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ACT: bought by the Nats for a song

Written By: - Date published: 7:12 am, April 29th, 2011 - 123 comments
Categories: act, national - Tags: , ,

The Left are rubbing our hands with glee at the prospect of taking on BrashKey, but make no mistake, Key wanted this coup too. Think about it: former Nat Leader Don Brash, former Nat Minister John Banks, Nat money man Alan Gibbs, former Nat President Michelle Boag – and it goes down while John Key is far away playing smile and wave in Europe.

I’m not saying that something new on the Right wouldn’t have emerged anyway but clearly there were people behind the scenes pulling Brash’s strings in this coup (he’s actually looking increasingly like a worn-out puppet). And they were National people with National’s interests at heart.

Key’s guarantee to Hide that he could keep the salary and perks of a lameduck minister was obviously important in getting him to step aside relatively quietly. Just as Key’s indication last week that National wouldn’t run a candidate vote campaign in Epsom was an invitation to ACT that said ‘if you run someone half way decent, you’re saved, but we all know that’s not Hide’.

The way this all suddenly exploded just after Key left the country, with Brash looking more befuddled by anyone, was telling.

Ok, yes, Roger Douglas was strongly supportive of Brash’s coup and so was Heather Roy and, yes, Key has ruled Douglas out of cabinet and let Roy be deposed last year. But ruling out Douglas was always just election campaign positioning from Key that reassured New Zealand and letting Roy go may have seemed like the sensible thing last year when it was still thought Hide could win Epsom. Things change and when the interests of Key in having a coalition partner to the right combined with Douglas and Roy’s interest in getting rid of Hide of course they work towards the same end.

National’s Key faction thinks this will work well for National (the English faction doesn’t, because Brash will scare too many vote to the Left, witness Farrar’s fumbling of this issue). Indeed, the Key-ists think it vital. No-one seriously believes that National will poll over 50% in November. They’re on 51% in the latest Roy Morgan. In 2002, Labour was polling mid-50s well into the campaign but finally came in at 41%. People don’t want to trust one party as a majority government. If National doesn’t get 50% it needs partners. Dependency on the 2-3 MP rump that will be left of the Maori Party once Labour and Mana smash it is not acceptable. Don’t forget, the Maori Party still votes against National more often than not. Needing the Maori Party for the occasional vote is one thing. Needing them every time is another.

So, by this thinking, a rightwing partner is needed that can give a National-led government a majority it can govern with. A new party could have been established but what a hassle! Far easier to buy an existing one. Which is what they did. It wasn’t Brash’s ‘brand’ that ACT saw as a voter winner (‘vote for me, I’m that old, aloof, philandering, lying, racist son of a bitch who used to raise your mortgage payments and just royally screwed over a mate in public then took his job’). No, it was the money that came with him that ACT saw as its lifesaver.

National gets a guaranteed rightwing support partner (providing Banks, not Brash, runs in Epsom) and, in return, ACT gets to not face oblivion. Problem solved.

Except. Brash has a tendency to say what he’s thinking. And what he’s thinking is batshit crazy stuff that most New Zealanders want nothing to do with. This creates an opportunity for the Greens and Labour (‘a vote for Key is a vote for Brash’). It gives a great opportunity to New Zealand First and the Mana Party too. Even Peter Dunne sees the chance to reprise his role as the ‘common sense’ counter to a radical party, as he did with the Greens in 2002.

With a new Left party launching tomorrow, a three-way fight looming in the Maori seats, a new look ACT, the centrist parties smelling opportunity, Winston now even more likely to run in Epsom, confidence in government plummeting, National+ACT polling just 52%, and the spectre of Brash looming to send moderates back to Labour – this election just got a whole lot harder to predict.

And all it took was the destruction of Rodney Hide’s career… unless he makes a tilt for Epsom as an independent.

123 comments on “ACT: bought by the Nats for a song ”

  1. M 1

    ‘And all it took was the destruction of Rodney Hide’s career… unless he makes a tilt for Epsom as an independent.’

    Yeah, don’t like the guy but if he ran as an independent it would be understandable. He could treat Don as nicely as he’s been treated: pretend to be supportive and pull the rug out from under Donny.

    Actually, apart from the left getting in, that would make my political year – treachery rewarded with treachery.

    • rosy 1.1

      It looks like Brash is making sure Hide has no momentum Total takeover – Heather Roy, Minister for Local Government?

      He indicated he would ask Mr Key to give Mr Hide’s portfolios to another MP, citing as a precedent Mr Hide’s decision to strip Heather Roy of her portfolios because of her coup attempt.

  2. higherstandard 2

    I quite like the idea of a very left and very right party saying what they’re thinking rather than lying to try and get votes.

    Who knows there might be meritorious ideas raised from both sides of the spectrum which could be latched onto and implemented by the lying, boring, do nothing, troughing dross at the centre of NZ politics.

  3. Luva 3

    It’s a funny old day when the left and right are rubbing their hands with glee as a result of changes in a minor fringe party.

    For many on the right Brash is still seen as the saviour. He saved the National party frOm the doom days of 2002 and brought the party within a whisker of beating a very popular Labour and Clark in 2005. Since Orewa one the nats have never looked back.

    Can he reinvigorate ACT like he did so successfully with National

    • PeteG 3.1

      I think Brash’s ressurection abilities are being overstated, especially by Brash.

      National were always likely to bounce back from 2002. Act voters switched to National – the Act vote in 2005 dropped from 7% to 1.5%. Labour were very beatable. And Brash/National came up short.

      Since then Brash has accumulated further baggage, and isn’t any better as far as charisma goes.

  4. Lazy Susan 4

    Absolutely agree Eddie I think the Key Corporation is in on all this.

    Also possibly part of a longer game plan. If, and it’s a big if, National govern the next term with Act as their only coalition partner they can blame Act for all the shitty stuff the business elite want shoved through (as per Hide and the Super City). This will not only get the job done but will also discredit MMP – the old “tail wagging the dog” arguement will be played.

    • higherstandard 4.1

      So this is all an evil plan by that Machiavellian genius John Key.

      After his latest musings in the UK….

      “Key confessed yesterday he has succumbed to royal fever and bought some shortbread. Wife Bronagh got him a souvenir mug.

      He said he’d bought the shortbread “and some other bits and pieces. But no tea-towels.”

      ….. I just can’t see it.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        You’re quite right, Key is over there to have a good time, and let his ideas people back home sort out the complications for him. He will however do what they suggest and rubber stamp stuff to his satisfaction. But be Machiavelli on his own? Agree with you, don’t think so.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2

        So this is all an evil plan by that Machiavellian genius John Key.

        He’s neither the one pulling the strings nor is he the one putting together the political strategy and tactics. He’s just the puppet waved in front of us.

        • higherstandard

          DTB frankly what the fuck do you know about anything apart from stinking up the internet with ” they are psychopaths” comments every couple of days.

          • McFlock

            Well, the proposition that Key orchestrated the purchase of Act requires he be able to manipulate the leader he rolled as well as the party’s major donors. Then trust in his own brilliance enough to leave the country while the coup d’etat took place (which is a bit of a contradiction – a micro-manipulator who will leave his main strategic preparation battle to his subordinates, with no / limited oversight).

            Oh, and I seriously think some of them ARE psychopaths. There’s only so much dissonance you can take and still be socially functional.

            • higherstandard

              You have no idea what a psychopath is.

              • McFlock

                Thanks for telling me what I do or do not know.

                YOU have no idea whether the term “psychopath” is being used in its popular sense, its (I believe largely obsolete) medical sense, or to what degree.

                So to be slightly more precise:

                I seriously believe that some of our current government MPs and ministers fully realise the harm and the suffering they are causing to individuals without any internal need to rationalise or minimise their impact. I seriously believe that they know people will and/or die because of government actions, and that these deaths serve only people in a ministerial tax bracket rather than being for “the greater good”. I believe that some of these ministers have first-hand experience of the suffering and difficulty such policies cause, yet have no guilt, regret or self-recrimination about the suffering they know they cause. I also believe that some government MPs can and probably have looked into the eyes of those who do and will suffer as a result of government policies, held their hands and consoled or reassured them in front of the media, yet this experience never touched their heart.

                Maybe that’s not your definition of “psychopath”, but it’s certainly fucked up and puts the “anti” in “antisocial”.

              • higherstandard


                Read up – most politicians are turds of the highest order and many may have some sociopathic traits but to describe them as psychopaths is as fatuous as the Communist and Nazi name calling that goes about in the political blogs.

                • McFlock

                  Well, they look like they score through the roof in the aggressive narcissistic questions, seem to have planning and behavioural issues, and looking at Act both Brash and Hide are on multiple marriages.

                  Not based on a psychological interview, and data on some of the more intimate questions are quite rightly not available, but it’s damned closer than a Godwin would be.

                • Deadly_NZ

                  And of that list you could say that 13 fit our oh so esteemed Prime minister. Take out the sex and crime stuff and the marital stuff and yep the rest is pure key or brash or english or …. Oh Hell

                • Draco T Bastard

                  You know, I’d love to see our pollies (sitting MPs and hopefuls) put through that test. I think NZ would be surprised/horrified at how many of them are psychopathic.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Apparently, more than you.

      • Puddleglum 4.1.3

        To be in the loop on something (and desire it to happen) is not the same as orchestrating something.

        John Key tends towards the personal strategy of positioning himself to take advantage of others’ machinations and, as a consequence, to facilitate in his own little way – and nod ascent – if it suits his ambitions. As Colin James noted in one of his columns, Key’s life as a trader predisposes him to playing the game rather than being a game-changer. But, if he sees others looking like they will be successful in changing the game I presume he will do his best to position himself favourably in that game.

        He knew for at least a couple of weeks, by his own admission, that Brash was thinking of making this move. (Personally, I think it would have been much longer – hence the vague ‘Oh, I’ve sort of known about it for a week or two, I think.’). I imagine a quick smile and a humorous comment to the effect of ‘at least leave it till I go off to the wedding, Don!’ would be his style.

        Then again, perhaps John Key has never had a remotely strategic or tactical thought in his life. Maybe his success in the trading game was, therefore, pure luck. What was it he said about ‘pattern recognition’ and how good he was at it? Yet, can’t see some pretty obvious patterns within his own political circles?

  5. Bill 5

    Last time National positioned themselves as ‘Labour lite’ moderates.

    This time they can position themselves as moderates by differentiating themselves from the ‘rabid Brashite brigade’…and get mileage from Labour’s strategy of compromise and accommodation with National policies.

    Meanwhile, Peter’s just lost his Hide platform. And that means that Key also avoids ‘flak by association’.

  6. PeteG 6

    With a new Left party launching tomorrow, a three-way fight looming in the Maori seats, a new look ACT, the centrist parties smelling opportunity, Winston now even more likely to run in Epsom, confidence in government plummeting, National+ACT polling just 52%, and the spectre of Brash looming to send moderates back to Labour – this election just got a whole lot harder to predict.

    I agree totally on the difficulties in predicting.

    Brash is as likely to shore up National votes to keep the Act influence at a modest level as he is to send voters back to Labour.

    There is a lot going on – where does this leave Labour? There are at least as many dangers now as for National, possibly more because they are out of the limelight. With all the action going on around them they will have to be careful they aren’t lost in action. Maybe they need to stake out their own ground a bit more and not add to the publicity of other parties so much.

  7. ASA 7

    The hollow men are back (including the exclusive bethrens?) Time to get the book and re-read it.Where are you, Nicky? I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Key was not directly involved with organising this and he, and English, had a metaphorical gun held to their heads by the power brokers behind this incredible series of events. Think about it – a person, who is not a member of a political party, organises a coup from outside the party. That would equate to someone coming in from the street to roll Key or Goff. Would that ever happen?

    My reasoning – in comparison with Brash, Joyce and like, Key and English are relatively moderate. Having Brash added to the mix will present a far more difficult management situation for Key, whereas Hide was, well, Hide. I can’t see that Key would have willingly planned for Brash to be on board, and I note that he’s been pretty quick to rule out senior cabinet roles for him.This really does suggest that there’s a bigger game going on than we realise.

    • handle 7.1

      Moderate? Think again. Key was one of the hollow men. And bought his way into parliament with a seven figure donation to the National Party’s bagmen.

    • ianmac 7.2

      Nicky was on Morning Report this morning in the last hour I think. Was very scathing on Brash resurrection.
      [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20110429-0810-Don_Brash_may_be_sitting_around_cabinet_table_by_years_end-048.mp3" /]

      • Matthew Hooton 7.2.1

        Does Nicky not like Brash? Wow.

        • Tigger

          Yes, Matthew, it’s all about personal like since the left is full of bitchy types who take personal dislikes to people. Fuck mate, your spin lines are more noticeable than Brash’s liver spots.

        • gobsmacked

          Hi Matthew.

          Could you please explain your latest lie on “Nine to Noon” this week, saying Labour were at 22% in “private polling”?

          So why are Labour at 32% in the latest public poll?

          Do you really think that Radio NZ listeners are stupid?

        • Sean

          Firstly, Barry Gustafson, who shared that interview, and credited Brash not with just missing on the 2005 election, but losing it because he scared centre voters, has supported the National Party since he wrote “The First 50 Years: A History of the New Zealand National Party ” back in 1986. He sees Brash as having a toxic and tarnished image.

          Secondly, Hager is critical of Brash because some people in the National party office leaked to him papers and emails of Brash’s that discussed his relationship with his anonymous backers and what he actually wanted to do as Prime Minister, rather than what he pretended he wanted to do once he got into power.

          Hager is critical only because he knows Brash’s motivations quite a bit better than the voting public did in 2005. You should read the book Hager wrote Matthew, there is a bit where Don Brash mentioned you by name as one of his supporters.

          Of course, Nicky Hager mentioned you as one of his current backers in this interview, are you?

    • Anne 7.3

      I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Key was not directly involved with organising this and he, and English, had a metaphorical gun held to their heads by the power brokers behind this incredible series of events.

      Spot on ASA. I witnessed those power brokers in action back in the mid-Nineties. They began to set the scene for a new political party to the right of National as early as 1993 – three years before the start of MMP. The money thrown at the formation of the ACT Party was astronomical – far more than was ever declared. And the commensurate wastage of resources was enormous. It makes a mockery of their so-called policy of “reductions in spending” and “living within our means”. This is the original ACT that Brash says he wants to resurrect!

    • Draco T Bastard 7.4

      My reasoning – in comparison with Brash, Joyce and like, Key and English are relatively moderate.

      Nope, Key’s as radical as Brash and Rodders. He had to promise to be Labour Lite to get National elected to the Treasury benches but that was the only reason he put on the moderate persona mask.

  8. PeteG 8

    This really does suggest that there’s a bigger game going on than we realise.

    There always is.

    The big money power brokers have always struggled to go the full distance when it comes to power politics. They are not one single entity, there are many competing factions, like everywhere else in the spectrum. Far more complex than thinking it’s just X doing Y to achieve Z.

  9. MikeG 9

    If Brash is so good for ACT why doesn’t he stand in Epsom?

  10. Sanctuary 10

    Frankly, I think the electoral appeal of the geriatric Brash is being wildly over-estimated by the generally equally geriatric media commentariat.

    Brash, Banks, Douglas – these men are a grotesque assembly of the day before yesterday’s men. We are not seeing the future here – we are seeing the last death throes of the neo-liberal, 1980’s right.

    • ak 10.1

      ….we are seeing the last death throes of the neo-liberal, 1980′s right

      Tend to agree, sanc. We forget that the 2002 Nat corpse was only dragged from the crypt by the filth of Orewa One and has been primped and tarted along since, solely by expensive cosmetic artistry on its single star and support from ACT or the Maori Party. A tenuous situation at best – and with the MP forced irretrievably left, the retention of ACT’s gaggle of demented clowns was essential and pressing.

      That the race card and the demonstrably failed policies of Big Money greed via the withered Brash was the only option remaining is encouraging: it’s the toxic sludge of a barrel that Joanna Public has no wish to revisit, and its stench will permeate and cling to all and sundry – including the nice Mr Key.

      Dementia Don’s recent ruthlessness (and the election night 2008 ACT act) will leave no one in any doubt that this mangy dog’s tail would wag us back to the nasty nineties in a shake. NACT just lost its Nice mask: the left now has its stark target, and needs to unite firmly in fury.

      A vote for Key is indeed a vote for Brash. A dirty black cloud just shrouded that synthetic brighter future: time for a blaze from the Left.

  11. ianmac 11

    Perhaps Winston could stand in the same electorate as Don? Don’s pondering mind would be interesting against Winston’s wit. Or will Don not dare to stand in an electorate and be given No 1. on the List as a free run into Parliament. Great for MMP?

    • MikeG 11.1

      Am I right in saying that there is a high correlation between opponents of MMP and supporters of Brash?

      Brash isn’t prepared to stand in the most likely ACT seat, but would rather use the system his supporters are opposed to, to get a seat in Parliament.

    • Lanthanide 11.2

      Actually that would be a sensible move by Don, to put himself at list position #1 and rely on Banks at #2 to win Epsom. Shows that he has faith in Banks, while at the same time not facing a defeat. Lets see how arrogant he is.

      • rosy 11.2.1

        I think he’s already shown how arrogant he is.

        • the pink postman

          Arrogance is to mild for this Guy.He has allready told us that he want’s to be the Minister of Finance and he’s not even elected . This take over is beyond belief ,but there is no doubt it has been very well planned even to making sure Key’s hands are not dirtied by having him eating muffins or is it crumpets in the UK. I smell the stench of Crosby -Textor . I’m not sure how this will workout but one thing is certain the money will flow into the coffers of Act/Nat.The no Brash no cash policy of the BRT and other rich groups will be reversed.Im still waiting to hear from Tariana Turia on how she can work with Iwi /Kiwi Brash.

  12. Lanthanide 12

    “and it goes down while John Key is far away playing smile and wave in Europe.”

    Note that this is Key’s now twice-postponed trip. Is it possible that this coup was specifically engineered for when he was out of the country in Europe? Could this coup have taken place last year in Sept-Oct when the first earthquake cancelled the first trip, and again in February when the second earthquake cancelled the second trip? As it turned out, going over Easter weekend maximised the impact of the media coverage, but it’s plausible that this could have been planned from as early as the middle of last year (basically after Banks lost the supercity and Garrett was done for stealing an infant’s identity).

    Also, Nicky Hagar and a political scientist were on Morning Report this morning after 8, talking about the Hollow Men and how Brash is just a re-tread of the previous failed policies. The pol scientist said that in 2005 Brash ‘almost won’, and that if it had been anyone else, such as English, they probably would have.

  13. windy.city.struggler 13

    To throw a bit more sauce into the mix … NZ Labour swiftly and consensually changes its leadership so that a fresh, bright, energetic, young and street-smart leadership contrasts with Brash Banks & Key.

    Yeah, I’m just dreaming.

    I’m supposed to be looking for a job.

    Sorry Paula, I’ll get back into it.

    • Sam 13.1

      perhaps Labour should engineer a similar take-over of the Greens or Maori Party?
      It has already rolled the “progressive party”. Maybe try “United Future ” as well.
      Oh yes, these things cannot happen as the party is broke, both in money terms and smart people.

  14. ianmac 14

    Perhaps this whole program is a master-plan by Stephen Joyce and rich men to highlight the revival/saving of Act as the right wing of the National party.
    Why else would the take-over be so public? A sympathetic MSM has given Brash all the airtime he would wish for. Backtrack the time line and what a coup for National Act. Insurance for Key. Either a majority National Govt, or if necessary another NAct compromise.

    Hope this revitalises the Left and even the Maori Left. Will they want to be coalition with NAct? Now Brash and Key both want to abolish the Maori seats.

  15. Rich 15

    Ah, but the rules have changed, thanks to CERA.

    As a minimum, all Key needs is one confidence and supply vote after November. Then he can rule by edict for three years. CERA doesn’t exclude finance legislation (removing the check on kings and governments that’s been around since Magna Carta), so he can just levy taxes by Order in Council.A confidence vote could remove the government, but by not summoning parliament (what for – it’s not needed to pass edicts) he could dodge even that.

    Of course he won’t do this unless he has to (it’s a bit of a one shot). But it’s a fair bet that there’ll be some sort of global financial crisis in the next three years, and they’ve got the precedent. Flick Turia, Sharples and Dunne a few more baubles, pass an emergency measure under urgency and suddenly, they’ve got five years of powers to do anything (unlike an earthquake, you can argue that anything government does is dealing with economic issues at some level).

    • nadis 15.1


      I think we all appreciate eternal vigilance is the price of democracy etc etc, but seriously? This is bordering on the paranoid.

      What you’re suggesting is that Key is looking for an opportunity to abrogate parliament and elections? Seriously?

      • Rich 15.1.1

        Well, the Canadian government prorogued parliament in order to avoid an election.

        And why would a government pass laws that it can’t conceive of using? Seriously, are we really going to get to 2014 and then suddenly realise that the RMA needs to be relaxed *immediately* to allow for rebuilding of Christchurch. So why do they need 5 years of the power to override any law beyond a minimal kernel of constitutional legislation?

        The kind of changes that the National right wing (which is, as we have seen, interchangeable with the ACT party) want could never be honestly approved by the NZ electorate. So to get them and deliver what the Gibbs and Velas want is going to need some sort of alternative form of “democracy”. Key is just paving the way.

      • Draco T Bastard 15.1.2

        What you’re suggesting is that Key is looking for an opportunity to abrogate parliament and elections? Seriously?

        Seen the elected Ecan board around lately?

  16. ASA 16

    @ Handle: Key is moderate not because of his political beliefs, but because of his overwhelming need is to be liked by as many people as possible – hence his need to keep closer to the centre. He looked liked the cat with the cream when he went in to meet the Queen. Key is a puppet, a distractor, put in place to draw attention away from the real agenda and to keep the Nats ahead in the polls. The heavy lifting is behind the scenes. Brash also, while more vocal and upfront with his views, is also another puppet, put up by the same forces, to attract a different segment of voters – the conservative bigots and racists. Don’t be fooled – he’s not the originator of this event. I repeat – there’s a much bigger game on here than we realise, and its not just limited to New Zealand.

    • Sam 16.1

      Of course there is – the NWO, international bankers (to which Key and Brash are aligned) and Bilderbergers and then there is the UN (soon to have Auntie Helen in charge) and the IMF, who will tell NZ, especially with Goff (or another Labour person) as PM, what to do and will demand that the “welfare state” be dismantled.
      These forces will wait till there is a Labour (left wing) PM, so that in this process the political left wing will be utterly destroyed and they, who are repeating this process worldwide, will have free reign.

      • ASA 16.1.1

        Thanks – hadn’t heard of the Bilderbergers. Having done a quick bit of research, there’s enough smoke to suggest influences from them. Guess the Heritage Foundation could be added as well. Naturally the IMF will be involved as well, and then there’s the influence of the corporates, as spelled out in John Ralston Saul’s book, “The Unconscious Civilization”.
        This leaves then, the big question – how do we fight this?

      • voldemort 16.1.2

        You forgot to mention Harry Potter.

        But many of these people do exist. Have a look at

        ‘Cracking Codes & Cryptograms For Dummies’ (google it).

        Gerry Mateparae may be of assistance.

    • Puddleglum 16.2

      I agree that Key is motivated by a concern with his own ‘popularity’. But that works on at least two levels.

      Yes, he wants to be one of the most popular PMs in New Zealand’s history. And he wants that even after his time as PM ends (i.e., the legacy of a popular PM). But he also wants status amongst those with whom he circulates (‘peer recognition and approval’, if you like). Given who those people are, it is not hard to guess what achievements they might admire: Key as the man who delivered for them what they wanted (and may even think is ‘good for the country’).

      Key will be aiming for both and backing himself that he can pull it off. My guess is that his ambition is only partly external; he also wants to think he is the kind of person who can achieve such an unlikely quinella. That would really set him apart.

  17. It’s been in the wind for a while.

    “Brash and Banks hatched their plans for a comeback about four months ago but the decision to make a run for ACT was not finalised till last month, when Hide offered Brash the co-leadership, which he rejected.

    Brash and Banks confirmed yesterday there had been talks with people within the wider National Party, but would not say who. But there had been no talks with Key or his inner circle.”

    Interesting that they (B&B) specifically distanced Key from it – what naughty thoughts in the public mind were they trying to pre-empt (why would they mention that Key had nothing to do with it?).

    • Pascal's bookie 17.1

      But there had been no talks with Key or his inner circle

      Key doesn’t read those sort of emails anyway, just forwards them.

  18. Blighty 18


    “Hide Questions If Brash Had Numbers To Roll Him

    By Political Correspondent Marie McNicholas at 5:46 pm, 28 Apr 2011

    Departing ACT leader Rodney Hide questions if Don Brash ever had the numbers to roll him and says the only vote in caucus that shifted was his own

    After seven years at the helm of the party, Mr Hide is standing down and is also reviewing whether to stay in politics after Dr Brash pulled off a brazen leadership challenge in which Mr Hide blinked before the top job was put to a vote.

    Mr Hide says he would never have let it get that far, determining that the spectacle of a drawn out public leadership contest would be damaging to the party and a distraction for the National-led Government.

    Dr Brash said he could not recall telling Mr Hide he did not have the numbers to win a leadership vote.

    “I may have said ‘I don’t know’, but I wouldn’t have said ‘I haven’t got the numbers’ because in fact by that stage I thought I had the numbers,” Dr Brash said.
    “Certainly my impression by the end of yesterday was that I probably had a majority.”

    Mr Hide said he never thought he would lose his job when he approached Dr Brash to join the party and stand for ACT, and it had never occurred to him that anyone would try to be leader without joining the party first.”

    • felix 18.1

      “I may have said ‘I don’t know’, but I wouldn’t have said ‘I haven’t got the numbers’ because in fact by that stage I thought I had the numbers,” Dr Brash said.
      “Certainly my impression by the end of yesterday was that I probably had a majority.”

      Classic Brashism. Love it. Get this clown gibbering in front of the cameras at every opportunity and half the job is done.

  19. gobsmacked 19

    Brash’s coup is excellent news for the opposition, because it reinforces the Right’s belief in their version of “shock doctrine”.

    Brash & co will now be saying “See? Boldness works! Action man wins! No pussy footing around, bull by the horns, tiger by his tail, er, some more animal cliches …!”

    Psychology 101: it worked before, let’s do it again.

    Let’s push on, they will say. Let’s demand more from Key. Let’s get Hide out of caucus, Ministerial posts, the lot. Let’s call for Bill English’s head. Let’s get Douglas in (OK, that one may be crazy, but then they ARE crazy, so … why not?).

    They don’t want to play nicely. They won’t be controlled by National. They are the equivalent of the Americans arming the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan. You need them to be armed and dangerous, but then you lose control over the danger. The guns are turned on the suppliers.

    Brash-ACT are sufficiently deluded to think that this can be done without harming National’s safe lead in the polls. They’re wrong.

  20. William Joyce 20

    It’s not about ACT, it’s about getting National a second term!

    This has all the marks of strategic and tactical planning in some smoke filled room. Most of the planners would not have been the people who fronted to the lazy, ambulance-chasing, ambushing Calvert MSM.

    This has all the beauty of a well planned and executed chess move and not the passionate whim of some old guy who got up one morning and had a thought while sitting on the commode. This was probably a joint venture by interested parties on the right who saw how the games was progressing and needed to sacrifice a prominent piece to progress the game.

    Despite the gloating on the right, National was facing an election without any easy coalition partner.
    – ACT was toast because there was a real prospect that Rodney was not going to take Epsom. No Rodney, no other ACT candidates riding on his coat tails.
    – The Maori party are going to take a pasting with Hone splitting the vote and/or some returning to Labour with the prospect that Hone could make a supply and agreement partner for Labour

    The prospect of left leaning house with so many coalition options would have scared the proverbial out of the right. The prospect was that Labour (provided they polled high enough) could have formed a minority coalition in the absence of National being able to cobble one together.

    The boffins on the right have realised that MMP is all about the king makers.To that end they deliberately set out to remove Winston Peters and NZ First in the last election. The timing had to be just before the election so that Winston would take a hit and would have no to time to recover.

    Rodney Hide was their man on point for this and he sat in those hearings in the front row as he watched it all play out. I guess he thought that if he pleased his masters in this way they would look after him. I guess he’s learned something about the loyalty of his “friends” now in a karmic sort of way.

    This superb move puts Brash as #1 on the list, Banks in as member for Epsom and drags in the also rans, thus securing a strong natural coalition partner for National – which they desperately needed.

    So now, what is the pay off? Key is positioning himself in the centre right by saying, over the last few days, non-threatening, Mr Nice guy, things that moderate and swing voters want to hear – hoping to secure their votes. Mr Smile and Wave at work again to placate the masses. Meanwhile ACT can be seen to be the nasty radicals that that nice Mr key is protecting us from. But eventually he will plead that he was forced against his will into doing some nasty things because of a coalition agreement with ACT – when in fact it’s what National have wanted to do all along but didn’t because they didn’t want to scare the horses.

    In 2008, National had to get there foot in door after so long in opposition and they could only do that by following the focus groups, trotting out the Smiling Assassin and giving the electorate what it things it wants and not mentioning any of the things that would frighten them. The plan hinges on getting a second term so they can implement what they have always wanted.

    This week has not been about ACT but all about getting that second term for National.

    I bet there was a lot of champagne corks popping last night!

    • gobsmacked 20.1

      Yes, we get all that William.

      But this move makes a second term less likely. Not more.

      Both Brash/ACT and some on the left (like yourself) seem to think that National will not suffer any collateral damage. I strongly disagree.

      Key’s high numbers in the polls are thanks to people who did NOT vote National in 2008. He has not only got the swing voters, but also a section of Labour voters who National (i.e. Key) don’t scare.

      Until now.

      A hypothetical second term wasn’t scary enough. Don Brash changes that, from hypothetical to real. It has a face. That makes all the difference.

      Shouting “Look out! Hidden agenda!” hasn’t worked. But it’s not hidden any more. Thank God (or Don) for that.

      • William Joyce 20.1.1

        Yes, I agree – National will take a hit. The size of that hit will depend upon how well he can portray himself as safe and centrist, how credible Labour appears as a potential government, how much pain people are feeling and who they blame for it, etc.
        I guess I was trying to see it from a RW strategy POV. If the status quo was maintained then National could well have been toast. The move by Brash gives them greater security. This was a rescue mission.
        All the what-if scenarios of two weeks ago now have to re-evaluated (which is what we are doing by bouncing our ideas off each other).
        It is now up to the players to decide how they are going to respond.
        In once instance, as you point out evil now has a face – Can Labour capitalise on that and link asset sales, lowered wages, cuts in government services to THAT face and then link that face to National?
        If, as you state, “Key’s high numbers in the polls are thanks to people who did NOT vote National in 2008.” then there is scope to scare the shit out of people voting National.

      • Puddleglum 20.1.2

        I think you’re right about what Brash has done – he’s made people start to think about what another term of a National-led government would involve. That was the last thing that the ‘smile and wave’ strategy needs, a reflective electorate. Key has always been our spoonful of sugar for the good Doctor’s medicine.

        I think, though, that all of that ‘damage’ comes into the calculation (for the right in general). As you point out, Key has, apparently, increased his popularity from election night, 2008. That’s ‘capital’ they’re happy to spend to get a coalition partner in Parliament since they no doubt understand that it’s pretty ‘soft’ (unsecured) capital anyway.

        Say National is, actually, on about 52% support. Say it loses 5% to a resurgent ACT (=47%). I think the calculation is that Key can keep most of what remains, leaving them with, say, 45% (the optimistic scenario – for ‘them’ – would be my nightmare scenario of Key being seen to need shoring up to dilute ACT and getting even more support than he bleeds to ACT).

        So, National 45%, ACT 6-7% and Dunne (who knows he might even get some ‘common sensical’ current National voters who are a bit iffy with A Brash/Banks ACT). In addition, Key might back himself to get some limited support from the MP (on the same basis as last time – that ‘we’ have a majority anyway so why not come inside the tent and get a few crumbs?).

        The pre-Brash putsch position was dependent on National pretty much staying at 50+% – not the kind of thing you hang your once in a generation hopes upon (if you are on the right).

        My hope is your hope – that people see the second-term potential, vividly, now that they can put a face on it. But that won’t happen by the left simply thanking it’s lucky stars for Brash doing what he did. After all, others have put thought into that move and, I assume, into the coming months. Hooton and co’s minds will have been doing little else than ‘running the scenarios’ for some time now.

        Edit: And that running of scenarios would be from the current state of play – not what existed a couple of weeks ago. That’s the advantage of making the play.

      • ak 20.1.3

        Spot on Will; its the Hollow/Shallow combo of greed. And you too Gob – a last desperate gamble and they know it – as evidenced by lots of distancing by the Shallow man already, “It’s their party, not mine, nothing to do with me, I wasn’t even there Miss, was at the wedding Miss, not my party Miss, I can’t help it if those bad boys do stuff, not me Miss, I love mowrees Miss, dog licked my hand Miss…”

    • Brokenback 20.2

      Very succinct post by William Joyce :
      much as I read the situation , but John Banks in Epsom??? .
      Epsom’s not Whangarei and its not Deep Blue with Jackboots.
      What about the “made in china party”?

      I agree with some of the other posters , what we have here is the day before yesterdays man and a strategy dreamed up the same hacks who have been feeding in his trough since the first sequel of Jurassic Park

      • William Joyce 20.2.1

        I haven’t been to Epsom since I grew up there and at that time it was whiter than a very whitey white thing. What is it’s current demographic spread?

  21. outofbed 21

    If only Labour could grow some balls.
    What a prefect opportunity to seize the moment and headlines
    Still time to get rid of Goff Please do it Labour
    We are heading for a right wing nightmare if you don’t

    • KJT 21.1

      Maybe Labour has decided we are so fucked that they do not want to be in a position of responsibility.

      • voldemort 21.1.1

        Have you looked at Portugal, Greece, Spain, Iceland and the UK recently ? I’d bet that Cameron has something planned before the warm inner glow of the wedding wears off .. if not soon afterwards.

        Who is over there at the moment – our Premier Ministre – first among equals, if not spending power, Msr. Clef.

        Which country has some of the highest *private* debts levels in the world ? Yup, Aotearoa (New Zealand).

        Get the picture ? In a world where many international banks still have huge (if not unquantifiable) credit default swap losses on (and perhaps more significantly, off) their balance sheets they will start to call in their debts at some point and the comprador class in this country faces ending up like Iceland or Argentina.

        Actually, it would be good for private enterprise. Iceland took the hit with a scandinavian stoicism bred from Beowulf, ate humble pie, and – from what I read – is getting back on its feet again under a centre-left government led by an unashamedly lesbian PM.

        It is people who avoid reality by wallowing in unsustainable lifestyles who are most threatened – such as people who have benefited from brash banking practices during the recent boom and housing bubble.

        Hence the coup. They wish to preserve their old-school anglophile business models, clubs, networks, understandings, sweetheart deals, and patronage.

        In short, they wish to put the burden on the state. But the state in this country has been trashed by razor gangs from Remuera as long as living memory allows, the opposition intimidated, co-opted, or fled overseas. Many are living in conditions which can only be described as medieval, helots to the local cocky or case manager.

        Yet we have seen symbols of medievalism collapse in Christchurch, and reports of staff turnover at The Hobbit suggest that all is not well in Middle Earth. We have also become intensely aware of the perils of life in a geologically active area, and the imperative for decentralised structures for resilience and recovery, aided by an internet designed for a post-nuclear scenario.

        We have to rebuild Ōtautahi (Chch) with structures and planning consistent with our knowledge of its underlying geology – a chance to do something interesting and new. We also have to rebuild our politics based on social justice, inclusiveness, and growth.


  22. (Just posted this on Kiwiblog as well – FYI)

    How cute is this?

    The potential coalition of ‘shonky’ John Key – who borrows billions and puts NZ further into debt, with ‘Dictator Don Bra$h – (possible Finance Minister?) – who will get NZ out of the debt that ‘shonky’ John Key helped to create – by selling of public assets (which National/ACTs rich business backers can then buy), and by declaring ‘war on the poor’?


    ‘Shonky’ John Key helps to cause the economic problem (debt) – which ‘Dictator Don’ will then help fix?

    Nice work!

    (Funnily enough – they both share the same solution – asset sale$
    WHAT a coincidence!
    This couldn’t possibly be the reason why ‘corporate raider shonky’ John Key is actually so busy borrowing all this money and getting NZ so much into debt – errrr……….could it?)

    Just a little ‘commonsense’ thought ……….. if Don Bra$h is genuinely opposed to all this profligate John Key-led Government borrowing – then why would he want to go into coalition with someone with whose actions on this ‘key’ issue he is supposed to be completely opposed?


    Sounds slightly flawed on a number of fronts – particularly the basic ‘logic’ one?

    PS: If Don Bra$h now SO agrees with ACT policies – why wasn’t he previously an ACT member?

    Or could this mean that there isn’t any real difference between National and ACT – when their policies and personnel are so readily interchangeable?

    Doesn’t this prove in practice that any ‘differences’ between National and ACT are really in the spin-doctored ‘perception’ deception?

    Just how ‘hollow’ / ‘shallow’ are these ‘men’?

    And how profoundly stupid do they think are the voting public?

    Remind me where Nicky Hager got it wrong?

    Perhaps people should have (another?) good, long read of ‘The Hollow Men’ ……………

    Penny Bright

    • Peter 22.1

      Forget National and Act, we now have NACT.

    • Draco T Bastard 22.2

      Or could this mean that there isn’t any real difference between National and ACT – when their policies and personnel are so readily interchangeable?

      Hasn’t been any difference between National and Act since Brash was Nationals leader.

  23. randal 23

    don brash.
    you are back.
    terminator III.

    wodney is gone and knew and johnny boy are in the drivers seat.
    the final solution perhaps.

  24. Alistair 24

    Interesting hearing Nicky Hagar on RNZ this morning.

    “hooten” – when Hagar says that name it suddenly rings with context. Time to re-read The Hollow Men kind of like a cheat-sheet for what will be said on telly leading up to election by and on behalf of brash.

    I wonder if Kathryn Ryan will now feel shamed promoting her friend hooten as a ‘political commentator’ on her show? Probably not.

  25. ASA 25

    The big unanswered question, raised by William Joyce above, and which no one has been able to answer, is who was behind the well planned and executed hatchet job on Peters before the last election? That, btw, doesn’t excuse his clangers; however it would be really interesting to know who did this. Any bets on it being similar/same people to those behind the Brash coup against Hide?

    • voldemort 25.1

      Their modus operandi seems very similar from where I sit.

      Is anyone in a position to devote time and energy into a thorough piece of investigative journalism which compares the deep structure of both episodes ?

      • higherstandard 25.1.1

        “…..who was behind the well planned and executed hatchet job on Peters before the last election?”

        Winston Peters….. he’s been baiting the meeeeeedia for years and they wanted Utu big time as did many a politician he’s crossed in the house.

  26. Draco T Bastard 26

    This is a bit of a laugh if you haven’t already seen it.

  27. Vicky32 27

    And now, in breaking news – I heard John Banks on Nine to Noon this morning, talking about *his* ACT ambitions!
    Ryan tried to pin him down to specifics, but talk about slippery Sam!

  28. Treetop 28

    I am not sure if anyone has raised that Hide was probably paid off. Some chap who has been very involved in severance payments on news talk zb last night thinks that a big pay off is why Hide was smiling yesterday instead of gritting his teeth.

    If Hide was paid off:
    Who paid him off?
    How much was he paid?

    • PeteG 28.1

      Did he get a job in New York or something?

    • William Joyce 28.2

      He’s going to run an all-you-can-eat corned beef sandwich franchise at Don’s Amazing World of Crap.

      They have rides that are both fun and educational.
      There’s the Trickle Down – which is a water slide where at the top is lots of gushing warm water but as you go down the water runs out and you get gravel rash until you fall into a sewer and loud speakers tell you that you are unproductive, living beyond your means, and a drag on the economy.

      Then there’s the Textor Crosby Hall of Mirrors where reality get all distorted and you cease to know what the truth is or even recognise yourself.

      You can have a go on the Neo-liberal Bungy Jump. If you’re a wage earner with a family you may find that you don’t meet the minimum social economic height level for the deluxe ride but rest assured the free fall ride is the same. For the deluxe version your fall will be slowed by the patented Tax Haven Family Trust bungy cord developed right here in NZ, in Dipton, Otago. Should the bungy cord not quite be enough, your fall will be broken by a soft bed of taxpayers.
      If you can’t ride the deluxe ride then you may be interested in buying health insurance from the private providers that will be on hand.

      You can try your hand at the Sham Democracy Sideshow –
      – There’s the game of skill where you have a row of clown heads that all look the same with open mouths. You are given a thing called a vote, you pick a clown and shove it down it’s throat.
      – You could try the Main Stream Media Maze where you try to find your way to the truth through this maze. Occasionally a reporter appears and yells, “Down this way!” – warning this game is frustrating, pointless and could end in tears.

      If you’re hungry then, apart from Rodney’s delicious sandwiches, there is also the Washington Consensus Candy Floss – It looks good and looks substantial but in reality is finely spun shit that disappears when you bite into it – this will not satisfy your hunger but you’d be amazed how many people can’t get enough of Finely Spun Shit.

      • Treetop 28.2.2


        Seriously Key no doubt already has a speech for Hide to take up a post some where, (not fair ground director, even though this would suit Hide, in particular in the lions den). The speech will go like this. Hide has contributed to parliament for 15 years and due to the unprecendented change of leader in the Act Party this left Hide in a position where he remained part of the coalition until the 2011 election as an independent MP.

        I am sending Hide to Timbuckto which is as far away as I can send him. I have already sweetened the rug being pulled from beneath his feet by keeping him on as a minister until the 2011 election to avoid a by election.

  29. RodneysOrc 29

    I still favour High Commissioner to Bougainville.

    His pugnacious good looks will be appreciated by the locals.

    He might even incite another uprising ..

  30. beancounter 30

    Given the attention this has generated I have to ask – is anyone out there running the economy ?

    • Treetop 30.1

      Yeah the tooth fairy, check under your pillow in the morning.

    • Draco T Bastard 30.2

      We have a bunch of neo-liberal ideologues in power whose sole policy platform revolves around the idea that the economy doesn’t need “running”.

      • FredD 30.2.1

        Merae fabulae sunt, et eas esse tales scis!

        [ That’s a load of bull, and you know it! ]

        • Draco T Bastard


          Scroll down to cartoon 6.

        • jimmy

          Bullshit? As they believe that ONLY private enterprise can deliver progress their entire belief system is based on politicians being incompetent and corrupt, a job they excel at as you will have noticed.

          Perk buster getting caught with his snout in the trough?…. No worries, hes just acting in a natural self interested way according to NACT philosophy.

  31. Frank Macskasy 31

    With Don Brash as the leader, I think we can anticipate a re-invigorated ACT Party. Back on the agenda – as if high on ‘P’ – will be,

    * full privatisation of state assets

    * state cutbacks on a scale unseen in any OECD country

    * market rents for state housing, as well as a return to sell-off of units to “tenants”

    * and an attack on Maori, Treaty, and Tribunal processes.

    If is the last which, I believe, has been under-estimated.

    If we recall, soon after National came to power, a newly-appointed Paula Bennett launched an attack on social welfare. Programmes such as the Training Incentive Allowance were cut back. Beneficiaries who dared disagree with Ms Bennett had their personal details released to the public, and were publicly humiliated. Beneficiaries were demonised with a hate campaign that was nasty and frightening.

    That demonisation, which was spawned from Ms Bennett’s words and actions, may not have been of her direct making – but her public statements gave credence and permission to the vile redneck element in our society which luxuriates in crass ignorance, misogyny, racism, and other discrimination.

    Toward the end, as the hate-campaign in the media, internet chat-rooms and blogs, and elsewhere became palpably more threatening, even Ms Bennett had to jump in and call “enough”.

    Brash’s so-called “one-law-for-all” policy will, I believe, provoke a similar response from New Zealand’s darker under-belly. Brash does not need to launch all out attacks on the Treaty; the Waitangi Tribunal; and Maori – he has “shock troops” in the form of red-necks who will do the job quite nicely for him.

    And when, eventually, he calls for tolerance, he will appear to be the “moderate” as he reigns in his racist dogs.

    But of course, the damage will have been done and the strands of New Zealand society will have unravelled a fraction more.

  32. CommonGood 32

    Even Key might balk at some of the policy objectives you outline above – until he sees which way the wind blows.

    I certainly agree that it mobilises the bigots, rednecks, and conservative shock jocks out there. Having come back from overseas I’m not inclined to run.

    The question, as always, is “what is to be done ?”

  33. Jan 33

    Agree with the assessment of a back room orchestration of a deal has a lot going for it – right down to the timing and the memes. “He’s an extremist. I’ll work with him. He won’t be the finance minister” – all as spun as a silk hanky!

    If the leadership of a party was dedicated to its policies and believed that they were the best for New Zealand why would that leadership give another party – with acknowledged extreme policies – a trouble free ability to move members between parties and a free ride into parliament (both time after time it has to be said) unless the intent was to allow that extreme party to have influence on your party’s abilities to act in government.

    If members of your party were in the process of taking over another party , and discussing with members of that other party how it should work and offering themselves as leaders and MPS for the other party (while still known in the public arena as members of your party) would you as the party leader not seek to initiate the process to have them thrown out of your party. Oh – or perhaps you might forget even to make the required lame protestations on this score if its the outcome your side was planning and orchestrating behind the scenes all along!

  34. MrSmith 34

    Yes Eddie I think the left should be rubbing there hands together with glee.

    Brash may pick up a few voters but they can only come from National surely, seeing Brash and National together will only make the moderate National swing voters look left, so National lose both ways.

    • felix 34.1

      You might be right there. After all, the right wingers can shuffle from one party to the other but they’re all already voting.

      On the left however, a new party has a chance of picking up the disenfranchised who haven’t been voting at all and grow the left block.

      Interesting times.

  35. jingyang 35

    Don Brash: the day before yesterday’s man.

  36. Frank Macskasy 36

    Re-reading your opening post, Eddie, and looking back at the last few days…

    The whole idea that a 70+ year old man, who is not even an ACT member, could dump Rodney Hide and take over as Leader is patently ridiculous. It is a fantasy to believe that Brash could have achieved such an extraordinary feat all by his lonesome.

    No, you’re quite right, Eddie, there was much more to this than meets the eye.

    And more to the point, something clearly rattled Hilary Calvert – changing her one day from a staunch Hide-loyalist, to a co-conspirator that Cassius would be proud of.

    And lastly, that Hide buckled and resigned so quiescently.

    I’m under no illusion that there were powerful “movers and shakers” behind this coup d’état – people whom Rodney Hide could not, would not, stand against.

    We’ve always known that ACT was the party for business, but I think we never quite understood how much. ACT is so beholden to business interests that when their servant, the Member for Epsom, seemed to be failing them – they took ruthless action.

    The faceless men (and women) who own ACT have installed a new manager.

    • FredD 36.1

      .. or perhaps there is an international or economic event coming down the tubes which has scared them witless ?

      Same effect.

      BTW, I am not referring to the royal wedding.

      • Campbell Larsen 36.1.1

        Hmmm, some other commentators here also suggested that a new ‘crisis’ may be manufactured in order to lend further impetus to unpalatable austerity….

        There are certainly international ‘contingency plans’ afoot that would be considered unacceptable by most of the people in the participant countries – look no further than the Aussie response to refugees and the “Police of the Pacific” initiatives. The lack of transparency in regard to these plans is shameful – the public should not be kept in the dark about how our Government intends to deal with any kind of crisis.

        One thing is sure however – no one is ‘scared witless’ – as a rule we should avoid the emotive lexicon of disaster/ emergency politics wherever possible.

  37. Edge 37

    This might have something to do with the sense of urgency felt by the people behind Brash’s coup.

    “To date, much of the media focus of the recovery has been on the Earthquake Commission and the insurance companies, and on the families and firms hanging on their calculations. In coming weeks, that spotlight will be shifting to the role of the banks. By the end of May, the wage subsidies to employees and sole traders ( either phased out for workers or cut off more abruptly for sole traders ) will have ended. Further afield, the accommodation supplements will hit their expiry deadlines not so long afterwards – some in September, and some by February next year. Even optimists would concede that the currently available forms of assistance will be running out well before anything like normal business activity returns to Christchurch.

    Unless pre-emptive action is taken, many families and firms in Christchurch can therefore expect to come under severe pressure from the banks. Home mortgages and business loans still pitched at pre-earthquake rates will have to be met from post-earthquake incomes, especially if people are going to be to hold onto their homes – the asset into which many have poured their life savings. Since the earthquakes, the value of that asset will have drastically reduced in value but the mortgage payments essentially haven’t – and soon, the same people will be facing the full cost of rent for living somewhere else, while their homes are unlivable.

    Clearly, this situation is intolerable, socially and economically. It is such a large problem for the banking system’s customers that it will quickly become a problem for the banks as well – one of such magnitude that it cannot be resolved competitively, by the banks vying with each other for business. If Christchurch families and firms are to make it through 2011 and the first half of 2012, it will require a collective response from the banks working together, in tandem with the government. Tricky thing is, the main banks are foreign owned – and they will be feeling gunshy about offering any relief to the residents of Christchurch that they’re not offering to the flood victims in Queensland.



    • Treetop 37.1

      Do you think the solution is for the government to pour a lot of money into Kiwibank?

      Does anyone know if Brash is anti Kiwibank?

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