Attracting a fair bit of comment this morning – Duncan Garner:
The flagging fortunes of a leader chasing a legacy
Key has no time for losing – runs a mile from political disasters, like they never actually happened. The flag result is a disaster for him. But it’s also not. He’ll say, ‘Oh well, we gave you a chance, we move on’. But this was his idea. It was his baby. It’s an entirely own goal. And the people said, No thanks John. The public’s given him a bloody nose, but that’s all he got.
So why did Key pursue a flag change in the first place? Because this was supposed to have been his legacy project – a lasting symbol of his lasting contribution to the country. … So what is it? Does he have one? Not really.
He brought in tax cuts and sold half our assets. That’s not creating a legacy. Perhaps borrowing money and being a happy-go-luck prime minister may end up being what we remember him for long-term. His Government has borrowed close to $60 billion for future generations to pay back. That’s $8.5b for every year they have been in office. … His legacy is that he could end up being the most popular prime minister of all time. A man with few economic options, so he traded on his personality.
On the other hand, Labour and its support partners had golden economic times while in power. They delivered interest-free student loans in the form of an election bribe that National criticised – then embraced – in office. Labour also gave us Kiwibank, paid parental leave, KiwiSaver, Working for Families, civil unions, a ban on smacking children, and legalising prostitution. Now that’s a legacy. The highest praise possible is that none of this has been dismantled by National.
For all the talk of nanny state and voters eventually turning toxic on Helen Clark she can look back on her time in power with pride. She set a clear path and used every inch of her formidable personality to make things happen.
John Key may still be swamped with selfie requests in shopping malls, but that’s not the definition of a great leader. Key has enjoyed a tonne of political capital and the disappointing thing is that he hasn’t used it for any meaningful, lasting project. Surely that’s not good enough for a man driven by a deep ambition.
Ouch. Read the full piece for plenty more.