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Discontent within National

Written By: - Date published: 1:14 pm, October 18th, 2010 - 25 comments
Categories: brand key, john key, leadership, national - Tags: ,

In the wake of an agenda-setting Labour party conference, which has been well received by delegates, Labour activists, and the broader media alike, there is one lone voice out of step. That voice is John Key, using his favourite softball Breakfast TV session to peddle his lame theory that Goff’s leadership is under threat from Andrew Little. Sorry John, I think that you were the only one at that conference!

Anyway, Key should be looking to his own back, with signs of growing discontent within National. According to Sarah Harvey in the Sunday Star Times:

Is John Key a lone ranger?

JOHN KEY is one of the country’s most popular prime ministers of all time, crossing the political divide, but sources within his National Party say there are concerns the public is beginning to perceive the party as a one-man band. …

One National MP, who asked not to be named, said there were concerns within parliament that the party had been reduced to The John Key Show.

“The Act debacle over David Garrett and the election in Auckland of a mayor from a Labour background has got a few people concerned.

“There is a bit of a concern that there is John, and thank goodness for that, but not too much below him. I mean, it’s hard to know how many people could actually name the deputy prime minster,” the MP said.

I wonder if the identity of this lone MP (one of The Hollow Men leakers perhaps?) will come to light. But whomever he/she is, they have put their finger right on two big problems for National.

First, National have over-invested in brand Key. As the promised “aggressive recovery” turns to the custard of economic pain, people will increasingly realise that there is nothing behind the smile-and-wave brand.

And second, National’s talent pool is only puddle deep. Who else can National front to the public? English is unimaginative and thoroughly discredited, everything Brownlee touches turns to rubbish, then we’re down to the Tolleys and Bennetts — it’s just not an inspiring lineup. The reason that National is sold to the public as a one man band is that there really isn’t any alternative.

With a rejuvenated Labour talking bold new policy, and with National’s failure on the economy growing ever more evident, is the power of “brand Key” alone enough to carry the Nats to a win in 2011? I for one don’t think so.

25 comments on “Discontent within National ”

  1. Bored 1

    It would not behove the left to draw too much attention to the true paucity of talent in nationals ranks….Labour also have what appears to be a talent bypass.

    Further it would not behove the left to underestimate the functional ability and focus of these same untalented members of National to execute Nationals agenda very effectively. Watch Ryall rip the shit out of health and privatise what he can, watch Brownlee and Smith hand out long term water rights to their mates in Canterbury, watch English give the tax cuts his Round Table mates want. Lack of talent maybe, plenty of effectiveness however.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Yeah lets not get cocky, the Right will be planning their next stage of devious tricks, Goff and co. need to be strong and fast to shut them down.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    What about Tony Ryall? Steven Joyce? I’d rate both of them above Tolley and Bennett but you didn’t even mention them.

    Also my bf has a theory on Tolley. They got her to front national standards, knowing that it’d be unpopular (even if she has done 100% as they wanted her to), so that before the next election they can have a cabinet reshuffle and push her out, possibly completely, and pin all of the problems with NS onto her being incompetent. They could also then wind back some unpopular changes, such as ECE cuts, and move forwards with a new minister that makes window-dressing changes to NS, saving face and helping to deflect criticism from the unions ahead of the election.

    His point is that rather than all of that being a reaction to the poor way NS has been received and implemented, it was instead planned to happen this way from the very beginning, with Tolley being the patsy too inept to see the machinations going on behind her.

    • Blue 2.1

      Tony Ryall is so excruciatingly boring he makes Bill English look interesting.

      I’ve always wondered why Key is so keen to stir up shit about Labour’s leadership every chance he gets. It’s obvious that Labour will not change leader before the election, and it only makes Smiling Dork look desperate.

    • lprent 2.2

      Ryall is one of those people that you really don’t want a close focus on. He is quite simply nasty by nature and it shines through on the few occasions that he gets in front of live media. I can’t imagine him as leadership potential.

      Joyce is probably better in terms of presentation and apart from his pathetically uneconomic ‘holiday highway’ doesn’t seem too incompetent so far (unlike both Tolley and Bennett). But I get the impression that that Joyce prefers to stay out of the limelight and to play in the background. Of course a lot of that is because he is a first term MP… That may change over time.

      But I suspect that you’ve made the point of the post when you have to point to a first-term MP as a leadership contender.

      Incidentally, the same issue applies to Little as a leadership candidate – which is pretty much why Keys campaign to promote Little is typical of his wimpy understanding of leadership. There is a lot more to leading a political party in the house than simply popularity in the voting population.

      Key is showing all of the signs of being completely useless at being the manager of cabinet that a PM has to be. His ministers are all over the landscape and are about as cohesive as lint in a high wind.

      • Bored 2.2.1

        Well described Blue and Iprent,

        Ryall may definitely be:
        * quite simply nasty by nature.
        * excruciatingly boring.

        You can’t imagine him as leadership potential, well not in an upfront way, more of the minor master of method ideologically driving power behind the throne, maybe a poor mans Richelieu, or a low grade Bormann type beaurocrat set to take out the hated “Red” health system…..evil little bastard really.

        • nzfp

          the hated “Red” health system….

          *sigh* why do they think like that? do they have no sense of history?

          Captcha:saw – what I saw in an historical political economy book about natural monopolies!

          • Bored

            Maybe the evil little bastard actually does have a sense of historic importance, even a natural monopoly on it?

            Why does he think that way? There is something oxymoronic going on there…..

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Yes the Right will sacrifice whoever they need to in order to retain power next year, there woill be no holds barred. POWER is another guy to look out for.

    The thing with a neocon right wing agenda, you don’t need a huge amount of talent or a Fulbright scholarship to execute it. Privatise, deregulate, move wealth to the wealthy, cut spending on the poor. The more Right you go the more simplistically you can afford to look at society and at the economy. An experienced foreign currency speculator and two chimpanzees could run that particular show.

  4. Bright Red 4


    Who is the most overshadowed by Key?
    Who does all the hard work in the government while Key is ‘bouncing from cloud to cloud’?
    Who would have been leader (again) instead of Brash and possibly PM if Key hadn’t betrayed him?
    Who’s known to let the odd wayward comment slip when he has been drinking?
    Who was the most senior Nat who came out unscathed from the Hollow Men and is the prime suspect for leaker?

    Looks like Bill’s still pissed at Key.

    • RobertM 4.1

      Look it will be English v Collins ( the unmentionable to the left). Odd favour Collins 40-10 because English dosen’t have the instincts of the real Nats, he’s neither hard nor market. The only other possibility might be Joyce, but unlike Bolger he’s devoid of colour. Tolley might be a concievable deputy to English or Joyce. Power dosen’t have the brains.

  5. burt 5

    Politics 101: Take your biggest weakness and project it onto the other guys.

    We all remember the void Helen Clark created in Labour… yes it was problematic for Labour then and still is now… Project away – we haven’t forgotten how the Labour ship is still on the rocks while the leader claims he has control.

  6. gobsmacked 6

    What’s priority number one for National MPs? Keeping their seats.

    There’s going to be a lot more discontent (and leaks) soon. Especially in Auckland. And x 10 in Epsom.

    • bbfloyd 6.1

      i do wonder how long they are going to be able to keep a lid on things.. i hope your guess is right..

  7. tc 7

    ” Looks like Bill’s still pissed at Key…” well wouldn’t you if you had to stay back with the dunces (Tolley/Bennett/Wilkinson etc) after school every day whilst your partner in dodgy dealings (here Bill you give Nicky this email and we’ll rule NewZild together) cavorts about doing PR stuff and bugger all else.

    But then isn’t blinglish still on the naughty step after his fantastic 2002 election performance.

  8. Sean 8

    Is John Key a lone ranger?

    John Key isn’t a Lone Ranger.

    The Lone Ranger would ride from frontier town to frontier town, righting wrongs for no reward other than to see that justice had triumph, and then he’d ride off before anyone took a photograph of him.

    John Key rides into towns, gets some photos taken, and then rides off before anyone can ask him any questions, particularly ones about social justice or government policy.

    John Key appears to be alone, only because of the company he keeps. Standing tall, as he does for photo-opportunities, John Key towers above his ministers who surround him like a hunched-over gathering of hollow men politicians; either plotting their mediocrity (at best) or fumbling in bullying incompetence.

    John Key is more the Lone Pillock.

  9. burt 9

    John Key is the loan arranger.

  10. randal 10

    all national has done is reshuffle the deck chairs on the titanic so that key and his mates get a bigger tx break and the minions pay for it.
    they have no other policy because they dont want one.
    when yu have spent your life on wall street selling bonds then it must be hard to realise that there are real people out there witrh real concerns besides whether to vacation in florida or gastaad.

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