The PM gets weirder by the hour:
National Party leader John Key, who was in Whangarei on Thursday, said any police action following the complaint he laid was out of his hands, as the police act independently.
When asked whether his complaint was a good use of police time, Mr Key said National had lowered the crime rate across the country so police had a little bit of spare time.
At first I thought National’s decision to make a big deal out of the ‘teapot tapes’ was clever politics – part of their small target strategy, that it would focus the national debate on media ethics, and not the policy issues of the campaign.
Which shows you what a terrible political strategist I’d make. The fact that the transcript hasn’t been released meant that National’s political opponents – ie Winston Peters – could make whatever claims they liked about its contents. This shifted the focus from the ethics of the taping to the contents.
The Nats are putting it about that this is all playing well with the public, that their focus groups support the PM, etc. And maybe that’s true. But so what? The National Party and the PM are popular with the public, sure – but National’s margins for success in this election are pretty narrow. They don’t want to be reliant on the Maori Party votes to pass their budgets through the House. And any ‘tactic’ in which they risk losing votes from National to New Zealand First, and further place the existence of the ACT Party at risk is a really terrible strategy, no matter whether the bulk of the public is on their side or not.