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Don’t celebrate too soon

Written By: - Date published: 7:34 am, February 17th, 2012 - 63 comments
Categories: brand key, election 2014, greens, labour, national - Tags:

National’s in retreat on every front. Its had to break its economic promises, again. Asset sales are a disaster. Ministers are exposed over the Crafar Farms, NZ on Air, and DJ Key affairs. The media’s gone off Key ever since he declared war on them. The bad stories that were getting nowhere a year ago now keep rolling. Even Mallard’s boorishness can’t halt National’s slide.

Politics does have tides, and high tide for National was in late 2009 when it was averaging 55% in the 3-month rolling average of Roy Morgans. But it took an awful long time for support to really drain. The rolling average was still 52.5% on election day. But only 47.5% ticked National in the end. They lost 5% in those final two weeks to NZF and the Conservatives. And it’s kept going out since then. 47% and 46% in January, their lowest results since November 2008. And that was before the last couple of weeks during which everything has gone wrong, very wrong, for National.

Of course, you would have to be a complete moron to believe that means National is sunk in 2014. Which is why I’m worried that Pagani and Shearer’s other strategists are already popping the champagne.

Joyce and Key are two of the wiliest buggers you’ll ever meet. And they know they need a third term to lock-in the ideological reforms they’re planning for this term. They will have a strategy.

It will be re-casting Key as the statesman – a serious man for serious times. Underneath that new Brand Key, there will be heavy dog-whistling against the poor and Maori (so often conflated in Pakeha minds anyway) through, for example, benefit ‘reforms’ and the Treaty water rights issue.

They will no longer be dreaming of knocking the Greens out of Parliament and wasting 4% of the Left vote. Instead, they will keep up with discrediting Shearer as a potential Prime Minister Something Labour seems happy to assist with, having him play second fiddle to Peters, Robertson, and Norman and, incredibly, not having him in the House Thursday to smash home the hits made on Crafar Farms.

Joyce and Key will calculate that, ultimately, people won’t go into the voting booth and tick Labour if they don’t believe in Shearer as a leader. They will further bet that not enough middle-class swing voters will be comfortable with voting with the Greens – even with their new, professional image – and that a lot of the swing vote will just stay home, which is next best to voting National in their eyes.

If worse comes to worse and they look like losing because Key’s brand is ruined, I expect Key would jump before Joyce pushed him. Funnily enough, Shearer might go if he looks unelectable too. Could be a question of which one gets rolled first in 2013.

So, yeah, its been a nightmare fortnight for National. But lets see the Left’s strategy to make it a nightmare three years. What is it they want voters to think when they think Shearer and when they think Labour or Greens, and when they think Key and National? And what lines are they going to use over and over again until they become true just like ‘tired and bereft of ideas’ did?

Cause the Nats aren’t just going to roll over and die.

63 comments on “Don’t celebrate too soon ”

  1. just saying 1

    I was disturbed to watch Bombers latest blog (haven’t yet figured out how to link to a particular post rather than just a particular blogsite).

    Matthew Hooton spoke at length about what an excellent leader Shearer will be, how he’s doing everything right, that he’d be foolish to listen to those who suggest he should do anything, and should instead keep roaming the country meeting people and “keep his powder dry”. It was eeerily in harmony with how it appears Shearer’s advisors appear to be seeing things. Hooton even said he expected Shearer will be the next PM.

    It wouldn’t matter except parliamentary Labour appear to be following the advice of the right-wing commentariat, and seem to continue to be hermetically sealed against any other opinion. They have proceeded with Shearer in the image of Goff, with all the same tactics and ideas that are killing Labour.

    It doesn’t seem there is any way to change the trajectory they are on. I think the Labour leader will be the next PM, but why should that worry National? They can push through a blitzkreig of right-wing “reforms” safe in the knowledge that Labour’s weak, ineffectual, and right-wing caucus will happily be their puppet, and won’t threaten the course they’ve set one jot. And the worst of the public revolt will likely happen after the (possibly early) election, and Labour will probably end up wearing more of the blame than they will.

    Win-win-win for the one percent. Looking like a potential game-set and match from where I’m sitting right now.

    [lprent: It has a ‘interesting’ layout that appears to be common in function to a lot of blogger sites. The permanent link is in the time at the bottom of the post next to the authors name. It is a bit daft and quite non-obvious.
    (It also a prominent blog ranking that hasn’t updated since dec 2009) ]

    • This week has really seen the wheels fall off the Government.
      But the danger for Labour is that the support that is shaken loose could go anywhere.
      Peters (damn him) is performing well.  He has the sense of drama and gravitas that will attract people.
      The Greens are doing well.  Mojo Mathers problems are mana from heaven.  Not only will the Government have to back down but in the process they have made a martyr of her.
      And Labour has Mallard scalping some tickets.  DOH.
      Shearer needs to see Brian Edwards.  Quick fast.

      • Anne 1.1.1

        It’s starting to look like a three pronged Opposition Party consisting of Labour, Greens and NZ First. A damm good idea if each party sets aside their respective political egos and works closely together. Shearer’s excellent management credentials together with Norman’s impressive analytical abilities and Peter’s political acumen could create a powerful triumvirate not even a re-vamped Joyce initiated National Party strategy could overcome.

        Isn’t that what MMP is supposed to be all about?

      • Cactus Kate 1.1.2

        + 1 is it?

    • Jackal 1.2

      The residual policy effecting the incoming government is an interesting aspect, which the Natz have often used to their advantage. In fact one of their favourite first term excuses was that it’s all Labours fault. However I don’t think this will be such an issue after the next election. I suspect a change in government will allow a lot of light to be shone on National’s incompetence and treachery.

      Being that policy takes time to cement into social change, Zetetic is absolutely correct in saying National need a third term to ensure their ideologically defunct policies are implemented properly. Although their progress has recently been hampered, their determination to push through their out-dated policy ideas in complete ignorance of all factual evidence needs a third term to reach critical mass.

      In other words we’re fucked if that happens. New Zealand will be sold, we will have oil and fracking destroying the environment all over the place, and corporate corruption will be rampant as the poor and already downtrodden are further marginalized.

      I’m not sure it was necessary to have Shearer in the house pushing the point further in. Others in the opposition seemed to have it well under control. Certainly it is not desirable to have Shearer appear like an attack dog, while Key is being portrayed in the MSM as a statesman. You really only need one attack-dog, with a number of holders to be effective.

      The feedback that I have heard is that people believe Shearer will be the next PM.

      Re: Link to specific article. Copy and paste the address in the pages header from the article you are reading. If you have found the article by going to the main (home) page, and there is no link to the article itself, copy the title of the article and then search it in google + the site title, in this case Tumeke. I found nothing disturbing in his latest blog article:


      You can do the same for The war on news, which was also quite reasonable:

      • just saying 1.2.1

        “The feedback that I have heard is that people believe Shearer will be the next PM.”

        Why not, he’s been annointed by National?

        Do you really think ‘a little less bad’ in government is enough after the bulk of the long-term damage has been done?

        • Jackal

          National have “anointed” Shearer as the next PM over Key or whoever replaces him? I think not. Some National commentators endorsed Shearer over Cunliffe, but that wasn’t what I was talking about.

          “A little less bad” [sic]. I think Labour would be a lot better than National, if that is what you’re getting at?

  2. Shona 2

    “What is it they want voters to think when they think Shearer…”
    That is the underlying theme Zet, voters AREN’T thinking of Shearer he is not in the picture at all. About as effective as a nice warm milk pudding. Not the leader we need. Just heard Parker ,on morning report, stating the obvious key points about why asset sales are a disaster for the economy and sadly he had all the impact of a fluffy cushion. Cunliffe is the man to bring down Key. We all know it.
    FFS! when Michael Fayand Winston Peters are the only people who can give hope to the left it is a dark time indeed in NZ

    • Chris Oden 2.1

      I agree. I like Shearer but he doesn’t seem to pack much of a punch when speaking.Heard Parker too and had to keep reminding myself to listen it was so dull. Do these men truly believe in what they are saying. Where is the passion! Starting to think Cunliffe would have been a better bet.Labour needs to get cracking!With the absolute turmoil the nats are going through at the moment this is the time to STRIKE! key(and english)are looking more vulnerable every day.If national gets through present strifes on top it will only be because Labour did not seize their opportunities. They need to show some backbone.

      • Ross 2.1.1

        I’ll be surprised if Cunliffe isn’t leader by the next election.

        I wouldn’t get too exicted by the last couple of weeks. And I certainly wouldn’t say the wheels have fallen off. Asset sales are a disaster? How many have we had lately? None that I’m aware of. What you seem to be saying is that asset sales will be a disaster….

        • Shona

          NZ Rail, Telecom, Air NZ , Contact Energy Ring any bells Ross ??? All State asset sales all disasters for the NZ economy. Stripped, rundown bailed out by the tax payer or just a shafting machine for foreign owners with profits all going offshore in the cases of Contact and Telecom.

          • Colonial Viper

            These right wingers have memories the length of sandflies.

            • Ross


              You might need to expand on what you’ve said….Labour part-sold Air NZ. Why did they do that and what were the disastrous results?

              • Ross

                This analysis does not suggest that privitisation has been an unmitigated disaster, nor has it been a rip-roaring success in every case.


              • Shona

                Labour bailed out the private owners of Air NZ so they didn’t go completely belly up and snapped up by Quaintarse (Qantas) in the fallout from the spectacularly incompetent manner in which ,what was arguably the world’s best airline, Air NZ, had been run into the ground. That is, running at a loss for more than 4 consecutive quarters. We were going to lose our provincial routes completely. And that matters to an export lead economy with roads like ours. No air service to rural areas is not a strategy for economic success Ross, irrespective of how blue tinged your blinkers may be.

                • James

                  Errr, factually incorrect.

                  Air NZ was struggling mainly due to it’s own incompetence at trying to operate an airline in Australia.

                  Ansett Airlines was a budget brand much like the failed Australia Air, and Air New Zealand had full operational control.

                  It eventually went belly up and the resulting losses on the loan left Air New Zealand teetering on the brink.

                  Labour ploughed shares into the freemarket to shore up our first ever National Airline to stop it from going into receivership, and that was when our mixed ownership model really got understood.

                  Since then, we’ve become a bit smarter and have started to understand that assets that return a dividend to the government can be spent for the good of the country, since we understand the basic concept that our power bills pay the rich mans wallet.

                  Oh, and those private owners you speak of Shona? They were the Mum and Dad investors. Not MNCs.

                  We need those power bills to pay our wallets, not the rich mans as happens under mixed ownership.

              • stever

                No, Air NZ was basically a private company that the government bought part of to stop it disappearing. Labour did not, therefore, partly sell it!

                What Labour did with AirNZ is ***the opposite*** of what the current government is proposing—Labour part-bought AirNZ, the NACTs what to part-sell things!

              • RedLogix

                Oh get it right Ross; Labour part-purchased Air New Zealand. In particular it only brought those shares that were available from the private owners who had to sell them.

                The rest of the shares were not for sale, and there was no real need to buy them in order to control the company.

              • Frank

                “Labour part-sold Air NZ.”


                Damn, how can people get recent history so wrong???

          • Inventory2

            Who sold Telecom Shona? Let me educate you; a LABOUR government, with Phil Goff sitting at the Cabinet table…

            • felix

              What does that have to do with it?

              It was a stupid idea when Labour did it, it was stupid when National carried it on, and it’s even stupider now that National with the benefit of hindsight are going to make the same stupid mistakes all over again.

              Stupid stupid stupid.

              • RedLogix

                Well seeing as how you mention it felix.. terminally stupid it would seem.

                But what we now see among their parties – however intelligent their guiding spirits may be – is the abandonment of any pretence of high-minded conservatism. On both sides of the Atlantic, conservative strategists have discovered that there is no pool so shallow that several million people won’t drown in it. Whether they are promoting the idea that Barack Obama was not born in the US, that man-made climate change is an eco-fascist-communist-anarchist conspiracy, or that the deficit results from the greed of the poor, they now appeal to the basest, stupidest impulses, and find that it does them no harm in the polls.

        • Frank

          We haven’t had a World War lately either, Ross. Can’t say I’m missing that.

          • Colonial Viper

            Sadly, when international debt levels reach stratospheric heights like they are now, wars become far more likely than unlikely.

      • “..I agree. I like Shearer but he doesn’t seem to pack much of a punch when speaking..”

        can i suggest you watch him getting key on the run during questiontime on wednesday..

        ..that may make your view more nuanced..


        • Chris Oden

          Thank you. Watched as you advised and was totally impressed. Long may it continue. Just for the record I do prefer Shearer but was a bit disappointed in his TV appearance. We know how fickle the public can be,however I suppose anyone would seem quiet next to Winnie.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.3

        With the absolute turmoil the nats are going through at the moment this is the time to STRIKE!

        Exactly, with the correct pressure this government could be toppled before this year is out but it won’t happen. Not with Labour under Shearer. Actually, I’m not sure Labour could do it anyway – they’re far too right-wing. About the only person standing up for NZ and with the chutzpah to do it is Winston.

    • Hami Shearlie 2.2

      Agreed re Cunliffe! He gives Key nightmares I’m sure!

  3. tc 3

    Shearer needs to referesh the old guard and put DC on finance, Parker should be slamming Blinglish over the ‘guess’ and other crap coming out about RONS etc yet seems to perform like it’s all a bit of a bore….where’s the passion. Like Goff, Parker’s coming across as a carrer pollitician which turns voters off….place him in Energy where he’s got skills.

  4. Enough is Enough 4

    I advocated for the appointment of Shearer as a leader and still believe he has the potential to attract voters from the Nats.

    However he needs to step up and take control. The sun is shining on the opposition and there are issues galore available for Shearer. Yet on Campbell Live he appears standing next to Winston. They were arguing the same point but Winston being Winston was always going to come off looking better. He should have never agreed to stand next to Winston. It was a tactical fuck up because it plays into the rights meme that Winston and Norman are the real opposition leaders.

    It is the simple things.

    • Blue 4.1

      Winston and Norman are the real opposition leaders. Shearer hasn’t scored a single political point so far. 0 runs on the board.

      It’s Peters and Norman who are racking up the points. Labour is looking pretty useless right now.

      • smokeskreen 4.1.1

        Agree with your comments. Also we need David Cunliffe as Labour leader sooner rather than later.

        • Smokscreen
          I have a feeling that you are a Nat supporter who is hoping to sow seeds of doubt regarding the Labour leadership/,Well you lot are not going to pull the same disgusting way you destroyed Phil Goff. Shearer’s past indicates that he achieves quietly but surely. Labour has chosen a very good leader who I am sure will bring back the old values of Social Democracy or Democratic Socialism using the old Fabian way “gradually
          but surely . Just give him a bit of time after all he’s only been leader a few weeks.

          • H.Crown

            With respect TPP. I really don’t think Smokscreen is a National party supporter. I agree with everything Smokescreen says. When the new leader debate was on a few months ago I expressed my concerns on this forum about Shearer, and stated that it was highly suspicious when the bloggers from the right were claiming he was the best person as leader of the Labour Party. The right are scared shitless of Cunliffe as they know he is a good solid intelligent debater, and he will take it to Key and the National Party and outperform them in any debate. We don’t need another Chivalrous Knight in Shiny Armour taking his time as you have suggested, the likes of Bill Rowling or Colin Moyle, both excellent politicians with lots of vision for the future for ALL New Zealanders. But they were perceived as weak after being completely destroyed by Muldoon and a few others. After Phil Goff, who was also tainted, the Labour party needs someone who will go for the Jugular. Politics is not and has never been a gentleman’s game. We need someone who will ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK Now, not just Key and his government, but any other hostile entity be it commentators like Farrar or the right controlled media, until the message cannot be ignored and it is finally out to the general public. After seeing Cunliffe blow Brash out of the water on Q&A over Asset sales, I feel along with Smokescreen the sooner they make Cuncliff the leader the better. Shearer comes over as a very nice guy, but a very nice guy is the last thing the Labour party needs at the moment.
            Several incidents recently has convinced me Shearer is not the best person, He let Key get away without any debate on his Radio Show which was illegal, and let the MSM bury it, was absent from the house when the Crafar farms debacle surfaced, and has simply rolled over without even a whimper when TVNZ a so called public broadcaster informed the Labour party that they were not going to have a regular spot for him ( Shearer) on that pathetic excuse for a news programme called Breakfast, unless he had something to debate or of interest. Well let’s have someone who will give them something to debate, like show the arsholes up for what they are every bloody morning.

        • Peter


          The logic behind putting Shearer in was shonky then, and it’s looking even more so now. Beltway thinking is the cause, but the answer to a fault in Beltway thinking seems to be more Beltway… A bit like neoliberal logic too…


      • thatguynz 4.1.2


    • Uturn 4.2

      I thought the Shearer and Winston Show was both tactically sound and indicative of a team that already knew it was going to win 2014 and knew what each step would be months ago. No one would be photographed in the same room as Winston, let alone agreeing with and beside him on a prime time show, unless it was part of a larger tag-team strategy. Winston’s “…some stupid politicians…” comment made Shearer look like a Statesman compared, but also sold the picture that Winston’s people were supported by Labour people. It was a picture of a kind of unity that desperate voters will flock to soon as things get even worse under National.

      This is great news if you think Labour have the answers NZ needs, which personally I don’t, or if you still believe Labour are a left-wing workers party.

  5. Tombstone 5

    Have to admit Shearer doesn’t really seem to be making much noise at the moment despite having plenty to bark back at National about. He just seems a little too quiet when he can ill afford to be. He needs to step up to the plate now and start swinging if he wants to expose Key for the failed leader that he really is.

  6. ak 6

    Damn right. It’s the fire in the gut that’s missing. The Winnie/Jim Knox gravitas and strong-eyed loop to the lead; ready to head the mob, not a neutered huntaway lending background baying.

    When even Norman can show flashes, you know it’s not rocket surgery. Goober the special-K breakfast snack is on a downward spiral, as the appetite for real meat grows.

    It’s Angst City out there: the farmer lying down with the Maori, and the flock a-flutter; Rasputin Joyce and the Chief pharisee frantically phoning Holmes and the scribes of Hate.

    Brownie-bash and bennie-bash painted and primped for the final, desperate throw.

    And in the East: a star of impending doom for the Magogs of Greed as bullshit bursts from Christendom to Cathay. Just guessing, my arse: the skids are Greeced, and it’s all downhill from here.

    Get your hopes up alright, brothers and sisters. A little firewater in the belly of the shearer, and the town will be painted red by 2013.

    • Jackal 6.1

      Hopefully sooner rather than later. The main strength in Shearer at the moment is that the right is having trouble discrediting him… their lies aren’t sticking.

  7. “..and, incredibly, not having him in the House Thursday to smash home the hits made on Crafar Farms…”

    that also did my head in..wednesday was his first ‘score’…

    ..and there was so much more..

    ..and then a no-show..?

    ..what were he/they thinking..?


  8. Dr Terry 8

    Already many of the Left are realising the mistake that is Shearer. The one useful thing Shearer pulled off was selling himself (along with the heroics). I have yet to see from abroad an independent assessment of his worth. (In person, as a member of his electorate, he let me down a couple of times).
    How is it that New Zealanders interpret self esteem and assurance, which Cunliffe deservedly possesses, as “arrogance”? If there has been any arrogance, it came from Shearer. I hope for better things, perhaps Shearer is just biding his time. We will have to wait a bit, and see if he is, or is not, a clone of Goff.

  9. ianmac 9

    My goodness. There is fear in the Nat camp. Why else the campaign to diminish Mr Shearer on this site?

  10. Tiger Mountain 10

    ‘silent T’ will be back, nothing shearer, er surer.

  11. I imagine Labour will be happy with Winston and Norman playing Wing Attacks. they’ll get more opportunity both in Q time and with the media than Labour 2IC’s to hammer the opposition but they won’t taint Shearer with the “going negative”, image. If Shearer gets a rep for getting out there and talking to provincial NZ, that may be enough to make him relevant and give him more airtime than Goff.

  12. tsmithfield 12

    Zetetic rightly expresses caution in the article.

    National will try and get all the unpopular stuff out of the way early in the term. So, I would expect support to drop further. However, if they are able to sweeten the latter half of the term, then support could bounce back quite considerably.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      National will try and get all the unpopular stuff out of the way early in the term. So, I would expect support to drop further. However, if they are able to sweeten the latter half of the term

      Asset sales will take the entirety of the 3 year term to complete. As for getting the bad stuff out of the way in the first half of the term – that simply gives voters time in the last half to digest how bad.

      • tsmithfield 12.1.1

        Time will tell. I suspect at least one asset will be sold in the fairly near term, and people will see that the sky hasn’t fallen in.

  13. infused 13

    I’ve been so busy I haven’t even watched the news since xmas. But, I’ve heard very little of Labour apart from Mallard. The only other thing I’ve heard is the crafter farm issue.

    So, for the people not paying any attention at the moment, does this all really matter? I don’t think so to be honest.

    I don’t find the Mallard thing bad at all really for Labour. The question time was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. In saying that, Mallard even seemed to take that in his stride… I still think he’s a prick non the less.

    • ScottGN 13.1

      So you have been so busy you’ve managed to miss almost all of what must surely be the most shambolic start to a parliamentary term for any govt in recent times, yet you just happened to catch the QT roasting of Mallard? How convenient.
      At any rate if what you say is true and no one is paying any attention and the airwaves are devoid of politics at this time of the year then the fact the Govt’s numbers are gradually and steadily declining according to the available polling is great news isn’t it? Surely it just lends more credence to the suggestion that a change scenario is starting to develop?

  14. adam 14

    I can’t help thinking that Andrew Little will be/should be the next PM because Shearer does appear to be too diplomatic so far. I heard some second hand criticism of Shearer supposedly made by a former lecturer of mine at Waikato University saying he was quite right-wing in his beliefs and vision for New Zealand despite his ‘humanitarian’ background in the middle east, but I can’t find any verifiable evidence of these accusations so far. Several posters here seem to think or believe that Shearer will indeed be our next Labour PM but I would like to see Andrew Little in that position so that Trade Unionism can be reinserted, rebranded and placed once again into the heart of our employment legislation. Anti Union rhetoric from certain Labour MPs is unacceptable and Shearer could very well be of that ilk.

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