Business is starting to get worried. This was meant to, finally, be the year that they got the Left out of government and started making New Zealand work for the business elite again. But there’s a problem: the man they chose for the job. Sure, Key’s got a cheeky grin but on real â€˜prime minister stuff’ he’s looking out of his depth and he doesn’t seem interested in giving business its payback. The NBR says:
John Key: Please shut up. Like, put a sock in it. Like, breathe through your nose. Please. After nine years of being the No 2 brand in the political market, business is in great trepidation that you will blow the chance of a successful takeover in November .[just] smile and wave, smile and wave Keep quiet and make the takeover play when it matters. New Zealand business is depending on it.
Every time Key opens his mouth either an unintelligible stream of â€˜don’t reveal my conscience’ pours out, he mangles a statement on his party’s existing policy, or he adopts a Labour policy. And it is this last point that has business really worried; what’s the point of backing Key if he will just be Clark without the competence and experience? Again, the NBR:
‘John Key’s ban on asset sales is like the lady diner who follows Meg Ryan’s faked orgasm in When Harry Met Sally with ‘I’ll have what she’s having.’
As Chris Trotter points out today, there’s two possible reasons for Key’s constant adoption of Labour’s policies: either he wants to lull Kiwis into a false sense of security and then spring a right-wing agenda on them post-election, or he just wants to win whatever it takes and get to put ‘Prime Minister of New Zealand’ on his CV.
Many in the Left fear it’s the first, they remember National in the 1990s and Labour’s betrayal in the 1980s. But secret agendas are harder these days, especially in an MMP environment, and Key’s left himself very little wiggle-room with his wholesale adoption of government policy.
Business fears it’s the latter. They fear that the man who was meant to bring them back to power and get their agenda back on track, who they know actually believes in the things they do, wants power above principles; that he’s only in it for his own ego. And they fear that Kiwis won’t vote for a do-nothing candidate with no experience. No wonder they are starting to turn to ACT and Roger Douglas in the desperate hope of dragging a Key-led government to the Right.