Not many people know more about the National Party than Barry Gustafson, so I found it interesting to read his take on the Nats’ ‘softening up’ strategy in the Sunday Star Times [offline*]:
A new govenment tries to “discredit things that you know you are going to change or try to change in the future. You prepare the battleground and so when you do it people will say, ‘I don’t like it but we couldn’t put up any longer with what we’ve got.'”
Collins’ attack on her department was not just a personal spat with Matthews.
“It’s got to do with Collins laying the groundwork to do something quite dramatic in Corrections,” says Gustafson.
It’s not just at Corrections that we’re seeing this. Anthony Hubbard draws the obvious comparison in his piece with National’s campaign to undermine ACC, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that the same thing is happening at TVNZ as National prepares the broadcaster for sale in its second term.
See, the reality is that behind all the bullshit centrist branding National are just as wedded to neoliberalism as they always were.
It’s just that after nine years in the wilderness they’ve learned if you want to pursue an agenda that’s deeply unpalatable to the public you have to carefully lay the groundwork and be prepared play the long game.
[22/03/09, Page 4, Focus]