The damage from Key’s harassment of a waitress is immense:
Ponytail antics fuels succession talk in National
…There is no suggestion of a leadership challenge. But Key is losing his Midas touch: he declared that Winston Peters had “zero” chance of taking the Northland seat just weeks before he took it; he is leading the charge for a change in flag which is increasingly running against the current, according to the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey. And the ponytail incidents have relegated him to the ranks of the emperor with no clothes in a caucus which hero-worshipped him.
These are all results of personal failings, vanities and arrogance.
Cabinet ministers know that any one of them would have almost certainly been sacked by now if complaints about ponytail pulling had emerged about them.
Young goes on to discuss the various contenders, with Collins featuring prominently of course. I wonder if Collins agrees with Young’s “no suggestion of a leadership challenge”. It is hard to imagine a better time to challenge Key. Ouch:
Trickle turns into an avalanche for John Key
Key might have been desperately hoping for a diversion – any diversion – when he flew back into Wellington from overseas to face up to Parliament for the first time since Ponytail-gate became a running gag. But it may be a case of careful what you wish for.
Key spent his first day back hosing down new headlines, this time over his decision not to stand down a Cabinet minister whose brother is facing indecency charges to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest.
Key’s opponents are also dredging up his handling of former Northland MP Mike Sabin, who remained on as chairman of Parliament’s law and order select committee after becoming the subject of a police investigation.
National lost one of its safest seats, Northland, to Winston Peters, after its by-election campaign turned into train wreck; the flagship promise to get the books back in the black this year has evaporated; Ponytail-gate could drag on for months, if not years, as the waitress at the centre of the controversy contemplates legal action against Key for pulling her hair. The risk in his handling of Sabin and the latest case is that it casts a pall of sleaze over his government.
Key has always been able to carry his Government through these rough patches before. But the blow to his own personal mana over his hair pulling antics has the Opposition sensing blood like never before.
If Key survives the next few weeks Collins will likely have missed her chance until after the next election. Does she want it?
Is Collins chasing the top job?
Now she [Collins] has restated her desire to be a minister again and in recent weeks has hired a press secretary and commented publicly on the ponytail case – an incident that embarrassed the Prime Minister.
But does John Key feel he has to watch his back while Collins is around?
“Definitely not no,” he said.