web analytics
The Standard

Armstrong on National’s conference

Written By: - Date published: 1:33 pm, August 10th, 2013 - 33 comments
Categories: john key, national - Tags: , ,

Labour has an open and active policy process – with all its democratic advantages and political risks. National is run by money from the top down. It makes National conferences dull affairs. Here’s The Herald’s Armstrong on National’s current Conference in the context of a discussion of Key’s “pragmatism”:

Key those are my principles

Pragmatism rules in Tiwai Pt handout

Just when you think the Prime Minister’s pragmatic streak has surely drunk for too long at the well of political convenience, John Key promptly undertakes an even more audacious departure from the ideological ethos supposedly guiding his party.

Labour could only stare in goggle-eyed wonder at the $30 million “sweetener” handed to Rio Tinto-controlled Pacific Aluminium in shameless fashion to keep the Tiwai Point smelter operating for at least another three years.

“Pragmatism” is the word we all use to describe a party, when it is our own party, selling out its values. Yeah, Key is pretty pragmatic all right. On to the conference…

The announcement of the smelter deal has certainly given any such purists within National’s ranks plenty to ponder at the party’s annual conference in Nelson this weekend. Note the word “ponder”. They will not likely get any opportunity to voice an opinion on this Great Leap Backwards.

Going on recent years, the two-day gathering is likely to be another over-choreographed affair during which Key will feed the news media with some new policy, while proceedings have any spontaneity sucked out of them by a procession of Cabinet ministers detailing (and thus glorifying) their many achievements in their portfolios.

There is unlikely to be any serious grizzling on the floor of the conference. Nothing succeeds like success.

National’s staggeringly high poll ratings will have silenced dissent in the unlikely event that there is any dissent to silence.

Key would anyway rebut any criticism by telling the party that at times, outrageous pragmatism is justified to keep National’s support at a sufficient level where a third term in power is still within the party’s grasp.

Perhaps if those with powerful voices in the media were to focus a bit less on games and personalities, and more on dull stuff like facts and policies, we would see “National’s staggeringly high poll ratings” take a bit of a tumble. Just a thought.

33 comments on “Armstrong on National’s conference”

  1. BM 1

    National is run along the same lines as a business.
    It sells a particular product.
    You either like the product or not.
    Like the product, vote National
    Dislike the product, vote for some one else.

    Good thing about this system is you don’t get hamstrung and tripped over by infighting and man-ban weirdness.

    • Saarbo 1.1

      “National is run along the same lines as a business.”

      With half a dozen majority shareholders running the show…that’ll be right.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.2

      The selling of policy to overseas big corporates has become so blatant, while they thumb their noses to the voters.

      • BM 1.2.1

        No ones been forced to vote National.

        As I wrote above, don’t like what they’re doing vote for some other party.

        • geoff 1.2.1.1

          That’s correct, they’ve been tricked into thinking it was a good idea even though it was a completely shit idea.

          • BM 1.2.1.1.1

            Really?, not the old dumb voters tricked into voting National line, again.

            Fucking hell, the size of the egos on the left are so massive, they could cause a solar eclipse.

            • Paul 1.2.1.1.1.1

              So do you really think that selling assets using the term ‘mum and dad investors’ when only 2% of the population bought shares was an honest policy?
              And do you really think that all those National votes who did not buy shares benefited from the sale of shares?
              Clearly those people were voting against their own interests.

              Now there are many theories as to why people vote against their own interests. And that would be a far more interesting discussion than a dull debate, where you try to explain how National’s policies really are in the interest of the majority of New Zealand’s citizens.

            • Treetop 1.2.1.1.1.2

              A solar eclipse in the name of the GCSB Bill, which when passed will be a dark day in the history of New Zealand.

    • pollywog 1.3

      National is run along the same lines as a cult or religion.

      • BM 1.3.1

        That’s the greens bud, I think you’re a bit confused.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.3.1.1

          Yes, because members of cults all get to vote on the leadership, don’t they BM? Remind me when National Party members voted for the leader again?

  2. chrissy 2

    key runs his party like an Amway convention. Rah Rah. I think I heard that little tolley lady say that they wouldn’t even be mentioning the GCSB Bill smirk smirk! Done and dusted apparently.

  3. Ad 3

    Can anyone think of a single policy area – other than housing – in which Key has not comprehensively outflanked and outplayed Shearer?

    • AmaKiwi 3.1

      Lying.

      Environmental degradation.

      Occupational safety (killing workers).

      Charter schools.

      Taxpayer money to business mates: SkyCity, oil drillers, mining, movie studios, roads we don’t need, etc.

      That’s without even checking my notes.

      • Paul 3.1.1

        Cronyism
        Selling out to international corporates
        Gutting our civil rights

        Again, no notes required.

    • BrucetheMoose 3.2

      You have to give National full marks for doing an excellent job of selling the whole Christchurch rebuild/recovery to the rest of the country as something it is not.
      The Red Zone payouts as being very very fair.
      The CBD Blueprint as workable
      Progress of home repairs
      No housing/ rental problems
      EQC doing a great job
      Brownlee doing a great job
      etc etc

  4. Short Plank 4

    “Labour could only stare in goggle-eyed wonder at the $30 million “sweetener” handed to Rio Tinto-controlled Pacific Aluminium in shameless fashion to keep the Tiwai Point smelter operating for at least another three years.” – John Armstrong.

    The $30 million “sweetener” had nothing to do with keeping Tiwai Point smelter operating. It was to prevent a sudden large increase in available electricity supply with the resultant price drop for all New Zealanders undercutting the proposed sale of Meridian Energy. Had it not been for that National would have happily let Tiwai Point go under.

  5. North 5

    How Monty Pythonesque is this ?

    Tim Groser fresh from the National Party conference, earnestly warning us about “our enemies”.

    Yes we have enemies, without and within apparently. Presumably these enemies were around well before this government resolved to empower itself to spy on its people and make the fruits of their spying available to whomsoever. That it’s in this context that we first hear about “our enemies” is very suspicious.

    Makes one wonder whom the enemy actually is.

    • ropata 5.1

      Enemies! In the interests of National(tm) security the GCSB should keep an eye on opposition MPs

    • BM 5.2

      I’d say the greens need to be looked at

      I’ve read in a few places now that greenies are sending off press releases to media outlets world wide trying to make out that New Zealanders are environmental vandals and NZ is some polluted hole.

      Maybe the media needs to start digging around see how much truth there is to these allegations

      • JK 5.2.1

        Just go and have a look at the rivers and streams, and lakes, throughout New Zealand, BM.
        No need to dig around. They are so polluted no-one can safely swim in them, let alone drink the water without it being thoroughly cleaned/treated beforehand.

        • BM 5.2.1.1

          So you have no problem with environmental fanatics trying to destroy our economy?

          • Pascal's bookie 5.2.1.1.1

            You spelled ‘vandals’ wrong.

          • marty mars 5.2.1.1.2

            I certainly have a problem with economic fanatics trying to destroy our environment – don’t you BM?

            • BM 5.2.1.1.2.1

              I read in another post that said you work in the tourism sector.

              You don’t have a problem with the lies and exaggeration the greens are pushing.
              Lies and exaggeration that will have a direct result on the industry you work in.

              If certain Greens think fucking over our economy and putting 1000’s and 1000’s workers out of a job is a great idea they need to be rooted out and exposed as the destructive and dangerous religious zealots that they are.

              Bring on the new spying lies, lets find out who NZ real enemies are.

              • millsy

                If people like BM think putting thousands of liters of toxic chemicals into our rivers making them unsafe to swim in and making our children sick, and pumping thick smoke into the air, causing untold respirtory problems, is an acceptable way to make a few bucks, then it goes to show that they care more about money then our health.

                Why do you want to poison our rivers, BM, WHY?

                • BM

                  Who’s dumping thousands of liters of toxic chemicals into our rivers?
                  Who’s pumping thick smoke into the air, causing untold respiratory problems?

                  Name these NZ companies.

              • Well believe it or not tourism is based on an environment that people want to come and see and if the environment isn’t there or degraded they just don’t want to come and see it – doesn’t matter how much marketing spin you put on it, they will not come. So the economic benefits of tourism are based upon having an environment that people want to see not the other way round. The real enemies of this country are those that would sell it out by destroying the environment for short term gain, for themselves without considering or caring about the longterm effects of their greed. They are the ones that are making it unsafe for the kids to swim in the rivers and they are key and his exploitative mates, not the Greens – the Greens are one group of heroes that stand (hopefully) against them and good on them for that.

          • millsy 5.2.1.1.3

            So you have no problem with corporate fanatics trying to destroy our environment.

            BM. I am going to tell you this right now.

            The wilful discharge of toxic chemicals into our rivers and lakes and poisonous gases into our air for the sake of making a few bucks is nothing less than a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY.

      • felix 5.2.2

        “I’ve read in a few places now that greenies are sending off press releases to media outlets world wide trying to make out that New Zealanders are environmental vandals and NZ is some polluted hole.”

        That’s not how you spell “written”.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • National still splashing cash on charter school experiment
    New figures confirming that charter schools are still being funded at up to four times the rate of their state school counterparts shows just how desperate the National Government is to make its experiment a success, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris… ...
    2 days ago
  • Regions pay price for inaction on housing
    New figures put the cost of an average Auckland home at $800,000 and show large parts of the country facing stagnant or falling property values, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The QV data released today shows residential property values… ...
    3 days ago
  • Regions pay price for inaction on housing
    New figures put the cost of an average Auckland home at $800,000 and show large parts of the country facing stagnant or falling property values, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The QV data released today shows residential property values… ...
    3 days ago
  • PPP schools not at expense of community groups
    The Government must guarantee community groups will not be the losers out of its signing of a $298 million deal for four more public private partnership (PPP) schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Community groups will find it more… ...
    3 days ago
  • Surplus: The biggest broken promise ever
    Bill English has failed to deliver on his double-election campaign promise of a surplus by this year, instead delivering seven deficits out of seven budgets, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government spent seven years and two election campaigns… ...
    3 days ago
  • McDonald’s serves up some McHappiness
    Unite Union and McDonald’s have given New Zealand a perfect way to celebrate May Day by reaching a settlement that strikes another blow against zero-hour contracts, Labour spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Earlier this week it looked like… ...
    3 days ago
  • Justice delayed and delayed and delayed
    Today we found out that the case of the prominent New Zealander  charged with indecent assault will retain name suppression until the case goes to court in about a year. Putting aside the appropriateness or not of granting name suppression,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • No golden age for books
    The ‘indefinite’ postponement of an initiative designed to encourage people to read Kiwi books will be a major blow to local authors, publishers and booksellers, Labour’s Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.News that the annual NZ Book Month… ...
    4 days ago
  • Cracks showing in economy of milk and houses
    Fonterra’s latest cut to its forecast farmgate payout confirms that an economic black hole of $7 billion is opening up that will seriously affect the regions, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The cut confirms the long term trend of… ...
    4 days ago
  • Human Rights – An Issue for Everyone
    This week, the issue of human rights has been everywhere in the news. We have seen John Key prioritise a free trade agreement with Saudi Arabia over all else with no guarantee of human rights clauses being included. We have… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    4 days ago
  • Govt inaction on housing keeping rates high
    The Government’s failure to rein in the housing crisis means the Reserve Bank Governor cannot lower interest rates despite inflation being at 15-year lows, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Inflation is below the target band and the economy has… ...
    4 days ago
  • What do our refugee policies say about us?
    It is my pleasure to share with you a blog from Hester Moore who is currently interning with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees in Cairo, after graduating from the Univeristy of Canterbury. Sometimes, as a nation it is… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    4 days ago
  • Tamaki state housing transfer risky and desperate
    The Government’s transfer of 2800 state houses to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company -- to be announced at 9am today -- shows it's desperation to off-load state houses and show some kind of action against Auckland's out of control housing crisis,… ...
    4 days ago
  • Tamaki state housing transfer risky and desperate
    The Government’s transfer of 2800 state houses to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company -- to be announced at 9am today -- shows it's desperation to off-load state houses and show some kind of action against Auckland's out of control housing crisis,… ...
    4 days ago
  • Woodhouse should close work visa loophole
    The Immigration Minister must revoke the work visas of temporary Chinese engineers working on KiwiRail trains and close the loophole that allows their employers to avoid New Zealand employment laws, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues, Iain Lees-Galloway. “New Zealanders… ...
    5 days ago
  • Job losses show folly of Chorus’ copper cuts
    Chorus and the Government are neglecting the copper broadband network, leading to 145 potential job losses at Transfield Services as well as poor services in the regions, says Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. “Steven Joyce and Amy Adams have made… ...
    5 days ago
  • National quietly ditches its surplus promise
    National has quietly dropped its long-promised return to surplus by this year by removing the date it will get the books back in the black from its online campaign material, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s pledge to reach… ...
    5 days ago
  • Even cheap houses now unaffordable
    New housing affordability data show that now even the cheapest houses in Auckland are unaffordable for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “The AMP360 Home Loan Affordability Report reveals Auckland's lower quartile house price has leapt to… ...
    5 days ago
  • Key’s careless chatter tips off Arabic media
    John Key has shown a frightening lack of judgement in disclosing to an Arabic media outlet that Kiwi troops are in the UAE awaiting deployment to Iraq, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “At the same time the Prime… ...
    5 days ago
  • Child poverty will not be solved by vouchers
    New Zealand has debilitating levels of child poverty, entrenched violence against women and children, and the ongoing effects of colonisation on Maori are brutalising communities. When we dwell on the statistics – which mostly we don’t because it all seems… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Simon Bridges spent over $6500 on Northland
    Transport Minister Simon Bridges spent over $6519 on travel and flights to Northland for the by-election – spending around $1000 a week, Labour’s Acting Leader Annette King says. “Simon Bridges’ desperate dashes to Northland got him in political hot water.… ...
    5 days ago
  • Firing squad deaths deplorable
    The execution of eight men by an Indonesian firing squad is deplorable, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “New Zealanders do not support the use of the death penalty under any circumstances. ...
    5 days ago
  • Aged care workers need more than talk
    Yesterday AUT released the New Zealand Aged Care Workforce Survey 2014. The conditions of aged care workers are important for many reasons. We have an ageing population and people are going into care/requiring care later than before, so it’s critically… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Aged care needs urgent attention
    The Government must stop neglecting older New Zealanders and the people who care for them and give urgent attention to a sector that is in dire straits, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The lead author of the New… ...
    5 days ago
  • Passing the buck a disaster in the making
    Moves to overhaul the social services sector are nothing more than privatisation in drag and are a potential disaster in the making, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “A report from the Productivity Commission supports the Government’s push for… ...
    5 days ago
  • Tauranga’s oil spill shows potential for devastation
    When the Rena ran aground off the Bay of Plenty coast, the impact was overwhelming. Some 2000 dead birds were found, and up to 20,000 birds are thought to have been killed. Taxpayers paid nearly  $48 million in the aftermath… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • More hype and half-truths from Coleman
    The rising incidence of rheumatic fever has nothing to do with ‘families having a better understanding of the disease’ as the Health Minister wants us to believe but everything to do with his failure to address the root causes of… ...
    6 days ago
  • Regional air routes must be maintained
    The Government must use its majority shareholding to make sure Air New Zealand cooperates with second tier airlines stepping into the regional routes it has abandoned, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Air New Zealand’s cancellation of its Kaitaia, Whakatane,… ...
    6 days ago
  • Action needed on decades old arms promise
    Nuclear weapons states must honour the unequivocal promise they made 45 years ago to disarm, says Labour’s Disarmament Spokesperson Phil Goff. Mr Goff is attending the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations in New York. ...
    6 days ago
  • Worker safety top of mind tomorrow and beyond
    Workers’ Memorial Day, commemorated tomorrow, is both a time to reflect and to encourage a better safety culture in all workplaces, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway.“On Worker’s Memorial Day, working people across New Zealand will remember those… ...
    7 days ago
  • Communities forced to stomach water woes
    Confirmation by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman that he is to wind up a water quality improvement scheme will leave thousands of Kiwis with no alternative but to continue boiling their drinking water, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. The Drinking… ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour calls for immediate humanitarian aid for Nepal
    The Government should act immediately to help with earthquake relief efforts in Nepal, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “The Nepalese Government is appealing for international assistance following yesterday’s massive quake. The full impact is only now being realised… ...
    7 days ago
  • New holiday reflects significance of Anzac Day
    Anzac Day now has the full recognition that other public holidays have long enjoyed, reflecting the growing significance it has to our sense of identity and pride as a nation, Labour MP David Clark says.“The importance of the 100th Gallipoli… ...
    7 days ago
  • Housing crisis hurting export growth
    If Steven Joyce wants to revive his failing export growth target he needs to make sure the Government gets to grips with the housing crisis, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Our exporters are struggling to compete… ...
    1 week ago
  • Gallipoli’s lesson: never forget, never repeat
     A special monument to one of our greatest war heroes should be a priority for the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “This will honour the spirit of Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, who led 760… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for who? Women, or Team Key?
    Louise Upston yesterday broke her silence on John Key’s repeated unwanted touching of a woman who works at his local café, to jump to the defence of her Boss. Upston repeated Key’s apology but, according to media reports “she refused… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayer bucks backing US billionaire
    Kiwis will be horrified to know they are backing a Team Oracle subsidiary owned by a US billionaire, Labour’s Sports and Recreation spokesperson Trevor Mallard says. It has been revealed today that a Warkworth boat building company, which is wholly… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • English’s sins of omission: ‘Nothing left to be done’ on housing
    When Bill English said ‘there is nothing left to be done’ on the Auckland housing crisis he had overlooked a few things – a few things, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.  “He’s right if you ignore: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate change now hurts Kiwis
    Kiwis have twice been given timely and grave warnings on how climate change will hit them in their hip pockets this week, says Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The first is the closure of the Sanford mussel plant and the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean, green and chocolate!
    Like many people I absolutely love chocolate! But until recently I hadn’t given much thought to how it was grown and produced. Fair trade and ethical food production are core Green Party principles, so yesterday Steffan Browning and I were… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • National admits loan shark law not up to it
    National has admitted new laws to crack down on loan sharks, truck shops and dodgy credit merchants aren’t up to the task of protecting vulnerable consumers, Labour’s Commerce spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Paul Goldsmith has acknowledged the laws might just… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Power and the Prime Minister
    I’d like to acknowledge the young woman* who has publically told her story. It was a very brave thing to do. She kept her story very simple and focussed on her experience of what happened. It told of unwanted attention… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Extra holiday offers time to reflect
    The Mondayisation of Anzac Day provides New Zealanders with an opportunity to spend more time with their families and their communities, Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark says. “This is the first time legislation I introduced, to have Anzac and… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More angst and anguish for red zone locals
    Local residents will be bitterly disappointed by the Government’s cherry picking of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding compensation for red zoned property owners, Labour Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson and Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “Home owners have taken all… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Australia shows why we need a sovereign wealth fund now
    Australia has not managed its great mining boom well, says HSBC’s chief economist for Australia and New Zealand, Paul Bloxham. When times are good, governments need to save for the bad times that will inevitably follow, and this can be… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Pure Water- pure rip off
    New Zealanders’ rights to fresh water must be protected before commercial allocations are given, but the Government is allowing resources to be taken, says Kelvin Davis MP for Te Tai Tokerau.  “The Government needs to resolve the issue of water… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cabinet paper reveals weak case for Iraq deployment
    A heavily redacted copy of a Cabinet paper on New Zealand’s military deployment to Iraq reveals how weak the case is for military involvement in that conflict, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  The paper warns that given the failure… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Malaysia’s booty is Kiwis’ lost homeownership dream
    It’s unsurprising the Auckland property market is so overheated when Malaysians are being told they can live large on Kiwi’s hard-earned rent money, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “A Malaysian property website lists nearly 4000 New Zealand houses and… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry’s food safety resources slashed to the bone
    The Ministry for Primary Industries’ failure to monitor toxic and illegal chemicals in red meat is a dereliction of duty, Labour’s Primary Industries and Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI compliance officer Gary Orr today admitted National’s much-vaunted super… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry must protect organic food industry
    The Ministry for Primary Industries must take urgent action to protect New Zealand’s $150 million organic food and beverage industry by establishing a certification regime, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Despite working with Organics Aotearoa on the issue… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere