The Dim-Post

June 1, 2013

The wolf and the lion

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 1:18 pm

It must be frustrating for John Key and his senior strategists. Here they are, the most popular government in modern New Zealand history successfully implementing a strong right-wing agenda: sacking thousands of public servants, selling off assets, lowering tax for the rich, trusts and corporations, introducing charter schools, gutting environmental protections . . . the list goes on. And how does his party repay him? Well, according to the leaked strategy papers written  by National activist – and alleged WhaleOil co-blogger – Simon Lusk they form a faction inside National, complain about how bitterly disappointed they are in his government, call him a ‘wet’ and plot a post-election coup to depose all of Key’s political allies.

MPs and senior-staffers get sent this sort of stuff all the time. Evn so, Lusk’s advice is unusually terrible: during a period in which Labour and the Greens are pulling National back towards the centre, Lusk feels the party should tack to the extreme far-right, an area currently occupied by ACT, who fluctuate between 0.0 and 0.2% in the polls.

National’s leadership seems to have grown tired of this back-seat strategising: prompted, presumably, by Andrea Vance’s interview with Lusk last weekend they’ve leaked these documents to the media, and an extremely well-prepared John Key spoke on Lusk and his role in the party to Richard Harman on The Nation this morning. This’ll make life a bit trickier for Judith Collins who is perceived to be Lusk’s patron within the party and who can now be accused of being a ‘tea-party’ candidate, and so that’s a win for Steven Joyce, and something of a declaration of Key’s post-leadership vision of the National Party when he steps down.

 

About these ads

19 Comments »

  1. Disunity and infighting. Not a good look. Make them deny it.

    Comment by Furrball — June 1, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

  2. The strategy appears to be to marginalise and dismiss Lusk and Slater as small time irritants, a piece of Key/Joyce spin picked up by Colin James this morning on the telly. But it is a bit hard to dismiss this Kiwi Tea Party takeover bid as machinations largely confined to the imaginations of the legendary lifetimes of couple of guys who are frankly nutters when the Slater/Lusk blog is the self-declared most popular blog in NZ, David Farrar is careful not to declare a position (I wonder how far right he would go, everytime something moves right he just goes to the right of that again) and Judith Collins tweets her approval of Cameron Slater.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 1, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

  3. So, Key is confirmed by Fisher as a moderate who dismissed the far right agenda. Probably won him the next election, especially with Norman bizarrely losing his temper (again) and describing Key as Muldoon like, when the Green policies of political control of the economy come right out of Muldoons play book- what goes around will come back around. I think Clint got blindsided.

    Comment by Grant — June 1, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

  4. It’s called galvanizing the party before the next election campaign. Nice work helping out.

    Comment by Wimmmmmy — June 1, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

  5. The National Party are basically sufficiently secure, both electorally and policy-wise, that they can afford to let their political horizon drift quite a long way into the future – past Key’s retirement. The question mark of who will succeed Key is going to probably be the only open question about his legacy, but despite that I think the contest will have more to do with personalities than policies. I think there are really only two credible candidates – English and Joyce. Key would certainly prefer Joyce, since Joyce is less of an independent entity.

    Comment by Hugh — June 1, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

  6. “The National Party are basically sufficiently secure, both electorally and policy-wise, that they can afford to let their political horizon drift quite a long way into the future – past Key’s retirement.”

    I remember people talking this way when Labour was in its early to mid 2000’s prime. Succession plans don;t always work that well

    Comment by max — June 1, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

  7. Anyone who begins a comment with the claim “The National Party are basically sufficiently secure, both electorally and policy-wise…” reveals a staggering lack of understanding of current politics.

    The right-left split is basically 50-50 at the moment, and National is torn between pushing on with what it wants to do and inventing “solutions” to things it really would prefer not to think about, but people really care about. So we see the asset sales programme and RMA reforms continue irrespective of what is said about them, whilst things like food-in-schools and more state houses in Christchurch get thought up on the fly.

    Look – National aren’t a faction-ridden corpse waiting for final burial (a la Labour in the UK in 2010). But they are as likely to lose in 2014 as they are to win.

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 1, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

  8. Reality TV show idea: When Entryists Attack.

    Comment by deepred — June 1, 2013 @ 5:30 pm

  9. Don’t mistake me for a National supporter, I’m not happy that they’re that secure, but I think this is the reality.

    And you’re right, people did talk about Labour that way in around 2005. And you’re right, the succession plan (if there even was one) obviously didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean that National in largely the same situation won’t attempt one. The succession plan is Joyce, but it’s possible it won’t happen.

    Comment by Hugh — June 1, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

  10. “. Here they are, the most popular government in modern New Zealand history successfully implementing a strong right-wing agenda”

    I don’t think anyone can credibly argue their agenda is “strong right wing”. They haven’t even cut government spending in real terms, they’ve allowed it to grow slowly. How can that possibly be considered strong right wing?

    Comment by Swan — June 1, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

  11. You know now that I think about it, maybe National really aren’t that secure. I still think they are favourites to win the next election, but it’s not a done deal the way the 2008 and 2011 elections were. Having said that, I think there’s a degree of groupthink and optimism at work in the National elite microculture that causes them to believe that they are that secure, which has the same effect.

    Comment by Hugh — June 2, 2013 @ 3:51 am

  12. @Swan,

    Because “strong right wing” is not about the total amount of government spending. It is about what government spending is used for — i.e. the transfer of wealth to the wealthy.

    Comment by RJL — June 2, 2013 @ 9:48 am

  13. @swan,

    George W Bush’s two terms in office saw federal spending sharply increase. Does that mean that his administration was not a “strong right wing” one?

    Point being, conflating “right wing” with one indicator (government spending) is likely to lead to some pretty odd conclusions.

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 2, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

  14. Go on then. I don’t recall National starting any wars.

    Comment by Swan — June 2, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

  15. #12 & 13: Especially when libertarians like Ron Paul and social democrats like Ralph Nader find common ground in opposing corporate welfare. At which point “hard right” has mutated into “socialism for the rich”.

    Swan #14: They sent troops to Vietnam in the early 1970s, and they dissed Helen Clark for refusing to be party to the Iraq war.

    Comment by deepred — June 2, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

  16. I don’t recall National starting any wars.

    That’s because they’ve been so successful in hushing up the invasion of Tasmania, and all that followed afterwards. Afghanistan was just a diversion.

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 2, 2013 @ 7:40 pm

  17. @ Hugh

    Isn’t Simon Bridges going to succeed Key? He does act, look, and talk the part.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — June 3, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

  18. “Because “strong right wing” is not about the total amount of government spending. It is about what government spending is used for — i.e. the transfer of wealth to the wealthy.”
    Examples please?

    A good example of right-wing is when you send your youth and protest wing to private, or opposition, functions and shout and make noise, drowning them out.

    Oh, except, these days, it’s not the nationalist socialists doing that, it’s imply the socialists…
    (they even disrupt their “own”, just ask Obama!)

    Comment by Clunking Fist — June 4, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

  19. It is about what government spending is used for — i.e. the transfer of wealth to the wealthy.”

    $100m odd to promote and float MRP + the unaccounted for share bonus.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 4, 2013 @ 2:03 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Rubric Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 420 other followers

%d bloggers like this: