In his blog today Colin Espiner points out how National has quickly moved a lot further to the right than they portrayed themselves as pre-election:
After following the script for the First 100 Days to the letter, National is now branching out into things that, um, weren’t in the script. Labour Lite? Not any more.
He also remarks on the failure of the government to be honest about its intentions:
I’d just like some intellectual honesty, that’s all. Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? Rather than inventing a financial crisis at ACC, just admit there’s too many unionists on the board and you want to take the corporation in a different direction.
Same goes for the Environment Ministry. Don’t blame Labour for cutting its funding. Just say there’s too many boffins earning too much money sitting around worrying about their carbon footprint, if that’s what you believe. And don’t leave it to the chief executive to announce Government policy.
Reading through Espiner’s post, two of Bill English’s quotes from that infamous cocktail party came to mind. The first was that one about not selling the Iraq war properly and the second was about “that nice man Mr Key”.
That highly PR-focused approach may work when you are in opposition but unfortunately for National, government is a lot more about actions. Right now their centrist spin isn’t matching their hard-right actions. And profile puff pieces can’t change that.