The secret agenda scandal has reminded many people that, behind John Key’s smile, National’s leaders are still the same bunch who were cutting benefits and flogging off assets in the 1990s, or people who came into Parliament hoping to continue those policies. That’s not good for National’s election hopes. So, what have they done? Remove the hardliners from the spotlight even further and make National even more the â€˜smiling Johnny’ party.
National cancelled Tony Ryall’s scheduled interview on Agenda on Sunday and refused to offer a replacement spokesperson to speak. Presumably, National was scared Ryall would be asked if National has any hidden agenda on health, particularly considering last year he was all for abolishing the cap on GP fees and now he says National would keep them.
On Monday, National’s Welfare policy was released by the Welfare Spokesperson, Judith Collins, did not speak on it (at least, I’ve seen nothing of her at the launch). One wonders whether Collins, a renowned hardliner and champion beneficiary-basher, was satisfied with the policy or thought it didn’t go far enough. We don’t know, because John Key is the only one answering questions on the issue.
Last week there were only three, rather than the normal four, MPs on Back Benches because the Nat pulled out at the last minute. I see there’s no National MP on Back Benches tonight either.
By hiding everyone else from the public gaze, the Nats are putting all their eggs in one basket. Can Key carry the burden? We’ll soon see.
[And what will they do if there’s a Key tape?]