An informative quote from Bill English trying to assuage National Party member who are concerned that the Party is betraying its principles (ha!) and giving too much to the Maori Party:
“On any given day over the next period, as you start thinking about the next election, the Government is going to be involved with some decisions that you don’t like, some decisions you may disagree with. I want to reassure you about two things. The first is that all those decisions are being made in the context of the longer-term view, reaching our objectives over the next four or five years, not the next four or five days, and secondly that in my experience the Parliamentary team have very sound instincts about most of these issues.”
Now, you know that in my opinion the DRIP, Whanau Ora (with its budget that’s only the same as two cycleways), and the Foreshore and Seabed are hollow gestures – all symbol, no signified. But that’s not the way a lot of National voters see it. They see selling out to the ‘Maoris’.
English’s message to them is that buttering up the Maori Party is crucial to winning a second term. National has to do things it otherwise wouldn’t because the next election is likely to produce an outcome that will mean National can’t govern with the Maori Party. That’s what English means by “all those decisions are being made in the context of the longer-term view, reaching our objectives over the next four or five years” – winning a second term trumps principle. It’s about power for its own sake.
This cynical, unprincipled politics is typical of the Key/English leadership. Remember what English said before the last election about National’s campaign strategy:
“there’s nothing that beats winning in politics, despite all our highly principled statements… do what you need to do to win”
It seems they’re governing the same way they campaigned.