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Brash new world

Written By: - Date published: 1:51 pm, April 28th, 2011 - 49 comments
Categories: act, election 2011, leadership, rodney hide - Tags: , ,

So, just as Irish predicted, Calvert was the swinging voter, and Brash has now achieved his hostile takeover of ACT. Goodbye Rodney, and good riddance. What happens next? Here are some preliminary thoughts.

In the short term there’s the possibility that Key will use the turmoil of his splintering support parties to go for an early election. Espiner G certainly wants him to. I don’t think he will. Key won’t want to look panicked and risk an electoral hit for it. He has set out the date for the November election and is probably pretty confident that he can win it then. Never say never, Key could go early, but assuming he doesn’t, how are things going to play out for November?

The nightmare scenario for the Left is that Brash reanimates the corpse of ACT without scaring the centrist voters. If ACT builds on its current loony right base and hoovers up the racist vote as well (goodbye Winston?), and if National continues to do really well at pretending to be centrist, the two combined could dominate the election. The Left might be looking at an awful result. Good luck, New Zealand, if that comes to pass!

The dream scenario for the left is if Brash manages to scare the centre. The prospect of a Key government shackled to Brash and ACT after the 2011 election is hardly an attractive one. Brash, let us recall, resigned in disgrace after his odious tactics in the 2005 election were made public in The Hollow Men. Since then he has been leading a “taskforce” on the economy with ideas so whacky that even the Nats are ignoring them out of hand. The public might (inexplicably!) love the Key brand, but how are they going to feel about BrashKey? An invigorated Left might just squeak in.

In either case look for National to start running the line that Labour voters should switch to National, give it a mandate to govern alone, just to keep ACT’s influence minimal. Of course the Nats wouldn’t mind a bit working with ACT, to give them cover for their true Right agenda. But if they think that they can prise loose some sucker Labour votes with this meme then they will certainly try.

Whatever happens the current political landscape is about as confused and as interesting as I can recall since the Labour / New Labour split. We have Labour, National and the Greens of course, but also a new and unknown ACT party, a disintegrating Maori Party, a new Mana Party, the possible return of the Peters Party, and that other guy with the hair. Anyone who thinks they can predict the outcome of that combustible mix is trying to sell you something! We live in interesting times.


49 comments on “Brash new world”

  1. more_ben 1

    The front page photo of Rodney is priceless.

    • r0b 1.1

      Ooops – sorry – just changed it! But you can find it in some of our older posts. I like it too. Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – kinda fits ACT.

  2. Frank Macskasy 2

    “The dream scenario for the left is if Brash manages to scare the centre. The prospect of a Key government shackled to Brash and ACT after the 2011 election is hardly an attractive one.”

    Not even a dream – more of a likely scenario.

    I’ve no doubt that a Brash-led ACT will attract more support. I’m thinking they will at least double their election night Party Vote (3.65%)…

    … but at National’s expense. Those who support Brash’s style of free market economics, minimalist government, and Treaty Denial, already vote for National and ACT. So if ACT increases it’s support, it will be by cannibalising National.

    Worst still (for the Nats), I foresee the strong possibility that National will lose additional support from urban liberals, maori, women, and those 50+ who remember what Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson did to NZ in the late 1980s/early 1990s. The latter are “soft” National voters who would be more comfortable with a Muldoon-style National government.

    Many of these people will either switch to NZ First or Labour, or possibly not vote at all.

    An empowered ACT will not be a pleasant prospect for National.

    • Whilst what you say has quite a bit of merit Frank, it’s not just the preserve of the 50+ age group to remember Rogernomics and Ruthanasia. I’m in my mid 30s and I grew up in it, in a neighbourhood reamed by the consequences. I remember it very well even if I only made sense of it in my teens.

      • Frank Macskasy 2.1.1

        Indeed, Mutante.

        Let’s hope people’s memories of the late 1980s and 1990s are as strong as ours.

        Once voters start seeing Brash and Douglas together, voicing their neo-liberal dogma, they may experience a collective upset-tummy…

  3. vrykolakas 3

    Does Nicky have anything on Brash ?

    • logie97 3.1

      Not clear is it at this stage, but one who is still in parliament and would prefer not to be in the same room is Double Dipton.

      No love lost there and who knows what archival material might be being held that could trouble Don.

      • Armchair Critic 3.1.1

        No love lost there and who knows what archival material might be being held that could trouble Don.
        There’s plenty. Question is, how will its possessors use it?

  4. Lanthanide 4

    The current vote on Stuff is interesting.

    Predict ACT’s fortunes under Don Brash’s leadership:
    1016, 38.5% say Improved
    1053, 39.9% say Worsened
    569, 21.6% say Unchanged

    Not really what I expected. Of course it’s very early days yet, Brash hasn’t yet opened his gob as official mouthpiece for Act, so still plenty of time to spook the horses or lure them in with salt licks.

  5. logie97 5

    Don Brash tell’s another porkpie on Campbell Live on Wednesday.


    6’12” into the interview Campbell asks him the questions of his market research.
    Brash “I can’t give you verbatim the questions but they are along the lines of…”

    7’50” into the interview Campbell asks him what he said to Calvert,
    Brash “I sent her the questions exactly as they will be asked in the survey …”

    Of course he knew them …

    • Bored 5.1

      I think Brash very confused and inconsistent, so I checked the historic track record. Couple of little gems for those RWNJs who think him an intellectual heavyweight.

      Brash received his MA in 1961 for a thesis arguing that foreign investment damaged a country’s economic development. The following year he began working towards a PhD which reached the opposite conclusion. Conclusion: not to be relied upon for consistency.

      In 2004 Brash wrote to the Dean of the Cathedral raising questions over Helen Clark’s views on the institution of marriage. This from the man who has so far ended two marriages because he was caught out having affairs. This from a Presbyterian minister’s son who might just have understood the moral contradiction inherant. This from a man who subsequently claimed somebody else (Richard Long) wrote the letter. Conclusion: not to be trusted, possessing dubious morals and bad judgement.

      My God, what sort of pillocks would want this prat as their leader?

      • Sean 5.1.1

        My God, what sort of pillocks would want this prat as their leader?

        The ACT party caucus pillocks, apparently.

      • Jaghut 5.1.2

        My God! He’s changed his mind in the last 50 years!

        • Draco T Bastard

          It’s probably more likely that he got pulled aside and told not to keep going down that line.

          • Jaghut

            So he devoted the rest of his life, working career and political reputation on being ‘pulled aside?’


            • Colonial Viper

              So he devoted the rest of his life, working career and political reputation on being ‘pulled aside?’

              That’s what it looks like.

    • Lanthanide 5.2

      Um, I don’t think that’s inconsistent at all. He says he “sent” them to Calvert, presumably in an email or other message after the meeting. It is of course entirely possible that he had the questions written down with him on a bit of paper during the meeting he had with Calvert, but evidently did not have any paper with him when being interviewed by John.

      He then outlines what the three questions are. Basically he said he can’t say what the questions are word-for-word (and why would we need that anyway?), but still goes ahead and tells us what the questions are asking.

      I think you’re really grasping for straws with that one.

      What *is* interesting however is his repeated use of the term “market research”. He’s polling. We’re talking about people’s voting intentions here. It’s not a “market”, unless somehow he’s come up with a way to buy people’s votes.

      • logie97 5.2.1

        Perhaps, though if he drafted (or was in on) the questions he would have been able to tell Campbell. I rather feel that it was a typical diversionary tactic of his, given his answers to “Do you have the votes of Roy and Douglas?” The man cannot give a straight answer (or prefers not to) when in a corner – a bit like Key actually – the head moves uneasily and the eyes glaze a little. Shades of the way he gave his answers to questions in 2005 … “Exclusive Brethren? … never met them.” “Ah well actually…”

        And you know what, one gets the feeling that Joyce et al will be feeling a little uneasy right now. They do not want the Hollow Men being dragged up, because they used to be the faceless, anonymous participants, but are now very high profile.

      • PeteG 5.2.2

        Also interesting that he commissioned the research for the week after he became leader, almost as if it was a planned sequence.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    Can someone please splice up Hollow Men and put it on YouTube for all to see.

    (If its not there already 🙂 )

  7. Sanctuary 7

    For me personally, one of the most nauseating aspects of this whole business is reading the frantic near begging for Brash to be made leader of ACT from the likes of John Armstrong.

  8. Name (Required) 8

    “Goodbye Rodney, and good riddance. What does this do to the political landscape?”

    It leaves the New Zealand political landscape exactly where it was – full of fifth-rate poseurs, prigs, parrots, provincials, parasites, panderers, pimps, pontificators, pompous pricks, and psychotics.

    It costs me about a dollar to vote and presently I don’t think any party is worth the expense, so voting is a matter of sorting through the dross with a very long stick to select which is the least objectionable – a hard choice.

    On its current record of inertia, lack of actual philosophy and general invisibility I’m guessing Labour would do least in the way of damage if actually in Government, so it presently has my vote.

    • r0b 8.1

      I am in awe of both your alliterative excellence and your level of cynicism! But at least you’re still voting…

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      On its current record of inertia, lack of actual philosophy and general invisibility I’m guessing Labour would do least in the way of damage if actually in Government, so it presently has my vote.

      OK its pretty damn weak but I’ll take what I can get for now 🙂

      Hey, what exactly is wrong with “provincials”, mate??? And why have you put them in with everyone else 👿

      And if Pollies Prostitute themselves for Power, that makes them what exactly? 😀

      • felix 8.2.1


        • Colonial Viper

          John Banks?

          Actually I was trying to maintain the alliteration…a pollie who prostitutes himself for power is a prostitute! (verb becomes a noun! Uh never mind)

  9. rod 9

    So the born again geriatric hollow man is back again. Don’t these pricks ever get the message.

  10. vto 10

    oh my giddy aunt, it’s no wonder people go bush and never return. what a god awful place.

  11. vrykolakas 11

    Truth is often stranger than fiction. You could not make this up, even in Wellywood. Wait, that should be Hollywood !

  12. PeteG 12

    Key kicks off with some brashness:

    New ACT leader Don Brash won’t be deputy prime minister or get his hands on the finance portfolio, Prime Minister John Key says.

    He said he would “try and be constructive” and won’t rule Brash out of an executive post. But it was “highly unlikely” he would be offered the top jobs.

    The repositioning begins.

    • Pascal's bookie 12.1

      hahaha, next move, National party righties try and force the issue by shifting support to ACT.

      Be careful there Johnny boy, here be dragons.

    • Puddleglum 12.2

      “highly unlikely” doesn’t sound like “won’t” to me. And the “highly unlikely” was the direct quote.

      How about, “There’s absolutely no way that Don Brash will be either Deputy Prime Minister or Minister of Finance in a government I lead. I can assure New Zealanders of that.” (You know, something like what he said about Douglas. Or is Brash less ‘extreme’ than Douglas?)

      • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1

        Considering all the effort that National seem to have gone to to get Brash in as leader of Act it would be kinda silly of them to rule him out of any government they may form.

        • Jaghut

          Exactly what efforts would they be?
          This is a genuine question, to me it looks like the effort has come solely from Brash and his financial backers?

          • Jaghut

            Exactly what efforts would they be?
            This is a genuine question, to me it looks like the effort has come solely from Brash and his financial backers?

            EDIT: In my view, National would of probably preferred to deal with Hide because Brash actually presents competition and criticism of National’s economic policy – Hide just pissed around amalagating councils and the like.

            • Draco T Bastard

              The effort of putting one of their faithful party members into the leadership of Act. Who said that Nationals backers and those of Act aren’t one in the same? After all, they do have the same policies and National does need Act to win Epsom to bring in a tail so that they have a greater chance of gaining power.

              Check the record, asset sales? check, union bashing? check, tax cuts? check. Brash and his backers are more concerned with how fast National have been moving on their policies not the policies themselves.

  13. Maori party will NOT be happy to have Brash as part of things. Spells trouble ahead for sure now that racist old codger is amongst the pig(eon)s.

    • rosy 13.1

      Yes, I was wondering about that. I haven’t seen any press releases about the new leader of their coalition partner.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.2

      I’m sure that the Maori Party will still be quite happy to accept more baubles the same way that they did with the present government.

      • rosy 13.2.1

        With Hone gone and gaining traction they might just use this as a deal-breaker. Brash is one big dead rat they have to swallow and Foreshore & Seabed deal has been delivered.

        It makes the whole thing seem even more of a co-ordinated campaign – and all the while Key is kept clean. Having said that I can’t decide between Key being in on it, or the hard right giving him a message to speed up ‘reforms’.

  14. Zarchoff 14

    “An invigorated Left might just squeak in.”

    In which parallel universe will this be then?

  15. PeteG 15

    Brash quantifies his ambitions.

    Don Brash wants to be finance minister, and claims the Act Party could gain 15 per cent of the vote in this year’s election under his leadership.

    Finance is the most important portfolio for a government so it is highly unlikely to go outside the major coalition partner.

    15% is a reasonable aim for Act, it’s double what they have so far achieved – and much higher than anything in the last 6 years – but why not be ambitious. It’s hard to know how many would re-align out of “undecided” and how many would step sideways from supporting National.

  16. pETER 16

    We need also to remember that Brash has never won an election. He couldn’t even beat Social Credit in East Coast Bays in the 70s(?). He is politically naive! The fact that as leader he won’t stand in their sole seat shows how poorly he is knows he is regarded. Using the revelations from Hollow Men and his track record as the arch-Rogergnome we should refer to him as yesterday’s man. We could still see the demise of ACT.


  17. HC 17

    Don Dagger Brash or Dagger Don Brash, whatever his fitting name is, he will now concentrate on the next victim in his hostile take-over.

    Revenge is sweet, and the dagger is being sharpened in his DIY shed right now to also go into the back of Hone Key soon.

    Don Dagger will see to it that Rodney the loser will also lose his ministerial posts.

    Then Don will go on an all out attack and have National Party members get all hot and bothered. Many are dissatisfied with the ever so smiling asassin. He has not delivered enough of the goodies that they want.

    So the pressure will be on for him to either step up, or to be facing a coup from within. We may soon get the “real” JK in full action – the one that many ordinary workers and citizens may fear.

    No not forget that Banksy is waiting on the sidelines. He may have some mates inside the National Party that are keen for Keys blood?

    A very interesting drama is unfolding and the November elections may be more exciting than anybody may have dared to imagine.

    If Labour cannot take advantage of this, they are ready for a revolution from the base, or designed to the dustbin of history.

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