The scandal over Bill English’s comments at the National Party conference has not only overshadowed Key’s purposely vague conference announcements, it has derailed National’s entire election strategy.
The audio is damning. Clearly and unequivocally, we have National’s Deputy Leader saying National will ‘eventually’ (possibly within a first term) sell Kiwibank. English not only says National will sell Kiwibank, he says they will ‘sort out’ Working for Families but won’t seek a public mandate to do so. They won’t go into the election campaigning on changes to WFF because “the last thing we want is to spend the entire election campaign with families of four on the TV saying Mr Key took our money away”. He acknowledges that some National supporters are “antsy” about National publicly supporting those policies while opposing them in private but “it’s working”. His attitude to “the punters” and the simplistic picture they have of “that nice Mr Key” is also appalling.
So, there we have it: the second-most senior National MP, behind closed doors, among friends, out of the public eye, revealing not only a secret agenda to privatise a state asset but also to change a major source of income for working families, and frankly acknowledging that National is trying to sell Kiwis on a pleasant facade (“that nice Mr Key”), while hiding their real plan.
It is scandalous that what National tells you in public and what they say behind closed doors are such very different things – but, thanks to this recording, they can’t deny their secret agenda any more.
UPDATE: Full transcript up at 08wire.