The Dim-Post

March 26, 2015

One hopefully last pre-election thought on Northland

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 1:45 pm

One of the odd things about this campaign has been Steven Joyce’s super-prominent role in it. John Key has been out of the country for most of the by-election and Joyce has stepped in and filled the vacuum, evidently deciding that his candidate wasn’t up to the task.

Which was an odd call. A by-election run on local issues is a weird time for a party strategist from outside the electorate to step out of the shadows and make it really pointedly evident that his candidate is a total puppet. It’s a decision that – I think – has nothing to do with strategy and everything to do with psychology. It must be frustrating for Joyce to keep winning election campaigns and then have Key receive all the credit. This time, Joyce must have thought, I’ll make them see that I’m the mastermind who delivers the victories. Which is fine if that’s what he does on Saturday, but if they lose then Joyce’s rather self-indulgent decision to become the face of the campaign will be one of the reasons behind the defeat.


  1. You are right that Steven Joyce thinks he has won three elections, and had a near miss in 2005, but that is just an example of hour arrogant he is. John Key has quite a bit to do with winning those three elections and Don Brash quite a lot to do with getting close in 2005. Joyce’s self promotion on this would be like Mike Williams or Mike Smith taking credit for 99, 02 and 05 and consigning Helen Clark to a bit role.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — March 26, 2015 @ 1:54 pm

  2. So you mean it would be like Mike Williams being Mike Williams?

    Comment by NBH — March 26, 2015 @ 2:08 pm

  3. none of thats weird if you are of the opinion that joyce has been running things since day one – with key just being the willing front man

    Comment by framu — March 26, 2015 @ 2:13 pm

  4. Remember how absolutely hilarious it was for Gareth Hughes to have to check a point with his political advisor during an interview? ( Oddly enough, there has been a certain … silence on the fact that Osborne isn’t able to do a TV interview without having Steven Joyce watching over him (

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 26, 2015 @ 2:13 pm

  5. That TV debate puppetry was still pretty significant, though. It didn’t make huge headlines but the journos noticed it, and it sort of gave them permission to take the piss – mocking Osborne, one degree of separation from Joyce, two from Key.

    One of the less admirable traits of our media is that criticizing the PM is lese majeste, so they go for the substitute soft target instead. Here it’s Osborne, once it was Melissa Lee. I suppose obscure (and doomed?) by-election candidates don’t have much patronage to offer.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — March 26, 2015 @ 2:43 pm

  6. FL – the difference is that we are expected to take Osborne seriously because strereotypes!

    Comment by Gregor W — March 26, 2015 @ 2:53 pm

  7. One thing I’m enjoying about this by-election is that there is actual attention directed towards an actual candidate.

    In general elections, about 120 of the 150-160 or so likely candidates receive next to no attention at all. Many of them are talentless duffers. Thus, Wayne Walford sails in as one of the representatives of the people of NZ, and we’re none the wiser as to who he is or what he has to offer NZ.

    Eventually those who deal with politicians on a regular basis come to know but we don’t. This isn’t a problem unique to National and examples abound. Darren Hughes helped make Otaki a safe seat, and the Greens elected a man whose notability comes from signing petitions. Virtually every NZ First MP fits this description.

    We deserve better. If we’re going to have 120 people in Parliament, they should be New Zealand’s best and brightest, whatever their background and political alignment.

    Otherwise we might as well leave it to Steve.

    Comment by George — March 26, 2015 @ 6:24 pm

  8. One might see this as Joyce trying to build a personal support base with the goal of replacing Key as party leader in 2017 or whenever.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 26, 2015 @ 6:45 pm

  9. kalvarnsen: that is, if Judith Collins and her acolytes don’t kneecap him first.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — March 26, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

  10. @Kumara: Well presumably that prospect is what motivates him to try to build up some momentum outside the Nat caucus. Given that this election doesn’t seem to be going very well, he may have to do more. Although it’s not like the Collins brand is squeaky clean.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 26, 2015 @ 7:26 pm

  11. “but if they lose then Joyce’s rather self-indulgent decision to become the face of the campaign will be one of the reasons behind the defeat.”

    Its nothing to do with that. Northland is both a big place and a small place too. All that has to happen for National to win is for [redacted, possibly defamatory]. The rumour mill is going crazy. Pitchforks are out.

    Or for journalists to stop protecting their own.

    Comment by Grant — March 26, 2015 @ 10:01 pm

  12. For pity’s sake….

    Comment by Lee Clark — March 27, 2015 @ 5:46 am

  13. Journalists aren’t ‘protecting their own’. Legal reps for the MSM have been in court all week trying to get name suppression lifted before the by-election.

    Comment by danylmc — March 27, 2015 @ 8:44 am

  14. Collins is loving this! It seems that she has pulled the switch and has started internal warfare in National.

    From the evidence (only anti Islam posts and Simon Lusk penned attacks on the Hawkes Bay council since dirty politics) the only politician who still talks to Cam Slater is Collins and low and behold, right on cue the Whaleoil blog is chock a block with hit posts on Key, Joyce and English.

    Unfortunately, her and her fat sweaty mate have just started a chain of idiocy that will end with National polling 22% again.

    Comment by King Kong — March 27, 2015 @ 10:19 am

  15. Is it defamatory to ask somebody to demonstrate a negative or is it just a variation of a loaded question?

    Comment by Gregor W — March 27, 2015 @ 10:19 am

  16. @14 Slater’s chain of idiocy is likely to end with him flat on his back after 90 seconds of Jessie Ryder, quite soon.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — March 27, 2015 @ 10:26 am

  17. @Ben It is amazing what some attention whores will put them selves through to stay in the spot light.

    Comment by King Kong — March 27, 2015 @ 10:40 am

  18. edit: “will do to keep themselves in the spotlight”

    Comment by King Kong — March 27, 2015 @ 10:41 am

  19. Selwyn Manning has a good piece on National’s problems here.

    One National Party insider told me Joyce’s strategies underscore the perception of arrogance displayed by National MPs.

    He said Joyce’s strategies are failing. Primary among the failures was to send urban campaigners to an estranged rural seat: “That was foolish. That tactic looked sure to inspire a solid turnout of voters, but few of them will be voting National,” he said.

    As I suspected, sending a bunch of urban Nats into Northland was counter-productive. It must look both desperate AND arrogant, which is quite a contortion, even for Joyce. Adding in a constant stream of be-suited ministers in expensive cars must have only cemented the impression that National’s privileged caucus really don’t care about Northland, except when there is a bye-election to lose.

    Comment by Mikaere Curtis — March 27, 2015 @ 11:35 am

  20. Every time I see an ad for the Slater vs Ryder fight I feel the bizzaro-world punching my brain.

    Comment by Seb Rattansen — March 27, 2015 @ 2:52 pm

  21. cemented the impression that National’s privileged caucus really don’t care about Northland, except when there is a bye-election to lose.

    As opposed to, say… the privileged caucus of any other party?
    From the outside looking in, the best thing Osborne could have done on the campaign trail is constantly shout from the rooftops “Winston Peters doesn’t give a fuck about you.”

    Comment by Phil — March 27, 2015 @ 2:55 pm

  22. Mikaere: by “urban” did you really mean “suburban”?

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — March 27, 2015 @ 3:38 pm

  23. Seb R: I wouldn’t mind seeing them pistol duel. With live .44 ammo.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — March 27, 2015 @ 3:39 pm

  24. @Kumara Republic: heh, that works too.

    @Phil, IIRC – and I was involved at the time – Russel Norman’s campaign for Mt Albert did not included shipping in the rest of the caucus. While you’d expect some local MPs and probably the leader (or in the Green’s case, co-leader) to turn up at some time during the campaign, the number of ministers rocking up to Northland just seems really desperate. Why do they think the Northlanders are muggins ?

    Anyway, I hope Winston wins, if for no other reason than it proves that National’s well-resource campaigning machine *can* be overcome.

    Comment by Mikaere Curtis — March 27, 2015 @ 4:32 pm

  25. The most significant effect of the National Northland campaign, is that Key is now seen as fallible. And Joyce who claimed a serious Mr Fixit clever image is also seen as feet of clay and crumbling. Even the staunchest Nat supporter must be dismayed by the Key/Joyce fraility.

    Comment by xianmac — March 27, 2015 @ 5:22 pm

  26. Mind you Norman didn’t win Mt Albert and didn’t actually do that well considering so I’m not sure that tells us much about how to run a winning campaign.

    Comment by Keir — March 27, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

  27. The problems described in Selwyn Manning’s piece can be summed up in 2 words: diminishing returns.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — March 27, 2015 @ 7:49 pm

  28. It’s how you deal with defeat that reveals the true character.

    Good response: “We stuffed up bad, need to listen and learn”.

    Bad response: “S’not fair, everyone ganged up on us, boo hoo …”

    Judging by the Twitter-Nats, they’re going for Bad.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — March 28, 2015 @ 8:50 pm

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