If I were UnitedFuture’s Campaign Strategist

Written By: - Date published: 11:09 am, May 16th, 2008 - 14 comments
Categories: united future - Tags: ,

Last in our ‘campaign strategist’ series is UnitedFuture, perhaps the least inspiring party in Parliament.

UnitedFuture (ie. Peter Dunne) should play the same strategy as was used in 2002. Keep your head down, shore up support in Dunne’s safe seat of Ohariu/Belmont and wait for a chance to present itself to make a splash. That chance will probably be the Leaders’ debate, as it was in 2002.

The debate will be late in the campaign. United Future’s target niche, the politically disengaged upper-middle class, will be tired of all this political stuff, complex policies, and attack politics. They will also be worried that a Labour-led Government would find itself at the behest of the Greens or a National-led one would be at the mercy of ACT; they’re practically crying out for a mild, boring alternative that will let them rest assured that their comfortable, privileged status quo will go undisturbed. That is Dunne’s cue. As in 2002, he should stride out onto the stage and say ‘reasonable’, ‘common sense’, ‘sensible’, and ‘consensus’ ad nauseam. Hopefully, as in 2002, the target niche will swoon over this mysterious stranger who says nothing, which exactly what they want to hear, and United Future’s vote will suddenly spike. The media, as in 2002, will go all aflutter over this come from nowhere party, and the momentum will carry through to election day.

Don’t worry about policy, don’t worry about offering a preferred coalition partner (we all know it’s National), don’t worry about having a vision to solve the serious environmental, social, and economic issues facing New Zealand. Just come out of nowhere as Mr Bland and the disengaged, risk-adverse, upper-middle class will be yours again. But remember, it’s a one shot strategy; Dunne has to get it right on the night.

14 comments on “If I were UnitedFuture’s Campaign Strategist”

  1. deemac 1

    homonyms strike again! you SHORE up support and take your CUE from an event…

  2. Damn it! that’s the price of writing really really quickly.

  3. Lew 3

    I actually really liked Dunne’s line on the China FTA in the house yesterday, which was the complete opposite: principled and quite forward-looking. For reference, he argued that the FTA was a great chance for NZ to make a disproportionately big noise about the sorts of symbolic issues which have always been our forte – in this case human rights, etc. while taking advantage of the economic benefits of dealing with such an economic power.

    This pretty much encapsulates my opinion about the FTA, which practically never happens with Dunne’s policy. I’m not his core constituency, though. Perhaps there is a political theorist’s politician in there somewhere?


  4. Stephen 4

    Can the chinese renege on the FTA if we get too uppity??

  5. He’s all about human rights when it’s abroad but you never hear him standing up for better wages or working conditions here. in fact, he supported the 90-Day Bill to strip workers of their most basic rights. He voted against civil unions and the other human rights legisaltion that has been passed in recent years and has a tendency to support authoritarian legislation – anti-terror, tough on crime etc.

    He faced our hardest question yet on the interview the leaders series ‘which other MP do you mst admire’ – and his answer was Helen Clark, Michael Cullen, and John Key – could he be more fencing-sitting/suck-up?

    I’m not saying he’s all bad. Just a will-washy guy who’s basically a goodhearted conservative.

  6. Stazi 6

    Perhaps a percentage of NZers are fence sitting suck ups? Maybe they deserve representation as much as the the percentage of Kiwis that are opinionated and anti status quo?

  7. Sam Dixon 7

    sovereign countries can do anything they choose.

    they may suffer international censure and, in extreme cases of misbehaviour, sanctions or war, but legally they can’t be stopped doing what they want (unless there’s a supranational organisation above hem to which they given some of their sovereign power – like the EU). That’s not to say there’s no such thing as international law, it just works differently than domestic law.

    So, yes, the Chinese could renege on the FTA.

    captcha: lessons this – here endeth this one

  8. Lew 8

    Stazi: Right on. Though I think the preferred nomenclature is somewhat different.


  9. Stephen 9

    Sam, we couldn’t go the WTO? I know it’s a bilateral agreement, but…?

  10. Sam Dixon 10

    We could go the the WTO but China wouldn’t have to agree to have a dispute settled there, and ultimately what’s the WTO going to do? Protect our tarriff-free imports at gunpoint?

    The WTO can make decisions and they’re ‘binding’ but they can’t be enforced. International law really is halfway between diplomacy and ‘real’ law.

  11. Stephen 11


  12. Sam Dixon 12

    I hear that.

    That’s the problem with living in an international system of sovereign nation-states.

  13. erikter 13

    I would be praying to keep the level of imbecility and stupidity prevalent in his Ohariu-Belmont electorate, people who haven’t figured out yet Dunne is an unashamed political prostitute.

    He may be get turfed out this time, though. It all depends on the quality of the Tory candidate.

  14. Ari 14

    Oh erikter, we KNOW he’s an unashamed populist. It’s just that the voters here are very much into the sort of conservative groupthink that Peter Dunne likes so much. He basically gets by on being relatively unobjectionable to his electorate and not running any policy.

    Which is why he has no party vote in the polls this time around, as he’s being squeezed out of that space by National. 🙂

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