50,000 New Zealanders march against the mining plans of this government. For many, the mining agenda is yet another black mark against this government that has done nothing positive about the issues that matter – jobs, wages, health, education, the environment.
But the capitalist elite who so desperately wanted their party in power are getting pretty pissed off too. They also see it as a do nothing government with useless ministers and a Prime Minister who is only interested in the photo shoots.
Fran O’Sullivan writes:
It may seem simplistic, but one of the dark arts of politics that stands Key in good stead is his uncanny ability to “mirror” others.
He could have learned this art during one of those interminably onerous coaching sessions that aspiring business managers go through…
Management theorists will tell you “mirroring” has a particular advantage as a tool in the leadership skill-set [funny, there’s another group of people who influence and manipulate by ‘mirroring’]. The theory goes that people usually accept their mirror image. By validating the self-image of your opponents – even if you disagree with them – you take the wind out of their sails.
As a technique it is very disarming.
The upshot is that even Key’s press conferences tend to be relatively tame affairs.
He is rarely subjected to sustained hard-nosed interviewing, particularly on the extraordinarily banal PR gift slot he gets on state television every Monday morning to kick off his week.
To journalists he is too often “John” – rather than simply “Prime Minister”.
Bit of dig at some of her press gallery colleagues there. Few of them seem to understand that the first people Key’s trying to charm is the journos. Getting soft coverage is the key to spinning the wider public.
Key is now at the halfway point of his first term as the head of the National-led Government… nowhere is there an over-arching narrative that spells out exactly what sort of New Zealand Key wants to leave behind him when he finishes his swing with domestic politics.
We will respect him much more as a political leader and person if he puts that “smiley face” away once in a while and engages deeply and seriously on the challenges facing New Zealand.
And a dry week in Saudi Arabia seems to have helped clear Matthew Hooton’s mind, judging by his NBR column (not online). Sure, he’s still a terrible bigot (his opening paragraph describes one of his Saudi hosts as ‘wearing a nightie, tea-towel, and sandals’) but the scales have fallen from the eyes regarding the Key Government of which he expected, if not great things, at least something:
‘no government minister not even the prime minister himself can tell us what the Key government wants to achieve and how. All we are left with is nonsense about ‘ambition’, ‘aspiration’, and ‘step change’ with no plan or even any strategic concept to explain how… the Key government risks going down in history as the most empty and irrelevant in New Zealand’s history…
… New Zealand business people dared to hope that, in Mr Key, New Zealand had found a leader to the calibre of Lee Kuan Yew [the man who ran Singapore as an effective one-party state for 40 years] to unify the nation and take in on a course to restore it as one of the richest countries in the world.
The past 18 months has proven that Mr Key has the political skills to unify the country and take New Zealand forward, if he wants to. But the past 18 months has also sown he doesn’t want to.
The conclusion most New Zealand businesspeople have reached is their government [note: their government is right]… seems to prefer smiling and waving over any serious attempt to deliver on its promise of ‘ambition’, ‘aspiration’, and ‘step change’.
And, then the killer line from a man who back in ’07 and â€˜08, you may remember, was claiming that the Fifth Labour government was going to abolish the free press and cancel the 2008 election:
In some circles, the most treasonous [to the capitalist class] thought imaginable is emerging: Would we have been better off with Helen Clark?
Wow. When your old cheerleaders are basically saying you only want power for its own sake and they wish they had never helped you win, you’re in deep, deep trouble.