Ipredict reckons there’s 60% odds Key won’t be National leader in 3 years. Whether you think that’s too low or high, it brings an important fact into resolution – the next National leader is in Parliament, probably a minister right now. People talk about Parata but she’s a lightweight and she has no camp of supporters. Collins and Joyce are the options. Mike’s just had a look at Collins’ style, let’s examine Joyce’s.
Whereas Collins is a stab in the back creature, Joyce is a positional player.
Collins operates in a stealthy manner. She betrays trusts and tries to upset her opponents, who often thought they were her friends, with unexpected moves, then backs herself to muscle in and fill the resulting power vacuum herself.
Joyce quite openly and ponderously manoeuvres himself into positions of institutional power and then acts. He plays to his strengths as an organiser.
Hence his formation of the mega-ministry. It comes on the back of a reputation he has built as a minister who gets things done, which owes more to the fact he just ignores public opinion and does what he wants than any gift for leadership. The mega-ministry serves no other purpose than to advance Joyce’s political career. As mega-minister, he will get a lot more air-time, and he will have the power to dole out responsibilities and patronage to more junior ministers assigned to parts of his mega-ministry.
He is creating for himself a ‘mini-PM’ role to both convince the public he is up to filling the big shoes and build loyalty within caucus. It’s a clever strategy and implies planning several years in advance.
But Joyce’s weakness is his small businessman instincts – that nose for a dirty deal, whether with SkyCity, or Huawei, or Mediaworks which leaves him exposed to opponents who manage to open up the world of backroom favours and kickbacks he inhabits. And, recently, he has been caught out several times being uncertain or simply wrong on basic fiscal issues that a minister for economic development ought to know.
So, which will win? It’s hard to know at this point. Joyce’s strategy is slow-paced. He will need to be in a position where he has already tied up the leadership race before Key signals he will step down. Because sure as Joyce is thinking ahead so is Collins but, where he’s building networks, she’s thinking about how to isolate him. In the cut and thrust of a leadership race, Collins’ more adaptable and aggressive approach may win out. I would say that Joyce faces an uphill battle, unless Collins is hoist by one of her own petards.
The tortoise or the botoxed hare – who will succeed, or roll, Key? And, given they’re both Tory scum, does it really matter in the end?