This is really getting pretty serious now – a fourth National party policy has been leaked to Labour, who have made it public. In the last week we’ve seen National’s environment, conservation, biofuels, and, now, research, science, and technology policies leaked from within National. This is unprecedented – so many policies being leaked this close to an election with the clear goal of undermining Key’s leadership.
So, who is the leaker? Almost certainly, an it’s an MP and, almost certainly, they are not acting without the knowledge of others in National. A lone wolf who is willing and able to leak so much policy without a direct payoff but is also willing and able to appear within the mainstream of the party in public seems much less likely than the English camp strategically moving to undermine Key so that English can move to roll him quickly after the election, whether they win or not. Remember, these leaks are just one element of the internal discord that has become public – the hollow men leaks, the secret agenda tapings at a National function, the Lord Ashcroft leak, the ‘gaffes’ by Williamson et al, and these policy leaks are all part of the same story. Within National there is a bloc dedicated to undermining Key at any cost, including winning the election.
I see Key is desperately trying to divert attention from this latest leak by holding a press conference to make a redundent and obvious call on the PM to sack Peters if Glenn can prove his story. Of course, that’s nothing new from Key and it’s what the PM would do anyway, if Glenn could prove Peters has been lying to the public. Look for him to come up with more silly accusations of dirty tricks by Labour now that his fantasy story that the papers were accidentally lost by an MP has lost all creditiblity. But what else can he do? He doesn’t have the power within caucus to defeat his opponents and he can’t afford a bloodbath this close to the election. He’ll have to just keep on grinning and praying, even as others sharpen their knives behind his back.