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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

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

          • BM

            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

              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

              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

          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


      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

        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

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

          • Pascal's bookie

            You spelled ‘vandals’ wrong.

          • marty mars

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

            • BM

              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

            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”.

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