “open to the public” either.

    Comment by Richard — April 28, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

  41. National has factions like all parties. It has significant right wingers who are Act at heart and will welcome Dr Frank Brash as part of the fold. Be interesting to see how the numbers fall at the next election. Will current Nats vote Act with Brash? Or will they steal from the Left—– umm doubt it. So is Brash good for Left?

    Comment by Ianmac — April 28, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

  42. @ Trouble Man

    Imagine after the election there are just 3 ways to form a majority in parliament:

    National + ACT
    National + Green
    National + Labour

    So it could be Brash who’s asking Key what the fuck else he’s gonna do? (Hopefully he considers giving Goff the Deputy PM job in that case)

    Comment by Questioneer — April 28, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  43. Why da Man? Don da Man!

    Meet the new Boss, NOT like the old Boss.

    Comment by OECD rank 22 kiwi — April 28, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

  44. Why do right-wingers understand bakery metaphors in economics, but not politics?

    Economics: “We have to grow the cake. Not enough just to share the cake more fairly. Need a bigger cake!”

    Politics: “Gimme more cake! Who cares if National’s cake gets smaller, ACT just want a bigger slice of it … even if Labour up owning the bakery!”

    Comment by sammy — April 28, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

  45. *sigh* … “end up owning” … need coffee with my cake.

    Comment by sammy — April 28, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

  46. I think Labour still “owe” the bakery, if by bakery and cake you mean taxpayers and pledge cards?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — April 28, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

  47. Richard, it’s obviously not ideally democratic or open, but what Danyl is proposing – behind-the-doors negotiations – would have similarly bypassed the views of ACT’s members and would have been even less open to the public.

    Ultimately I think there’s a course of action that maximises transparency, and there’s a course of action that minimises antagonism, but they are not the same course of action.

    Comment by Hugh — April 28, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  48. @taranaki

    “Brash spent the 2005 election calling for tax cuts and for the govenrment to massively increase borrowing to fund infrastructure.

    Hindsight and all, but what an appalling error of judgement that was.”

    But, but isn’t that all tax-revenue neutral/necessary for economic growth (as in: 1. build roads, 2. ?, 3. profit!)?

    Comment by Pete — April 28, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

  49. Hugh:…it’s obviously not ideally democratic or open…

    It’s not just “not ideally democratic or open” it’s not democratic or open at all.

    Brash’s coup was certainly loud and obnoxious, but the real decisions *were* secretly taken by ACTs funders behind-closed-doors. We can speculate about who those people are, and what their motives are, and what process they used to arrive at their decisions, but it is all just variously uninformed speculation. Visible is not the same thing as transparent.

    Comment by Richard — April 28, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

  50. So you’re saying that if the first we’d heard had been a surprise press conference announcing that Brash was the leader and Hide was stepping down, that would not have been any less transparent than the way things actually turned out?

    Comment by Hugh — April 28, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

  51. I think Don Brash may be a social liberal. What’s the problem with him negotiating with both National and Labour post-election, if ACT holds the balance of power?

    Comment by cctrfred — April 28, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

  52. Hugh: Your scenario would have been less visible (and Brash would have looked like less of a cock) but it really wouldn’t have been any more or less transparent.

    Comment by Richard — April 28, 2011 @ 3:30 pm


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