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Gustafson on National’s strategy

Written By: - Date published: 3:27 pm, March 23rd, 2009 - 7 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags: , , , ,

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]

7 comments on “Gustafson on National’s strategy ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    But, they’re not actually playing the long game. They’ve rammed everything through so far under urgency.

  2. Rosa 2

    Tane: I agree .. but there is one corollary no-one sems to have raised yet.

    If John Key were to resign from the Beehive and Parliament and retire to
    Remuera/*/Hawaii we would still have a brain-dead conservative government allied with ACT and the “Maori” party trying to screw most NZers.

    Focusing on Key and personalising things distracts attention from policy issues where the battle needs to be fought.

    • Tane 2.1

      Yeah, definitely. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t mention Key once in this post.

    • DeeDub 2.2

      My dear Ms. Luxemburg

      Without ‘that nice Mr Key’ to sell the PR BS while the party does it’s neo-con worst the Nats wouldn’t even be near the government benches. NZ would never have elected an English-led National Party.

      For better or worse (and personally I think much, much worse) NZ politics has become highly personalised and ‘presidential’ in style. We can’t wind back the clock on forty odd years of something probably started by Labour with Norm Kirk back in the 70s.

      But yeah… Tane didn’t actually mention Key in this one, so not sure what brought the whole issue up for you??

  3. deemac 3

    this is exactly how they softened up public opinion in the UK for privatisation of so many public services. Major public services are never perfect; you pick on a particular problem, go on about it repeatedly; then when the media consensus is that “something must be done” the govt acts, but that “something” is never a reorganisation that will make it run better, or more resources, or opening up the governance to be more open and democratic – no, it’s always “the private sector is so much more efficient, let them run it/cherry pick the bits they want” etc etc. Next thing you know the service is gutted and the private sector has walked away with taxpayers money as subsidies/fees/bonuses…

  4. rave 4

    This explains it: Key is a Zombie

    * “The Zombie Ideas Have Won” – Paul Krugman on $1 Trillion Geithner Plan to Buy Toxic Bank Assets *

    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is preparing to unveil a plan today to purchase as much as $1 trillion in troubled mortgages and other assets from banks. The government is reaching out to hedge funds, private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds to help buy the toxic assets. The Obama administration has described the plan as a public-private partnership, but most of the actual money will be put up by the government. We speak with Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman.


  5. Rosa 5

    DeeDub: Luxemburg ? You have the wrong lady. She was killed in 1919 by the proto-fascist Freikorps.

    I’m not having a go at Tane, but I think a lot of the energy expended on Key could be focused more usefully on political and survival strategies to prepare us for the growing impact of the global downturn. Key, as PM, cannot escape responsibility for this government.

    It seems a long time until the next election.

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